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. chefbradford Says:

    Hell no. I can stream, but it stops every few seconds, which is absolutely maddening. I’m gonna give it a break, try again.

  2. Lycanthropist Says:


    do you have a YahooIM or AIM? I can just send you the files via a transfer and save you a lot of trouble

  3. gus Says:

    that is a sweet list voopa. I don’t know how you guys view downloading music illegally (well, I like to call it music sharing), but I found the best website for doing it, and it doesn’t involve torrents (I feel that it’s easier to get caught through torrents).

    just type in the album and it searches tons and tons of music blogs. I’ve already gotten a ton of good stuff from there. and now with your recommendations voopa, i will have a lot to download.

    don’t get me wrong, i’m all for buying music, but it’s just i don’t want to buy EVERYTHING. and if I dont’ like it, then it was a waste of money, right? this way I can test it out.

  4. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan, no, none of that. What’s infuriating is that I normally don’t have these problems. I’m probably going to pay a tech-savvy friend to build me a new computer this year

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    word @chef

    fwiw – both of those programs are free and quick to install…

  6. chefbradford Says:

    I’ll give them a try if I get the external HD I’m hoping for. Hoping it’ll help me free up a lot of disk space

  7. Lycanthropist Says:


    so i suppose you are spinning your vinyl now eh?

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    anybody out there?

    whats everyone spinning?

  9. butter Says:

    i’m out there, what up Lycan,

    spinnin Sat Night Live: A Very Gilly Christmas

  10. gus Says:

    i’m spinning some lotus. i love this group, i got into ’em about a week ago, they are so sick. i wish i could see them live but their winter tour is no where near me.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    I saw Lotus.. they are pretty good but the electro dance stuff doesn’t really grab me that much. Though sometimes, I can totally get in the zone..

  12. gus Says:

    i hear ya, i definitely have to be in the right mood to listen to them…i love this kind of music but not all the time. and i LOVE umbilical moonrise, very unlike their other stuff, SO beautiful.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    you workin on any tunes gus?

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    absolutely lovin this Radiolarians boxset.

    so groove tastic

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    @chef –

    where you at? I need something off the late night menu

  16. Robear Says:

    There was a line
    There was a formula
    Sharp as a knife
    Facts cut a hole in us

    I think there’s a meaning in there..

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    some of my fav lyrics come from the Talking Heads @robear..

    check out the words to slippery people

    great stuff

  18. chefbradford Says:

    I’m back, sorry, fixed a quick dinner. Yeah, finished side 1 Remain In Light, going to try to get the CF stream to work again now

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    good luck @chef!

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    did you try the ole reboot?

  21. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan, you mentioned Portishead earlier. They, Massive Attack, and Tricky are always excellent for late-night spins, IMO

  22. chefbradford Says:

    I put of reboots as long as possible, it’s slow going after that. Stream is excellent thus far, maybe I intimidated the demon in my comp enough to leave me alone the rest of the night

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh my wife was the one that got me into that Trip-Hop shit. I can’t get enough now.

    Portishead Live at the Roseland Ballroom is absolutely breathtaking

  24. Lycanthropist Says:


    were you able to pick up where you left off?

  25. chefbradford Says:

    Or Tortoise, if you like those guys. TNT is a pretty good album, but the song Djed, off of Millions Now Living Will Never Die, works very well for me as a late-night track. 20+ minutes of the so-called “post-rock” head-fuckery

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