What’s Next?

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

With the wild-goose chase Phish’s created around their musical costume for Halloween, and the buzz around Sunday’s acoustic set, we continue to forget that the heart of Indio’s throwdown will be six sets of full-on, festival-sized Phish. We left the band at a point of massive creativity, evolving through the second leg of summer tour. The most significant mystery of the upcoming Holiday weekend may not, in fact, be what album the band chooses to cover for Halloween, but what direction the other six sets will take – where will Phish’s music move next?

6.16.09 (B. Kisida)

6.16.09 (B. Kisida)

After a concise and straight-forward June, Phish opened up their music significantly during their second leg of summer. Over the course of August, Phish rediscovered themselves and their improvisational chops, crafting music that evoked memories of their finest days. Their creativity returned, taking their jams in many more directions than June’s predominately structured improv. The excitement returned; no one knew what would happen next, bringing the unknown back into play. Using organic jamming, Phish found themselves arriving at stunning musical planes, instead of forcing themselves into mediocrity – in short – their flow returned. The Red Rocks and The Gorge jams sound just as fresh as they did two months ago – music with staying power – the hallmark of quality. The east coast jams still shine as well, though with less of a majesty. But don’t tell that to Darien’s “Drowned,” Merriweather’s “46 Days,” or the “Number Lines” from SPAC and Chicago – you might have a fight on your hands. But what’s next? Where are we headed now?

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

While Phish jams came to life this summer, no distinct musical direction developed – it was still too early. But as we move into Indio, and then Fall Tour, the band’s comfort level will only increase and we are sure to see new sonic elements and directions emerge. Looking for clues in the band’s new material, both “Number Line” and “Light” have proven to be legitimate springboards for diverse jamming. With “Number Line” taking the torch from “Disease” as 3.0’s feel-good anthem that can go anywhere, some of the most exploratory jams of the fall will ironically stem from the “Joy’s” first radio single. Played much less frequently this summer, the versions of “Light” at Bonnaroo and, especially, The Gorge illustrated the song’s propensity for open-ended, original destinations. Boasting one of the moments of the summer with its calypso jam at The Gorge, we have only begun to see where “Light” will take us.

The Gorge (W.Rogell)

The Gorge (W.Rogell)

And now that it is Fall, it’s time to open up “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.” Whether it happens at Indio or, more likely, indoors, this song will blow up. Its searing blues-rock psychedelia has been begging to be stretched since its debut at Jones Beach. The fact that Phish has left this one alone for so long makes me think its jam will explode somewhere along the course of Fall Tour – time will tell. While “Ocelot” has been a source of structured improv, it could easily break its mold into playful funk with uncharted courses at any time. I continue to await the 20-minute “Ocelot” second-set opener. The “Kill Devil Falls” jam has proven worthy – entering both upbeat and abstract realms at Bonnaroo and Red Rocks, a pattern that will likely continue. The other song off Joy that could meander into ambient spaces is “Twenty Years Later.” Played only once on each leg of summer, its future still remains hazy. With a few unknowns on Party Time, as well as the funk-laden title track, we could be in for some treats.

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Another potential source of a musical influence is the album they have chosen to cover. We all know how Remain In Light influenced the band, and their current choice could have a style that is genuinely new to Phish. Such costumes include Hitler’s nightmare, MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, Radiohead’s Kid A, or The Clash’s London Calling. But assuming Phish sticks to the classic rock genre, which most believe they will, it’s doubtful that they will pave their path of 2010 during their Halloween set. More illustrative of their potential direction will be the other six sets that contain far more unknowns than any other part of the weekend.

My gut tells me the band will progress to some form of patient, layered jamming with an undertone of groove; moving with a purpose through music we’ve never heard. With their skills and experience, if the band stays happy and healthy, I see no reason why this era won’t develop into one of the most engaging in the band’s history. If August was any indication, we are well on our way, as the band combined a mid-’90s determination with an evolved skill set, resulting in sublime jams. And we were just getting started. With Indio fast approaching, and Fall piggy-backing off Festival 8, we are about to enter a serious age of musical discovery and development. Hop on for the ride!

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

The Curtain > Stash” 6.17.95 I

The punctuating statement on the first set in Gainesville, VA, and, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire show.




6.13.95 Riverport Amp, Maryland Heights, MO < Torrent

6.13.95 Riverport Amp, Maryland Heights, MO < Megaupload

1995-06-13gnA stop along Phish’s space camp of Summer ’95, this show in St. Louis boasted a second set that centered on the colossal “Bowie” opener. “Hood,” “Reba,” and “Stash” also standout in this lesser-known Summer ’95 gem.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Strange Design, Taste, Reba, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture

II: David Bowie, The Lizards, Axilla (Part II) > Theme From the Bottom, Acoustic Army, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

E: Sweet Adeline, Julius

Source : Unknown

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336 Responses to “What’s Next?”

