Flipping the Script

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 28th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

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.

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Jam of the Day:

Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28.09 II, Albany, NY

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100 Memories From 3.0

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on October 1st, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Hampton Coliseum 2009 (Jeff Volckhausen)

Yesterday marked the 4th anniversary of the Hampton announcement, a flash video dropped in the middle of the night confirming Phish’s resurrection. Over the last four years, we have come back together as a community and watched our band re-evolve. Now, as we sit on the precipice of Phish’s 30th anniversary year, let’s look back at 100 things that we will always remember from this era. Add more memories to the list in the comment section below!

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The Hampton “Fluffhead,” Waiting For Columbus, Red Rocks ’09, Gorge ’11 “Rock and Roll,” Telluride, Fenway’s “Tweezer > Light,” Jones Beach ’09 “2001″ in a deluge, Two-legged tours, “Split Open” Storm ar Red Rocks, “Time Turns Elastic, The Greek Theatre, The Ripcord, Exile On Main Street, The Storage Jam, Miami ’09, The Whale,  Blossom ‘10 “Number Line,” Tucking, Super Ball, Pins, Augusta ’10 “Reba,” Indio, New Years at The Garden, “Golden Age,” Plinko jams, The “S” Show, Bethel Memorial Day Weekend, Dick’s “Light,” the torch and nail, Fuck Your Face, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Brother” openers on Father’s Day, Worcester “Hood,” Bill Graham night 3, Page’s House, Tahoe “Light,” Leg Two jams, Merit Badges, “Seven Below > Ghost,” Crushington State, Dick’s “Tweezer,” MehSG 2011, Guyutica, A Disease Supreme, “What?!,” AC “Stash,” Webcasts, nTelos Pavilion, Camden’s MJ “2001,” “No Quarter,” Greek “Light,” MPP ’46 Days,” “Disease -> What’s the Use?,” The Element Set, Mediocre Woods, “Steam,” OKC, mainstream festival slots, “Dr. Gabel,” St. Louis “Limb,” MSGNYE “Ghost,” YEMBlog, “Skin It Back,” the keytar, “Alaska,” UIC “Waves -> Undermind,” LBC “Rock > Ghost,” Bethel “Halley’s,” Worcester 2012, “Crosseyed” in rotation, first set “Wolfmans,” Phish Loves Dicks, Miami “Tweezer,” Manchester, The Ocedoc, tour openers, Cobo “46 Days,” “Manteca,” Deer Creek ’09 lightning, MPP “Saw It Again” show, “Summer of ’89,” Occupy YEMSG, “Show of Life,” Burble, Star Lake ’12, Jesus Christ Super Twist,” Hampton “Disease,” TweeZeppelin, Bethel Tech “Waves,” “My Problem Right There,” “Night Nurse,” Telluride “Piper,” Jones Beach Runs, “Torn and Frayed,” Dick’s “Sand,” Charlotte ’11 “Rock > Ghost,” Miami “Back On the Train,” uniting the world with the “Meatstick,” the light is getting brighter now…

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ISLAND RUN PIN SALE!:

The Island Towers

It’s not to late to pick up your Island Run pins! The price of the full set (w/ plexi tower display) has been reduced to $60, and now you can buy individual pins from the set for $20 each! With these adjustments, the rest of the pins are sure to go quickly, so head over to MYFE. and grab your collector’s set now!

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Jam of the Day:

Down With Disease” 3.8.09 II, Hampton

The first outstanding jam of this era.

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TTFT: Miami ’09 & March Madness

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 13th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

12.29.09 - Miami, FL (Wendy Rogell)

As we finish our audio retrospective of 2009, today brings us to Miami. Riding the cresting momentum of fall tour’s back end, there was a sense that something special would happen down south. Heading to the proximity of Big Cypress ten years later and back to American Airlines Arena six years later, plenty of memories and anticipation hung in the air. And when the band left Miami, they had found a new sense of musical purpose, bringing their playing to a new level while inspiring the community and making the future look brighter than ever. Mike had been using his envelope filter more and more towards the end of fall, and in a New Year’s Run in which he was the undeniable leader, the effect was prominent in many of the jams. Achieving a new level of musical density, Phish was hitting on all cylinders as the calendar turned to 2010. Today’s playlist is comprised entirely of Miami highlights. Stay tuned from a trip through 2010 starting tomorrow.

