The Fourth Set of Tour

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 - The Crown (W.Rogell)

On some nights, creativity, energy and musical acumen converge in a frame of Phish that leaves us all glowing. Every Phish set has something to offer, but sometimes one can feel like Christmastime, as the sparkling musical gifts flow like creamy egg nog. Once in a while, the band eliminates all filler music and creates a cohesive experience that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The first night of Cincinnati was one of these nights. Following three sets of legitimate, but less than full-on, Phish to start fall tour, The Crown’s second set immediately burst to the forefront with a confluence of improv and creative transitions, all bookended by deliciously addictive sessions of dance grooves. This set stoked an arena-sized fire, with a ripple effect that would be felt throughout the weekend, not to mention the rest of the tour.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

After a composition-heavy opening frame, Trey sparked the kindling of the second set with the opening guitar-scratches of “Punch You In the Eye.” Able to tear through “The Landlady” section almost routinely again, the band has brought “Punch” into greater prominence as of late. Nary a more spirited set opener, its adrenalized rhythms quickly dialed up the intensity in the historic arena. And out of the trill apex of the song growled the opening licks of “Tweezer.” Immediately igniting the crowd with a much larger flame, Phish opened the freezer door for the first time of the fall, kicking off the season in earnest. At the onset of the jam, Trey set up shop with a sinister and repetitive lick. The band quickly morphed into a thick musical canvas, as Trey narrated an addictive guitar fantasy over the sparse and driving pattern. Taking his time and phrasing each idea with utmost care, he let his new-found swagger shine throughout this piece. Eventually making a change into his dirty, uncompressed tone, Red influenced Fish to alter his beat into a dirtier, snare-heavy scene, while his story took a left turn down a dark alley with smoke rising from potholes all around. Navigating the ominous environs, the band engaged in a sequence of grittier grooves that complemented the first half of the jam’s smoother planes.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

Forcefully, Phish climaxed the piece with a creative build that saw Trey unleash a furious solo. Settling into a post-peak section of spacier funk, the band slid through a drone soundscscape into “Light.” Another in the growing series of transitions from dark “Tweezers” into “Lights,” Phish brought this modern combination indoors for the first time. Breaking out their newest vehicle for its initial voyage of fall, all of a sudden Trey transformed into an intense geyser of colorful melody, shooting guitar lines through the sky like he was born to do. A beautiful foreshadowing of the many transcendent versions that would follow in the coming weeks, “Light”stoked the evolving fire of this phenomenal frame.

Breaking down the high-speed jam into a more percussive realm, Phish seemed headed for a completely new milieu. But instead of moving outward, the passage playfully blended into “Get Back On the Train.” A song usually reserved for first sets came out of a completely spontaneous place, a sure-fire sign that Phish’s creativity had been piqued on this evening. In their third consecutive segue, the band moved naturally from the back-country funk into the musically similar “Possum.” Taking one of summer’s most commonly played songs on its first arena adventure, the band attacked the song with an aggression unseen in the amphitheatres of ’09. Enclosed within cement walls, the copious energy bounced around the room, creating a celebratory conclusion to the set’s initial suite. And soon after “Possum’s” final note came to a crashing close, Trey delicately strummed the opening to “Slave.”

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

In a slot where the band would usually insert a ballad, Phish keep right on chugging with a centerpiece version of one of their most well-loved songs. Showcasing ethereal textures, the band showed utmost patience in allowing this version to unfold organically. Trey, Mike, and Page were locked in a delicate conversation as Fish slowly increased his rhythmic backdrop. Each member phrased their playing masterfully, coming together in an soaring rendition. Infusing powerful emotion into his guitar work, Trey took this outing to the top with determination, upping the ante for the song over the next few weeks. And then the cherry on top – “You Enjoy Myself.”

