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. jdub Says:

    Of course these jams are fresh and exciting, some jams from earlier in the year should not be discarded. The sally from the gorge, ghost/7below from albany, and Light from MSG stand up to Miami IMO

  2. halcyon Says:

    Thanks for the links danny…can’t wait to spin some TAB later this pm. The boogielope was one of the top jams of 09. Boogie had a distinctly more upbeat start to it than some of its earlier versions, maybe that was a foreshadowing of what came after.

  3. jdub Says:

    Don’t forget the hood from Jones Beach (1 or 2?)

  4. BTB Says:

    I liked Bar 17 and Shine to varying degrees, but Trey Anastasio/Trey Anastasio album with the full TAB is the best hands down.

  5. HarryHood Says:

    Wolfman’s from MSG is a great gym song as well! Just found that out by chance the other day. I also had the realization that it’s a perfect “starter” song if you want to show a newbie what jamming is all about without getting too serious. See if you agree………

  6. HarryHood Says:

    @ Icculus

    Re: No TTE in Miami

    They probably decided to shelf it because they were tired of playing to an empty arena 5 minutes into the song.

  7. posterkid Says:

    Listening back to the Boogielope, I was surprised to hear Page actually tease Boogie On before everyone else (pretty shortly before Trey rips into the riff). It’s nice – not often you catch Page steering the band.

    Pretty sure Page also teases Magilla after the “we got bebop” verse in Simple, but it kind of gets drowned out.

  8. HarryHood Says:

    Have you ever tried to take a pi$$ during TTE. It’s worse than set break!

  9. HarryHood Says:

    ^ Damn….. Missed a question mark again

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    @ HarryHood


  11. BTB Says:

    Oh no, talk about playing to an empty arena 5 minutes into a song, drop a Magilla and suddenly everyone has to pee!

  12. nonoyolker Says:

    Best phish gym track: First Tube. That can get you really amped up, especially while running.

  13. BTB Says:

    Magilla > Dog Faced Boy > Magilla > TTE

    You might as well drop a duece during the above

  14. Marshall Says:

    Thanks to KWL and everyone else who has given me some good TAB recs to spin. 🙂

  15. marcoesq Says:


    Definitely. I also would include now the Miami Sand in that as well. Thing I love about Sand is that it has a badass, groovy beat with good lyrics and a jam

    When Farmhouse first came out, a buddy and I were jamming it driving around in downtown Baltimore. We had the windows open at a stoplight when a pimped out Escalade pulled up next to us during Sand, (blasting 50 Cent) he turns down his music and looks over at us-all while bobbing his head..he was like:

    “Damn, what is that shit??”
    us: PHISH
    him: “Never heard of it, but that shit is tight yo!”


  16. marcoesq Says:


    First Tube is a GREAT gym song, def

    My shuffle has a “running playist” I made: 2001>First Tube>Carini>Tweeprise

    It tracks out at 47min so it’s perfect for a few miles

  17. Neemor Says:

    I’m waiting for CT.
    I can’t rightfully put anymore on my CCard, but if there were a ticket floating around in February, I’d gobble it up and go….
    That’s where I stand on that one.
    I will host any CT meetup, though.
    If I’m supposed to be there, as I found out in spades this year, I’ll be there.
    May even just get a ticket at the door night of show.

    That MIA Tweezer is still dope. Page led.
    The MIA Ghost is Mike-led.
    The MIA GBOTT is Trey-led.
    What did Fish give us….besides his vacuum.

    A couple of times this year, I looked at the show/set/run in this way and was able to clearly distinguish the fact that each musician had a starring role at one point or another.
    The major reason why I consider Carnegie Hall, Trey’s humble sound now and remarkable ability to listen to his band mates, and their following suit…to be the most influential event for Phish this year.

    It all came together late fall>MIA, they are all listening to one another and allowing each other to shine.
    What jambands are supposed to do.
    And Phish is the best at it.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    what’s wrong with Magilla? I’ve never considered this a PBS (Piss Break Song).

  19. Neemor Says:

    Dog Faced Boy is awesome.
    If you miss it, you lost.

  20. HarryHood Says:

    Must have been Msbjiven in the Escalade! haha.

  21. Robear Says:

    @HH, Miami might be the only shows I saw all year that I’ll listen to from beginning to end, as opposed to hitting highlights.

  22. Danny B Says:

    Tracklist for the links I posted earlier

    TAB 99

    1. Gotta Jiboo (16:08)
    2. First Tube (8:21)
    3. Heavy Things (6:07)
    4. I Can See Clearly Now (5:08)
    5. Aquí Como Allá* (6:15)
    6. Sand (21:49)
    Total time: 63:46

    TAB 2001/2002

    5-21-2001 – Seattle WA
    Push on Till the Day
    Pebbles and Marbles

    5-22-02 – Salem OR
    Mr. Completely
    Alive Again

  23. Robear Says:

    wtf is that avatar, HH?

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Thanks, Danny

  25. HarryHood Says:

    While Phish is relaxing this winter, I say we put our efforts into putting together some best of ’09 mixes for whatever occasion……

    ’09 Gym Mix: MSG Wolfman, MSG First Tube, MIA Sand, etc.

    ’09 Party Mix: ????

    ’09 Mellow Mix: ????

    Let’s do this!

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