Flipping the Script

12.5.2009 (Graham Lucas)

Three years ago today, Phish turned the ship around. Amidst a fall tour that featured limited creativity, less a few jams here and there, the band unveiled a 48-minute sequence that remains among the most adventurous of this era.  Where they often reeled in their excursions, the band pushed on, shocking everyone in The Knick on that fateful November night. Many cite Albany’s “Seven Below > Ghost” as a legitimate turning point of 2009, and considering the course the band took for the rest of fall tour through Miami, that assertion would be hard to argue against.

Albany ’09 Print (Brosmind)

Phish had played an impressive second leg of summer, specifically out west where stands at Red Rocks and the Gorge illustrated a much enhanced improvisational confidence. When the band returned to the east coast to conclude summer, however, the their risk taking diminished, managing about one serious jam per show. With the start of Fall Tour started, Phish stepped inside for the first time after their comeback shows in Hampton. Throughout history, fall tour, traditionally, saw the band’s experiments darken and the intensity of their jamming elevate, but over the first half of Fall ’09, their musical progression plateaued.

Despite a few gems, specifically Cobo Arena’s “46 Days,” Philly’s “Disease” (which built upon a highlight version from Detroit) and a rock solid second set on the first night of Cincinnati, the band’s extended jams followed a cookie-cutter pattern of shredding rock > percussive grooves > ambient washout. The night before Thanksgiving, Phish dropped their weakest show of tour in Philadelphia, capping an sterile night of music with “Time Turns Elastic.” Needless to say, this wasn’t the anticipated path for the first fall circuit since 2000. But then we got to Albany.

The first night in New York’s capitol showed hints of inspiration in the debut of “Golden Age” and a scorching version of “Piper.”  But after the second night in Albany, nobody would be talking about the first. To kick off their fourth and final set of the two night stand, Phish took “Seven Below” off the shelf for the third time of the year, and this one would be unlike the previous two. Pushing far beyond convention and outshining any musical plane they had visited during the year, the guys played off each other with stunning fluidity, progressing through several melodic themes en route to a soul-tickling escapade. Infusing the magic of lore into their set-opening jam, Phish wove original music of the likes they had only hinted at during the peaks of summer. And as they wrapped up 25 minutes of pure catharsis, they segued smoothly into “Ghost!”

12.6.09 (G.Lucas)

Playing with an abandon unseen in ages, the guys keenly navigated a melody driven turned sweltering psych rock rendition of their groove vehicle that quickly stood out as the version of the year. A multi-tiered jam that slithered through several distinct feels, Albany’s “Ghost” contained as many daring twists and turns as “Seven Below,” and this entire sequence of egoless interplay set the community ablaze. Harnessing the adventurous spirit and whole-band unity that once defined the quartet, Phish cranked through improv so original it made the most of the year’s previous music sound contrived.

There aren’t many jams from 2009, that didn’t take place in The Gorge or Miami that still lavish the praise of Albany’s revelation. With new momentum in tow, Phish jams grew bigger and bolder over the final week of Fall Tour, a palpable shift that graced the band’s return to Madison Square Garden and their tour-closer in Charlottesville. Throughout their comeback year, Phish experienced re-growing pains as they worked their way back to prominence. And though they didn’t turn that corner in earnest until a month later in Miami, it was this night three years ago that set the band on course for their Holiday Run transformation.


Jam of the Day:

Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28.09 II, Albany, NY

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ph2009-11-28s2t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ph2009-11-28s2t02.mp3] Tags: , ,

1,498 Responses to “Flipping the Script”

  1. MiA Says:

    #sexintheBB maybe more appropriate.

  2. ren Says:

    What does MiA shod his feet in?

  3. roberto luongo Says:

    nah most people really dig one of the other. major design changes to the 90’s. mostly the back heel and the hard leather is weird to me.

    the I’s are the softer materials and that classic clean design.

    I know peeps like those pink, black, and white I’s they released last year but just not my thing

    I’m pretty obsessive about my I’s too. they do more colorways in the I’s so I can buy several styles a year.

    these Patta designed cordoroy and denim are my current favs


  4. gavinsdad Says:

    there’s only 3 or 4 people on here that like sneaks. only 1 that really cares.

    liking sneakers is very 2006.

    i like workboots, duh. red wings of course.

  5. roberto luongo Says:

    pink, white, and black 90’s I meant

  6. ren Says:

    I actually really like the I’s….and lots of other sneakers too. Veteran of the footwear design industry. I can make shoes and sneakers from scratch…done a bunch of decon/recons on Nikes as well…..have a very extensive leather collection.

  7. roberto luongo Says:

    kicks never went out of style in this city man

    could just be those philly suburbs you been rollin in

  8. joe Says:

    *also worked for an athletic shoe/apparel company.

  9. roberto luongo Says:

    and given those AJ IV BREDs retros sold out in 2 minutes

    someone still buying em GD

  10. Phlorida Phan Says:

    Badass kicks to dudes is like diamonds to the ladies

  11. joe Says:

    *the lame one*

  12. ren Says:

    I prefer the harder leather and dislike a fabric toe box. I may have weird toes or walk different or something but the big toe ends up poking a big hole right thru.

    Sneakerheads are very much alive and well in urban areas. The recent craze has made it a little less appealing honestly. I pretty much just buy grey shoes now. I like the color…can be anything…a slip on a chukaa, sneaker, whatever as long as it s grey

  13. roberto luongo Says:

    these joints drop Dec 22nd. I know our grateful host wants a pair of these. gonna be hard as hell.

    AJ IV Thunder


  14. ren Says:

    Interesting @Joe….not sure I know which one you are referring to?

  15. ren Says:

    Those are DOPE! 6th grade flashback

  16. MiA Says:

    AJ really loves to pretty up his feet too.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Knowing Joe’s locale narrows the field…

  18. MiA Says:

    I endorse Red Wings. Great boots there.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Howdy folks. Hope everyone is doing well.

    Hard to believe MSG will be here in a few short weeks. Starting to get pumped up. Probably time to tell the wife my plans.

  20. ren Says:

    Probably time to tell the wife my plans.

    ^HA! Start by handing her a nice bottle of red wine

  21. joe Says:

    not the closest one to Boston, though. long time ago and I wasn’t a design person.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Some rapper, Wiz something? , was in the studios today with the hip hop channel guys. Whole place smelled like the chronic. Gotta love an environment where peeps are puffin in studios.

  23. ren Says:

    I guess that would be NB then….I have a buddy on the design team there. Looking to parlay my skills into a new career path….footwear industry is going down the tubes

  24. sumodie Says:

    Wiz Khalifa?

    So guesses the guy that never listens to hip hop

  25. joe Says:

    not NB, the other one. (sorry board) still hoop it up in my Iverson’s.

    tt anyone?

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