This show marked the Phish debut of Golden Age (TV on the Radio) and the debut of Tomorrow's Song. During Page's solo in Coil, the rest of the band left the stage. Upon returning, Trey said that they had left for the encore and asked Page where he had been, leading into I Been Around. The Fire encore continued the tradition of Phish playing a Hendrix cover on the guitarist's birthday (11/27/92 and 11/27/96 being the other occasions).
11/27/09 was an strange show, but a very satisfying one. Both sets opened strong, sputtered in the middle but finished with mindblowing runs of songs. The setlists contained a mix of oddball tunes and classics.
Set 1 turned the energy way up early. After a classic but well delivered bag the band went into a maze that blew the effing roof off the place. After an extended solo this Maze went into a strange, wash of noise space jam before climaxing. It reminded me of The Worcester '03 Maze and it was a good one. With the energy already at fever pitch, the band decided to slow things down, too early in the show for my liking. The run from Driver to Two Versions of Me was well played, Gumbo was short but featured a sweet bluesy piano solo from Page, and It's Ice was nailed (and only my 2nd in about 25 shows), but overall this stretch made the Bag/Maze opening feel like a distant memory and made me question the direction of the show, especially with them playing Two Versions, one of the absolute worst offenders of the Phish 2.0 era.
The band must have felt the same way, because they raged the end of the set. While Timber ->Limb, Cavern -> Light might not look great on paper, each version was stellar. Timber featured an extended dark groove while Limb, a song that I usually find a bore, soared through an extended jam that brought that crowd back to its early set heights. Cavern is always a little disappointing in that despite being a classic it signals the end of the set, except the band busted right into the power chords of Light. Light seemed to combine Timber's dark groove with Limb's euphoria and it absolutely raged, deconstructing into a 3 minute space jam before returning back to the song for a final round of "the light is growing brighter now."
Set 2 followed set 1's pattern. My Friend was dark and heavy, and the TV on the Radio cover (nice to see Phish giving a contemporary band a nod) had a nice disco funk feel to it. On Your Way town was well played by all, but was another energy killer, and Fluffhead, while well recieved, was badly flubbed. Page missed an organ solo cue and Trey flubbed 3 different seciotns. At some point you could tell the band got pissed at themselves because the last 5 minutes were the heaviest, angriest Fluffhead I ever heard. The energy was nice, but man was the delivery botched.
Piper had a nice, high energy groove but I don't love the new, fast opening. I preferred the '99-'00 Pipers that started quietly and built to the fever energy. The jam of Piper was excellent, and Tomorrow's song was a quirky, enjoyable jam that has some potential given the song's overall lack of structure. Caspien was Caspien. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I feel like "eh."
Late-middle set 2 and I'm kind of questioning this set's direction again (like set 1). Man did they step it up. As soon as Fish laid down the opening drumroll of Hood the place erupted. The opening of Hood had some filthy, deep bass notes. I still don't know if it was Mike's bass or Page's synth, but it was fucking sweet. The Mr. Minor seciton of Hood was nailed and the jam was beautiful. I felt good about this Hood. Suzy blew the roof off the sucker and again returned the energy to a peak, at the end of Suzy I saw Trey say "1 more" to Page, and I lost my shit when that 1 more was Coil. One of the songs that made my love Phish to begin with, the band walked off stage as Page played his solo and returned at the end. Trey says "we went off for the encore and wondered, Page, where've you been?" Contrived? Yes. But perfectly delivered. I Been Around was the perfect closer after Coil. The Fire encore dissaponted me at first but man they ripped into this one. It prefectly recaptured the energy of the end of the 2nd set.
I thought this was a killer show! I hadn't seen the band live since 1998 and what a comeback I had. This set list seemed to pick up right where I left the boys those 10 long years ago.
