Settling Into Place

Jones Beach '09 (Wendy Rogell)

Almost two years has passed since Joy dropped, and the songs from Phish’s only modern-era album have found their primary spots in the band’s rotation. Today, we’ll look at some of the most promising songs from Joy that were debuted in 2009 and their role in current shows.



Trey's Ocelot Inlay

Debuted right after Hampton in Fenway’s first set, “Ocelot” seemed like a promising jam vehicle for the band out of the gates. At the time, it’s playful and methodical grooves seemed like the could easily lead the band in adventurous directions. I remember all of June ’09 waiting for a big “Ocelot” to open the second set, but  to this day, the song has still not appeared in any second set at all. “Ocelot” has found its home as a first set staple, often the first improvisational piece of its given show. The jam has developed a roots Americana feel, spouting passages that sometimes evoke the sound of The Grateful Dead. While the song never seems obtrusive and provides a warm musical breeze, the piece has yet to take on any risk whatsoever. Seeming to content to play it straight, Phish has domesticated their “Ocelot,” much like Salvador Dali did. Perhaps one day, the band will let their pet song out to play.


“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan”

Jones Beach 09 W.Rogell)

When “Stealing Time” crunched from the PA at Jones Beach ’09, many fans freaked on what seemed like a new dissonant, hard rock launch pad. But almost two years later, we are still waiting on the song to break form. A platform for seething guitar solos, instead of morphing into the next improvisational juggernaut, “Stealing Time” has turned into this generation’s “Character Zero”— a hard-edged set closer that leaves the audience on a high note. Closing only one second set in Hartford (6.18.10), “Stealing Time,” like “Ocelot,” now finds its home in the opening half. And when I first heard it, I would have bet good money against that development. Seemingly reluctant to take their new songs to new places, Phish has also kept this song firmly inside the box.


“Backwards Down the Number Line”

Trey and Tom (

Perhaps the biggest enigma from Joy, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has blown up a handful of times—most notably last summer at Blossom and Jones Beach—but has otherwise remained a noodly anthem. While some of the contained versions shine more than others, Phish has yet to find a good placement for the piece. Often breaking up the flow of second sets with its sudden beginning and abrupt change of vibe, “Number Line” seems to work better as an opener a la SPAC ’09. Though “Number Line” has had some all-star moments, until Phish finds a natural home or musical direction for their ode to friendship, it will continue to be an awkward piece of the band’s catalog.


“Twenty Years Later”

Perhaps the most contemporary-sounding Phish songs on Joy, the enchanting-turned-menacing “Twenty Years Later” has most-often appeared as a soft landing pad for outrageous psychedelic jaunts. And just this fall, Phish began pushing the end of the song, itself, creating dissonant and layered walls of sound out of the jam. A song that always seems to fit perfectly at the end of torrid adventures, Phish has definitely found the right home for “Twenty Years Later.”



8.7.10 -The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

When Trey performed “Light” twice with Classic TAB (before Phish returned to the stage), I immediately sensed that it would be Phish’s next cosmic trampoline. And lo and behold, “Light” has been the most consistent portal to the universe in this era of Phish. An open-ended piece that is routinely placed in the second set, its jam has migrated from thick ambient textures to futuristic groove, while hitting just about every musical place in between. “Light” is the band’s most exploratory piece right now, and has been since it first explored darkened territory at Bonnaroo (6.14.09), and further exploded during Fall ’09. Easily the improvisational MVP of 2010, every time “Light” started up the most interesting jam of the night was almost sure to follow.


“Kill Devil Falls”

Starting out as another straight forward rocker at Jones Beach ’09, “Kill Devil Falls” got immediately interesting at Bonnaroo as the band’s first stellar and exploratory jam of this the summer. But these type of excursions have been few and far between from of the song, and no version has yet to touch Bonnaroo’s ’09 peak. Staying within the box 99% of the time, “Kill Devil Falls” most often finds its way into a show—or set—opening slot. Providing quality rock and roll, “Kill Devil Falls” warms up the audience for what is coming next.


Jam of the Day:

Piper > Guy Forget” 10.1.00 II

A classic nugget from the home stretch of Fall 2000.




12.4.1995 Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload

This December ’95 re-post goes out via reader request to Willowed!

Mullins Center, Amherst, MA

I: Julius, Gumbo, The Divided Sky, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Axilla II, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Hello My Baby,While My Guitar Gently Weeps

II: Timber Ho, Sparkle, Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope, Billy Breathes, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself, Sample in a Jar, Frankenstein

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

Source: AKG 460B/ck61 > custom pre-amp > Teac DA-P20 (@ 48kHz)

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643 Responses to “Settling Into Place”

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  1. dognamedwilson Says:

    A day late but here goes:

    1st show evah-
    Sandi Patti 1985,
    age 5
    Venue was beautiful

    1st ‘rock show’-
    I wasn’t yet 10

    Not joking

  2. laurville Says:

    The Light is growing brighter now…

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    This write up avoided getting TTE’d. phew.

