Halloween ’94: The Beginning

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
phishpumpkin

Phish & Halloween

A beloved tradition started fifteen years ago in Glens Falls, NY. Phish hadn’t played a Halloween show since 1991, having been in the studio the previous two autumns recording Rift (1992) and Hoist (1993). But in 1994, the band upped the ante. Via Doniac Schvice, their newsletter, Phish announced that the show would contain three sets, but that wasn’t all. Along with an audience costume contest, Phish would don a “musical costume” of their own, covering an entire album of another band. And there was yet another twist- they were leaving to the fans to vote on the album, and they would play the most popular choice. Many have since debated whether or not Phish went with the actual winner or selected between the most popular, but nonetheless, it brought the entire community into the process.

During the weeks leading up to the show, fans drooled with anticipation, constantly hypothesizing on which album would be selected. The leading contenders were thought to be Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage, and The Beatles’ self-titled record known as “The White Album.” The other mystery hovering around the 8,000 person show was that no one knew when the album would be played; there was no precedent and nothing had been announced. So when Phish took the stage at 10:15 for their first set, everyone was on the edge of their seats.

1994-10-31gnRipping into the holiday-appropriate “Frankenstein,” the game began.  An extended “Simple” and a poignant “Divided Sky” anchored the beginning of the set, when unsuspectingly, the band dropped into “Harpua!”  With the opening “Oom Pah Pahs” many thought that the forthcoming narration would bring out the cover album. As the Halloween story progressed, encompassing the “Vibration of Life” and the “Vibration of Death,” Jimmy stepped to his record player. Seemingly on the brink of history, the story took a left turn as Jimmy put on a Barney album- but accidentally had placed the record on backwards.  And as the record spun in reverse, Phish played what Jimmy heard- twenty second of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” A classic moment in its own right, the cover would have to wait.  But before ending the set, Phish carved out room for one of the thickest, most emotional “Rebas” ever played.  In 1994, the year that “Reba” shone the brightest, this version is one of my favorites.

beatles-white-album-1During setbreak, the obvious conversation piece was the album.  Would it come in the second or third set?  Which one would it be?!  The answer came soon enough.  At midnight, the band took the stage, and through the PA the audience heard the opening heartbeats of Dark Side of the Moon, drawing howls and cheers from much of the crowd. But suddenly the heartbeat stopped, and the voice of Ed Sullivan came from nowhere introducing The Beatles.  Over the recorded squeals and screams of teeny boppers thirty years ago, Phish broke into “Back in the U.S.S.R.” It took a minute to hit everyone that they were about to cover the entire double-album, but one song at a time, over the next 90 minutes, that is exactly what they did.

Glens Falls Civic Center

Glens Falls Civic Center

While the band played most of “The White Album’s” songs  earnestly and accurately, they wouldn’t have been Phish if they didn’t add a little of their own flavor. By modifying the end of “Helter Skelter” with a barbershop quartet ending, changing the “fool on the hill” in “Glass Onion” to “Guyute the pig,” and adding some Electrolux to “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?,” Phish dappled the album with spots of Phishiness. Other interpretive moments included Mike’s bluegrass take of “Don’t Pass Me By” and a now-classic rendition of “Revolution 9”, when upon the concluding line, “You become naked,” Fishman lifted his frock over his head and pranced around nude while Page, Mike, and Trey blew bubbles and chanted behind him. This bizarre moment was forever immortalized in the booklet of liner notes for “A Live One”- page 11.

But aside from these moments, Phish’s performance was incredibly reverent, playing each song true to form. The only onstage flirtation Phish had with The White Alum was an “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” jam- not even the whole song- hence the band learned each and every one of the albums 30 songs. Several appeared sporadically throughout the years, but “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”- the song that stood out at Glens Falls- was adopted into the band ever-expanding catalog of covers.  The band stepped offstage at 1:30 am, to the recorded version of “Good Night.” But the night was hardly over.

ph941031_01About a half -hour later, Phish reemerged to a venue of mind-blown fans, some who had dozed off during the break. The band could have come out and played a five minute encore and the show would still be talked about in the annals of Phish history. But instead, they opened set three with an extended journey through a menacing “David Bowie”- this was Halloween after all! And after a “Bouncin” interlude, the band resolved the immense darkness of “Bowie” with a magnificent mid-set “Slave.” Bordering on absurdity, especially with the timing of everything, Phish raged on. The band closed the set with a smoking “Antelope” only to start the audience costume contest during the encore!  After a “Mound” Bar won the competition, the band chose “Squirming Coil” to end one of the most epic nights of their career. There would be many more, but this one was special.

And there started the Halloween tradition that we will rekindle so soon in Indio. Following up the White Album with The Who’s Quadrophenia in 1995 (another double album),Talking Head’s Remain In Light in 1996, and Velvet Underground’s Loaded in 1998- Phish firmly established the musical costume as one of their most loved annual rites. Halloween became a big as New Years Eve on the Phish calender, though the band never found their way back to October 31st after ’98’s Vegas escapade. But in2009, the year everything is coming back together- Halloween returns!

***

“Reba” jam 10.31.94 I

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” 10.31.94 II

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin” 9.12.99 I

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1-04-Track-04.mp3]

A perfect piece to take us into the weekend, this gorgeous jam came in a forgotten first set at Portland Meadows in ’99. An ideal tempo, the open-air sound, and some heart-tugging playing by Trey will have you grooving at your desk, cubicle, or wherever you may be. Some feel good Phish took for a Friday, this one will make you smile.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.12.99 Portland Meadows, Portland, OR < Torrent

9.12.99 Portland Meadows, Portland, OR < Megaupload

Portland Meadows - Portland, OR

Portland Meadows - Portland, OR

This show has always lived in the shadow of The Gorge’s two-night stand that came directly before.  But with the “Gin” posted above and a monster second set, this show has plenty to offer. One of the most psychedelic “Ghosts” of the year kicked off this five song second set to the tune of 20 plus minutes. After this night we walked away with more than a few memories too go along with our black boogers.

I: First Tube, Poor Heart, Mozambique, Bathtub Gin, Get Back on the Train, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Frankie Says, Birds of a Feather, Lawn Boy, Possum

II: Ghost > Runaway Jim , Roggae, Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself

E: Theme from the Bottom

Source: Unknown

Tags: , , ,

Will the Greyhound Rise?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 17th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
8.7.08 -  Williamsburg (Unk.)

8.7.08 - Williamsburg (unk.)

