Same template as 11/21 - some Set I highlights amid a long series of six-minute songs, great run of tunes to start Set II, fantastic playing from the full band, still some weird tendencies from Trey, no free improv beyond the ambient transition(s), overall a 7.3 or so by my reckoning.
The Wow! and Why? are frustratingly balanced as they have been all year: nice to see a Bowie opener but I wish they'd let this tune grow again; great selection of Set I funk/dance tunes (swell KDF!) but (per the ol' Dead style) the deep-sea stuff has to wait for Set II, which starts with yet another (excellent) Drowned (i.e. the standard modern Set II opener that isn't DWD or R'n'R); Twist and Piper get yanked suddenly down to earth just when it seems they're about to get crazy; and setbreak surfs one more stupendous 2009-vintage dropkick-to-the-brain first set rendition of Stash.
Look, the boys are playing some sublime stuff at times, so it's churlish to complain, but I can't help looking at the date - November 22, an auspicious date in the history of this band - and feeling these desperate pangs of longing for the long-form free improv of the late 90's. I 'know' those days aren't coming back, yet I keep hoping that the band will let the music get more...dangerous. When I'm actually *at* the shows this doesn't matter, but engaging with the recorded materials is a somewhat more abstract process; the comparatively denuded sensory experience leaves room for reminiscence and expectation.
So: I know I'm bitching about how a relentlessly upbeat, energetic, joyful Phish show isn't exactly what I obsessed over 12 years ago. I know the band is playing the shit out of songs like Maze, Theme, Stash, DWD, Drowned; I know the new tunes are vibrant and welcome (particularly Light); I know the second set here starts with 40 minutes of pure Phish energy and you'd be an idiot to scoff at it. This is an excellent show and a sign of great things to come! My complaint is that it's not a 10. My recommendation is that you take this 7.3, inject it directly into some pulsing brain vein, and walk around for the next 24 hours with a slack-jawed blissful smile on your face.
There was a recent post about fall 2009 which sparked my looking back to this show and re-listening to it several times. After seeing that band for several years in the mid-1990, I stopped going to shows due to several factors (e.g. marriage, kids). Nonetheless they were always on the edge of my radar and I picked up what shows I could from friends who were still actively attending shows. The whole day ended up having a mythical sort feel to it – like I was trodding on ground that I had not stepped on for years… My sister (who has seen quite a few more shows than myself) and I headed down the i90 in the early afternoon. It was a heady late fall day – not too cold for late November in upstate NY and the sun was actually out. Someplace around Weedsport I passed into a different time and space with the realization that it had been 13 long years since I had been to a fall show and I let the everyday stresses of work, responsibility, etc go. Today was all about Phish and that fact that they were back together again. We tossed around song titles that we’d like to hear back and forth and before we knew it we were there. After parking in the garage not too far from the On Center, we ditched the car and headed towards the Blue Tusk – one of our old watering holes from days gone by. After a few hours sipping Ithaca Cold Front we headed back to check out the lot. Tons of good stuff to look at. We bought a few beers and walked around for like an hour – saw a few folks from the Ratdog show a few months earlier and chatted a bit. It was the perfect fall night – no real wind to speak of and those nice cool temps. Time passed in a flash and suddenly it was time to start making our way over to the venue. Only once we got to the front doors and inside did I realize how small the place was – all the better and not really a bad seat in the house. We were on the Fishman side of the sage, not too far up and settled in.
The crowd was pretty into it by the time the boys walked onto the stage – the tick tick tick tick tick of Fishman’s high hat meant only two things to me – either Bowie or Maze and Bowie it was. I thought that as an opener it worked and the place began to groove – a kind of a welcome back into the fold. A dude in front of us sat down and put his head on the railing and in this position he would be in for the rest of the show – the old too much too fast syndrome (or just too much). Been there before and glad it was not me as the first strains of Julius started up. A solid second song and they kept it going with Sparkle – I find it a fun little number and since I’m not smart enough to understand why a lot of folks hate/dislike or are indifferent about this song I rocked out. Kill Devil Falls was next – new to me at the time and it kept the energy going – it’s kind of a straight up rocker and that is one of the amazing things about Phish that keeps me coming back around to them – they can do it all – pop (yeah pop – e.g. Waste), out there shit where your taken to another plane, rock, jazz, funk, etc. A nice solo from Trey at around the 4:20 mark rounded out KDF and then into Lawn Boy, where Page took us down a notch to relax a bit. Heavy Things was up next and got the place hopping again – a nice Page interlude at 2:26 and then into Funky Bitch – which IMOH was really solid. Sample was up next and although there were a few rough parts here and there it seemed to keep the flow going. As Sample wound down, there was that crazy bass intro and Boogie On was underway. Again a solid version. After Boogie is where Set 1 broke down a bit – Let Me Lie was up next – I like the song, but it seemed oddly out of place… Beauty of a Broken Heart kept the energy levels down a bit until the fabled opening notes of Stash washed over us. Lots of clapping during the pauses and everyone getting down. A few lyrical flubs, but solid playing and for you Type II types they seem to flirt with that moniker bit around the 7:49 mark, but what the hell do I know about traveling at the speed of light… So ended Set I – again, nothing too crazy out there, mostly solid playing, and a rowdy-ish, fun crowd.
