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. Cactus Says:

    Stanton Moore and Galactic are up there for me. I saw them down in Tampa maybe 4 or 5 years ago. He tore the place up. Really good drummer for all you drummers out there. If you haven’t heard Galactic do yourself a favor and listen to it.

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    @Jah, yes my first show was 12-30-93, while I was on X-Mas leave back in Maine…I meant 93…not 03

  3. Chonz Says:

    I hate ‘jambands’. I just haven’t found any bands in this genre that do anythign for me that Phish and/or the GRATEFUL Dead don’t do light years better, and I think Colonel Joy expresses my thoughts prefectly on most of those mentioned.

    However, I do love live music and, for my money, and the band that helped me through the times when I wasn’t feeling Phish or Phish wasn’t around, is and always will be Ween. They don’t jam, they rock, but can get pretty psychedelic at times, and the live show is a communal, bacchanialial experience second only to Phish (currently) IMO.

    @Mr. Completely – off topic but as I do every day at work I check out the LMA to find a Grateful Dead show from this day in history to check out. While looking over the reviews for several sources of 7/8/87 I saw your review informing me that the FOB copy was the best in circulation. Knowing you from this board, I fully trust your opinion and thank you for the guidepost.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    jeez, there’s a lot of bad feeling here about other bands. while I agree that phish and the dead are on a level above other jambands, some of these criticisms just aren’t fair. you are comparing them to phish and the dead (which is your right, I guess) but you are also not seeing them for what they are.

    the assumption that there is a throne to be had is just plain silly. this whole thing works because of music and finding those moments of flow within the jams and compositions of all of these very talented people. turning it into a competition of who’s the best misses the point entirely.

    there’s really no use in trying to defend a band here; it’s all a matter of opinions anyway. but when you go to a show expecting the band to NOT be as good as phish or the dead, well, you are always going to get what you are looking for in that regard.

    what did you people do for the five years when neither phish nor the dead were touring? did you bother to go and look for new music or did you stay in to listen to that bootleg from 20 years ago since you knew nothing better would come along?

  5. ColonelJoy Says:

    Love the Charlottsville Rumor!! Means the wife gets an indoor show after Indio!!

    Phish is about the only band where the best place to see them is indoors with 15,000 plus, but it is true!!

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ saw the biscuits and got WAY into psytrance / psydub….

  7. moonshake Says:

    As far as jam bands go, Phish has been the only band except the Grateful Dead who could hold the torch, I mean just look at how happy and relieved we are they’re back. I will also say Frank Zappa was undisputed champion of bad-ass musicians, but the music wasn’t really jam band stuff, and I don’t think people followed him like they did GD or Phish. Hearing positive stuff about the Disco Biscuits, but come on, if they really were such phenoms they would have taken the torch and ran with it during the last five years of Phish’s absence.

    That’s not to say there aren’t alot of other excellent psychedelic bands, some jam bands, some electronic, some rock, some that can’t be labeled. Take for example The Octopus Project, The Ozric Tentacles (classic), Black Moth Super Rainbow, Air, Dan Deacon, and from Japan… Hifana. Get a disc of each of those and get back with me…

  8. Leo Weaver Says:

    @jah, good call on STS9…first time I saw them was in Athens around 4 pm just before the WSP “Panic in the Streets” show…it was before they added “Sound Tribe”…just Sector 9 back then. I stumbled into the Ga Theater, following some crazy sounds emanating out onto the sidewalk. At the time, I was ready to stay there rather than go back outside for WSP…I was impressed. Never saw them again but enjoy listening on occasion (mostly on XM now).

    And yes, Stanton Moore of Galactic is an incredible drummer…tight tight tight…

  9. ColonelJoy Says:

    @ Type III Disorder,

    There is a throne, and other bands have sought it, which proves it’s existance, but the Devil, when meeting them at the Crossroads, laughed.

  10. John Says:

    I have noticed that one band a lot of young heads seem to be into is this band called sound tribe sector nine. I personally can not stand them, they literally have people on stage with computers making beats. How fake is that? But I could not agree more with the comment about “any show can be enjoyed on lots of drugs” and if you go to a STS9 show you will notice EVERYONE is on drugs, at least 85% or more. I saw my sister come home after a STS9 tour and she was never the same person again from all the uppers that go around at those kind of shows.

    Although I’ve never been a fan of String Cheese, I do apreciate Keller Williams who was discovered by the Cheese I believe. At the time of his debut his technique of using looping pedals and keyboards and such was very unique on the scene and his acoustic guitar playing still stands out as a sort of white-boy funk. I mean for just one guy on stage by himself you can not get more bang for your buck. I got dragged to a solo acoustic James Taylor concert and wanted to kill myself and everyone around me who was somehow enjoying it. Although he is a good guitar player in his own right.

  11. Jay Says:

    The only shows I see other than Phish are the ones my SO drags me to see LOL!

