Musings In a New Year

12.31.09 - Miami (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

Almost a week later, all I can think about is Miami; what a phenomenal run! Over the last three nights of the year, Phish took an impressive step towards permanently regaining top form. Like King Midas, everything the band touched turned to gold throughout the waning nights of the “aughts,” leaving the band’s early-summer growing pains as time-washed memories. The band had IT once again – at least for these nights – and could do no wrong. With all four players at the top of their game, Phish converged in celebration of now, with seven sets of the most encouraging music we’ve heard thus far.

12.30.09 (S.Williams)

Each moment unfolded with a patient luster, each measure given equal attention, in a series of particularly confident performances. With each member fluidly owning their instrument, the band’s collective focus centered on musical conversation. Sure, this is always the goal of improvisational music, but it hasn’t always been so routine this year. In Miami, the proficiency and the subtlely with which Phish exchanged ideas, blew most of the year’s dynamic out of the water. There have been many outstanding nights of music throughout the year, from March through December, but the way the band so clearly listened and responded to each others’ every move created a far enhanced dynamic down in Florida. And lo and behold, several of 2009’s top-shelf jams grew from this final weekend.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

More legitimate action and interplay existed within Miami’s music. Unlike many straight-forward, high-energy jaunts of the summer and fall, these multi-dimensional jams had layers, themes, plateaus, and peaks; psychedelic intricacies. Stuff like “Tweezer > Caspian,” “Back On the Train,” “Ghost,” and “Rock and Roll > Piper,” all contained completely unique, superlative improvisation, while most every other launchpad showed up in shining form; not to mention the many bust-outs played impeccably. Going light on their ornate compositions, the band stuck with “Divided Sky,” “Curtain (With),” “Guyute,” and “Fluffhead,” and slayed them all, minus “Fluff.” But, hey, that one’s excusable since they had a different drummer.

Showcasing their full repertoire over four nights, Phish punctuated their comeback year triumphantly, illustrating prodigious growth over 2009. Building off their momentum of late-fall, the band played three consecutive nights of the year’s most exceptional music. Before Miami, these flashes of brilliance came in songs, sets, and, occasionally, whole shows. But for the first time in 2009, Phish brought the absolute fire for three consecutive nights – six sets in a row. And don’t be calling out Red Rocks or MSG – they were certain stepping stones, but this was a whole ‘nother ball game. Miami completely changed the landscape as we turn to 2010.

12.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Having regained their swagger in full force, Phish seems destined to blast into this new decade with renewed creativity and conviction. With a year of touring under their belt, the band has fully regained their sea legs, returning to form as the psychedelic juggernauts we once knew. And the best part about the current situation is that they seem as ecstatic as we are about these developments. With solo tours planned, rumors bubbling about summer and beyond, and “tapes” we can’t put down again, the Phish universe is bursting with energy and moving at full speed once again.

They want us to be happy. Well – so far, so good.

12.31.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)


Jam of the Day:

Boogie Like An Antelope” 12.30 II


Run Like A Reggae Woman.



12.28.09 American Airlines Arena < Torrent

12.28.09 American Airlines Arena < Megaupload

12.28.09 (S.Williams)

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

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro ( Oade preamp mod ) @ 24/88.2 (Taper – padelimike)

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1,024 Responses to “Musings In a New Year”

  1. chefbradford Says:

    Do I get a prize for having the 1000th comment? No, prolly not.

    nobody’s out there?



  2. Summer98 Says:

    One last note for everyone:

    12-7-95 Reba = Best ever. Truly amazing, and my first show.

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    you there chef?

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    like clockwork i come on late enough to miss even the Chef

  5. Summer98 Says:

    Yo Lycan,
    I’m finally getting to some Chance Fisher. It is lined for a weekend listen. I’m starting with the best of 2009. Looking forward to hearing a new band!

  6. Lycanthropist Says:


    I hope you enjoy..

    Best of 2009 is quite a large dose to tackle at once. 🙂

    Im sure you have seen some of my show recs.. but more power to ya for diving head first!

