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)

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Jam of the Day:

Boogie Like An Antelope” 12.30 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ph2009-12-30t22.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ph2009-12-30t23.mp3]

Run Like A Reggae Woman.

====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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”

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  1. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    every tour/run i think “if only the next tour could just blow this one oout of the water” and it has. early summer<late summer<fall<miami. now i can only "hope" that spring? summer? tour blows miami and fall out of the water, but the boys have given me no reason to doubt it will.

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    yo yo purple

  3. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    whats up lycan. glad to see im not the only one awake right now. idk what time zone ur in but its 4:50am where i am.

  4. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    which is as good a time as any to spin some Miner’s Picks Summer 2k and let the peaceful musings of summer 2k tide me to sleep

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    im at 4 am here…

    just cant sleep at all

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    listening to big cypress myself

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    5:47 EST and i’m heading out in 29 degree weather to run. oof.

    onwards and upwards for phish no doubt. phish being phish and all, all i could think was how “fluid” the band sounded at these MIA shows.

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    good luck gavinsdad

  9. bhizzle Says:

    I feel so blessed to come in to work and have the JotD to wipe the eye boogers away, better than coffee.

  10. st8 of mind Says:

    Wow, they sound great. Thanks Miner.

  11. albert walker Says:

    Def most important shows of 2009 since RR

    Just think how differently the next 6 months would have gone without these shows.
    If Miner’s write ups the last couple days have been highlighting just average Phish.
    We needed that BOTT, Ghost, and Tweezer.

    It is as if they made a conscious band effort to say, yeah we got our sea legs back, now let’s give them what they all pay for.

    It is great how every time the band hits a wall in 2009 they manage to get over it just when I start doubting them.

    Deer Creek, RR, and now Miami are shows that all accomplished this for me.

    Can’t wait for the next move up in 2010 as they fully form the 3.0 sound.

    Great points Miner, you nailed my exact feelings when leaving Miami.

  12. sumodie Says:

    Going light on their ornate compositions, the band stuck with “Divided Sky,” “Curtain (With),” “Guyute,” and “Fluffhead…

    just curious what else might be considered an ornate composition?

    TTE of course. maybe YEM, Reba?

  13. pabalive Says:

    Well, your right about six straight sets. But, from what I saw this year, 8/13, 8/14 and 8/16/09 were pretty damn consistent and brought a lot of “fire”. In the fall, I though 11/28 and 11/29 were deserved of the fire claim and I would argue that they were both better than any of the MSG shows. As for MSG, the final 12/3 and 12/4 were both really solid shows. So, I guess your right with your claim of fire for three nights in a row.

  14. Marshall Says:

    BoogieLope!!!!!!!! Best two-song combination/integration I’ve ever heard.

  15. BTB Says:

    Happened to listen to the Boogie Like an Antelope on the way into work. Fun stuff, I think Trey might have thought he cut Gordon off on the Boogie on, so he brought it back during the Antelope.

    Fun stuff. I’m sure they got a kick out of it too back stage.

  16. BTB Says:

    Also, the Ticketmast/Live nation debacle is going to be heating up. I really hope this gets blocked.

    Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Justice Department is waiting for Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc. to offer further concessions before deciding whether to block the music-industry merger, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

    Proposals to date haven’t resolved Justice Department concerns the deal, joining the biggest ticketing company with the largest concert promoter, would harm competition, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. A decision isn’t expected before Jan. 8, when shareholders will vote on the deal, another person said.

  17. Marshall Says:

    I just don’t know of too many bands that can so easily integrate a theme/medody/whatever from one song so easily into/on top of another song. Listening to Antelope it sounds like that was the way it was written. Stevie Wonder should be presented with an SBD copy and paid royalties.

  18. marcoesq Says:

    wow, what a showcase of great writing through all these pieces

    and wow, what amazing photos wendy! You gettin paid for these by pheesh or what?

  19. nonoyolker Says:

    Miami was a game changer, no question. Flashes of greatness throughout the year, but this is the definite culmination. The peak. Great to have cherry material to go out on until summer tour.

    Its been said before, but damn – Wendy’s photos are ridiculous… Just day after day, one after another. Top shelf. Same goes for Miner’s writing. Top form these days.

  20. Marshall Says:

    OK – catching my first Trey solo show this February. Haven’t really listened to much of his solo material, other than what Phish has picked up. Can someone point me to a good starting point, one that will be a good primer for the version of his band he’ll be playing with this winter (the original trio plus keys plus some horns)? I’ll take album or live show recs.

  21. HarryHood Says:

    I wasn’t able to go to Miami, but even on listening back, I concur with Miner about Miami being the first whole run where they were just plain firing on all cylinders throughout. It’s easy to be partial to the shows that you were at, and hate having to accept that Miami was just downright better than MSG/Albany/etc….. I would imagine that the sun, sand, cold drinks and show nuances just further support how good these shows were. Everything just flowed so effortlessly and it was incredible even just listening to the no spoilers the day after each show. I had so many “holy shit” moments that I knew I was missing the best shows of the year. I mean come on, Ghost>NO2???? or Boogie Like an Antelope??? No one could have predicted that…. Whenever I cue up MSG on the I-pod, I always go to certain specific moments that stick out in my mind: Light, First Tube, YEM…… When it’s time to spin these Miami shows though, I don’t even know where to start. There is litterally something for any mood you are in!

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    The BoogieLope is one of those great signs that not only is the playing back to a good level but the playfulness is as well.

    I agree with Marshall that I really can’t name too many other bands who would even attempt to do something like this and then pull it out like it was supposed to happen all along. The closest I can think of are UM’s mash-ups they do for Halloween, but it’s not quite the same.

  23. Marshall Says:

    A good stat for Marshall:

    Shows seen from 1994 through 1998: 16

    Shows seen in 2009: 11

    2009 is a good vintage.

  24. Marshall Says:

    @ TypeIII – right. And it wasn’t just Trey playing the melody of Boogie On over the top – the whole band was in on it.

  25. padelimike Says:

    I believe “shot out of a cannon” is a perfect metaphor for PHiSH2009 !
    Can’t wait to listen to the Miami captures on the big rig now that I’m finaLLy home.

    they
    are
    sooooo
    BACK !

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