The Top 10 of ’09

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

It’s tough to continue to thinking of topics as this point in the year, so I figured I’d have some fun today. I’ve been re-listening to a lot of the best of last year, and I thought I’d put together my own, personal, top ten list of 2009. These are just my picks, so if you think they are crazy, don’t fret; they are just one man’s opinion. I generally don’t compile lists like this, but as I said, this is a pretty quiet time of year, and I’m sure it will spark plenty of discussion. Anyhow, enough with the disclaimers, here’s Miner’s Favorite Ten Jams of ’09.


10. “Wolfman’s > Piper > Joy” – 10.30 IIIndio

With all the focus duly placed on the Exile set, this segment of music doesn’t get talked about too much – but it should. Each half of the combination features completely unique and masterful improvisation. “Wolfman’s” moves from swanky, liquid grooves into minutes of eerie Halloween ambient space. Using “Wolfman’s” to dive into the occult, Phish briefly magnified the dark side on an overall cheery Halloween weekend. Emerging from the menacing soundscape came “Piper,” evoking memories of the monstrous combination in Vegas ’98. This time, however, “Piper” brought three distinct sections of improv, the last morphing into a “Just Wanna See His Face” jam; a secret preview of the Halloween set. Phish added layers of vocal harmony over the gorgeous music, giving the piece their stamp of approval as unique and special ground. The landing point of “Joy” worked perfectly.

9. “Ghost” 12.31 IIMiami

This standout jam from New Year’s Eve illustrated how far the band had come in one year. Playing off each other with fluidity, Mike and Trey alternately led this piece, punctuating the most engaging set of the three. The band wasted no time, bombarding the crowd with their dense musical style of late-’09. The resolution into an “Auld Lang Syne” tease clinches this “Ghost’s” status as an all-time New Year’s Eve highlight.

8. “Light” 12.2 II – MSG

MSG - 12.2.09 (W. Rogell)

Out of the many explorations of “Light” during fall tour, none approached the version Phish played at their return to Madison Square Garden. Coming at a time where the band played the song nearly every other show, this version fully realized the experimental potential of the song for the first time. Taking this incarnation into upbeat and genuinely new territory, MSG’s “Light” gave everyone a glimpse of the depth of jams that will surely continue stem from the song this summer. From the moment it ended, this version stood out from the rest.

7. “Get Back on the Train” 12.30 II Miami

This ethereal exploration came as the centerpiece of December 30th’s second set. Passing through multiple sections of unique improv, this jam, literally, blossomed out of nowhere. Immediately vaulting to into the “best ever” position for the generally jam-less song, “Get Back On the Train” provided one of the most unlikely virtuoso highlights of the entire Miami run.

6. “Tweezer” 7.31 II Red Rocks

"Tweezer" 7.31 (G.Lucas)

The Red Rocks “Tweezer” brought the house down with its combination of gooey textures and jazzy grooves. The first brilliant “Tweezer” of the year, its placement in one of the 2009’s strongest sets made its unveiling all the more dramatic. Perhaps the first true Phish-crack of 3.0, this “Tweezer” created an unforgettable experience.

5. “Sneakin’ Sally” 8.7 I The Gorge

As the sun set at Phish’s first night back at The Gorge, the band took the opportunity to dive into the musical abyss. Taking the classic cover through a set of chunky grooves en route to a mid-song vocal jam and out into the heavens above, the powers of Phish and The Gorge converged for the first time in this era. While many favor the second set “Bathtub Gin,” this jam brings more original playing to the table.

4. “46 Days” 8.15 II Merriweather

Merriweather '09

This jam flies way under the due to its placement amidst one of Phish’s least exciting shows of the year. However, this version of “46 Days” sits atop the top shelf of 2009 offerings. Spending only four minutes attached to the song, Phish exited quickly into thick, murky grooves. Gaining textured momentum, this piece moved through an ambient transition into one of the most gorgeous sections of music played during 2009. Hitting a stride seldom seen last year, Phish reached a triumphant plane that gained a life all its own. Re-listen – this one is a down-low masterpiece.