  7. Summer98 Says:

    Going back to earlier comments:
    All or Nothing!

  8. chefbradford Says:


  9. Summer98 Says:

    Honestly, we’ll see how far I get. Just seems like a worthwhile exercise to begin with the artist feels is some of the best stuff.

  10. Lycanthropist Says:


    its a good start..
    if you like it do check out a show from top to bottom to get the whole flow thing goin.

  11. chefbradford Says:

    Summer, you WILL enjoy! TSU and CF are the goods

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    fair enough…

    thats a good enough approach as any.. perhaps a rare one.

    Well best of luck. I hope you enjoy it as much as i had fun playing it!

  13. Lycanthropist Says:


    thanks… any word on the 1-21 show?

  14. neemor Says:

    What a great day of posts, coffee table book material, yet again.
    Mr. C’s logic on p.36 is infinite wisdom.

    It strikes me that there are not many other places on the web, certainly not Phish-related, where such varying ages of fan would get together and share these type of insights. This site is singular in that respect.
    It is exactly what was missing from tour in the late nineties, and IMO, the Phish Universe from its inception.

    I always believed that Deadheads were far better at sharing their shamanic wisdom from ‘generation to generation’ than Phish fans were, and that feeling may have been in relation to how I was immersed into Phish world.
    On one hand, I had friends who copied tapes for me and when I took an interest, filled my cassette holders full of shows. On the other hand, I had a high school buddy who was a jaded vet in ’93 (!) who would constantly tell me how much the band sucked now (then) and how I shouldn’t see them. I eventually realized that this was his ploy to keep ticket lines short and venues small, to keep the tiny Vermont band of weirdos to himself. I assumed that this was what the entire Phish fan base was trying to do, this was their evil plot against newbies. This made the scene very big to me at first, more than ‘big’…scary, unapproachable, frightening and cold. This feeling does not go hand-in-hand with the ‘delics that I was experimenting with during those formative years which made tour for me outrageously and oftentimes overwhelmingly terrifying.
    It served, however, to form me to what I’ve become. It gave me my dry wit. I found that I developed a lot of characteristics that mirrored those of the people that were trying to show me the way. I find that a lot of Phish fans share this type of dark humor, it stems from our fringe existence to a certain degree.
    What I did to rectify the situation, then, was to study my ass off, college be damned!
    I borrowed my friends copy of the Pharmer’s Almanac and Phish Companion Volume 1 and kept them until the covers disintegrated. I ate Phish unlike any subject matter I’d ever encountered. (Harkening back to Mr. C’s wise point of having outside interests to come home to.) I dropped those. I didn’t need it.
    I became a Phish fan. After all, there was so much I’d missed and so much I wanted to know, that I learned it all.
    I collected everything. In some dark recess of my ever-expanding yet cripplingly narrowing mind, I believed that I would somehow earn my place in the Phish community as it existed for me at the time. I loved this thing, this Phish music, so much….it became my identity.
    Some find their identity in church, others from sports, others find it in what someone else finds in them….I found what I truly, suddenly, finally liked.
    It wasn’t until I began to realize that this scene truly embraces all kinds of weird that I finally felt free to be me, to look other fans in the eye and truly enjoy the experience that is live Phish to its fullest. It all came together. I knew what I was talking about, enough to have a conversation, and I knew that the people I was talking about this stuff with knew exactly what I meant…
    I was then able to shed the personality, the persona that I had borrowed from my predecessors – much like the Phish books I had wrapped myself in – and truly realize that I was much more than what I had set out to become…I didn’t just earn a place in the Phish Universe so that I could identify with that asshole who tried to keep me from lengthening ‘his’ ticket line….I had in fact become a Phish fan.

    Then I met you guys and everything changed.
    I was more than a Phish fan now.
    In a few short months, I had become part of something bigger than that. My Phish world became a place where I could seek knowledge, share intimate (often too intimate!) details of my everyday life and thought processes, and find empathy from other like minded souls who not only understood me and my idiosyncrasies, but truly cared about my life.
    This is something that, in my wildest, drug-addled afternoons and evenings in scattered amphitheaters and sheds throughout the country, my mind could have envisioned.
    Having typed all of this, I know I didn’t even really need to. Most of you know what I’m talking about because you feel it, too.