  12. Jay Says:

    never got into the biscuits. reminded me of tape looped rave music that you need to be rolling to enjoy. Dont like rolling.

  13. ColonelJoy Says:

    Keller is pretty fucking cool, despite the cheese connection…

  14. halcyon Says:

    R1…..Soma was good….I remember checking them out a few times way back when,

    I just heard that Peter Price is playing again, and playing again as Moon Boot Lover….I caught them a bunch living in Upstate NY.

    Ominous Seapods, Strangefolk, GSW (they were great), Ozric Tentacles, The Samples etc etc. These old school bands were fun.

    Man they need to bring The Horde back!

  15. John Says:

    One thing that also makes Phish stand out compared to many of these other jam bands is Chris Kuroda though, we must not forget. This is someone all other jam bands lack, the only light show I have have ever seen truly be on his level was the Pulse VHS tape by Pink Floyd. Granted Pink Floyd has about 20x the budget Phish has for sure.

  16. Bandnana Says:

    I have friends who each hold a candle for a band: STS9, Yonder, WSP, UM, etc. so I’ve gotten a god mix. Originally from Chicago area so got to see UM early at like Rib fest and guiness and oyster fest, basically block parties, that was fun. I just never could get INTO any of them. I can listen to the whole lot and like some of all of their stuff. That being said, Phish is the soundtrack. The stuff I can put on any time of day, and 2 hours later be like “wow, its still going, I was only planning on listening to that ghost.” That for me is why I can’t really get into other bands as heavy. Phish just hits me right. The other bands are decent bands all, and if people want to really like them thats great. Not everyone likes chocolate ice cream.

  17. Pence Says:

    speaking of jamtronica and phish in knoxville, did any one see Pnuma trio after show in knox? I loved it. great show, from a band I never heard of til I went there

  18. halcyon Says:

    Saw Keller in February. He puts on a fun show. Its goofy and lighthearted, and makes for a fun night.

  19. John Says:

    By the way is Pink Floyd considered a jam band at all? They have lots of composed stuff but they do jam at certain points. Also, David Gilmour improvises at a lot of Pink Floyd/solo shows and next to Trey I can not think of a more impressive guitar player to see in person. He creates the same energy as Trey does at a show by playing much simpler stuff, which says a lot in my opinion about the power of his individual notes.

  20. ColonelJoy Says:

    Gilmour is just, well, smoooove

  21. Jay Says:

    When I try and download the listen now shows I get a text file with the following content:

    Warning: readfile() [function.readfile]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/63915/domains/ on line 5

    Warning: readfile( [function.readfile]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/63915/domains/ on line 5

  22. Ocelot42 Says:

    I gotta say, I’m surprised at the way people are looking at the other “jam” bands. It sounds like the old GD vs. Phish conflicts. Both of those bands are absolutely unique and any true comparisons aren’t possible. I guess that if some of these other bands were out there marketing themselves as “The Next Dead!” or “The Next Phish!” then comparisons would be fair.

    Why did none of these other acts explode in the Phish absence? I think that a lot of the “younger” bands are still paying their dues. I have a show that UM did at the tiny bar here in Kalamazoo in 2005; that’s just four years ago! They’ve come lightyears since then, just because Phish split the scene doesn’t mean that these other acts automatically get their big arena/pavilion slots.

    And, let’s be honest, the word “unique” doesn’t begin to cover Phish. All the other so-called jam bands can usually be slotted into more well known genres; WPS and moe. get Southern Rock, UM gets Progressive/Pop Rock, DB and STS9 get Electronic Rock. Phish is just unclassifiable, so there is nobody that you can fairly compare them to.

    I guess I just feel a little defensive on behalf of all of these other bands because they’re being judged most often for what they *aren’t* rather than what they are. If you don’t like their sound, then that’s cool. I don’t care for dub or reggae, personally; to each his own. But to say, “Yeah, they’re good and I kinda like their sound. But, they’re not as good at jamming as Phish, so onto the rubbish heap with them,” seems a little narrow minded to me.

  23. notkuroda Says:

    RE: STS9, it’s pretty sad what they have become. I was very into them between 2004 and 2008. It’s tough to call them a jamband, but they once had a very organic, but electronic based sound. The only one that you could really consider a standout musician was Zach, the drummer, who was inhuman. However, they were beautiful together. Their sets used to be these 5 or so song long tapestries of beauty, and the scene was full of wonderful people. STS9 shows were always wonderful adventures. I don’t know what caused them to go where they are now, but they were my band once.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Jay working on it now

  25. Jay Says:

    @typeIII – “what did you people do for the five years when neither phish nor the dead were touring?”

    My fall back bad was WSP. Jimmi Herring is awesome. Other that that Jazzfest funk and local funk tests and local Austin musicians (esp Alejandro Escovedo). I also really like Polyphonic Spree from Dallas.

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