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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Five Posters From Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 19th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 - Atlantic City -G.Lucas)

Poster collecting has gotten crazy in the Phish scene these days. These sought-after, limited edition prints often go on sale exactly when doors open, if not hours beforehand outside the venue, all but eliminating the chance for the casual concert-goer to grab one. And hence the allure. Even the nights that all the posters are sold at merch stands when doors open, they are sold out before the show begins, and if the print is a Pollock, its a race to the tables and they are gone in minutes. The aftermarket for this artwork has also blossomed with the $50 prints grabbing up to $200 in the post-tour hype, and even more on EBay. Hiring a different artist for every show or run this Fall, Phish offered a diversity of prints to take home as a souvenir or an investment. Artwork is subjective, and everyone has their own tastes, but these are my five favorite prints from Fall Tour 2010. (Pictures of all prints can be found on Phish’s Facebook page under “Photos”)

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5. 10/30 Atlantic City – Artist: Nate Duval (Run of 550)

The middle print of a three-piece holiday set, this one stands out from the rest. Celebrating the honey bee – the state bug of New Jersey – this Queen Beehive with a seeing eye struck me the moment I saw it. While the other two prints in the series are also very cool, the surrounding patterns and bizarre visual effect of this image put it over the top.

10/30 (Duval)

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4. 10/26 Manchester, NH – Artist: Ken Taylor (Run of 600)

This print plays off Western Observatory in Derryfield Park, an actual landmark in Manchester, New Hampshire. Artist, Ken Taylor, dropped in on the forum at Phishposters.com saying that his intent for the image was to have the tree symbolize Phish taking over Manchester. Well, Ken’s premonition proved to be on point as Phish took the  New Hampshire town by storm.This fairly dark and mysterious print pops to life in person with the use of metallic inks; not your run of the mill Phish poster

10/26 (Ken Taylor)

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3. 10/24 Amherst, MA – Artist: Jim Pollock (Run of 625)

This Pollock print for the second night of Amherst trumps his work on the first by leaps and bounds. Centered on a crest in which each quadrant represents a band member, the words “Boy, Man, God, Shit” surround the central image. Another single – or third – eye appears over the top of the print in the “Phish” font, a theme present on three separate prints this tour. Pollack combined a colonial scene with an underwater theme below the date, as colonists and their horse appear in full snorkel gear. This brightly colored print bursts with detail and has been a pricey purchase in the secondary market.

10/24 (Jim Pollock)

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2. 10/22 Providence – Artist: Marq Spusta (Run 650)

This is easily the most detailed print from Fall Tour. Blending an underwater scene with an intricately designed forest, eleven squid cling to an ark at dusk. Jellyfish, sea stars, seahorses (fuckin’ love em!) and other detailed pieces from under the sea surround them in a print that only gets more interesting the more you look at it. Probably many people’s pick for the poster of tour, this one is a visual treat.

10/22 (Marq Spusta)

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1. 10/19 Augusta, ME – Artist: Scott Cambpell (Run of 700)

Augusta’s poster is my personal favorite due to its sharp, borderline-animated artwork, dramatic shape, and vibrant colors. Scott Campbell’s pieces have always struck a chord with me, and when I saw this print it immediately caught my eye. Alluding to “Cavern,” the poster includes the lryic “It’s later than you think” above the date of the show. The image portrays light shafts beaming into a cave onto a mud rat detector, or some sort of projector, under a ceiling dripping with stalagtites that spell “Phish.” Aside from any Phishy symbolism, this piece struck me as the boldest and most powerful artwork from of Fall Tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Time Loves A Hero > Day Or Night” 10.31.10 II

A stellar segment of Phish’s Waiting For Columbus set.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.11.10 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Official Broomfield Poster

A start-to-finish smoker, the second show of tour provided a huge step forward from night one. The first – and arguably – more exciting set featured a classic “Jim,” “Foam” opener, and a stellar sequence of “Wolfmans,” “Reba,” “Halley’s > Tweezer.” The highlight of this run was “Reba,” a version that would be sitting on the tour’s top-shelf were it not for Augusta’s masterpiece. The set-opening triumvirate of “Golden Age > Piper > Camel Walk” and a late set “Twist” starred in the second half. But no matter how many times Phish tries it, “Number Line” just doesn’t work as a set closer.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Back on the Train, Wolfman’s Brother, Reba, Halley’s Comet > Tweezer, What Things Seem*, The Squirming Coil, Run Like an Antelope

