A Feature Finale

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

In the aftermath of their return to MSG, Phish brought their fall tour home in Charlottesville, Virginia last night with one of the dirtiest throw-downs of all, anchored by thick dance grooves, uber-exploratory improv, and cash-money playing all night long. Despite a 15,000 person capacity, John Paul Jones Arena held a distinctly intimate feel after Madison Square Garden’s big city blowout. With a GA floor uniting all the kids for the fall finale, Phish responded with an unforgettable farewell set, albeit only for three weeks.

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

Stepping on stage for their final frame, it didn’t take long for Phish to drop the danciest and most addictive”Tweezer” since Red Rocks now-legendary version. Attacking the jam from a rhythmic perspective, Phish instantly transported the arena to a moss-ridden, Mesozoic swamp of groove. Using rhythm licks and staccato leads, Trey blended with the band in the type of sculpted, blissful ventures that drives my soul. Sliding with swagger into his solo, Big Red’s playing led the band in an instant classic. As the band raged in the post-peak section of the jam, Trey abruptly cut the jam with a recalcitrant insistence on playing “Light” at that specific moment. The rough transition hardly effected what is quickly becoming a Phish staple, “Tweezer > Light.” Having started the Summer at Fenway with the debut of the sequence, the band finished Fall with the same combo that packed a completely different punch.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Since its debut, “Light” has developed into the band’s newest and largest jam vehicle, growing in stature throughout the year, and recently featured as Madison Square Garden’s deepest jam. In the last version of a tour that has been nothing short of a revelation for the song’s potential, Phish unveiled one of their most psychedelic and abstract jam in ages. Morphing in and out of subtle grooves and with an amorphous mastery, this jam represented some peak sonic experimentation. The band passed through a passage that strongly suggested “Dave’s Energy Guide” en route to an incredibly cerebral masterpiece. Through all the “Lights” of fall tour, Phish illustrated an evolving desire to break new musical ground, specifically in the last few versions, and that couldn’t be a better sign for the future of the band.

Blending their cosmic jaunt into “Piper,” the band tore into another piece of music that has continually pushed their playing throughout the year. Last night’s full-throttle mind-game provided a dense passage of growling rock-turned-groove, in a jam that Trey, again, ended too quickly to play “Free” –¬† an interesting trend that could be theorized upon for hours. Splashing into the ultimate ’09 landing point for exploratory improv, the band concluded the initial non-stop section of the set with a dash of bass-driven arena rock before allowing anyone to catch their breath.

12.3.09 (W.Hermann)

12.3.09 (W.Hermann)

Featuring their “Exile” costume for consecutive shows, Phish used the appropriate “Sweet Virginia” as their final mid-set interlude of tour. Following the Stones’ southern ballad, Phish rolled into a magnificent “Harry Hood” whose completely sublime interplay between Mike and Trey made the many versions of tour look somewhat standard. Guided by a seemingly deeper spirit, the ethereal textures and other-worldly melodies of this “Hood” brought echoes of mid-to-late ’90’s classics, evoking the song’s essential core. Taking their early-epic for a regal ride, this version drew inspiration from the stirring set of music that had preceded. As the band sustained the song’s final note, one could practically hear the oncoming crash into “Suzy,” and when it came, “Hood’s” energy spilled into the super-spirited funk number that has dotted so many top-notch sets this year.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

Following “Golgi,” the band stamped the set complete with an “Antelope” that brought the tour to an upbeat ending with the altered lyric, “You’ve got to run like a naked guy, out of control!” referencing a first-set stage-jumper in the raw who wove his way around the band and their equipment, eluding two stage security like Barry Sanders breaking a busted play. A comedic ending to a top-notch affair, the band concluded in a place of extreme musical focus amidst tongue-in cheek hilarity; it sure seems that things are back on track in the world of Phish again. Finishing their tour with the first “Loving Cup” since Indio’s accompanied blowout, and the always fitting ,”Reprise,” the encore punctuated and enhanced the band’s farewell. Now at home again in both amphitheatres and arenas, the world is Phish’s oyster once again, and it’s just great to be a part of it.

Set 1 Notes: An eventful, though rather jam-less, first set featured the tour’s only appearances of “Ya Mar,” “Sneakin’ Sally,” and “Bold As Love.” “Bag,” “Chalkdust” provided an old-school kick start to the frame while “Faulty Plan” went through the entire tour fall without any of its anticipated indoor evolution. The band continues to kill “Divided Sky” with frequency because they can. A late-set combo of “Funky Bitch” and “Bowie,” by all accounts, should have ended the first half. But “The Wedge” followed before the hallowed Hendrix cover ended an extended opening frame.

