Ebb and Flow

12.28.09 - Official Poster

In a half-empty arena that carried the vibe of an out-of-the-way stop along fall tour, Phish kicked-off Miami ’09 with a show that felt just a bit out of sync. With a opening act whose music came in waves, much like the waters that surround, the band interspersed some exploratory jaunts throughout some straight forward rock that kept their show enticing. The improvisational highlights of the evening came in the risk-taking of “Stash,” “Light,” and “Harry Hood,” all to varying degrees of success. Whereas Phish fought through some early speed bumps and came together gloriously in “Stash,” they weren’t as successful with their latest incarnation of “Light,” searching and searching, but not coming up with all too much. But perhaps the most sublime and psychedelic portion of the night, however, came in an late-set, ambient-laced dreamscape called “Harry Hood.”

“Stash” filled in its now-patented “First Jam of the Run” slot, but did so with far more skyscraping psychedelia that usual. Representing the only first set launchpad, the band let things hang out early, forming the most demented segment of the night. Following the jam’s standard path for a while, there came a certain point when the band veered off course into uncharted waters. Navigating a stormy sea of musical whitecaps, the band reached their darkest and most abstract points of the night in a scintillating episode that couldn’t help but trigger memories of “Stash’s” sacred trek in the same room six years ago. A musical adventure that teetered at points, finally peaked in a cascade of cacophony.

Miami '03 (M.Collins)

Following a first set that better resembled a mortuary rather than a Phish show, the band brought out their second-set defibrillators in the form of “Mike’s Song.” Sinking their teeth into the most gnarling version we’ve heard in a while, Phish passed through some sinister funk grooves before Trey let loose into a series of menacing guitar leads, narrating a twisting tale of darkness. Taking their head of steam and morphing into “Light,” the band seemed to almost get there a couple of times via their newest vehicle, but in the end fell short of any real greatness. After many of the stellar rides from fall tour, this “Light” just didn’t shine as brightly, but the band can’t be faulted for not pushing themselves, and that’s all we can ever ask.

And push themselves they did once again in an experimental, near-twenty minute “Harry Hood.” Starting the jam in near silence, Phish built, plateaued, and emerged again, through a sprawling cycle of full-band interplay. Transcending its composed build, this “Hood” drifted into more than one engaging musical segment before reconnecting to the its triumphant theme. In the most salient musical moment of the evening, this “Hood” seemed to bring direction and coherence to the band’s improv, in earnest, for the first time, all evening. Another risk taken; but this time, the band came out smashingly successful.

Miami '03 (M.Collins)

Despite the musical highlights, a noticeable lack of energy lent a strange vibe to a show that, at times, seemed like Phish was going at it alone. With virtually no one behind the stage, empty sections of seats on the floor, a black curtain quardening off much of the upper deck, last night felt like a complete juxtapostition to the through-the-roof energy that underlined fall tour; and hardly like a New Years Phish show. One must wonder what effect this feeling, if any, has on the band, their playing, and the their outcome of the show. After a first night that will, no doubt, be left in behind by the exploits of the next three, let’s come back tomorrow and see what’s up.

First Set Notes:

“My Soul,” unplayed since the band’s first farewell at Shoreline 2000, and “Roggae,” unplayed in ’09, came out one after another in a combination that seemed clearly linked by their relative scarcity. “Undermind” provided the first signs of musical vitality to the show with its punchy rhythmic interplay, while “Beauty of a Broken Heart” took the momentum from “Stash” and split it over a platter of groove in an entertaining spin. Overall, the first featured a rather sluggish flow and mediocre song selection, resulting in an underwhelming set of Phish to start off New Years ’09.

I. Sample in a Jar, NICU, My Soul, Roggae, Undermind, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Possum

II: Mike’s Song > Light > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Alaska, Backwards Down the Number Line, Makisupa Policeman > Harry Hood > Contact, Character Zero

E: First Tube

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917 Responses to “Ebb and Flow”

  1. bl68300 Says:

    ill agree w/c0w. good warm up. sounded good to me from the majority i heard. things will heat up over the next few nights. plus i loooove the poster. wish i was there to get one.

  2. fat bastard Says:

    what what said

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    first set I was down in the 100 level and it was packed and full of energy down there. Clearly a lot of folks fakin it and figurin it out, but everyone seemed happy.

    The blackdrop behind the stage was a cool canvas for chris – busted out some crazy zebra stripe filter for the light space jam..

  4. fat bastard Says:

    cheap is cincy

  5. albert walker Says:

    kind of all over the place for me

    not bad, not great

    I think Trey was distracted by sound problems through the whole 1st set

    I thought Mike’s continues to evolve and could be the best one yet in 2009

    Stash has some very cool work in the spacey section before slowing bringing it back in to the rocking outro solo. seemed to take his time on it.

    got kicked out for puffin during the Makisupa

    surprised to see #line and light go early thought they could the midnight new years jam

    could it be in the year of DWD it gets the new years treatment retro style

    either way it was 75 and sunny yesterday

    can’t beat 4 days at the beach in Miami


  6. SillyWilly Says:

    the snowstorm came in fast anf furious yesterday, huh.
    we might head downtown to the bars tonight or tomorrow. are you staying with people? i remember youre from ohio, so im assuming youve got some friends around here to chill with until you can leave cleveland, but if not let me know. maybe we can grab a GL christmas ale somewhere.

