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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    another awesome “mash up” is the Midnight Rider Catapult from Columbus, OH 6-22-1994. That’s an all time favorite show for me.

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    @ AW

    I have to respectfully disagree about the muddy part when it concerns Gary. Paul was muddy, but yes Gary is loud and I believe way clearer than Paul

  3. Robear Says:

    After Leg 1 of Summer, Phish hired a person to mix the sound before sending to Livephish for downloads. Everyone’s been on a learning curve.

    High point established late fall, and in Miami for sound quality.

  4. BTB Says:

    Catapult is classic PH goof material for a ‘mash-up’ sequence. Antelope > Catapult > Antelope etc.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Miner peaked in and mentioned Indio rumors for October yesterday, and today in his write-up, he mentioned summer rumors. Anyone know any of the rumors on summer?

  6. HarryHood Says:

    The whole Groundhog Day thing started as a joke for me a few years back and now has developed into a funny obsession of sorts…… I had a friend who wanted to take a road trip down to Punxsutawney last year (proper spelling guys) just because he’s knows it’s my “favorite” holiday. I even got a phone call last year from a friend wanting me to explain Groundhog day to his 6 year old neice because of my passion and knowledge about the subject. llfa

    Check out this years events if you are REALLY at a loss for something else to do.

  7. albert walker Says:

    Could be just the specific arenas effects on sound

    Cinci and MSG were too loud and boomy but Miami had a loud but clearer sound

    Probably a work in progress

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    @ AW

    You of all people should know that MSG has always been boomy, that’ll never change.

  9. HarryHood Says:

    Anyone compelled to call me a moron due to my previos posts, I give you my permission…… llfa

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    Charlottesville was great from where we were.

    Is Gary doing the TAB February tour????

  11. albert walker Says:

    What I meant by muddy is Paul was definitely a more active mix.
    I think Gary just lets everything sit.

    Not as much levels being changed when Page takes a solo are Trey is playing rhythm.

    Everyone is just loud and always there IMO.

    Sometimes hard to hear Pages solo over Trey’s comping.

  12. beepaphone Says:

    @ HH
    Dude with the Ron Burgundy avatar, I’d expect no different

  13. msbjivein Says:

    Tomorrow will be the 31yr anniversary of the First Psychedelic Voyage taken in THE Madison Square Gardens!!! The Grateful Dead played their first MSG show on 1/8/79. Thanks for freeing our minds!!! Cheers to all the old Heads!! Anybody hit this one??

  14. BTB Says:

    Greenboard poster had Jones Beach scheduled for June. 4 night run, but they could have just circled 4 dates to confirm at a later date. I doubt they do 4 at JB.

  15. marcoesq Says:

    Re: Gary/Paul

    I think Paul’s sounds was muddy but he made the whole mix sound like a remastered AUD recording where, IMO, the mix came off sounding like the actual sound experience at the show.

    Gary is definitely louder, I think his sound (on tape) was very crunchy at first but these MIA mixes are a great culmination of his work this year

  16. HarryHood Says:

    lol @ Beep

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    @ AW

    I think that’s always been the case with Phish. Page never has been up in the mix enough for as long as I could remember. That Hampton boards were an improvement, but here we are 10 months later and it’s back to the same old same old when concerning Page as far as the house mix goes IMO

  18. msbjivein Says:

    I don’t think Phish is doing any scheduling at this time. A bit early don’t you think??

  19. marcoesq Says:

    ^Greenboard basically just copied last year’s dates on a lot of em and just put 2010 next to it

  20. KWL Says:

    ‘Sometimes hard to hear Pages solo over Trey’s comping.’

    truth. Listen to the first half of your favorite 09 maze.

  21. Amazin1986 Says:

    I hope they don’t do 4 at Jones Beach. Long Island is brutal.

  22. msbjivein Says:

    I thought Europe was for sure. I was wrong at least a The Spring Europe rumor was way off. I know we’re excited to get things going again but I think they’re gonna take a month or two off before thinking about where to go for the Summer Tour….IMO

  23. beepaphone Says:

    Too early? I dunno. Just curious @

    rumors bubbling about summer and beyond

    Usually Miner doesn’t even mention it unless it has at least a tiny shred of credibility.

  24. yanzlow Says:

    El Dude – beg to differ. ‘boominess’ can vary based on the mix. Night 1 MSG my ears were bleeding, and everything but Trey’s guitar was muddy as mississippi. Night 2 was much quieter, clearer and crisper (and i was near the board…) Night 3 I sat much closer than night 1 and yet it was still quieter and clearer. Seen phish 12 times @ MSG over the years. MSG1 this year was easily the worst sounding phish show I’ve seen there, though it was still light years better than Tenacious D a few years ago. I almost wanted my money back…
    I heard somewhere that Gary used to work for panic? anyone know if that’s true?

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    @ msbj

    unfortunately there are no boards of that show in circulation. Just a Nak 300 aud recording. We need Charlie Miller to produce some magic on that one

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