Set II – you can hear the audience singing Meatstick as the band takes the stage again. Then the notes of Drowned roll out from underneath Page’s fingers and we are on our way. A heady rocker through and through – if you listen to anything from this show it should be this and the “jam” after it… Out of a Type II and into Twist fairly seamlessly… Around the 5:23 mark it seems like there is a brief reach out there, but it’s quickly reeled back in. Twist ends by Piper – one of my favs and you can be sure I was getting down. Piper rolled (more like smashed) into BBFCFM and the general wackiness that goes along with it. Lot’s of good banter in here about Fishman and Syracuse as well… Tube next and like Sparkle, a quirky fun number to keep the energy going. Theme was next – I’m a big fan of this one (actually anything from the Billy Breathe’s era) and it seemed well placed – kept the groove going, but slowed shit down a bit. Tick tick tick tick tick of the high hat again, which meant we were in for a Maze. Yes! I remember swirling lights and the crowd getting into it as the boys guide us through and out to the other side… No Fall 97 type here – but keeps us up and jams out. We pop out of the Maze and into the Horse and Silent pairing. Get in a rest before Character Zero kicks it back up. Character Zero is solid and as it ends First Tube kicks into high gear. We get down accordingly… A brief pause and then they come back out – a stock GTBT and then it’s over – did they really open up with Bowie??!!
A misty haze hangs in the air as we make our – the place was so hot from everyone rocking out it was kind of like we created our own weather system. The cool night air hit me like a ton of bricks and suddenly we were free of the crowd and reality sets back in… A few more hours and I’ll be on my way to work, although it will be three more days until I can hear anything… Bring ear plugs next time asshole; you’re getting old…
This being my first show my views are going to be biased like it or not. For someone who had seen them before this show may be average, but anyones first phish show is special and this one sure was to me. My friends had slowly gotten me into phish and up until fall 2009 all I had listened to was a live one and live at the roxy, but that was all the studying I needed before I was completely ready to catch these guys. my memories pretty fuzzy hazy and other words but the highlights were definitely the bowie Julius boogie on, and the beginning of the first set was so god damn trippy and weird I still get chills when I listen to it, especially McConnell on the synthesizer as they went into twist I was profoundly disoriented. the shout out to fishmans pops and jd high school right down the road was also very special.
this is a damn fine show, despite a mediocre first set. david bowie, while relatively short and to the point, is a nice odd ball choice for opener. they do a tear of songs that i don't really get into, although this julius, like the msg version, is pretty rocking. a good funky bitch picks it back up before going into sample. boogie on, as most 09 versions go, was short and sweet. let me lie and beauty of a broken heart kill what momentum there was before a pretty fiery stash closes an up and down first set.
the boys come out hot with an inspired version of drowned. they drive drowned into a nice little version of twist around. this transition was not quite as forced as the deer creek combo over the summer. this faded into a rollicking good piper. this covers some interesting ground before finding its way into furry creatures. i know many people hate this song, but i must say, i love it. there is some good fishman/home town fun mixed in this one... check it out. this is followed up by the world's fastes tube. they really haven't taken this one for a serious ride all year. burgettestown started to get there, but alas, it never did. anyway, back to this one, nice snappy version. i could see this being a single on some sort of live cd. this theme>maze combo features some nice work by trey and page. maze has been a really good song for the guys this year, and this one is not an exception. i'll put it right up there with shoreline and alpine as my favorites of the year. the horse>silent worked well. i don't usually like zero; i find it to be a bit cheesey, but it works will here. typically, zero closes things out, but phish has been tacking on little bonus treats after it all year. the boys kick out a little bonus first tube to close out this rocking set.
good times bad times is a fitting encore for this some what lop-sided show. the first set is very missable, but the playing in the second set ranges from strong to must hear. at the very least, check out the Drowned>twist>piper>bbfcfm, it will be worth your while.