This summer, several of Trey’s solo songs jumped over to his bigger band. Included in these transplants were, “Light,” “Let Me Lie,” “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Alaska,” and Time Turns Elastic.” But one of the songs that seemed like a shoo-in for Phish has yet to emerge. The engaging multi-part composition, “Greyhound Rising”- played only twice on his own- has gone missing.

After Trey’s comeback show in Brooklyn last August, three songs struck me as clearly destined for Phish- “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Light,” and “Greyhound Rising.” Two are firmly ingrained in the band’s current catalog, while one hasn’t seen the light of day. Seemingly destined for their new album, the song has yet to surface in any form. Trey only unshelved it once again- in Philadelphia- another sure sign that Phish would usurp the destiny of the future epic.  But they haven’t, and I wonder if they will.

2753470556_323b1c04b7

Classic TAB Tour '08 (unk.)

The song whispers out of the gate with lyrical poetry complemented by somber guitar and piano melodies.  The piece at first seems wistful, longing for something or someone lost, and Trey conveys this emotion in a beautifully phrased solo that stands out in the opening section. Moving into a more Phishy texture, the melodic verse that comes in over the oceanic music is much more upbeat and sounds like it could have been pulled right from a Phish song. The groove takes the song into a bluesier jam where Red unleashes a gnarling solo. When hearing the layered composition the two times with his Classic TAB band, my imgination ran wild thinking of how much Phish could enhance the song, taking it from its raw form into one of those bigger pieces that are at least 10 to 15 minutes every time out. With plenty of composition and ample room for improv, it seems like the perfect song for Phish 3.0. Why else would it have been written after all?

The blues jam turns into a heavier build- this is where the jam would be- and finally uses collective hits to splash into the ending, a slowed down, dramatic reprise of the introduction; a Phish song no doubt. And to end it, a cathartic solo over a delicate beat. It would be awesome, and Trey knows it. It will come at some point; who knows when- but at somepoint. It’s one of his most interesting new pieces.  Heck, since “Alaska” made it to Phish, “Greyhound Rising” is destined to crossover to balance things out.  One can hope.

Greyhound Rising” 10.24.08 – The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/12-Greyhound-Rising.mp3]

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Twist > Caspian” 1.1.00 Cypress

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-12-31d4t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-12-31d4t04.mp3]

Sticking with the Big Cypress vibe of yesterday, here is a gorgeous segment from early in the set that often goes overlooked with all the music of the night. With an enchanting ambient groove, this “Twist” carried an introspective feel as we stepped out of the 1900’s forever.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

5.6.1992 St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI < Torrent

5.6.1992 St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI < Megaupload

4.17.1992 - The Warfield

Spring 1992 - The Warfield

With Fall Tour rumored to start at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, this nugget from Spring ’92 recounts a former visit to The Motor City, proper.  Coming at you via reader request, this show was one of the last in the Midwest before heading east to conclude their tour. Featuring the bust-out of “Shaggy Dog” for the first time since 1988 (451 shows), this show boasts a quintessential old-school setlist.  This fileset feature an entire AUD recording and a Set I SBD , taboot.  Detroit- here we come.

I: Llama, Foam, Reba, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Maze, Tela, Brother, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Sparkle, Cavern

II: My Sweet One, Stash, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself > Shaggy Dog, All Things Reconsidered, Bouncing Around the Room, Uncle Pen, Chalk Dust Torture, HYHU > Terrapin > HYHU, Take the A-Train, Golgi Apparatus

E: Carolina, Good Times Bad Times

Source: DAUD/FOB (~30 ft. from stage, DFC) Neumann RSM191A-S > Neumann MTX191S > Panasonic SV-255@48k Master (on SV-255 listed above) & SET 1 SBD

Tags: , ,

The Big Cypress Box Set?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 15th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
The Dawn of 2000 (D. Clinch)

The Dawn of 2000 (D.Clinch)

This week, two awe-inspiring video clips from Big Cypress surfaced, unannounced, on the band’s Festival 8 The8tre, signifying the first- ever public footage from Phish’s New Years blowout almost ten years ago.  While rumors have circulated about both a return to the festival site and the release of an elusive DVD box set chronicling the weekend, these two clips may lend some credence to the latter .  One would expect the band to recognize the ten-year anniversary of their career defining concerts, and with Miami a lock for New Years, the multi-disc box set may be just the way to do it.

The Beginning (Unk.)

Midnight (Unk.)

When I first saw the links in an email, I clicked on the first only to see my favorite segment of the all-night show unfold right in front of me.  With no visual memory of the jam stemming from the “After Midnight Reprise,” a jam imprinted in my memory, the intimate quality of the video was quite the experience.  This piece of improv, coming in the wee hours of the new millennium, was/is/and will always be my favorite musical moment of the night- and there are plenty of reasons why.  But after listening to it constantly for a decade, it was a beautiful synchronicity for the first piece of Cypress video that I ever saw was this jam.

The sheer connectedness of the band as they clicked into the downtempo groove has always amazed me, and to watch their expressions and body language as they- as one- move through each change and measure is priceless.  The quality of the video is as warm as the music being played; an intimate portrait Phish’s emotional interplay on their sacred night-long quest.  The music of that night took on a different, more patient, quality that conveyed the magnitude of the occasion, and this feel is clearly illustrated by both of these videos.  To watch Cypress in widescreen video ten-years later is completely surreal; a far cry from our spot of power behind the speaker towers in the open Florida field .

Midnight (R.Mayer)

It Begins... (R.Mayer)

The second video is the tail end of the “Piper” jam into the entirety of “Free.”  The mechanical grooves and liquid textures ooze off the screen as the memories flood your cortex.  Deep in the set, bordering on morning, Phish was knee deep in swamp funk in the middle of the Everglades- could life have been any better?  The joy of the band members, as they are living the experience of a lifetime, is quite evident as you can clearly see each gesture and connection.  When you consider how engaging this footage is, one could imagine getting lost for hours feeding disc after disc into the player.  But if organized correctly, it could turn into also  turn into quite the party… if they release the box set.

Without having any knowledge other than these videos, I can’t see why they won’t.  Virtually every Phish fan in the world would gobble this product up at $100 a clip- and with a nice accompanying booklet, this could be the ultimate Phish souvenir.  If these video leaks are any indication, we just might be ringing in 2010 with a memento from the dawn of the decade.

