Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
Noteworthy Jams: Possum
Average Song Gap: 14.29
Notes: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan and Kill Devil Falls both debuted at this show, with the latter, remarkably, being played by request. This show featured the first If I Could since June 28, 2000 (103 shows).
Songs by Debut Year:
Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan:**
If I Could:*****
Mike's Song >:****
Wolfman's Brother >:****
When The Circus Comes To Town:****
Kill Devil Falls:****
Harry Hood >:*****
Batting Average: .757 (72 Stars/95 Stars)
The two ratings are Batting Average and GHI. Both are defined below.
BA: The total number of stars achieved divided by the total possible stars a concert can achieve. Each song can achieve a total possible 5 stars, 5 being the best, 0 being the worst. Therefore, each show receives anywhere from a 1.0 to a .001.
GHI: This rating is used in The Phish Companion 2nd Ed. Each show is given a score from 0 to 5, five being the best and 0 being the worst.
The two scores are synonymous. I like the BA form better because each show receives a score closer to its worth depending on how you rated it.
And because it had some really legitimate moments. But what really blew me away 'bout this show was the four songs that ended the 2nd set: A poignant When The Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls (all debuts should be this good), an explosive Harry Hood and one of my fave Stones songs, Loving Cup. And now my cup runneth over this band. Bring on Summer '11!
Such is the case with this show. Aside from the debut of Stealing Time and the weird ending, the first set is completely forgettable. @waxbanks has it when it comes to the Mike's Groove: every segue is butchered. Though don't let that get you down. After all, this was only the fifth show in almost as many years and what comes afterword is the aforementioned gold.
The second sets closing quartet is unquestionably the highlight of the show. When The Circus Comes is well played and placed perfectly. The debut is KDF is really nice. Trey rips it up. And now, the first Truly memorable jam since the return emerges out of Harry Hood. Slight mistakes in the composed section aside, this is one of the best Hoods of the year. The ambient passage is quite beautiful and the build to the peak afterword is flawless. At this point we weren't all sick of Loving Cup yet, and this is a good version. Suzy ends closes the show is style.
I won't be listening to any of this show besides the Hood again, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it when I did.
Set I is the better of the two, with the 3.0 debut of Cities, a nice Reba, and surprisingly excellent If I Could closer. Possum is a solid offering, and hints at why the band decided to play it so relentlessly for the next few years: it was one of the songs they could reliably bring down the house with. It gets the job done here, and I particularly like Trey's country pluckin' during the intro.
Set II is probably the worst set I've been in attendance for. The entire Mike's Groove is kind of a sloppy snoozer, with little that begs additional listening. The segue to Weekapaug in particular is ugly, ugly stuff. But hey--it's all about trajectory, right? Think about all those butter smooth segues of 2012-2013. Those don't happen unless the boys had first built themselves back up from depths like this.
The bright spot is the Hood, which is unusual and spacey. Very interesting version, and caught me totally off guard. The transition back into normal Hood territory doesn't go according to plan, but that doesn't keep this from easily being the #1 highlight of the night.
All in all, I see June 2009 as a sort of Pilgrimage for devoted Phish fans. These shows are worth hearing, and are so crucial to the current (phenomenal) state of the band, but if you are making the trek through these 15 shows, be prepared for some bumps and stalls.
One of those days that I will never forget, and at the same time never fully remember.