Great old time venue with a wonderful lot and feel. Heard that this is where they filmed the old hockey movie Slap Shot, and looked that way once inside. No security and easy to get around. First set is very good, particulary for this tour. While songs are short, they are certainly sweet and played very tight. The Julius was a nice surpise and somewhat rare at this point. Heavy Things, Funky Bitch, Sample was a really, really good run. The solo in Heavy Things is very unique and I find extremely appealing. The FB was tight as hell and much more powerful than the Alpine version from June. And for me at this point, Broken Heart was a nice treat, although this one is a bit sloppy.
The second was somewhat dissapointing. The Drowned shined as did the shenanigans in the middle of the set, but the end was somewhat disjointed and the set never really found a good flow. GTBT was awesome and really brought the thunder back into the venue.
my friends and i were inside the venue at 6:30 and could hear stevie wonder's "innervisions" playing over the sound system. should have guessed they were gonna play boogie on reggae woman. having just joined the phish community this summer i would have to say this was my best show so far. first set was killer opening with bowie through lawn boy. heavy things is alright, just have to fight through the song to get to the ending. let me lie was a downer as well as beauty of a broken heart; who wants to rock out to a divorce song? lets not forget that boogie, oh that boogie was boiling with mike's bass. second set almost gave me a heart attack because i was so dehydrated from dancing non-stop through drowned to BBFCFM (RAGED!). it was nice to see the entire crowd thrashing around almost as if a mosh pit was about to explode on the floor. syracuse native john fishman! woot woot! it was great to get a small dose of funk era and to get a taste of evil phish. which was nice considering the shows i saw this summer had little to no evil. keep the energy rolling boys, show was great and i know im a young'n but this one will always echo in my ears.
One of the most BOOMING, HIGH ENERGY, Phish shows I've ever seen....It was a small venue, so I'm sure this had alot to do with it....but the sound, lights, and Phish just made my head want to explode!!! In a good way!!!
Probably top 2 Boogie On I've seen in my day, Mike was really plugging into that bass...BBFCFM was NUTS! Perfect song for that scene....First Tube Closer is always a favorite, and Good Times Bad Times seems to be an encore that they like to use whilst in New York for whatever reason..
This was a hometown show for my brother and sister in-law. It is always nice to walk around a city prior to and after a show. Beats being in a parking lot in a swamp or something like that. It was a real good show. Somewhat unique in my mind. No long drawn out jams all night. Just a bunch of real super hard core rocking moments. Highlights for me included; Bowie opener!!!, Big Black Furry Creatures was unreal (this song should be part of the everyday rotation), this version was the best Boggie I ever heard the bass was so freaking thick, First Tube was real nice, rare mid set Character 0 (I was hoping the set was not over at this point and it wasn't), Theme from the Bottom which is traditionally one of my favorites, Lawn Boy was cool. The venue was very small at 6800 people. The temperature in the place must have been 85 degrees at times. The sound was awesome, deafening at times. Trey made a nice tribute to Fishman saying that he saw his first (5) concerts at this venue. There was a house lighting malfunction for like 5 minutes at the end of Drowned and during the beginning of Twist. They could not shut them off but when they did the crowd cheered. I liked walking through and under the bleachers to get my to my seats, it was confusing but fun.
Maybe not the most technical, but definitely HIGH on energy! Fun time show, Mike was dropping bombs, Page was his slippery ol' self and Trey's rig was SCREAMING all night. Fish of course in his hometown, killed it.
Anyone know what the deal was with the house lights in set 2 (during drowned maybe?)??
bowie opener was great - very solid standard julius, first of the tour. sparkle was nice to hear. the bitch was solid and the boogie on was the best ive heard - just wish they wouldve gone on to the end of the set with it. stash was solid - real good.
and then they returned...drowned! great opener, prob around 15 min > a sick twist > mediocre piper which seemed to end before it got crazy > BBFCFM!!!!!! raging, trey on his knees. always great to hear a typical tube (although they missed the transition from funk to rock, still great) standard theme, almost sub par with the climax. great maze!!! nice horse>silent and good placement to calm down after some serious raging. zero was good and the first tube was standard.
overall, an extremely fun show - maybe a 7 or 8. the war memorial holds about 7,000 and the scene was really good, everyone seemed to be having a great time - gxbx encore to solidify that statement
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.