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  1. Dbone Says:

    excellent idea, miner, to bring the focus back onto the other six sets and what might be in store for phish’s playing style in indio and the rest of the fall.

    A couple of points which i think are also worth noting:

    this is the first time that I can recall where a festival started a tour – or if you want to be technical, its not starting it, but you know what i mean – every other festival has come either directly at the end of or shortly after an extensive tour. Thus they’ve all kind of been a cathartic release of the entire vibe that has perculated up throughout the preceding weeks.

    Festivals are also much more relaxed affairs for band and fans alike. you can certainly here this in the patience of the jamming and how things are allowed to develop in a different way.

    Also, phish is at a time in which each of their three 2009 stints – Hampton, first leg, and second leg – have shown distinct but related styles.

    They’ve been presumably rehearsing a ton in the last few weeks.

    All this adds up to them starting off a new 2009 stint in the relaxed and exciting context of a festival, with an indoor fall tour to follow, well-rehearsed and well rested, PLUS Halloween.

    Indio and beyond have serious mind blowing potential.

  2. congressman Says:

    I Like that.. Definitely some serious mind blowing potential!!
    Just wanted to give you a late night shout from the East Coast. I know you and the Misses are up partying like it’s ’99!! Anyways, I wanted to thank you for Today’s Download which was my 1st show!! Gotta love that Phishthoughts exists to bring back the memories and music of my past as we all Dance right into the future!! See you in a week Buddy, keep up the good work!!

  3. afroskully Says:

    miner… your jam of the day may just be the jam of summer 95. That stash imo is one of the finest pieces of improv phish has ever concocted.

    love love love that stash.

  4. BTB Says:

    I’m ready for some Faulty Plan>Light this fall. Also, interested to see if they drop some new tunes.

    ^^Stash – agreed.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’m calling Party Time opener for the festival. Might as well set the mood from the start, right?

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Not to toot my horn, but I just got a credit card hold for my tickets, see you all at F8 and then further down the line in Cincy!

  7. axillalot Says:

    to the point above – not all festivals ended tours.

    the majority yes, but not all. BC was a stand alone. December tour had ended 2 weeks or so prior. And Oswego was in the middle of summer tour. Although at the time not considered a festival, I certainly thought of it as a festival, and now, as this upcoming party is named Festival 8, then Oswego is definitely thrown in there as the 4th festival.

  8. axillalot Says:

    anyone else pumped to see what new covers the band adds to their cannon from halloween?

  9. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I think Oswego was always considered a festival. The one that isn’t considered a festival, yet served as one, was Deer Creek 2000. 3 night stand in the corn fields, onsite camping, plus all the campgrounds that surround the venue, that was basically a festival, without the name.

    Thinking about those Deer Creek shows has me wistful. They have to do a multi-night stand there next summer. I know I’m spoiled, its my home venue and all, but it really is the best shed out there, and the camping and central location make it a great stop for the summer.

  10. HarryHood Says:

    Does anyone think that the ticket lottery is truely random? By that I mean, Do you think that all of the requests are treated equally or do you think that those of us who put in our requests first are filled first? For both summer and fall tour, I wasn’t able to get my ticket requests in immediately, and I haven’t had much success. I struck out completely for summer and it looks like I only have a hold on my card for enough $$$ to cover 2 of the 6 shows that I requested. I’m assuming that it’s going to be Wed and Thu at MSG due to the fact that it’s a huge arena and it’s mid-week.

  11. Marshall Says:

    Obviously Phish decides what is and what isn’t a festival, but to me, this is the 6th festival. Big Cypress was a Millennium party and Oswego was another show (there were other stops the day before and after right?).

    To me, the real festivals are those that were planned to stand out, given names, etc.: Clifford Ball, The Great Went, Lemonwheel, and It

    I think I’ll leave out Coventry, for reasons well known. So, in fact F8 should be F5 – like the Saffer-Simpson scale for Tornadors or Hurricanes or whatever.

  12. Marshall Says:

    Tornadoes …

  13. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Harry – I put my request in on the last day and looks like I got what I asked for. So I don’t think they preference date of entry. I like to think that they preference people who put in for summer, and particularly people who bought tix to Fest 8. Almost assuredly everyone who bought a ticket to Fest8 is a fan and not a scalper. I have nothing to base that assumption on, and I know that might leave some out in the cold who are hard core fans and just can’t do the festi, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I know they used to keep a database of people who ordered (and got the Schvice, etc), and it wouldn’t be difficult to cross reference say dry goods orders with ticket orders in an effort to weed out scalpers or at least give a preference.

