Moments In A Box: The South

6.10.09 Knoxville, TN (D.Vann)

6.10.09 Knoxville, TN (D.Vann)

Whether introspective or communal; comical or transcendental, moments are the patchwork that compose the quilt of the Phish experience.  During shows, moments occur more quickly than normal life- one after another colliding with your reality, altering it time and time again.  On Monday we looked at a some of these timeless experiences from the northeast run, and today, we turn to the second part of June- the south.  Starting in Asheville, stopping in Knoxville, and playing two at Bonnaroo; this was a highly anticipated run of shows.  The following are a few parts of the week that standout in most everyone’s memory.


“Ghost” Asheville Civic Center, 6.9 II

The vibe of this show- and its entire day- was the by far the most laid back of tour.  The venue was as relaxed as Asheville itself, as people navigated the GA floor with ample room and they provided a smoking section that overlooked the mountains to puff as much as you wanted at setbreak.  A pleasant experience all around turned into a twisted psychedelic dream early in the second set when “Ghost” started.  Following a Jones Beach version that was a highlight of the northeast, this drop into this “Ghost” brought much anticipation.

6.9.09 Asheville (D.Vann)

6.9.09 Asheville (D.Vann)

The intimate crowd drew silent (despite the copious beverage stations on the floor) as the Phish crept into the jam, sensing something was at hand.  Coming out with a non-conventional rhythm, Fish directed the course of this improv from the get go, taking it directions divergent from the song’s usual groove-fest.  His abstract beat drew eclectic bass lines and unique phrasings by Trey and Page, providing the anchor of a unique initial canvas.  The band did catch a groove after all, carving a unique path of improvisation along the way.  Transforming the music into a soaring piece that fused engaging melodies with crafty beats, Phish gradually and extensively peaked the jam with an entire section of improv.  The whole band was on point as Trey let loose with some of his most sublime playing of tour, cascading surreal melodies as effortlessly as a spring waterfall.  As the band descended from the mountain top, they oozed into into a perfectly placed pool of “Fast Enough For You.”  This was a peak experience for everyone in that tiny venue- just ask them.




“Kill Devil Falls” 6.12, Bonnaroo Late-Night

In a tour whose jams had remained largely inside the box, it was quite ironic that Phish’s most straight-forward new song provided one of the most thrilling rides of the month.  It was debated how Phish would present themselves to the over-sized Bonnaroo audience, and after “Stash” went into “listener-unfriendly” territory, things were looking up.  But they just kept playing song after song, and all this seemed like was another rock and roll addition to the set.

Bonnaroo (D.Vann)

Bonnaroo (D.Vann)

When the composition turned the corner into the jam, everyone bobbed along with the timeless Chuck Berry-esque sound.  As Trey began his solo over a standard groove, nobody knew where this was heading.  Taking the rock and roll path out the back door, Trey started to extend his notes into drawn out sheets of sound, giving the band enough of a hint to hop on and follow his lead.  In one of those disorienting “What song is this?” moments, it didn’t take long before we were far away from the blues-rock launch pad and into some purely Phishy territory.  Halfway through their late-night Bonnaroo set, the band took one of the first and only trips to their outer improvisational realms without morphing into an ambient jam.  This was Phish taking things back to the source using some fierce interplay that grew innocently and organically from a newbie.  Multiple parallels have been drawn between this jam and the famous Camden Chalk Dust from ’99- and rightfully so.  Both stem from similar springboards and carry a certain driving energy into a high-speed, spirited peak.  We all needed an old-school Scooby-Doo double-take when all was done, as we couldn’t believe the most psychedelic jam of the show came out of “Kill Devil Falls.”




“Harry Hood” Knoxville, TN 6.10 II

6.10.09 (D.Vann)

6.10.09 (D.Vann)

After one of tour’s strongest shows had- by all rights- ended three times already with “Hello My Baby,” “Julius,” and “Cavern,” the band shocked everyone by dropping into the opening reggae rhythms of “Harry Hood.”  Getting that shot of adrenaline, my mind instantly refocused after having already moved on to the encore.  As much an experiential moment as a musical one, this “Hood” capped a huge night in Tennessee, and a smoking second set.  Typical of the focused and triumphant “Hoods” of June, this one did not disappoint.  Featuring active interaction by all band members, the improv was highlighted by the incredibly dynamic conversation by Trey and Mike.

While this version wasn’t as drawn out or exploratory as some of the others of tour, it provided an emotional exclamation point to a standout show when everyone least expected it. Moments don’t always have to come from the depths of a show, and this succinct, yet poignant, “Hood” that came out of left field will back me on that one.





soundiconI’m sure you’ve noticed the new format for “Listen Nows,” featured in today’s and yesterday’s posts.  Instead of having that ugly ad-laced audio player, we’ve now got a sharp little Flash player for all the tracks.  But wait- there’s more!

