The Conclusion of The Crown

11.21.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

11.21.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

Sometimes one set can kick Phish into gear, and Friday night’s blowout seemed to do just that, as the band came back Saturday on fire from note one, triumphantly capping their first two-night stand of the fall. Using a far more balanced effort than either previous show, the band spread their jams over both sets, creating a fully engaging evening from start to finish. Completely settled into the arena groove, Phish put together another devastating second-set combo in “Rock And Roll > Ghost > If I Could,” but the jam of the show may have come before setbreak in the blissfully insanity of “Split Open and Melt.”

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

All of their jams, composed or otherwise, have been kicked up a notch since stepping indoors, and the first “Wolfman’s” of the tour held true to this pattern. As Trey picked lead lines over the band’s chunky groove, this version evolved into a smooth-operating dance-session to get the show underway in earnest. With jazzy grooves aplenty, the band got their improvisational chops warmed-up early on Saturday night. Following what has become a rather standard piece in “Ocelot,” the band dipped into their Halloween costume for the first time, breaking out the heavy favorite from “Exile” to remain in rotation,”Torn and Frayed.” Sounding even sharper than during their now-renowned cover set, Phish nailed a similar-length version that sounded sweeter than ever. Needing a new cover song oh-so-badly, the band chose a winner that fits their current style perfectly. A welcome addition to the catalog, look for a this one to open up a second set at some point this tour, leading into an extended piece of improv.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

But the no-brainer jam of the set – and, in my opinion, standout piece of the evening – came a few songs later with an utterly mind-numbing “Split.” Moving through multiple phases of creative jamming, Phish progressed through a sublime melodic build before arriving at a menacing musical dungeon. Increasing in both intensity and abstraction, the band created one of the most incredible musical moments of ’09. Patiently molding a lasting psychedelic masterpiece, the band nailed the change back into the “Split” jam with ridiculous accuracy, exploding into the groove. A most outrageous piece of music, this is one that needs to be heard to be believed.

After coming down from the madness with a soft musical pillow of “Dirt” and a “Limb” that featured incredibly lyrical soloing by Trey, the band soared into a set ending “Antelope.” Showcasing the overwhelming guitar mastery of Big Red’s fall tour thus far, he drove this “Antelope” into smithereens with his retro-machine gun style that has recently emerged. Ending the first half on an incredibly high note, the band finally played a far-reaching opening set that contained more than one pieces of legit improv for the first time this tour.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

On the first Saturday night of fall, Phish broke out one of their most popular openers in “Rock and Roll,” pleasing all in attendance with the cover-turned-type-II journey. Moving out of the blistering rock jam, the band broke things down into a series of percussive grooves that turned the music far more interesting and dancable. Naturally moving int  a textured canvas of rhythmic communication, the band carried some distinct momentum into this second portion of the jam. But as things moved forward they only got more intriguing as the band entered a third plane – a deeply inspiring ambient section likening alien intervention. Harnessing the power of the other side, the band had moved from rock to groove to all-out psychedelia before morphing into “Ghost.” Bouncing with the rediscovered indoor energy, Trey led the band in a high-octane version that picked up the pace from its summer incarnations. Another example of his uncompromising play in Cincinnati, Trey crushed this version with an extended series of stunning leads that varied from the fiery to the melodic. Without getting far out there, this “Ghost” absolutely smoked, providing a jolt of adrenaline, that coupled with “Rock and Roll,” created – potentially – the most creative segment of tour thus far.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

After a searing peak to a period of full-on jamming, the band dripped into a surprise landing point of “If I Could.” Maintaining the rearranged, more delicate, format from its Jones Beach return, the band collectively wove a gorgeous musical fabric that tickled the soul. This first half of the set presented us with one of the most engaging segments of improv this run; a tour that is slowly shaping up as the return of the well-oiled monster we once knew. At this point, the band turned to a series of singles to close out the show for the weekend crowd. Highlighted by a magnificent, multi-peaking “Caspian,” and a short but sweet “2001,” the band killed this run of songs despite the lack of any real jamming.

Building on an incredible two nights at the Crown, we make the quick turn-around up to Syracuse for the tour’s smallest show. With 8,000 people on a Sunday night, things are looking quite bright for tonight. I’ve got bags to pack. See you there!

I: Wilson, NICU, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Torn and Frayed, Strange Design, Ginseng Sullivan, Albuquerque, Split Open and Melt, Dirt, Limb By Limb, Run Like an Antelope

II: Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could, Backwards Down the Number Line, Prince Caspian, Suzy Greenberg, 2001 > The Squirming Coil

E: Sleeping Monkey, Axilla

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639 Responses to “The Conclusion of The Crown”

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  1. 20YearsLater Says:

    Great review, Miner! It’s refreshing to read your full thoughts on a Set I. Please keep that up. Viva la Phishthoughts!

  2. butter Says:

    Miner, thanks for the great review. As i sit next to the beach in Maui i feel connected to our seen greatly thru your post. See ya at MSG!!!

  3. Baxter Says:

    thanx for the updates dude, luv perusing yer blog. things ill b fired up at the knick and cccc, can’t wait!