“After Midnight Reprise”

“…Piper > Free”

=====

Phish Thoughts Audio Archive:

aes_tradeshow_music_gear_lust.10In an effort to create a comprehensive archive of every show posted on this site, some volunteers-Paul, Marshall, Jason, and Steve- have worked hard and transferred all the shows over to Megaupload, a server with a much better deal for me.  I have met with my design and programming team and we have great ideas for a state of the art audio archive with separate pages for each year and each show- with setlists, source details, and a short write-up, like the ones found on the “Download of the Day.”  We will be creating a easily navigable database of unlimited free downloads forever!  This will be a high-quality archive of all the shows from this site, with quality that would blow away the “spreadsheet” and most other mp3-based sites.  All in 320 kbps mp3 format.  Stay tuned!

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Roses Are Free” 1.1.00 Cypress

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-12-31d9t03.mp3]

This piece brought darkness into light; a gorgeous ambient odyssey.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.1.1989 The Front, Burlington, VT SBD < Torrent

10.1.1989 The Front, Burlington, VT SBD < Megaupload

10-1-89 - This Show!

10-1-89 - This Show!

Rewiiiiind!  Today we take it back two decades to the first of October in ’89 when Phish was still an emerging regional phenomenon.  Playing bars and colleges, the band was in their formative years, but already boasting a large catalog of originals.  This old school nugget holds plenty of treats, including “Fluffhead” broken up into its many sections and interspersed throughout the show, and the debut of “Reba.”  In addition, this is the first show in which the band used “Hold Your Head Up,” a song Fishman absolutely hated, to introduce / torment him, and the rest is history.  Check it out…

I: Alumni Blues, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Who Do We Do > Golgi Apparatus, Harry Hood > The Chase, Wilson, Foam, Ya Mar, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope

II: AC/DC Bag, My Sweet One, Reba*, Dinner and a Movie > Bundle of Joy > Possum, You Enjoy Myself, HYHU**> If I Only Had a Brain > HYHU, Contact, Split Open and Melt, Lizards

E: Highway to Hell

*debut (with additional verse and instrumental section) **First time used as taunt/intro for Fishman

Source: SBD

Tags: , , ,

Bass In Your Face

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 14th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Red Rocks 8.2 (D.Vann)

Red Rocks 8.2 (D.Vann)

While Trey was busy fulfilling a dream on Saturday night in New York City, Mike was on the road living his own, as a band leader of his own group, playing his own music.  And only five shows into his “Get Bassed” tour, Gordeaux is doing just that.  Mixing eclectic originals with an an array of diverse covers, Mike is at the forefront of percussive, bass-led jaunts largely rooted in the tradition of Americana rock.

Combining his signature, chunky bass lines with Scott Murawski’s southern-tinged melodies and layers of percussion, Mike’s band has delivered upbeat jams that are most often rhythmically focused.  The most popular songs from The Green Sparrow- “Another Door,” Andelmans’ Yard,” “Sound,” and “Traveled Too Far”- have become anchors of Mike’s sets while many other originals have been worked in.  Aside from his own songs, Mike has featured a wide spectrum of covers in the first week of tour.  Giving musical nods to Coldplay, Radiohead, Desmond Dekker, The Allman Brothers, Deee-Lite, The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Leonard Cohen, Mike has embraced musical diversity, both old and new.  In addition, the band has played originals penned by three other group members.

getbassedWhile Trey’s side-projects are, most-often, directly related to Phish’s musical future, Mike’s have been an opportunity to distance himself from his other band.  With Leo Kottke, The Duo, and now The Mike Gordon Band, he has taken advantage of his opportunities to broaden his horizons with musical experimentation unrelated to Phish.  But never forgetting what got him there, he always seems reference Phish songs; this past week working”Meat,” “Sugar Shack,” and GRAB’s “Suskind Hotel” into his sets.

With jams heavy on percussive groove and layered improv, The Mike Gordon Band has received rave reviews after “bassing” people for only a week.  To check out what’s been going on, I downloaded Saturday night’s show in Falls Church, VA to see what Mike was up to while Trey played in New York City.  This is what I found.

State Theatre, Falls Church VA

State Theatre, Falls Church VA

Opening the show with his two most recognizable numbers, “Another Door” and “Andelmans’ Yard,” the band spliced improvisational segments into both, creating engaging extensions of these songs’ changes and rhythms.  Very danceable music, it sounded like the energy in room on Saturday night was palpable.  The third song, “Emotional Railroad, scribed by someone Scott Murawski, and sounded a bit more generic with Garcia-esque runs up the fretboard by Murawski and complementary piano leads by Tom Cleary.  There was certain Grateful Dead feel to this one, as Mike included his envelope filter bass-bombs towards the end of the jam, and throughout the night.

Speeding up the tempo and seamlessly segueing into a new original, “Can’t Stand Still,” the band was locked into some fluid and spirited playing.  Communicating proficiently as they dug into the song, this didn’t sound like a band’s first week out on the road.  Their musical comfort with each other was clear as the music pulsated with Mike at the center.

Murawski and Gordon - Seattle '08

Murawski and Gordon - Seattle '08

Before the next selection, “Spiral,” Mike indicated that the band had only played it once and it was “an intentionally trippy song,” though he wasn’t “speaking from experience, just from conjecture.”  Following that sentence up with the absurd Gordonism, “Actually I’m not speaking at all,” they started the song.  As the slow opening unfolded, Mike’s lyrics crept out at the same tempo, creating a very trippy vibe, indeed.  This song sounds like one Phish could (read: should) adopt and interpret masterfully as a layered addition to their catalog.  Drifting into abstract psychedelia, this jam held the distinct feel of Grateful Dead-Phish fusion- some really engaging music.  My favorite piece of this show, I now await the day Phish breaks out “Spiral;” it will be sick.

Falls Church w/ Guenaur (M.Gordon)

9.12 - Falls Church w/ Guenaur (M.Gordon)

Inviting folk-rock guitarist, Reid Genauer, (Assembly of Dust, formerly of Strangefolk) to the stage, the band launched into a cover of the the Allman’s “Ain’t Wasting Time No More.”  Taking the tune for a somewhat generic ride, they eventually broke form with Mike’s pumping bass lines heading the charge as they segued into a textured take on Fatboy Slim’s “La La La.”  Check out the basscrabatics on this one, as Mike got straight silly.

Genauer stepped off stage and the band returned to Gordon’s music with “Sound.”  A song that embodies Mike’s emerging writing style- with melodies featured as prominently as his unique rhythmic concepts- in the vein of “Another Door” and “Andelmans’ Yard,” “Sound” is a favorite off The Green Sparrow.  A bass intro gave way to a soft, blooming arrangement that likened a comfortable musical swaddle.  Cleary’s piano leads lent a jazzy feel to the jam of this very collaborative piece.

