We Follow The Lines Going South

6.7.09 Camden (D. Vann)

6.7.09 Camden (D. Vann)

Still reeling from Camden’s throwdown as we make our way down to Asheville, the excitement for the rest of this Summer is now bubbling more vigorously than ever.  With six summer shows under their belt, Phish looks to dial up the intensity and improvisation as we enter one of the most anticipated weeks of tour.  From the mountains of Asheville, to the sleeper in Knoxville (tickets are now going for $12 on TicketsNow!), and from the monstrosity of Bonnaroo to the intimacy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre- this week holds countless promising moments.  The venues will be diverse, including both the grandest and smallest stages of the summer, and it’s all kicking off with an indoor GA show tonight in Asheville.  Having re-acclimated to the live setting, the band looks to springboard off their colossal night in Camden and continue their fireworks down south.

6.7.09 (D.Vann)

6.7.09 (D.Vann)

The band members are having a blast on stage night after night; flashing huge smiles, joking with each other and the crowd, and clearly sharing our enthusiasm for what is unfolding this summer. Trey, Page and Fish look like kids in a candy store up there, and while Mike is always more reserved, his bass has been expressing his thoughts in between subtle smiles.  This positive energy and enthusiasm has permeated their music into the audience where the crowds have been spectacular.  Everyone at the shows is having a blast and it seems that most people are coming for the right reasons- in celebration of Phish.  Once again, we are living IT, and it feels so good to be home again.

6.7.09 (D.Vann)

6.7.09 (D.Vann)

One of the most encouraging trends on this leg has been the copious amount of new songs, virtually all with improvisational potential.  Not to mention that when these pieces are compiled onto Phish’s forthcoming album, they may just comprise the most impressive studio effort of the band’s career.  Each piece focusing on a different piece of Phish’s sonic repertoire, the new material spans the Phish spectrum from ballads to psychedelia to straight-ahead rock and roll.  It will be interesting to watch the development of these new songs and see when they are placed as centerpiece jam vehicles in the show.  Personally, I look forward to the time when Phish builds big second set versions of “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” the playful “Ocelot,” and “Twenty Years Later,” just to name a few.  And that time could be sooner rather than later.  Phish’s songwriting hasn’t been this strong since 1997 when they debuted a slew of new material that summer.  And with the way things are going, I think we will continue to hear further debuts as we shift into the southern run.

With the band improving by the night, it has been like watching time-lapse photography of Phish’s re-development.  Harnessing the precision and energy that put them on the map, and channeling it into a renewed improvisational spirit, the odysseys that made Phish famous are again knocking on our door again; and we’ve never had a more welcome visitor.

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344 Responses to “We Follow The Lines Going South”

  1. kevin are hollo Says:


    I’m hopeful that what we’re seeing now is a synthesis of the “thesis” Phish 1.0 (old school thru early 90s) and “antithesis” Phish 1.5 (97 and after funk beast), with each side correcting the egregious tendencies of the other. That would be the best possible Phish IMO, one that is true to its Zappa/prog roots while funking out – in a more focused and less meandering way.

    couldn’t agree more.

    but realize i was simply pointing out how an older fan might lash out against the funk / space / ambient stuff having grown up on thrash attacks. no conflation, and in fact they DID co-exist, again, for several years you had precise and high-end rebas/antelopes with super dooper funk bombs like ghost/tweezer/BEK, often in the same show.

    modal playing can be tops, but you better in be top form to run with miles, coltrane, zawinul, shorter, etc.

    the thing is, i don’t think of jazz when i think of phish (except fish, whose drumming on lawnboy SWINGS so fucking hard…seriously! even the songs that became thrashy, like SOAM, on that album as originally recorded are so jazzy). the composed songs are more classical in an avant garde sense.

    avant pop?

    All my dude friends were all about YEM, the ladies all loved Fee, and I wanted to hear practically nothing but BBFCFM.

    fucking awesome.

