Looking Back – Leg II 2009

7.31.09 (G.Lucas)

Before we plunge head first into Leg II of summer 2o10, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on Leg II of 2009. Phish came out at Red Rocks and redefined this era after a tentative run in June. Boasting far more confidence, Phish showed up in Colorado in a relaxed musical state, willing to take risks they weren’t prepared to take only five weeks earlier. When the year came to close, Leg II of summer stood out as, perhaps, the strongest segment of 2009, with musical highlights abounding. Today we hit the brakes for a moment and glance in our rear-view mirror at The Top5 “Moments” of Summer 2009 – Leg II.


5. “Number Line” 8.16 II – SPAC

SPAC '09 PosterWhile this SPAC show didn’t quite provide the final exclamation point that people expected, Phish did throw down one of the standout jams of August in their final show. Morphing their shiny-new anthem “Backwards Down the Number Line” into primordial soup for the soul, Phish built upon their Chicago rendition from a week earlier. Until Phish threw down Blossom’s “Number Line” this June, SPAC’s version stood as the crowning moment of the song’s young career. This jam provided a dark final excursion to end the tour before the rest of the set turned to fun.



4. “Icculus” 8.14 II – Hartford

Hartford (T.Salido)

In this moment, we realized that Phish was still comprised of the same four zany guys that started the band back in the day. With his addiction and glassy-eyed stare years behind him, Trey used “Icculus” to launch into classic rant about the technological overload of modern culture, and how everyone needed to get back to reading The Book. The Phishy spirit that had grabbed us all at one point in our lives and dragged us into Gamehendge had returned. To see the look on Trey’s face when this went down pretty much said it all. Everyone left Hartford smiling that night.



3. “46 Days” 8.15 II – Merriweather

8.15.09 (K.Pusey)

Buried in the consensus “worst show of Leg II” was perhaps the best jam of the tour in the ludicrous version of “46 Days.” Remaining in the song’s structure for approximately three minutes, the band shifted into full destruction mode immediately. Trudging through a cosmic sludge, Fish hit a change and Phish took off for the heavens. Flowing like they seldom have this era, the band locked into one of the more magical jams of this era. Any semblance of “46 Days” was left in Phish’s vapor trail as they took a hose-powered journey to the edges of groove and bliss.



2. 7.31.09 II – Red Rocks

7.31.09 (G.Lucas)

The second set of the second night of Red Rocks still stands, in my opinion, as the best single set Phish has dropped in this era. Featuring jams aplenty, fluid transitions, and the Red Rocks “Tweezer,” this frame can stand up to any other – easily. Played in three mini-suites, Phish graced the audience with “Drowned > Crosseyed > Joy,” “Tweezer > Number Line,” and “Fluffhead > Piper > A Day In the Life.” If you have any doubts or hazy memories of this night, go re-listen, it never ceases to amaze.



1. 8.7.09 – The Gorge

The Gorge '09 (G. Lucas)

In Phish’s first night back to the Gorge in six years, they played a show that likened a soundtrack for the mystical natural surroundings. Fusing together several patient jams, Phish – literally – played differently at The Gorge, a trend that has held true throughout their career. While everyone has their favorite shows, this two-set Picasso featured three of the jams of the year in “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Light,” and “Bathtub Gin.” And you just don’t get that in one Phish show these days. That is without even mentioning the glorious combination of “Hood” and “Slave” that ended this special night. (And we might as well tack on the second night’s “Rock and Roll” while we’re here.) Needless to say, the band’s return to the Columbia River Gorge won’t soon be forgotten.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/phish2009-08-07d1t09.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/phish2009-08-07d3t01.mp3]


Jam of the Day: Leg II Venue History Week

Cities > Good Times Bad Times” 8.10.97 II

One of the defining jams of Summer ’97 from the first night at Deer Creek.




8.10.1996 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Megaupload

In Phish’s inaugural visit to Alpine Valley in 1996, they dropped significant versions of “Reba,” and “Bathtub Gin” in the first set, while showcasing “Fluffhead” and “Harry Hood” in the second. With this show, Phish inherited the massive Midwestern mecca from the Grateful Dead and prepared to blaze a legacy.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fee, Reba, I Didn’t Know, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Rift, Bathtub Gin, Cavern

II: Wilson, Down with Disease, Scent of a Mule, Free, Fluffhead, Hold Your Head Up > Whipping Post > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, A Day in the Life

E: Contact, Fire

Source: B & K 4021

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1,061 Responses to “Looking Back – Leg II 2009”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:


    No I haven’t heard that album. I’ll check it out tonight after I spin this Phil Lesh/Horace Silver stuff.

    I’m happy to have so much new music to listen to tonight 😀

    This jam out of Brokedown Palace is fantastic…slowing down before Dark Star

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Friend of The Devil teases in this Dark Star

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    This is very, very good, uptempo jamming w/ horns. Peaking well, in a calypso like beat. Funky

  4. Jtran Says:

    Gotta admit I’m reading PT right now. Sweet thread “where are they know bittersweet motel”


    I don’t know if there’s many answers really, but still interesting.

