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. Ocelot42 Says:

    I am actually listening to Trey’s Bar 17 album right now. Haven’t gotten much sleep lately and just needed an album that is mostly relaxed sounding (outside of one or two songs) to fit my current state of mind. I highly recommend it. It has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on his live sound, but it is one of my favourite studio albums from anyone. Possibly a strong desert island candidate. Definitely up there.

  2. SillyWilly Says:


    i thought the Mikeasupa was pretty fun. I love the song and was hoping they were going to play it in Miami.

  3. nonoyolker Says:

    Nice call Marco. My buddies girl worked for Tweeter (when they were still is bidnass) and she copped us those free club seats for the Dead on my birthday in ’04 i think. Great way to see a show. I think we got our own waitress to get us beers, but my memory is pretty shot. Another huge plus was that Raq opened on a side stage and those dudes are one of my favorite bands. Me and my crew of 6 made up the 10 people in the crowd watching them on the side stage. Shouting “Stoops, you’re a GOD!!” doesn’t have the same effect in a crowd of 10 that is does in a crowd of a few hundred. Hung with the dudes after for a bit. Super cool b-day.

    Listening to this TAB ’03 show again makes me wish Red had stuck with the groove based lineup. The reason TAB 01-03 was so bad ass is that they had killer percussion and that sick bassist (Tony something?? – big fat guy that sits down to play. Sorry if “fat” is not the prefered nomenclature. The “husky” gentleman…). Trey turned TAB into the 70 Volt Parade, which was essentially a poor stab at a classic rock band. Groove era TAB is the shit.

  4. jdub Says:

    Mike was laying bass bombs all over AAA. His playing was quite profound, I’m not sure I have heard a base played so dominantly. He has got the randomness of Lesh while maintaining a driving rythem that Lesh often times lets go of.

  5. Ocelot42 Says:

    Link to Miner’s write-up on it for those who may have missed it:

  6. marcoesq Says:

    oh shit nono, I forgot about the waitress’s!

    Fat bass player: Tomy Markellis

  7. BeantownBoy Says:

    Morning everyone.

    Starting the day off with a little java combined with the 12/31 Rock & Roll>Piper goodness. The last 3 minutes of Piper is great with Page shooting lasers and Mike dropping some subtle sonic bombs.

    Good stuff.

  8. fat bastard Says:

    tte is good…back in the day fluffhead was a 1:10 shows tte is gonna be similar i think

  9. nonoyolker Says:

    Yeah Marco, I may have inappropraitely asked the waitress to bring me a piss bucket with my next round of beers. That would have been the ultimate

  10. Danny B Says:

    Did I hear someone request some TAB?

    1999 TAB sbd mix:

    2001/2002 TAB sbd mix:

    These are two great one disc mixes that will certainly wet your appetite for Feb.

  11. mrfergie Says:

    JDub and Will, fellow CT’er here as well – on the fence with the TAB show for now. I’m getting married in September, and although my lady gets “it”, it’ll probably be a choice of TAB or Phish in the summer, but not both. Although if those Indo rumors Miner spoke of yesterday bear fruit, I might be able to convince her to honeymoon at the fest 🙂

    Also, Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday, but wanted to give a shout out to Type III for the amazing post yesterday morning, summed up exactly how I feel these days with Phish back in my life.

  12. bl68300 Says:

    i freakin love the pic w/all the balloons and sum1 holding the champagne bottle thats classic!!! i might make that my new background!

  13. SOAM Says:

    Whatever Miner….

  14. marcoesq Says:

    I don’t know if this was discussed by the boys before the run, but I LOVE the whole reggae vibe that transcended their playing throughout the whole run!


    12/28’s Maki>Hood>Contact w/ dub playing and teases all throughout to:
    12/29’s 1st set madness w/ The Connection and Acces Me to, and Tweezer:
    12/30’s obvious BoogieLope ’09 to
    12/31’s Ghost funk and Mo!

    I was saying after the 2nd show that it sounded like Mikey was teasing Boogie on during Tweezer and some of the other jams

  15. marcoesq Says:


    Thanks bro!

  16. BeantownBoy Says:

    @ Danny

    Many thanks, just what I was looking for!

  17. llamalee Says:

    we wanted to bring a champagne bottle in but couldn’t figure out a way to sneak it in. props to that guy

  18. marcoesq Says:


    Are these tracked, or do you have a setlist?

  19. jdub Says:

    Thanks DannyB, will give my wife a sense of what to expect.

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    thanks, fergie! I really do feel like we are on the precipice of more great things to come, which is directly in line with Miner’s post today.

    for TAB:
    –Plasma is a great live album. the second disc especially. four songs: Night Speaks to a Woman, Simple Twist Up Dave, Inner Tube, Sand. pure rocker. plus the magilla on the first disc is sweet with the horns.
    –2001 tour was pretty great. Red Rocks shows were hot as hell.
    –I concur on that Santana show. great dueling.
    –I am about to DL those mixes. thanks for posting, Danny!

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Note: And also the SOuld SHakedown opener on the 30th!!

    how could I have forgotten

  22. Mr. Icculus Says:

    After spinning all nights of the miami run several times i have to say its a toss up between the Tweezer and the Ghost for me. Both jams are interesting and totally engaging. Love Mikes bass in the Ghost. About Mikes bass sound in the ghost and Boggie, is he using some kind of new special effects pedal to get that sound? As i listen to 97 and 98 i don’t here that engaging bass sound that mike has in 2009. Any one else agree? I love it tho!

  23. mattc Says:

    Thanks for this jam of the day. The Antelope is perfect example of why I got into Phish so long ago and why they are still the best.

  24. jdub Says:

    Jam of the year for me is a toss up between the ghost and GBOTT, I think the ghost has the edge because of the segue into the dentist chair.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the past couple of days when I’ve gone to the gym, the decision has been which transcendent jam from Miami to listen to while I work out. Last night I couldn’t decide so I went back to Albany II for the -7>Ghost>Cool It Down. Worked like a charm!

    I love when my choices overwhelm me to the point of indecisiveness and I end up “settling” on something else.

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