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.

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

  1. Leo Weaver Says:

    @shpongleyez, got some King Tubby…good stuff for sure.

  2. butter Says:

    KDF is a much more realistic call over Harpua / Forbin > Mockingbird

  3. R1 Says:

    @gavinsdad: “ominous seapods, moonboot lover anyone?”

    HA! Just made me laugh to remember those two bands. Definitely remember seeing the seapods at the Wetlands and moonboot lover in my college bar

    There are a lot of “newer” good bands out there right now, but not many “jambands”

    Some recent faves:

    The Secret Machines
    The Decemberists
    The Slip (not so new)
    Menomena (fucking rule)

    Just wondering, does anyone remember the band Somah?

  4. butter Says:

    which King Tubby album to start with?

  5. Frondoot Says:

    three nights at the spectrum…i need that!

  6. msbjivein Says:

    What about a Jerry tune on Sat?????

  7. notkuroda Says:

    I ended up going to the Biscuits at Starscape the night before Camden. I haven’t seen them this year and was stoked to get the opportunity. I honestly left that show thinking I would not see a better played one on my following two week Phish tour. THat feeling was quickly dispelled, but if there’s any band out there who has a talent for mind blowing improvisation that’s near Phish’s level, it’s the Biscuits.

    Then I saw Brownie at Camden, then Camden happened…

  8. Marshall Says:

    My Phish shows span from ’94 to ’98 (16 shows) and then 5 this year (2009).

    Saw a lot of WSP back in the mid-90s as well (like Weaver, I’m also from the South), but it was mainly because (as he said) my friends were always going to see them, so I went. Fun, but never reached My Soul the way Phish does on even a poor night.

    Also caught Merle Saunders several times back then. And, of course, Col. Bruce and the AQR.

    Not really classified as a Jam Band, per se, but seeing The Funky Meters at Tipitinas in New Orleans in 1993 was definitely one for the ages – talk about thick funk!!! Not a bad way to follow up a Phish show either (JazzFest).

  9. msbjivein Says:

    No Dogs Allowed in the Subway Today……………………..

  10. Marshall Says:

    Oh – forgot to add in Galactic. Very under-rated.

  11. R1 Says:

    ok, let’s try that again

    @gavinsdad: “ominous seapods, moonboot lover anyone?”

    HA! Just made me laugh thinking about those bands. I remember seeing the seapods at the Wetlands and moonboot at my college bar.

    There are definitely some very good newer bands out there that I’m really into right now, but none of them are “jambands”.

    Recent faves:

    The Secret Machines
    The Slip (not so new)
    Menomena (fucking rule)

    there are plenty of others

    just wondering, does anyone remember the band Somah??

  12. butter Says:

    trombone shorty and big sam have been sitting in with Galactic this year. if you can see that do it. a good recording to look for would be Galactic “theatre show” from 1/09 on Jam Cruise. Trombone Shorty and Big Sam battle out some of the sickest trombone work you’ll ever hear. Then, come to find out Trombone Shorty is even better at the trumpet.

  13. Pencilneck Says:

    The Easy Star Dub All Stars , with Dub Side of the Moon and RadioDread. Fun stuff.

  14. Danny B Says:

    I have seen a bunch of other jambands, and while some were great live, none of them really hold a candle to Phish. I saw a lot of Biscuits shows from 2000-2002, but then only hit up a few shows a year from then on. After their first drummer left (and even before that) they lacked the creativity and intensity that I loved about them. Their new drummer (Allen Aucoin) is technically amazing, but the band never really gelled the way they used to. I have heard that in 2009 they have been better than ever, and I am hoping to check out a show this summer where they prove it to me. They were the only only other jamband that I would obsess over like Phish, back in the day they were a lot more then electronia and “untz”. Miner, I know you have some ties to the band, even though I don’t know you personally, I heard the Brownstein interview from over the New Years run where he mentions you. All I can say is keep it up, with the writing, and let me know if there is anything particulalry worth while Biscuits wise to check out from this past spring tour.

    And for guitarists out there (like myself), Jon Guttwillig is one of the most underrated unique guitar players ever. He stopped trying for a while, but between 99-02 he had a phenomenal style that was all his own, and really unique.

