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. HarryHood Says:

    My own 2 cents: Stay away from the powders is the best advice you can take. I’ve struggled with that for the last several years. I would love to stop and can’t when it’s offered. Its a bad bad road to go down even if you think it’s a one time deal. It won’t be, I promise.

  2. BigNasty Says:

    Searching today’s posts…

    Anyone recall what page the TAB download links were on? I have 8 plus inches of snow to blow and I need a soundtrack.

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    Lycan, did you ever read my post about This Side Up:

    here it is again:

    I listened to TSU while writing my entire final paper for my Civil Procedure. The final was worth 70% of my grade. I got a B+.

    So you, sir, are responsible for my success.

  4. Lycanthropist Says:


    well i am sure glad i could help, even from a remote location!

  5. ChefBradford Says:

    Just started spinning one of the free reggae album downloads Selector J posted yesterday

    Good, heady stuff

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    damn.. i step out to practice for a few hours and the ball drops on all the GD knowledge I want to know.

    now Im gonna be playing catch up all night.

    damn you guys!


  7. SillyWilly Says:

    I had a teacher in elementary school that always told us that jazz makes you smarter.

    It must be true.

  8. BigNasty Says:

    ^Found ’em on page 3…

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    hmm.. well im still trying to play “jazz”.. I wouldn’t say that I am playing jazz.. just getting lucky I guess.

    and I would very much like to echo the warnings against powders. I have not seen anything good come from them. EVER.

    It may seem good at first, but it ALWAYS ends in a ball of flames

  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    Mr. C…you’ve got a lucky kid.

    @silly…read it, memorize it, live it…C speaks the truth there, every word of it. You won’t find better advice anywhere. And as he said, make sure there’s another outlet/”real world” for you to go back to (or however he worded it). Looking back, it’s the expectations tied to that other outlet (school, family, etc) that kept me from ending up in the gutter or worse. My stories pale in comparison to some of the guys here, but I walked a very fine line for a few years. If not for a study abroad trip (which was rehab and drying out for me due to extremely limited access) after my jr year of college, I very well may’ve ended up a statistic…surely not where I am now. But there are some good memories for sure…just know your limitations and when your gut, mind, or body tell you to slow down, SLOW DOWN! Have fun!

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    The National Championship is about to start, so before I get carried away:

    Thank you everyone for your sincerity and your wisdom. You guys and gals rock.

    im rooting for texas because if alabama wins theyll be tied with ND for national championships (at least the way alabama counts them…sorry to step on toes. to be an irish fan is to be bitter right now)

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks, Leo Weaver.

    I will definitely take it all to heart.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    can i get a link to the Selector J albums please?

  14. ChefBradford Says:

    Lycan- give me a sec, I’ll see if I can find it. I’m at a different computer today (work)

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    @lycan…go to yesterday’s thread, not sure what page, but it’d be posted around 11:30-11:45 eastern time

  16. ChefBradford Says:

    Page 26 yesterday, two links

  17. kb Says:

    lycan, have you considered getting a jazz instructor? youd soar.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks guys!

  19. sumodie Says:

    @silly: Didn’t mean to drop out on such a pat answer. I echo what others have just said.

    Action is always harder than words, even for those who give good advice.

    Would be cool to meet up on tour this summer, maybe at the waterwheel 8)

  20. HarryHood Says:


    After all the “snow” talk, your post really made me do a double-take. I wish I had 8 inches of snow to blow. Wait, no I don’t.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:


    actually i am getting pretty nice and schooled by my bandmates in the trio right now (both of whom are jazz grads)

    but yes i eventually do want to get under someone to teach me what up

  22. stitchstash Says:

    Mr. Completely, Words of wisdom!

  23. flarrdogg Says:

    Listening and remembering- Live Phish Vol. 5- 7/8/00 Alpine- is an extremely hot show. I don’t listen much to summer 2000, but I did Star Lake thru Columbus and had an absolute blast…especially at this Alpine show. The tweez and first tube are both stellar. Solid all through- enhanced by listening to the LP re-master. Been a while.

  24. ChefBradford Says:

    I need to get another copy of the Bomb Factory Tweezerset. My LP disc of that set is scratched all to hell

  25. sumodie Says:

    Miner: Alaska: This is the exact type of song that Trey would bring to Phish for no apparent reason.

    Just read Miner’s assessment of the last TAB tour from Fall ’08 (link p.36). Love his assessment of wacky Alaska! The 4 shows I caught were smokin’, and a sure sign to me that phish 3.0 would be the real deal.

    I’ve seen some fantastic TAB shows in every form over the years, and Feb’s line-up promises to be especially hot with Trey fresh off the 3.0 bus. Russ, Tony, and Ray is where it’s at, and I’ve always been partial to the horn section too. Can’t wait to see Jennifer and Trey at it again.

    Is this the first time Dave Grippo has been absent from the horn section?

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