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:

    man, makisupa policeman, thats a song thats due, right?

  2. stitchstash Says:

    Silly, are you going to Miami? I hope you get a Lizards too. My sister lives in Miami Beach and I have taken her to Phish shows as well. She loves them but her favorite is hip-hop and R&B. It would be so great to see her and Phish all at the same time, but that just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

  3. chefbradford Says:

    Dub Antelope sounds fantastic then. And I can dig the minerites tag

  4. halcyon Says:

    steel pulse does Farmhouse….llfa

  5. halcyon Says:

    that link is good btw….good night all

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    Sadly, stitch, i do not believe i will be in Miami.

    i am a poor, starving first year law student with no funds. fortunately, for me, my sister will be coming home so while i wont be seeing phish i will be seeing her.

    sorry to get sentimental, but introducing my sister to phish has been one of the coolest bonding experiences. after cinci, with a huge smile on her face, she looked at me and said, “That just changed my life.”

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    goodnight, halcyon

  8. stitchstash Says:

    If we become the “minerites”, can we all get snuggies with that embroidered on the back of it? Just think how cozy we could have been this fall tour.

  9. Summer98 Says:

    @Stich
    That’s cool that Amy’s is still a chill place and that your hubby knows Mikey. I bet we might recognize each other. I have such fond memories of Sunday mornings at Amy’s after a long night. The bars being open until 4AM there always killed me. I get back there every once in a while for work, next time I’ll stop by Amy’s for some good grub.

  10. Robear Says:

    Hey ya’ll. Drove the 4 hour round trip to town and have the backwoods internet back up.

    MR. C on Page 24. Wow, booyaaaaaaa!

    The transformation you’re speaking of hit me full force at MSG, and washed over me on Friday night with waves of intensity and light.

    Shooting the people, or collective into space, then come what may. Brilliant. It got to the point where it felt, too hedonistic. I could still jive by doing the Waterwheel, but the ‘feel good as an individual’ was becoming old, or incomplete, for lack of a better term.

    As you stated, that’s all changed. It’s become the universal collective power of love. Regarding repeats, they turned the music into a crystalline structure on Friday at MSG. The type of precision that comes from repetition and familiarity, to the point that the music plays you, you don’t play the music. At least that’s what I felt, and heard.

    I told you cats to hit C’Ville that could!

    Marshall, thanks for the kind words, offering me fan card 000001. I’m afraid I have to pass that to Sumodie, though. That is one solid cat. Floats around the venues like the Don of calm, cool and collected. Sporting a two headed child and chinese sun hat @ Indio, then stepping off the yacht for MSG2. Peaceful warrior.

    Mr. C wears the robe of the sage, no card needed.

  11. stitchstash Says:

    We bid you good night halcyon.

    We had plans to go to Miami at first because my sister had no plans to travel for the holidays. Her twins just turned a year old in October. It was a win,win for me and my husband. A few weeks ago she decided that she wants to go home to Chicago for Christmas instead. My kids have never met their cousins so we will be with my sister instead of Phish too. I’m soo looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see the twins again.

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    Robear!

    glad youre back on the board, man.

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    thats really cool, stitch. cousins are a godsend.
    not close enough to fight like siblings and yet better than best friends.
    it sounds like youre christmas will be wonderful, and who knows maybe sirius will pick up the miami run…at least im really hoping.

  14. Summer98 Says:

    Dude, the two headed child at Indio was Sumodie? I saw that and it freaked me out a little bit. Damn…wifey and I should’ve hooked up with you cats at Indio. Next time for sure. Common West Coast spring tour!!

  15. chefbradford Says:

    I’m hoping for a Sirius stream for Miami as well. One of these days I’m gonna have to kick work in the nuts and make a birthday trip for NYE

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    chef, ill cover for you…youll just have to teach me all your culinary magic.

  17. chefbradford Says:

    Gimme a week, I can probably teach you all I know, and still have six days to relax

  18. stitchstash Says:

    Let me know if you come into town summer98, I would love to do a meet up. Does your wife get to come with you? We could have a phamily dinner at Amy’s. My husband used to hang out at Hennan’s from time to time. You guys might know each other as well.

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    i think you said youve been puttin in some pretty tough days, huh? i hate that reality sometimes trumps phish.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    im callin’ it a night, everybody. thanks for letting me post at you. take it easy.

  21. Robear Says:

    3 degrees, Summer. R U in So Cal or Nor Cal?

  22. chefbradford Says:

    Yeah, but it pays the bills, and besides, magic wouldn’t be so magical if reality didn’t intervene. I have a pretty good vicarious Phish life, between here, YouTube, AUDs, SBDs, CDs, DVDs, and hopefully the occasional show, etc. No substitute for the real deal, but I’ll take what I can get. And this site makes it all so visceral, you know? The people are pretty legit, too. So yeah, I’ll take what I can get. Besides, I run the radio in the kitchen when I’m at work. Guess what the most-listened to band is…heh

  23. chefbradford Says:

    Later, Silly

  24. stitchstash Says:

    just thinking…if we were to get embroidery done on a snuggie it would actually have to be the front of it, unless we wore it backwards. But then that would just be a robe.

    How did the water wheel do this tour Robear?

    good night sillywilly.

  25. Summer98 Says:

    “Yeah, but it pays the bills, and besides, magic wouldn’t be so magical if reality didn’t intervene. ”

    Well said.

    Robear: I’m in Seattle. I’d love to hook up if you are ever in the area. I make it to San Fran occasionally but I get the feeling you are a good ways from there.

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