Page on the keytar and Trey on a five-neck guitar.
During Brother, each of the band members’ children jumped into a bathtub placed at the side of the stage. Afterwards, Trey introduced them and wished everyone a happy Fathers’ Day. Funky Bitch was played in acknowledgement of a fan who had been holding up a sign requesting the song at this show and the previous one. Crosseyed and Painless included a brief, subtle tease from Page of the Grateful Dead’s Let It Grow. Trey teased Taste near the end of Disease, which was unfinished. Piper contained a brief Can’t You Hear Me Knocking tease. Frankenstein featured Page on the keytar and Trey on a five-neck guitar.
Along with the Deer Creek show, this date marks Phish's return to loose-limbed improvisatory form - really a restoration of nerve and patience. The first set is every bit as good as its lovely songlist, but things finally get wooly in Set II: the Talking Heads tune erupts into gorgeous ambient noise, Disease passes through delicate space to a goblins-marching interlude to the homebase of Bug, and Piper gets futuristically knotty before Page and Trey start an emphatically lovely Wading in the Velvet Sea. After a ho-hum Boogie On, the band cries to heaven with a tremendous Slave to the Traffic Light. The Star Lake show offered hope that the end of tour would feature a return to open-ended jamming, and while the boys didn't loosen up 100%, the difference between the constrained jamming of early June and the bold gestures of the final three shows is night and day.
If you're only going for one Alpine Valley show, I'd suggest this one. But why choose? This is why Al Gore invented external hard drives, right?
well, this was my last show on my 4 show run. i had some pretty lofty hopes for this one, and by damn, phish just about met them....
brother: very hot/surprising opener. this one got the crowd jumping big time. it was nice to know the band's family was all out there. sharp version.... really nice to catch brother
wolfman's brother: this one seemed to be a notch above the burgettestown version from a couple of days before. they seemed to be a bit more tight/focused. gordon and trey had some nice grooves on this one.
funky bitch: they came out of the gates blazing here. they brought a lot of energy to this one. it didn't tear it up like i've heard in shows past, but they played a nice solid version.
the divided sky: they wailed this one. trey seemed to really want to come out of the silent part blazing and he sure did. there were some open mouths after this trey solo. nimble first set trey playing is usually a really good sign for later in the show.
joy: good cool down. this song didn't do much for me.
gbott: this got me back out of my seat. pretty standard version. if you're into this song, skip this version and check out cincy in the fall.
taste: looks like they are starting to gear up to close this set out well. trey, once again, had some really nice nimble playing on this one.
poor heart: hell yeah, i never seem to catch this tune, and i am always up for a nice little phish blue grass goofiness. nice clean version.
the horse>silent: this was a nice gentle rendition of both tunes. they really seemed to enjoy this tune and it worked beautifully into...
tmwisy>ave>tmwsiy: ho hum, nice! you could tell a lot of people at this show were new to phish because many were not prepared to turn that corner into avenu malkenu. you could see the pleasant surprise on many faces. great to see this one pop up in the first set. nice sharp take on this one.
time turns elastic: this was my first time seeing this one live. i didnt like any of the other versions i had heard, but i wanted to give it a fair shake. all in all, i can still do with out this song. i think part of the problem is that they try to do too much vocally on this song. they want to hit notes/harmonies that they really can't hit. not too mention, the music just wasnt that strong. there are some interesting parts, but all in all, blah. i was argueing with a friend after the cincy show about this song. she was saying it was just nice to hear phish piecing together some longer numbers again, but what's the point if the quality is declining. listen to fluff head or guyute and then listen to time turns elastic.... hear the difference? time turns does not have the intensity and the tension/release of some of the older composed numbers. oh well, i gave it a shot. really good first set none the less.
cross eyed: this audience seemed to be begging for this song and phish really delivered. fishman sounded good on vocals while keep the band locked into the cross eyed groove. about 10 minutes it sounds like they might start petering out, but then trey hits a little breakdown that gets the boys back up and running. this guitar lick is must hear. good stuff before they do peter out and slip into....
