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Link Friday, 08/14/2009
The Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT

Soundcheck: "Lamp Post Song"

Set 1: PYITEPunch You In the Eye, BagAC/DC Bag > NICU, Forbin'sColonel Forbin's Ascent > MockingbirdFly Famous Mockingbird, BOAFBirds of a Feather, Lawn Boy, Stash, IDKI Didn't Know, Middle of the Road, Character Zero

Set 2: DwDDown with Disease[1] > Wilson > SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light, Piper > Water in the Sky, Ghost -> Psycho Killer -> Catapult -> Icculus[2] > YEMYou Enjoy Myself

Encore: WMGGWWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps

[1] Unfinished.
[2] Narration centered on the fact that "you crazy kids" just don't read anymore.

Teases:
· Reba jam in Down with Disease
· Spill the Wine tease in Piper

Noteworthy Jams: Birds of a Feather, Down with Disease, Piper, You Enjoy Myself

Average Song Gap: 37.5

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

Notes: This show featured the first versions of Forbin’s and Mockingbird since September 30, 2000 (96 shows), which were performed without narration. During I Didn’t Know, Trey introduced Fish as “Recent Julliard Master’s Vacuum Program graduate, the one and only, Jon Moses Quagmire DeWitt Hampton.” DWD contained a Reba jam and was unfinished. Piper included a Spill the Wine tease from Page. This show featured the first Psycho Killer since December 7, 1997 (282 shows). Psycho Killer was unfinished and disintegrated into a self-described, electronic “Pong” jam. During the post-Psycho Killer “Pong” jam, Trey initiated a dance contest saying that whoever could best dance to that music would “win something.”  After Catapult (while continuing the “Pong” jam), Trey asked, “Does everybody else love this song as much as I do?” and said that he was “waiting for the day when they play stuff like this on the radio.”  Icculus was last performed on July 18, 1999 (193 shows). The Icculus narration centered on the fact that “you crazy kids” just don’t read anymore.  The “Pong” jam reappeared during the YEM jam. The soundcheck included a jam with lyrics that were made up on the fly with Trey on bass (so that Mike could check on bass sounds from the audience) and Fish on drums. Trey briefly quoted Spill the Wine and The Pendulum during the soundcheck jam.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
4 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
3 The Story of the Ghost
3 Stash
3 The White Tape
2 A Picture of Nectar
2 Junta
1 Farmhouse
1 Billy Breathes
1 Hoist
1 Lawn Boy

Songs by Debut Year:

waxbanks , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
waxbanks Apparently my earlier review is disapproved of by the ol' fans. No surprise there, though it wasn't a negative review at all. To restate: no, this is not a great show *on tape*. Being there was ecstasy. Good as the Disease, Piper, Stash, and Birds are, the rest of the show is a mix of standard '09 inessential excellence and had-to-be-there fun. Ghost > Psycho Killer > Catapult > Icculus is wonderful on paper and in person, but what Phish fan actually prefers a "good 10-minute Ghost > 2-minute Psycho Killer > 7 minutes of Trey fooling around" to a 20-minute Ghost, ON TAPE? I don't think anyone listens to the Ken Kesey show anymore either. As for YEM being a 'nonstarter,' I don't wanna burst anyone's bubble, but after the written portion it's tramps > quick Trey break > Mike solo, with Trey so enamored of his doofy noise loop he even starts the vocal jam with it. There are a million other well-performed YEMs out there; heck, a few of them got played on Summer Tour!

That said, the highlights are true highlights: another great 2009 Stash, a rich Birds, the welcome return of Forbin's > Mockingbird, and gorgeous jams in Disease and Piper.

I know no one wants to hear an ill word spoken of a show that invokes Forbin, David Byrne, and Mike/Kottke, but that Wilson just de-balls one of the prettiest jams of the year, seemingly a Reba jam coalesced out of nothing. At the show we were instantly pulled out of the groove by those opening notes; they sound perversely out of place, either spiteful or inept. Since Trey is neither of those things, we'll just call it a bold wrong decision. And wouldn't you prefer a song built on that 'Pong' jam to a goof-off that references it?

But the experience is what counts, and this show was a joyful celebration (even if Trey was 100% right about his audience's reading habits).

So.

