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:


    Tremendous song…I could listen to that on repeat and be fine for days.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    you guys heard theivery corporation yet? man they are fucking sick! Hard to describe their sound, but it’s a mix of reggae, middle eastern, asian, indian, and trip hop. My buddy played me their album while we had a massive session and i was seriously impressed by what i heard. It’s the music i’d play in my coffeeshop in amsterdam if i owned one, along with massive doses of phish, GD, bob marley, and floyd!

  3. Ocelot42 Says:

    I like all of this non-Phish conversation during the month break in tour. It’s like that Let Me Lie thrown into the middle of a smoking second set. Sometimes you just need to decompress a little bit before getting back to business. 🙂

  4. whole tour! Says:

    no doubt, ocelot! 😉

    another serious knoxville highlight for me in a show of highlights was “OCELOT.” This song is infectious and it grew on me like an untreated fungus spreading from my foot to me brain! “Ocelot” and “numberline” are the best FEEL GOOD phish songs in a long time. Everytime i hear them i can’t help but bust a face wide smile.

  5. Jay Says:

    I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way

  6. notkuroda Says:

    @whole tour
    I saw Theivery for the first time at the Echo project and was absolutely stunned. One of the only live shows I’d put in the same breath as a Phish or Pink Floyd

  7. whole tour! Says:

    agreed 100% kuroda!

  8. Leo Weaver Says:

    @wt…theivery corp, yes…great stuff. One way Wifey and I build and expand our music library is by finding obscure compilation CDs in various random places…then we get more of the artists we like. found TC this way (on several CDs) and have really enjoyed them. There are some compilation CDs out there of world, reggae, trance, etc under the “Quango” label (or that’s who compiles and releases anyway)…they’ve got several that are all really good, though not sure how to find ’em anymore…havne’t seen one in a couple of years. We also use the “also recommend” thing on iTunes…that’s how we found Groove Corporation (dub) which we’ve REALLY enjoyed – it doesn’t get much better than GC playing at 8 pm in my summer garden while enjoying a Sweetwater and tasty nugs.

  9. Pencilneck Says:

    I’m gonna put out Kevin Breit, hometown boy who pulls off guitar moves I ain’t never done seen. Scorchin. Dancin’ Fool, you around? Or anybody else from t.o.?

  10. Mitch Says:

    ****MR COMPLETELY****

    I haven’t been on today to see if he is on here but I ran across a cool article on Hidden Track that could be cool for him to do. Each month they do something called “Dark Star Stories” and you can email them personal experiences.

    Sorry if I left out any huge dead heads but I know Mr Completely is kinda our resident deadhead. Everyone check it out.

  11. Bapslap Says:

    Phish is a prog rock band you can dance to. Can’t say that about Yes or Rush or even most of Zappa. I do enjoy the prog, but there are times when the math gets in the way of the song.

    Phish found a way to mix math, melody, and groove.

  12. Ocelot42 Says:

    I would love to hear a Yes album musical costume. The Yes Album would be amazing. I mean, the boys tearing up Perpetual Change? Come on!

    Have any of the guys ever talked much about their proggier influences? I mean, they obviously have some (at least Trey does), so I’d be curious to hear who they were really into.

  13. larrybirdflu Says:

    @all the genesis talk, never really done it for me. but i did just wanna say, wasnt trey pushing really hard for “the lamb lies down on broadway” one halloween?

  14. R1 Says:

    @Ocelot: Trey has said that he loves King Crimson and other Robert Fripp

  15. Ocelot42 Says:

    I found “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” less enjoyable than the earlier albums. It felt almost… bloated. I mean, not like “Tales from Topographic Oceans” bloated, but still trying to do too much and going too far. There is no room for leg stretching in most of those songs, but Phish could really play with a lot of the earlier stuff. I’d like to see come old prog show up in the festival so Phish could breathe some life into it. Heck maybe even a new regular rotation cover to launch into explorations could develop out of it. Who could have predicted what The Who’s Drowned has become? (Another band that at least dabbled in prog, BTW.)

  16. whole tour! Says:

    people are saying that there is an abandoned airforce base in arizona that has “date” in the name.

  17. whole tour! Says:

    also…”time turns elastic” has a very very early genesis prog rock sound to it.

    Everyday when i ride the shuttle bus to school, they always play the song “blinded by the light” that was used in the movie blow. At one part of the song there is a sweeping synth effect that sounds EXACTLY like TTE. The song “keep on rolling” also has a similar sweeping synth effect.

  18. Phish...Yup Says:

    I spent a year in Australia during the hiatus and really got into some solid bands from there like Cat Empire, John Butler Trio and Xavier Rudd. Definitely worth checking out those guys.

    I’ve also seen my fair share of Yonder, Keller, Bisco, SCI, the Wailers, Moe, WSP, STS9, and a bunch of hip shows shows through the years and as long as you don’t go in with phish-like expectations, each show can be a blast in it’s own right.

    I think this board has discussed many times that going in to any show with expectations (whether it be a phish show or anyone else), you will always be disappointed somehow.

  19. gavinsdad Says:

    just jumping in again on the JA sounds. those of you who like jamaican music, er, reggae…you should keep up with Deadly Dragon..they have a uber nerdy JA record shop in NYC and they do regular podcasting:

    check it.

  20. voopa Says:

    re: the dub/reggae stuff…I picked up a great CD a few years back, “The Wailers Dub Marley”…it’s all dub versions of the old Marley & Wailers tunes. I LOVE driving around town while blasting that. Amazon has a used copy for $20, but I’m sure you can find it cheaper. Amazon also has mp3s of most of the tracks for $0.99 each.

  21. larrybirdflu Says:

    @phish..yup, if im not mistaken John Butler recently dropped the trio and is now totally solo. also i really dig Xavier Rudd, very relaxing.

  22. voopa Says:

    Saw John Butler open for Gov’t Mule a few years back…great show.

    OMG I FORGOT GOV’T MULE…Warren is the MAN!

  23. Cactus Says:

    The Mule is awesome. Warren Haynes is the hardest working man in the business sharing time with the Dead, the Allmans, and th Gov’t Mule.

    By the way, the Mule did a great cover at Bonnaroo of U2’s One. It was a really cool song to hear at a festival like that.

  24. Bandnana Says:

    @ Cactus I feel the song fits more in Reba. Just popped it on again. Thanks, now it will be in my head at least the rest of the day. Seriously thanks, ha ha.

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @pencilneck, i think kevin breit is the guy my guitar teacher keeps telling me to see, i guess i should really check him out

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