dwd: back to back rockers. this dwd left the basic dwd framework almost immediately after leaving the "song part." trey and page were really laying it down here. after seeing a very sharp but straight forward dwd at star lake, it was nice to hear them completely depart from that theme. it finally worked it's way into...
bug: like caspian, i hate this one. why, oh lord, does this song follow me everywhere?!
piper: like dwd, this one was nice and exploratory. they seemed to cut loose with relative ease. piper may have been the song of the summer. it is the only one they consistently felt comfortable jamming out and well, being phish! really good piper. i was hoping that it may work its way back into the dwd ending but they dropped off into...
velvet sea: hmmm... kind of fucking with the momentum now
boogie on: sounded a little goofy following a downer like velvet sea, but it did get everyone up and grooving again. this was nothing compared the alpine 04 take, but hey, it sounded good none the less. it worked nicely into...
slave: the last slave i saw was at deer creek in 04. trey was almost non participatory on that take, but it left a lot of room for page to lead the way. this time, they worked together to build a really nice alpine worthy climax. the slave was good enough to get me to stop bitching about bug....haha.
grind: i really like this one. what can i say, it cracks me up. unlike starlake, they nailed this one.
frankenstein: on a five neck guitar, trey really got gassed for this one. when i saw the guitar, i figured we were either getting frankenstein or a really odd new cover. frank it was. page, on key tar, squared off against trey on the 'ol 5 neck. fantastic ending.
this show is very good. it is must hear, especially, if you are interested in tracking the "regrowth" of phish. i did not attend, but from what i heard, i was not bowled over by a whole lot that they played in the first part of june, but by deer creek, they seemed more willing to cut loose and play like fucking phish!! the first set here was a nice diverse set, and the second set had some good playing with really nice peaks, i do not think they established a lot of good flow. all in all, definitely worth the money and the drive.
Was in the Pav for this one. Our neighbors annoyed the hell out of us. They snuck a bunch of friends down from the lawn, which is fine, but they wall wanted to stand on our chairs and got a little too pissy when we finally booted them off after getting kicked in the back one too many times.
As for the show, second show ever for me. Got my first a Capella with Grind
Brother opener with all the kids onstage for Father's Day was a real special experience to share with the band. It's obvious when watching video of the event that the band was very psyched and proud to show the community at large a glimpse of their reality outside of Phish. Horse>Silent>TMWSIY>AVENU>TMWSIY was really a testament to the delicate playing the band to which the band has now returned. Frankenstein with Trey on the five-neck, Page on keytar, and Mike hitting the nasty Flame bass was something I'll cherish for a long time to come. Great First leg end at Alpine, can't wait for next summer!
Last year, Phish ended the first leg of their Summer Tour with a two night stand at Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI. Alpine Valley is known for epic Phish shows, Grateful Dead shows, where SRV met his death and it's sprawling and sometimes dangerous lawn section. Alpine Valley is in a rural farm community 45 minutes southwest of Milwaukee, driving in you get whiffs of cow dung and corn. Alpine is at the bottom of ski hills that are situated behind it, the lawn section very large and steep--if you're not careful you can easily lose your footing and fall (like I did in 2004).
Relative to most of the shows before this tour closer, it featured some real fun improvisation--a real breath of fresh air for people worried if Phish would get their stage swagger back. On Sunday, June 21st, Father's Day, Phish took the stage as the sun finally hid itself behind the massive lawn. There was a large metal tub at the front of the stage as Phish walked out. Trey quickly opened up the show with their elusive classic, Brother. One by one, the Phish band members' children walked out and got into the tub--like the Brother lyrics "someone's jumping in the tub with your brother!". I remember thinking to myself how dangerous it could have been if some crazy fan threw a beer bottle of something else at one of the kids, needless to say it went smoothly and enjoyed by all in attendance. After the song, Trey introduced all the children and, sticking with the brother theme, launched into a standard 2009 Wolfman's Brother (standard as in around 10 min, thick at beginning, rocking by end). There were a lot of signs floating above the heads of phans on this gorgeous and hot Wisconsin day, one on neon orange paper saying "Happy Father's Day", another with "Sneakin' Sally" and "Funky Bitch" on alternate sides.
