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. neemor Says:

    I mentioned earlier but you had left…congrats again, we share your joy!
    Like RoBear has said before so eloquently, ‘looks like your little one chose a great dad!

  2. albert walker Says:

    now that they’ve played pretty much everything and have a year of touring I’m very interested to see how these sets play out over 4 nights

    Trey’s gotten comfortable has a better idea of how the newer songs work in a set

    they will def be working some things out in the time off

    no crosseyed since RR?
    about due

    and we will get that Sand

  3. chefbradford Says:

    I want to feed my computer, component by component, into an industrial strength garbage disposal

  4. Gratefulcub Says:

    thank you. I still feel like an outsider looking in and occasionally bantaring, but I love this place. Good hearts. I really feel that a bunch of people I don’t know and have barely met are genuinely happy for me. And sharing in my joy. Shared joy is expanded exponentially. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes today.

  5. Gratefulcub Says:

    Chronological phish moves to Amsterdam 97, July 1. Ghost to open. Looks like a good flight is ahead of me. Taxiing down the runway now.

  6. chefbradford Says:

    Cub, enjoy your extended stay at home with your soon to be extended family

  7. Gratefulcub Says:

    I guess I just stopped needing him as much as once befooore

  8. voopa Says:

    Walked across a lawn…

  9. Gratefulcub Says:

    Thanks chef. I think I shall nickname my daughter “my little peppadew”

  10. Gratefulcub Says:

    Shitters. If we are 37th for takeoff, why did you put us on the plane. There is liquor in the terminal.

  11. albert walker Says:


    you are right. just put on that Julius
    very hot

    Trey found his licks since summer

    I actually put it on to play along with it on guitar.
    I had one of those old school what the fuck is he playing moments as I tried to figure out what he was doing.
    old school guitar heroics
    such a great player

    can’t wait for miami

  12. chefbradford Says:

    Ha, nice, Cub!

  13. neemor Says:

    Fly safe but remember, leave the flying to the professionals.

  14. neemor Says:

    Technology is amazing…
    Some dude somewhere is chatting with me in an airplane on the runway.
    And about to have a baby.
    Babies are cute.

  15. chefbradford Says:

    Ah, Julius, what a wonderful, under-rated “non-jamming” song

    Many of you will be in Miami, at some rock show or something, on my 30th b-day in a bit over a week. Blow it out for me!

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Here’s how I think Miami will go:

    12-28: Warm up show, get the Phish New Years Run vibe going. Nothing too huge
    12-29: Blowout…big jam night, maybe that Sand/Crosseyed we’ve all been waiting for
    12-30: Phishiness…Harpua/Forbins…maybe a Tom Marshall appearance
    12-31: The ultimate accumilation of everything that has happened in Phish 3.0 thus far. Peak of 2009. Contact encore

    TL;DR: These shows will slay.

  17. chefbradford Says:

    Brandon, you’ll probably (and hopefully) be proven right. You so often are!

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    You’d be surprised Chef. My calls got worse and worse as Fall Tour went on, mostly because I’ve been hanging onto that damn Crosseyed! 🙂

    I’m sure they’ll save it until I see I show this summer (yeah right). I can dream though, can’t I?

  19. chefbradford Says:

    Nothing wrong with chasing a dream, bud, nothing at all. Especially if said dream includes a smoking C&P! And Summer? I’m hoping for Spring! Here’s hoping you get your first as soon as possible!

    Speaking of Crosseyed, Brandon, if you haven’t heard the 12/29/98 2001, seek it out. Huge Crosseyed jamming there, super-funk, superbad, super NY-run Phishiness

    And PLEASE tell me you’ve heard both the Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light’ and Phish’s magnificent cover of the album!

  20. BrandonKayda Says:


    OF COURSE I have heard everything in your post. Talking Heads are incredible, and I am not just saying that because Phish covered Remain In Light.

    8-9-97 2001 is incredible. 25min 2001->Mike’s->Weekapaug (with extra funky closing jam…no “trying to make a woman….” reprise)->Zero

    Have YOU heard the 4-3-98 Weekapaug with a Crosseyed and Mozambique jam?

    Thanks for the kind words man. I’ll be seeing them soon enough.

    For now, though, let’s get ready for the 4-night party in Miami!

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    12-29-98 is ridiculous by the way, two incredibily solid sets

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    whats up everyone! been out all day doing Christmas shopping..

    looks like i missed a lot.

    anyway.. despite all the gifts i got, i came home with one myself:

    The MMW Radiolarians Boxset!

  23. chefbradford Says:

    Hey bud, just making sure! 🙂 And yeah, chunks of the Island Tour usually end up making my music rotation at some point every week, although, honestly, I forget about the Weekapaug. Sadly, I have NOT heard 8/9/97, so I need to add it to my list of must-listens by anybody.

    How sweet a dilemma is this: do I continue listening to the killer Chance Fisher show from 12/11, or do I spin a record (yeah, real vinyl) on the new turntable the guys at work got me for Christmas?

  24. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan! Just mentioned the killer CF show I incessantly bothered you about last night!

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    hmmm…I dug that Chance Fisher pretty nicely last night….go with that.

    I recommend Chance Fisher for all-nighters as far as work goes. It’s worked for me…

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