Falls Church (M.Gordon)

Falls Church - 9.12 (M.Gordon)

With complex percussion, the band began “Sarala,” an impressive jazz composition written by percussionist, Craig Myers, himself.  Not only is Mike embracing the music of pop-culture and his musical roots, but he is also using his band a as a platform for his lesser-known bandmates to get some of their own music out there.  So far this tour the band has played songs written by all three other band members besides drummer, Todd Isler.

Breaking the music down into a more bluegrass-laced place, the band again transitioned from song to song into another original, “Couch Lady.”  While this is sounds like classic Gordeaux, this was definitely my least favorite piece in the show; but I don’t dig on bluegrass.  A cover of Radiohead’s “15 Steps” came next, illustrating Mike’s risk-taking and willingness to cover one of today’s most prominent acts.  Featuring  heavy bass work and organized cacophony, I wish I could say more in relation to the original, but Radiohead, like bluegrass, really isn’t my bag either.

Falls Church Soundcheck (M.Gordon)

Falls Church Soundcheck (M.Gordon)

Mike clearly has tons of music that no one knows about unless you are hitting up these shows, and he broke out another original to close the set, “Only A Dream.”  One of the longest pieces of the show, the rock composition turned far more interesting once the lyrics fell away, but still fell short of the most engaging pieces of the show.  Honoring the request of “Sugar Shack” for the encore, Gordon played a more bass-led version of his new Phish song before finishing with an inspiring and extended take on the Doobie Brothers’ cover “Takin’ It to the Streets!”  Never a dull moment with Michael Gordon.

Touring with a band of legitimate improvisers, Mike’s shows take on a the contours of dynamic band interplay, creating unique paths nightly.  Rooted in rhythmic textures, getting “bassed” has never felt so good.  Don’t let the lack of media coverage fool you- Mike is a secret agent after-all- the music being churned out by his band is both fresh and exciting, and if you can get your face in front of the bass, I highly recommend checking it out.

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

2001 > Disease” 9.29.99 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-09-29d2t05.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-09-29d2t06.mp3]

The Pyramid’s enormous “2001” took it to the next level, and its energy spilled right into a blistering “Disease.”

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DOWNLOADS OF THE DAY: Side Projects

2009.09.12 The Mike Gordon Band, Falls Church, VA < Torrent

2009.09.12 The Mike Gordon Band, Falls Church, VA < Megaup

getbassed-1Another Door, Andelmans’ Yard, Emotional Railroad, Can’t Stand Still, Spiral, Ain’t Wasting Time No More* > La La La*, Sound, Sarala^, Couch Lady, 15 Steps**, Only A Dream

E: Sugar Shack, Taking It To The Streets^^

* Allman Bros cover, Reid Genauer on guitar & vocals, ^ Craig Myers original, **Radiohead cover, ^^ Doobie Bros cover

Source: Schoeps CCM41V’s DINa>Sonosax SX-M2 + B&K 4023’s DIN>Neve Portico 5012 (Silk) HPF@65HZ>Sound Devices 744T @24/48 (Taper – Ned Struzziero)

***

2009.09.12 Trey and NYP, Carnegie Hall, NY < Torrent

2009.09.12 Trey and NYP, Carnegie Hall, NY < Megaup

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

9.12 (LiveMusicBlog)

I: First Tube, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Brain & Robert, Divided Sky, Water In the Sky, Pebbles and Marbles, Guyute Orchestral

II: Time Turns Elastic, Let Me Lie, You Enjoy Myself  E: If I Could

NEW Source: SP-TFB-2 > SP-SPSB-10 > MARANTZ-PMD620

Tags: , ,

A Night At the Symphony

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 13th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
9.12.09 (C.Batka)

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (C.Batka)

It all began back in college.  With intricate, multi-part compositions- arguably better suited for an orchestra than a rock band- Trey began his songwriting days.  Scribing pieces so far-reaching in musical scope, it was mind-numbing how a four-piece outfit could conquer his songs with such proficiency.  And throughout the years, when the band really nailed them, they sounded like- well- a symphony.  “You Enjoy Myself,” “Fluffhead,” “Divided Sky,” The Curtain (With),” “David Bowie,” “Harry Hood,” “Reba”- these weren’t your everyday “rock” songs.  But with Phish as his musical outlet, that’s what they became, some of the most unique rock songs in history, or- in other words- Phish songs.  But there was a vision of something greater that drove these compositions, something unattainable at the time.

TreyYouthDecades later in 2000, during Phish’s first break, Trey turned his energy to his lifelong goal.  Taking a similarly scribed song, “Guyute,” he spent four months with the conductor of the Vermont Youth Orchestra creating an orchestral arrangement of his composition.  And with two benefit performances at the Music Hall in Troy, NY and Burlington’s Flynn Theatre- a show that included his mentor, Ernie Stires- Trey’s new career was underway.  During the hiatus, he also worked with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra- conducting them, at Bonnaroo 2004, through pieces from his first classical album,”Seis De Mayo.”

img_06031

Nashville Program

And on Saturday night at Carnegie Hall, after years of diligence and many baby-steps along the way, Trey’s dream was finally fulfilled.  Playing a full two-set show of his own material with the world-class New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Trey took center stage in one of the music’s most legendary venues, realizing his vision hatched so long ago.  Decked in black, he was the man of the hour, not only showcasing “Time Turns Elastic” in its proper setting, but also highlighting the night with a ridiculously creative arrangement of “You Enjoy Myself.”  On a stage filled with some of the world’s best musicians, Trey’s seminal piece took on a completely new life.  It was the first time that we all got to hear what Trey has been hearing in his head for years.  And it is some of the most surreal music you will ever hear.

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (P.Mason)

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (P.Mason)

While I couldn’t be at the show last night- all reports and reviews I got from New York City were glowing, and after listening to the show, I certainly understand why.  To hear Phish music in this milieu is absolutely breathtaking; the complexities and emotions are magnified, and the music sounds surprisingly at home.  Blending his guitar with a far greater whole, Trey’s integration with the symphonic tapestry is brilliant.  Arranging all pieces with Nashville’s Don Hart, with whom he collaborated with on “Time Turn Elastic,” the nuances and intricacies of each piece were astounding; Trey’s playing, selfless- his tone, gorgeous.  Making the first complete performance of the next chapter of his career, Trey announced his arrival on one of world’s most prestigious stages.

