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Link Wednesday, 08/05/2009
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA

Set 1: GolgiGolgi Apparatus, Halley'sHalley's Comet > CDTChalk Dust Torture, DividedDivided Sky, CircusWhen the Circus Comes, TTETime Turns Elastic, Ya Mar, STFTFPStealing Time From the Faulty Plan, SuzySuzy Greenberg, BowieDavid Bowie

Set 2: BDTNLBackwards Down the Number Line > DwDDown with Disease[1] > LxLLimb By Limb, Oh! Sweet Nuthin', Cities -> Maze, Mike'sMike's Song > Simple > WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove

Encore: Let Me Lie, Bold As Love

[1] Unfinished.

Average Song Gap: 16.9

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: Disease was unfinished. This show featured the first performance of Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ since October 31, 1998 (225 shows).

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
3 Joy
3 Junta
2 Stash
1 Party Time
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Hoist
1 Rift
1 A Picture of Nectar
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

thephunkydrb , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
thephunkydrb It was a swell evening to have spent with Phish. I just love the West Coast crowd, where people so mellow, perhaps more willing to look you in the eye and smile that knowing smile than their counterparts from other parts of the country. So, the vibe was set from the outset. And then Phish came onstage and regaled us as only they can"...

First set was alright. It had some nice moments, but was uneven. Mainly, "Time Turns Elastic" was - as has been mentioned over and over on phan boards - pretty much a buzz kill. As I experienced it, it broke up the phlow of what would otherwise have been a solid set. But, more importantly, the highlights"...

First off, it was a trippy start to the show. As soon as the band hit the stage, this giant, multi-prop military cargo plane flew RIGHT over us in the lawn, arcing the grass bowl perfectly. It was low and loud, and perfectly timed - I mean, perfectly. The crowd went nuts, and it felt like a mad bomber show was imminent. Oddly, the plane(s) kept making passes, back and forth, several times throughout the first set, though none as low and intense as that first one. I couldn't help but wonder if the band had hired the damn thing to do this"...

In any case, it was great fun to kick things off with "Golgi," "Halley's," "Chalkdust," and "Divided Sky." High energy stuff that had us all ready to go. And the four of us, my dad, and two of my best friends, where READY TO GO. The "Chalkdust" had a an interesting moment where they took a left turn in the jam, where they went abstract and out there. I was super intrigued, and hoping they'd really go for it, but they chose to bring it back to the traditional build and conclusion of the song. A look ahead to the jamming that would, indeed, come later"...

It's always a treat to hear "When the Circus Come to Town." I personally didn't need a ballad break (too ready to keep going, too pumped), but I've always dug this song. It's beautiful, and somewhat rare, and they played it with total heart"...

Again, the "Time Turns" mid-set was just lame - a buzzkill for me. I've been trying to give the song the benefit of the doubt ever since first hearing it, but between the cheese-ball lyrics and the ponderous prog rock, it seemed to go on forever. And, looking around, nobody was into it. Not quite sure why they bother playing it (especially as often as they do). I know, I know, Trey gets to have his fun - Lord knows he earns these moments. But, they thankfully made up for this by working the energy back up right away. About 30 seconds into "Ya Mar," I knew we were right back on track. This was actually a show highlight for me. Mainly, Gordeaux was going to town on his bass. He was actually super on all night; for me, the MVP of the show (if you download the show, it's worth tuning into him specifically). He was taking the standard bass line and playing extra stuff all around it. It was busy even as it was airy and light. Playful to the max. And it made the song just pop with good energy. My friend, Keith, had never seen, or heard much of, Phish. And it was during "Ya Mar" that he began to really beam and "get it""...

The rest of the set was fine. The new "Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan" is a solid blues-based rocker. There's something appealing about it, and about singing - no belting -  "got a blank space where my mind should be""... And "Suzy" was a welcome bit of upbeat hollering, played with appropriate gusto (another place where Mike's on-ness was evident, along with some killer soloing by Page). But it was the "Bowie" that really capped off the set, was the payoff. They didn't go far, far out, but they broke it down and then built it up quite nicely. There was a full moon (in Aquarius) that night, and it was just starting to peek out of the bay and the clouds, over Shoreline's two-spired tent, while "Bowie" was unfolding. As Keith pointed out, the dynamics of the jam they were laying down seemed to mirror the moon's coming in and out of the clouds. Pretty cool stuff"...