After Wolfman's Brother, Trey pointed at a sign being held in front of him and commented on how he has seen it the past couple of shows--out came the Funky Bitch. The last time Funky Bitch was played was at Alpine Valley in 2004--so it seemed fitting to bust out the Son Seals cover here.
Before there was a moment of silence after the well played Funky Bitch came Divided Sky--Played pretty well, however lacking the amazing trilling and powerful drum rolls that usually comes with the end of the song. That being said, not many 2009 Divided Skies are up to Phish 1.0 snuff anyhow.
After a string of standard songs--Joy, Gotta Get Back on the Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse>Silent in the Morning--came one of the night's highlights. The soft and dramatic notes of The Man Who Steppped Into Yesterday appeared. The last time fans got this treat was 7/7/2003 in AZ. The crowd was very vocal (as you can hear on the recordings) about their pleasure of hearing this. Shortly after the reprise they played Time Turns Elastic, giving everyone 17.5 minutes to talk about how cool the first set was.
Set break was electric with anticipation as to what Phish would open up the second set with, seeing as it would be the last set they would play for over a month. It's was dark out when the house lights shut down, the crowd roared and POP--Crosseyed and Painless, a song they have not played since almost exactly 5 years earlier at Deer Creek. This made a lot of people happy, it wasn't a typical Down With Disease or Rock 'n Roll opener (that we got more than our share of in the following second leg and Fall Tour soon thereafter). The place just broke down--after listening to the recording again recently, I really have come to enjoy this version. Out of the gates, the jam has a pretty humble beginning. However, it builds up linearly in a direct fashion with Trey playing a lot of consecutive notes and at a faster than moderate pace. Page fits in nicely behind him adding a lot of his own trilling and rocking notes/chords. The jam certainly comes to a peak, however it's not a tension/release peak--as I just mentioned, it's more of a linear journey upwards. Here is where it leaves up before sinking down into psychedelic space (don't listen here if you have not heard the show yet and plan on downloading it at the bottom)-- .
Out from Crosseyed and Painless' murk comes the intro to Down With Disease. At just over thirteen minutes, it's a very solid version that keeps the energy high before snapping into Bug.
Out of the end of Bug comes Piper's quiet introduction. This version of Piper is another one of the night's highlights. One of the more interesting versions of the song in 2009, this Piper gets very improvisational for only clocking in at thirteen minutes. The latter half of the jam features a very psychedelic segment with a lot of drum rolls following Trey bending notes over and over again. While this is all going on, Kuroda has some of the most ridiculous lights moving overhead. Before getting into real weird Phish territory, Trey does his final "bend" and uses an effect that sounds like he sends off his guitar's sound as a wave traveling to the back of the lawn and up over the hill (my favorite part, hard to explain, listen to the sound clip and watch the video...). What I am talking about happens just after the 13 second mark of this clip-
This video covers the same part as the audio clip does, look at Kuroda's lights for this segment...
Out of Piper's discombobulated and psychedelic improv emerged Page's piano, eventually going into Wading in the Velvet Sea. There are three occasions I can think of in 2009 where Page took it upon himself to exit a jam and go into a song of his choice. The other two times were at Red Rocks on 7/31 during Piper>A Day in the Life and at Festival 8 on 10/30 during Prince Caspian>Wolfman's Brother. All of these turned out to be a great partnership of songs.
The second set closed out with a short and bass driven Boogie on Reggae Woman (no Miami version) and Slave to the Traffic Light.
Phish came out for the encore--after yet another version of Grind, Page, Mike and Trey went to the back of the stage and came back all wearing new instruments. Page, in his Key-tar that he first donned at Hampton earlier in the year, Trey in a never seen before 5 neck guitar that looked ridiculous and Mike in a new bass that was shaped like a huge ball of fire. They ended the first leg of 2009's Summer Tour with a Frankenstein about as goofy as it gets.
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