  14. axillalot Says:

    At the time, oswego was not considered a festival. I’m pretty sure the band even stated that, in some way or another. Now, though, if we are at Festival 8, they are counting it in as one. And BC was most certainly a festival. The festival of all festivals in the Phish world.

  15. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Oswego had a theme, a name “Camp Oswego”, was a two day affair, and they brought the ferris wheel, which I think makes it a full on festival.

  16. Pencilneck Says:

    I had believed that distance factored into the lotto selection. I would always have my mother, who lived in Iqualuit, enter the lotto, and she always won (save for hampton that is..). Also my cousin put in for me in Glasgow and she won too. I thought they figured, “Shit, if you’re willin to come all that way, sure, here’s some tix.”

  17. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Plus, the second night of Oswego had 3 sets, which seems to be the hallmark of festivals

  18. HarryHood Says:

    I’d love to have success with the lottery just once. The “ticket shuffle” as I call it gets tiring. Worth it to see shows, but still tiring.

  19. Ocelot42 Says:

    Well, I have a hold on my CC too. This is a first! I have yet to get a hit in the lottery. It’s a home-state show (Cobo in Detroit), so the whole distance thing might be a viable theory. If I get this ticket, this would be the first time I’ve ever gone to any concert completely solo. That’ll be weird.

  20. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    Am I the only one who loved June? I was happy as a pig in ish at great woods, because everything was played perfectly. I would so much rather have a spot on Fog that surrounds, than a meandering lackluster…ghost (just picking at random). I mean after hampton I wanted to see if they still had the chops to play the songs as written, which they proved throughout june, playing spot on shows. Nothing went out into the jam stratosphere, but everything seemed to be played on point (fenway aside).

    Am I the only one who doesn’t need to get completely jammed out to enjoy the phish? I see so much discussion about June being lackluster, that I’m beginning to think I’m the only one…

  21. Litteringand Says:

    As a fellow Deer Creek lover I feel like it’s not a band thing as much as the town thing that might keep a mult night run from happening. I don’t think they want the element for that long. i think that was the reason that Alpine got two nights and Creek only got one this summer. Alpine-lawn way to steep,cops in f-ing towers, parking clusterfuck, camping non-exsitant. Why would a band that seems to know the needs and wants of it’s fanbase choose to make that the two night run? Deer Creek is clearly better. Makes me think more is going on there.

  22. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    @Harry – no way is the “lottery” random. If so, someone I know would have to hit once in a while. In the past I do think that distance has played in, but I definitely don’t think it’s random… I just hope my portland request hits… If not, hopefully one of you kind souls will help me get down for my birthday.

    I actually think I’m going to test something next time a tour’s announced. I’m going to order something from drygoods (also run by livenation?), before I put in my ticket request.

  23. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @VT – I personally loved June. I went to Bonnaroo and Deer Creek and had a blast at both. I just really like to get down at a Phish show. So, for me, jamming is just fine, as long as it is grooving. Its OK if the jam gets so out there that I stop moving and just stare, but if that goes on for more than a couple of minutes, I tend to get bored. I find that they are conscious of that now, and we don’t get the 15 minute ambient jam like in 1999. The only show I caught on leg 2 was Chicago, and it was hit and miss for me. On relisten, each song is played pretty well, but there is definitely a lack of flow. However, I love the tapes of Red Rocks and the Gorge, and for most of leg 2, except Shoreline, which doesn’t really do it for me. June was hot, hot, hot though. There are some great moments on it, in fact I’m listening to 6-14 2 right now, the Rock & Roll is really pretty crazy.

  24. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @littering – I don’t think it is the town. I know for a fact that the town built showers in the park downtown in the early 90’s to accommodate Dead Heads. They actually invited Jerry to attend the ribbon cutting, he declined 😉 The actually opened up that park to campers back in the day. There is no doubt that the suburbs have creeped in on Deer Creek, but they have shows there all summer long. Bottom line, Noblesville wants your money, plain and simple. The liquor stores and grocery stores absolutely love it when Phish comes to town and they stock up on New Castle and Sammy Smith, etc. I expect a multi night run (probably 2, but I would love 3) next year. You are absolutely spot on about Alpine, it is remote, but it is a police state and you have to drive some distance after the show for a place to stay, camping or otherwise.

  25. sumodie Says:

    didn’t you know, if there’s a ferris wheel, it’s definitely a festival. i think it says so in the helping friendly book.

    you dont need a cc hold to get tix. my cc never has a hold, yet ive gotten ptbm before. fingers crossed for that wed. email!

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