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. butter Says:

    RE: Phish covering GD

    if a GD member is on stage …..ala Billy Kreutzman at RR…….

    …that would be an appropriate time….imo

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    Check out Mike Campbell shred face on the new Tom Petty joint. It’s called “Good Enough” and it is bad as hell.

  3. BTB Says:

    Think “show of life” makes an appearance in the PH rotation?

    Bingo, just listened to that solo. Old school, Old school…great tone for what he was trying to do.

  4. BTB Says:

    Tour opener? I spot a Wilson –> DVD SKY –> Poor Heart … from 300 miles away.

  5. Mitch Says:

    alright everybody. its party time.


  6. Mitch Says:

  7. BTB Says:

    So apparently the Georgia shows sold out. I put a post on cash for trade.

    Anybody got an extra lawn for Georgia? Just need to get inside the venue.

  8. yematt Says:

    more mcgrupp in 2010

    that is all

  9. Mitch Says:

    i second that motion.

    and any motion that brings bb’ers to the board while im here.

  10. yematt Says:

    dig that “no surprises” cover, mitch. the piano can really pull some strings, probably my favorite instrument

  11. yematt Says:

    that just inspired me to watch “scotch mist”
    pretty awesome if you’ve never seen it before

  12. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Far from home in Paso Robles, listening to Went Slave (after the Barney Miller bit). Met a guy at the local brewery that had been to over 30 shows. Random, we are everywhere.

  13. Mitch Says:

    helped a guy at my job who was in town from colorado and i mentioned id be at telly this summer. we started talking phish. he ended up going out for a small bb meet up with gratefulcub, dr p, me and purplehumpback for a little while.

    i’ll see him this summer at the shows. (and his friend runs his own colorado medicinal herb shop so that should be cool)

    yes… we are everywhere.

  14. BTB Says:

    Mitch – didn’t know you were going to Telly, nice. I gotta book flights soon. Are you flying there on Friday of that week?

  15. Mitch Says:

    stoner. yes, i’m going with ms mango. we talked about our girls being able to get acquainted at btb fest then see each other at telly since they arent as into as us. maybe i was talking and you left the site.

    anyway…. getting there the 8th to montrose and driving down with robear and his lady.

  16. Mitch Says:

    had to keep the arrival close cause were going to deer creek to see the shows and visit with the fam (for a few hours) since we will most likely be camping.

  17. Mitch Says:

    ^and i’m short on vaca days with the rest of the trips.

  18. BTB Says:

    Cool – I do remember that now that I think about it (3 Becks in my stomach). My girl isn’t doing T-ride, but I’m meeting 2 out there (friends I say!). There cool. You got the condo? I’m sleeping at 11,000 ft at Alta Lakes b/c I’m too stubborn to pay 70 for a campsite.

    Hitching a ride up a mtn. at 1am should be awesome.

    Telluride = Gamehedge

  19. Mitch Says:

    get your shit ass up the mtn. Gamehendge for sure. are the women the hitching type?

    we dont have a place to stay yet. 70 a night for camping?… still not sure about what we’re doing.

    take a blanket for sleeping that *high* up the mtn.

  20. BTB Says:

    Yeah, I camped there last summer. Really beautiful, old abandoned ghost town at the top. There will be huge parties up there. Kidz live up there during the summer and just ‘chill the fuck out’ – trustafarian style.

    I skimped on camping b/c my chicks don’t care and it costs $400 to fly and get there.

    I could use an extra tix, but so could everybody else I guess.

  21. Mitch Says:

    well i just freaked out and realized there are no hotels left for telly. i thought consider it dan would be a backup but its out. guess i gotta get a camping pass and take my tent… least i can eat at the restaurants in town right?

  22. Mitch Says:

    Anyone out there have a house they are renting with a room available for Telly?

  23. Mitch Says:

    oh well, looks like we’ll camp. way more fun anyway. not like we’d be in a hotel. only drawback is i gotta get my tent here from indiana in time unless i just buy a new one… there’s always that option.

    anyone have a good 2 person tent, 3 season with a good rain fly they got recently?

  24. Jibler Says:

    Good call on the 8.1 Curtain With mr miner

    Probably your most astute observation of 2009…

    I haven’t seen much discussion on the fact that that was the Big Return of the song. Couldn’t have been at a better place/time.

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I may have a solution for the BB regarding slackers and camping and such.

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