Let’s say you finish listening to a jam and think, “Wow!  Miner’s onto something here- I’ve gotta have that track!  All you need to do is click the orange song link in the title line of the “Listen Now” and you will download it right to your computer.  No need to “right click and save as”- just click the link and accept the file.  I hope you enjoy this new feature of the site, and much props to Alexander K. for the technological work.  (I will be replacing old links with this new feature as well.)



We were going to finish out June’s tour with Alpine’s 6.20 show today, but after technological mishaps continued into the night, I figured it wasn’t meant to be.  I’ll get that final show up tomorrow.  Cheers.

Tags: , ,

308 Responses to “Moments In A Box: The South”

  1. voopa Says:

    @ Frankie

    I saw MMW at the Warfield on4-20-01, with KDTU. Not all improv, but a smokin’ show!

    Hard to beat those ’98 sets with DJ Logic tho…

  2. Selector J Says:

    Glad you enjoyed that stuff Frankie. You are very welcome. I hear ya about the rocksteady stuff. The WRA vol. 6 I sent you was a lot of that Scientist mixed Roots Radics backed early 80s stuff. I love that stuff but I’ve found it’s not in everyone’s blood. (Shameless plug: Click my name to go my radio show’s website. A ton of archived playlists on there if you want to know some more names discover.)

  3. bearito Says:

    I just saw MMW do a late night set this past jazz fest on May 2nd in nola and Logic sat in. It was shweet!

  4. Frankie Says:

    Thanks Voopa! Seen them a bunch with lots of guests as they came to Montreal every year for a few years with different guests. Marc Ribot, DJ Logic, John Scofield (both albums), a dude on the kora (african harp) and some other i’m sure i forget…

    Love when they start the show just banging on pieces of wood and then move to their instruments…

    Here’s the setlist to the show i was talking about… great setlist!

    04/20/2004 – Café Du Nord – San Francisco CA – United States

    First Set: Improv
    Second Set: Improv

  5. voopa Says:

    @ Frankie

    Nice! In ’02 my wife & I moved to Sacramento from Stockton, so it’s been harder to do Bay Area shows since then…I missed that one, but did see them in Truckee in ’06, and w/Scofield in Sacto in ’07…good times.

  6. Leo Weaver Says:

    Thanks for all the dub input…very appreciated…
    Selector=jackpot…just did a quick check of your site, look forward to checking it out later.

  7. Frankie Says:

    Thanks Selector! 🙂

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    @Selector J:

    good things.

  9. Selector J Says:

    @Leo: If you ever have any questions about anything reggae-related, I’d be more than happy to share my JA-obsessed thoughts. It’s one of those things that I think way too much about and don’t have hardly anyone who cares enough to hear it (much like Phish to many people, I imagine). My wife will humor me but she could honestly care less about say, the best Channel 1 backing band: Roots Radics or Revolutionaries?

    Also real-quick: To further my tacky site-plugging, I’ve neglected to update that site in quite a while and my on-air time slot has since changed. The show is no longer 9-10 pm (CST) on Mondays. It’s now 10-11pm CST. I’m gonna go fix that now.

  10. sumodie Says:

    ATL says: “Talking “other” bands.. It starts and ends for me with MMW.!..unreal vision, talent, and risk taking….Every show was better than the last”

    Stupendous Says: “if you are an astral traveller like myself theres just no words to describe how quickly these boys can get you far as musical exploration I feel there’s nothing like GD, Ph & MMW….”

    Medeski, Martin & Wood FINALLY get mentioned today!

    I’ve been reading today’s excellent discussion and haven’t been able to respond till now. MMW is the only other band that I actively listen to and see that is able to create the same level of magic groove that I get from Phish and the Dead. All 3 of these bands are (were) amazingly good listeners/communicators that can reach a level of artistry that few are able to achieve. I’ve been listening to MMW since the early 90s (as with phish) and have yet to find another band from that era or since that can match the talent in either band. IMHO of course 🙂

    And I remain on the look-out for jambands that I might find equally compelling. I use the term ‘jamband’ only as a matter of convenience as I find it does do a disservice to ANY band stuck with that label. That said, I find our discussion here of so-called jambands to be entirely appropriate. I also agree with most of the commentary regarding the ‘other’ jambands out there.

    I like hearing people discuss why they like/don’t like certain bands. The key to having a discussion like this is to use thoughtful criticism and not just sling hate, eg, ‘WSP sux’. I’m always on the look out to learn if another band out there is making magic at the same level as phish. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy other bands that aren’t on the same level as phish (E.g., used to love Blues Traveler big time back in the day -the first show on the first HORDE tour is what connected me to phish).