II: Golden Age > Piper > Camel Walk, Alaska, Gotta Jibboo, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Twist, Fluffhead, Backwards Down the Number Line

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

Source: FOB/DFC > Neumann ak40′s(NOS) > lc3 > km100 > Aerco mp2 @ 20db > Sd 702 @ 24/48 (Taper – gotfob)

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The Rebirth Of Carini

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 12th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 (Graham Lucas)

Every tour brings twists and developments to Phish’s catalog, often infusing new tunes into the mix and sometimes revamping old ones. But over the golden road of Fall 2010, no song went through a more holistic transformation than “Carini,” as Phish breathed new life into the crowd favorite.

2.17.97 - Amsterdam

Debuted in Europe ’97 as part of their winter progression towards groove, “Carini” rarely transformed into anything with improvisational significance over the years with a few notable exceptions. The song’s premiere in Amsterdam blossomed from slowed darkness into a sped up melodically-anchored experiment that eventually led into “Taste,” but after its European debut and a funked-out surprise encore at Madison Square Garden on 12.30.97, the song stayed firmly within its cage until December 28,1998. To jump start the New Year’s Run, Phish knocked down the doors of the second set with a menacing excursion that morphed into the song’s most significant exploration to date. Scouring the dark corners of the universe, Phish tore the roof off the elusive piece, combining it with “Wolfman’s” in a defining slice of MSG history. But ever since this ferocious plunge, “Carini” stagnated over the years. Always good for a crunching hard rock interlude, the band never built anything of note with the crowd favorite, giving it a simplistic role in setlists.

This pattern continued through the late ’90s, the post-hiatus years, and the beginning of this era (with Telluride’s extra-terrestrial ending as the sole aberration.) But when Phish broke out “Carini” in Broomfield – and then again in Providence and Atlantic City – the song’s paradigm changed forever.

10.31.10 (Graham Lucas)

In a complete 180 degree turn, Phish chose not to use “Carini” as path into darkness, instead transforming the song into a piece of sublime improvisation. No longer growling through evil jams, Trey elevated them with gorgeous leads that cut through heavy and unique full-band interplay. This uplifting direction, debuted in Broomfield, was expounded upon in Providence’s top-shelf version, and then abstracted upon in Atlantic City. All of fall’s “Carinis” deviated far from the song’s structure, transforming a one-dimensional piece into a full-blown portal to the divine. Within three unique and experimental excursions, Phish completely changed face of the game. “Carini” has now become an exploratory vehicle of the highest degree, and this has to be considered the single, most significant song evolution of Fall Tour.

Check out all three “Carinis” from fall with some context and a description of each.

***

10.12.10 II Broomfield, Colorado

10.12.10 - Broomfield (S.Short)

This three-night run set the tone for fall as each night built upon the last. As Phish came to their final set in Colorado, they broke out “Carini” to open things up. Trey comically changed the lyrics to “Carini had bubonic plague!” referencing the reported cases among Broomfield’s prairie dog population. But there was no comedy once the lyrics ended. Initially riding the traditional “Carini” jam, as the band settled into a more mellow groove, Trey spontaneously unleashed a sublime solo over the heavy backdrop. Reaching for spiritual heights, Trey took a melodic sprint over the full-band groove that evolved out of “Carini’s” foundation. Fish and Mike hooked up behind Trey’s lead as Page built a wall of sound to color the conversation. Throughout this segment, Trey continued his cathartic playing, fitting right into the rhythmic pocket. The band eventually slowed into an ambient curtain of sound which descended over the arena as if preparing for an alien arrival. And Phish smoothly slid into “Bowie.”

