Hampton ’09: A Retrospective

3.8.09 - Hampton (Unknown)

As 2010 has quietly crept into March, this coming weekend represents the one year anniversary of Phish’s Hampton reunion. The dates of March 6, 7, and 8, 2009, will live forever in Phish history as the time things came back together again, for the second time. Reunited for the first time in five years in their adopted home of Hampton Coliseum, one of the live music’s most intimate arenas, everything we once loved sprang to life again. Unlike the lackluster comeback run over 2002-2003, these shows translated far better, and were much more focused and precise. Both the band and the crowd had the venue bursting at the seams with palpable energy. Hampton’s three-night showcase served as the perfect lauchpad for 2009. And when the opening notes of “Fluffhead” creaked out of the rafters of The Mothership, we were on our way home again.

Over the three-part dream, Phish played for nearly ten hours, running through no less than 84 songs of their notoriously vast catalog. From the very beginning of 2009, beginning with “Fluffhead,” and “Divided Sky,” one sensed things would be different this time around. Focused far more on composition and precision than jamming, the band got back to basics at Hampton, a trend that characterized the entire year for Phish. Without getting too crazy or improvisational, Hampton set up the rest of 2009, just as 2009 set up 2010; both periods representing building blocks towards high-level musical proficiency without too many risks. In essence, one can see the Hampton reunion as microcosm of 2009, a lot of structured playing leading to more adventure by the end.

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

But more than any other shows in 2009, Hampton carried the vibe of a Phish recital. After a five year absence, every time the band played another song, whether “Guelah Papyrus” or “Tweezer,” it felt like we were being reacquainted to an old friend. This feeling resonated with everybody in the building, creating one of the purest vibes of any Phish show in memory. Everyone there knew exactly why they had made the trip, and everywhere you looked there was another friend, many you hadn’t seen in half a decade. In the end, Hampton felt like one big family reunion.

Hampton literally brought back that indescribable feeling I’d forgotten. Sure, I had memories to last a lifetime, but memories, however strong don’t recreate that special feeling inside of you. And when Phish dropped the opening licks of “Tweezer” in the second set of their comeback show, that feeling flooded my soul like Victoria Falls. My heart felt like it would pound right out my chest – it was all happening again – five years later, we were living and breathing “Tweezer” again! That tangible cocktail of adrenaline with a splash of bliss rushed up from the toes, through the heart, and spiked right into the brain. It was heaven on earth; we were finally at a Phish show again.

Hampton (M. Yates)

And throughout the weekend, the shows couldn’t have provided more fun and exaltation, regardless of the tame musical quality in retrospect. Phish played, and nothing else mattered. Clearly rehearsed and polished, the band played with a certain urgency and energy that was often lacking in the post-hiatus years, providing a feeling of musical purity many fans hadn’t felt in a long time. It didn’t matter that the music wasn’t adventurous, that’s not what Hampton was about. Hampton ’09 celebrated all that Phish once was, an unheralded legacy in modern rock and roll. A massive “Welcome Back” for the band and fans alike, and just hearing live Phish at all provided all the magic anyone needed. But by the third night, the band grew more comfortable and threw down quite an impressive show, including the one truly memorable jam of the weekend, “Down With Disease.”

And within one year, look how far we’ve come. As we enter 2010 on the heels of a spectacular New Years’ Run, the band, themselves have begun talking about reinventing Phish. In an interview with The Dartmouth Independent, on the brink of his solo tour, Mike prognosticated on Phish’s future:

Eventually, I think the idea is not just to keep playing old songs but really for Phish to reinvent ourselves just like we’re trying to reinvent the other aspects of our careers and find the uncharted territory. There’s been talk about trying to find ways to record differently than we have before and write differently, so that’s what excites me – the different possibilities.

With statements like these, it seems like Mike and the boys may be ready to enter that elusive “next phase” of their career we’ve been hypothesizing about. Phish have reinvented their sound multiple times throughout their career, continually changing their focus and direction, always shifting their way into uncharted territory. This quotation from Gordon all but confirms the theory that 2009 was but a building block for all that is to come. What excites Mike, and likely the rest of the band, is the same things that excite us – “the different possibilities.”