    I see young kids, half my age (did I just fucking type that!?!?), feeling comfort knowing that if they ask about how much is too much, or if it’s all really worth it, or whatever they might have been uncomfortable asking about a year ago, they will get wisdom.
    Not a snide remark, or a “go ask your mother,” or even worse still, a non-response….
    They get genuine caring.

    Back to the point.
    There is nowhere else that this happens, (certainly not on the interwebs) besides eye-to-eye conversation with someone who actually cares about your well being.
    That’s what the blackboard has become.
    I’m so much more proud to be a part of this now than all of the knowledge I’ve amassed through all of my years, because of one major difference.
    I get to pass it on.
    get to pass it on.
    And we do, everyday.

    It bares repeating….

    Thank You , Mr. Miner.
    This is what you’ve created for me.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Currently spinning 5.20.94, a show so good, they sound checked Demand three times and didn’t play it!

    Friday, 05/20/1994 Campus Recreation Center, Evergreen College, Olympia, WA

    Soundcheck: Can You See Me, Surfing Jam, Magilla (fast version), Demand (x3), Blues Jam, Blues Jam -> Low Rider -> Jam

    Set 1: Fee, Maze, If I Could, It’s Ice, Bathtub Gin[1], Fast Enough for You, Scent of a Mule, Dog Faced Boy[2], Carolina[3], AC/DC Bag

    Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope, Weigh, Axilla (Part II), Wolfman’s Brother, Rift, You Enjoy Myself[4]

    Encore: Chalk Dust Torture

    [1] Lion Sleeps Tonight tease from Trey.
    [2] Acoustic and without microphones.
    [3] Without microphones.
    [4] Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Low Rider jams.

    Notes: Dog Faced Boy was performed acoustic and, along with Carolina, without microphones. YEM contained Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Low Rider jams and Bathtub Gin included a Lion Sleeps Tonight tease from Trey.

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    helluva post @neemor

    It really makes me feel good that you have the spirit moving through you like you do.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    And I agree wholeheartedly with your comments regarding the truly special collective we have here.

    It is truly amazing that this site has been able to attract so many true and thoughtful people.

    I am surprised and impressed daily, not just by the resident gurus, or the extreme humble and mature young people, but also the daily influx of new posters that seem to burst forth like flowers on the bloom.

    I too will restate it:

    Thank you Mr. Miner
    Thank you Blackboard

  17. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan- 1/21 all depends on how the next couple weeks play, monetarily. Things are looking good at this second, but I’ll have to wait and see. Certainly hoping to drive in for a no-doubt kick-ass show.

    Neemor- fantastic post, and a good summation of what this site has grown into (liked Mr Miner’s earlier post regarding his expectations/final result: “never in a million years”)

    this place is grand

    maybe even grande (y’know, with an ‘e’)

  18. KWL Says:

    thank you, blackboarders.

  19. chefbradford Says:

    Check that, def ‘grande’, extra ‘e’ and all


  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    well damn if we aint a bunch of sappy bastards:D

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    emoticon fail

  22. chefbradford Says:

    Yeah, I don’t stray beyond the 🙂 , because that’s the only one I definitely know how to do

    I’m tech-dumb

  23. snigglebeach Says:

    Neemor, Nice post,

    This site has been the perfect compliment to Phish coming back.

    I guess a lot of us are Phish Nerds. I go to shows with a bunch of regular phans, but they are a level or 2 of devotion down from where i am. This is where i can communicate with other obsessed phans.

    On a side note, I hope Miner gets backs to his roots and posts a Lost related topic before, this season starts. The current break in tour in aligning nice with the start of season 6, which to me was right behind Phish in my mind of anticipation. Can’t wait to see either one

  24. gus Says:

    ok, WHAT IS UP with 12/13/97? is it just some flaw in my recording of the show, or do they really play EVERY single song waaay slower?

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