But it was the second set that had the real treats in it. I was all too happy to have it kicked off with "Backwards Down the Number Line." Though I didn't know what to make of it when they debuted it at Hampton, later listens on my iPod have made clear to me that this is a sweet, sweet song. I love the story behind the lyrics and the song's coming into existence. All about friendship, and looking back while moving forward. Quite fitting for what we all, band included, seem to be experiencing with Phish in `09. It's just a happy song, plain and simple, as only Phish seems able to do happy. And they jammed it out a little more than usual, which just got us all super ready for what came next.

So, as soon as the bass whooshes that intro "DWD" hit, we knew that it was really on. And, boy, was it ever. As Mr. Miner stated the following day, it was "a jam that reached several distinct planes, Phish's bravado was on display as they confidently blasted off into the nether regions of sonic manipulation. From blistering rock, to gorgeous passages of layered psychedelia, this jam wove together many musical milieus organically with a daring spirit. Unquestionably the centerpiece of the show, this piece brought balls-out improv, illustrating that Red Rocks was - in fact - not some magic oasis up in the mountains." Indeed. It was a good one. Can't wait to hear it again. I just remember being very impressed by the band's willingness to really go out there, all the while listening to each other quite well; keeping it coherent and purposeful, even as they explored way out there abstractions. Glowstick wars burst out for this one, one on the lawn where we were, one below. Full moon madness"...

Out of the big "DWD" jam it seemed perfect for them to drop into "Limb by Limb." As happens to all of us at points, I had a real oh-now-I-really-get-it moment with the chorus. Being dropped off a Chinese wall, fingers peeled from the rim, and coming unglued in midair to re-form limb by limb... An existential moment embraced - fully, humbly. This seemed like the exact thing that was happening to all of us at that point. And it most certainly had some personal relevance for me, stuff well beyond description here. This is another one I'm looking fwd to re-listening to. It wasn't drawn out much, but there was some interesting improv built into this one, with a somewhat different sounding take on "Limb."

Then, as it was time for a breather, I couldn't believe what I was recognizing. Velvet Underground's "Oh! Sweet Nothin'." I loved this song the first time I saw it played, for Halloween '98, in Vegas. A perfect ballad, combining the everyday, despair, and beauty, as only Lou Reed can write about them. And now, playing it for only the second time ever (I guess I'm one of the people who gets to say I've seen the only two performances of the song!), the band was relishing it. A sweet song, and a totally left-field bustout"...

To get it going again, they then dropped "Cities." I knew I should have put it in my parking lot picks list, as I suspected it was coming (damn!). And it did come. They stretched this one out, too, and had us a-funkin' for sure. Another one I can't wait to listen to again, as it had some relatively far-afield jamming that was oh so groove-y. I mean, it had to go out there for it to be able to segue, as it did, into "Maze." And what a song "Maze" is. It may be one of the better marriages of form and content on Phish's part, with the song's structure and feel mirroring what it might be like to undergo the fabled maze. The tension-and-release of the jams is just so much fun, and they were working that crowd, big time, at Shoreline. A re-listen is in order to assess just how big it really was, but it felt pretty big...

Then they dropped a "Mike's>Simple>Weekapaug." Some happy, high-energy jamming on "Mike's." I'm not a huge fan of this song, as I've grown a bit tired of it, and it seems like a bit of a clichθ© to me, unless they really do something with it. But, at least it was well-played and high-energy. The "Simple," however, was a welcome drop, since I'd been wanting to hear this, though did not expect it out of "Mike's" (I wonder when the last time they did this segue was"...?). It had good energy, and then morphed into the kind of jam I like in a "Simple" -  like the one on "Hampton Comes Alive": pretty and melodic, breaking it down to subtle particles of distilled, pure beauty"... Before kicking into a solid, fun "Weekapaug,"which had buoyancy and kick to spare, leaving us feeling the joy of that groove"...

