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:


  2. locust the lurker Says:

    Yeah, sometimes the simultaneous multi-pronged discussion on here make me think about what it might have been like to hold a conversation with Neal Cassady

  3. Looking For Owls? Says:

    Dwayne Staats has the best hair in baseball broadcasting to btw

  4. William H. Bonney Says:

    08 rays were good but nothing compared to this team. This is a one year deal too, with CC and Pena up for big money both will have to go. So really need to finish it this time. We have real closer, longo is settled in, 1-5 arguably best rotation could be the year.

  5. jdub Says:

    Well the Yankees haven’t exactly beat up on the Sox in the last 10 years. The other way around, but I am really excited that the Rays are finally competitive. They just need a decent stadium now.

  6. locust the lurker Says:

    How’s it going Brandon? Punch is a good call.

  7. (Formally Known As) BrandonKayda Says:

    It’s going good Locust. How have you been doing?

  8. William H. Bonney Says:

    Hochevar is getting his ERA corrected presently.

  9. jdub Says:

    Punch is my all time fave opener, nothing gets the juices flowing and the jitters eased like those opening chords.

  10. William H. Bonney Says:

    New stadium is coming, somewhere in Tampa as well. St.pete has been great but can’t rebuild there, maybe north county, but most likely somewhere in Hillsbourgh.

  11. William H. Bonney Says:

    As soon as you hear punch, it is on.

  12. Looking For Owls? Says:

    Word is the Rays have in their farm system two highly touted guys waiting in the wings to replace C.C. and Pena. I feel C.C. is the face of the francise though and should try their damndest to keep him. But he’s at least an 18 million a year type of player. Way out of the Rays League.

  13. Looking For Owls? Says:

    Watch Zobrist end the inning for the 3rd straight inning! How often does that happen?

  14. locust the lurker Says:

    Doing good, BK. Super busy with mad deadlines tomorrow, baned, Englishtown ’77 cranked in the headphones, keeping up with the BB while writing a grant proposal.

  15. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    jdub: I know it’s pretty much even, just busting some chops.

    Over in Yankee country Burnett is unusually good tonight, then again they’re playing Baltimore…

  16. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Fun fact: in the past ten years, the only AL team the Yankees have a losing record against are the Angels.

    Also I cannot grammar.

  17. Mr.Palmer Says:

    i do not like the Yankees.

  18. William H. Bonney Says:

    Desmond Jennings is the next star to come up plays left field, a little more power than CC just as fast. I think they will be content to let both go, if only to get some higher draft pick from losing high grade free agents. They want to keep stocking the farm, smart front office. Aybar could play first. Pay roll is really higher than ownership would like. Yanks have a great one two PUNCH with AJ and Capt. Cheeseburger.

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    yo yo BK

  20. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    @ William

    Don’t forget Phil Hughes, in the midst of what could be a breakout season.

    I fear the Yankees are lacking in the bullpen, it’s been shaky thus far. You don’t win a title without a solid pen.

  21. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    I really like Price, he could bust out this year easily. I was present for his Major League debut in late 2008, he relieved Edwin Jackson in what would be one of his last games as a Ray, shut New York down but good. Unfortunately for the Rays the score was 9-3 or something along those lines, not really an important game for Ny though, they were out of the playoff hunt already I think.

  22. William H. Bonney Says:

    Garza, Price, and Davis all have great stuff. Neimann is solid front line starter. Our “ace” Shields might be the least of bunch and just had his best start I have seen. So feeling, only Spring still but we had to get out running just to force ownership to keep team together for the year. Yeah Hughes is good looking arm. Back end of yanks pen is solid just have to get the ball to em. TEX is in the epic slump of ages.

  23. jdub Says:

    Mariano is a nice guy to have in the pen come playoff time. Pitching and defense are necessary to win it all, teams can get by with marginal offense if they get some timely hitting. Which is why I never understood teams spending ridiculous money on position players when they have terrible pitching staffs.

  24. jdub Says:

    Price and Hughes both could easily have all star years, atleast I hope they do since they’re on my fantasy team. As long as they don’t beat the Sox.

  25. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Getting favorable results out of such a young rotation so early must be exciting for Rays fans, but it’s all about how you finish.

    I fully expect the Sox to jump right back into the mix eventually. Lester won’t slump forever, and Daisuke will come back from the DL soon enough.

    Rivera is easily my favorite current Yankee. I pity the man who takes the closer role whenever it is he walks away… I can’t even imagine how anyone could even begin to fill his shoes.

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