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Tweezer -> Caspian” 12.29 II

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Back on the Train” 12.30 II

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Ghost” 12.31 II

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Rock and Roll > Piper” 12.31 II

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Corrina” 12.30 I

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Harry Hood” 12.28 II

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Reba” 12.29 I

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Boogie On -> Antelope” 12.30 II

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Phish March Madness @ Treyismyfriend.com!

64 songs, 1 champion! A tournament to end hotel room debates forever—Phish March Madness has arrived! The songs have been seeded by the committee and the first round games are already underway, hosted by my good friend at Trey Is My Friend—a Phish news, rumor, and satire blog. Head on over to cast your vote for the first round matchups now! There are some ridiculous Sweet 16 “games” brewing if seedings hold up! This should be fun! Is “YEM” the champ? Will “Tweezer” crush all? Will 2012 bring a Cinderella story? With your help, we’ll find out! (Further instructions are on the site)

The Field of 64

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TTFF: Energy and Exploration—Fall ’09

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 9th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

MSG—12.2.09 (Wendy Rogell)

After Summer ’09 and Indio—featuring a masterful take on Exile on Main Street and a well-loved acoustic set—the energy and anticipation was sky high for Phish’s first all-indoor, fall tour since 1997. Historically, things got crazier when Phish took their show inside the walls of arenas across the country, but when Fall ’09 started, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Jamming not so frequently and often in linear fashion, while relying on high energy rock and roll, the band perplexed many fans by their on stage decisions. But on the second night of Albany, someone put something in the water backstage, and the band came out and tore through 50 of the most sublime minutes of music since they had returned in “Seven Below > Ghost.” The band went on to finish the final week of tour on this crest of momentum, and getting into far more interesting jams on the way. This musical momentum would come to a head in Miami over New Year’s Run, the band was finally on the same page and moving into the future. Enjoy these Fall ’09 highlights as we fade into the weekend.

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46 Days” 11.18 II, Detroit, MI

In the first set of fall, Phish got into an infectious and retro funk jam that melted into an ambient soundscape.

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Split Open and Melt” 11.21 I, Cincinatti, OH

Possibly the best “Split” of this era from the third set of four at The Crown.

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Disease > Twenty Years Later” 11.24 II, Philadelphia, PA

A gorgeous jam amidst a smoking show at the Wachovia Center.

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Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28 II, Albany, NY

The night everything turned around.

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Undermind” 11.29 I, Portland, ME

A lively take on the 2004 title track featuring lockstep interplay between Trey and Mike.

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Light > Slave” 12.2 II, NYC, NY

“Light” had been expanding throughout the fall, but this version set a new improvisational paradigm for the 3.0 vehicle.

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Disease > Piper” 12.3 II, NYC, NY

The improvisational centerpiece from the second night at MSG—a furious song pairing with a level of jamming spurned on by the events in Albany of November 28th. A very different “Disease” jam than the delicate Philly rendition.

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Reba” 12.4 I, NYC, NY

An urgent, yet blissful, jam that reminded me of versions of an era past.

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You Enjoy Myself” 12.4 II. NYC, NY

The return of YEMSG—a song with a lush history at the midtiown venue.

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Tweezer -> Light” 12.5 II, Charlottesville, VA

The best “Tweezer” of tour was followed by a dark and mind-fucklingly abstract “Light” of the likes we hadn’t heard before. This sequence set Charlottesville’s tour finale in Charlottesville.

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TTFT: A Big Jump—Summer ’09 Leg II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on March 7th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

7.31.09—Red Rocks (Graham Lucas)

Come Leg Two of Summer ’09, Phish ditched their largely linear jams of June and started to explore again. Beginning at Red Rocks and carrying through The Gorge and beyond, the band seemed more confident taking risks on stage during August. Playing far more confidently than in June, Leg Two felt like a breath of fresh air, and many started to believe again. The jams below represent the best of Leg Two ’09.

