Albany and Beyond

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

Listen to the ovation at the end of “Seven Below > Ghost.” The roar that you hear is one of absolute celebration from all sectors of the audience; Phish had transformed into psychedelic juggernauts of yore. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the music itself, the band had showcased the qualities that made them famous – a musical abandon defined by uninhibited risk taking and, ultimately, golden musical pastures. Phish had just let it all hang loose for the first time since their comeback. Sure, the band had played some amazing jams, and certainly had put together more than a few awe-inspiring sets and shows, but this was a different story altogether. This was the exploratory magic of Phish at work again. For nearly an hour, the band pushed each other harder than we had seen them do in this era, experimenting with, and exploring, new musical planes, while arriving at some truly sublime segments of music along the way. In my memory, and in the memory of countless other fans, this was the type of passionate adventure that has always defined the Phish experience.

11.25.09 (HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Hybrid Radar)

Throughout this fifty-minute stretch, Phish proved what most of us assumed – they could still throw down the gauntlet on a moment’s notice. Listening to Albany while driving last night, I felt like I was listening to Phish of a different era. A different energy blared from the speaker than I was used to hearing this year; the music likened the exploratory bravado that dripped from stages for years on end. I could truly hear the band searching for the sound, and then about halfway through “Seven Below,” hitting their stride like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. Everything clicked deep into this jam; deeper than Phish had been usually willing to dig this go-round. And in no surprise, the first time the band let loose in this uninhibited manner, they succeeded with flying colors. With heart-tugging melodic themes and a connected conversation, Phish found themselves amidst the defining musical jaunt since their return.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Once the band hit their stride, they never lost it for a minute. Careening to a triumphant peak of “Seven Below,” the band slid down the other side into “Ghost.” And from note one of this most unique jam, the band had everything locked down. Sewn together with profound musical glue, this piece would drive the band far beyond anything one would expect to hear from the song. Embodying the theory that if the band is flowing, it matters not what songs they play, Phish continued their musical theatrics with a multi-faceted jam that reached several sonic plateaus. Building from cooperative melodic grooves into a more abstract section of shimmering psychedelia, the music turned far more intense as Mike cranked up his filter and began crushing core patterns. The band continued to merge masterful sections of improv, landing in some of the most maniacal music of the modern era. This represented Phish without borders; jamming without preconceived notions of where things were headed; improvising in the truest sense of the word.

This is what Phish did in their prime, in various forms, from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2003. Throughout these years, Phish always devised new ways to create original magic from similar springboards. Each year represented an evolution from the one before; Phish’s music built upon itself, morphing like a chameleon from one self-referential form to another. A freakish phenomenon, the band continued to reinvent their music year after year, proving to be one of the most creative forces in the history of the game.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

So here we are, at the end of 2009. With a New Years Run separating us from Phish 2010, the first year back in just about in the books. It’s been an incredibly positive year for the Phish community, one laced with more than a few memories of a lifetime. But musically speaking, I believe 2009 will be looked back upon as the foundation for everything that followed; the building blocks for the next musical evolution. The band needed to prove to themselves, more than anyone in the audience, that they still had their mojo. It took them a while to get back into the swing of things, with some sparkling highlights along the way. But I don’t think it was until Albany that the band fully realized the magic they were still capable of hatching. Listening back, one can clearly hear Trey trying to bring back the “Seven Below” melody, aiming for a safe ending to the set’s opening jam. But the band pushed on, unconcerned with what was supposed to happen, and diving off the edge. Emerging almost an hour later, the band had rediscovered the mystery of the unknown; those pristine possibilities that arise when they drop guard and allow things to happen. When the landing point is unknown, Phish is at their greatest. And listening to that crowd in Albany, I think everyone agrees.



Jam of the Day:

Birds Of A Feather” 11.25 II


The standout piece of improv in a lackluster second set in Philly.