  2. El Duderino Says:

    Dancingfool The Tokyo Japan 2 disc set sorry

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    the Live in Tokyo and Live in Seattle albums are from ’67 I think. Believe it or not, they actually represent a step back from the abyss, and are more structured and less abstract (and, I think, better – at least in historical retrospect) than the previous couple of years.

    @Albert – interesting – kind of what I figured. Wow you saw the Corea/McLaughlin tour, I wish that had come through here. John M is still great when he plays with some fire. I had epic down-front seats for the last Remember Shakti tour, it was fucking berserk! my buddy pulled an amazing stealth schoeps FOB of it too.

  4. El Duderino Says:

    The Live @ The Vangaurd box set is another favorite of mine.

  5. msbjivein Says:

    6-9-09 Set I
    Curtain w/,Mound,TMWSIY>Avenu MAlkenu>TMWSIY,Ocelot,Sample,Stash,
    Esther,Funky Bitch,Roses,BOWIE
    Set II
    TTE,Timber,Mike’s Song>Hydro>Weekapawg,PYITE,Sneakin Sally,Undermind,Kill Devil Falls,Waves,Scent and Subtle Sounds,Bathtub Gin
    Encore-Sweet Adeline,Cavern,Sleeping Monkey

  6. Mitch Says:


    dunno if this was posted yet but the poster site is:


  7. c0wfunk Says:

    i’ll take that set .. I’m out kids . Might report back later in the Time Between – headed to cruise it, bust out the Special Stash, and See What’s What.

    (I’ve been attacked by a Capitalization Monster today apparently..)

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Hey Mitch, Your from Indy Huh?? Where’s your local hang out??

  9. kevin are hollo Says:

    have a great time tonight!

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Kevin ur right about coexistence and that’s where my relative lack of detailed Phish knowledge on a tour by tour basis exposes itself. When I really think about it I remember that they were still playing sick Fluffheads in ’97, but that’s not how I think of that era. But it was a process, a change over time, and not a sharp on/off.

    Maybe that famous ’99 Fluffhead with the epic outro jam represents the synthesis we’re talking about?

    The thing that gets me, Kevin, and I don’t hear this from you, so don’t feel the need to defend yourself, is when people who are into avant garde, fusion, or prog rock come off as if they have superior musical taste or understanding and the rest of us just don’t get it. Basically I am calling shenanigans on that whole idea.

    I’m not a musician but I know a lot about jazz and improvisation. I take no crap or condescension in that regard from anyone. At the height of fusion and prog rock, in 1975, I think the best live band in the world was The Meters, and I can argue the point at least to a standstill with anyone.

    “modal playing can be tops, but you better in be top form to run with miles, coltrane, zawinul, shorter, etc. ”

    Very well said – after the Heads DVD last night (my comment on that earlier has yet to appear due to YT links) we put in a Miles in Berlin ’73 DVD that’s really really in your face aggressive modal shred, and there’s this conga player, I forget his name, but he’s raging along, keeping up with guys like Miles and Pete Cosey (who is a serious fucking trip to watch) throwing down this ridiculous storm of music and he’s keeping up but MAN does he have this hilarious deer-in-the-headlights look on his face! “Holy crap I gotta hang with this shit and all I got is these fuckin congas! Oh crap Miles is staring at me and I gotta solo! Ahhhh!” Huge rivers of sweat pouring down his face…really classic

    The flip side of this is that jambands learning just a little modal technique is a dangerous thing! If you’re not a heavy player in a band that really communicates, it can be an avenue that leads to incredibly boring, circular, go-nowhere jerk-off jams. That’s maybe part of your point there, though?

  11. Albert Walker Says:

    I had no idea how hot Kenny Garret was either
    gave all the 80’s Miles a new listen after hearing him wail
    Corea and Mcglauphlin playing Silent Way- priceless

    this tour along with rtf i would say were the tours of the year

    Shakti- I’m speechless even thinking of hearing this live
    if any of you hippies have not heard this buy these records now

  12. Albert Walker Says:

    kinda funny all the fusion guys coming back well aware this is a new market for rock based jazz music

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    @El Dude we continue to be on the same wavelength. Village Vanguard is my 2nd favorite Coltrane after A Love Supreme (which is my favorite work of art in any genre or medium). To me it has the perfect balance of structure and formlessness. The versions of India and Spiritual off those disks are the music my soul longs to hear. Interestingly it’s much more “out” than his albums from the next few years – people thought it was too weird, so he retreated a little, just for awhile.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Albert – that shakti show was one of the greatest blessings I’ve received in my long musical adventure. The only bad thing about it was that it made every other show I saw for the next 2 or 3 years seem kind of lame in comparison.