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10.22.10 II Providence, Rhode Island

10.22.10 - Providence (J.Rizzo)

With tour in full swing, Phish hit The Dunk on a Friday night coming off their two-set escapade in Utica, New York. After a solid opening frame, Phish opened the second with, in my opinion, the jam sequence of tour -”Rock and Roll > Carini.” Fall’s second version of the morphing song came out of, perhaps, the tour’s most innovative psychedelic trek in “Rock and Roll.” And as the band segued into “Carini,” they carried big-time energy and momentum, and were primed to explode. Once the lyrics ended, Fishman immediately launched into a hard-edged beat while Trey spit guitar fury. Very quickly, however, Mike and Page made a harmonic shift beneath the two devilish players, coaxing Trey to join in with transcendent guitar work. Beginning with beautiful leads, a switch to a soulful rhythm pattern brought the band into a four-piece experiment. Before long, Phish reached one of the most uplifting segments of music of the entire tour, as the whole band collectively crushed a jam that took on a soul-tugging life of its own. Perhaps my favorite segment of music from Fall, this piece reached a far more emotive plane than Broomfield’s introduction. Migrating to a sparser realm that had nothing at all to do with the song, the entire band continued their locked and original patterns while Trey flowed in a melodic river of dreams. Page brought some slick compliments to the mix which moved the band into a rhythmic texture that served as an infectious come down from the mountaintop. Meanwhile Trey continued to play to the heavens over this groovy canvas in a sequence of to-die-for Phish.

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***

10.29.10  II Atlantic City, New Jersey

10.31.10 - Atlantic City (G.Lucas)

Phish pulled into AC for their three-night Fall finale as fans nationwide descended onto the Jersey Shore. After a mellow opening frame, Phish dropped bombs at the beginning of the second, combining two fall-standouts – “Sand” and “Carini” – into a single highlight reel. Phish took “Sand” on its most fluid and adventurous course of the tour as they entered a post-peak, mid-tempo, ensemble groove that had Little Featprints all over it. Thus when the band hit “Carini,” they, again, carried a colossal head of steam. Trey worked in the “Carini” line to the collective groove, signaling the change into another Fall Tour All-Star. Boardwalk Hall exploded with the opening chords of “Carini” and the band carried that energy through the composed section of the song, screaming the lyrics as they drifted into the jam. Trey’s guitar picked up where their voices left off, wailing over a nasty groove. Red began a lead with distinct attitude over the  bass-led patterns, while the band crushed “Carini.” But once the guitar solo ended, everyone settled into a equitable plane. As this segment began, Trey almost went berserk with crack-like rhythm licks, seeming for a moment that shit was about to fly off the meat rack. But he pulled back into an equally creative solo that infused the still-heavy piece with supporting melodies. But the band shifted back into a funky canvas as Mike dropped one unique idea after another. The band’s rhythmic talk soon drifted far from the song and into a four-piece ambient collaboration. The future-sounding segment melted into “Prince Caspian,” thus ending the final “Carini”of fall.

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Jam of the Day:

Sand” 10.20.10 II

A scorching second-set rendition with a mini bonus jam on the way to “Theme.” A middle-man between South Carolina’s initial version and Atlantic City’s blowout.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.20.10 Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Official Utica Poster

The virtual consensus “best show of tour.” Phish put together two twisting and turning old-school sets in a tiny venue, oozing energy of the past combined with music of the future. A standout Phish show for any era, the band was locked from moment one in this musical and experiential highlight of Fall.

I: My Soul, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother > Cities, Guyute, David Bowie*^, Wilson*, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Saw It Again* > Run Like an Antelope*

II: Drowned > Sand > Theme From the Bottom, Axilla, Birds of a Feather, Tela,  Split Open and Melt > Have Mercy > Piper** > Split Open and Melt, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Good Times Bad Times

* w/ Guyute Teases, ^ w/ Wilson Teases, **w/ Birds Reprise

Source: Edirol UA-5>Edirol R-09 HR>Nakamichi 300 Mics W/CP4 Shotguns (Taper  – D.Boedicker)

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Weekend Nuggets: Cover Clips

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 5th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

“Join the Band > Fat Man In the Bathtub” 10.31.10 II

The beginning of a legendary Halloween performance.

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“Makisupa > Night Nurse > Makisupa” 10.26.10 II

The most authentic reggae cover the band has ever pulled off. In memory of Gregory Isaacs.

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“Chalkdust > Whole Lotta Love > Chalkdust” 10.30.10 I

The most explosive and well-executed Led Zeppelin segment of the show – by far.