    I listen to a wide variety of musical genres. When phish broke up, I discovered that electronica could fulfill my dance/groove cravings. I’ve tried several of the ‘jamtronica’ (excuse me for using that term) bands, but I finally had to admit that those bands don’t do it for me like pure electronica (I’m one of those crazy dancers at shows -also, I admit I may have to give tdB another chance).

    Just bought MMW’s ‘Radiolarians I’ today. I’m definitely jonesing hard to see them again soon. Thanks for letting me add my piece.

    As for Miner’s blog today, I’m surprised more love isn’t given to the spectacular RocknRoll > Light > 46 Days from Sunday Roo. I will admit not a lot of folks seemed to recognize Light -maybe that’s why Friday’s KDF gets mentioned more often from the roo shows. Ah well, the best is yet to come……..

  11. bearito Says:

    The Rocknroll>light>46 days was a nice treat for sure Sumodie.

  12. Frankie Says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t any talk of The Benevento/Russo Duo! Amazing musicians and great people! You guys heard the 45 minute Foam set with Mike from a couple of years ago i hope… it’s a must hear! It’s up on but also here…

    Check it out! 🙂

  13. voopa Says:

    Agreed! The Duo brings it!!

    One of my favorite recent shows was Bobby Previte’s Coalition of the Willing with Skerik, Charlie Hunter and Marco.

    Robert Walter, too. Seen him with The Greyboy Allstars (must hear) and his own Super Heavy Organ group with Skerik and Johnny Vidacovich.

  14. bearito Says:

    Duo = Good Stuff

  15. bearito Says:

    voopa, are u familiar with Garage a trois?

  16. Frankie Says:

    Robert Walter and Skerik also play with Stanton Moore on his record III…

    Flying The Koop is my favorite Stanton Moore record with Skerik, Karl Denson (Greyboys) and Chris Wood (MMW)…

    Critters Buggin’s Stampede is an amazing record and The Dead Kenny G’s with Brian Haas of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey were awesome as well…

    Marco’s record label The Royal Potato Family is supposed to release the new Garage A Trois record later this year…

    I also love Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, have you heard that Voopa? Crazy big band jazz political music! Their album Husky is great with songs such as Go to Hell, Mr. Bush and Fry His Ass…

  17. voopa Says:

    Very! I liked them better w/Charlie Hunter, but I still love ’em.

    They were at the crazy Mountain Aire Road Show at the Berekeley Greek in 2001, along with Critters Buggin, Galactic and…others…at one point during Garage’s set there were 10 people on stage playing sax!

    Then a week later I saw Les Claypool sit in w/Critters in SF. What a great week of music.

  18. Frankie Says:

    Robert Walter and Skerik also play with Stanton Moore on his record III…

    Flying The Koop is my favorite Stanton Moore record with Skerik, Karl Denson (Greyboys) and Chris Wood (MMW)…

    Critters Buggin’s Stampede is an amazing record and The Dead Kenny G’s with Brian Haas of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey were awesome as well… insane improv sessions!

    Marco’s record label The Royal Potato Family is supposed to release the new Garage A Trois record later this year…

    I also love Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, have you heard that Voopa? Crazy big band jazz political music! Their album Husky is great with songs such as Go to Hell, Mr. Bush and Fry His Ass…

  19. Frankie Says:

    sorry about that…

  20. voopa Says:

    Heh, yeah, love the Taint. Never saw them perform though. Flyin’ the Koop is a great album too.

    Now that we’re getting into Acid/Jam Jazz I could go on forever, but it’s time to clock out. I’ll catch up with the discussion in a few.

  21. bearito Says:

    That new GAT record is taking FOREVER! Anything Skerik is involved with I usually dig. He’s a loose cannon and when he’s on, it’s sic! I just saw the dead kenny g’s recently and it was also some twisted goodness.

  22. bearito Says:

    Stanton’s “Emphasis on Parenthesis” is also worth a listen.

  23. Frankie Says:

    I love Outre Mer! Such addictive grooves! Did you see the Dead Kenny G’s with Brad Houser Bearito? Great project! I love it when Skerik and Mike D play by themselves also as the Illuminasty Duo…

    When i saw Marco Benevento Trio back in may, he said that he was producing the new Garage A Trois record and that it would come out sometime this fall… can’t wait to hear that!

  24. bearito Says:

    If Brad is the ridiculous Bass player, then yes.

  25. Frankie Says:

    Thanks, never heard that one, have to check it out…

Leave a Reply