I: AC/DC Bag, Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Ya Mar, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, The Old Home Place, Cavern, Funky Bitch, David Bowie, The Wedge, Bold As Love

II: Tweezer > Light > Piper > Free, Sweet Virginia, Harry Hood, Suzy Greenberg, Golgi Apparatus, Run Like an Antelope

E: Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise

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749 Responses to “A Feature Finale”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    oh shit, BK, i forgot about the DFW comment….

    truly one of the bright lights of post-modern american literature. and truly one of the great tragedies along the lines of hemingway and sylvia plath.

  2. halcyon Says:

    DFW fans http://www.wpr.org/book/090823a.cfm

    To The Best of Our Knowledge, a radio program put on by Wisconsin Public Radio had a one hour podcast tribute to DFW. It was great, an eye opener, and emotional. Especially the interview with his sister.

  3. halcyon Says:

    I forgot to cut and paste the info about the podcast.

    David Foster Wallace may have understood the modern American better than any writer of our time. His suicide in September of 2008 stunned his friends and fans. Wallace was a master at capturing the way we think, feel and live, and his books and essays conveyed an intimacy that made a lot of people feel like Wallace was a friend they’d never met. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we celebrate the life and work of the late David Foster Wallace.

    SEGMENT 1:

    Salon book critic Laura Miller explains why David Foster Wallace was the most important writer of his generation. Wallace became a literary rock star in his thirties for the novel “Infinite Jest.” Time Magazine later included it on its list of “All Time 100 Greatest Novels.” When Wallace committed suicide in September 2008 his fans grieved, wrote tributes, and began to speculate about rumors of an unfinished novel. Journalist DT Max tells Steve Paulson about the novel’s discovery, Wallace’s creative struggles with “The Pale King,” and the novel’s subject – boredom. Also, an interview with David Foster Wallace with Steve Paulson from 2004, just after the publication of his short story collection “Oblivion.”

    SEGMENT 2

    Time magazine’s book critic Lev Grossman remembers David Foster Wallace, and we present another interview with Wallace in 1996, right after “Infinite Jest” was published. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Lipsky spent a week with Wallace after “Infinite Jest” came out, and was later assigned to cover the writer’s life and death. He tells Jim Fleming that Wallace’s emotional struggles began again after graduate school. Michael Pietsch was Wallace’s editor at Little, Brown starting in the 90s and is currently at work editing the unfinished novel “The Pale King.” Pietsch has given us exclusive rights to a passage from the novel, which is read by Chicago actress Carrie Coon.

    SEGMENT 3

    One of David Foster Wallace’s most popular essays is “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” which ran originally in Harper’s Magazine. In 1997 he read a bit of the article for us, and talked with Steve Paulson about it. Wallace’s Sister Amy Wallace-Havens describes her brother as immensely bright, funny and courageous. She tells Anne Strainchamps about growing up with him, and about life without him. Also we have an excerpt from the commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005. It was eventually published under the title “This is Water,” but it has never before been broadcast.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    wow. thanks a lot halcyon.

  5. BK Says:

    Wow, I can’t wait to listen to that. He’s one of my all-time favorite authors.

    I think most phish fans would resonate with this latest story:

    http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2009/12/14/091214fi_fiction_wallace

  6. Henry Says:

    I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed listening to Phish’s Exile on Main St. a ton. But seeing Sweet Virginia just made it all made sense to me. I can’t really put it into words, but listening back on Exile now it just seems that much more powerful.

  7. wayde Says:

    where can i download this online besides livephish? it wont work for me

  8. Summer98 Says:

    @stitchstash
    Nice to see the kind words for B-Lo. I lived there from 1995-2006 and got 3 degrees from UB. Good people there. Used to love the Elmwood area. I was Moe. at Broadway Joes when they were still playing bars. Since then I’ve fallen totally in love with Seattle, which is much much different but I have fond memories of Buffalo, including that 1997 Darien show with the pranksters!!

    Between you in B-Lo in HHood in Plattsburgh (where I grew up) this board is cause for some nostalgia.

  9. stitchstash Says:

    Wow Mr C you had some deep thoughts today. I love the conspiracy theory. Sounds like you’re in on that one too. Maybe, even the master mind behind the whole operation.