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Memories Of The Boardwalk

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 3rd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Trey and Giovanni Hidalgo - 10.31.10 (Michael Stein)

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"Little Phish" 10.31.10 (B.Lovelace)

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10.30.10 (Matt Wagner)

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Miner’s Picks – Fall ’09

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 20th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Madison Square Garden (Brian Ferguson)

As we turn the page from Fall Tour and begin to look towards Miami, I have compiled the latest installment in the Miner’s Picks series – “Fall ’09.” This time around, you’ll find some repeats throughout the eight-hour highlight reel due to Phish’s proclivity for using similar vehicles throughout the run. The band chose their weapons for  this tour and slayed them each time out, playing some of the most engaging jams from similar launchpads. Providing a legitimate summary of the past tour, “Miner’s Picks: Fall ’09″ arrives just in time for the holidays to spice up any dinner or cocktail party. Enjoy the psychedelia with your holiday cheer, and get ready for a Miami New Year!

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 (ALL) < Torrent

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 Pt.I < Megaupload

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 Pt.II < Megaupload

1-4. “Tweezer > Light > Train > Possum” 11.20 II

5. “46 Days” 11.18 I

6. “Undermind 11.29 I

7. “Reba” 12.4 I

8-10. “Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could” 11.21 II

11,12. “Disease > Twenty Years Later” 11.24.II

13,14. “Piper > Tomorrow’s Song” 11.27 II

15. “Split” 11.21 I

16,17. “Seven Below > Twist” 12.4. II

18.19. “Light > Slave” 12.2 II

20. “Harry Hood” 12.5 II

21,22. “My Friend > Golden Age” 11.27.II

23,24. “2001 > Bowie” 12.3 II

25-28. “Mike’s > Simple > Slave > Weekapaug” 11.24 II

29. “YEM” 11.20 II

30-32. “Disease > Piper > Fluffhead” 12.3 II

33. “Bathtub Gin” 11.24 I

34. “Birds of a Feather” 11.25 II

35,36. “Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28 II

37. “Stash” 11.22 I

38. “Antelope” 12.5 II

39-42. “Tweezer > Light > Piper > Free” 12.5 II

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Jam of the Day:

“Carini > Wolfman’s” 12.28.98 II

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On the darkest day of the year, here is some Phish to accompany the mood.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.25.09 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA < Torrent

11.25.09 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload

Philly (B.Ferguson)

I: Kill Devil Falls, 46 Days, Sugar Shack, Halley’s Comet > The Divided Sky, Sleep Again, Ocelot, Train Song, Wilson, Run Like an Antelope

II: Birds of a Feather, Farmhouse, Tweezer, You Enjoy Myself, Esther, Time Turns Elastic, Tweezer Reprise

E: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro ( Oade preamp mod ) @ 24/88.2

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Weekend Nuggets: An Autumn Assortment

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEKEND:

11.18.09 Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI < Megaupload

11.18.09 (M.Christie)

1: AC/DC Bag, Foam, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Bouncing Around the Room, Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls, It’s Ice, Horn, Mountains in the Mist, Poor Heart, 46 Days, David Bowie

II: Runaway Jim, Down with Disease > Free, Waste, Taste, Bug, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Cavern

E: Character Zero

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Lunatec V3> SD 722 (@24bit/48kHz)

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Jam of the Weekend:

2001 > Bowie” 12.3.09 II

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The exclamation point on a non-stop set of Phish.

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

10.31.09 – Indio, Team Hood’s Four Camera Edit ——————— (Click white You Tube links for widescreen)

“Torn and Frayed”

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“Ventilator Blues”

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“I Just Wanna See His Face”

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Moments In a Box: Four More From Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 17th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Today, to end the week, we look at some final moments from fall tour that left a mark on our collective memories. Two are jams and two are songs, but all four are illustrations of those times at shows when time stands still and we swim in the shrine of the Phish.

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“Disease > Free” 11.18 II

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

Phish usually drops one of their anthems to initiate and conclude their tours; creating thematic welcomes and farewells for all involved. This fall’s welcome-to-tour jam came as part of Detroit’s second set in the form of “Down With Disease.” Turning the upbeat rock and roll into a sharper piece of improv, Trey brought the band into darker thoughts using a dissonant tone. Shedding his strong guitar leads for a more collaborative affair, Trey offered fluttering melodies that accompanied Page and Mike’s offerings. An amoeba-like jam, the band pushed, pulled and stretched as one unit, without anyone dominating the mixture. Descending from the peak, the band sat in the musical denouement for a bit before Trey introduced the chords of “Free.” Allowing “Disease’s” jam to come to an organic conclusion, something the band hasn’t always been able to do this year, they moved quite naturally into the next song. Though “Free” hasn’t exactly been a vehicle for the band since their return, Trey added some gnarling guitar work, stretching Detroit’s version into the most significant of the fall. A bombastic landing pad for some other-worldy music, Cobo bounced in super-slow-motion with the over-sized bass grooves en route to the second-set’s standout sequence.