At this point, as I realized the second set was over, I was feeling two things. I'd just had a really, really fun time. The crowd was undoubtedly into it and felt palpably cohesive and positive. There'd been glowstick wars and good crowd-band swells to dig on. You could just feel the California people being SO glad to have Phish back on their turf. It had been a good, solid show in that respect. But, I was also feeling a bit disappointed. I mean, it was a fine show, with some super solid highlights - and oodles of fun were had, believe me. But, other than the "DWD," nothing mind-blowingly awesome or huge went down. Mainly, it was not a perfectly-flowed groovefest from beginning to end. The first set was choppy and disjointed, mainly because of stupid-dumb "Time Turns Elastic" (I really hope I don't have to hear this in Indio).

In sum, I feel the band held back, was basically taking a night off. I was not surprised, as I expected this, it being after Red Rocks and before The Gorge. They didn't really wow us. Even for a mellow night, though, it was still VERY enjoyable. And, the sound was better than I expected, given my previous experiences at Shoreline. In all, they did keep it solid, and still totally took care of business. A good night with Phish I am not really going to complain about, but relish for its definitely-there worth.

Though Shoreline wasn't as full-blown as I'd have liked it to be, I'm still so freakin' thrilled this band is back, and in the way that they are. Listening to this summer's shows, feeling it all out, reading reports from phans; it's clear they're here to do good in the world again. I discern a clear sense of purpose and communication. There's risk-taking, playfulness. And, most importantly, a sense of joy. The upcoming album could not be more aptly titled. It's good see/hear/feel that again, to be feeling the feelings I forgot"....
Score: 4
kflinn1 , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
Phish 3.0 is an interesting creature -- even though the lineup hasn't changed in 25 years, there are subtle complexities to the latest re-incarnation of the Vermont foursome that set it apart from the band's first and second go-rounds. Gone (at least for now) are many of the exhilarating jams and idiosyncratic antics that defined much of the band's stage persona for their first 16 years; also missing, thanks to a clean-and-sober lifestyle that the band has embraced in the wake of guitarist Trey Anastasio's 2006 arrest and subsequent rehab, are many of the prosaic, directionless outings that marred the post-hiatus years of 2003-04.

Fresh off a historic four-night stand at Colorado's famed Red Rocks, Phish settled in for its first one-night performance at Shoreline since 1997 (the band played two-night runs in Mountain View in 1999, 2000 and 2003). Many fans viewed Shoreline as the "sleeper" of the tour, wedged between Red Rocks and two shows at the majestic Gorge Amphitheater in Washington this coming weekend; add to the mix the fact that Shoreline was the band's only California appearance this summer and the expectations ran high.

While it may not have been the barnburner the diehards may have been expecting, Phish certainly didn't disappoint the faithful, mixing a healthy dose of classics ("David Bowie" and "Maze") with newer material (more on that in a moment) and an ultra-rare performance of the Velvet Underground's "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'," last played when the band trotted out the entirety of the VU's classic album Loaded as their musical costume for Halloween 1998.

Phish aptly showcased three songs from the upcoming album, Joy (out September 8): the raunchy, bluesy "Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan," the growing-up anthem "Backwards Down the Number Line," and "Time Turns Elastic," a 16+ minute multi-segmented epic that takes its time getting going, and (believe it or not) ends too soon -- about halfway through, the band locks into an ascending riff that functions as a chorus of sorts and has potential to stretch into vast experimental territory (if and when Phish decides to take it there).

Oddly enough, the concept of holding back is prevalent in Phish 3.0; with the exception of a sublime, exploratory "Down with Disease" that highlighted the 2nd set, there was a relative absence of chances taken (as there has been all tour, with a few notable exceptions). Heading up the list of missed opportunities was a truncated "Halley's Comet" that showed up early in the 1st set -- in the past, the song had been a springboard for outstanding group improvisation, but the "new" Phish appears reticent to push the boundaries of the jamming style for which it set the bar so high early in its career (at least for now).

