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. stitchstash Says:

    I’m the slowest at responding. I’m really trying to keep up this time too.

    We did all of our shows in style this last year, but not all were planned. That is the biggest reason we couldn’t go to New Year’s. My sister even lives in Miami Beach.

  2. fromthetub Says:

    Gus, it’s always fine to say “nah, I’m all set” when offered this that and the other. Believe me, I said that a lot last week.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    well you know Jay that ratio of joy to sadness is about the same as songs at Dead shows

    there was always more Franklin’s Tower/Eyes of the World/Sugar Magnolia than there was Black Peter/Stella Blue – but you never got all the way through the show without the bitter to go with the sweet. The skull to go with the roses.

    I really do like Phish better since they’ve started singing songs about real life, and loss, even if they’re sometimes still a bit clumsy at it. It helps me connect to them, to know they’ve shared some sorrows like real people, and not all just Phish fantasy world stuff.

  4. chefbradford Says:

    Mr C- agreed

  5. fromthetub Says:

    On a happy note – I’m really glad you all are here. This is such a thoughtful and compassionate community. Signing off for tonight. Goodnight all!

  6. stitchstash Says:

    Good night tub! By the way, I also vote the boozin balloons picture as my favorite. That picture is worth 1,000 words.

  7. stitchstash Says:

    The Grateful Dead did have it with the lyrics. Each song could easily hit home with the lyrical interpretation. For me, listening to these new songs and revisiting old songs I have discovered that Phish has already hit us over the head with some heavy songs that carry a lot weight.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    Phish has had some great lyrics for a long time. They used to be more…abstract, and harder to understand. Which is not a bad thing at all. It shows a lot of intelligence, insight and playfulness. But I also like it when they wear their emotions on their sleeve a little more and delve into weightier topics.

  9. stitchstash Says:

    I know exactly what you mean. Abstract, intelligence, insight, and playfulness. That is a great description. Your right it can be hard to understand at first but is very poetic nonetheless.

  10. Summer98 Says:

    Boozin Balloon pictures = fantastic.

    Phish tour = phantastic. Just be smart and have fun. I wish I had been able to do the Dead, just a bit too young. The only show I saw was just a complete mess (summer 95).

    I agree with the sentiment about Phish trying to write some tunes with some lyrics that reflect on their experiences, it seems like it is time.

  11. stitchstash Says:

    They did wear their hearts out on their sleeves in Miami. Just look at the song selction!

  12. Summer98 Says:

    As you folks have said, they have always written great, intelligent lyrics, but now they can add some soul to them.

  13. Frankie Says:

    While we’re on the subject of the Dead, i found on youtube yesterday some of the best Dead footage i have ever seen from a ’71 show in France. Too bad it cuts off in the end and i really really wish there is more of this somewhere… Imagine the complete DVD of this show…

    Phil looks like a very young Trey

  14. stitchstash Says:

    “There ain’t no truth in action
    ‘Less you believe it anyway”

    Possum lyrics, one could miss this if they couldn’t find the right groove to a marsupial’s last dance.

  15. chefbradford Says:

    Shopping at the Kindle store, there’s a deal for 7 Nietzhe books for .99$. Worth it?

  16. Frankie Says:

    Really wish i had more time to revisit what went on during the day here as i always feel like if i don’t, i’m gonna miss some good music, movie, tv or book recommendations or just some great words of wisdom that are gonna spark deep thoughts…

    You guys are guilty of being the most interesting online group of folks ever brought together!

    Thank you Mr. Miner for that!

  17. stitchstash Says:

    I would find it hard to pass up a $.99 book. If your already interested, go ahead a splurge!

  18. stitchstash Says:

    sleep tight Frankie.

    Back in the day, before there was tour: People used to sleep on rope beds and would cover it with hay. They would have to tighten the ropes, then hope the hay didn’t have any bugs in it.

    Sleep tight, Don’t let the bed bugs bite comes from this.

    There Aint no Bugs on Me. What about you lugs?

    ^ Don’t really answer that. That could go to some weird places with this group and it’s getting late here. I should find that song to play for my kids. I used to have a copy a long time ago.

  19. chefbradford Says:

    I probably will, if I can find it again. I really do prefer old-fashioned…books? Book-books? Ya know, glue bindings, paper- or hard-back? Idunno. My dad got me a Kindle last year as a kind of thank you gift. I’m trying to use it, but I don’t have a lot of available funds at the moment.

    I did find a Tim Dorsey book (I have the…real? one. The book one. The hard-copy?) for free, so I picked it up.

    If you enjoy hilarity and violence check Dorsey out. His books are about an insane serial killer and Florida buff, who kills only people who deserve it (except for the occasional accident). Sort of like Dexter, only Serge came out first.

    Kind of mindless fun, but fun nonetheless. And lots of Florida trivia.

    Rambling. Sorry. But Dorsey cracks me up every time. And if you e-mail him, he’ll actually answer

    My shoes stink

    Vacation starts sometime around next Monday-Wednesday.


    Found more free music downloads at Amazon, as well

    Still rambling.

    Untreated ADD can be a wonderful, frustrating thing


  20. chefbradford Says:

    Bug! Don’t need it…

  21. chefbradford Says:

    “Some things are worth vomiting for.”
    “I think I’ve seen that crocheted on a pillow.”

  22. chefbradford Says:

    “Why is he still honking?”
    “Involuntary genetic reflex, like getting a mullet.”

  23. stitchstash Says:

    Good night guys. I’ll catch up next week. Have a great weekend.

  24. chefbradford Says:

    stitch, enjoy your weekend

  25. chefbradford Says:

    Again, I’m the last one lurking around the B-Board. Oh well, used to it now

    Shoes still stink

    I guess I don’t take care of my shoes as I should

    No foggy cavern’s musty grime will be appearing within my palm


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