Settling Into Place

Jones Beach '09 (Wendy Rogell)

Almost two years has passed since Joy dropped, and the songs from Phish’s only modern-era album have found their primary spots in the band’s rotation. Today, we’ll look at some of the most promising songs from Joy that were debuted in 2009 and their role in current shows.

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“Ocelot”

Trey's Ocelot Inlay

Debuted right after Hampton in Fenway’s first set, “Ocelot” seemed like a promising jam vehicle for the band out of the gates. At the time, it’s playful and methodical grooves seemed like the could easily lead the band in adventurous directions. I remember all of June ’09 waiting for a big “Ocelot” to open the second set, but  to this day, the song has still not appeared in any second set at all. “Ocelot” has found its home as a first set staple, often the first improvisational piece of its given show. The jam has developed a roots Americana feel, spouting passages that sometimes evoke the sound of The Grateful Dead. While the song never seems obtrusive and provides a warm musical breeze, the piece has yet to take on any risk whatsoever. Seeming to content to play it straight, Phish has domesticated their “Ocelot,” much like Salvador Dali did. Perhaps one day, the band will let their pet song out to play.

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“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan”

Jones Beach 09 W.Rogell)

When “Stealing Time” crunched from the PA at Jones Beach ’09, many fans freaked on what seemed like a new dissonant, hard rock launch pad. But almost two years later, we are still waiting on the song to break form. A platform for seething guitar solos, instead of morphing into the next improvisational juggernaut, “Stealing Time” has turned into this generation’s “Character Zero”— a hard-edged set closer that leaves the audience on a high note. Closing only one second set in Hartford (6.18.10), “Stealing Time,” like “Ocelot,” now finds its home in the opening half. And when I first heard it, I would have bet good money against that development. Seemingly reluctant to take their new songs to new places, Phish has also kept this song firmly inside the box.

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“Backwards Down the Number Line”

Trey and Tom (Relix.com)

Perhaps the biggest enigma from Joy, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has blown up a handful of times—most notably last summer at Blossom and Jones Beach—but has otherwise remained a noodly anthem. While some of the contained versions shine more than others, Phish has yet to find a good placement for the piece. Often breaking up the flow of second sets with its sudden beginning and abrupt change of vibe, “Number Line” seems to work better as an opener a la SPAC ’09. Though “Number Line” has had some all-star moments, until Phish finds a natural home or musical direction for their ode to friendship, it will continue to be an awkward piece of the band’s catalog.

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“Twenty Years Later”

Perhaps the most contemporary-sounding Phish songs on Joy, the enchanting-turned-menacing “Twenty Years Later” has most-often appeared as a soft landing pad for outrageous psychedelic jaunts. And just this fall, Phish began pushing the end of the song, itself, creating dissonant and layered walls of sound out of the jam. A song that always seems to fit perfectly at the end of torrid adventures, Phish has definitely found the right home for “Twenty Years Later.”

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“Light”

8.7.10 -The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

When Trey performed “Light” twice with Classic TAB (before Phish returned to the stage), I immediately sensed that it would be Phish’s next cosmic trampoline. And lo and behold, “Light” has been the most consistent portal to the universe in this era of Phish. An open-ended piece that is routinely placed in the second set, its jam has migrated from thick ambient textures to futuristic groove, while hitting just about every musical place in between. “Light” is the band’s most exploratory piece right now, and has been since it first explored darkened territory at Bonnaroo (6.14.09), and further exploded during Fall ’09. Easily the improvisational MVP of 2010, every time “Light” started up the most interesting jam of the night was almost sure to follow.

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“Kill Devil Falls”

Starting out as another straight forward rocker at Jones Beach ’09, “Kill Devil Falls” got immediately interesting at Bonnaroo as the band’s first stellar and exploratory jam of this the summer. But these type of excursions have been few and far between from of the song, and no version has yet to touch Bonnaroo’s ’09 peak. Staying within the box 99% of the time, “Kill Devil Falls” most often finds its way into a show—or set—opening slot. Providing quality rock and roll, “Kill Devil Falls” warms up the audience for what is coming next.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper > Guy Forget” 10.1.00 II

A classic nugget from the home stretch of Fall 2000.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.4.1995 Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload

This December ’95 re-post goes out via reader request to Willowed!

