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:


    I only know of this source. It’s also out there on the spreadsheet.

  2. MiA Says:


  3. bob dylan Says:

    Pig, I thought about the irony of bashing cops then needing them. Here’s the hitch. If I take matters into my own hands then I’m the one going to jail. Otherwise I’d handle shit myself.

  4. MiA Says:

    Guess there are no seeders. Rats.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, tried that source but no seeders. I’ll do the phishows thing for instant gratification now… thanks!

  6. MiA Says:

    The second set Tweezer is all that too. Go grab the spreadsheet and enjoy.

  7. tela's_muff Says:

    Shit T3. I’d be on full lockdown security mode. Good luck. Call the popo and keep an eye on this cat.

  8. joe Says:

    just dated something 12/04/95 here at work.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    a diversion

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    or perhaps this gem is more up your alley

  11. PigSong Says:

    wtf t3 – back to the school work please. Hanging in SBN btw – thought of you and Silly with all the Irish crap around.

    St Denis Rebs commence.

  12. voopa Says:

    Best of luck T3. Got through Chico Reba today…listening brought it all back, thanks for the assist down memory lane. Crazy Tweezer ending, fierce Possum closer with that crazy feedback in the beginning, shredtastic Maze…

    Caught up with the Daily Ghost today and decided to visit some from my past…Shoreline and Gorge ’97, then Shoreline ’98. Got stuck on that ’98 show and listened through YEM, which has a great ’98 style jam…at one point Trey hits THE funk chord. Recommended.

    Grabbing that Denis source from the hub right now, will seed in the morning, probably.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ha ha, Pig. needed a little break…

    I comment over there infrequently as AllWhoYonder.

  14. MiA Says:

    Gorge ’98 has a funk filled Reba.

  15. PigSong Says:

    shoddy interweb has me starting this Reba over for the third time. Cut out twice pre-jam and once in the build.

    First time back on the road for longer rotations in two months. So yes, plan on my boring later night commentary moving forward. Skipping posts is advised, I’m still kind of jacked on Gyro King.

  16. xpun Says:

    T3. That sucks. But…. Threats of violence and harm to others must be reported to proper authorities. This over rides HIPPA, doctor/patient, lawyer/client, everything. Enough doctors and lawyers here to confirm that right? If someone threatens to harm an individual or threatens public violence, they have waived any confidentiality rights they had.

    Point being if he had threatened your wife I think she would have been told. But I feel like he must have threatened someone else and they were probably warned. The “HR matter” bs is that they probably can’t tell everyone else that “Milton threatened Michael Bolton”.

    I hope this is the case. They should have dealt with the problem correctly from the get go. Not what anyone needs at any time to feel threatened. Work sucks enough when you feel safe.

    Vibes. Keep us updated.

  17. PigSong Says:

    great version, thanks MiA. Two builds.

  18. MmmHmm Says:

    Still no countdown clock for MSG…maybe Miner really isn’t excited this year.

  19. voopa Says:

    Not since TAB tour was announced

  20. MmmHmm Says:

    Good point Voopa. Maybe TAB tour lame-ity really ticked Miner off and he is now over Trey AND Phish and has cast the BB into relative cyber obscurity as evidenced by lack of posts and board involvement aside from the occasional ticket-seek drop in.

  21. voopa Says:

    Heh. We’ll see.

    Shoot darn. My version of St. Denis doesn’t match any of the 3 at etree (that 99% thing). I’ll hop on if anyone wants just the shns.

  22. BNCB Says:

    Miner is busy trying to get closer to Biebers’ crew.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    i cant put the timer up. my tech guy does it, and he’s been unreachable / ignoring me.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    got it up sans image.

    I’m excited! Will start writing hype pieces soon!

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    For Trade:

    1 12/28 GA West
    1 200 level 12/20


    1 12/31 GA West.

    #hook it up

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