    I’m surprised I don’t have that recording of it on this computer. If you’d like to hear it, I can post it tomorrow.

  15. Mr. V Says:

    There are a few lawn tickets for Burgettstown on sale now at LN.

  16. McGrupp Says:

    So I just emailed a few people in my company letting them know I’ll be on Phish tour next week…and the Marketing Director replies, and I swear this is true:

    “Whats a phish tour?”

    Soooo….how would YOU respond? It’s gotta be professional….

  17. msbjivein Says:

    The Meter’s are one of the best bands ever. I love Ziggaboo and Goerge Porter!!! Leo’s the man also!! I go to NOLA Jazzfest every yr(Past 10yrs) and make a point to see those guys playing at least once. If I didn’t see them while @ Jazz it just wouldn’t be NOLA Jazzfest!! Great Shout out Completely!!!

  18. msbjivein Says:

    I would say your going the Gamehendge instead…….

  19. Albert Walker Says:

    I’d love to hear that Shakti man don’t think I have any bootlegs only the vinyl they released

    just make sure there are no Bob Marley fillers on there- just kidding man

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @McGrupp – simply say “I am going to drop tons of acid and dance my ass off to whacked out psychedelic dance grooves and crazy prog rock at a long series of shows by a band making a spectacular recovery from hard drug problems. I will probably get seriously naked at least twice and wake up not knowing where I am at least once. I will dodge the wooks and try not to get custied. I also hope to have intense drug-fuelled sex in the backseat of a van with a fine-ass dready chick I just met in the lot.”

    you are, after all, a professional.

    @msb – unfortunately there are few very clean SBD sources from the peak 74-76 Meters era – if anyone knows of any please let me know! I was able to compile about 1 disk’s worth of really great stuff but there are flaws in every source.

  21. McGrupp Says:

    so maybe something like this:

    Phish is a band that tours across the nation; they took a hiatus for a few years and they have now returned.

    The band consists of 4 musicians and they play jamband music that can be associated with similarities to Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and others.

    People follow them all around the world in cult-like status as the band has been known to create music that brings and out of body experience, some people will call it their religion.

    Kinda deep….but surely not enuff….

    What else?!

  22. kevin are hollo Says:

    At the height of fusion and prog rock, in 1975, I think the best live band in the world was The Meters, and I can argue the point at least to a standstill with anyone.


    as a huge meters fan with pretty much their entire catalog memorized on bass, i’m all ears. i don’t think i’ve even heard mch from them live, let alone something that’s going to rival any live weather report from the ’75-’78 lineups.

    The flip side of this is that jambands learning just a little modal technique is a dangerous thing! If you’re not a heavy player in a band that really communicates, it can be an avenue that leads to incredibly boring, circular, go-nowhere jerk-off jams.

    EXACTLY why i hate the words “jam” and even more “jamband.” and i proclaim the death of the word “jamband.” starting….NOW 🙂

    random aside, it was a beautiful thing to see pat metheny play one of ornette coleman’s tunes with sanchez and mcbride a few years ago. coleman is SO out there writing-wise with pat’s SO in there (read: harmonious) playing. perfect mix of in and out.

  23. McGrupp Says:

    MrC….I would’ve wrote that 10 years ago…not any more….things have changed for me since then, just as they have with the band. Thanks tho!

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Albert – LOL np – one Shakti coming up, hold the Bob

  25. McGrupp Says:

    funny Wax….I just used the ‘jamband’ term as an example…as much as I dislike it as well….but I’m just not sure how else to explain to someone who has NO idea what Phish means.

    might you have any input for me on a potential response, por favore?!

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