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. joe Says:

    @aw, I actually liked trey’s playing at the end of backwards down the numberline from msg. Nothing super exploratory ala SPAC, but kind of a good indication of where the band is at in the fall of 2009 (although maybe that’s not a good thing). also bass is super funky in boogie on later in the set.

  2. VoidBoy Says:

    yeah, Ghost Halloween night…

  3. albert walker Says:

    I still want to go back and find my fav Antelope and Bowie

    right now I am going with Cinci Antelope and Virgina Bowie until I find one to change my mind

    both great versions

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    @bhizzle – our FD and PD do that shit too – just about gave me a heart attack first time it happened

  5. joe Says:

    and my suggestion is based off of the idea of something that would normally get skipped, not what was the best.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    philly #1 is a great show imo. can’t go wrong there either

  7. bhizzle Says:

    night night fellas…off to spin them cuse discs and play a lil maddens

  8. VoidBoy Says:

    love the Bowie… definitely caught my attention this year.

  9. albert walker Says:

    got my Nike’s limited edition Air Max 1’s designed with Patta (Amsterdam shoe store)
    in the mail today

    and damn they are nice
    purple, green denim and corduroy

    nothin like a new fresh pair of kicks
    and they are dope

  10. butter Says:

    ya gunna sport em in Miami AW?

  11. Robear Says:

    AW, did you hit the ‘Flight Shop’ in Manhattan? Super shoe store. Shrink wrapped, limited edition stuff. I didn’t realize there was a sneaker culture.

  12. albert walker Says:


    I order my kicks from there, this pair actually also

    fuck yeah butter
    my shit I got for summer got torched at Deer Creek
    soles on these old school max’s get worked pretty quick

    was gonna get a fresh pair for Indio
    but figured it would be too rough on a new pair anyway

  13. albert walker Says:

    there are 2 more of these Patta-Nike max’s I dig

    they sell out real quick though
    have to pay up a little

    this last set was released in mid November I believe

    there are a white and green pair I need also
    real old school fresh looking
    like the stan smith adidas vibe

  14. butter Says:

    i pretty much wore the soles off a brand new pair of vasque trail shoes during second leg of summer that i scored at the denver rei during RR

  15. Robear Says:

    AW, listen to ‘Julius’ from Albany 2

  16. Gratefulcub Says:

    Yo Joe, 10-0!!

    Josh simply says, “blue Jesus”

    Our flight is delayed and we were drunk an hour ago. This is a pre-emptive( sp?) aplology.

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    Portland is HOT!

    Great show so far, energy is boiling nicely. Mike is killing it.

    Thanks for the AUD’s Miner!

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Holy KDF! Phish has been killing that tune lately. Check out Portland’s rendition. Hot hot hot.

  19. voidboy Says:

    yeah, that was a goo show if memory serves.

  20. voidboy Says:

    lets use “good” instead of goo, though both could be appropriate, barring proper diction.

  21. joe Says:

    I’m fully on board with the cats Cub. Starting the Boston chapter of the fan club, although Ashley Judd may still be at Harvard so I’m sure she has dibs on the biggest fan. May have to find out if she goes out to watch the games and track her down.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    with the nike HQ and stores here in pdx we have some serious shoe collecting going on

    peeps fly in sometimes for special releases…the downtown store gets dudes camped out in line overnight on a semi regular basis…

  23. voopa Says:


    Check Prince Fuckerpants from Cincy 2

  24. Gratefulcub Says:

    Joe, Ashley isn’t a fan, she’s the official mascot. And, she is going to be the reason Dickie V gets divorced. He turns into a blathering idiot.

  25. neemor Says:

    Portland was as enjoyable a show as I can remember.
    I think by now it’s gotten its due praise, but glad Palmer and BK’s virgin ears are getting a lashing!
    Definitely a Mike show, first set in general.
    (6 songs led by or vocalized by Cactus.)
    The whole show felt intimate, showcased impressive chops and had some real treats.
    The Meat>Undermind was unique and super fun!
    Weigh was played for a sign request for the kid next to me. He got a neemor high five ‘n hug for that one!
    The Mike’s Groove, although standard, was a ripping indoor version.
    The second set from start through P&M was sharp and exciting, Pebbles slowed it down but was definitely one of those treats I mentioned and we had been looking for it on this board for sure.
    Crimes was a nice throwback. I was thinking maybe a Marshall sighting for an Antelope, changed to Dude when I realized what was being played. Seemed to take the crowd a while to figure it out.
    Sharp ASZ into a triple closer.
    The ‘caged’ version of Antelope that raged back to back nights from the country to the City was impressive to say the least…the majesty of Antelope has returned and to my ears sounds better than any classic years’.
    And a read Icculus closing suite to match any encore I’ve been privy to.
    Just a classic night in the quaint port village in Southern Maine.

    Enjoy, boys!

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