Six Defining Moments of ’09

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

On the coattails of yesterday’s top ten jams of 2009, today I’ve compiled a different type of list. Not all highlights at Phish shows come from cosmic jams, and sometimes, the most poignant moments emerge from places one least expects. As Phish returned to the stage for the first time in five years, particular songs took on enhanced meaning, delivering a message all themselves. Below are six Phishy moments that dotted ’09 with significance.


6. “Corrina, Corrina” 12.30 I, Miami

This dark-horse selection came within the crazed setlist of December 30th’s opening frame, and when the band dropped into the old-school cover, a blissful calm washed over the arena. Back in Florida, Phish broke out this song ten years to the day they revived it at Big Cypress. In a weekend filled with musical nods to Phish’s millennial festival, the band’s calm cohesion provided a heart-tugging reminder of The Everglades, while soothing the crowd with a gorgeous rendition.

5. “Shine A Light” 10.31. II, Indio

10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

The gospel-infused peak of Exile On Main Street provided one of the most cathartic moments of ’09. Coming at the end of their masterful interpretation of The Rolling Stones’ classic, this Halloween rendition with backing singers and horns, brought a musical church to the polo fields of Indio. Putting an emotional cap on the soul-drenched double-album, “Shine A Light” provided a memory nobody will soon forget. In a wise move, Phish adopted this cover into their catalog, a perfect anthem for this golden era of their career.

4. “First Tube” – 12.4 I, MSG

"First Tube" 12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

Energy; the word is thrown around loosely in the Phish scene. But at Madison Square Garden, one moment embodied the relentless, unbridled spirit of the entire Phish community – “First Tube.” The crowd fed of Trey’s obvious energy, making him only more excited. Collectively exploding in roars of enthusiasm, the crowd fed symbiotically of off Trey’s overflowing aura, creating a legitimate human event. Every last person in that round room swam amidst an electric sea of energy of the likes I’ve never seen before. Collective consciousness had never felt so real as The Garden sat on the brink of implosion. Listening back, this might not sound particularly special, but if you were there, the mere memory brings goosebumps. If talking sheer power, this moment takes the cake.

3. “Icculus” 8.14 II, Hartford

Hartford (T.Salido)

Following a shredding combo of “Ghost > Psycho Killer,” Phish drifted into a hefty dose of onstage antics as they segued into “Catapult.” Trey’s goofy nature emerged within a classic narration, and subtly, the band began vamping over the changes of “Icculus.” Continuing with his most amusing on-stage monologue of 2009, Trey plastered Gamehendge-laced smiles on the faces of everyone in the amphitheatre. Proving that the spirit that once drove the band in their early years lived again this time around, this sequence deep in Hartford’s second set became the most significant non-musical passage of the year.

2. “The Curtain (With)” 8.1 I, Red Rocks

Red Rocks '09 (G.Lucas)

When Phish ended their 2.0 career with a horribly botched “Curtain (With)” encore at Coventry, the hallowed composition came to represent all that was wrong with the band’s finale. Crashing and burning rather than going out gracefully, Phish couldn’t even pull off the song, having to start from the top again. Many thought “Curtain” would open their comeback show in a five-year “do-over,” but whenever it emerged, the moment was going to be special. Coming as a shock, in the daytime set of Red Rock’s third show, the band tore into the beginning of the song. Drawing a huge crowd reaction, we were suddenly thrust into an incredibly emotional and Phishy context. As the compositional half merged with “(With),” Trey poured his heart into one of his most pristine solos of the year. On a perfect summer afternoon at Red Rocks, Phish hit the reset button for this era, and it felt perfect.

1. “Fluffhead” – 3.6. I, Hampton

Hampton '09 (Unknown)

Unmatchable and untouchable, Hampton’s “Fluffhead” opener will live eternally in the Hall of Fame of Phish History. Evoking the very magic that had been absent from 2.0 with the seminal (and difficult) composition they had avoided like the plague the last time around, “Fluffhead” sent a powerful message from moment one of this era. Somewhere between awake and dreaming, we found ourselves at home again. Nobody will ever forget the feeling they had when Phish walked back into our lives with, perhaps, the most iconic chord progression in their repertoire. Pure magic of the most spiritual nature, the universe shifted back into alignment, and once again, life was just a bundle of joy.


Jam of the Day:

Reba” 12.8.94 II

In the best-ever year for the song, this creative second-set version wrapped up “Reba” for fall tour.




10.17.95 State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA < Megaupload

10.17.95 State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA < Torrent

State Palace Theatre - New Orleans

State Theatre - New Orleans

This is one of the shows  that Phish co-billed with Medeski, Martin, and Wood along their southern run in Fall ’95. MMW came out in each and jammed with the band. This one goes out to Lycan – finally!

