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. ColonelJoy Says:


    A Commodore 64 won’t work, dude…you need to upgrade.

  2. Ocelot42 Says:


    I dunno, Pink Floyd seems to walk a line between Psychedelic, Jam and Prog. Depends on the era. I’m a “Wish You Were Here” guy, personally.

  3. Jay Says:

    Phish’s trajectory was a sharp angle and fast. Was no time before they were too big for theaters. Dont see that with any other jamband out there. The plethora of jambands should tell you something. It takes a whole lot more than the ability to improvise. Phish had a vision from day one and the ‘real’ musical chops to make it happen.

  4. Frondoot Says:

    @ col..i forgot to mention trucks band. bought their latest album back when it came out, good stuff.

    speaking of guitar players, im not sure how many people here are actually fans, but theres a good article on jambase about omar rodriguez lopez. im guessing alot of people here probably arent into his stuff, but IMO De-loused(the mars volta`s first album) was one of the best albums of the last ten years. in the article he compares his writing to jazz in the way that he writes 100% all of the music and ways in which the music and band(s) are constantly evolving. really hit me considering the recent discussions about miles davis, coltrane, ect. anyone who hasnt checked him out should, go into it with a pretty open mind though. anyone who is already a fan should check out the article, its pretty interesting

  5. Danny B Says:

    I only listen to Phish, Disco Biscuits, and Dead/Jerry anymore as far as jambands are concerned. When Phish took their hiatus lots of jambands sprung up from all over the place, and I went to tons of shows, had lots of fun, but none of it lasted. I don’t listen to any of it anymore. Before Phish came back I hadn’t listened to them in a looooooong time.

    As for the Disco Biscuits, like Phish, you either get it or you don’t. While their scene is a lot younger, and can be pretty gross, that doesn’t mean you have to be on drugs to enjoy them. But I do fully understand the reasons people do not like them. But……..when they were playing Spaga, stone>Devils Waltz, and Hot Air Balloon with fire they were amazing and like no one else around.

  6. Jay Says:

    @ColonelJoy – hilarious. One of these days you all will see the light and drop proprietary OSs like OSX and Vista/XP and embrace open source linux like Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debien, etc… I have been using linus as my OS since the mid 90’s.

  7. Pence Says:

    Raq had potential, still may, just havent heard/listened to them in a while. I believe they were also from burlington as well.

  8. ColonelJoy Says:


    The vision. I keep going back to that. Listen to Colorado 88’….they were playing shit way beyond them. They grew into their vision.

  9. John Says:

    My sister was a DJ at WNCW for the past three years up until recently, a very well known radio station in the mountains of North Carolina and eastern tennessee. She has interviewed many of these discussed jam bands such as galactic, moe, STS9, etc. and when she asked them their opinion of many bands that would be labeled peers or influences such as the grateful dead, ween etc. they would quickly respond, but she said they all became somewhat nervous when Phish was brought up. She said they would all answer quickly and without much deep thinking with their honest opinions about almost all other bands including the grateful dead, but as soon as Phish was brought up almost all other bands would stop and look at each other as if their answer was a big deal. I just think of that when other bands are compared to Phish.

    If possible I might upload the links to some of her interviews with these bands if I can find them. She has no problem asking what might be considered “difficult” questions for other radio interviewers. I think she asked Al from Moe a couple years back why he is so much louder in many of their bands professional recordings than the other guitarist (I forget his name). As rude as that can be considered… it takes balls!

  10. Ocelot42 Says:

    Like Jay said, Phish’s amazing combination of ability and chemistry shot them up through the scene at a rate that would be really unreasonable to expect from most bands. Who else out there has the ability to seemingly change their overall sound and/or philosophy every year or two but still retain their fans while picking up new ones. They are just an anomaly that can neither be replicated or even fully understood. Transcendent.

    For the other bands, all I ask for is, “enjoyable”.

  11. notkuroda Says:

    I got into the Dead, Blues Traveler, GSW, WSP, and the Seepods all at the same time, around 92-93. Phish didn’t jump ahead of the pack for me until 94, with one magical night

  12. Cactus Says:

    Any Colour you Like is about as cool a psych song you could hear.

  13. Marshall Says:

    I actually don’t like the term “jamband” as it is applied to Phish. I was never really a GD fan (I only possess a few of their official releases) and even thought I’ve seen the Allmans and WSP many times (in college because my friends liked them so much), I would have to say that my appreciation and love for Phish emanates more from a foundation of being a fan of bands like Yes, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. At the forefront, Phish is a ROCK band. Just consider the songs they cover. The jamming is a result of their jazz heritage, i.e. improvisation. Yes, they do “Jam” and many songs evolve into spacey, funky, groovy, improv, but does that really confine them into the category “Jamband.” I think not.

    PS – saw a local bluegrass act in Greenville SC for free last week. They played “The Old Home Place.” Made the free outdoor show SO MUCH better than I’d expected.

    PPS – to the question, what to do when Phish is not around … don’t listen to as much live Music. I still remember seeing Blues Traveler at the Fox in Atlanta and literally being bummed the entire show because it wasn’t Phish on stage.

