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”

  1. bhizzle Says:

    Burble your avatar makes my stomoach turn…

    Number Line…what can you say..the jam that comes from it can be sensational, but first you have to get past the abruptness of the beginning, “Happy, happy”…eek..

    Have to say 20 Years Later and Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan are my favorites…I know alot of you give Light alot love and with that much love you cant be wrong. I just find myself not being patient enough? Idk. all i know is when Miner throws a light up for JotD I barely click it

  2. TrippingBilly Says:

    did I do it right? you guys like to make fun of each other right? not sure if you phishies use those words, but it seemed “heady” when I wrote it.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    bhizzle, your missing out dude.

    20 years later is one I could really do with out, I like the verses but the chorus really bothers me for some reason.

  4. JerZ Says:

    I know that the song gets no love- but Sugar Shack has some really interesting and intricate jam sections- I have been waiting for them to take that song for a ride. So far, it is actually better studio than it has been live

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I know that the song gets no love- but Sugar Shack has some really interesting and intricate jam sections- I have been waiting for them to take that song for a ride. “jerz

    I’m waiting for them to learn how to play it 🙂

  6. jdub Says:

    Tripping Billies = T3, amirite?

  7. jdub Says:

    Hey tripping billies, you ever been tripping balls at a dmb show?

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all

    nice topic today. could provide some interesting convo…

    the weird thing today is that they actually successfully cleared the roads and then there was nobody out driving. I expected to be late getting to work after dropping my wife off at her office, only to get in early. odd.


  9. sumodie Says:

    20YL has become my dark horse favorite off Joy; the Light>20YL combo from Augusta is awesomely intense, not to mention moving from WTU into 20YL at Woosta1

    Ocelot has really hit some sweet spots for me, MSG’s was one of the best, not that it couldn’t go further out there for me

    But Stealing Time is the biggest ‘disappointment’ in terms of potential -the song begs to be opened up into some hard crunchy exploration

    as we’ve already discussed, phish can open up any of these songs, but their intentions and our wishful expectations are not always in synch

  10. BTB Says:

    The Phish State of the Reunion Address for those who weren’t around yesterday

  11. TrippingBilly Says:

    no, I don’t do drugs. I don’t care if other people do it, but I just like to have some beers and dance to the music (and maybe sing along too). I tried smoking pot a few times in high school but it just made me sleepy and dizzy (never something I’ve done at a concert). I like to remember what happened at the concert, so I usually try to stay with it. I have a couple of friends who have done that and told me it was really fun but that they don’t really remember the shows as a result. I wouldn’t want that at all!

  12. garretc Says:


    Dunno who it is, but it does looks like the mask slipped a bit doesn’t it…

  13. KfL Says:

    agreed sumo, stealing has been the biggest disappointment. a few nice versions here and there but so much untapped potential. belongs in set II.

    i’m pretty happy with ocelot and alaska as first set tunes, both tend to be better live than on playback, and i have loved them both just about every time i’ve caught them

    i don’t really see ocelot ending up in set 2 anytime soon, but i could see it getting a bit more of the treatment in set 1, stretched a bit here and there. seems to play a similar role as gin in the first set

    worst part about these northeast winters is the damn salt. salt everywhere.

  14. sumodie Says:

    from today’s list I like KDF the least, though when it’s fired up right like at Woosta2, I’m right there with the boys

    already a huge fan of BDTNL (when done right – both Dec versions sparkled enough for me though more jam is always welcome) & Light (not much more to be said on that one, just more please)

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    Boston Public Closed = Office Closed. Working from my bedside for the third time in as many weeks. Best. Winter. Ever. Ga’bless living downtown – haven’t lifted a shovel in over a decade. Can’t imagine how bad it’s been for folks this year. Stay strong bros!

    STFTFP could be the next big dark jammer (a la Tweezer, Ghost, ASIHTOS), but they have yet to let it breath. Song is like a puppy with a bladder control issue – begging to get taken for a walk… It will happen, it has to, at least once, and I hope I am in the building when it does

  16. burblelover415 Says:

    @bhizzle: As it should…

    @TB: Maybe I’d enjoy the constant snow and cold a lil more if I had some Silvercrests. Can you get those on DMB tour?

    Ocelot is definitely my favorite off Joy. Would be nice to see Trey put some effort into learning Sugar Shack. Thought TTE would be my least favorite, but for some reason I can’t stand “I Been Around”

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    See I don’t hear this type II thing with STFP, it really does feel like thew Zero. Is it because its a dark song that people want to hear it open up?

    Alaska has had some nice readings. My favorite being the camden one, the way it melts into those ambient tones that lead up to 2001 were fucking magic.

  18. nonoyolker Says:

    Studio sugar shack is my jam. Does not translate live, even if Trey learned how to play it. One of a very few set of songs that work better from the studio.

    I’ve Been Around is a throw away. Shitsbunk.

    I haven’t gotten TT’ed in a long while – trying not to jinx it by discussing the streak ::nono furiously knocks on wood::

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    I am not a huge fan of Alaska but always enjoy it towards the end. Put me in the camp that really likes Sugar Shack if they can start nailing it I would be really happy.

  20. nonoyolker Says:

    @LW – I can EASILY picture a dark underbelly jam coming out of STFTFP. The ending lines “Got a _____ where my mind should be” > some heavy shredding > dark, murky soup jam > ambient outro > and i’m spent…

  21. lastwaltzer Says:


    I mean its phish, they’ve proved they can do it with anything. I mean who saw that GBOTT from Miami coming at the onset?

    Not saying you’re wrong cause I hear what your saying. Just seems like a shredder I guess.

  22. bhizzle Says:

    @garretc…1st post mask slippage

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    using the track listing as a starting point, here goes…

    BDT#L – even as a contained piece I like what they have done with this song. I also like that it isn’t really predictable since they do take it out for a ride every once in a while.
    STFTFP – until this blows up, for me it is basically Zero as Miner mentions. that said, I have liked it as a set closer
    Joy – heart felt breather that took on added meaning for me at JB2 this summer. not that I’m going to start bringing a joy sign to shows or anything, but I cannot complain about it.
    Sugar Shack – I like this quirky mike song but trey needs to practice it if they continue to play it. having murawski play it better than him is kind of weird.
    Ocelot – I totally dig this tune. do I want it to go huge? heck yeah. but I have been happy with what it has provided thus far as well.
    KDF – another ripper. works for me as a show opener, not sure it will ever be more than that
    Light – the unquestionable (for me) top dog from the album. always engaging and holds a message that I wish I was more aware of sooner in my life
    I Been Around – yeah, it’s a throwaway first encore slot kind of song, but I like the playfulness phish has with stuff like this. but definitely the low man on the totem pole
    TTE – haterz will hate, and it has become more punchline than anything (we better not get TTE’d today, selecta, the dub beats are amply providing without that sort of thing needed 😉 ) but I like the payoff. peaks pretty well once we get to the carousel and beyond
    20YL – I like what they are doing with this one. another added meaning song for me since I caught one at Camden I with my two brothers there, neither who had seen phish in 20 years. literally.

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    who was that doing your “shout out” bump?

  25. HarryHood Says:

    I’m a big fan of 20YL. I like the lyrics and the feel of the song when it drips out of a dark funk. SPAC ’09’s #L > 20YL has seen plenty of time on my I-pod.

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