11.29.09 CCCC, Portland, ME < Megupload

CCCC - Portland, ME

CCCC - Portland, ME

I: Possum, Down with Disease, Nellie Kane, Weigh, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Stash, Meat, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: The Moma Dance, Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind, Pebbles and Marbles, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Free Bird, Carini, Waste

Source: Beyerdynamic CK930 > Grace Design Lunatec V3 > Sonic AD2K+ > Marantz PMD-661 (@ 24 bit / 96 kHz)

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870 Responses to “Albany and Beyond”

  1. Highway Bill Says:

    …there was a point in time during that 50 minute Albany expolosion when the entire crowd collectively said “whoa”. Seriously, an entire audience gasping. Powerful stuff.

  2. prosin Says:

    Yes Miner, we know you like the psychedelic shit. You have made this very clear over the year. A song doesn’t need to be 25 minutes to be good.

  3. jdub Says:

    The second page and it’s 7 AM eastern time.

    These two songs featured so many little narratives. The band was clearly feeling out the territory and picking a road on the fly, then destroying that road upon entry. I love that there were 2001 and Birds teases that got developed slightly and used as springboards into new music and peaks. Definitely a sign of what’s to come. I would not be surprised if the band comes out in Miami and lays down four nights filled with type II explorations.

    We are all getting excited at the musical direction these boys are going in. If Phish gets where they are heading it will be Tiger Woods territory in regards to perfection of sound. Of course without the inglorious affairs. Think about it, the band will have all songs polished and ready for lift off, the confidence to explore untamed territory at any moment, and the love and health to prolong the trip.

  4. jdub Says:

    Phish is a psychedelic rock band, I would think we all love the psyche shit. I won’t put words in Miner’s mouth but I’m pretty sure he never claimed a song needs to be 25 min to be good.

    I don’t mean to harp on negatives but it seems you only post negative thoughts, why not try a positive one.

  5. Selector J Says:

    Good morning all!

    Click my name to start listening to a special AM edition of the reggae show….
    Be on the air until 7am CST

    Glad to see everything’s up and running today. Yesterday had me sorta freaked.

  6. bhizzle Says:

    yesterday I thought the IT group of my employer said “alright this kid is spending waaaaayyy too much time on the net. shut him down”! glad to see that wasn’t the case. what would I do without the JOTD?

    Selector J, probably a lil late to start listening to your show, but would love to hear it. I have a feeling you’d be tuning me into some new reggae. What are your typical show times?

  7. Selector J Says:

    lulz @bhizzle… I seriously thought the same thing about the IT guys at my work.

    show time is usually 10-11 pm CST

    doing this 6-7am time again tomorrow AM

  8. Little Buddy Says:

    Ha! I came in to work today wondering if PT was blocked by the IT folks as well. Hilarious that we all have the same fear.

    @ Highway Bill –

    “…there was a point in time during that 50 minute Albany expolosion when the entire crowd collectively said “whoa”. Seriously, an entire audience gasping. Powerful stuff.”

    – This is absolutely true. We had a crew of 20+ people at this show in Upper Page Side (Page Side, Rage Side, yo!) and when Ghost just kept going the whole section just looked around at each other. I think everyone was checking around to see if the awe was mutual. It was. What a moment! The Albany gasp!

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    not the first time miner has referenced the ovation after that albany jam.. *That crowd* loved a 50 minute jamfest – for sure. I guess to me that reinforces the idea that these jams will not happen every night for a reason. The crowd energy / venue vibe has so much to do with when these moments take place. And if the band is not feeling it back 12-15 minutes in, they will move onto a new place where they’re feeling it again. But make no mistake, that night in albany happened because of who was in the room and how they received what was going on. Great musicians and stage masters have a keen awareness of the crowd energy and the best ones do what they need to do , on any given night, to push that crowd over the edge…

    I’ve referenced the merriweather crowd a number of times here but it speaks to my point – phish played a strange setlist that night to a pretty diluted and inattentive crowd .. once they got into the magical jam in the 46 days, very few people took note – many still grousing about time turns elastic or that the tweezer hadn’t been as heady as they wanted or some such triviality from what I heard later – and the jam eventually peters out and slides, in a bluesy fashion, into “o sweet nothin” .. a musical inside joke in a show that is one big prank to me.

    So after that my divergent point is that phish has shown (soundchecks..) that they can dive into these jams at any point they want. But they are a bit like an instant karma machine – the show gets what it gets at any point because the show gives what it gives. Completely open creativity has to go with the energy in the air, it’s the only way of it.

