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. Mr.Miner Says:

    gotta double up, buttercup.

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    this one goes to 11

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    I love still dropping a little at home with the lady

    or out in the woods

    but just a normal drop, not a bomb

    The key with that, for me, is to be in a large group/concert setting which triggers collective ecstasy, which is where its at for me.

    That’s really where it’s at, yeah of course. Very well said.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    “this one goes to 11”


    …of course Miner drops in and answers the question after Neemor leaves…Miner, Neem thinks you’re ducking him… 8)

  5. jay Says:

    we all realize what a special year this past year has been. With Phish returning (an not nostalgically), this board, Miner’s thoughts. Really something special. Right place right time, synchronicity. Way past cool.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    woah completely, i just read your “looking for owls” post at the exact same time i heard trey sing it

  7. Mr. Completely Says:


  8. jay Says:

    @HH – belated but maybe you will check back:
    1970: this is the year they toured with the new riders.
    2-11 to 2-14: a spectacular run of shows where the allmans shared the bill. check it out on both bear’s choice and dick’s pick’s vol. 4
    5-2: the famous harpur college concert
    6-24: dark star -> attics -> dark star -> sugar mag -> dark star ->st stephen -> china cat -> rider.
    11-8: the second electric set is legendary

    1972: pig’s last
    4-8: great dark star.
    5-3 and 5-4: huge jams. huge.
    5-7: killer other one jam. maybe the best in a year full of them.
    5-11: the longest dark star ever played. 49 minutes, 12 seconds.
    5-26: best show of the tour.
    8-22: nfa -> gdtrfb -> hey bo diddley -> nfa.

    1973: my personal favorite year of dead.
    2-9: first eyes. they love each other before it became a slow tune.
    2-15: dark star -> eyes
    6-22: second set features my favorite jam ever.
    12-2: wharf rat -> half-step -> playin’ -> mind left body jam.
    12-18: dark star -> eyes -> wharf rat -> sugar mag.

    1974: another epic year
    6-22 through 6-30: all sick shows with killer jams. Check out Jerry Moore’s recordings.
    8-6: the best playin’ you’ll ever hear.
    10-16 to 10-20: another historic run, these were at the time billed as the last dead shows ever (the ticket for 10-20 has THE LAST ONE stamped on it). 10-20 also features mickey hart’s first show since 2-18-71.

    77 – spring as MrC has mentioned.

  9. stitchstash Says:

    There is an overwhelming sense of collective conciousness within our community and it feels so great to be a glide.

    11 Miner? No wonder you have such colorful words. I think I would be afraid to do more than 5.

  10. Mr. Icculus Says:

    I mentioned early about Mikes new sound and no one commented. Is he using a new special effects pedal to get that brain bouncing sound that you dont find prior to phish 3.0

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    Ive spent the last 20 minutes reading back and read some pretty deep stuff about drugs and some pretty wise stuff, too.

    Ive wanted to bring this up before, but never really felt the time was right:

    I am definitely a converted head. Born into a super-conservative, Catholic, middle class, white family. No one in my family or any of my family friends, even my aunts or uncles or cousins, were even remotely heady. No one listened to the Dead, no one listens to Phish, Jazz is completely foreign.

    Ive always been drawn to the music, though, and Ive always had a profound desire to do what is right and be around kind people. Kindness, friendship, sharing happiness with others has always been the most important things to me.

    Ive always understood IT. Not until Ive been around this board have I found a community to share my enthusiasm for something that I think is so rare and cool.

    With all this being said, I feel deep longings to head out on tour, to see as much as I can, to associate with people like us everywhere. Ive met a few heads in law school, but theyre all a bit older. at least 5 yrs.

    When I express these ideas to them, they get this sadness or nostalgia, and warn me about it. They say be careful. Dont do what I did.

    Its this same sadness that has permeated the conversation today from Mr. C, Miner, Neemor a bunch of others.
    I know a lot of you are older than me. You all have experienced some cool stuff and no doubt some extremely painful stuff.

    How can I amass experiences like yours, but avoid the sadness? Is it possible? Is the head’s lifestyle simply something that must be controlled? No need to get too personal. Is it just a yearning for days gone by, or is it a realization that one simply cannot maintain the pace?