"YEM" 11.20.09 (M.Stein)

"YEM" 11.20.09 (M.Stein)

Phish put an exclamation point on this set with a sequence of crunchy rhythms and thematic improv that left the many generic, guitar-based, summer versions of “YEM” in the dust. Fishman proved integral throughout this jam, contributing intricate and evolving rhythms, begging bodies to move subconsciously to the beat. Trey hooked up with an old signature lick, leading the jam into sparser territory, as Mike and Page swam melodies around him. Mike gained an enhanced presence as Trey switched over to some swank rhythm chords, playing all his cards in this one. Following this rhythmic seduction, Trey infused a completely original melodic theme into the mix, and the band jumped on board. Taking the jam away from its typical bubble-funk destination for the first time in ages, the band was finally doing something creative with “YEM.” At the end of their three-week tour, this version of stood head and shoulders above the rest, with MSG’s rendition more than a couple lengths behind. Having fallen into a somewhat generic formula during this era, “YEM” broke that model in Cincinnati, providing closure to a wildly creative set.

This jam-packed frame of music set the community abuzz, as everyone spilled out of The Crown into downtown Cincy. The first exceptional set of the indoor season had just gone down, and everybody understood. Tour was now fully underway. We sat, carefree, amidst the first two-night stand, with nothing to do but kick it until the next evening, and ten more shows staring us down. And after a set like this one, spirits floated through the night on cloud nine, awaiting nothing, and enjoying every moment of the ride.


Jams of the Day:

“11.20.09 Set II” (listen only)


Enjoy fall tour’s fourth set in its entirety. Punch, Tweezer > Light > Train > Possum, Slave, YEM.



11.20.09 The Crown, Cincinatti, OH < Megaupload

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance, The Divided Sky, Alaska, Water in the Sky, Fast Enough for You, Time Turns Elastic, Gotta Jibboo, Fluffhead

II: Punch You In the Eye, Tweezer > Light > Back on the Train > Possum, Slave to the Traffic Light, You Enjoy Myself

E: Joy, Golgi Apparatus, Tweezer Reprise

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk22 > KCY > Schoeps VMS02IB > Apogee Mini-Me > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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648 Responses to “The Fourth Set of Tour”

  1. neemor Says:

    That Eviction Notice might come to reality for me by the time this is done playing!

  2. voopa Says:

    F8 Maze just made me almost fall out of my chair…can’t believe i stood through all that

  3. chefbradford Says:

    voopa, I love the F8 Maze, fantastic thumping fuckery!

  4. stitchstash Says:

    halcyon, You are awesome! Thank you so much! I’m listening to the download of the day right now! It works and sounds great! I know you walked me through the whole process, but I still feel very accomplished right now. I could really sit here and compliment you all night because that was so nice of you to help, but my final exam awaits my return. So please know I am truely thankful!

    Miner, Thanks again to you too. You have such a great site. I was happy to donate to your site when I was only reading your thoughts and listening to the JOTD. Now I want to encourage people even more to donate directly to the site or to buy one of the T-shirts or sweatshirts. What a great service you provide for all of us!

  5. Mitch Says:

    caught up with you finally. While reading your post this morn, I realized your comment was from last night, that the prof you had was a douche. (about the rtfm)

    I prefer pebkac. Problem exists between keyboard and chair.

  6. chefbradford Says:

    pebkac is certainly one of the more esoteric acronyms I’ve ever seen. Love it!

  7. neemor Says:

    I decided not to get the phone hooked up until after the New Year.
    Combination of Christmas Bills and strange borderline-psycho phone calls from ex-coworker made me decide to drop off the grid for a bit.

    Most likely, I’ll be heading into the city possibly tomorrow night or Friday night.

    I’ll send you an email if it works out that way.
    Friday night might be nice….on the town.
    We’ll see. I may be looking for alternate employment this week also depending on my meeting tomorrow a.m….

  8. stitchstash Says:

    Mitch, She did apologize after she explained it to me and saw my reaction. I think she was just trying to be funny with her fancy computer talk. Some people in the class laughed. That class was hard for me though. I didn’t even own a computer or have an e-mail before I started school. Pebkac would have been much nicer! I ended up taking the class pass fail but would have earned an A otherwise, so I did learn a lot from her and have often been thankful for that class.