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    funny .. next thing I did after posting this is jump on my metsblog for some hot stove news and I read the words .. “Earlier today, Mets OF Jeff Francoeur talked in studio with WFAN, and said he enjoys the high energy of New York City, where he can feed off the fans.”

    it’s everywhere my friends.

  11. Little Buddy Says:

    @ cowfunk

    I enjoyed your description of the MPP show. I felt very much the same way. That was the weirdest show I saw this year. The 46 days jam was very under appreciated. What a terrible crowd that was. I must have passed around a half dozen j’s in my section hoping that people would eventually shut up, but for some reason my tried and true method of silencing the talkers around me just didn’t work.

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    I have a feeling we’re in for some really special phish in miami this year. The comfort level is there, the patient feeling of 4 nights with nowhere to go is there, I’ve only heard great things about miami 2003 .. I predict either the 28th or 29th some serious going off.

    re: dead 77 -> just grabbed the “every set played boxed set” from winterland 77 – a 3 night run after they had just returned home from their triumphant may 77 tour, 6-7,8,9-77. listening to the 3 nights in a row something really jumped out at me …

    the band was seriously pushing their new tunes! Terrapin first and third nights, Samson and Delilah first and third nights, estimated *all 3 nights!* Funny – the last estimated jam winds down and fades into the crowd appeasing St Stephen

    same as it ever was..

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    word buddy – that was the worst phish crowd I’ve seen this year. That used to be my home venue and I remember some schwilly, lame, inattentive crowds there, but this may have been one of the worst.

  14. ma Says:

    was in the pavillion on the aisle for the mpp show…the wall to the left was a buffer of any talking going on over my shoulder….my wife to my right was the only buffer i needed in that direction.

  15. Little Buddy Says:

    @cowfunk – You’d of thought they were passing out adderal (sp?) at the door with all the talking that was going on there. I had one of mt best show experiences there ever in 1998. I was front row with the women who became my wife almost ten years later. The Sabatoge was some serious fun!

  16. ma Says:

    miami 2003 was everything it could’ve been and more.

    this will be a repeat…including the scattering of tickets on the ground on monday night.

  17. ma Says:

    did anybody notice that trey was wearing a jacket ( or a long sleeve shirt ) considering how freakin’ hot it was that day?

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    mpp sabotage sparked a crowd reaction like few I’ve ever seen. Just as intense but so different from terrapin station the next night..

    I remember how different sabotage seemed at the lemonwheel for the big festie crowd – I was coming down off a big day with lucy and got real into it jumping up and down, and looked around to realize I was the only one that really even cared, way back in the field behind the soundboard..

    for mpp this year we were fishman side center just behind the soundboard – talk central from what I could tell. Lots of really drunken folks for sure in that place – they let you buy like 6 32oz beers at a time

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah ma – I remember thinking maybe some of his bso symphony buddies were there (hence the tte) and he was dressing up for them..

  20. BTB Says:

    “like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains”

    Every once and a while I spill some coffee while reading this blog. Good stuff as usual Miner.

    The notion that the band was “challenging each other” as many have described the 7>Ghost is very true. They kept pushing the journey. There are many different sections to the jam, but I rode those peaks pretty hard! Page was playing like a champ – I was right in front of him and his level of concentration was intense.

  21. ma Says:

    those hittin miami for the first time are going to love the OUTSIDE pavillion at the aaa.

  22. HarryHood Says:

    I find it interesting that no one else on here has picked up on the Crosseyed tease during the Albany Ghost. Mike clearly drops into it for a measure or two and it’s very clear. I wish I had it on my work computer so that I could give you an exact time, but it’s definitely there.

  23. HarryHood Says:

    Oh and……. It’s made from bits of real gazelle. That’s how you know it’s good.

  24. Little Buddy Says:

    HH – I picked up on the crosseyed tease. I also felt like Trey was teasing Terrapin toward the end there. And of course, Fish was pushing a 2001 in there as well.

  25. Little Buddy Says:

    The energy at 17:45 may have been the gasping moment that Highway Bill referred to. I just got chills when it came round on the JOTD…

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