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. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hello everybody.

    11 days until Miami eh? Looking forward to it. It blows my mind that we are four shows away from 2010 Phish…crazy.

    Miami will be a throwdown.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    I liked Olivia’s Pool but Shafty is better

    such a great dark song

    I do like the idea of pairing dark lyrics with an upbeat arrangement though…just in general…

  3. ma Says:


    since the return, i think the tempo of the ghosts, the beginning specifically, is what you’re referring to…and i agree.

    slower is funkier….they always seem to be a bit too fast to start, but then obviously take it to where it needs to be.

  4. VoidBoy Says:

    love this sh*t

  5. VoidBoy Says:

    Why no Sand?

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    did they play Makisupa this fall? i think not

  7. VoidBoy Says:

    @ Palmer


    Yeah, I was hoping to catch that at Indio, and nada.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    funny interview @Selector

    “how did you guys keep your energy up for that 8 hour set?”

    “uh, we had hors d’oeuvres onstage…”


  9. Kaveh Says:


    Hey all: Here is what I have for trade or for sale.

    From PTBM:
    12.28 – Sec 412 Row 9 – one ticket – ($40.00)
    12.29 – Sec. 310 Row 19 – two tickets – (face or best offer)
    12.29 – Sec. 114 Row 17 – one ticket – (face)
    12.30 – Sec 407 Row 3 – two tickets – (face or best offer)

    From Ticketmaster – Sec. 103 Row 14 – (face)

    Now here what I’m looking for in a trade, if possible. I would be willing to trade any combination of the above tickets for one floor seat on the 30th, since it is my 50th show (a long time coming, since I started in 1993, but I made it). So let me know if there is any potential out there.

    kjrahimi at yahoo dot com

  10. albert walker Says:

    just so ya’ll know

    the antelope #’s were being used jokingly for dramatic effect
    trying to show how many times Trey must have played that shit back in the day
    and not very well since I don’t know if they’ve even played that many in my era in total

    but I can tell you that in all my shows it was the most played
    then DWD

    somewhere around 32% if I remember correctly

    but yes seeing 168 Antelopes would be nice

  11. bhizzle Says:

    I was burning discs and heard big truck type horn blowing outside so I run down stairs and see twirling lights in front of my house through the shades. I start thinking “Is my fucking house on fire”?!?!?! I run to open the door. Fucking Santa Claus on top of the hook and ladder rolling through the neighborhood. Fuckin heart stopper!

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    amazed how the tix hysteria has died down since March and early summer. should make for a great 2010 in that regard.

  13. albert walker Says:

    Phish tix should always be free

    I always wondered who paid for those things anyway
    I mean someone had to of

  14. albert walker Says:

    just got these fall SBD’s
    anyone have a dark horse jam to listen to now that I’ve beaten the go to jams to death

    need to put something on
    all the choices

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Have yet to listen to Portland yet. Excited to give that one a spin later tonight after the kiddies go to bed.

  16. bhizzle Says:

    Anyone hear more rumors of a TAB tour in Feb or there abouts?

  17. albert walker Says:

    I always heard that the TAB keyboard player was up to no good

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    @aw ‘Cuse- Drowned>twist>piper

  19. bhizzle Says:

    I’m about to re-live the ‘Cuse show tonight. I’ve been trying to hear that Stash and Drowned in my head, but all I keep hearing is Boogie On and Funky Bitch

  20. VoidBoy Says:


    fwiw, I still like the 10/30/09 set 2. Yeah, it’s Indio, but I feel that particular set didn’t get as much attention as it might have deserved, imo.

  21. bhizzle Says:

    Soda pops owed on that one Palmer!

    Ray P is up to no good? What would make you say that? I like his playing for sure, but beyond the keys I don’t know the man nor heard boo.

  22. albert walker Says:

    I figured as much
    spun that Cuse last night

    I liked that little piece too

    I have not really spun Philly yet
    could go there

  23. albert walker Says:

    I love that set also

    YEM and Ghost were just killed

    I spun those to death unfortunately
    I do that to shows I was at

  24. albert walker Says:

    sorry Void that was 10/31

    I dig 10/30 also and have not spun that in a while
    good idea


  25. VoidBoy Says:

    me too.

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