  15. msbjivein Says:

    Luv T-Bone & Sam!!!!!!! Real Funk!!!!

  16. Litteringand Says:

    This is red rocks….this is the edge

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Dub Side of the Moon…definitely a fun one…Time is the tits…

    Good calls on Galactic and Funky Meters…they used to stop in Athens on a regular basis, was always a blast…seen ’em both quite a few times…will check out that 1/09 show…good ‘bones (well horns in general) can be a spectacular addition to already good music

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    Other than Phish/Jerry-Dead, I totally feel Derek Trucks and everything he does. While the improvisation in his band doesn’t get out there like Phish, the man can flat out play. He’s easily the greatest slide player ever.

    Most other “jambands” I find embarrassing. Let me count the ways:

    – WSP…like their albums, respect the songwriting and they are somewhat original, but the jamming is stagnant, stagnant, stagnant…haven’t seen them with Herring, though. This band has a legit scene, IMO, so is above bands listed below….

    – String Cheese…I used to live in Boulder in the late 90s/early 00s….the most contrived drivle in the history of man making noise. I mean, seriously, they force the vibe, paid people to start “glow stick” type moments. Seek help if you listen to this band. Kang is my best argument for atheism…

    – Disco Bs…first time I saw them it seemed like just a mess of noise, and I noticed the drummer wasn’t too good, in fact, bad. That was in 2000 in Boulder. Then I saw them in 04′ at All Good, and it was better, but not pleasant. I mean when people say Trey has no soul in his playing, they should really listen to these other bands whose guitarist play with no feeling or conscience whatsoever…

    – Umph…Are they any more than a slightly better version of Moe? Again, chops, but no soul or compositional originality….see Moe

    That being said, all of the above can be enjoyed on lots of drugs. There is a reason no band (Umph/Cheese), were able to grab the Phish fans to fill stadiums coast to coast. IT isn’t there. They’re not really special.

    Phish sold out MSG before Jerry Died!! IT was there early and often, and people who hated the Dead followed them all the same without trying to fill a fix they had gotten elsewhere…this was more than 1/2 of Phish fans before 95’…

  19. shpongleyez Says:

    @ Butters: KDF isn’t really a bust out…Did I miss something?

  20. jahvolunteer76 Says:

    Agree with Mr. Miner. There is the Dead and Phish and then the rest…

    Widespread Panic are a great blues based rock band. I love JB and seeing them perform with Michael Houser at the first Bonnaroo was an experience I will treasure. They do have the potential for IT. I know it, because I experienced IT. However, they are just not that exploratory, they focus more on songwriting. I also will no longer travel out of the state to see them and I rarely listen to them outside of a live setting. Ultimately they are a good band, but just not that special.

    SCI are a 3rd tier jambands and pretenders to the throne. I give them props as successful business men and I had fun seeing a couple show sin 1999 and 200, but I find them to be incredibly contrived, paint-by-numbers. They leave a bad taste in my mouth. UM and Bisco is simply music for kids who haven’t had enough listening experience to other types of music. In short they are just not that good and are also pretenders to the throne.

    I do like seeing STS9 when they come to town. Galactic is alright.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ col. disagree about the biscuits 100%, but alas this is a Phish board…

  22. ColonelJoy Says:

    I really discovered Phish when I was a private in my second phase of army training back in the summer of 03’… on a bunk with 70 other cocks in the same room…Full Metal Jacket sort of thing….had a Sony Walkman, the waterproof yellow one….Dude living there from Conneticut knew I was into the Dead and he gave me a tape of Picture of Nectar….I wore that tape out, Man!! I loved the originality, the playfullness, and of course, the chops!! And I was totally unaware of the Deadfan/Phishfan riff….just loved both for who they were

  23. butter Says:

    @Shpongleyez (had to triple check how to spell your handle)
    was being facetious , people were asking for Harpua or Forbin’s>Mockingbird at RR, then KDF was called.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    @Colonel- gotta love the old-school Sony Sports Walkman!!

  25. jahvolunteer76 Says:

    @col. Joy,

    I thought your first show was in 1993?

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