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. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah torture garden is just silly IMO. it’s the limit case for that sort of art, or something. whatevs.

    electric masada can get pretty hardcore at times

    we put on a lot of shows with guys from that scene like Joey Baron, Kenny Wollenson, Briggan Krauss, Steven Bernstein

    mindbendingly good free improv happening with like 35 people in the room at most

    amazing but sad

  2. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    The Zorn oeuvre is impossibly large and diverse. I don’t know if anyone could appreciate or digest it all. A recent find with some merit though: songs of innocence and loss. OK my farewell is starting to sound like one of AW’s. I’m out kidz.

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’ll have to check out some of Zorn’s stuff soon – I want to give him a serious listen. The Masada stuff sounds interesting – I know he does some classical music and I think that is it.

    This Viola just finished, going to watch that video now, then listen to Horace Silver until I switch to something else

    Digging this late night music chat

  4. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @Bk – Finger Poppin’ or Serenade to a Soul Sister?

  5. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Zorn is a world of music in its self

    Check out The Gift & The Dreamers!!

    Masada is out of control! and the Book of Angels is dope too….
    Zorn writes a book of music (shit tons of songs) then lets the ny jazz scene groups record them…. of course my first choice is the MMW book of angels,
    as well as the Secret Chiefs 3

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    Well, I guess I am just going to dive off of the deep end and watch this whole thing:

    All 6 parts.

    Be back in a bit folks!

  7. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    ahhh cobra….
    we did some kind of improv excercises with Billy Martin at Camp MMW
    fun stuff enjoy!

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    so that video, Cobra, is an improv game with signals and stuff, as you will see. you can read about it online if you’re interested

    masada is basically free jazz played in the traditional jewish musical scales and rhythms, is how it was explained to me. sounds like ornette playing klezmer. just that one project has hundreds of songs and many associated musicians in electric and acoustic groupings – including a string quartet (?) version which is probably what you are referring to

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Well, @Ramblin, I switched gears last second and now I’m listening to this avant-garde John Zorn piece called “Cobra” – which is like 30-40mins me thinks. I posted part one in my above post.


  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    enjoy the Zorn, Brandon

    nothing like it

    goodnight all

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    not a piece, not a competition

    a game of improvisation

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    not a composition, I mean

    not a competition either but now I am confusing the issue lol

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah @Mr C – I’m trying to catch what’s going on re: the signals now.

    Thanks for posting that

  14. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Y’all hitting the sack?

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just finished all six parts and read instructions on what the whole “Cobra” thing is about and what the cards mean, etc

    Very, very cool.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:


    Not me. What’s up man?

  17. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    just chillin
    u got me all zorned out
    listening to the book of angels by mmw

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Nice. I think I’m gonna spin some Horace Silver now

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Serenade To A Soul Sister

  20. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    not familiar….school me

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    It’s some jazzy, funky piano music I grabbed off of @Ramblin today. It’s strange going from an hour of abstract John Zorn to this – I dig it though. Good late night music

    Isn’t Book of Angels a big 10-volume collection from John Zorn? I’m not too familiar with his studio stuff. I hear his Masada stuff is awesome for a free-jazz guy like myself

  22. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    book of angels is an ever going catalog of songs he writes and lets jazz cats from nyc record

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    That sounds pretty cool.

    I need to get out of the house soon and grab some of his albums.

  24. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:


  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    You said you went to Camp MMW? How was it? I’ve heard about that and it sounds extremely fun and an incredible way to learn more advanced improvisation. Just seems like a great time

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