  4. garretc Says:

    Good morning from Detroit, the crown jewel of this great nation!

    Final destination: VT, home of the Phish!

  5. Cable Hogue Says:

    Reposting from last night:

    Cable Hogue is the occasional poster formerly known as joechip.

    Decided to change my handle, avoiding confusion with the other joe here, especially considering that my name isn’t joe…it’s not Cable either, but I love the movie….a classic….

    I still think Ocelot is going to be taken for a long ride one day. It’s a natural. Really dug the 10/29 version a lot.

  6. Gavinsdad Says:

    I think this is going to be the worst shovel-out yet. Gnarly down here.

  7. Cable Hogue Says:

    Also thought the 12/28 Number Line, though well-played, was extremely jarring coming out of Carini like it did…kinda went over like a turd in the punchbowl in my section. In that context, all the more disappointing to get such a contained version. And then a second contained version on NYE…the treatment of this song is strange indeed. As Miner points out, it’s a natural 2nd set opener, and very rarely gets that placement. We’re gonna keep hearing it since it’s such an important song for them, let’s hope it finds it’s place.

  8. Cable Hogue Says:

    Zero snow from this storm on the center of the VT/NH border…grrr. Need to ski.

  9. willowed Says:

    woot woot. Jam of the Day is Willowed first show!

    This is where it all began. The Band and vs. Aidience chess match.

    This Lope and Stash are keepers!! (All Lopes from 95 are though)

  10. willowed Says:

    Unable to open any doors in my house. Officially snowed in.
    Using the garage to get out of the house.

    Shoveling = not fun.

    Who’s got my hippie speed ball.

  11. jdub Says:

    Burried again. The snow looks cool and all but damn I’m tired of shoveling.

  12. willowed Says:

    who’s got my hetty snow blower. Please deliver it to Hamden, ct.

  13. garretc Says:

    Hey guys, guess what!

    It was 72 degrees in CA yesterday! And for some reason I’m en route to VT… At least now 50 degrees in PDX will feel like heaven!

    Speaking of heaven, I can’t think of a better way to start a day than Tweezer, and Hershey ’96 has a sick one!

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    Damn, I was scheduled to go to NY this am, but my spider senses were tingling that I should not, cancelled last night and boom! NY office closed, yes closed, because of snow.

    Hey Americans, want to make some $$? Snow removal in NYC.

  15. garretc Says:

    Damn, the way they Mike and Fish kick the groove in after the noise section in that Tweezer was just too damn sick!

    One of those “shake your head because you’re in public wearing headphones and can’t burst out laughing at the absurdity of the awesomeness of the moment” moments… I’m sure you know the type!

  16. phoammhead Says:

    guy forget = hilarious!!! fishman singing guy forget . . . reedicculus – love it! 😀

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    damn, willowed, that is seriously snowed in. I take back all of my snarky neasterners dont know how to handle snow comments. That is the real deal, like I have not seen.

  18. burblelover415 Says:

    Dear Old Man Winter,

    I F*%KING hate you and quiit taking your snow dumps on my house!! Use a poop tent instead.



  19. Selector J Says:

    Click the name for the radio show…
    Old school Melodians + U-Roy jamming now.

  20. willowed Says:

    Mother nature, hi I’m willowed…you’re a dirty bitch!!

  21. jdub Says:

    Enough snow to do cannonballs off my roof. My buddy who plows is killing it this winter.

    I like these new tunes but do hope they feel like stretching some of them. They all have the potential, now we just need the intent. Ocelot, Stealing Time, #Line, KDF, and the one omission – Alaska – all could become wide open groove tapestries.

  22. sumodie Says:

    Only 3-4″ of snow fell here in western MA, disappointing

    Phish & falling snow is a mindbendingly good combo: yesterday as darkness fell I was shoveling & listening to the Leaked SBD Project, Ghost & Mike’s Song from the ’98 Raleigh NC show, plus that freaky ’95 Theme again

    Have also realized that Spock’s Brain should be dusted off this summer thanks to repeated spins of the ’95 Blossum version

  23. TrippingBilly Says:

    awwww, poor burble. gone is your warm san franciscan winter, replaced by the super dank snow filled nastiness of living in new england. welcome back to the east coast, brother. how quickly you forgot…

  24. JerZ Says:

    I loved the new years ocelot- not jammed out long, but much more intense jamming than most versions.

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    Good write up today miner.

    I agree with the sentiment that #line needs to eb an opener, first or second. Although I wouldn’t really call it noodley, many of the solos seem quite focused.

    I think ocelet is great where it is, I think its only a matter of time before it gets the second set full blown treatment.

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