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”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    last albuquerque: 9-14-00
    last ginseng: 4-17-04
    last axilla encore: 7-30-99
    last torn and frayed: 10-31-09

  2. whole tour! Says:

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    More footbell Mike!! check the 1 min mark.

  4. AintNoTele Says:

    Mid-set suzy was fun as hell! page was letting the fury loose on the clavi with gordo slapping the shit out of his bass…I had an absolute blast last night. Me and llamalee, by the graces of the phish gods, scored dead center front row tix for face in the lot. Dreams do come true people.
    The band was having a great time, smiling the whole show, great communication going on. Everyone around was feuling the fire whith their energy directed towards the stage. Pretty powerful stuff.

  5. whole tour! Says:

    How were the lots?

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    Lycan –

    Show was fantastic. I cannot believe how well they are playing first three nights on tour. Unbelievable. They are starting to lock into the old Phish-grooves now. Now that the rust is off, I cannot wait for what is coming tonight

    Big Piper, Hood, and Stash

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    i must say that the people of cinci were incredibly patient and welcoming to our scene. tons of police but not one of em was sweating anyone. the arena workers were awesome. most mentioned they were glad to be workin cause they love phish.

    saw one vendor help a girl who was struggling by just giving her a snow cone to hydrate her

  8. tela'smuff Says:


    Cincy busted out the welcome mat for Phish and Phamily. I am so proud of the phans this weekend. Just HUGE energy from the crowd. Easily one of the most engaged crowds I’ve witnessed. The band was feeling the love, hence Trey’s comment that “..wish we could stay here a whole week”. I didn’t see one single thing that would have left a bad taste. Well done phans! And thank you my beloved city. I am actually pretty proud of you!

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    no spoilers link isnt working.

    i cant get this damn show anywhere

  10. BK Says:

    Brandon’s megaupload link worked for me.

    DAMN that SOAM is smokin!

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    got it…

    in nashville now with sister and mom cookin up some breakfast for our crew!

    fantastic weekend all

    have fun on the rest of the tour guys

  12. Henry Says:

    brandon, is that a SBD?

  13. Robear Says:

    Top of the mornin’ all!

    Keith, hey brother, have an awesome night at the ‘Cuse! I’ll be floating around, making sure you’re boogeying for the both of us.

    I’m most happy for all you cats that haven’t seen Phish since hiatus, or leg I. Hold on tight!

  14. Absher Says:

    What do you guys think? Guyute opener tonight?

  15. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ Absher,

    no way. i’m calling either Party Time or Kill Devil Falls. What I’d REALLY love but doubt would be either Buried or Oh Kee Pa.

  16. Kenny Powers Says:

    i’m also not able to DL Brandon’s MegaUp link

  17. Frankie Says:

    First Axilla of 2009?

    Love last night’s setlist… Ginseng Sullivan, Alburquerque… i can dig it!

  18. Kenny Powers Says:

    nevermind, downloading now at the speed of lizzight.

    p.s. last night looks redonk on paper, can’t wait to listen.

  19. ferd Says:


    no problem at all 🙂 glad you guys made it safely to nashville. hope you can listen to last night’s show on the way down south.

    and yeah, it was pretty laid back. while i was waiting to meet up with you, i watched cops just remind people not to have open containers and to throw them out at the next trash bin. no hassle at all.

    but yeah…a great show. looking forward to wednesday night!

  20. Absher Says:

    Ive been wanting a Buried opener for years!

  21. flarrdogg Says:

    Man oh Man- Just hopping online for the first time this weekend. The band is absolutely killing it. Wasn’t in Detroit, so I don’t have that to go by as a measuring stick, but were totally locked in with incredible energy both nights. Personally, I thought set I on Friday was solid. As Miner makes note of- not heavy on the jams, but definitely well played. From the beginning of set II (Punch and the HUGE Tweezer>Light>Back On The Train>Possum) and all of last night was absolutely the heat.

    I was in the nati’ in 2003 and I think last nights show was as good, if not better than what I saw in this room back then.

    These are the only shows I’m able to do this tour and I feel completely satisfied. You guys catching shows in the Northeast are in for some real treats.

    They are feeling IT. Seriously.

  22. Absher Says:

    Lately I have been trying to figure out what my favorite year in Phishtory was and I just can’t decide. Any thoughts?

  23. Absher Says:

    Kayda’s link isn’t working for me either. I keeps resetting

  24. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ Abs

    the link finally worked for me at lightning speed, keep trying.

    As for favorite year: the beauty of Phish is that their musical history is so rich that you might consider any particular year to be “the best” any day of the week, only to change your mind the next day. Not only has their musical style constantly evolved and morphed, but the actual sound of their equipment and taping gear and venue acoustics has changed too, so it all sounds different and has its own character. The only rule is it begins.

    I love this band.

  25. whole tour! Says:

    1997…fo sho

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