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. ma Says:

    as mentioned earlier today,

    it’s all about the muisc my friend…nothing more, nothing less…that’s what matters…

    search within and take care of yourself and everything else should and probably would fall into place….i’m certain you have a good head on your shoulders – trust your gut at all times and enjoy.

    i’m sure you’re as thankful as the rest of us that they are back… that understanding will take you far….to sum up today’s posts, i could really care less that FREE has not lived up to what it could or used to be….it’s FREE and it’s phish and we’re there and that’s that!!

  2. ma Says:

    sorry, ^ silly

  3. sumodie Says:

    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?


  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    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?

    silly, no, you most definitely are not.

    I come from a very similar background as you (white, midwestern, catholic upbringing, ND fan, etc.) and I can tell you it is very normal to want to experience another side of life. this is the essence of wanderlust. one of the great things about this scene is that it takes all kinds to make it work.
    my recommendation is to find the fun you can but don’t forget who you are. you come off as a very intelligent person looking for something bigger, which is something a lot of us here most certainly feel as well. others are right in saying that the “sadness” highlights the “joy” but the real trick in doing it is making sure you understand that the darkness (I like this word better than sadness here) can be overcome. your life is what you make of it, not what someone else tells you it should be.

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    right on.

    @ sumodie


  6. flarrdogg Says:

    Just catching up: Window treatments/ valence/ curtain (with) from back on page 20 is some of the funniest shit I’ve read in quite a while. Well done, gentlemen (and ladies).

  7. SillyWilly Says:


    thats a great insight and some great advice.

    I think wanderlust is exactly what I feel.

    thanks for taking the time to write that.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    gus, check out Miiner’s post about that tour:

  9. flarrdogg Says:

    12-6-73 is my favorite Dark Star. 2-2-74 #2

  10. voopa Says:

    Wow, great stuff in here today. I caught up just in time…quittin’ time! Catch y’all on the flip side…

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    you should do it.

    it is the best thing ever.

    now, what jay said is true. sadness will come, from loss. bad things will happen. but those things will happen whether or not you are on tour. everything that happens on tour is magnified, but not different.

    If you seriously want advice, it’s this:

    Have outside interests and a life outside tour to return to.

    Stay away from drugs other than weed and psychedelics. No powders or pills, period. Others may say you can dabble safely and maybe so. But my heartfelt advice is to simply not go there at all.

    Keep the psychedelics under control. If you’re under 20, be really light with them. Your brain architecture is still developing and heavy psychedelics use is unwise. However old you are, take breaks. Don’t stay spun.

    If you feel like you don’t need to be high, don’t be high.

    See the parts of the country you travel to outside the hotels and venue Shakedown.

    Remember that the feds are on tour. The man is wise – you are still an outlaw in his eyes. They will hit you for 40 to life if you let them.

    Trust, like respect, is earned and not given. There are people on tour who will try to rip you off. Once you get to know people, though, trust them. Learn to trust your instincts in this area.

    If you find yourself becoming jaded, drop off tour until you’re excited again.

    Be kind. Have fun. Help your brothers and sisters when they need it. Ask for help when you need it.

    Spread the love.

    Believe that what you feel at the show is real.

    That’s all I can think of.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:


    me too. I flip between those two.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    and Silly, weren’t you talking about getting involved in Waterwheel?

    You should go for it if so. Doing a big tour involved with WW, would put you right where you need to be. It’ll kickstart your show karma and introduce you to the kindest of the kind – such as our man Robear.

    You don’t have to volunteer every show. Take some for yourself and have the big fun. But if your heart is drawn to that, you should consider it well.

  14. Robear Says:

    You young cats, what Mr. C just posted is gospel.

    Where were you when I hit the road?

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    wow, Mr. C., thanks a lot.


    tried doing some meditating last night. apparently i gnash my teeth at night and sometimes my jaw gets sore. the meditation must have calmed me down because i had no pain this morning.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    Robear, I was learning the above lessons by being a total dumbass and doing the opposite, is where I was.

    I would have made a good object lesson, perhaps.

    The reason I find the wook down so funny is that it could have been me many times.

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    and yes!

    i want to help with the waterwheel.

    i would love just to spend some time around you guys and learn the ropes.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ::prints screen above::

    great advice, Mr. C

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    @Type III

    i seriously saved the screen to my hard drive. thats funny.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    I love your posts C. Have to send this one to my old man. Wants to go on TER next year. Hope he still has the fire in the belly by then.

  21. flarrdogg Says:

    ‘Stay away from drugs other than weed and psychedelics. No powders or pills, period’

    This was always the hardest part for me when actually doing parts of a ‘tour’- not just a few shows/ weekend warrior thing. Personally have always been great at the justification/rationalization: “everyone else is doing it”, “need it for energy”, “kick it up a notch” “when in rome…” Some are far better at self control than myself, but be aware of this pitfall.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    I printed out his pronoia post and recite it to a chosen few. Keep em comin C-Unit.

  23. HarryHood Says:

    Mr. C

    You are officially my hero. Man you’ve got some powerful words. Some people give advice. Some people give great advice. You are always the latter. I think I’ve got a man crush.

  24. gus Says:

    ummmm so run like a reggae woman is some pretty sweet shit. listening to it for the third time in a row.

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    excellent advice Mr. C

    just signing on..

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