The way he painted suggestions of his soaring “First Tube” solo against a lush, horn-led backdrop; the enchanting and dreamy, “Brian & Robert;” the soaring power of the strings in “Divided Sky”- was this all a joke?  Trey had gone right ahead and redefined the Phish experience overnight.  And in his recent interview in Timeout: New York, he indicated he would love to see this project grow to where he could tour between Phish activities, playing two nights in a city without repeating any material.  Pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me!  And quite the “side project.”

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

After playing a series of relatively shorter pieces in the first set, the second set featured but three songs- “Time Turns Elastic,” “Let Me Lie,” and “YEM.”  In its full three-movement incarnation, and set in Carnegie Hall, it was very clear where “Time Turns Elastic” belongs.  In full blossom in Trey’s virtuoso performance, the song was easier to digest after a summer of hearing it as a Phish song,  but after listening to Saturday’s performance, it seems almost silly that it was transposed into a contrived prog-rock “epic.”  Taking on its natural form, as debuted in Nashville and performed in Baltimore, the piece’s innovation and power was evident, and it sounded authentic in its orchestral form.  But the highlight of the night was, without question, the classical debut of “You Enjoy Myself.”

With one of the most renowned symphonies on the planet, Trey played through a rendition of his seminal work that has to be heard to be believed.  The creativity, fun, and sheer genius on display was completely over the top, as the once-imaginary version of the song burst into reality.  Complete with an interpretation of his band’s improv, this “YEM” quickly developed into a career-defining moment for Trey.  With their collaborative ingenuity teeming, he even complemented the orchestra as the piece came to rest in a mesmerizing “vocal jam.”  And as he did, one can’t help but think that college kid from the mid-eighties, somewhere inside the mature maestro onstage, was beaming with a goofy, radiant smile.

***

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Winged music noteJams of the Day: Carnegie Hall

You Enjoy Myself

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/You-Enjoy-Myself.mp3]

Simply amazing. I am re-posting it for the Monday morning crowd.

Time Turns Elastic

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/2-08-Time-Turns-Elastic.mp3]

In this setting, this composition is stunning.

First Tube

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1-01-First-Tube.mp3]

An unexpected way to start a night at the symphony!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Torrent

9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Megaupload

phish-living-room-2-15-90

Feb 1990 Poster

We are taking it back nineteen years to the day, to a small club in Providence, RI for today’s download.  Those from the Northeast are most likely familiar with the intimate Living Room, a club that is still active today.  An old-school nugget to start the week that features the debut of “Destiny Unbound.”  Enjoy!

I: Suzy Greenberg, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Reba, Paul and Silas, Stash, Dinner and a Movie, I Didn’t Know

II: The Asse Festival, The Squirming Coil, Buried Alive > Tweezer, Magilla, Cavern, Lizards, Destiny Unbound*, Fire

E: Going Down Slow

*first time played

Tags: , , ,

The Carnegie Hall “YEM”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 12th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Download and Listen:

9.12.09 Carnegie Hall “YEM” < link

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/You-Enjoy-Myself.mp3]

Unreal.

(thanks Mitch!)

10718_160832659256_660764256_3517986_6684819_n

9.12.09 – Carnegie Hall (Photo: Pete Mason)

Trey and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra < Whole show download

I. First Tube, Inlaw Josie Wales, Brian and Robert, Divided Sky, Water in the Sky, Pebbles and Marbles, Guyute

II. Time Turns Elastic, Let Me Lie, You Enjoy Myself E: If I Could

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW < link

***

“YEM” (partial)

Tags: , , ,

Weekend Nuggets: The Heartland ’94

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 12th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Spring 1994 (phish.com)

Spring 1994 (phish.com)

This weekend we feature two smoking shows from Summer ’94 from the Great Plains.  Kansas and Iowa, not Phish’s every day stops- so all the more reason to throw down.  The Kansas City second set ripped, containing a ’94 “Reba” to be reckoned with.  The Iowa show features a tripped out “Asse Festival” which segues into “Sweet Adeline” and then a Digital Delay jam before finishing “Guelah Papyrus.”  A “Split” punctuates the first set before a huge “Bowie” and a “YEM” anchor the second.

6.13.1994 Memorial Coliseum, Kansas City, KS < Torrent

6.13.1994 Memorial Coliseum, Kansas City, KS < Megaupload

I: Buried Alive, Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, Wolfman’s Brother, Dinner and a Movie, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan*, Julius

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Esther, Cavern, Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Scent of a Mule, Big Ball Jam, HYHU > Terrapin > HYHU, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Golgi Apparatus

*Acoustic and without mics

Source: Akg 460/ck1’s

***

6.14.1994 Civic Center, Des Moines, IA < Torrent

6.14.1994 Civic Center, Des Moines, IA < Megaupload

I: Llama, Guelah Papyrus > Sweet Adeline* > Guelah Papyrus, Rift, Down With Disease, Fee, My Friend My Friend, Uncle Pen, I Didn’t Know > My Sweet One > I Didn’t Know, Split Open and Melt

II: Frankenstein, Demand > David Bowie, If I Could, It’s Ice, Sparkle, You Enjoy Myself, HYHU > Bike > HYHU, Possum

E: Sample in a Jar

* with Digital Delay Loop jam

Source: DAUD/OTS>AKG 460b ck61>AKG B-18 Phantom Power>Sony D-10 Pro II (@ 48khz)

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Weekend:

Crosseyed and Painless” 1.1.00, Cypress

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph99-12-31d5t02.mp3]

One of the most exciting jams from the all-night set.   Trey threads a melodic theme throughout the excursion that peaks with a fury.  Have a great weekend!

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

“Undermind > Drums” w/ Billy Kreutzmann 8.2.09 —————————- (partial, but great footage)

***
“2001” w/ Billy Kreutzmann 8.2.09 (CK5 blowout!)

Tags: ,

Fire In the First

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 11th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

While the second sets have been the primary focus of all the summer shows, there were a few first sets that stood out among the rest.  While Phish traditionally uses the first set to showcase their songs, and the second set, their improv, in any legit first set there is usually some overlap.  The first sets this summer followed a more old-school contour, featuring longer setlists and standalone jams, while most often feeling like warm-ups for second half adventures.  But a few times during the second leg, the first set popped off a bit more.  Below are four first sets, in chronological order, that left a greater musical wake, gave a little bit extra, and set up the second set with a bit more gusto than usual.