As with most of Phish's large amphitheater shows this summer, Shoreline tickets were plentiful -- "miracles" abounded as people who'd scooped up LiveNation's four-ticket maximum back in March were stuck either unloading their extras for a fraction of the face value or simply giving them away. Even those who had to eat a $60 ticket or two didn't seem disappointed with the outcome, however, and as the masses streamed from the venue after the band closed its encore with Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love," it was clear that when (not if) Phish returns to Northern California, the faithful will return, again and again.
Score: 2
benjaminjam , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
The only show of the summer that I got to see. Since I was there for all three Hampton shows, I didn't feel any let down whatsoever, and it was honestly my own personal schedule that prevented me from hiking north to the Gorge or trekking east to Red Rocks.

Some people seemed let down by this show, but not me and the posse I rolled in with. Among us were my buddy Eric who had convinced me to come to my first show in this self-same venue in 1998 and then we trucked it on down to Venture County Fairgrounds where what remained of my psyche was funked out during one of the best Bathtub Gin's I've ever borne witness to.

But I digress, Myself, Eric, Matt and Christi all were on the lawn. Very mellow scene, as always, at a Cali show. Seeing as we're all from the Long Beach area, we drove up and back in 48 hours. Awesome.

Set one opened with a welcome Golgi (my friend Eric named a pet lizard and it's one of his favorite tune, I mention this as his faith in the band had been steadily falling since the first hiatus). As mentioned above (and in my mind worth mentioning in the show notes as it may have a bearing on what the Musical Costume will be played in Indio) were the giant planes, reminescent of c-17s. During Halley's they returned and again later in the 1st set. A prelude to Hunky Dory? Only time will tell. A short Comet ride brought us into a blistering Chalkdust Torture, a song I have never heard a bad version of yet. I just wish they'd do the Torture Reprise again, I find it hilarious and rocking, which is generally Phish at it's best.

Divided Sky was solid, I like that they're not over doing the deedelah part at the end as much as in versions past. Not that I don't like the deedelah, but when you know it's coming it's anti-climatic like if you whip out the handcuffs every time it's time to lay down with your girl. I like to be fooled when I'm dancing to some live Phish, take the left when we're all thinking right, not the easiest thing to do, but this band does it more than most. Better, too

I will never be bummed to hear When the Circus Comes. Ever. It is a great song and Trey's voice was beautiful and I don't often think or say or write that. If sobriety has brought the crooner out in Mr. Anastasio, add it to the list of positives.

As well as this song should be added to that list. Some people don't like Time Turns Elastic and that's fine, but I happen to love it. I love it's progression, I love it's lyrics and I really love how it ends. The whole last 8 minutes of this epic composition are some of the most beautiful, dark moments in rock that I've heard in a looooooong time. Like Backwards Down the Number Line, people dissing this song now will eat crow in the future, mark my words. To be honest, the band is still finding it's footing in this song live, but only in certain sections. I also find it strange that folks have been clamoring for an epic Anastasio compostition since Guyute, they get one, and promptly complain. Enjoy the moment or hit the head, but leave me to my dancing!

Enough finger wagging. The band continued grooving with a thick, syruppy Ya Mar, got us going again with another of my favorites off the new album (I actually like the whole album, there's not a weak song on it. Like Hoist, people will throw it on and think, "How come I didn't like this the first time?" 'Cause in the words of Mike Gordon, we're 'Jaded', conditioned to experience disappointment before Joy.) Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, just about everyone has reviweed this song positively and throw my hat in that ring too. It just flat out rocks. So much so I was banging my head and flashing my devil fingers. Suzy was sweet, funky in places, but was wrapped in too neat a package for this fan. I like a little slop here and there and this song has been too clean, for me. So far.

One thing about Phish 3.0 that should be remembered, there are no longer 45 minute set breaks. It feels a lot closer to 15 minutes. As you may guess, I was in the beer line when I heard the opening strains of Backwards Down the Number Line. I got back to my lawn spot just as Down With Disease reached the outro jam and rocked my buns off. This Disease was sizzlingly hot! It moved nicely into a great Limb By Limb. This was a song that in the 90's I'd be a little bummed at first when it statred but by the end would always find myself jumping and dancing like the jumpin' dancin' fool I am. This time I wasn't bummed at all, it's a solid Phish tune with some soaring parts that can either crash and burn or get the crowd amped for what's next. Tonights was the latter.