3. “Rock and Roll” 8.8 II The Gorge

While most of the attention falls on the first night of The Gorge, the most spectacular jam came on the second. Utilizing their go-to 2009 vehicle, Phish crafted one of the most cohesive and exploratory jams of the year. A multi-themed epic, this extended piece ebbed and flowed with organic improv, featuring some of Trey’s best work of the year. During this piece, the band clicked as a whole in a way they did few times throughout their comeback year. This will stand up to anything.

2. “Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28 IIAlbany

11.28.09 Albany (Peek)

I’ve never hidden my love for this spectacular fifty minutes of music. Coming at a time when Phish desperately needed to break form into something greater, during this sequence they accomplished all that and more. Transforming “Seven Below” into a cathartic dance party, the band fused groove and melody into a phenomenal segment of improv. And once Phish hit their stride in the set-opener, when they hit “Ghost,” they sat deeply in the pocket without missing a beat, creating totally original music. Turing this version into a multi-planed adventure, the band locked in from moment one of the most tightly woven tales of the year. This sequence represented a significant breakthrough during fall tour, and a reminder that Phish was, in fact, still Phish.

1. “Tweezer” 12.29 IIMiami

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

I’m a sucker for huge “Tweezers,” and none came bigger than this in 2009. Dropping on the magical date of December 29, the band let loose on this version, crafting my most indelible moment of the year. Beginning with massive, bass-led dance grooves they threw down the most ferocious section of dance grooves of ’09. So juiced on the musical goings-on, Trey, then Phish, added a layer of vocal improv, complementing the jam’s infectious rhythms. Mike led the band through this section with filthy and dynamic rhythms. Bringing the band into the second stage of the jam, Mike soloed with his envelope filter as the band blended into more exploratory music. Trey played staccato melodies through this space-groove, toying with some signature licks. Phish morphed from this section into the most beautiful moments in all of ’09. Entering sublime, soul-searching psychedelia, the band fully tapped into the source, channeling the mysteries of the universe. A blessing to be a part of, words can only go so far in expressing these sacred moments. While the rest of this list can be discussed all day, in my opinion, the only definite comes in the top spot with “The Miami Tweezer.”


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 10.27.94 II

A compact, action-packed version from Charlottesville, Virginia.




7.18.99 Oswego Co. Airport, Volney, NY < Megaupload

7.18.99 Oswego Co. Airport, Volney, NY < Torrent

Unofficial Osewgo Poster (Distante)This underrated three-set beast offered treats in ever shape and size. The outrageous “Piper” in the third set, and the second set “Jim > Free” are can’t miss highlights. And there’s plenty in between.

I: Punch You In the Eye, Farmhouse, Water in the Sky, Bathtub Gin, Back on the Train*, If You Need a Fool*, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome*,Beauty of My Dreams*, The Moma Dance, Reba, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Runaway Jim > Free, Meatstick, Guyute, Axilla, Llama

III: My Soul, Piper > Prince Caspian, Wilson > Catapult > Smoke on the Water Jam > Icculus, Quinn the Eskimo, Fluffhead

E: Harry Hood

* w/ Del McCoury Band

Source: (FOB) Neumann U89i (Omni, Split 6′) > Apogee AD1000

679 Responses to “The Top 10 of ’09”

  1. Alfonz Says:

    Camden Sand?!?! I personally believe that to be one of the best blast-offs of the year…does a lot more for me than the Seven > Ghost.

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    I’ll post the other shows on consecutive days for Mr. Palmer. I just figured it would be somewhat rude to post all three this morning.

  3. jdub Says:

    @McGGGGG, those are all worthy of being on the list. My pick for YEM of the year would be the MSG one. And hard to leave off First Tube although it came across much more dynamic live, I could see why peeps who weren’t there might construe it as a slightly above average First Tube.

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    Unless I get the OK to do the other two shows.

  5. verno329 Says:

    The Dude is so courteous 😉

  6. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Its listed as BOTT on every official track listing on Phish releases. Yet, it’s still referred to as GBOTT quite often. I think I’ve heard that GBOTT was the original title. This was a Trey tune first, right? Did he release it as GBOTT or announced it at a show that way on its debut?

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks El Dude! I actually found the 3 Miller recordings last night after you mentioned them and have them bookmarked at home. So you don’t have to post them for just me. If others want them, thats different. I appreciate the help.