***

Red Rocks 8.1

I: AC/DC Bag, The Curtain (With), Mound, Gotta Jibboo, Guyute, Punch You in the Eye, Tube, Alaska, Run Like An Antelope

8.1 - Red Rocks (D.Vann)

8.1 - Red Rocks (D.Vann)

Always a great opener, “Bag” kicked off the show with energy and a hint of funk before everyone was blindsided by “The Curtain (With).”  Arguably the most emotional moment of the summer, the band slaughtered the composition that had slaughtered them back at Coventry.  As the band gelled majestically, Trey played incredibly poignant leads into the Colorado heavens.  A one-of-a-kind catharsis, we all lived what we had imagined for years- and the past was behind us. But so much more importantly, the band stepped up to the moment,and put the past behind them.  The first song after such an episode would be….”Mound!”  Played only twice since 1996, Phish ripped through the old-school piece, and it sounded as fresh as any new song played all summer.  The “Jibboo” that followed felt like a celebratory groove-fest that ushered in the future.  “Punch” and “Tube” flooded the set with plenty of super-sized dance patterns before “Antelope” sprinted to the finish line.  Taking the jam out to a more dissonant intensity before returning to the peak, this was the first of several menacing     versions throughout August.

***

Darien Lake 8.13

I: Sample In A Jar, Dinner and a Movie, Wolfman’s Brother, My Friend, My Friend, Possum, Farmhouse, Sugar Shack, Brian And Robert, David Bowie, Bathtub Gin, How High The Moon*, Golgi Apparatus

Darien Lake (H. Ainsworth)

Darien Lake (H. Ainsworth)

Though this frame embodies the “set of songs” structure, it featured energetic playing throughout, some choice rarities, and was anchored by three solid jams.  “Wolfman’s” moved through liquid grooves to an expressive peak- my personal favorite of August; and at the end of the set came a somewhat unprecedented combo of “Bowie” and “Bathtub.”  These three pieces- with “Bowie” being the jam of the first half- carried the improvisational weight of the set, but there were elements of surprise as well.  After “Sample” innocently opened, Phish dropped into the ever-elusive “Dinner and a Movie.”  Played only seven times since 1994, any time you hear the dark instrumental, it is always a treat.  And with their 3.0 precision, the band nailed the eighth.  Phish sandwiched “Wolfman’s” with a second ominous bust-out in “My Friend, My Friend.”  In addition to a well played “Sugar Shack,” the spoken tribute to Les Paul and “How High the Moon” also made this set unique.  It may look routine on paper, but that’s why you can’t judge a show by its setlist.

***

Hartford 8.14

I: Punch You in the Eye, AC/DC Bag, NICU, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Birds Of A Feather, Lawn Boy, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Middle Of The Road, Character Zero

"Punch / The Landlady" - Hartford (T.Hill)

"Punch / The Landlady" - Hartford (A.Hill)

One of the most scorching first sets of tour, the band came out with a string of oldies that set the tone for the entire show.  An exciting “Punch” had the pavilion blowing up all over the place before the ushers began asking for tickets during “NICU.”  But the biggest surprise of the set came with the heavy drop into “Colonel Forbin’s” for the first time since Vegas 2000.  We finally had returned to Gamehendge- a land that seemed somehow inaccessible during the post-hiatus era.  A gorgeous run through “Mockingbird” capped the ’80s portion of the set, and the band fell right into the only “Birds”of August.  The jam was fuel-injected, soaring through fast-paced textures, and bursting at the seams with snarling energy.  Taking their improv into an aggressive ‘type 1.5’ territory, Phish used “Birds” to set up the most outstanding excursion of the set- “Stash.”  With a darkened psychedelia, the band got in touch with the ethos of the song, leaving its more melodic interludes on the west coast.  The highlight of the set- in my opinion- this “Stash” has flown way under the radar.  A vacuum solo, a Mike song, and “Character Zero” to close- a great first set.

***

Merriweather 8.15

1: Crowd Control, Kill Devil Falls, The Sloth, Beauty Of A Broken Heart, Axilla I, Foam, Esther, Ha Ha Ha, Party Time, Tube, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Strange Design, Time Turns Elastic

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Sometimes a first set can ride on sheer energy and well played songs- and it always helps if most of the songs haven’t popped up yet on tour.  Thus was the case with Merriweather’s opening frame, featuring seven late-summer debuts, and a couple songs that has only been played once.  This version of “Beauty of a Broken Heart” really hits a groove and foreshadows what I think can be a solid vehicle for good-times dance music.  And of course there world premiere of “Party Time.”  A song that is sure to ingrain itself in Phish lore, the debut of the funk was nothing short of delightful.  With huge smiles and great energy, Phish delivered a satisfying first course.

OTHER LEGITIMATE FIRST SETS: 7.31 Red Rocks, 8.7 Gorge, 8.8 Gorge (We’ve talked about these a lot though!)

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Winged music noteJam of the Day:

Disease > Free” 6.26.95 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph1995-06-26.4011.d2t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph1995-06-26.4011.d2t02.mp3]

This supremely psychedelic segment of music saw an early, improvisational “Disease” morph into a brand new “Free,” creating a forward-looking highlight of an unreal set at SPAC.  These jams gets into seriously spacey and mind-expanding territory- incredibly engaging jamming in my book.  If you’ve never heard this, listen…now! Classic Summer ’95.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.3.94 Mullins Center, Amherst, MA < Torrent

11.3.94 Mullins Center, Amherst, MA < Megaupload

November '94 Pollack

November '94 Pollock

Coming at you via reader request is an early show in the huge month of November ’94.  With a focus on fast-paced psychedelia, Phish was drooling with hunger on the verge of stardom.  A great relic from an intense era in Phish history.

I: Fee, The Divided Sky, Wilson, Peaches en Regalia, Glide, Split Open and Melt, Dog Faced Boy, Sparkle, Down With Disease

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Simple > Poor Heart, Julius, You Enjoy Myself > Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Harry Hood, Cavern

E: My Sweet One*, Nellie Cane*, Amazing Grace, Highway to Hell

*Acoustic.

Source: DAUD/OTS AKG460B/ck61 > Custom Pre-amp > Teac DAP-20 @48kHz (Taper – Dave Flaschner)

Tags: ,

Reconstructing Chicago

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 9th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Toyota Park (D.Vann)

Toyota Park 8.11.09 (D.Vann)

Chicago was an interesting night, and I feel some of my initial comments were taken out of context- so let’s revisit Phish’s stop in the Windy City.  Aside from the “Curtain With,” the first set was straight up uneventful- that much is hard to dispute, but the second set presented a whole different conundrum.  The concept of flow is so important to a successful set of music.  You don’t want to feel like you’ve just been thrown through the musical washing machine, catching chunks music randomly and out of context as they hit you.  But that’s kind of what Chicago’s second set felt like.

