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. EL Duderino Says:

    Bruce sings that tune so smoothly

  2. Icculus420 Says:

    Trey would rock the fuck out of Viola Lee

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Icculus420

    You do have 9/17/99 right???

  4. Icculus420 Says:


  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    “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. ”

    J-dud I totally agree with this statement. That is why I believe we haven’t ever seen a communist state on planet earth……yet. Che (i know I’m opening a can of worms now) often wrote about how communism requires a new man and a new women. In this he meant that the structuring of society effects the way people’s consciousness evolved. He believed that the options capitalism provides, encourages the development of people who will ” take advantage of the weak. ”

    If communism is ever to be realized it will take hundreds of years, just like capitalism took hundreds of years to evolve to what we know it as today. I don’t believe anyone can simply take over a country and institute communist policies, your dealing with people who have had their consciousness shaped by living in a capitalist state. Plus most “communist” countries were enforcing policies through dictatorships unto populations who weren’t all for the ideas.

    Democracy is awesome and I believe a true communist state inherently be democratic. I don’t see these as opposites at all. I don’t see how you can have a true democracy in a capitalist state.

  6. jdub Says:

    @Dude, the writing is on the wall for Loving Cup. I don’t see it getting much attention now that Shine a Light is in the mix.

    I for one would never be upset by a Dead cover. They wrote the fucking book, so what is wrong with paying homage to that. Give me an Eyes that spins off in a Phishy direction and I’ll say thank you.

  7. William H. Bonney Says:

    @LW and Garretc Not sure were I said, conditions were “perfect”. Merely reflecting what a caste system is, and is not what we have here. In general, guy’s we have completely different ideas about what does need to be done to improve our system. But, the constant degrading of the system which has given you Phish, and I am sure countless other joys in your life seems strange to me. Maybe some we can meet and have conversation, as this is just not the right forum for me to discuss and express my feelings properly. So I guess it is agree to disagree on most of those issues. Good thing is we have so many shared musical tastes and other things to entertain us.

  8. Icculus420 Says:

    @el dude

    no i don’t, but i’m gonna download it right meow

  9. William H. Bonney Says:

    Hornsby is the man.

  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    I am always willing to disagree William. I hope you don’t think I that I don’t respect your opinion.

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    Jer has been dead for almost 15 years now. Furthur IMO is….

    Well it’s furthur.

    Maybe it’s time for a GD halloween album.

    It’ll never happen but with all the other classic rock halloween albums, you could say it’s time.

    The King Solomon’s Marbles/Slipknot is a really great idea IMO.

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    Just checking in…hope everyone’s doing well!

    my take on the capitalism vs. communism debate

    I don’t think the economic structure is really to blame either way.

    Communism can be an excuse for laziness. (If im getting paid either way what difference does it make?)

    Capitalism can be an excuse for selfishness. (I worked hard for this and everyone else can, too)

    For me, the key is changing the way people think, not with sentimental appeals to the heart, but with logic.

    In a communist regime, hard working people and pure hearted leaders could definitely produce a wonderful society.

    In a capitalist regime, selfless people could heal some of the inequities we face.

    Capitalism could be a perfect tool for healing poverty. The best and brightest could use their capital to aid others in upwards social mobility.

    I think it all comes down to people buying into a more selfless attitude. A balance can be found. You can have a comfortable life and still donate to causes that are striving to make social changes. It just takes commitments from individuals to do this.

    I think in communism the same things could be said. Everyone would have to buy into an attitude of selflessly working hard so that the economy could support an entire population.

    Personal commitment is the key there, too.

  13. jdub Says:

    The only true state is one of presence. The new world order, if there is to be one, would be were the majority of people exist in enlightened states. Which is simply being present and not controlled by ones thoughts or ego. Otherwise someones ego will drive them to gain power and take advantage. It doesn’t matter what the system is, if the majority of the people operate from their ego it will become corrupt.

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    @el dude,

    I think the real reason the band doesn’t do it is because it wouldn’t be fun because of all the baggage it carriers. It doesn’t matter how long Jerry has been gone, the baggage will always be there.

  15. William H. Bonney Says:

    @LW Glad to hear. Hard to tell, that is why try not to get going too much on these things. Just seems like really you prefer socialism. As it is installed thru elections. The thing that gets my bloody boiling is communism is installed thru force. So that is were you lose me.

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    @ LW

    I completely agree!

    Which is a drag IMO!

  17. ChefBradford Says:

    What song will open summer tour?


  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    @william, i am by no means for the use of force in installing any kind of state. People need to want society to change. Right now people (in the united states and just to get it out of the way I don’t mean “EVERYBODY”) just want to move up in class. Which is not sustainable.

    But yeah I have respect for your thoughts even if I don’t agree, you’ve taken the time to articulate them rather then just tell me I’m dumb or keep it yourself. You also took the time to hear what I was saying and articulate a response. How could I not respect that.

  19. lastwaltzer Says:


  20. ChefBradford Says:

    Tame. Use your imaginations! Could, literally, be anything!

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    You could think of it this way William

    top 1% has the wealth but when the shit hit the fan it was US/ the bottom that had to clean up their bull-shit mess.

    That’s fucked up IMO.

    I hope some of these Goldman bastards do some time.

    And yes, selling bundled derivatives as triple A rated when they know first hand that their shit is FRAUD

  22. locust the lurker Says:

    Listening to Englishtown right now and I have to say, it’s definitely one of my favorites from ’77. So crisp and lively. Jerry is twisting this Samson inside out.

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    @ locust

    My all-time favorite NFA!!!

  24. locust the lurker Says:

    Yeah I know. And it’s coming right after this He’s Gone.

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    @ locust

    You puffin’ tough?

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