Oh! Sweet Nuthin' was from way out of left field. It was a perfect slow/not slow song. It was almost like Phish was trying on all of their old musical costumes during the tour as if to see what would still fit and this beauty fits like a glove. Scan the setlists and you'll see Drowned (a not uncommon tune), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (not as common, but played), Rock 'n' Roll (commonish) and Crosseyed and Painless (not common enough, dammit!). One from every costume, seeing as they played this later in the tour I'd expect a few others to pop up every now and then.

Or maybe not.

After some soothing rock we got a bomb dropped on us Cities>Maze and it was all that and a cup of coffee. This was a great combo and it got the whole crowd right back into it. The Mike's>Simple>Weekapaug proved, once again, that this band can still kick your teeth in while shaking your hand and making you an herbal smoothy. Or something like that.

The encore left us all wanting a little bit more as the energy in the arena fizzled like a dying balloon at the opening lyrics of Let Me Lie. I like this song (mainly because I like bikes and songs about bikes), but I thought it could have come earlier, say after Oh! Sweet Nuthin' and been better recieved, especially given the epicness that luirked around the corner. But again, that's one of the aspects of this band that I love, their 'damn the torpedoes!' attitude. They'll open the encore with a sweet song about baring one's soul to the world and not asking for anyone's approval. Then we asked the Axis and he took us home.

Aside from an abbreviated Halley's (the first one I ever got was the mega-funked out one at Venture '98, it's still my favorite) I had narry a critique of this show. I danced, I grooved, I missed Backwards but there'll be more. My friends had a great time and so did everyone around us. Now Indio beckons and I think I'll see you there. Look for the Giant Mole yelling "Andelman's Yard!" Mike side.
Score: 2
nichobert , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
nichobert "Heading up the list of missed opportunities was a truncated "Halley's Comet" that showed up early in the 1st set -- in the past, the song had been a springboard for outstanding group improvisation, but the "new" Phish appears reticent to push the boundaries of the jamming style for which it set the bar so high early in its career (at least for now)."

Actually I think they set that Halley's Bar about 14 years into their career.

It's always so weird when people can simultaneously write off 03-04 and then act like Phish was jamming out multiple songs every night for a long stretch of time. If you're one of those people that doesn't really count the 2.0 era, it happened from June 1997 until 2000. A rather small slice of all the shows Phish has played. One song that got blasted to outer space like that Disease is as many songs as you could hope for in a solid 90% of shows from 93 through 96 and an actual decent chunk of shows afterwards. Not to mention the fact that they jam a lot more than they did before 93.
Sure, that excursion may have been longer, but the jam song/standard song ratio of 3.0 Phish is just about spot on with the 80s through 96.
I mean..I get it, I'm a jam kid. I want Character Zero to run off the rails and meander around and I don't care if the one long Type II Zero on 11/26/97 has less interesting improv in it than 90 seconds of the Burgettstown 2012 Simple or Cincinnati Twist.

It just seems like a lot of fans have this idea that 1997, Island Tour and Summer 2000 are a representative picture of Phish's career, and it's just not the truth.

It's 2012. Go back and re-engage with the 2.0 era. There's about 50 more hours of amazing improv than you remember, and you apparently no longer have to have a bunch of conversations about whose on drugs and the starving dogs and needles on lot in order to properly frame it.

Phish is in a re-evolutionary period. The first evolution pushed its way into a basically 50/50 mixture of spectacular and boring improvisation from post-Island Tour 1998 through Coventry. If this new evolution can push that percentage in the direction of spectacular, we'll be quite happy for it. And considering that their improv is freaking amazing right now, and that they're- by most accounts- almost too happy to cut off a jam before they start jamming for the sake of being a jamband, I'm confident that their new quality control measures will bear the sweetest of fruits.
Score: 1
MiguelSanchez , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
MiguelSanchez this was a damn good show sandwiched between two astounding runs. red rocks was great, but i think the gorge, quality per show anyway, was a little better. then there is this nifty shoreline show.