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“Torn and Frayed” 11.21 I

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

When Phish broke out this fan favorite from their “Exile” set, many people’s hopes were answered – Phish would continue to play “Torn and Frayed” as part of their catalog. Given the most interpretative treatment out of all the “Exile” songs in Indio, the song emerged as the leading contender to remain in the band’s catalog. And coincidentally, “Torn and Frayed” became the first song played off the double-album this fall. In line with the band’s current sound, were it not for the song’s significant legacy, it sounds like a piece that could have been cut in the studio while recording “Joy.” A narrative of the rock and roll lifestyle, “Torn and Frayed” is lyrically appropriate for Phish as well, referencing the path once traveled. Though I expected the song to pop up later in tour as a jam vehicle, the band kept it under wraps while bringing out three other songs from their cover set. Perhaps in Miami?

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“Camel Walk” 11.24 I

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

“Camel Walk” represented the moment everyone knew the first night of Philly would be something special. Significant not for its musical blowout, but for its mere inclusion as the fourth song of the show, “Camel Walk” foreshadowed the incredibly entertaining night that would unfold. Following a smoking triumvirate of “Chalk Dust” “Bathtub Gin,” “Cities,” many expected a dip in the first set excitement. Instead, the band continued the non-stop opening frame with 2009 bust-out of their funked out, old-school piece. Phish locked the switch in the “on” position from the first note of this show, and never took the pedal off the metal. With a set of musical bellows, Phish stoked a setlist fire, and “Camel Walk” added a necessary spark to the early stages of an already burning blaze.

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“Piper > BBFCFM” 11.22 II

Official Syracuse Poster

Official Syracuse Poster

In a building that bled with an old-school energy, Phish played right along with the feel of the miniature arena. Transforming this second set “Piper” into a manic musical passage, Phish upped the intensity of their break-neck journey with a high-speed percussive chase. Tearing into a set of power chords, Trey lent a harder edge to the music, while Page initiated an effect-laden synth pattern that quickly grew into the focus of the jam. Sprouting a unique musical root, Phish cranked up their tongue-in-cheek homage to death metal, “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” With an aggressive transition likening a gasoline on a fire, Phish unleashed a mid-set inferno. Complete with nonsensical on-stage antics, the band launched a ludicrous escapade into the occult. Eventually emerging from the bizarre in a comedic ending, Trey tipped his cap to Fishman and his family in their home town of Syracuse. A throwback moment of the highest degree, it was refreshing to see that Phish still carried their spirit of absurdity into this era.

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Winged-music-note=====

Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind” 11.29 II

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Cumberland County’s improvisational meat of the second set.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.22.09 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, NY < Megaupload

Onondaga War Memorial

Onondaga War Memorial - Syracuse, NY

I: David Bowie, Julius, Sparkle, Kill Devil Falls, Lawn Boy, Heavy Things, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Let Me Lie, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Stash

II: Drowned > Twist > Piper > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Tube, Theme From the Bottom, Maze, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Character Zero, First Tube

E: Good Times Bad Times

Source: DPA 4021 > Sound Devices 722 (24/96)

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Albany and Beyond

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 17th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

Listen to the ovation at the end of “Seven Below > Ghost.” The roar that you hear is one of absolute celebration from all sectors of the audience; Phish had transformed into psychedelic juggernauts of yore. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the music itself, the band had showcased the qualities that made them famous – a musical abandon defined by uninhibited risk taking and, ultimately, golden musical pastures. Phish had just let it all hang loose for the first time since their comeback. Sure, the band had played some amazing jams, and certainly had put together more than a few awe-inspiring sets and shows, but this was a different story altogether. This was the exploratory magic of Phish at work again. For nearly an hour, the band pushed each other harder than we had seen them do in this era, experimenting with, and exploring, new musical planes, while arriving at some truly sublime segments of music along the way. In my memory, and in the memory of countless other fans, this was the type of passionate adventure that has always defined the Phish experience.

