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)

Tags: ,

870 Responses to “Albany and Beyond”

  1. chefbradford Says:

    BK- and it had the ever-elusive Divided Sky encore, along with the 2nd-set closing YEM. YUM!

  2. chefbradford Says:

    BK- good call—I finish out the CF show, then drop some vinyl…maybe Remain In Light ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Choice find in Athens, GA a few years back

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    what up @chef and @brandon

    you guys enjoying your evenings?

  4. Lycanthropist Says:


    i hope your choice pays off. at the very least you will have Remain in Light to land on ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. voopa Says:


    Thanks for reminding me to get an xmas gift for the wife…today was free shipping day, so I got her the latest Coltrane box set from Barnes & Noble..and got 15% off too!

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    no prob @Voopa

    this MMW was my wife’s gift to me. She knows me all too well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m out for tonight.

    G’night folks.

  8. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan, doing surprisingly well. Yourself? And the prospect of Chance Fisher>Talking Heads is a great one. I tried to pick up where I left off, but my computer bitched out on me, couldn’t stream it song by song without constant stops in the playing, so I’m streaming the whole show. Back in the middle of that happily fantastic “Down By the River”. One of my favorite Neil songs, and the Neil + Phish version (“jam jelly sandwich”) from Farm-Aid 98 is killer. Again, great work on the keys, and then the guitar comes from the middle of nowhere and rips me a new Neilhole

  9. chefbradford Says:

    Later Brandon, keep chasin’ the dream!

  10. joe Says:

    got my girlfriend the fall tour shirt I was supposed to get at the shows I went to without her, only for $8 plus shipping instead of $35 (or whatever outragous price they charge at shows) as an extra christmas present, sometimes it pays to be cheap and lazy.

  11. chefbradford Says:

    joe— agreed. Somewhere I have a t-shirt from a mid-90s tour (i’m thinking 94 or 95), a Pollack I believe, that a girlfriend found on ebay for me ages ago. Even when new it would’ve been, at that time, maybe 15 or 20$; she got it for about 5$, I believe

  12. joe Says:

    they have good deals right now on the drygoods.

  13. chefbradford Says:

    Fuck my computer, now my CF stream is screwed up, too.

  14. Lycanthropist Says:


    well im glad you dig the neil young.. trust me I know how touchy it is to cover Neil. We are definitely hoping we do it justice.

  15. joe Says:

    probably too late to get a good list, but who has some 2009 non-phish album recommendations?

  16. joe Says:

    oh, and pretty sure it isn’t 12 degrees in Miami right now like it is here. Why am I not going?

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ joe

    a post from the other night that i made:

    “donโ€™t know what all got thrown at you
    but to add to some recs:

    Tim Fite โ€“ Fair Ainโ€™t Fair : This guy really really needs to be seen to get the full effect. Very David Byrne in nature. This guy does everything himself. In concert he has a projection screen that has him playing all the other parts. Very trippy shit.

    The Avett Bros โ€“ Four Thieves Gone: If you havenโ€™t heard the Avett Bros. I encourage you to do so now. This is Americana music at its most rocking. Some of the most emotional roots music Iโ€™ve heard. It has a nice blend of folk and edgy almost punk. Really great stuff.

    Portishead โ€“ Live at the Roseland Ballroom: The quintessential Portishead IMO. Portishead gets me into a zone like no other. Their driving, haunting trip hop is perfectly executed.

    Nucleus โ€“ Under the Sun: Some super smooth jazz funk. Not sure where their from. Just getting into these guys myself.

    The Cancer Conspiracy โ€“ The Audio Medium: Legit, three piece progressive. Some really good guitar work and effects driven trade off. Not near as cheesy as a lot of prog can be. No vocals, which in my book for a prog band is usually a good thing.

    I could keep goingโ€ฆ but those are just some starts.

    Here a few more w/o write ups:
    Hieroglyphics (I believe Dels been getting a lot of love on this site)
    BLK JKS (Mr. C will fill you in on these guys Im sure)
    Dresden Dolls
    Groupa Phantasma”

  18. voopa Says:


    I don’t think there are any ’09 albums in this list, but here’s the 50 favorite of the decade that I posted over at

    Medeski, Martin and Wood – The Dropper
    Beck – Guero
    moe. – The Conch
    Joshua Redman – Elastic
    Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise
    The White Stripes – Elephant
    The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
    The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
    The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth
    Wolfmother – Wolfmother
    TV on the Radio – Dear Science
    Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – All the Roadrunning
    The Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium
    Greyboy Allstars – What Happened to Television?
    Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
    Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
    DJ Logic – Zen of Logic
    Mother Hips – Kiss the Crystal Flake
    My Morning Jacket – Z
    David Gilmour – On an Island
    Brad Mehldau – Largo
    Phish – Joy
    Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
    Galactic – Ruckus
    Derek Trucks Band – Songlines
    Les Claypool – Purple Onion
    Beastie Boys – To the 5 Boroughs
    Beck – Sea Change
    Sigur Ros – Taak
    Neil Young – Greendale
    Yo La Tengo – I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
    DJ Logic – The Anamoly
    Trey Anastasio – Bar 17
    Dirty Dozen Brass Band – What’s Goin’ On
    Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet – Husky
    Umphrey’s McGee – Safety in Numbers
    Radiohead – In Rainbows
    Ben Harper – Both Sides of the Gun
    The Clinton Administration – One Nation Under a Groove
    Gorillaz – Demon Days
    Joshua Redman – Momentum
    Stefon Harris and Blackout – Evolution
    Bela Fleck & the Flecktones – Hidden Land
    Tool – Lateralus
    moe. – Sticks and Stones
    Vida Blue – Vida Blue
    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
    MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
    Drive By Truckers – The Dirty South
    The Flaming Lips – At War with the Mystics


    Josh Roseman – Treats for the Nightwalker
    Robert Walter – Super Heavy Organ
    Dr. Lonnie Smith – Boogaloo to Beck
    Kool Keith – The Return of Dr. Octagon
    Ween – Quebec
    Michael Franti & Spearhead – Stay Human
    Ry Cooder & Manuel Gaban – Mambo Sinuendo
    Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon – Clone
    Herbie Hancock – Possibilities
    Oysterhead – The Grand Pecking Order
    John Scofield – What’d I Say
    John Scofield – Uberjam
    Pat Metheny – The Way Up

  19. voopa Says:

    Oh yeah, Joy.

  20. Lycanthropist Says:


    damn my friend.. sorry for all the PC troubles

  21. joe Says:

    thanks guys, that should be a good start. just got turned on to grooveshark and was looking to expand my “current” horizons.

  22. joe Says:

    the one bad thing about phish being back is that it has dominated my listening in 09 probably more than any other year. having instant access to it is great but has stunted my listening to other things.

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    ^ word Joe.. been having to consciously insert other music

  24. chefbradford Says:

    Voopa, hellaciously impressive list!

    Love Michael Franti

    I guess it’s better to have PC problems than no PC at all. Hrmm. The comp’s stream crapped out right when the guitar was getting down on the Neil song. Lycan, no worries, not only do you guys do ‘River’ justice, you put a bit of a spin on it. Every version of that song I’ve heard, by any band, has been, in some way, a jam, other than the awful Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds version (I enjoy DMB, and Dave and Tim, but their cover of this is awful)

  25. Lycanthropist Says:


    you get the stream kickin again?

Leave a Reply