the first set is pretty standard. a quick halley's comet makes a welcome appearance early. the divided sky is a frequent but welcome first set tune. they play this one well, again. the faulty plan is played very strong after a nice loosey goose yamar. bowie works as a nice first set bonus tune after what i would have thought to be a set closing suzy.

i really don't like number line. it seems kind of cheesey, but it does lead into the year's best down with disease. this one is deep. in my opinion, it is the only one of the year that really starts to break new ground. sure, this song has been so thoroughly explored by phish that it is hard to break new ground, but every version up to this one did not stray too far from the disease theme. the alpine valley one started too, but then it drifted into a spacey/bug jam. anyway, this one is filled with expert playing by all four members. fishman plays with great skill and discipline on this one. a pretty standard limb by limb works well out of disease. oh sweet nuthin' would normally be a marquee score in this slot, but they botched this one pretty badly. they made up for it with a nice cities. this one doesnt go as far as it used to, but you could say that about every song phish has been playing for more than 10 years. this one still leaves a little room of dark funky exploration before diving into my favorite maze of the year. 2009 was chock full of red hot mazes, see ashville, alpine valley, syracus, etc, but this one, in my opinion, takes the cake. page was completely on top of this one, while trey brought his own brand of weirdness into the mix. fishman and gordon are in sync and work well as the engine on this one. after having played a pretty killer set thus far, with the exception of the botched VU song, they decided to kick down a mighty nice mike's groove. they build mike's up appropriately before delving into simple. the tweedle this one out before storming into a gordon'tastic weekapaugh. great way to close shoreline. that venue seems to always get a pretty damn good mike's song...as for me, i haven't caught one since the mediocre alpine '04 version. well, i'm sure i'll catch one at deer creek or telluride this summer.... see you there!!

highlights:

set 1:
halley's comet>chalk dust, faulty plan

set 2:

down with disease, maze, mike's>simple>weekapaugh
Score: 0
jcmarckx , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
Hate to sound like a hater, but I was actually pretty disappointed with this show. This was the only show I could see this summer, and the only NorCal show of the year. I know Phish is notoriously mellow in Ca, but they have risen to great heights before (7/31/97 and 9/16/99 instantly comes to mind). The first set started nicely enough with Golgi, Halley's, CDT, and the Divided Sky was very nice. So much better than the disastrous one from '03. I loved hearing TTE, even if everyone around me seemed to groan. Mid first set is perfect placement, IMO. I know a lot of people were stoked to hear Oh Sweet Nuthin', but this is one of my least favorite covers, and I thought it killed the momentum of the set.
And can anyone tell me why they ALWAYS play Mike's Groove at Shoreline? I loved this one in particular, even if it wasn't as fired up as in previous years. I get why they always seem to play Circus at Shoreline, and I liked this one.
Again, I am not a fan of Let Me Lie, and I was afraid that this was going to be a stand alone encore. Thank God for Bold as Love!

My personal highlights include, Halley's, Divided, TTE, Bowie, DWD,>LxL, and Mike's Groove.

Too bad they just can't seem to rage at Shoreline like they always seem to back East.
Score: 0
EdwardGRobinson , attached to 2009-08-05 Permalink
EdwardGRobinson Shoreline is one of the worst venues in creation. I remember being so disappointed when I went there the first time. If you are not in the pavilion you can kiss your ass goodbye.

I always figured they opened this show with Golgi because indeed "you can't even see the sea." Seems like you should be able to see it from Shoreline.

This was my first show after second hiatus and I was ready to go. Coming after the four nights at Red Rocks, there was a lot of chatter about this being a "sleeper show." It wasn't exactly that, but it did have some good moments.

The Suzy has some great Page work (noted by Fish). The entire second set is pretty good.
Slight lyric miscue in "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'".
Cities through the end is super fun stuff.
A pretty sleepy encore, but different, and I always like something a little different.

A lot of people didn't like this one, and I can understand why; but I really find this show to be underrated. Two nights later at the Gorge was one of the best shows of 2009 so if you gotta choose go for that one.
Score: 0

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