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. Danny B Says:

    Only other jamband I still listen to on occasion is The Slip. I used to like sts9 a lot more, before laptops overtook the instruments. YMSB is fun live, hell most jambands are fun live after a few beers. Phish is different, GD/Jerry are different, but that’s already been said.

    and whoever mentioned Moon Boot Lover…..that takes me back

  2. snigglebeach Says:

    I agree Phish is hardly a Jamband.

    For the most part, it is Rock and Roll.

    Allman Bros. are a Jamband. then again, labels never fit perfect.

  3. whole tour! Says:

    asheville and knoxville were no joke. Serious phishing. Very surreal to go from a 7,000 seat basketball arena to a 24,000 seat mammoth arena. Asheville was amazing, but for some reason (boomers) knoxville for me was an all around better experience. I guess i like the way the band used such a huge arena to their advantage, taking full aim at the huge acoustics of knoxville.

    I have had asheville and knoxville in my car cd player for weeks now. I actually hit up the Numberline > ghost > FEFY on the way to work today. The six channel source is quite impressive for asheville. The bass is full and very present, unlike the livephish release. For some reason the knoxville livephish, while not totally satisfying bass wise, seems to have one of the better bass mixes of the soundboards of the tour. It is still lacking the bottom end that really rattles things. I’d love to see a matrixof the knoxville show.

    I kinda feel that While asheville was more intimate and in your face, the setlist was kinda disjointed. Every song was played well, but it didn’t seem to really flow. Knoxville, however, had a much better flow to the setlist and song selection IMO. This allwoed them to fake out the crowd several times starting in the first set after the “mike’s groove” (which had the loudest post weekapaug explosion of applause i have ever heard. After “paug” The busted into coil, which could have closed out the set. Then they slipped in a RAGING character zero and knocked everyone over. Second set was MASSIVE. After “waves” > “ocean” > “bowie” they faked everyone out by doing “hello my baby” then a fucking raucious “JULIUS” that was jammed to perfection. Reminded me of the 07/23/97 version where they just hit the jam so hard and nailed it. The truly could have been done after the julius, but they pulled a fast one and dropped a serious “hood.” You could hear everyone going “WTF!!!” And it was a glorious hood. Overall, knoxville was a very very fullfilling show for me.

    One definite tour highlight that deserves more attention is the second performance, and only “undermind” of the entire tour. While not as tight as the previous hampton version, this version saw them playing around with the theme a bit more loosely. Towards the end of the song trey teased the beatles “come together” end solo riff for a second time in two nights (the first being the asheville “possum”). Then to close out the song mike dropped a nasty nasty meatball tone bass solo that absolutely destroyed the place. To hear “mike’s groove” after this truly sent the energy through the roof.

    Overall, asheville and knoxville rank up there with some of the best shows i have seen in my 35 frames of phish from 1996 – 2009. I know that is a bold statement, but it is true. You really cannot get a clear picture of these shows from the soundboards….good audience pulls or the matrix is the way to go.

  4. bearito Says:

    Just some cool music I try and spread around:

    -Garage A Trois (Stanton Moore, Skerik, Marco Benevento, Mike Dillon) – These guys will throw down ln a very unique way and if you ever come down to New Orleans for the Jazzfest late-night craziness, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by missing them! They sync up really well and it’s downright ‘Nasty’ at times.

    The Bad Plus – These guys play an infectious interpretation of modern jazz. As a trio, these guys play very tight, rhythm driven, rock/jazz that is entirely their own hybrid sound. They have also been praised for there interesting covers ranging from Bowie to Burt Bacharach. I caught them at Jazz fest last year and was blown away.

    Railroad Earth – Colorado boys playing really good roots-music. The music is tight and well steeped in Americana, Bluegrass, and acoustic mountain rock. Lots of energy and well played, sometimes lengthy songs are to be expected at there enthralling live shows.

    Dr. Dog – I’ve seen these guys a few times in various places and they have yet to disappoint. It’s 60’s/70’s era rock with layers of bouncy/psychedelic rhythms that are undeniably catchy. Taking cues from the production of early Mono recordings of the Beach Boys & The Beatles, it’s impossible to miss there influences.

  5. John Says:

    Toubab Krewe!!! I can’t believe someone else knows them on this board. I suggest all of you go check out Toubab Krewe right now. They are americans who actually went to africa to learn african rhythyms and how to play some crazy looking african instruments I assure none of you have seen before. Before you write them off as some wanna-be african ethnic sounding genre-specific band though check them out. They straight groove, they remind me so much of the feeling of fall 97′ Phish. Not necessarily the music specifically, but the feeling you get listening to it. They were one of the opening bands at Bonnaroo on the first day this year on one of the big stages and easily doubled or tripled their fan base with one show. They are very young and very very good. I would suggest them over any discussed “jam bands”.

    Also, the heavy pets played many Phish after-shows on tour and are very good as well. They have a guitarist who tries so hard to look, play, and have his guitar sound like trey, but he is good. He’s not just a poser, and the whole band rocks.

  6. snigglebeach Says:

    whoever mentioned Toubab Krewe, right on. there is a jamband. no lyrics

    There is no band i have ever heard who you can say, they sound like __
    Got to check them live at Roo, and they are real cool. Not a lyrics guy anyway, they get down. Def. not for everyone though.

  7. voopa Says:

    OK, my turn.

    Before Dead/Phish, my main man was Zappa. Also dug RHCP, Primus, Yes, Rush, Genesis, and of course, good jazz.

    The Dead got me into Merle Haggard, Bluegrass, and R&B. Listening to The Dead helped me get a soul. I wasn’t able to appreciate good grooves like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding until Pigpen and Jerry opened that door. Stanley Turrentine and The Three Sounds’ version of “Since I Fell For You” helped in the same way.