I: Sample in a Jar, Stash, Uncle Pen, AC/DC Bag, Maze, Glide, Sparkle, Free, Strange Design, Amazing Grace*

II: Mound, Prince Caspian, The Fog That Surrounds, Suzy Greenberg > Keyboard Army > Jam**

E: My Long Journey Home^, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome^

* Sung first by the band, and then by audience member “Nathan,” a gospel singer

** w/ MMW, ^acoustic

Source: Unknown

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731 Responses to “Six Defining Moments of ’09”

  1. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Instrumental Stella Blue live Trey and Kimock did in ’99. I could hear that again. But, overall, I agree with Miner on this one. Been there, done that.

  2. flarrdogg Says:

    Palmer- It’s too painful for me to listen. I lived down there for 9 yrs and since moving away (3 years ago), it gets increasingly harder to miss it each year- especially with lots of my people still down there shaking their asses. I WILL make it back next year. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. Pretty much the best thing in the universe…next to phish tour. Glad you’re enjoying the stream. Panic today?

  3. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Flarr- I went in 2001. It was a great experience. The city, culture, food , drink, and of course, the music. Panic is closing out the fairgrounds tonight. Mule is before them i think. Mostly local acts on the stream today. But, i love that more than the bigger acts.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    Phish covering GD at this point in their career would be perfect as far as their new sound IMO. I couldn’t disagree more with those in the F GD crowd.
    11/27/09 On Your Way Down
    12/30/09 Corinna, Corrina
    10/31/09 Shine A Light
    These are 3 songs that are very GD like to my ears.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    SWEET!!! Thanks Voopa! I’m goin to Phish 3D tonight!!!

  6. flarrdogg Says:

    ‘But, i love that more than the bigger acts.’

    Spoken like a local! Well played. I think that if live music is your thing, jazz fest should be on the bucket list. So glad to have had all that great music coming to my door while living down there. 24/7/365 there is music to go see in that town. I’ve only been back once since ’07 and I miss it like crazy.


  7. lastwaltzer Says:

    @selector j,

    I don’t think its very hard at all actually, any economic system that involves class systems is ridiculous.

    Secondly, I was commenting specifically on Jay Z pushing the idea of being an “entrepreneur” to kids as if this is somehow a solution to on going class oppression.

  8. Selector J Says:

    Googling “successful Marxist country.”

    No problem, Mr. The Kid.

  9. Selector J Says:

    Being an entrepreneur got Shawn Carter out of the Marcy Projects…
    just saying.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    b/c Phish is playing blusier jams last year = they should cover dead songs…

    doesnt really make sense, and this conversation is somewhat pointless seeing its not gonna happen 😉

  11. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    I’m a staunch Marxist, FWIW.




    I prefer Groucho over Harpo, though.

  12. voopa Says:

    If they were contemplating Dead covers, surely they would have played one with Kreutzmann…

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    @selctor J maybe you should think about this:

    The organization of human being into civilization has been going on for thousands of years. Marxism is a relatively new idea in the big scheme of things. I never said that there has been a successful implementation of the idea.

    If you’ve read about Marxism then you already know that no real marxist expects a country to become communist overnight. It is a extremely gradual progression, which involves a major paradigm shift on the part of society, this will never happen in a day it takes generations. Just like it took generations to even think about things like peace or civil and human rights.

    Lastly, I never said I was a fan of any country that has “claimed” to be communist. I also think you’ll have a tough time finding a capitalist nation that has been successful.

  14. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    @ MR. Miner

    I always thought Phish was closer to Clapton/Cream than the Dead. I can hear them breaking into Motherless Children without much trouble or variance in style. IMHO

  15. lastwaltzer Says:

    @selector J,

    thats the problem Jay Z is the one who got out, the rest of his community is still in the same spot. I don’t see how looking out for yourself betters society as a whole. Now if you don’t care about anyone but yourself…..

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    @voopa, you got it.

  17. beepaphone Says:

    Perfect extremes of either communism or capitalism are equally fucked IMO.

    It’s all about that sexy mix IMO.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    Not saying they should or will, just saying they would be much better at it and more appropriate at this point in their career than any other. I don’t want them to exclude a GD cover just b/c its the GD. I want to hear covers of good songs by good artists and the GD fit that mold. I would also like to hear Golden Age again because it is perfect for their new vibe. There’s a golden age, comin round, comin round, comin round…..

  19. beepaphone Says:

    but speaking of mixed politics

    What’s the difference between Tiger Woods and a tea party patriot? One’s a half-black linksman with ass on his mind and the other’s a half-assed thinksman with blacks on his mind.

  20. brother Says:

    ^ that’s funny

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Regardless of politics, i still don’t see how Jayz is a vile capitalist doucebag for making it out of the projects and making a shitload of money. capitalist, yes. There are a lot worse people out there that kids can look up to IMO. OK, i broke my rule, no politics on BB. I’m done.

  22. Chuck D Says:

    I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t want to hear a Terrapin Station at Telluride.

  23. beepaphone Says:

    Hell yeah, Chuck. I’d love to hear them play that live. Not holding my breath though.

  24. Chuck D Says:

    s m o k e weed e v e r y d a y

    sleep tight.

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    @mr. p, I didn’t say he was a douche because he got of his situation I am by no means encouraging anyone to stay poor. I criticized Jay-Z for his songs subject manner and the things he has to say.

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