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Split Open and Melt” 7.31 II, Morrison, CO

This menacing mind-fuck provided the soundtrack to an oncoming storm. The interaction between the weather and the music was surreal. Check out the video!

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Tweezer” Red Rocks 7.31 II, Morrison, CO

Grade A, certifiable Phish crack. At the time, this jam felt like the best thing since sliced bread.

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Disease > Limb” 8.5 II, Mountain View, CA

The most exploratory “Disease” in a summer full of highlight versions.

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Sneakin’ Sally” 8.7 I, George, WA

A left hook that the audience never saw coming, this “Sally” jam commenced the deeper magic on a mystical night at The Gorge.

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Light -> Taste” 8.7 II, George, WA

At the time played, this was the most impressive version of “Light” the band had played.

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Bathtub Gin > Hood” 8.7 II, George, WA

A second set “Gin”of the likes we are salivating for these days—and a serene and delicate “Hood” to cap off the set.

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Rock and Roll” 8.8 II, George, WA

Though night one at The Gorge was—in my opinion—the show of 2009, this jam the following night vaulted to the top of the weekend.

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Drowned” 8.13 II, Darien Center, NY

Back on the east coast, Phish kept the improvisational engines running, though to the tune of about once per show.

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46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin” 8.15 II, Columbia, MD

This dark horse jam amidst a crappy show at Merriweather is a stunning convergence of all four band members. Moving from murky psychedelia to glorified pastures of gold, this one is a keeper—even now.

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Number Line > Twenty Years Later” 8.16 II, Saratoga Sp, NY 

The band finished off the summer with a centerpiece sequence that highlighted two new songs, and when this tour ended, the entire community was pretty jacked on the Phish.

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TTFW: The Reawakening—Early ’09

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on March 7th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Hampton Coliseum 2009 (Jeff Volckhausen)

As we celebrate the third anniversary of Hampton’s comeback run—yesterday, today and tomorrow—let’s take a ride back in time with an audio retrospective of this era. In only three years, Phish has brought us from Hampton to Red Rocks, from the Gorge (two times) to Telluride, and from The Greek Theatre to Hollywood Bowl. It has brought us up and down the east coast and through the Midwest more than a couple times, hitting all the staples and then sime. This era has brought us  two Halloween shows, two festivals, three more New Year’s Runs, and a whole lot of memorable multi-night stands. And above all else, this era has brought us a hell of a lot of great music. Today, lets start with my some of the earliest highlights from 2009. How long has it been since you listened to these? Enjoy the look back.

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Down With Disease -> Seven Below” 3.8 II, Hampton, VA

The first deep dive of the modern era—and it still holds up just fine.

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If I Could” 6.2 I, Wantagh, NY

The first performance of this song in nine years featured an alternate, more delicate interpreation.

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Harry Hood” 6.2 II, Wantagh, NY

A profound, ambient take on their classic jam on only the second night of June ’09. If you were reading this site then, remember how hard I freaked on this one? Good times.

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Sand” 6.7 II, Camden, NJ

This era’s first  ”Sand” was a revelation, as the band infused a palette of melody into jam. This Camden excursion only foreshadowed the song’s transformation into a whole-band jam in 2010. In my opinion, the most dynamic “Sands” now live in the 3.0 era.

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Tweezer” 6.7 II, Camden, NJ

The first legitimate “Tweezer” in ’09—and it was an out-of-left-field set closer! The commando lick never dies!

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Ghost > Fast Enough For You ” 6.9 II, Asheville, NC

After the band blew out Camden, they came right back and threw down this “Ghost” in the next show.

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Rock and Roll -> Light” 6.14 II, Manchester, TN

Paired with “Rock and Roll,” the band’s first exploration of “Light” came in Bonnaroo’s final set. These two songs would transform into the preeminent launchpads of the modern era thus far.

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A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing -> Drowned -> Twist” 6.19 II, Noblesville, IN

Following an insane lightning storm, Phish came out with music to match, playing—arguably—the set of June.

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Piper” 6.21 II, East Troy, WI

The standout jam of June ’09′s final show at Alpine.