Hampton (Unknown)

A year ago, the heavens opened and brought back our dreamland; Gamehendge made a leap from our collective consciousness back into reality, all within one magical weekend. The music is all relative at this point, because what I remember more than anything is the energy, the feelings, and the emotions. I remember the faces, the friends, and the elation. Once I think about the shows, I recall what went down, but that weekend was far bigger than the music. Hampton brought a community back together; a community that had been dispersed for five years; a community united by the power of Phish. When I think of the music, I remember its tight and precise quality more than specifics themselves, as any musical achievements that took place in Hampton would soon be eclipsed in June. But everyone was surprised at how together they sounded, despite their well-publicized rehearsals, especially juxtaposed with our last memories from Coventry. The weekend became nothing short of enchanted, with nary a negative atom in the air. And after the third night, while walking back to the hotel, I glanced over my shoulder to the glowing panels of the retro space-aged coliseum, thinking, “So this is where it all begins again.” And so it did.


Jam of the Day:

Down With Disease > Seven Below ” 3.8.09 II

The jam of Hampton’s reunion weekend.



Hampton (Photo: Jeff Kravitz / insidecelebpics)



2.4.93 Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence, RI < Megaupload

Colorado '93 Poster

The second show of ’93 goes out via reader request to Jack G. Check it out. Included is the debut of “Sample In a Jar.” My desktop has gone from infected to fuct, so not torrents today. (Keep your torrents seeding as much as possible for the next couple days, as my computer won’t be seeding anything for a second.)

I. Axilla, Foam, Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Fast Enough for You, All Things Reconsidered, Stash, The Lizards, Sample in a Jar*, Glide, Run Like an Antelope

II: Chalk Dust Torture, The Wedge, Mike’s Song > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into YesterdayWeekapaug Groove, Lawn Boy, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam, Hold Your Head Up > Lengthwise > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Cavern >

E: Amazing Grace**, Good Times Bad Times


** w/o microphones

Source: AKG 451

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950 Responses to “Hampton ’09: A Retrospective”

  1. lastwaltzer Says:

    it should be this http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=XkL&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=kurt+elling+resolution&aq=0&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=kurt+elling+res

  2. Selector J Says:

    Nice TIII! Didn’t know anything about Eddy until I bought a group of records on ebay a while back. Some randoms thrown in, including Eddy Grant whom I thought I’d never heard of… the cover has this real ras looking guy with long dreads and those little 80s shorts on the beach.

    Did not picture the Electric Avenue guy looking like that. I’m like ooooohh that Eddy Grant.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    If you are on an expense account, and you don’t overtip people with shitty jobs and good attitudes, you’re an asshole.


    I worked in the service industry, waiting tables and tending bar. With me you start at 20% but you can go up or down very far very fast.

  4. Gratefulcub Says:

    I’m a 6 sigma black belt reference away from a business talk airport bingo. Turn it off fellas, there’s life outside the box!!

    Did someone say outside the box? BINGO!!!

  5. Hoedown Says:

    Ghetto Boyz! Haha

  6. voopa Says:

    Got that mk4v source of 9/11/99 seeding, enjoy:


  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, Eddy is a trip. totally different than what you expect when you hear Electric Ave for sure

    Black Belt stuff is like a freaking cult at my company. Kind of creeps me out. Here’s a couple for your bingo board:

    “We need to shift paradigms”
    “Let’s do a little imagineering”

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Type III:

    I once made a website for a fake product called “Jargonex” – the Jargon Remover – recommended for companies like yours

    tell those bitches it’s time to intermit

    thx @voopa!

  9. Selector J Says:

    “With me you start at 20% but you can go up or down very far very fast.”

    I hate how 20% is the new 15% with servers.
    I tip 20% most of the time which used to be a good tip but now it’s like “only 20!” …Kids these days.

    Exceptional service will get you some extra points just as really bad service will take some away. (You have to be really bad in an unbusy restaurant, tho.)

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    hey guys

    trying to regroup after today.

    hoping this dinner and gig will lift my spirits.

    sorry to keep coming in and dropping downers…

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you have no idea, Mr. C. I have a 26 page document I was given during new hire training that is nothing but “commonly used” acronyms within the company. I shit you not. 26 pages of acronyms! Fucking insane…

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah see to me if I think someone is expecting 20 that’s a demerit right there, any kind of attitude around the tip itself is a big fail, I have zeroed people out for giving me the stink-eye when I answer Yes to “do you want any change back?” (which even just asking that question is like a 5% ding – you should never ask that).

    but I use 20 as my baseline and then apply very picky standards…we do not eat at high end places except very rarely so I can afford to be relatively generous with the wait staff…after all they support the entire powder cocaine industry…

  13. flarrdogg Says:

    ‘Love Supreme = my favorite work of art of all time in any medium.’
    On this we agree Mr C.