    (I dont mean this to sound like everyone is sad all the time, but I always sense a seriousness beneath the surface. Perhaps its just my age, or my immature desire to roam, sort of like the college freshman who gets wasted every night just because theyre away from home. I dont want to seem like that.)

    this is a lot, i apologize in advance.

  12. jay Says:

    @Mr Icculus, I think it is wehat they call an envelope filter.

  13. jay Says:

    How can I amass experiences like yours, but avoid the sadness?

    You can’t. You have to have the sorrow to really appreciate the joy. Just be safe, be kind, be aware, be smart, be open.

  14. BigNasty Says:


    From Wikipedia: Trey Anastasio

    “Anastasio, whose name derives from the Greek word for resurrection…”

    Man, if that’s accurate…I’d call it manifest destiny.


  15. jay Says:

    the seriousness happens with life experiences. especially loss. seriousness (being wise?) is all well and good but we all try and temper that with child like abandon and passion.

  16. SillyWilly Says:


    yeah, everyone on here always keeps a great sense of humor.

    the more i think about it i think the nostalgia is just common with anyone who looks back at a great time in their life.

    Maybe I should offer this, too. I hope everyone here is aware of how great they are for the input they add to this board. From my perspective, everyone is in a great time in their life.

  17. gratefulcub Says:

    And temper our child like abandon and passion with seriousness and wisdom. It’s a fine line sometimes.

    We had rules like, we take one of nothing. It’s funny in retrospect, but only because all of my dear friends and I made it out the other side in good shape.

  18. ma Says:

    cow and others,

    is it the 7/1/85 scarlet>fire…that seque still gives me the bumps when i hear it….lovely!!


    interesting from all points…my numbers ( not that they matter at all ) are quite similar to yours…just a little less dead ( although with jerry band, probably equal ) and a just a bit more phish…

    none the less, it’s all when you hop on and for me it was show #1…i’d been listening long before making it to shows…living in south florida would do that to a kid in the 80’s.

    fwiw, all this talk of liquid, i have to confress…i may not have had a drink during the miami shows, but did ingest the cleanest hit of liquid i’ve ever taken on the 29th….direct from a chemist from switz. ( through a trusted friend, of course )….very difficult to put into words how much fun…. sitting side stage, fish side…just beautiful the sights and sounds…..

    it’s only been since hampton that i started again down this road at shows…prior to 2nd night hampton, it had been since los angeles 94′ dead shows…..glad to be back on board!!

  19. stitchstash Says:

    @ silly, only you can control your feelings. A situation can be happy or sad but it is up to you to decide how you want to feel about it. Going to shows doesn’t have to be about partying hard and drugs. I like to see shows sober and have fun at the same time. Although, I may be bi because i could go either way. I think it is okay to get nostalgic over bands and songs. Every time I hear Heaven Isn’t to Far Away, by Warrant I can’t help but think about junior high and start to get emotional. The only sadness I feel is that Warrant makes me have those kind of feelings. I hope I understood what you were getting at.

  20. albert walker Says:

    tube of the chem dog for first puff
    may have to start easing in
    shit is irie

    eyes all watering
    and shit

  21. HarryHood Says:

    @ Jay

    Just checked back in. Great timing! Thanks!

    @ Silly

    Great post/great questions……. Wish I had answers, but I’m somewhere in the middle. By middle I mean that I’ve been in the game long enough to understand your questions, but not long enough to answer them. Know what I mean?

  22. albert walker Says:

    all ya’ll trying to get the feddie lurkers up in here huh?

  23. SillyWilly Says:


    totally understand. all i feel is energy and enthusiasm and i guess i have to learn for myself.


    you do understand exactly what im getting at. I think getting nostalgic is completely natural. Maybe Im just sensing the dark side of the scene and want to avoid that, but still want to experience everything to the fullest.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    sorry, aw.

    its not just about the drugs. i think its the lifestyle more.

    am i crazy for wanting to spend all my waking energy following a band around american cities, seeing the coolest kids, having a great time, without hurting anything but my own financial future?

  25. gus Says:

    now that i’m seeing TAB for the first time ever, how/where can i download the shows from last year? i want them to be recent so i know what they sound like now. and i understand there will be horns, which makes me immensely happy.

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