Musings In a New Year

12.31.09 - Miami (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

Almost a week later, all I can think about is Miami; what a phenomenal run! Over the last three nights of the year, Phish took an impressive step towards permanently regaining top form. Like King Midas, everything the band touched turned to gold throughout the waning nights of the “aughts,” leaving the band’s early-summer growing pains as time-washed memories. The band had IT once again – at least for these nights – and could do no wrong. With all four players at the top of their game, Phish converged in celebration of now, with seven sets of the most encouraging music we’ve heard thus far.

12.30.09 (S.Williams)

Each moment unfolded with a patient luster, each measure given equal attention, in a series of particularly confident performances. With each member fluidly owning their instrument, the band’s collective focus centered on musical conversation. Sure, this is always the goal of improvisational music, but it hasn’t always been so routine this year. In Miami, the proficiency and the subtlely with which Phish exchanged ideas, blew most of the year’s dynamic out of the water. There have been many outstanding nights of music throughout the year, from March through December, but the way the band so clearly listened and responded to each others’ every move created a far enhanced dynamic down in Florida. And lo and behold, several of 2009’s top-shelf jams grew from this final weekend.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

More legitimate action and interplay existed within Miami’s music. Unlike many straight-forward, high-energy jaunts of the summer and fall, these multi-dimensional jams had layers, themes, plateaus, and peaks; psychedelic intricacies. Stuff like “Tweezer > Caspian,” “Back On the Train,” “Ghost,” and “Rock and Roll > Piper,” all contained completely unique, superlative improvisation, while most every other launchpad showed up in shining form; not to mention the many bust-outs played impeccably. Going light on their ornate compositions, the band stuck with “Divided Sky,” “Curtain (With),” “Guyute,” and “Fluffhead,” and slayed them all, minus “Fluff.” But, hey, that one’s excusable since they had a different drummer.

Showcasing their full repertoire over four nights, Phish punctuated their comeback year triumphantly, illustrating prodigious growth over 2009. Building off their momentum of late-fall, the band played three consecutive nights of the year’s most exceptional music. Before Miami, these flashes of brilliance came in songs, sets, and, occasionally, whole shows. But for the first time in 2009, Phish brought the absolute fire for three consecutive nights – six sets in a row. And don’t be calling out Red Rocks or MSG – they were certain stepping stones, but this was a whole ‘nother ball game. Miami completely changed the landscape as we turn to 2010.

12.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Having regained their swagger in full force, Phish seems destined to blast into this new decade with renewed creativity and conviction. With a year of touring under their belt, the band has fully regained their sea legs, returning to form as the psychedelic juggernauts we once knew. And the best part about the current situation is that they seem as ecstatic as we are about these developments. With solo tours planned, rumors bubbling about summer and beyond, and “tapes” we can’t put down again, the Phish universe is bursting with energy and moving at full speed once again.

They want us to be happy. Well – so far, so good.

12.31.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)


Jam of the Day:

Boogie Like An Antelope” 12.30 II


Run Like A Reggae Woman.



12.28.09 American Airlines Arena < Torrent

12.28.09 American Airlines Arena < Megaupload

12.28.09 (S.Williams)

I: Sample in a Jar, NICU, My Soul, Roggae, Undermind, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Possum

II: Mike’s Song > Light > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Alaska, Backwards Down the Number Line, Makisupa Policeman > Harry Hood, Contact, Character Zero

E: First Tube

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro ( Oade preamp mod ) @ 24/88.2 (Taper – padelimike)

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1,024 Responses to “Musings In a New Year”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    I cant wait for this summer!

    I, like Marshall, would love some Trey recs.

    I bought my tickets to see him in Milwaukee last night.

  2. jdub Says:

    It would’ve been an interesting 6 months if the boys hadn’t stretched their legs with the high quality jamming in Miami. But there was no way they weren’t going to deliver. It was the natural progression of the universe, they are way to good and way to happy for it not to happen. 2010 will be a year to see all the shows. Mikes arrival as a dominant force in the band is driving the ship these days. It seemed like most jams were fueled from his aggresive and pointed beats, Trey was surely upping his game whenever mike would challenge the band with a fat rythym or lead. GBOTT was a perfect example.

  3. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Marshall – For TAB recommendations, i think the band was in best form in 2001. I am partial to the Mansfield show, but i only caught that and SPAC that summer. You can grab 5/31/03 on LivePhish, where Santana sits in on the second set. It has some of the best back and forth guitar lines in recent memory. HIGHLY recommend it.
    If you want studio material, his self titled album was pretty good. I also remember his live release Original Boardwalk Style being pretty hot. Probably start with the Santana show in ’03 though. There’s some serious playing going on.

  4. BTB Says:

    I hadn’t spun Tela, Corrina, Lifeboy, What’s the Use, NO2, Demand, or Jesus left Chicago in a years and years. Interesting to see all those back in the mix.

    Someone on this board called the Demand in Miami right after Christmas from my recollection.