If you're trying to figure out whether to download the show, I'd say there are a half-dozen other Summer '09 recordings to seek out first - 7/31 Red Rocks, 8/7 Gorge, Bruce, Camden, maybe the awkward but interesting Chicago show - not because they were 'better' but because they hold up better (to my ears) on yer stereo. And of course most of summer has been superseded by the strong fall tour. On the other hand, it's a download. It's not like you don't have the hard drive space. Grab the show and enjoy. It remains a well-rounded show, an exceptional night in Hartford that's pleasantly inessential on tape.
Score: 6
NaptownPhishFan , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
I agree with most of what waxbanks says after buying this show and listening to it again. That being said, I want to mention why this is probably my favorite live Phish experience.

My last Phish show was Coventry and I went with my brother. I was lucky enough to have caught IT, and had been excited for a similar three day party with great music, but Coventry left a horrible taste in my mouth. The whole event was a disaster. The flood issue was bad, the music was worse, and the vibe awful. I was glad it was their last show, and I had no interest in seeing them when they reunited last year. I think I was actually mad at the band, if that's possible. However, my brother landed 4 tickets to Hartford, and I happened to be in New England with my girlfriend (who hates the little bit of live Phish she's heard), so I decided to check it out.

So I dragged the Phish-hating ball-and-chain to Hartford, and my brother brought a good friend, who had never really listened to the band at all. Shake-down turned out to be a blast; it was a very upbeat environment to hang out in and drink a few beers. I was already reminded of how different a Phish experience can be. The energy level was really high, and suddenly I found myself hoping that Phish could still deliver.

I can honestly say that Phish blew us all away in Hartford, surpassing everyone's expectations. When I try to explain to non-fans why Phish is so great, this show is exactly what I think of. The energy level was EXTREMELY high. Story-telling, trampolining, vacuum-cleaner solos providing humor, and interaction between the band and crowd were all reminders that the band doesn't really take itself too seriously. Also, Chris Kuroda has once again stepped up his game with the lighting he provided. Bust most importantly, we heard good jams, and the band sounded great. They were as enthusiastic as the crowd, and the show was a blast.

I know we got lucky with how stacked this set-list was, but the greatness of this show for me was contributed to by this factor, rather than determined by it. I felt that I, like many people, had gone to a Phish show this summer with a depressing feeling that I may witness a train wreck. I thought I may see the sloppy, unenthusiastic band of 2004. I was so disappointed with my last Phish experience, and I didn't want to see the band add to that with another abortion of a show. How wrong I was.

Hartford has given me that itch again. Listening to the tapes of this show made me realize it wasn't without flaws, but it reminded me why Phish has more or less ruined other live music for me; no band can capture that energy, enthusiasm, and fun of live music that Phish can consistently deliver. I've listened to more Phish since Hartford than I had in the years since Coventry. I can't wait for the next show. This show was worth the wait, and somehow they even converted my girlfriend. So while the recording of this show wont provide you with the best versions of these songs you have ever heard, no one goes to a Phish show anticipating what the tapes may be like the next day. The point is the experience at that moment, and on this night they were perfect.

-Naptown Phish Fan
Score: 6
Mr_Miner , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
Mr_Miner Simply put, this was an epic Phish concert. This show was top notch from the opening note of PYITE to the last note of My Guitar Gently weeps. This show brought back so many memories with the IDK and Vacuum Solo.....not to mention the Forbins/Mockingbird. I was pleased there was no narration as we all know the story.

The 2nd set run of Wilson, Slave, Water In the Sky, Ghost and PK was amazing with YEM being the cherry on top. Many people think that this was the best show of the 09 and makes it into the top 25 shows that I have seen.
Score: 3
waxbanks , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
waxbanks Phish's late summer '09 strengths and weaknesses are on display in this show. A misplaced Wilson kills a DWD that might've been the year's best, while a top-notch Piper oddly winds into Water in the Sky. A playful PYITE opener bodes well but the long-awaited Forbin's > Mockingbird is story-free. BOAF is superb, as is Stash, but the YEM is a nonstarter. Ambient spaces follow bright rock jams, everything's chunky and energetic, and we're miles and miles away from the hypnotic intergalactic magic of June '04. Like many of the July/August '09 shows, this is an uplifting, satisfying listen that won't make it onto anyone's Top 25 Phish list. And it might be the most well-rounded show of tour, so if you're wondering where to start with the recent stuff, you can do worse than this one.
Score: 2
andychatfield , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
Whenever a show starts with "Punch You In The Eye" you know you are in for it. "AC/DC Bag" brought me back to the first night at Great Woods five years earlier. Nice "NICU". It only took me 14 years/35 shows to finally see "Colonel Forbin's Ascent < Fly Famous Mockingbird"; as well as "Icculus". Glad I was in the 14th row (wow I just noticed that number synchronicity...)

