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. Prince Nabby Says:

    @Fromthetub — you’ve got mail!

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Neemor – I actually don’t think very much of those 10/78 shows in general, but that Other One > Stella Blue is one of the more famous sequences in Dead history – “10/21/78 Other One” is to Deadheads as “7/2/97 Stash” is to Phish fans, etc

  3. Neemor Says:

    Guess I know who my ‘go-to’ guys are when it comes to Phish and Dead questions….
    Miner and Mr. C.
    Twin Pillars.

  4. Prince Nabby Says:

    Miner — Absolutely my pleasure. I have a huge spindle of blanks just in from newegg, so if you want more just shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll be more than happy to hook you up 🙂

  5. Neemor Says:

    That segue was everything you said it’d be.
    Thank you.

  6. whole tour! Says:

    @ from the tub….. seriously: BEST PICS EVER!!!

    i’m so McLovin them! everytime i gander at them i get the old gooseflesh on my arms. Good stuff!

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Miner, that was a rough 18 months or so in retrospect

    would it surprise you that the period in question ended when my closest friend died?

    probably not.

  8. Neemor Says:

    Later fellers and lady….

  9. albert walker Says:

    fall of 78 talk about speedballs

    jerry’s fingers were always flying

    some of those Fire licks are just so blazing
    sloppy at times but with big bursts of energy

    and yes C smokers unite
    bumps are for rookies
    just kidding, kind of

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    thanks Neemor and Miner.

    I’m glad to fill the role that Miner does for Phish.

    But @El Dude’s picks are well worth listening to as well. He has great taste in Dead and good knowledge. And jay and several others too.

  11. albert walker Says:

    been spinning the 1971 Manhattan run lately
    very nice GD

    hot as Pigpen and jerry

  12. fromthetub Says:

    @Whole Tour – thanks so much! So glad that Miner can use them.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    9/2/78 Giants = the ultimate speedball show

    can’t even explain it, just listen

    everything that’s good and bad about wasted musicians is in there.


    @aw I was always about the extremes

    one dose? no, four. Or eight.

    a rail? no, let’s base the whole thing.

    steady girl? no, as many crazy women as I could get in trouble with.

    “Too much of everything is just enough” was my motto for many years

    lucky to have made it through!

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    ^^^ don’t do that stuff, BTW.

    It’s bad for you.

    I really was lucky. I mean REALLY lucky.

    Not many of my friends were as lucky.

  15. albert walker Says:

    Yeah we got some of that Keith Richards in us C
    We are like cockroaches
    Takes more than a little speedball to take us down

    Besides the friends I lost, every year I have sober and I can laugh about how crazy it was a little more

    El Dude got me into GD trading back in the day
    Very good guitar player and knows a lot about GD shows

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    “would it surprise you that the period in question ended when my closest friend died?”

    ^ wow. No it wouldn’t. But I am terribly sorry to hear about that and that you had to endure that. Good to have you here 🙂

  17. albert walker Says:

    repeat what C said

    the powders are for fools
    wish I had those days back no doubt

  18. Prince Nabby Says:

    @MisterC — 8?!! My own experiences with lucy were so spectacularly unhappy, culminating in a terrifying experience getting dosed, that I can’t even imagine what 8 doses would be like for a willing participant. Care to recollect?

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    8 will set you straight 😉 and a “dose” doesn’t = a “dose.” Micage….

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    been a long time Miner. I was 18 when we started ballin, 19 when he died. It was a motorcycle thing, he was wasted of course.

    He was a unique guy. The world’s only generous cocaine dealer.

    It did straighten a few of us out, at least in that particular area.

    I do miss him but the tragedy of it is long past.

  21. jay Says:

    Dead Heads Unite!

  22. Mr.Miner Says:


  23. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @prince – i found that once you hit a certain point, more doesn’t really do much, at least with lucy. The key with that, for me, is to be in a large group/concert setting which triggers collective ecstasy, which is where its at for me. Just dropping it solo at home has no interest for me anymore.

    Spinning 2-24-74, weather report suite is really nice, great work on the rhodes from keith, really spacy.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    Prince that was in the blotter days – the paper we got was clean but not as strong as a liquid dose. It was while on tour, and dosing every night, I typically would do a doubling routine: 2 the first night, then 4 the next, then 8, then switch to boomers or E for a show or 2, then start again. I never went past 8.

    Those were the days when I was dosing 3 days a week when NOT on tour. I tripped so much and so hard for so long that it all runs together.

    Then there are the puddles. No telling how strong some of those were.

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    different for everyone…..

    in terms of answering Robears questions about if I ever thought this site would turn into a real life community? Not in a million years, I just had some things to say 🙂

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