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. ren Says:

    Hard to even utter that name Joe….after the “Pump” it was all downhill

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Yeah Sumo. That’s it. Seemed like a nice guy.

  3. kayatosh Says:

    just got lost on the jordan page. jordan aero flight? jordan super fly? are these reissues based on a vintage jordan or a new strain of jordan? i’m lost.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    and it goes on. jordan 60 club? jordan 2012 lite? holy smokes this is vast.

  5. roberto luongo Says:

    He played in AJ I through VIII kaya

    Rest are new versions. Current NBA players still wear em

    AJ III through V the peak imo

  6. Jtran Says:

    palmer, you should take df up on his offer and hit the toronto show

  7. Jtran Says:

    always refreshing to hear big names that are chill

  8. Mr. palmer Says:

    Do they check grammar at the border?

    I’m not traveling anywhere for TAB.

  9. sumodie Says:

    Palmer, Canadian border guards are only on the look out for spurious apostrophes ;0>

  10. bob dylan Says:

    Ya kaya. That’s what I meant. Who can keep track.

    Went to wiki to find which number my favs were.

    Is this true re: Jordan 1? “This red and black color-way was later outlawed by NBA Commissioner David Stern for not having any white on them.”

  11. sumodie Says:

    Phil & Friends final Sunday show has surfaced on the greenboard. All 3 shows linked here, page 15:


  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    U know I’m playin AW.

    Sneakers are yet another topic that Could start bragging and name dropping about. I’m sure I sound like a dick. Google my buddy Fraser Cooke. He’s the guy who designates which Nike models get a Tier Zero. I been thru all that shit before. I just don’t play the game anymore. Ps. I work with a known Jordan collector who used to own the shop WTHN in phila. If any of u wanna pay up for the dead stock holler at me.

    See? No bragging at all.

  13. Gavinsdad Says:

    Sneakerheads of the early aughts are the Yukuten buyers of today.

  14. joe Says:

    listening to this one tonight: I was already out of Amherst, but my buddies on the 5 year plan were still around. I remember this being a good one. Up to PYITE, memories confirmed.

    Monday, 12/04/1995
    Mullins Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

    Set 1: Julius, Gumbo, Divided Sky, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Axilla (Part II), The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Hello My Baby, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

    Set 2: Timber (Jerry) > Sparkle > Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope, Billy Breathes, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself, Sample in a Jar > Frankenstein

    Encore: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

  15. sumodie Says:

    Grateful Dead – 30 Days of the Dead 2012

    complete single zipfile available:


  16. sumodie Says:

    Joe, that was the show that brought me to Amherst for the first time. Don’t recall any song specifics other than loving IT and coming back the following night. Bummed I missed out on that fabled snow ball fight that wrongly got the band banned from campus till Fall 2010.

    Moved to Amherst the very next month and haven’t left since. Well, except for that Woosta detour but I’ve stopped counting that

  17. MiA Says:

    Do they check grammar at the border?

    I’m not traveling anywhere for TAB.

    They check Grammar for French.

    Love this clip.


  18. MiA Says:

    My brain just exploded.


  19. P.S.H.S. Says:

    serious sneaker obsession here. many pairs of dunks, 6.0’s and NB’s. all mine are in super fresh condition seeing as how i spend most of my time in the only work boot worth wearing, Chippewa’s. red wings are for suckers! also have a problem with timberlands. currently pimping rugged street chuckas in chocolate: 6th pic down
    hard to stay away from the earth keeper’s, super fresh boots

  20. P.S.H.S. Says:

    also have a pair of timb pro’s for summer work timehttp://shop.timberland.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4208405:
    these boots could kick a hole through chuck norris’ soul

  21. P.S.H.S. Says:

    link fail:

  22. Iriewalton Says:

    For the Reba lovers out there I just discovered a great one PAC NW monster from their show in Olympia, nov. 94. It’s darkness compliments this dreary, misty weather and this afternoon’s spliff mate sess quite nicely.

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @jtran, i said for the (hopeful) phish show, not tab. anyone who travels to canada to see tab does not deserve to crash at my place.

  24. MiA Says:


    Nice Irie. T3 was posting that earlier this week.

  25. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Just hit remastered 7/21/99 simple->mlt from Star Lake bonus disc. Many dollar signs.

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