11.25.09 (HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Hybrid Radar)

Throughout this fifty-minute stretch, Phish proved what most of us assumed – they could still throw down the gauntlet on a moment’s notice. Listening to Albany while driving last night, I felt like I was listening to Phish of a different era. A different energy blared from the speaker than I was used to hearing this year; the music likened the exploratory bravado that dripped from stages for years on end. I could truly hear the band searching for the sound, and then about halfway through “Seven Below,” hitting their stride like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. Everything clicked deep into this jam; deeper than Phish had been usually willing to dig this go-round. And in no surprise, the first time the band let loose in this uninhibited manner, they succeeded with flying colors. With heart-tugging melodic themes and a connected conversation, Phish found themselves amidst the defining musical jaunt since their return.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Once the band hit their stride, they never lost it for a minute. Careening to a triumphant peak of “Seven Below,” the band slid down the other side into “Ghost.” And from note one of this most unique jam, the band had everything locked down. Sewn together with profound musical glue, this piece would drive the band far beyond anything one would expect to hear from the song. Embodying the theory that if the band is flowing, it matters not what songs they play, Phish continued their musical theatrics with a multi-faceted jam that reached several sonic plateaus. Building from cooperative melodic grooves into a more abstract section of shimmering psychedelia, the music turned far more intense as Mike cranked up his filter and began crushing core patterns. The band continued to merge masterful sections of improv, landing in some of the most maniacal music of the modern era. This represented Phish without borders; jamming without preconceived notions of where things were headed; improvising in the truest sense of the word.

This is what Phish did in their prime, in various forms, from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2003. Throughout these years, Phish always devised new ways to create original magic from similar springboards. Each year represented an evolution from the one before; Phish’s music built upon itself, morphing like a chameleon from one self-referential form to another. A freakish phenomenon, the band continued to reinvent their music year after year, proving to be one of the most creative forces in the history of the game.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

So here we are, at the end of 2009. With a New Years Run separating us from Phish 2010, the first year back in just about in the books. It’s been an incredibly positive year for the Phish community, one laced with more than a few memories of a lifetime. But musically speaking, I believe 2009 will be looked back upon as the foundation for everything that followed; the building blocks for the next musical evolution. The band needed to prove to themselves, more than anyone in the audience, that they still had their mojo. It took them a while to get back into the swing of things, with some sparkling highlights along the way. But I don’t think it was until Albany that the band fully realized the magic they were still capable of hatching. Listening back, one can clearly hear Trey trying to bring back the “Seven Below” melody, aiming for a safe ending to the set’s opening jam. But the band pushed on, unconcerned with what was supposed to happen, and diving off the edge. Emerging almost an hour later, the band had rediscovered the mystery of the unknown; those pristine possibilities that arise when they drop guard and allow things to happen. When the landing point is unknown, Phish is at their greatest. And listening to that crowd in Albany, I think everyone agrees.

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Jam of the Day:

Birds Of A Feather” 11.25 II

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The standout piece of improv in a lackluster second set in Philly.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.29.09 CCCC, Portland, ME < Megupload

CCCC - Portland, ME

CCCC - Portland, ME

I: Possum, Down with Disease, Nellie Kane, Weigh, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Stash, Meat, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: The Moma Dance, Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind, Pebbles and Marbles, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Free Bird, Carini, Waste

Source: Beyerdynamic CK930 > Grace Design Lunatec V3 > Sonic AD2K+ > Marantz PMD-661 (@ 24 bit / 96 kHz)

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Moments In a Box: The First Sets of Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 15th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

The first sets of fall didn’t carry much improvisational weight, so when Phish unveiled a jam in the opening frame, it always drew enhanced attention. Providing musical respites from the composition and song-driven stanzas, these pieces often came as the first opportunity to really immerse oneself in all-out Phishiness. Most often sticking to contained exploration, the band rarely took chances during the first half of shows, reserving almost all musical risk for the second. Here, however, are four first-set pieces that did take off into creative wonderlands.