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    “got kicked out for puffin during the Makisupa”

    woah like kicked out of the whole show? crazy. WHere I was first set I saw no security and up top second set our yellow shirt was an old island dude who was rockin to the show with us all, doing air bass and drums and stuff..

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    got kicked out for puffin during the Makisupa

    sucks to hear that, AW. weren’t you rocking the luxury box?

  9. albert walker Says:

    not till the 31st

    we were just chillin in the 100 level

    got through 6 spliffs, got caught on the 7th by some dick
    no big deal

    heard the Hood from outside and the rest I could have missed either way no big deal

    the band IMO was pretty rusty and then fell into that predictibility in the 2nd half of the 2nd set we’ve been getting lately

    a lot of music to go, but kind of glad this one got out of the way

    I don’t like Alaska in the 2nd set (even though I dig it) and wish Maki would go back to being a 1st set opener

    morning tubes and looking at the Hyatt roomservice breakfast menu

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    Aw I can see the hyatt from my window.. End of makisupa into hood was anything but predictable.

    Guess I’m glad to be rooming with 2 uncritical girls cuz we all had a great show. Second set was on par w cvl to me. First had expected vibe / band issues but really found something in roggae and stash.

  11. fat bastard Says:

    aw – you def choose the path less takin…way to be

  12. BTB Says:

    Silly Willy – I live in Cleveland year round, but I’m booked through New Years unfortunately, other wise I’d be glad to catch a Christmas Ale. Got the ladyfriend coming back in to town and then we’re going to Pittsburgh for NYE.

    I had free tix to the Rose Bowl in CA and apparently PH shows are free too. Flights are too damn expensive. Oh, well.

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    Some of the tunes (beauty, alaska, numberline) had a bit of a – this crowd is clueless anyway so we’ll just do what we like – vibe.

    Trey sounded bashful singing numberline for the first time in a while.

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    classic AW

  15. albert walker Says:

    I just meant Hood, Contact, Zero, First Tube
    kind of standard

    since # line has gotten dropped into the middle of the 2nd sets it has lost some of the punch in the jam

    that 2nd set Alaska and Maki was done at Sat Gorge and I did not really dig that portion of the show at that one either

    my section was raging. we all had a great time.
    music was not off to where it detracted from my night.
    I got kicked out and really could care less.

    I’m just hear to chill out in the sun and have a good time.

    if this is the best they got though we may be in for a long 4 nights musically IMO

    that is just what I was getting at

    have the downloads going right now
    gonna give it a listen with morning puff

  16. kenny powers Says:

    just listened through Roggae, crowd energy seemed high. the roar after the “back on those days when my life was a haze” line was noticeably louder than usual.

  17. fat bastard Says:

    yeah kp thru the crappy stream i attempted to listen to roggae sounded real sweet

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Sounds good, BTB.

    i think i remember you saying you live in Cleveland now that i think about it….my bad.

    have fun with your girl. im just here in willoughby chilling with mine. i had to tell people to stop texting me the setlist from last night because she was getting a little annoyed by me always looking at my phone.

    i hope you can sell those rosebowl tickets. ill probably post up in down town willoughby to watch the game. i gotta watch the badgers beat miami tonight too.

  19. kenny powers Says:

    they were a bit rusty on the power chords after the quiet part near the end, but that’s understandable after the long gap. they’ll tighten it up soon enough. My Soul was raging, I like the dirty blues licks Trey throws in before the words come in at the start.

  20. kenny powers Says:

    ^meant Roggae in the first sentence

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    Nicu was when the membrane broke for me. After that IT was flowing. I’m notoriously easy so take it fwiw.

    Honestly saw multiple moments where trey pushed into space and was reaching for newness. Whether it was successful I guess is pretty subjective, but I was all aglow.

    Standard setlist choices don’t bother me in 2009 .. Mak hood was a unit w the wacky loop stuff, contact seemed natural bubbling out of the hood synth mess w it being a mike themed set. Char 0 is a hell of a closer and the closest thing to a true group peak with everyone in the room aglow and boppin we got all night. 1st tube grabbed it from there and left me speechless and momentarily blinded by the light.

  22. gratefulcub Says:

    What happened to Tube? Correct me if I am wrong, but haven’t all 09 Tubes been of the 4-5 minute variety?

  23. kenny powers Says:

    I think they’ve just decided to go type I with Tubes for the time being. Remember, the structured part is only like a minute long, so that’s still a good few minutes of funky jamming.

  24. gratefulcub Says:

    “I’m notoriously easy so take it fwiw”

    That’s the way to be, if you can. I think I have mastered that art as well;) That way, as long as you are in the building and phish is playing, you will have a great night. Enjoy the next 3.

  25. gratefulcub Says:

    I keep seeing references to a ‘clueless crowd’ and such, what is that about? Is it locals who haven’t seen many shows? That line sort of confuses me.

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