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. William H. Bonney Says:

    Is a good rule MR. Palmer cause, it is to hard to really have a conversation with entrenched minds. But ripping on Jay-z for making “it” is comical, I guess Phish is giving back the proceeds from their upcoming tour. 🙂

  2. Selector J Says:

    Obviously, neither of us are going to change the other’s mind about capitalism/communism… I think we’ve both made our points. And for my say, I’ll leave it at that.

    re: Jay-Z
    That’s twisted logic, my friend. How is he at fault for getting himself out of the projects? The guy gave $1 Million to the Katrina Relief efforts! He should have stayed in the projects so he could peddle crack and end up in jail? How does that help society?

    Sorry, dude. I think you are making a villain out of nothing. Seems like a waste of time when there is real evil in the world to confront.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    Don’t know if any of you enjoy Patti Smith but there was a good interview with her on democracy now today:

    I saw her perform at lollapalooza a few years back its on the anniversary of jerrys passing. She played the song “Grateful” that she wrote for him.

  4. beepaphone Says:

    Phish, as the caretakers of the hose, get too keep my money. I get my Jay-Z for free.

    here you go, sir, ‘nother drop?

  5. Selector J Says:

    This is what you said:

    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…..

    before you said this:

    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.

    I interpreted it the same way as Palmer. Maybe there are some nuances I’m missing.

  6. spacephunk Says:

    I was thinking last nt randomly about how often my memory of each show’s experience is more a result of feeling than what was necessarily the “best jam” in hindsight..people you are with, crowd, location, mood, and mental state are all huge the end it is about how listening to phish music from shows brings us back these memories and we keep creating new 2 cents

  7. albertwalker Says:

    Don’t hate jay Z for making $$

    Hate him for making shitty records

  8. William H. Bonney Says:

    @AW Good to virtually see you. Blackhawks gotta tough series coming up. Thoughts?

  9. beepaphone Says:


  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    @selector J,

    I just said on the last page that I am by no means saying he should have stayed in the projects. I was saying that you can either addresses your problems at face value and get yourself out of them or you can find the root cause of your problems and addresses it.

    Maybe I’m not expressing what I’m trying to say properly.

    There is a reason people live in poverty, if society as a whole doesn’t work at ending the relationships that cause poverty it will always exist.

    The solution to this problemi not class mobility, which is what Jay Z pushes with all his entrepreneur talk.

    Class mobility isn’t a solution its not even an option in a capitalist society, since capitalism requires poor people in order to function.

    So I think Jay Z pushes is a beat message. That was all I was trying to say.

  11. beepaphone Says:

    Thats why we have wooks. There needs to be a downwardly mobile segment to counteract the upwardly mobile rappers.

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    Someone recommended Culture “Two Sevens Clash” a while back. Finally grabbed it, good stuff.

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    Beepaphone FTW!

  14. William H. Bonney Says:

    Keep digging…..check out India if you want to see a caste system. Most of our families came here with nothing, and have built sucessful and prosperous families.

  15. Selector J Says:

    AW actually sings harmonies on Two Sevens Clash!

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    No offense Miner…

    But I’d much rather hear a GD cover than another 100 Loving Cups.

    And you know in your heart if they did bust one out the venue would be totally up for grabs

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    @william, my friend just spent the last year in India and Nepal. And from what he told me you are absolutely right. He said every time he would get to a place he would witness people living in what he thought were the absolute worst living conditions only to find always find another place much worse off.

    That being said I don’t see how that somehow justifies the living conditions in United States.

  18. garretc Says:

    I think the disconnect is that people are thinking LW is calling Jay-Z a capitalist douchbag, when in reality it seems (to me at least) that he’s calling him a capitalist AND a douchebag, as two separate insults…


    Could just be me misinterpreting people’s interpretations…

  19. garretc Says:


    I agree w/ LW: just cause things are worse somewhere else doesn’t mean what we have here is perfect…

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Jay Z is the heir to the Massengill Estate.

    I didn’t know.

  21. jdub Says:

    No politics for this guy but I must say it is virtually impossible for everyone to be on the same level and it has nothing to do with politcial structures. People are developmentally at different steps on the ladder and that will always be the case. It is the nature of consciousness, some people will be more evolved than others. I will say this country, for all its bullshit, does provide an opportunity if a person so chooses to take their life into their own hands and stop being a victim. Communism is an interesting idea but it fails because of the simple fact that not all people are righteous, someone inevitably will take advantage of the weak. In democracies, which are inevitably capitalist, there is at the very least an opportunity to play the game your way (we just think we are being controlled by the system).

  22. Selector J Says:

    Wanna stream the latest When Roots Attack mixtape?

    Check it out here:

    Can’t wait for the midnight movie….

    Selector… out!

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    Terrapin or Viola Lee Blues?

    I know you seen at least one of these encores Miner. Probably both.

    Another Viola Lee would be pretty special.

  24. Selector J Says:

    Standing On The Moon w/ Hornsby @ Portsmouth.

    Mark it!

  25. Selector J Says:

    …really out this time.

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