Phish has been remastering recent shows at a torrid pace, seemingly holding onto their goldmine of archival releases for later down the road. The recent remasters have provided lush upgrades of three standout shows from last summer in Merriweather and the two final two nights of The Greek. Audio engineer, Fred Kevorkian, has also given his treatment to three shows that wouldn’t have been close to the top of my list in the Alpharetta stand and Deer Creek’s second night—well played shows with significant peaks and valleys. With no idea if the band has further plans to remaster modern era shows, here are three can’t-miss nights from 2009 (in chronological order) that certainly deserve Kevorkian’s aural enhancement.
In one of the first, truly great performances of this era, Phish had one leg and one show under their belt, and came out swinging at Red Rocks on night two. Though the band opened the show with a potent “Jim,” “Chalk Dust,” “Bathtub” triumvirate and punctuated the first set with a terrorizing “Split” amidst an oncoming monsoon, the everlasting story of this evening came in the second. Served up in three musical suites, Phish annihilated their best set to that point in 3.o. Featuring a flawless segue (“Drowned > Crosseyed”), exploratory jamming that found gold (“Crosseyed”), liquid dance grooves (“Tweezer”), copious risk taking (such as transitioning out of the “Fluffhead’s” peak into “Piper”), and a classy cover to close the set that had debuted at Red Rocks in 1995 (“A Day in the Life), this show had it all. A top shelf effort through and through, and a hallmark show on Phish’s return to greatness.
I: Runaway Jim, Chalkdust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Time Turns Elastic, Lawn Boy, Water in the Sky, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Split Open and Melt
II: Drowned > Crosseyed and Painless > Joy, Tweezer > Backwards Down The Number Line, Fluffhead > Piper > A Day in the Life
E: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer Reprise
You want jams? This show has got ‘em. On their first night back in the Columbia River Gorge in six years, Phish dropped an instant classic. The improvisational peaks of this night have become household jams of this era—the intergalactic “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Light”-turned-calypso, and the monstrous show-closing combo of “Bathtub Gin > Harry Hood.” Throw in a dynamic first set “Stash” and solid daytime versions of “Disease” and “Ocelot,” and you’ve got quite the improvisational smorgasbord. But far more impressive than the quantity of jams (which in this day and age is scare), was the quality of the band’s interplay. On his night Phish was nothing short of majestic. Weaving patient, open-ended tales that could only have sprung from The Gorge’s inspirational surroundings, Phish had their cosmic portal functioning in full force all night long. This show’s delicate jamming would greatly benefit from Kevorkian’s love.
I: Down With Disease, Ocelot, Pebbles and Marbles, Possum, Sleep, Destiny Unbound, Stash, Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Cavern
II: The Moma Dance, Light > Taste, Fluffhead, Joy, Bathtub Gin > Harry Hood
E: Slave to the Traffic Light
Phish turned a corner in Miami over last year’s New Year’s Run, and despite any backers of 12.30’s follow up, this is—unquestionably—the show that deserves enhancement. The first set contained a red-hot “Maze,” extended groove-sessions in “Wolfman’s” and “Reba,” a couple bust-outs in “The Connection” and “Access Me,” and a spirited “Divided Sky.” The main plot line of this night, however, would come after setbreak. After the greatest modern-era “Tweezer” bled into a regal “Caspian,” the rest of the set was pure gravy; but Phish never stopped. The playful sequence of “Jibboo > Wilson > Jiboo” went directly into “Heavy Things” before Phish capped the night with the can’t-miss combo of “2001 > Slave.” If the band is pumping out modern remasters, this Florida adventure should certainly be high on the waiting list.
I: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Driver, The Connection, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Reba, Access Me, The Divided Sky, Cavern
II: Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer > Prince Caspian, Gotta Jibboo > Wilson > Jibboo > Heavy Things, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise
“Ghost” 8.7.98 I
A smoking Summer ’98 “Ghost” from Raleigh, North Carolina just after the rain cleared—in SBD.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
2.23.1990 Haverford College Dining Center, Haverford, PA
This SBD relic from nearly twenty years ago in a college dining hall comes at you as a reader request for Mitch in New York City.
I: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, You Enjoy Myself, Possum, Foam, Carolina, Rocky Top, Dinner and a Movie, Ya Mar, Walk Away, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope
II: Golgi Apparatus, Reba, Bathtub Gin, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Tela, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg*, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Highway to Hell
E: Contact, I Didn’t Know, Good Times Bad Times
*w / “Low Rider” jam
Source: SBDTags: 2009, Culture, Releases