  8. Kurt Says:

    Shout out to the Stringdusters, hell yea! saw them a year or so ago in danville, IN. I still dont know where that town is, but it was jumping that night, 10 feet away from the band, all the room you needed to get your grass on. cool band, good call Type III

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    I was going to post the next installment of PLQ but Mr. Palmer was talkin’ ’bout these last night. since he’s new to the lossless torrent game I figured he should have the ’99 Warfield run immediately IMO.

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Marshall

    yes, GBOTT is a TAB original from the May ’99 tour

  11. jdub Says:

    @Dude, I think Miner has these shows for download under his review for the run he did a year ago

  12. BTB Says:

    Anyone on here doing the southern run? NC->GA?

    I think I’m chilling Monday-TH of that run in the Smoky Mountains. Just a thought. Probably should check the meet-up board.

    Mitch, wher dat be?

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    @ jdub

    Their lossy though man.

    Friends don’t let friends do mp3 brah!

  14. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    thx el dude

    Was it listed that way on any official TAB releases, or just track listed that way by tapers, after hearing Trey give the song title at the show?

    Just curious.

  15. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    @ BTB – I’ll be doing all four southern shows. Leo Weaver is doing two of them. I think Robear will be hitting most. El Dude should be hitting most. I believe Gavins’Dad is coming down for them too.

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    Download and archive them in lossless format then you can convert to put on i-pods if that’s what your into. I myself put WAV or AIFF files on my i-pod

  17. garretc Says:

    Good god, just woke up stressed as all get out from the first nightmare I’ve had in a long long time… Argh, terrible feeling, so on edge and angry from it…

    Really surprising, since I’m lucky to remember even just a snippet of a dream every couple weeks, and now this one wakes me up in the middle of the night…

    Well, gonna try and sleep again, then up at 9 for class… Have a good one guys and gals!

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    @ BTB/Marshall

    When we were hangin’ with the Weavers this past weekend, Leo W. said something about getting a trolly bus for all of us to go to the Charlotte show. I really like this idea a lot! Should be a lot of fun for us BBer’s and hassle free

  19. neemor Says:

    My favorite run of ‘Phishy’ music this year (especially what I saw in person) was
    Hartford’s Ghost>Psycho Killer>Catapult>Icculus
    For so many reasons.

    The Ghost>the foreshadowed PKiller (played over the PA mid-set)>Catapult (which I had proclaimed would be the song that told us when Phish was truly back)>Icculus (’nuff said) with all of the banter and fun…
    Epic show.

    So many, many moments that it’s hard to look back at 2009 and feel that it wasn’t one of the great years in Phishtory.

    My favorite all-around show was Portland, but again, I’m biased having been right in Mike’s pocket for set one and hanging in and around Robear for so much of set two.
    The energy, the Mike’s themed first set, the tiny venue, the chill crowd…
    All made for a great little (dare I say perfect) little New England throwdown.

    What a great year, it’s almost impossible for me to comprehend that 2010 won’t be even better!

  20. BTB Says:

    The Real Tom Marshall,

    Sounds good. Just need that link to the meet-up site.

    I’m assuming Charlotte/Raleigh will be somebodies home show? I got 10 days off of work I didn’t even ask for, so I’m just now getting everything rolling.

  21. GOOCHY Says:

    Miner! Neither the Camden Sand or Portland Undermind made your list?! Blasphemous.

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    @ marshall

    To answer your question on the title of GBOTT/BOTT…
    There are no official releases from that tour and it was not released until a year later on the FarmHouse album. If memory serves and I think it does, when the tapes were popping out it was called GBOTT. You can look at the source info on from the May ’99 tour that will tell you what it was being called back then.

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    @ BTB

    Raleigh is kinda but not really a home show for me. I’m hoping and should be in Charlotte full-time by then. From what I understand Leo and myself, gdad, and robear will be heading back to Charlotte after the Raleigh show

  24. neemor Says:

    Plus, Mother Nature loves Phish (as she’s shown us in the past).
    The 4:20 Divided Sky, Japan’s sunlight break as mentioned by Miner at the 2000 show the other day…

    2009 had the Shooting Star in Hartford during the YEM vocal jam.
    The sheer power of the Deer Creek lightning storm.
    The sun dog at the Oakdale TAB show…

    All these little moments that told me that this band should be doing this for a long time, the world is happy again!

  25. neemor Says:

    Oh, and Demand was awesome.

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