    The Dead also helped me to appreciate a good SONG. I never saw the beauty in Ray Charles or Johnny Cash until I had a few Dead shows under my belt.

    So while my soul was being developed by The Dead, Phish came along and showed me that you could still rock out prog style, and still have a groove, and IMPROV too! Phish to me was like discovering a secret link between the Dead and Zappa.

    Shortly after that, I discovered MMW and moe., and both of those bands fire me up the same way. Umphrey’s too. And Kimock.

    The bands that don’t do it for me are WSP and SCI. My jury’s still out on tDB, but I love STS9 and Lake Trout.

    Other newer bands that have been mentioned today that I like include Fleet Foxes and Balkan Beat Box. Also like Grizzly Bear, Wolfmother, Blitzen Trapper, Jack White’s projects, and I could go on, and probably will as the discussion continues.

  8. John Says:

    snigglebeach we had the same post about the same thing at the same time, pretty crazy.

  9. voopa Says:

    Railroad Earth yes!!! YMSB too.

    I also dig Tea Leaf Green. A lot.

  10. Jay Says:

    @WT – right on. Asheville felt like family. Very intimate, loose, lots of room. Very special (the whole day). Knoxville had so much energy. Was very very powerful and ranks up there with some the best shows I have seen from any band in my whole life.

  11. Frondoot Says:

    yonder is another one i forgot to mention..above panic and sci IMO

  12. Marshall Says:

    Phish is a ______ band?

    A) Rock
    B) Bluegrass
    C) Jazz
    D) Funk
    E) Old-school Traditional Country
    F) Cover
    G) “Big” (when incl. horns)
    H) All-of-the-Above
    I) Jam

    I would go with choice “H” before ever selecting “I”

  13. Ocelot42 Says:

    “Phish to me was like discovering a secret link between the Dead and Zappa.”

    I like that. I liked Phish because I liked what I heard. At the time, I didn’t even know there were “jam bands” or even anything about “prog rock”. I just liked the sound. And, while I don’t like everything in those genres, when I see that tag attached, it definitely piques my interest enough to at least give a listen.

    Frankly, prog rock is almost all new to me. People would tell me to listen to Yes or Genesis and I would make the mistake and listen to “Greatest Hits” albums. Gah. Those are all the top charting singles for these bands, usually after the 80’s arrived and the bands either went pop or became so pretentious that they became nearly unlistenable. That decade almost utterly destroyed the genre. Now that I’m digging back, it’s like a treasure trove. I’m listening the The Mahavishnu Orchestra for the first time right now and it’s just blowing my mind.

  14. gavinsdad Says:


    love devotion surrender by the mahavishnu orch (plus carlos santana) is almost too tough to listen to. sheets of sound is an understatement.

    my fusion period started in 10th grade with return to forever, weather report, al di meola solo stuff, allan holdworth and the mahavishnu orchestra’s “birds of fire”

    great stuff. heavy tho.

  15. Marshall Says:

    @ Ocelot42 – re: Yes …. the albums Close to the Edge, The Yes Album, Fragile, and Going For the One (esp. the song Awaken) capture the true essence of that band. Heck, Close to the Edge wouldn’t be a bad choice for a Phish costume.

  16. Jay Says:

    @Marshall – I Dont forget prog, acapella, humorous, and WTF?

  17. Marshall Says:

    On that same note, Trey has more in common with Steve Howe than he’s ever had with Jerry (IMHO).

  18. Marshall Says:

    @ Jay – consider Prog to be a sub-cat of Rock, but you are right about acappella (could have also listed Barbershop Quartet, additionally, to be more specific, but that would also make it a sub-cat I guess).

  19. Ocelot42 Says:


    When I first went and got Yes’s older albums a few months ago, I popped in “The Yes Album” first. I just kept relistening to it over and over and had to make a conscious decision to set it aside and listed to the other ones.

  20. Marshall Says:

    Listening to the song “Close to the Edge” right now (for the first time in YEARS) because of this discussion. Reaffirms that the reason I like Phish is more about their being somewhat Prog Rock band than a “jam band.”

    This makes sense when you consider who the other two members of Oysterhead are.

  21. Marshall Says:

    @Ocelot – takes a while to dig into Yes’s catalog. I didn’t discover Awaken until I saw the Yes supergroup (combo of 70s and 80s band members) in 1991 at Lakewood. Rick Wakeman killed it live and I immediately went home and bought a copy of Going for the One to listen to that song.

  22. R1 Says:

    Mahavishnu is sooo nasty. Birds of Fire. Sick.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    old school genesis is pretty sick prog rock wise. I’m talking like 73 and earlier.

    One older head was telling me about this genesis cover band called “the musical box” which he claimes was as good if not better than the actual genesis. Kinda like the “the machine” covers floyd, only better. I saw something that the musical box was regrouping to do a few shows on the west coast.

  24. larrybirdflu Says:

    just listening to this hood for the time right now. quite sublime. i really like the mix too miner. you can acctually hear mike!
    also where is mr. c today? i feel like it isnt a true thread until we have miner, col. and mr. c bouncing ideas and theorys off each other.

  25. Ocelot42 Says:

    Just last week I listened to the early Genesis albums for the first time. Holy Cow, “Trespass”, “Foxtrot” and “Selling England byt the Pound” are phenominal. Peter Gabriel made those songs. I was reading where he said that Phil Collins would sing them better, but it just wasn’t the same. As a guy who first heard of Genesis from the song (and music video) “We Can’t Dance”, finding out that Phil started out with the band as the drummer and sometime background vocalist was a real “WTF?!” moment.

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