Mullins Center, Amherst, MA

I: Julius, Gumbo, The Divided Sky, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Axilla II, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Hello My Baby,While My Guitar Gently Weeps

II: Timber Ho, Sparkle, Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope, Billy Breathes, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself, Sample in a Jar, Frankenstein

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

Source: AKG 460B/ck61 > custom pre-amp > Teac DA-P20 (@ 48kHz)

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643 Responses to “Settling Into Place”

  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @duke
    first, a disclaimer: I went to college with a bunch of them so I may be a little biased.

    short answer? yes. if you like live music then you should at least check them out once to know whether they are your kind of thing.

    long[er] answer: if you are wholly unfamiliar with them, probably the best way to describe them is that they play prog-influenced jam music along with some serious double lead guitar shredfests. their sound is rooted in the two lead guitarists, with Brendan being the primary song writer/lyricist and Jake being the more “lead” focused guitarist. joel, the keyboardist is extremely well versed in music (he was a piano major in college) and his playing isn’t that far from the page family tree (though definitely more proggy these days). the rhythm section is solid, though some people will say the bassist is a bit of a yahoo.

    they shine most with their composed pieces and with what they refer to as “jimmy stewart” jams which are essentially their “planned” open improv dealios. pretty much everything they do will have some jam on it (though it may come off as composed to one not familiar with it since they have very tight, practiced improv as opposed to actively allowing the music to take them in new directions like a certain band we all know).

    they also do some pretty impressive covers and love to do mashups of seemingly disparate stuff, with some of their normal covers including the police, pink floyd, the stones, a few prog bands, and much more. since they are all solid musicians, their covers come off very well as a result.

    for starters, head over to archive.org where you can find pretty much every show they’ve ever done that has been recorded. I’d start with some of the stuff from 2010 (the new year’s run is very good and their halloween shows will show you what I mean by the mashups. KP actually did a remaster of a very highly thought of show of theirs from Athens, GA but I can’t find it on his site right now. I think I have it on my work computer and can upload it if you want that one.

    the thing you really should not do, is compare them to phish. they are not phish, nor are they trying to be. they cite very different influences (and have even addressed the comparisons to phish on numerous occasions). go into it looking for a fun time and you should enjoy it. heck, you might even find yourself looking for more. they have an appeal that definitely has drawn a solid following to them for good reason.

    sorry for the length. if you want more info, email me. typeiiijpd gmail

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    one more thing, duke. mitch is a very good resource for UM too. heck, he might even be going tomorrow night. you may want to check in with him. now you are making me more pissed at myself for not motivating and hitting the tour opener tonight in beantown.

    stupid snow that needed to be shoveled… I blame thee.
    ::kicks metaphorical rock::

  3. KfL Says:

    i really need to better acquaint myself with summer 98

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    and with regards to to day’s write-up, I am down for an Ocelot outside of the first set.

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    @TypeIII

    UM is coming to Rams Head on the 31st. I have never really listened to them before. Thanks for that explanation

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Ocelot is the definition of “swanky”.

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    In other news:

    The Breakfast is awesome

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    one correction: the show I referred to that KP remastered is actually from the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA. 2.6.10 there are several sources on etree and archive.org where you can stream it. this is a great show to start with.

  9. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @Illness

    Whoa. That was way more than I expected – very much appreciated. Their proggy influences are what really grabbed me when I started reading up – sounds pretty cool, good to have some more personal insight. Looks like I have some spinning to do tomorrow.

    And don’t worry, I learned a long time ago to never, ever compare anything with Phish ;).

    On that note – night, folks.

  10. JeffieM Says:

    at midnight?

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    BK, does the Breakfast still stream video of shows?

  12. oneshowatatime Says:

    UM show really was my first intro to “jam bands”–i was basically told to check them out at Bonnaroo by lots of friends and strangers. Had no idea what to expect or even what a jam band was.

    While I don’t listen to them much anymore–a little too proggy for my palate–they put on a pretty sick show. Definitely lost my mind a couple of times that night back in 2004… they turned the crowd into giant beetles and things just got weirder from there, haha :P

    Anyway, definitely worth seeing, they’ve definitely got skills and sometimes they get into devilishly nasty jams.

  13. YborCity Says:

    UM was the band that got me into jam music as well. Personally, I love their shows, I’d recommend them to anyone who likes Phish. I agree with everything you’ve said in your intro to Umphrey’s, Type III… spot on.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    deer creek halleys 98 is so so bomb…Page initiates a Love Supreme quote within that I never caught before. thanks kp sbds! So bomb…first jam of the show…

  15. Lumpyhead Says:

    Bung

  16. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i know a secret about UM…

    but wait… whats this about Breakfast streams???

  17. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    miner do you prefer 8.11 or 8.3.98 halleys

  18. Corey Says:

    @Mr. Miner, it’s in the little things…the subtleties isn’t it? Great good ear find. I remember that from my own live listen, but now need to go back as 13 years has made the memory fade away. Coltrane was beautiful. Wish I could go back in time if only to hear one gig with him. To be at Carnegie with Monk, that’d be wonderful, no?

    Other music…last night, Francisco Mela got everyone dancing like a PHiSH show…in the Regattabar. Tonight, I’ll try it at the Met during La Traviata. Think I’ll be sitting tonight though.

    Music is simply splendid.

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