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. ChefBradford Says:

    The 10/30/98 Caspian packed a good punch, and the Caspian played with Phil and Phriends was pretty tastee

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    for me it’s largely that one lyric, which I truly despise, it always ruins my “suspension of disbelief” – and the oversung chorus – and the overplayed nature of the song, and its frequent placement as momentum killer

    I do give props to the often towering solo tho

  3. oldskool Says:

    @Doc, I am glad you like it. But this song has killed so many epic shows for me. Caspian and Bug are my the only two Phish songs I dont like. Not only for the the songs but also the placement they get. Only my $.02

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    that tweezer got deep from the gates

    if they added the norm tweezerv “solo” before that it could’ve been 20mins

    But i like the way we got it better

    This Caspian isn’t bad, but for some reason the opening chords make me want to be negative

    Anyways, A+ set so far….Caspian is still going

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure there are many worthy versions and I am mostly just giving them shit about a kind of easy target, I’m not a real hater…

  6. jibboowho Says:

    i just wanted to say that before this year i had never thought it be possible to hate a phish show live. But one of my buddy’s truly did and lets just say our friendship has spaced.. sadly. But I mean the guy fell asleep inside Albany. Albany. “they are such fruits” was his words.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    that’s call for a nutpunch right there IMO

    “fruit this, jerk”

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    More of a timing thing for me re: Caspian. Seems always pops up in the middle of some deep shit. Play it 1st set. Hell, open with for that matter, just not during the meat of set II. That being said . this wil probably be a 20 minute face melting caspian.

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    so i have one out of 3 of my calls

    where’s piper?

  10. Little Buddy Says:


  11. ChefBradford Says:

    I have no available streams now


  12. Henry Says:

    this is very, very solid. (from what i can hear on the shitty stream)

  13. ChefBradford Says:


  14. jibboowho Says:

    thrivealiveb1 has a stream…

  15. ChefBradford Says:

    Same dude, better sound now, I don’t get it. Maybe he finally put his finger over the speaker/input/whatever

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:


  17. ChefBradford Says:

    jibboowho, it’s your song buddy

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    okay…lets see what they do with it

  19. jibboowho Says:

    i didnt want to say anything but thank you yes =)

  20. Gratefulcub Says:

    Papa says to do jiboo right this time boys.

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Anybody “hear’ the Reba in set I? Did they jam it out? I do like this Set II so far. looking forward to hearing mike rip up Access Me as well.

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    jibboo is prettty nice so far

  23. ChefBradford Says:

    Palmer- what I heard of that Reba was typical (ie. fantastic). But, you know, it’s a sloppy stream, it’s hard to tell about anything really

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    still jibboo?

  25. ChefBradford Says:

    Brandon, yeah, and it’s smokin

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