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TTFF: The Comeback Year

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 18th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

10.30.09 (G. Lucas)

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Tweezer > Light” 12.5 II

On of the most impressive jam sequences of Fall ’09 with one of the darkest and most abstract “Lights” the band had dropped to that point.

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Wolfman’s > Piper > Joy” 10.30 II

10.30.09 (W.Rogell)

A dark-horse segement of 10.30.09 that may includes the most creative jamming of Indio.

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Rock and Roll” 8.8 II

While the first night of The Gorge proved most magical, this jam from night two is, arguably, the most impressive of both.

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Back On the Train” 12.30 II

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Amidst a song-driven show, Phish blew out an unsustpecting, mid-second set “Back On the Train,” and crafted one of the jams of the year in the process.

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46 Days” 11.18 I

The dirtiest funk jam of Fall tour came in the first set of all.

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Stash” 7.30 I

Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

This “Stash” from Red Rocks opening frame set the stage for a transformative weekend in Colorado.

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Disease > Twenty Years Later” 11.24 II

One of the year’s most creative jaunts sprouted from this mid-set “Disease” in Philly’s first show.

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Split Open and Melt” 11.21 II

This first-set “Split” in Cincy upped the bar for the song in the 3.0 era.

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While They’re At It…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on February 8th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

8.7.2010 Re-master

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.

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7.31.09 Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado

7.31.09 (Graham Lucas)

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

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8.7.09 – The Gorge, George, Washington

8.7.09 The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

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

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12.29.09 – American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

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

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 8.7.98 I

A smoking Summer ’98 “Ghost” from Raleigh, North Carolina just after the rain cleared—in SBD.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

2.23.1990 Haverford College Dining Center, Haverford, PA

Haverford College, Pennsylvania

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.

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

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: SBD

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Type II Trivia: The Modern Era

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 30th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 Graham Lucas)

Come one, come all! If you’ve been paying attention for the past couple years, you’ll have as good of a shot at this contest as anyone. Today’s main event is “Type II Trivia: 3.0 Style.” That’s right, all ten audio clips come from this era since Phish returned in 2009. Nobody can claim noobership in this contest, as most of you have all these jams stashed away in soundboard quality on your hard drives and iPods…but can you place them? You can earn a total of twenty points for this contest by naming the song and date (1 point each) of each two-minute audio clip. In the event of a tie, I will devise some sort of tiebreaker. Hopefully this contest will shine a light on some highlights and forgotten moments of the last two years. There are no repeats of songs. Please email your entries to me by 12 pm Pacific tonight to have a valid entry. The winner will be announced either tomorrow or Thursday and will have the choice of any piece of merch on-sale for $7.77 in Phish’s Dry Goods Seven Below Sale, including CDs, t-shirts and more. Good luck to all, and have fun!

10.31.10 (D.Lavery)

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10.10.10 (C.Klein)

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10.31.09 (D.Lavery)

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Jam of the Day:

Pebbles and Marbles” 10.16.10 I

A surprisingly ripping and unique version from the first set of Charleston’s second night.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

2.13.1993 Bob Carpenter Center, Newark, Delaware

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Bob Carpenter Center - Newark, DE

This one goes out via reader request to a Phish Thoughts regular as a memento of his first show. Enjoy the band’s first-ever performance in Delaware from February ’93. As Garth once said, “Hey! We’re in Delaware.”

I: David Bowie, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, It’s Ice, Glide, Rift, Stash, Lawn Boy*, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, Wilson, Uncle Pen, Tweezer > The Lizards, Llama, You Enjoy Myself, Big Ball Jam > Hold Your Head Up > Lengthwise > Hold Your Head Up, The Squirming Coil, Cavern

E: Amazing Grace, Tweezer Reprise

*dedicated to Delaware & with guitar solo

Source: Unknown

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Looking Back – Leg II 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 29th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

7.31.09 (G.Lucas)

Before we plunge head first into Leg II of summer 2o10, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on Leg II of 2009. Phish came out at Red Rocks and redefined this era after a tentative run in June. Boasting far more confidence, Phish showed up in Colorado in a relaxed musical state, willing to take risks they weren’t prepared to take only five weeks earlier. When the year came to close, Leg II of summer stood out as, perhaps, the strongest segment of 2009, with musical highlights abounding. Today we hit the brakes for a moment and glance in our rear-view mirror at The Top5 “Moments” of Summer 2009 – Leg II.