  4. butterflyeffect Says:


    the creamy honey madness. i want to dissolve this SOAM in my freshly-brewed coffee and sip it gradually, in an effort to somehow inherit it’s maniacal power. i want to listen while staring at the blackest night with a wild grin.

  5. johnny the boy Says:

    soooooooooooooooo glad torn&frayed is the keeper. it seems phish & i are of like mind regarding the 2 best songs on “Exile!”

  6. butterflyeffect Says:

    i regret that i cannot participate in conversation throughout the “day” with regularity, as i am on the other side of the world.

  7. sumodie Says:

    First AUD of last night’s show now available for torrenting at etree:

  8. whole tour! Says:

    last night’s show looks so fucking sick!
    now, that’s what i’m talking about!
    the phish is back in a BIG way.

    By the time they hit miami, they will be the destroyer of worlds and creater of some serious wormholes.

  9. whole tour! Says:

    axilla encore….read-icccccc!!!!!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    wish I had made the trek to cinci after all sounds like a great weekend!

  11. m00nshake Says:

    Just testing my google phone.

  12. KWL Says:

    awesome, miner. I am bursting with anticipation for tonight, next weekend, and msg. Bring on the monster late set II gin tonight!!!

  13. sumodie Says:

    I’ll probably be stopping by the Blue Tusk on Walton St. in Syracuse -hope to see some pt’ers there.

    Will Sand finally drop tonight?

  14. KWL Says:

    nice sumodie, look for me in my PT shirt & black hat.

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    I didn’t like the placement of Caspian/Suzy, but the 2001->Coil with the Axilla encore ended the show nicely.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    You guys think tonight will be the climax of the weekend? Or will it be a breather for the PA shows coming up?

    I am very surprised they haven’t played Stash or Hood yet; it’s going to be huge when they bust-out one of those. Same with Piper.

    They’re getting it back now though, and pretty soon every show will be of this caliber.

  17. whole tour! Says:

    sunday shows are always smoking. there are no breathers on phish tour.

  18. Henry Says:

    Songs that need to resurface this fall:

    Birds of a Feather
    Scents and Subtle Sounds
    Walls of the Cave
    (something off of party time)

  19. HarryHood Says:


    My bro and I should be at the Tusk around 5. I’ll be wearing a Boston hat with a green B.

  20. sumodie Says:

    @kwl: excellent!

    I don’t believe in breathers, only smokers. Plus it’s a hometown show for Fishman…time to sign off and get my butt out the door.

  21. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Wow, last night’s show was really, really good. The first set was one of the best, if not the best, I’ve heard all summer. Great jamming, great song selection. The whole vibe in the arena seemed more laid back. Just a throw-down party all night. Got to party with Beep and his crew the whole show. Thanks to Mr. Miner for introducing us. Spot-on review. Melt was clearly the highlight of the evening. The thought I had at the time was that it was nearly psychotic, the jam had this droning quality that really ratcheted up the tension. If I Could actually had a really heart-felt jam at the end that was really nice. I could have done without Caspian, but I know thats a song they will play when the “breather” tune didn’t get them calm enough. Suzy>2001, Coil, was a great way to close the show.

    Miner didn’t mention it, but Trey talked during the encore, before the Axilla, about how much he loved Cincy and that he would like to stay there for a week. The setup for us here has been easy-peasy, so I would have to concur. Cabs are cheap and readily available, plenty of people partying like rock stars and nobody seems to care, as long as we’re buying more booze. There was a full on nitrous party outside of Great American Ball Park on Friday night which was definitely a sight to behold. Nothing quite like seeing a tank with 1000 or so blissed out heads right on the 3rd base gate. Wonder how that worked out?

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    last nights show was so good.

    cant agree more with miner’s sentiments about Split being the highlight of the show.

    In regards to suzy,caspian, etc..:
    After the sickness that was split, limb, antelope, rock and roll, ghost the room was ready for some straight ahead rock and dance grooves.

    I was glad to see backwards contained, because it totally fit the night.

    Caspian was soaring and Suzy was funky as hell. There wasn’t a single person not enjoying those two in the whole room.

    as i said last night, everything after ghost was icing on the cake. no complaints whatsoever. rock and rolls space jam held firm for a while and there was no rush into ghost… beautiful.

    on another note i want to shout out one more time to the fellow PT’ers that I met this weekend. GP420, Nabby, and Ferd were all great cats. Kicked it with GP the most and enjoyed trying to get through the sticky caramel mess that was his newly patented “diaper candy”. Nabby provided some nice pre show convo in the lot last night, and Ferd got two of my friends in the door and on the floor.

    Great great weekend. I am so glad I went. Fall Tour is definitely hot, get ready east coasters, here they come!

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    any megaupload links for last night yet?

  24. HarryHood Says:

    I just read on the local news here in Syracuse that they opened the OnCenter at 9am this morning for any fans attending tonights show. It says they will have food, drinks, and live music inside and outside all day leading up to the show.

  25. whole tour! Says:


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