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. sumodie Says:

    @Flarrdog: You really in Alaska? Or was I just totally snowed by your quote from the song, Alaska, regarding the tent and bug spray a few weeks back? Just caught on today -shows how well I listen to lyrics.

  2. flarrdogg Says:

    Sum- Went up for an early Christmas with my girl’s family in Juneau. Back home in Bellingham now. It is overwhelmingly beautiful and vast there. Got to go up for a week in summer, too. Love it. Needless to say, when the phish played Alaska at the Gorge this summer my lady was psyched. I like the song- think it brings some levity- but prefer that it stays in the first set!
    Where you at? Northwest? Cali?

  3. ChefBradford Says:

    I might be alone in this, but I’d be happy to see Ooh Child make a return to the TAB catalog. There’s a particularly fine version from Club Washington in May 99, with a gorgeous jam

  4. flarrdogg Says:

    I like the trio, but big band with the horns is my favorite TAB.

  5. BigNasty Says:

    Yup, I was sure the “snow to blow” post would bring the board back to the earlier banter.

    bear with me – chiming in on today’s threads…

    snow on my driveway, not cool.
    snow in my sinus cavity… used to be cool. I never had to tame the beast but saw enough friends go through the wringer to turn me off.
    now it’s all beer and nugs for this cat. Luv beer, luv good wine. Luv me some dank too.

    good advice from C earlier. Keep is fun, and know you don’t have to hit all that shit to have a good time.

    Speaking of beer…I was hitting up the 2 harpoon’s in the big cup in Miami. Best deal in the house. Pee beaks at shows? I can hold it like a camel. When the time was right, the men’s room was just a few steps form our seats. Bonus was the moment I walked in the men’s room and I was totally alone. Less than a minute round trip.

    Good posts today everyone. Always fun to see where the group think goes every day.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I second the Ooh Child call there, Chef! Its been so long since i listened to any TAB, i gotta hit that shit up. Probably hit the NYC show. Not too psyched about that venue though, Terminal5. Anyone have any experience with the place?

  7. ChefBradford Says:

    Closest TAB show to me will be the Atlanta show. I’m considering making the 12 or so hour trek

    Palmer, if you’re a fan of Ooh Child, seek out the version I mentioned. Unless my iPod is lying, it’s from 5/11/99. That whole second set smokes, actually. Ends with a looong Sand>Drums

    I like the horns, but I think at some point everything got too cluttered. I think the coming line-up looks good. Cyro isn’t in on it though, is he? He def added a great element

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I always loved the song Plasma. Shit is tight!

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    I’m running through some random TAB stuff on my iPod. Curlew’s Call now, very cool. Use to have the live double album (Plasma?), disappeared years ago

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Chef- second set from that 5/11/99 show!

    Set 2: Gotta Jiboo, Will It Go Round In Circles, First Tube, Ooh Child, Heavy Thing, Sand^^ > Drums Duel, I Can See See Clearly Now, Aqui Como Alla, Voodoo Child, E: Row Jimmy

    Not too shabby.

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    Well shit, I’m missing from Aqui thru Jimmy. Crap. Oh well, what I do have is fire.

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    tour doesnt have to be sad, though you will defintely have many *real life* experiences.

    C is the tour yoda. someone should makeup that shirt for him.

    powders and pills can only hurt the team 😉

  13. Summer98 Says:

    Wow, busy day here. Only read the last 10 pages or so but man was C preaching it. Tour is amazing. The people you meet, the fun you have, the music and love…just amazing. Somehow I was actually able to follow C’s rules and it couldn’t have worked out better. I know my limits and one of them is that I’ll get into it too hard, whatever it is. I’ve got some friends that I wish I could put on my back and drag of it but that is their battle. I can just be there when/if they decide to come back to us.

    As for the dead, my fav is def early 70’s, although the 77 stuff is pretty amazing. I haven’t listened to Winterland in forever and C’s comments are gonna make me bust it out.

    I must say, there are some pretty well-adjusted and well-rounded folks on this board. Love reading all this stuff.

  14. Summer98 Says:

    ^def not sad if you do it right. When on tour and reality hits though…it hits hard.

  15. Summer98 Says:

    No longer have the ability to do extended runs. Still hoping I might get a week in this summer….we’ll see. This year is a critical time for me job wise and I have a lot to get done. There are a few other priorities now as well (need some backpacking time in the cascades – Enchantment Lakes hopefully – and some family visits). The pull to tour is strong though.

  16. Tom Says:

    Speaking of hurting the team….what’s gonna happen with the nitrous mafia? I had to laugh when Trey thanked the security guy who “confiscates your nitrous tanks” during Blue Moon. That guy should be fired. Does anyone remember the “Keep the Hood Good” “Read The Book” days back in ’96. That was community rallying. We need some of that Summer ’10.

  17. Summer98 Says:

    Nitrous = evil. 5 minutes of fun, tons of brain cells and it just leaves you wanting more. Where’s the fun in that? Burn one and relax.

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    “burn one and relax”

    that’s my motto 🙂

  19. gus Says:

    wow I CAN’T believe it’s taken me this long to listen to the Miami Tweezer…this is great stuff. great stuff, i tell ya.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    What else haven’t you heard gus? You better get back on the train if you haven’t already. Loads of GREAT stuff. BTW, you got any new songs up? Your playing was pretty impressive…

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    Wasn’t nitrous the one drug that the band specifically requested people not bring to shows? Back in the 90’s?

    I’ve played around with a lot of substances in the past. Inhalants are NO good, for anyone

  22. voopa Says:

    They regularly called out nitrous in the Schvice/Tour announcement mails back in the day. Nitrous dicks stashed a tank in a tent near us sometime during the Exile set…security was scrutinizing our area the rest of the fest.

  23. voopa Says:

    Just noticed 2/21/03, late 1st set: Boogie On, Antelope. No notes about any Boogielopin’, guess I should listen and find out!

  24. voopa Says:

    …maybe later. Just discovered my version is only 1.2% complete. Damn random drunk torrenting…

  25. gus Says:

    @Leo – thanks. no new stuff up yet, although i’m learning reba at the moment. we’ll see how that goes. and to your question of what haven’t i heard yet, pretty much everything from miami, ‘cept for the tweezer, back on the train, and run like a reggae woman. i’ve downloaded all the shows, i just need to listen to them all.

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