8.11 (C.Smith)

8.11 (C.Smith)

The intriguing factor of this second set, is that most all of the music is great!  What made the show unsuccessful overall was not the lack of virtuoso jamming, but the choppy presentation of the music that could have been artistically outdone by my middle school lunch ladies and their Sloppy Joes.  There were several standout jams in the set, but when one randomly ended to start the next, that elusive flow went right down the drain.  The “Number Line” was one of the two strongest of the summer; the “Hood” was more unique than most, and Chicago’s second set featured the only “2001” of the tour that didn’t involve a guest.  All the elements were there for a great show, but they just didn’t gel.

8.11 (D.Vann)

8.11 (D.Vann)

After the show, I noted this, and thought of a way the set could have been arranged more cohesively, and just for the fun of it, I recreated the set- as best as possible- in the order I think it was “meant” to be. (This exercise is much better accomplished with an iPod playlist.) And if it went down like this, I guarantee people would be talking about the Chicago show a whole lot more.  This is not to presume that I know how Phish sets should go more than the band does- but just this once, indulge me.  Sure, hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but remember, this is all for fun.

Toyota Park (C.Smith)

Toyota Park (C.Smith)

As the “Number Line” got ambient- it seemed the “2001” that had loomed large over The Gorge all weekend was about to drop, merging the futuristic theme the a song that very much represented the band’s future course.  But despite all the times the band sidestepped artistic segues into “2001” over the previous shows, the space-funk be Heismaned again, only to stumble awkwardly out of “Wilson” later in the set.  Instead the band jarringly dropped into “Carini”- a move that squeaked by on shock value- and the fact that Phish cranked the intensity level way past eleven on on this one, so we’ll leave the initial segment alone. (But that “Number Line > 2001” was begging to come out!)

8.11 (C.Smith)

8.11 (C.Smith)

As the band began to build out of  “Carini’s” grungy residue, Trey started chomping away at “Jibboo,” successfully blowing the second segue in a row.  But this time, let’s reconsider.  Since the band missed their first chance to merge with “2001,” let’s use “Carini’s” outro as the intro to the dance epic- it works perfectly.   “Carini > 2001”- now that’s some gritty, urban Phish!  Carrying out the peak of “2001,” Trey would then drop the opening rhythm chords to “Jibboo” continuing the dance-floor portion of the show.  Finishing a full-throttle groove session in “2001 > Jibboo,” concluding a boisterous opening of the set, everyone would need to catch their breath.  Cue “Theme”- a perfect chill-out song after the improvisational fireworks, while still carrying momentum of its own.  As soon as the respite is over, Trey would eagerly hit the opening notes to a late-set “Wilson.” But as the band sustained the final note, instead of crashing into a random “Chalkdust,” they would drop into the drum roll of “Harry Hood,”  forming an old-school one-two punch.  And this “Hood” is no slouch.  With impressionistic painting by Trey and a diversion into minor chords before the peak of the jam, this version was among the best of leg two.  Just when you think the set is over, the ever-present “Coil” would still unfold to gracefully to close the set.

Call me crazy, but that would have flowed much more fluidly than the mix-tape the band dropped in Toyota Park.  And a rocking double encore to close things off- “Chalkdust,” “Loving Cup”- what a beautiful buzz!  Don’t take this too seriously, and if you thought Chicago was the best show of tour, more power to you.  But if you’d like to listen to Chicago’s second set the way it could have gone down, sit back, hit play and relax.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d2t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d2t04.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t02.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d2t05.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d2t06.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t04.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t05.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t06.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph2009-08-11d3t07.mp3]

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Winged music noteJam of the Day:

Split Open and Melt” 8.10.97 I

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph1997-08-10d2t01.mp3]

This is one of the most unique and ethereal “Splits” ever played- and one that flies completely under the radar.  A true gem from the cornfields of Deer Creek in ’97!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

3.1.97 SBD Markthalle, Hamburg, GR < Torrent

3.1.97 SBD Markthalle, Hamburg, GR < Megaupload

496_slipstitch_cd_germany_front

Slip, Stitch, and Pass

A pre-FM SBD source of the now-classic show immortalized on Slip, Stitch, and Pass.

I: Cities, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Down With Disease, Weigh, Beauty Of My Dreams, Wolfman’s Brother > Jesus Just Left Chicago, Reba, Hello My Baby, Possum

II: Carini, Dinner and a Movie, Mike’s Song > Lawn Boy > Weekapaug Groove, The Mango Song, Billy Breathes, Theme From The Bottom

E: Taste, Sweet Adeline

Tags: ,

Phish’s New Theme Song

Posted in Uncategorized with the on September 9th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Trey and Tom

Trey and Tom

It all started with a poem.  In their tradition of writing each other poems for their birthdays, Tom Marshall sent Trey the lyrics to what would quickly become “Backwards Down the Number Line.”  Tom explained the near-instant transformation in an interview with Relix last January:

A poem I emailed to Trey on his birthday last year passed rather quickly into its second life… that is, it became a song. The transformation from a poem on paper to a song is an extremely dramatic event…In the case of “Backwards Down the Number Line,” Trey called me within hours of my hitting the “enter” key to send it to him. He played me a complete song; he had recorded drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and multiple layers of vocals… and it was fantastic. And I finally realized what we had done. We had written the first new Phish song in four years.

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

And so it began.  Inspired by the words of his old friend, a revitalized Trey whipped up Phish’s 3.0 anthem in a matter of hours- all by himself.  It sounds like a story from the late ‘eighties- Trey furiously writing and creating- but it was 2008.  And that is what was so cool.  The story, the song, the music- they all value friendship, loyalty, and fun.  And once again, it seems that is exactly what Phish is all about.  Having fun  is at a premium these days- by fans and band alike- but this era all started with the first Phish song of the new-school, “Backwards Down the Number Line.”  Let’s take a trip…

Trey at Rothbury (M.Simpson)

Trey at Rothbury (M.Simpson)

The song became public when Trey made his first appearance, emerging from his legal entanglements, at Rothbury in the summer of 2008.  As part of his acoustic set, Trey wove an early version of “Backwards Down the Number Line,” and it was quite obvious where this one was headed.  While still in the “rumor” stage of Phish’s return, decisions had already been made- and most of us knew.  The acoustic version placed an emphasis on the lyrics, a clear ode to friendship through good times and bad.  But the beauty of it all was that the song, itself, was a sign of good times ahead.  With Fishman watching and Mike joining Trey onstage to play the song, the ball was already in motion.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/NumberLine-Rothbury.mp3]
Brooklyn - 8.7.08 (R.Barkan)

