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. Gavinsdad Says:

    @voopa: agreed on that TTE/a-rod line of thinking.

  2. ChefBradford Says:

    Silly, I’m doing pretty well. Working my ass off since my employer had open-heart surgery four or five weeks ago. I’m exhausted really, but it’s part of the game, right? Jury duty tomorrow, shoot me now

    I like the studio version of TTE, except for some (maybe a lot) of the lyrics, but I’m not sure I’d like it thrown at me live. If I were touring I wouldn’t want it at the volume it was played last year. I think (hope) it says something that it wasn’t played during the New Year’s run

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    That’d be awesome if you can make BTB Fest, gavinsdad, but don’t get in any trouble at home…I figured I should take advantage of my lack of commitments while Im still young.

  4. ChefBradford Says:

    I really hope that tickets will be as plentiful in the lots as people are predicting. Only show I have a ticket for right now is July 4, but I’m hoping to make 7/1-7/4

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    Hang in there, man. In times of hard work I try to focus on the reward at the end like a nice check or simply the pride of saying I worked hard at something. I hope things ease up for you though!

    Lawyers are always trying to get on jury duty so they can actually see what goes on in there.

    They told us that once we were in law school no one would ever want us on a jury…maybe if you get selected you can give me the lowdown. llfa.

  6. Gavinsdad Says:

    You got the tough one chef. The others are gravy.

    PMA as the bad brains would say….positive mental attitude…

  7. ChefBradford Says:

    Thanks guys. Like I said, that’s part of the game. And my employer is also my friend, and in a way a father-figure. He’s helped me out in more ways than I can count, I’ve learned from him, and he’s given me extra chances when I didn’t deserve anything more than a kick in the ass on my way out the door. So I’m glad I can help out, as I’ve told his wife. He’s a self-proclaimed redneck, but he’s a first-class guy, for real.

    PMA, I like that. I need to keep that in mind.

    Silly, if I get picked for the jury, and you’re serious, I’ll definitely let you know what goes on. I have no idea, and no expectations (I need to feel this way when I get my first Phish show[s] in six years later this summer)

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    Nite y’all. Take it easy. This jazz v nuggets game isn’t keeping me awake.

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    I got the tough one, but ideally I’d have pav or orch for the tough one, rather than lawn.

    But fuck it, I got the tough one!




  10. ChefBradford Says:

    later, g’dad

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    “The stereo was extra loud, playing a synthesized melange of electronic buzzes, beeps, chirps, and sirens, the newest Nihilistic German discotheque music designed to make people think, ‘Gee, it’s got a great beat to dance to, but what would be the fucking point?'”

  12. Robear Says:

    unbelievable amount of rain the last 48 hours.

  13. Robear Says:

    daughter has ‘Pandora’ on.

    they picked ‘Bad Chance Fisher Cover Band’ – smells like teen spirit

  14. kayatosh Says:

    nite yall

  15. ChefBradford Says:

    Wait, was it Chance Fisher, or a CF cover band? I’m confused. Which is not hard to accomplish

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    TTE is the Christian Laettner of Phish songs. The shitty player that had potential and everyone hates. Everytime you see him, you want to punch him.

  17. ChefBradford Says:

    like my roommate?

  18. Robear Says:

    lmao at your late night senses of humor!

    chef, chance fisher was once compared to a bad nirvana cover band, in the heat of the moment.

    i reversed the joke.

    11/18/98 Greenville would be a fun one at some point, Miner.

  19. halcyon Says:

    LLFA @ Kaya a few pages back, and at miner….Punch Christian Laettner In the Eye… PCLITE.

    Just watched Sweeney Todd again. Love that movie.

  20. ChefBradford Says:

    was that the AW-Lycan thing? I remember seeing the shit fly that day, but I never found the singular cause. Other than the El D/AW stuff

    happier topics now:

    and I wasn’t kidding about my roommate

    If any of you are biology majors/biologists, feel free to check out our kitchen sink. Let me say this: I wash my dishes as I go, my roommate NEVER washes dishes. And we have a dishwasher. You do the math

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    I’m out. (jury) Duty calls. Catch y’all later

  22. BTB Says:

    Check it out guys, the complete “Ray Anastasio” art collection!!!

    What I was talking about earlier, I got the links from PT but I had to make a compilation for easier viewing.

    I love it!

  23. butter Says:

    lol…..@Miner re: TTE and Christian Laettner

  24. beepaphone Says:

    ^ Yes so perfect llfa

  25. Tba Says:


    As Always thanks :<) PM me if you are going to T-Ride as i would like to give you a gift either there or any other show. I made a copy of the entie Beatles catelogue for you for all your hard work. Took it from my digital apple.

    OK that said need to rag a bit. How the heck can you leave second night second set alpine off of the top 10 moments. Sorry bro it is top five. Even though I was not there RR Tweezer, which mirrored The gorge 98' 2001 Mike Groove with the funk changes takes #1 for me.
    #2 Hartford whole show
    #3 Alpine second night set 2-all of it
    #4 Hampton Fluffhead opener
    #5 Shoreline Cities

    OK that said; miner you are a Fing good man. We just need 6 billion more like you and I can quit drugs as everyone won't annoy me :<)

    Actually everyone who posts here is pretty fing nice, although Completely what about My hampton 86 Dead questions?

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