  5. pagesidehighschool Says:

    you shouldn’t joke like that with Mr. Wonderful, he might just ask for royalties! I saw him this fall in foxwoods, and i got yelled at for looking at my phone! they thought i was gonna take pictures, his people mean business! just goes to show you cant sneak anything past a blind man, cause everyones got his back! hopefully this Run Like a Reggae Woman doesn’t get back to him….
    side note: 12/30 Boogie is way better than stevies’ 14 piece bands chopped down 2 min version

  6. jdub Says:

    Nemor called the demand

  7. nonoyolker Says:

    For that 5/31/03 TAB show, Santana sits in for the whole second set and a few songs in the first. The track ‘The Way I Feel’ has some sweet jamming in it. Actually going to spin the show this morning now. Great stuff.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    If I had to listen to one sound for the rest of my life it might be this BoogieLope

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    or the 12-29 Tweezer

    wait or the 12-30 BOTT.

    what a run

  10. marcoesq Says:


    I was at that TAB show at great woods in ’01, Mikes>Weekapaug w/ Gordo!

  11. marcoesq Says:

    nevermind, that was ’02

  12. jdub Says:

    How much of their jamming these days is pure improve? The great jams from Miami seemed so perfect right from the start, as if they had practiced the musical themes and transitions. It must be difficult to create entirely new jams from songs that have been exhaustingly explored for so many years.

  13. KWL Says:

    @Marshall, only times I caught Trey solo were 2001 and 2002; I don’t listen to any of his stuff after 03. But the winter tour in 01 (Feb?) is great stuff, though really if you have heard one show from that tour you have more or less heard them all. I caught Cleveland and Cuse, but snag any show from this winter. In 02 I caught Darien, and I highly recommend it. Cyro Baptista was on for this part of TAB’s career–some sick percussion led grooves in this show.

    Saw one or two others along the way, but winter 01 and summer 02 are the best to me.

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    Yeah, was at that one too. The Mike’s > Week was the encore, right? Shit was sweet. I may need to track that show down, nice call!

  15. Neemor Says:

    “And don’t be calling out Red Rocks or MSG ”

    Wendy, first pic is brilliant.

    Nicely done, Miner.

    Demand was awesome.

    HHood, I agree with your last statement that you don’t know where to start with this run. I can spin every night (even 12/28-which I love just as much) from top to bottom and lose three hours of my life to the music I love.
    Like I used to do with tapes from ’93-’94.

    Great stuff.

    Yay, Phish!

  16. jdub Says:

    I convinced my wife yesterday to go see TAB in CT this February. With a 6 month old and 3 year old at home this is her first chance to see phish related music. I am uberexcited to go to a show with her. I got great seats, dead center.

  17. marcoesq Says:

    yeah man, that was the encore.

    we had those “club seats” about 10 rows back mid-pavilion, when Cactus walked out I was like, “THey should definitely do a Mike’s groove!”

    Then they did, somewhat, and I was stoked

  18. willowed Says:


    I think you mentioned you’re a CT. kid. We shoudl all hook up down there.
    I remeber the first show my wife attended after we had our three kids. Jones Beach 3 2009.
    We tour that place up!!

  19. kenny powers Says:

    Finally just got around to spinning the Miami BOTT…wow. Have to say for the first five minutes of the jam i was thinking “this is pretty nice but not much different than the typical ambient/space cool down jam a la Light”, but what they (Trey esp) are doing in the last 3 or 4 minutes is absolutely transcendant.

    And the crowd knows it too, you can hear them react in the auds. I love it when you get a slow-burn crowd swell at a point in a jam that isn’t the peak high-note obvious time to scream, but is instead a collective “OK now that shit is nasty, I’m screaming…”

  20. marcoesq Says:

    damn, Gordo drops some sticky-ass Boogie On bombs during that Ghost!

  21. KWL Says:


    just browsed bt.etree and found 1 show from each of the tours I recommended. Each only 1 seeder though…

  22. jdub Says:

    Sounds like a plan Willow, it’s a Saturday night which makes a chilly preshow meetup doable for us.

    Neemor, are you going or waiting till last minute to make the call

  23. BTB Says:

    Last time in the real world I heard S. Wonders version of ‘Boogie on’ was either in an elevator or at a Department store.

  24. whole tour! Says:

    12-28 gets a bad wrap….but it is really very very underrated. Take another listen and it might surprise you that it is actually a very strong effort in the warm up frame. First set has it’s moments and they were playing with some passion. Was it a perfect set? no…but it had some standout jams. They just destroy that second set. “Numberline” has some of the best playing from Trey on that song all year. Gordo is right up there with him.

    Yes, from 12-29 to 12/31 it was on point and on fire, but i look at miami as one whole long show…and they couldn’t have reached the peaks of the last three nights without feeling it out the first night.

  25. Mr. Icculus Says:

    Just realized there was no Miami “Time Turns Elastic”
    Humm maybe there realizing that this song is best left on the shelf!
    Any ideas why it wasn’t played?

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