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5. “Number Line” 8.16 II – SPAC

SPAC '09 PosterWhile this SPAC show didn’t quite provide the final exclamation point that people expected, Phish did throw down one of the standout jams of August in their final show. Morphing their shiny-new anthem “Backwards Down the Number Line” into primordial soup for the soul, Phish built upon their Chicago rendition from a week earlier. Until Phish threw down Blossom’s “Number Line” this June, SPAC’s version stood as the crowning moment of the song’s young career. This jam provided a dark final excursion to end the tour before the rest of the set turned to fun.

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4. “Icculus” 8.14 II – Hartford

Hartford (T.Salido)

In this moment, we realized that Phish was still comprised of the same four zany guys that started the band back in the day. With his addiction and glassy-eyed stare years behind him, Trey used “Icculus” to launch into classic rant about the technological overload of modern culture, and how everyone needed to get back to reading The Book. The Phishy spirit that had grabbed us all at one point in our lives and dragged us into Gamehendge had returned. To see the look on Trey’s face when this went down pretty much said it all. Everyone left Hartford smiling that night.

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3. “46 Days” 8.15 II – Merriweather

8.15.09 (K.Pusey)

Buried in the consensus “worst show of Leg II” was perhaps the best jam of the tour in the ludicrous version of “46 Days.” Remaining in the song’s structure for approximately three minutes, the band shifted into full destruction mode immediately. Trudging through a cosmic sludge, Fish hit a change and Phish took off for the heavens. Flowing like they seldom have this era, the band locked into one of the more magical jams of this era. Any semblance of “46 Days” was left in Phish’s vapor trail as they took a hose-powered journey to the edges of groove and bliss.

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2. 7.31.09 II – Red Rocks

7.31.09 (G.Lucas)

The second set of the second night of Red Rocks still stands, in my opinion, as the best single set Phish has dropped in this era. Featuring jams aplenty, fluid transitions, and the Red Rocks “Tweezer,” this frame can stand up to any other – easily. Played in three mini-suites, Phish graced the audience with “Drowned > Crosseyed > Joy,” “Tweezer > Number Line,” and “Fluffhead > Piper > A Day In the Life.” If you have any doubts or hazy memories of this night, go re-listen, it never ceases to amaze.

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1. 8.7.09 – The Gorge

The Gorge '09 (G. Lucas)

In Phish’s first night back to the Gorge in six years, they played a show that likened a soundtrack for the mystical natural surroundings. Fusing together several patient jams, Phish – literally – played differently at The Gorge, a trend that has held true throughout their career. While everyone has their favorite shows, this two-set Picasso featured three of the jams of the year in “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Light,” and “Bathtub Gin.” And you just don’t get that in one Phish show these days. That is without even mentioning the glorious combination of “Hood” and “Slave” that ended this special night. (And we might as well tack on the second night’s “Rock and Roll” while we’re here.) Needless to say, the band’s return to the Columbia River Gorge won’t soon be forgotten.

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Jam of the Day: Leg II Venue History Week

Cities > Good Times Bad Times” 8.10.97 II

One of the defining jams of Summer ’97 from the first night at Deer Creek.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.10.1996 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Megaupload

In Phish’s inaugural visit to Alpine Valley in 1996, they dropped significant versions of “Reba,” and “Bathtub Gin” in the first set, while showcasing “Fluffhead” and “Harry Hood” in the second. With this show, Phish inherited the massive Midwestern mecca from the Grateful Dead and prepared to blaze a legacy.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fee, Reba, I Didn’t Know, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Rift, Bathtub Gin, Cavern

II: Wilson, Down with Disease, Scent of a Mule, Free, Fluffhead, Hold Your Head Up > Whipping Post > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, A Day in the Life

E: Contact, Fire

Source: B & K 4021

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