  5. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @flarr. 8/7/09 was my wife’s first show too. I was nervous if she’d like it. I mean really like it. About halfway into disease, she turned to me with this huge smile. After that Indio was her idea. And now the Greeks. So Gorge I keeps on giving in the Tzara household.

  6. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    And ramblin, more great jazz talk. I tried to upload Air Lore to mediafire. No luck yet. But will keep trying.

    Ornette– change of the century. Classic.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    for a little while I didn’t get Ornette, as often happens

    then I did

    then I realized that while I got it, I don’t actually like it

    cleared things up a bit

    although I should listen to some Prime Time again I guess

    same with sun ra for the most part

  8. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    That’s awesome, Tzara. I hadn’t known anything about Threadgill until you mentioned him the other night.

  9. BrandonKayda Says:


    I’ll most definitely let you know what I think of the stuff I get through tonight for sure. Thanks again.

    In A Silent Way is such a fantastic cool-down late night album – I might have to spin that too.

    Hey Mr Tamberine Man, play a song for me…

  10. sumodie Says:

    @mrC and robear: I must gratefully decline the berk pad 🙁
    you’ve got mail taboot

    but we’re still looking forward to meeting-up

    many thanks for the offer -there’s got to be another BBer out there looking….

    with my luck, our motel will be nitrous city

  11. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Well, Mr. C, if you’ve listened to Change of the Century, and Shape of Jazz to Come, you’ve seen the best of it, in my opinion. Probably nothing I can do to change your mind. Free Jazz is a great experiment, but for total anarchy free jazz, Coltrane’s Acsension is more successful I think.

  12. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    OK, let’s try this… First time so let me know if it works


  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Ascension grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. I tried to listen to that in the middle of class one time because we had a free day and I ended up staring at the ceiling for 40mins. I mean it is really cool how you can focus on one horn’s playing for such a long period of time, and still hear something different from the other 11 players. It is a very very unique album. I’ve never heard the full thing in one sitting, but from what I have heard it is completely insane. Perfect definition of free jazz if I ever heard one.

    Dancing In Your Head is the only Ornette Coleman I have heard. It was alright. I thought it got a little stale after a bit but what can you do – I need to give it another spin sometime

  14. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @bk. That’s cool later Ornette, but the reason he is one of the giants of jazz hinge on his early Atlantic recordings. Shape of Jazz to Come, especially Lonely Woman, and Change of the Century, especially Ramblin’, epitomize his idea of harmolodics, where the players are free from time and tonal contraints, but this freedom is in service to melody, not just weirdness. Absolutely essential historic jazz. If I might overstate it myself.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    i do still love the free Trane stuff

    i was a big knitting factory fan for a long time and got to see a lot of that stuff live

    seeing it live is very different

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Cool @Tzara’s – sounds like I need to give Change of The Century a spin sooner rather than later. Sounds great.

    Let me correct myself, this is a 23min Viola Lee Blues – it starts in the last 5mins of Friend of The Devil.

  17. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @bk, are you listening to tonight’s furthur show? Glad they are doing better. I’m realizing how you stay up on music and many other subjects: you never sleep.

    Seriously though, enjoy your spirit here.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    @tzara’s, are you into that John Zorn axis of modern skronk-jazz and other esoteric oddities?

  19. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Ok, I’m out, long day of driving tomorrow.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    and there’s lots of great music I don’t like to listen to

    i certainly acknowledge it as great

  21. Mr. Completely Says:


  22. BrandonKayda Says:


    No, I’m listening to the 1999.10.09 Phil and Friends show, which has a five song first set of:

    Brokedown Palace (6min)->
    Jam (18mins)->
    Dark Star (20min)->
    Mr Tamberine Man (17min)
    Friend Of The Devil (11min)
    Viola Lee Blues (23mins)

    John Zorn is nuts. To be honest I have not heard one full studio album, but little bits here and there (parts of Naked City) – stuff is wild. You ever listen to Mr Bungle/Fantomas? That shit is crazy, kind of like the wild quasi-metal/jazz/punk/etc combinations that Zorn does

  23. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Not as thoroughly. I like Zorn”s Masada quartet with Dave Douglas. Klezmer tinged ornette style music. And a couple other things like the big gundown. But not so much his crazy energy mayhem like torture garden. And what’s that other thrash group he has?

    In short, mostly not, but I’ve seen him a couple times, and the cat can play.

  24. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Naked City that’s it. Actually to build on a little sonny sharrock talk I spied earlier, ever check out No Exit. Self titled. Some of the most intense shit I’ve ever heard. Peter Brotzmann on sax, who sometimes makes Pharoah sound like Lester Young.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure BK I know that stuff

    Naked City is not my favorite Zorn but it’s cool in its place

    Masada is my favorite Zorn project, but a lot of his heavy improv stuff can only be appreciated live (or at least on video) like the Cobra improv games…uh…


    there’s an associated group of great musicians who together, separately and in many various combinations have put out all sorts of avant garde music

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