***

“46 Days” 11.18 I

"46 Days" (M.Christie)

"46 Days" (M.Christie)

Towards the end of a relatively generic tour-opening set, Phish sat into one of the thickest jams of tour. A song that varies between a vehicle for improvisation and a blues-rocker, the placement of this version had “blues rocker” written all over. But as the bombast came to a head, the band slipped into a very slow funk groove. Leaving the song’s structure in a wake of heavy organ swells, deep bass bombs, and a percussive rhythms, the band formed a gooey canvas that Trey painted with a retro funk line, circa 1997. Phish locked into a methodical and transportative groove that likened a mind-controlling soundtrack for an alien chain gang marching hopelessly to their death. With sonic effects gradually layered into the piece, the throwback groove morphed into a futuristic, ambient sound sculpture. Phish had jumped into the abyss out of nowhere, crafting one of fall tour’s enduring pieces in its opening frame. With a completely original lighting display by Kuroda, an indelible moment crystallized right away at Cobo Arena.

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***

“Split Open and Melt” 11.21 I

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Late in Cincinnati’s third set of the weekend, the opening beat to “Split” shot from stage like a sonic cannonball. While always an adventure, the band had already played some extremely psychedelic renditions during the summer, making the first indoor “Split” all the more intriguing. As the band embarked into the nether, they wandered through a sublime melodic plane on their way to an abstract mind-fuck. Harnessing the very essence of the song, Phish upped the levels of this version with a gradual climb into the darkest realms of sonic sorcery. Completely overtaking The Crown with their psychedelic textures, all members of the band equally contributed to the symphonic cacophony. Growing into a “jaw-on-the-floor” moment, one could hardly believe the coherency in which Phish plowed through such precise, demonic music. Moving far out into an amorphous ball of sound and fury, a mind-popping moment occurred as the band slammed back “Split’s” natural groove without missing a beat. A high point of Cincinnati’s two nights, no first set pieces approached the levels of awe and terror induced by this piece.

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***

“Undermind” 11.29 I

Official Portland Poster (N.Duval)

Official Portland Poster (N.Duval)

In perhaps the most engaging first set of fall, Phish took “Undermind” off the shelf for the only time during fall tour. The song that lyrically fits the band’s current place in time so well always seems to provide a tasty nugget of rhythmic exploration. Dusted off in fine style, in the band’s highly-anticipated return to Cumberland County Civic Center, Phish took “Undermind” to new heights. Playing with increasingly effected tones throughout the piece, Mike and Trey engaged in a dynamic two-step, wrapping their melodies around each other like supple snakes. Page hopped on the clav, adding another layer of crunch to the jam, as Fishman held things together from down below. As their momentum built, Trey and Mike showcased their symbiotic chops in what quickly became a clear highlight to the night. Getting downright dirty, Mike, Trey, and Page formed a creative three-person aural brew that bubbled with all sorts of spicy, filtered effects. As the band climaxed the jam, splashing back into the chorus, the crowd responded with appreciative fervor at the virtuoso mini-experiment.

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***

“Reba” 12.04 I

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

One of the band’s most complex pieces, “Reba” often features small mistakes by one band member or another. Whether a smudge in the song’s fugue or a massive flub a la Indio, more often than not, the compositional section hits a speed bump or two along the way. Because of its degree of difficulty, “Reba” always represents a signpost for the band’s precision playing. Consistently launching into one of Phish’s most blissful improvisational segments, a tightly wound beginning enhances the overall experience; and this first setter in Madison Square Garden’s final show had it all. Exploding through the composition with speed, confidence and a sense of musical drama, the band nailed the opening half with little trouble, carrying a gigantic head of steam into the jam. Taking off with a greater sense of musical determination than usual, the section of improv commenced immediately with a quicker tempo and zero time to settle. More akin to an older version, Trey came directly out of the gates flowing subconsciously, phrasing his melodies masterfully and pouring his heart into each measure. The band chugged right along with their leader, hitting a series of creative stops and changes along the upward path. A song that flourishes exponentially when the band is fully locked in, this Madison Square Garden outing levitated the mid-town arena with densely packed cascade of groove. One of the strongest versions of the year, sometimes the band can express more in less time with ultra-focused playing, and that is what this “Reba” is all about.

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Jam of the Day:

Down With Disease > Twenty Years Later” 11.24 II

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A psychedelic excursion that highlighted the second set in Philadelphia.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.24.09 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Cities > Camel Walk, The Curtain With, The Wedge, The Moma Dance, Reba, Golgi Apparatus, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Possum, Down with Disease > Twenty Years Later, Harry Hood, The Mango Song, Mike’s Song > Simple > Slave to the Traffic Light, Weekapaug Groove*

E: A Day in the Life

*1/2 time version

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro @ 24/88.2

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