  9. Andrew Says:

    There’s also PICNIC – Problem in chair not in computer

    And one of my favorites, “You have an ID Ten T problem…” Written out as ID10T.

    Not to be taken personally, these are best used as tech support inside jokes, except if you’re the person calling and can’t figure out why your computer is not working, and after 10 minutes of walk-through you finally ask “Is your computer plugged into the wall, ma’am?”

    “Well good lord, what do you know?”

  10. stitchstash Says:

    I’m listening to Time Turns Elastic from the DOTD and I do have to say it is a beautiful song. It provokes many feelings with the music and creates great imagery with the lyrics. I would like to see this song again.

  11. stitchstash Says:

    Nice Andrew, You have some of the best computer lines I’ve ever heard.

  12. chefbradford Says:

    As far as TTE goes: I haven’t seen it live, so I can’t really say anything there. I enjoy the music, very much, but the lyrics seem to fall in to the mundane, hippie/drippie/I’ve been in a bad place now I’m back kind of place. That said, I’ve never experienced it live, so I have no opinion there. I like it for the most part, but as for its place in a Phish set, I can give no valid opinion

  13. stitchstash Says:

    I’ve seen it live a couple of times. It catches me once in awhile. I’ve listened to it on the Joy CD and from other shows. I feel that now that I’ve become more familiar with it, the song would be fun to see and get down to. I’ve spent some time ignoring Phish lyrics to get into some intense and amazing music. You may have to do that for this one chef becuase I really do think the song has so much to offer.

  14. fromthetub Says:

    re: TTE in Cincy… I’ve seen quite a few TTEs over the course of this year and one thing is always a given: people will leave to go to the bathroom without really giving the song a chance. I’ve used this more than once to my advantage, by going right up front when people start to clear out. In Cincinnati, I walked up to probably the 7th or 10th row right in front of Trey to shoot some photos. So I get there and start to take photos and then I realize that, wow. There is no one up here. And they (Trey especially) were so happy to be playing this song. I was like, oh shit, I have to support them, I am up here. So yes, I was the girl rocking out up front with the people in my row. I have no dislike for the song, but it’s not one that I would beg them to play. Or probably one that I would normally rock out to. (Note, I did the same thing at MSG.) It is really pretty, though. Just really long in a live setting.

  15. chefbradford Says:

    Stitch– that’s kind of what I was hoping to get at. Without all the crap surrounding TTE’s inclusion in rotation, I do enjoy the studio version. I really enjoy the studio version, actually. I think the lyrics are a little over-wrought, but I do enjoy the song.

  16. chefbradford Says:

    I should also say that, having seen as few shows as I have, I would probably dance ecstatically to TTE, because I’d be so incredibly happy to be seeing Phish live again!

  17. fromthetub Says:

    @ Chef — yes! I agree! I’m always happy to be there. I realize how lucky we are to have them back.

  18. chefbradford Says:

    All right. It’s bed time for me, unfortunately. I look forward to catching any of y’all tomorrow. Take care of yourselves and each other, and I’ll see you on the flip side of tonight

  19. stitchstash Says:

    Nice fromthetub! I like your strategy! I wouldn’t beg for them to play it either but I would love to rock out to it again someday. This time with a fresh attitude. I’m sure that I’ve danced to it the few times I’ve seen it live but it just doesn’t serve my memory as anything that transcendent or monumental in terms of where some other songs can go.

  20. stitchstash Says:

    Night chef, it is good of you to let your roomates get a night off from your drunkin Phish dance parties.

  21. chefbradford Says:

    yeah, well, they’re few and far between, so I don’t feel TOO bad about it 🙂 And FYI, Miner’s new post is up. Take it easy, all, I hope to catch you all tomorrow!

  22. stitchstash Says:

    Kidding of course, who doesn’t love a good Phish dance party!

  23. chefbradford Says:

    Um, I imagine my roommates don’t love a good Phish dance party… 🙂 Ok, I’m really gone now, peace

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