    TIII- Low End Theory is a great record.

    Glad to see so many chime in on De La Soul. Never really saw that being a conversation starter. Word. I think they would approve- of all of it.

    Home now and spinning that Gorge ’99 Sand again. Great shit. I wish I was able to appreciate music regardless of the quality of the recording, but I just can’t anymore- and I come from the ‘XL II’ days. This gorge show is a perfect example. I was at the show and have a copy, but was unable to really appreciate it until I heard this copy C uploaded. Dare I say “blistering”?! Yikes.

  14. flarrdogg Says:

    Lycan- Head up brother.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @lycan, look at the upside

    you could be memorizing @T3’s list of acronyms!

  16. Gratefulcub Says:

    Here’s where it gets ugly. Cubby +6 and D Laid.

    Let’s people watch.

    Fanny pack? It’s not 1983, Cyndi lauper’s not hot and neither are you.

    Brah, no one believes that’s your hair.

    Pop that collar a little harder DMB boy.

    I called preemptive pcp defense.

    Airport folk are a bit easier to handle with the circus of light that is roggae, 10.31.98

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeah that doesnt sound very fun at all

  18. Selector J Says:

    llfa @ powder cocaine industry

    so that’s universal… a lot of people I knew in Chucktown would fit that description.

    btw lots of good hi end restaurants in that little city.

    Don’t know if that’s changed drastically since Johnson and Wales moved their campus to Charlotte near the end of my stay there. Def top notch food and service 7-8 years ago.

  19. Gratefulcub Says:

    OMG 26 pages of acronyms!! WTF!? UFB!!

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’ve become a huge fan of Roggae . This is on my short list of “must catch” in 2010. Along witha Tube. According to Phishstats i haven’t heard either since 2000. Unacceptable!

  21. voopa Says:

    Earlier today, what.cd announced the results of their latest top 500 albums poll. Here’s the top 50:

    1 – Radiohead – OK Computer [1997]
    2 – The Beatles – Abbey Road [1969]
    3 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon [1973]
    4 – Radiohead – Kid A [2000]
    5 – The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [1967]
    6 – The Beatles – The Beatles [1968]
    7 – The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico [1967]
    8 – Nirvana – Nevermind [1991]
    9 – The Beatles – Revolver [1966]
    10 – Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea [1998]
    11 – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless [1991]
    12 – Arcade Fire – Funeral [2004]
    13 – Miles Davis – Kind of Blue [1959]
    14 – The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds [1966]
    15 – Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited [1965]
    16 – The Clash – London Calling [1979]
    17 – Radiohead – In Rainbows [2007]
    18 – Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here [1975]
    19 – King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King [1969]
    20 – Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde [1966]
    21 – Michael Jackson – Thriller [1982]
    22 – Pixies – Doolittle [1989]
    23 – DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… [1996]
    24 – Radiohead – The Bends [1995]
    25 – Can – Tago Mago [1971]
    26 – The Beatles – Rubber Soul [1965]
    27 – Pink Floyd – The Wall [1979]
    28 – Pink Floyd – Animals [1977]
    29 – The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead [1986]
    30 – Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation [1988]
    31 – Tool – Lateralus [2001]
    32 – Tom Waits – Rain Dogs [1985]
    33 – The Strokes – Is This It [2001]
    34 – Sufjan Stevens – Illinois [2005]
    35 – The Doors – The Doors [1967]
    36 – David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars [1972]
    37 – Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [2002]
    38 – Daft Punk – Discovery [2001]
    39 – Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights [2002]
    40 – Portishead – Dummy [1994]
    41 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced [1967]
    42 – Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children [1998]
    43 – Godspeed You Black Emperor! – F♯ A♯ ∞ [1997]
    44 – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine [1992]
    45 – Nas – Illmatic [1994]
    46 – Joanna Newsom – Ys [2006]
    47 – Muse – Absolution [2003]
    48 – Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica [2000]
    49 – Miles Davis – Bitches Brew [1970]
    50 – Pearl Jam – Ten [1991]

  22. voopa Says:

    I think there was only one Roggae in 2009

  23. Gratefulcub Says:

    White powder industry
    1) llfa
    2) exactly

    I started early in the industry and went to college forever. 5 years on the floor, 5 behind the bar. My saving grace was a distaste of that particular vice.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    “after all they support the entire powder cocaine industry…”

    Tranquil and serene until he runs out of supplies

  25. voopa Says:


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