Albany and Beyond

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

Listen to the ovation at the end of “Seven Below > Ghost.” The roar that you hear is one of absolute celebration from all sectors of the audience; Phish had transformed into psychedelic juggernauts of yore. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the music itself, the band had showcased the qualities that made them famous – a musical abandon defined by uninhibited risk taking and, ultimately, golden musical pastures. Phish had just let it all hang loose for the first time since their comeback. Sure, the band had played some amazing jams, and certainly had put together more than a few awe-inspiring sets and shows, but this was a different story altogether. This was the exploratory magic of Phish at work again. For nearly an hour, the band pushed each other harder than we had seen them do in this era, experimenting with, and exploring, new musical planes, while arriving at some truly sublime segments of music along the way. In my memory, and in the memory of countless other fans, this was the type of passionate adventure that has always defined the Phish experience.

11.25.09 (HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Hybrid Radar)

Throughout this fifty-minute stretch, Phish proved what most of us assumed – they could still throw down the gauntlet on a moment’s notice. Listening to Albany while driving last night, I felt like I was listening to Phish of a different era. A different energy blared from the speaker than I was used to hearing this year; the music likened the exploratory bravado that dripped from stages for years on end. I could truly hear the band searching for the sound, and then about halfway through “Seven Below,” hitting their stride like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. Everything clicked deep into this jam; deeper than Phish had been usually willing to dig this go-round. And in no surprise, the first time the band let loose in this uninhibited manner, they succeeded with flying colors. With heart-tugging melodic themes and a connected conversation, Phish found themselves amidst the defining musical jaunt since their return.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Once the band hit their stride, they never lost it for a minute. Careening to a triumphant peak of “Seven Below,” the band slid down the other side into “Ghost.” And from note one of this most unique jam, the band had everything locked down. Sewn together with profound musical glue, this piece would drive the band far beyond anything one would expect to hear from the song. Embodying the theory that if the band is flowing, it matters not what songs they play, Phish continued their musical theatrics with a multi-faceted jam that reached several sonic plateaus. Building from cooperative melodic grooves into a more abstract section of shimmering psychedelia, the music turned far more intense as Mike cranked up his filter and began crushing core patterns. The band continued to merge masterful sections of improv, landing in some of the most maniacal music of the modern era. This represented Phish without borders; jamming without preconceived notions of where things were headed; improvising in the truest sense of the word.

This is what Phish did in their prime, in various forms, from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2003. Throughout these years, Phish always devised new ways to create original magic from similar springboards. Each year represented an evolution from the one before; Phish’s music built upon itself, morphing like a chameleon from one self-referential form to another. A freakish phenomenon, the band continued to reinvent their music year after year, proving to be one of the most creative forces in the history of the game.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

So here we are, at the end of 2009. With a New Years Run separating us from Phish 2010, the first year back in just about in the books. It’s been an incredibly positive year for the Phish community, one laced with more than a few memories of a lifetime. But musically speaking, I believe 2009 will be looked back upon as the foundation for everything that followed; the building blocks for the next musical evolution. The band needed to prove to themselves, more than anyone in the audience, that they still had their mojo. It took them a while to get back into the swing of things, with some sparkling highlights along the way. But I don’t think it was until Albany that the band fully realized the magic they were still capable of hatching. Listening back, one can clearly hear Trey trying to bring back the “Seven Below” melody, aiming for a safe ending to the set’s opening jam. But the band pushed on, unconcerned with what was supposed to happen, and diving off the edge. Emerging almost an hour later, the band had rediscovered the mystery of the unknown; those pristine possibilities that arise when they drop guard and allow things to happen. When the landing point is unknown, Phish is at their greatest. And listening to that crowd in Albany, I think everyone agrees.



Jam of the Day:

Birds Of A Feather” 11.25 II


The standout piece of improv in a lackluster second set in Philly.



11.29.09 CCCC, Portland, ME < Megupload

CCCC - Portland, ME

CCCC - Portland, ME

I: Possum, Down with Disease, Nellie Kane, Weigh, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Stash, Meat, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: The Moma Dance, Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind, Pebbles and Marbles, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Free Bird, Carini, Waste

Source: Beyerdynamic CK930 > Grace Design Lunatec V3 > Sonic AD2K+ > Marantz PMD-661 (@ 24 bit / 96 kHz)

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870 Responses to “Albany and Beyond”

  1. Lycanthropist Says:

    word @chef

    get you some sleep my friend!

  2. chefbradford Says:

    Thanks, I’ll try. I WILL finish that show this weekend, that’s f’damnsure

  3. Lycanthropist Says:


    dont forget about the uber weird 12.12

    see what L, exhaustion, a GOOD crowd, and major flubs does to a Chance Fisher show! ha ha

  4. Corey Says:


    Believe it or not, that’s what record stores offered — the chance to sample the samples, no obligation to buy, hang out for hours. 🙂
    I wish we could have those record stores from the 50s back…

    @butter Nice to see Ms. Wiig getting some love, if only as her most evil character, Gilly. “Saarry.” Another fellow upstate NY’er is she. Wish I knew her when we were in high school. Maybe we could’ve done skits or something. Any Penfield or Pittsford folks aboard?

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    ah the days of losing hours in record stores…

  6. stitchstash Says:

    I like your blog page Lycan, very nice!

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks @stich

    feel free to drop us some comments there.

    the thing is still getting off the ground..

    but I do update it a few times a month at least.

    Bout to put together a Best of 2009 Playlist post.

  8. Corey Says:

    Nowadays, the closest you can seemingly get is to spend 4 hours in Amoeba Records with a shopping basket full of goodies to bring back home. It’s always been a regular stop for me, when out in SF. Walk through the park. Bring home some records.

    There must be a few stores out there that really let you listen to the music whilst you search for the next Electric Ladyland or Free For All or Blue Train. Any leads out there?

  9. stitchstash Says:

    Does anyone on here have a face space page? There was mention of 8/13/10 at Darien on here not too long ago and I would like to know if this can be confirmed.

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    face space?

  11. stitchstash Says:

    Face book, my bad.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    ha i do

    Adam Kelly (Hattiesburg, MS; Aramark)

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    not sure i can help you confirm any shows though

  14. stitchstash Says:

    Is the 8/13/10 on Phish’s page then? I don’t have one. Wow, Lycan you’re all over the net. I hope your band mates work as hard as you do in promoting them.

  15. stitchstash Says:

    Ooops. Just saw the above. Thanks anyway. It would be another birthday show in my backyard if this was true. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    i think i handle most of the promotion, although the drummer does a good bit of the booking

  17. stitchstash Says:

    Miner does have his new page up. I want to listen to his picks, but I can’t. Although,….. Gram’s is hard of hearing.

  18. stitchstash Says:

    How long have your bands been playing together lycan?

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    Chance Fisher – 7 years
    This Side Up – 3 months

  20. PBS Says:

    Morning PT’ers!

    Confirmation: Mr. C is the undisputed King of the Portland, OR Food Carts! You heard it here first. If you ever make it to Portland, he’s the guy to hit up.

    In other news, my Phish luck continues to thrive here in 2009. My massage therapist went to a Christmas Party the other day. She moonlights as a Rock n’ Roll photographer. Has been the staff photographer for our little amphitheater, about 15 miles north of Portland. So her X-Mas party had a very hip crowd. The gifts they were doling out were all in the pop-culture vein.

    At any rate, she gets a door prize. You guessed it, the Clifford Ball DVD set. Then, she comes to my office, and personally re-gifts it to me.

    My planets are certainly in line!

    Anyway, cheers to all. Much respect and thanks to Mr. Miner. The internet host with the most!

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