Trey did some kind of bird signal with his hands between songs - was this because of the way the setlist reads "Fly Famous Mockingbird" then "Birds of a Feather" (like that tape of December '84 read "Fire on the Mountain" then Jimi Hendrix's "Fire")?

Pardon me, Doug - is this a picture of Otis Redding? Trey mentioned this was Fishman's first vacuum solo of the tour.

I knew "Middle of the Road" sounded familiar - it was from Mike's album "Clone" with Leo Kottke, which kept me company during the first hiatus. The "Character Zero" set closer reminded me of the Lake Placid fall tour opening show in '96 the day after "Billy Breathes" was released.

The "Down With Disease" jam included a "Reba" jam, which abruptly cut to "Wilson". Love the subtlety of "Slave to the Traffic Light". "Psycho Killer" was excellent - reminded me of seeing "Burning Down The House" in August '98 in Vernon, NY.

The loop that Trey and Fishman danced to sounded like a field recording of an African percussion ensemble...
Score: 2
charliefogg , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
charliefogg This is one of the top 5 shows I've attended and I listen to it frequently. When I think of this show, the first song that comes to mind and the one I listen to most frequently is Birds of a Feather. The other reviews cover the rest of the show really well but the BOAF is just incredible. Its beginning is standard but at around the 4:00 mark, it begins to veer away from the path it would normally take. At 5:00, Page and Trey do brief call and response that leads into an absolutely blissful solo by Trey. It recalls, at least for me, the Grateful Dead's jam out of Wharf Rat into Dark Star from 2-18-71 (also one of my favorites.) The next two minutes are the reason why I listen to Phish. Just beautiful. Check it out!
Score: 2
ProfJibboo , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
ProfJibboo Welcome back boys. Any doubts I had about whether 3.0 was for real were not even afterthoughts after this show and the second set might very well be the greatest set I've ever heard in person.

Not trying to slight the 1st set (and its flying famous mockingbird), but the second set is must download music. Starting with a blistering DWD jam that could melt even the most sober faces, noobs and vets alike were dancing to a high energy jam. To this day I still can't figure how a band segues into Wilson. I mean, its like two notes to open the song...but sure enough, jamming away before those open cords just came out of nowhere....and the phans, not missing a beat, heard it and chanted right back. As they jammed away and I heard Slave starting to emerge in another beautiful, smooth non-stop transition, I whipped out my cell phone and sent a message to the people who I love phishing with the most that said "Something special is happening tonight"

You could hear it. They were tight, they were high energy, they were in sync, they were jamming, they were creative. And despite all of that, I can't remember being more wowed than when you heard the gentle waterfall sounds emerging as the end of Piper neared. I didn't believe it...who would expect the band to jam into Water in the Sky in the middle of the second set? But that is exactly what did and it hit the spot. It gave me a new respect not only for the song itself, but for the band who, for the first time in 3.0, proved that any song in their library can be a showstopper when they feel like it. I don't know if it was the water in the sky or the amazing ebbs and flows of the evening, but the sound was not deeper...it was the opposite...it was...free. The music was almost blowing as freely as the gentle breeze.

That was the tone of the Ghost too...free, breezy. A song that I've grown up with as dark, ominous, funk became a light airy jam, with gentle undertones, a happy Ghost. A friendly Ghost. Like Casper himself was sitting on Trey's shoulder and smiling. The Ghost jammed into something that has been relatively missing from 3.0 - audience interaction --- talking to us. They stopped being jam gods and became four fun loving guys who realized that they were clicking on all cylinders that night. Then the Psycho Killer. And that fun came out - not just in a fun little digital loop but in the rather unique Catapult that emerged. Quick, fun - I'd say 1/2 the audience didn't even realize that Phish had just busted out one of their rarest and most unique "songs". But it seemed like everyone appreciated the opening notes of Icculus that followed. I've seen some Icculus' felt forced, but go back and listen to Ghost > Psycho Killer > Catapult > Icculus all the way through and I challenge you to not have the widest smile on your face as it ends. YEM closed out the set.