    Sorry to hear about your housing problems BK. If there is one thing that B-lo has to offer, it is very cheap rent. Just throwing it out there. We bought our starter home here a few years ago and pay less than we did when we were renting and that’s with a 15 yr mortgage.

  10. stitchstash Says:

    @ summer 98–Awesome that you lived here. I’ve lived here on and off since 2000. Maybe we know each other. I work at a place called Amy’s Place. Have you heard of it?

  11. Mitch Says:

    Is there something special going on during Philly Reba? People seem to be getting real excited during the composed section. I get real excited too, but normally dont start yelling and cheering until the transition… just seemed to me that something odd was happening like a nude guy on stage or something.

    EN-ER-GEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! that place had random acts of cheering and it carried on like whoa until the end of that song I was so loopy and happy that it was unreal. I wont forget that Reba. WHEW!

  12. Summer98 Says:

    Love Amy’s Place. I lived at 43 Merrimac in a total party house for two years ….1997-1998. We ate at Amy’s all the time. Seriously like at least one meal a day. By 2000 I was in graduate school living out off Millersport Hwy between the UB campuses with the wife (girl friend then) but we hit the Elwood strip a lot. Hennans (It’s called something else not) mostly and occasionally Cozumel during the summer. We also spent some time at Founding Fathers. Mike Cawdery may be a familiar name, good friend of mine. He must have a thousand friends.

  13. Mitch Says:

    Mr. C,
    are you trying to freak me out next time I trip?? talking about the paranoia and my girl being in on it?

  14. stitchstash Says:

    @ Summer98- I realized you would most definitely have known about Amy’s if you were ever at Broadway Joes. Now everything on the menu can be made vegan or vegitarian. Good family for sure. My cook found out that I went to Detroit and knew I was coming straight to work from the show. She had breakfast waiting for me because she knew I would want to drink coffee all day and didn’t want me to do it on an empty stomach. So sweet! Just about everyone that I work with has come in hung-over at one time or another, so me being tired was nothing. My boss even laughed at me and asked me if my hands and feet turned into mangos. Funny bunch of people! My husband definitely knows your friend. I’m bad with names and faces, so I’m not sure if I’ve ever met him.

  15. voopa Says:

    I love that “like whoa” is coming back into the vernacular. Must’ve been in a recent movie or something.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Post 666? I’ll take it.

    What’s going on everybody, trying to catch up on the conversation today, been watching really HQ 1080p videos of MSG on Youtube – Great stuff.

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    Like whoa, Mr. C.
    Pronoia just pulled up into a close second behind doppelganger as my favorite word. Thanks. I needed that.

  18. stitchstash Says:

    Neither of my bosses are into Phish but they both saw them play at some roller rink here in B-lo. I guess Trey came out on roller blades. One of them also saw Phish play in some little bar called Nietzshe’s. I don’t go out to bars much but I recently saw a friend sing there and that place is tiny.

  19. Marshall Says:

    @ BK – two words for you … Ash Ville. I base this on many things but mainly on your comment of wanting to live somewhere where you don’t get looked at stangely and where there might Bw another phan or two. Leo W already suggested it. I live one hour from there. Cowfunk is there. And when Phish rolls into town, there really isn’t much of a change with the scenery. On the flipside, you have the mountains to explore and enjoy, and old school tourist attractions like Biltmore House and the Grove Park Inn. I wasn’t cool enough for Asheville so I settled in family-friendly white-bread Greenville, an hour away.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    And who comes in but BK to take the bullet. Gracias BK.

  21. Poster formerly known as BK Says:

    I hereby concede “BK” to Brandon by virtue of his much more frequent posting, and talents at song predicting.

    I’ll try to think of an appropriate handle…”Dr. Pronoia” is high on my list right now

    Thanks Marshall, I’ve heard only good things about Ashville. There are way too many of you PTers in the South for how few shows phish plays there. Hope you all can make it to Miami.

  22. voopa Says:

    LLFA @ Dr. Pronoia…that’s great!

  23. Marshall Says:

    Dr. ponoia it is. First official handle change observed in action.

  24. chefbradford Says:

    Brandon, I’ve watched a few of those videos too. “First Tube” was excellent, Trey was so obviously excited and having a blast. “Glide” was a perfect choice; all is right

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    okay, the connection to Phish with this link may be tenuous at best, but it is a song I’m still waiting for the boys to bustout since being part of the “Leo Trio” at Alpine.

    http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2009/12/07/do-not-say-we-are-not-men-man-of-our-word/

    Besides, if you care at all about college football, you should be reading that blog anyway.

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