  14. Walfredo Says:

    Pink Floyd was a great jamband. Check out Live at Pompeii. Seriously sick hardcore psychedelic jams. They evolved into a more polished band- dsotm and wywh. Became composed- still sick and psychedlic, but no jam.

    Shoot even w/ Syd they did Interstellar Overdrive is straight space jam.

  15. lot rat Says:

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

    Eyes>Divided Sky

    mark it zero dude next frame…

  16. Cactus Says:

    Actually, that song sounds like it could be smack dab in the middle of a Bathtub Gin or Ghost to be quite frank.

  17. Jay Says:

    @colonel – “They grew into their vision”

    right on man. I believe that vision began in prep school.

  18. Frondoot Says:

    re: taking drugs to enjoy shows

    personally i have not gone all out for a show since 2004 when i was around 15. tripped for two of my first shows ever, keller williams and the dead(wave that flag tour 2004). while the keller show was def fun, it was nothing incredible, i would have enjoyed it just as much with a few brews and some bud. im not sure what everyone thought about the dead 04, but im not sure how much i would have enjoyed it no matter how much drugs i had taken. that was just flat out dissapoitning

    i havent messed around with any sort of hallucinogen since i was about 15 or 16 (20 now) and the past two big shows i have been to have been much better. the dead in philly 09, not incredible or mind blowing but much much much better then 04 IMO and at the least very satisfying. and then of course theres phish at camden which was incredible for me. not saying i was dead sober for these shows, just saying no tripping

  19. Bandnana Says:

    @Cactus when I tell people thats my favorite song off darkside they look at me like I’m nuts. Love It!

  20. R1 Says:


    ^^that Mars Volta album is rad. I get the feeling that folks on here generally aren’t as much in the super proggy side of things, but I love it.

    ^umm, ok

    surprised no one had anything to say about the bands I mentioned previously. oh well.

  21. gavinsdad Says:


    my fave tubby (as an engineer) is augustus pablo’s “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown”. my fave king tubby’s (as an artist) is “dub like dirt” which was re-released on blood and fire in like 1999.

    addn’l tubbys research can be found here:

    decent conversation re: “other bands”….everyone is drawn to something that moves them…i never even bothered with a dead vs. phish beef. i was involved deeply in both bands and had them completely separate in my mind. and for young up and coming bands or bands that are still cutting their teeth even though it’s taking them 9 years to do so….there’s room for everyone.

  22. pebbles Says:

    Let’s not knock STS9 just because some of their fans don’t get it. I’ve been to a couple of dozen shows as sober as a judge, and I’ve loved every minute of every one of them. In fact, I think they positively blow Bisco and String Cheese out of the water. It just takes a little patience to understand and accept what they are doing– it is kind of subtle.

    Since first hiatus, I have discovered also YMSB (I’m a bluegrass junkie, so they were a good fit), and have followed that lead into some realms of country/folk that have really blown my mind– has anyone here been to see the Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim, or Old Crow Medicine Show? They are not jam bands in any sense of the word, but they are doing things in folk the likes of which we haven’t seen since Dylan’s heyday.

    I think some of the bitterness I’m detecting toward other “jam” bands stems from people’s blind willingness to follow one genre (guitar and rythym-based improvisationally-driven rock bands) to fill the void left by bands like Phish when they break up. The manner in which a lot of people pick up on other jam bands causes a comparison and a ranking– and face it, that’s a tough comparison for anyone.

    Meanwhile, there is amazing and funky stuff going on in electronica, bluegrass, folk and hip-hop that lots of my friends were missing out on because they insisted on going to see Panic after Phish broke up. Right around first hiatus, drum-n-bass was going bonkers and artists like LTJ Bukem, John B, and Roni Size, to name a diverse few, were doing things with turntables and computers that were simply awe-inspiring. Most of my friends failed to give any of them a serious listen, though– because they were running around following Moe, or some other such nonsense. That made it a lot harder for them to get into “jamtronica,” which they discounted as simply boring or repetitive. The crowd doesn’t always help, either– I hate being in the middle of seas of people who are higher than jesus on lord-knows-what.

    Closing on a more positive note, a friend introduced me to Toubab Krewe out of Asheville on the drive down to Hampton this year– anyone else gotten into their music? Live at the Orange Peel is one of the best “jam-band” albums I have listened to in years.

  23. Frondoot Says:

    @r1…wasnt taking a stab at anything, just giving a few from the minority..not sure if that umm ok was to my second comment or not

  24. Ocelot42 Says:

    Blues Traveler. I often forget that they’re also considered a jam band. I grew up in a tiny Michigan town that only really got one radio station that wasn’t country, and that was top 40. So, when Blues Traveler’s album “Four” came out, I could tell that there was something different about them. I immediately went out and bought the first three albums and wasn’t disappointed at all. They quickly became my second favourite band behind They Might Be Giants (I was an odd youth). But, since I had no frame of reference, I had no idea that there was this whole “genre” out there with a different philosophy of rock music besides: Write four minute song, perform, repeat. Looking back, I can see that they really planted the seed in my brain to properly appreciate Phish and the other bands I’ve found in the last ten years.

  25. lot rat Says:

    Got Memories Got Memories….of being free

    isnt that how stealing time goes, cant get it out of my head

    where the f is SOAM?

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