An old school set to the extreme, incredible jamming, unique jamming, unique setlist, audience interaction, creativity on so many levels, bust outs galore.

If you have not heard this set, I strongly recommend it as a MUST hear. This is Phish 3.0 and its finest and...to me....the first taste that the band was back.
Score: 2
Dreamer , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
Dreamer Great all around show...the vibe was top notch from the start with the crowd singing along to the Psycho Killer pre-show music.
Score: 1
noodles421 , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
this was my first show absolutely amazing time! i didnt know that i was that far gone. this show hooked me into phish very quickly and this is still one of my top favorites.
Score: 1
kipmat , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
kipmat Currently the Phish show from 2009 with the highest rating on .net, and I must agree with that assessment. I haven't listened to every show from 2009 *yet*, but this is certainly the strongest start-to-finish outing by the boys up to this point. Indeed, it wouldn't be until Fall 2013 that Phish managed to play shows this strong on a nightly basis.

One jam that I would like to highlight is the mid-2nd-set Slave. The song doesn't reach the peaks in 3.0 that it did in the A Live One era, but this one comes closer than most. And though I confess I'm tired of the joke in Icculus, I admit Trey is pretty funny in this version :)

Tight and rocking, goofy yet sentimental, - this show is just a great big smile. I would absolutely recommend it as a listening "warm-up" for your ears as you anticipate the start of the tour!
Score: 1
DocEllis , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
This was a great show, I loved it the atmosphere outside the venue was great. My friends and i walked in with some older dude we met and he lost his brother and we thought he was nuts until 5 minutes before the show started he declared that phish would open with punch you in the eye. Forbin > Mockingbird was excellent. Birds of a feather was long and wonderful, and then to end the set with Character Zero and then open the next set with DWD helped to keep the energy going. The second set was solid, but i think i liked the first set better. Icculus was great too. "when was the last time any of you read a f*cking book?!"
Score: 0
MiguelSanchez , attached to 2009-08-14 Permalink
MiguelSanchez this show reminds me a lot of the 03 burgettstown show. the jams are not incredible, but the playing is still pretty damn strong. oh yeah, and the set list is sick.

the punch/bag combo gets the crowd amped. these are both played pretty straight but precise. nicu works well out of bag, and it keeps the energy and flow going. then they resurect the forbin's/bird combo. what, no story? either way, you gotta love the mockingbird. boaf works well out of mocking bird. this one has become pretty nice to hear now that they are doing it every 3rd night. plus, they tend to play it pretty well these days. lawn boy provides everyone with a nice cool down before a firey stash gets the crowd going. page plays under trey brilliantly. the rest of the first set is kind of blah in my opinion, but who cares, they played forbin's!

down with disease stretched out nicely. except for shoreline, they never found that old school stride with this song in 09, but they were on their way here before slamming into wilson. this dwd was pretty rocking, too bad they cut away so quickly. i wish they would have sprung back into disease after the wilson ending. alas, they did not, but slave will work. this one is played at pretty well, but i would not classify it as must hear. piper, which it did all summer, really took off and provided the boys a place to really cut loose. trey gets pretty wild on this one before they zip it around into water in the sky. this is quite the odd pairing, but i really like it. from there, they take another little twist going into ghost. this is a pretty good ghost that find s a really nice groove early in the jam. eventually, gordon and trey lead the boys into a very inspired psycho killer. this is a pretty quick run through that finds it way into a "pong" jam and catapult. trey seemed really amped on the pong jam, i'm still kind of wondering why. it was cool for a bit but... then there is icculus. god, i love this song. trey, oh so wisely, states that the youth today need to pick up a fucking book. so, how do you end a stacked set like this?? why, yem, of course! the composed part is played very well, but i lose interest in this jam some what quickly. it gets back into the "pong" jam business. they did lay down a little dose of the funk before delving back into that silliness.

all in all, this is a very satisfying show, on the 2009 scale. the "big jams" still are not there, but phish is always good when they are feeling fiesty. they had some really cool set list selections in both sets, and while the jams were relatively short, there were some really interesting ones scattered around.

highlights:

set 1:

forbin's/bird (of course), stash

set 2:
dwd>wilson, piper, ghost>psycho killer, icculus!!!
Score: 0

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