Brooklyn - 8.7.08 (R.Barkan)

The next time “Backwards Down the Number Line” showed up was later that summer in Trey’s highly-anticipated electric return at the intimate Music Hall of Williamsburg.  Debuted on August 7th in Brooklyn, along with six other songs, “Backwards Down the Number Line” was certainly catchy, and you just got the feel that it would wind up opening many future second-sets for the Phish.  With thin vocal harmonies and a lack of improvisational chops in the Classic TAB setup, the song would be greatly enhanced by his other band.  The lyrics were clearly a reference to the past and the oncoming future, and with a batch of new songs- some yet to surface- the future seemed limitless that night in Brooklyn.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/2-04-Backwards-Down-The-Number-Line.mp3]

When Trey went on his Classic TAB run in October of  ’08, “Backwards Down the Number Line” became a staple of his sets during the second half of the tour.  Breaking it out first at Lupo’s in Providence, RI, the band played a standard, guitar-solo version for the short stint of shows.  The song carried a shuffle-type beat, a borderline county vibe, and a soaring platform for guitar solos,  but understandably, every version sounded just about the same.  The transformation was near. (Listen to Richmond’s finale below.)

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/08-Backwards-Down-the-Number-Line.mp3]
Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

When the band got together to rehearse for the Hampton reunion, “Backwards Down the Number Line” was the only new tune thrown into the eighty-plus song mix for the weekend.  Somewhat surprisingly, the band opened their first second set at Hampton with the song- and most people weren’t aware of what it was.  Played symbolically to usher the new age of Phish, the band followed up the song’s template with a boisterous “Tweezer” that brought the house down.  But not before “Number Line” started things off.  Dismissed by some as less-than-worthy Trey pop, these people wouldn’t be able to escape it come Summer Tour.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph090306d2_08_Backwards_Down_the_Number_Line.mp3]
Joy

Joy

When Phish stepped into the studio to record Joy between Hampton and Fenway, “Backwards Down the Number Line” was the first song they played.  Opening their session with a full run-through of the song, the band liked their initial take so much that they went right ahead and put it on the album as the opening track.  With only some vocal layering added, “Number Line” opens Joy with some of the most spirited playing of the entire album, and Trey’s guitar solo continues to gain critical acclaim in mainstream media outlets.  It was clear that this song meant something to Phish- there was much more emotion attached- and in one fell swoop, they recorded their newest single. (Listen to the album version below.)

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/01-Backwards-Down-The-Number-Line.mp3]
Jones Beach (W.Rogell)

Jones Beach (W.Rogell)

Dusted off out of “Piper” during Jones Beach’s final and most explosive set, the song now came out with a new bridge with lyrics atop, giving the repetitive verse / chorus format some variation.  Played four times throughout June, highlighted by Asheville’s set opener, any improv remained firmly anchored to the song’s structure.  Essentially playing the “album version” the band spent June warming their audience familiar to their new anthem.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/phish2009-06-09s2t02.mp3]
7.31 (G.Lucas)

7.31 (G.Lucas)

But when leg two of summer kicked off, things were about to change.  Coming out of the now-legendary Red Rocks “Tweezer,” the band took “Number Line” outside of its noodly structure, creating an original segment of improv for the first time.  After a relatively tame second-set opener at Shoreline, when the song dropped late in The Gorge’s final set, Phish created its most significant jam to date.  Breaking into soaring rock textures, the band gelled the music to the upbeat vibe of the show, while getting dirtier than ever.  The band must have liked what they played, because they broke it out the very next show in Chicago, kicking off set two.  Emboldening the jam even further, the band stretched it into a spacier ambiance and suggested more spiritual realms before getting chopped by “Carini.”  But it was far and away the most exploratory version yet- until SPAC.

SPAC (D.Vann)

SPAC (D.Vann)

Just as Phish opened this whole 3.0 party, so would they close it- albeit for the summer- opening their final frame with “Backwards Down the Number Line.”  As soon as it started, everyone knew it would go deep, and twenty minutes (or twenty years) later, that was confirmed. In its most far-reaching, psychedelic journey, this “Number Line” not only stood out at the show, but quickly vaulted itself into the category of whole-summer highlights.  Representative of how far the band had come since its four-minute debut in Hampton, the dark and exploratory risk-taking at SPAC was like soul-candy.  Taking the show on a menacing-turned-abstract excursion, Phish artistically segued the monstrous jam into Joy’s final track, “Twenty Years Later.”

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/phish2009-08-16_mk41_1644_d2t04.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/phish2009-08-16_mk41_1644_d2t05.mp3]

Phish’s evolution from Hampton through SPAC can be virtually traced via the evolution of this song.  Initially tame and straight forward, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has slowly transformed into one of the band’s most diverse vehicles.  With a poignant lyrical theme created just for this go-round, there is no doubt that this song will continue to grow and take different musical shapes.  With a jam that can now go anywhere, each future appearance will be shrouded in musical mystery- and is what this is all about.

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 Late Summer '09

Surrender To the Flow‘s Fan Survey:

Get your voice heard in the only lot magazine written for ‘Phish kidz by Phish kidz!’  My friends over at the fan-based publication, Surrender to the Flow, are in the process of putting together their Halloween edition for Indio.  Please help out by weighing in with your take on Phish’s summer tour, Festival 8, Joy, and a whole lot more!  CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY!

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Winged music noteJam of the Day:

“Timber Ho! > David Bowie” 7.26.97 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph97-07-26d2t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph97-07-26d2t02.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ph97-07-26d2t03.mp3]

An extended passage of darkness to open the second set at Austin’s South Park Meadows in the summer of ’97.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.5.1995 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR< Torrent

10.5.1995 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR < Megaupload

Memorial Coliseum - Portland, OR

Memorial Coliseum - Portland, OR

With all the PDX folks on this site I’d figure I’d drop in a treat from the northwest circa ’95.  The seventh show of a massive fall tour, Phish was just getting revved up, but there are more than a few treats in a show that took place far away from Phish’s core fan base.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Ha Ha Ha, Fog That Surrounds, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Cars Trucks Buses, Strange Design, The Divided Sky, Acoustic Army, Julius, Suzy Greenberg

II: 2001 > Runaway Jim, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Scent of a Mule, Cavern, David Bowie, Lifeboy, Amazing Grace

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Source: Neumann KA100