From the killer opener to the rocking encore of "Fire" this show just oozed energy. The crowd had a killer vibe to it and its seemed like the band fed off of it. Some of my personal highlights were bouncin (just a fun song and always cool to hear everyone sing along) and really the entire 2nd set. That was one of the best versions of Fluffhead I've ever heard. Then going from Harry to Suzy, to Coli was a killer trio and how about Paige lighting it up at the end of Coli and the rest of the band took their encore break.
I really just don't know what to even say about this show. It was just a great one. My buddies who I went with last night are their for tonight also....I hope they have a good show, but going to be tough to top this one!
This show will spend eternity in the shadow of 11/28, justifiably so I guess, but it's got a few treats on offer. Bag/Maze is a great way to start a show, Timber and Light are solid, and Golden Age is a fine launching pad for some Phish experimentation (let's hope the boys bring it around some other time). The Piper > Tomorrow jam is the show highlight, but the Caspian/Hood pairing is also excellent, particularly Trey's dazzling solo on Caspian (check out those Jerryesque triplets). This has been a good year for Hood - cf. the 85% successful Jones Beach experiment and the gorgeous synthesis at Festival 8 - and this version deserves its Set II hot seat. 'Boilerplate' isn't the right word for music this passionate, nor is 'consistent' accurate. How about 'Ladies and gentlemen we are *still* floating in space'? Sometimes you see (or become) a supernova, as on the following night; but roaming the spaceways with friends is plenty fine too.
Anytime a set continues beyond a version of Cavern is a good thing. After the band hits the stinger, everyone was ready to head for the aisles. Trey had other plans and quickly shifted into the opening chords for Light before the notes of Cavern faded. A real nice treat.
Jam begins at 3:10. Trey lingers with the rest of the band in the structure of the opening solo for the next minute or so. Between 4:30 and 5:00 Mike and Trey begin to increase the pace of the notes and while still in the main jam Trey and Mike have some nice interplay, but nothing that shifts direction.
At 5:50 Trey heads directly back into the chorus. At 6:20 Page moves down the scale into the beginnings of some dissonant notes and Trey follows suit building echoes and feedback for a wall of sound. Fish lightly taps the cymbals and around 7:00 Trey adds a screeching echo as Page moves onto the organ until there's nothing left but noise. At 8:20 Fish pick backs up the main drum beat under everything for a very cool effect. At 9:04 the band fades to only a single loop to be cut off before the band leaves the stage.
Overall a version that is finished but feels totally unfinished in a completely odd way. Setbreak killed this one and ultimately I wish they had saved the song for second set. The dissonance at the end is a very cool moment once Fish picks back up the beat.
This show smoked! Page was on fire (see Coil, Suzi, Maze) , Trey & Mike blistered Fluffhead (Mike's bass runs in the early composed sections were tight!), Fishman nailed Limb, entire second set was brilliant! I felt total cohesiveness all night. Albany crowd completely screamed Suzi lyrics....soooo much fun to be in that crowd!
Set 1 opened hard, then coasted smoothly and nostalgically ( I kept hearing A Live One all night!) into the sick finish of Ice, Timber cavern Light....ok, I'm biased as this was my only Fall show, but I left completely blown away!!!
After two summer shows and this fall outing, all I can say is how thrilled I am with the state of this band. So thrilled to have Phish back where they belong.
I stick by this show! Black Friday, everyone was rested from thanksgiving with the band returning to Albany the vibe was in the air. & when they took the stage early just after 8 with the Bag Maze mash up the arena was ready for another mind blowing show in Albany. Along with Bag & Maze 2 versions of me & a killer light closer were set 1 highlights for this phan. Set 2 front to back was fire so it was fitting that on Jimi's birthday they play it for the encore. It felt like the 90's all over again in there.
I've said it before & I'll say it again I really wish they'd release an Albany CD/DVD Boxset from these 2 nights at Albany. Preferably Night 1 with Night 2 highlights 7 below into ghost along with that Julius. Something about Albany brings the best out of the band & Phans alike. People come from far & wide cause they know the Phish is gonna rip the roof off everytime they play there. & it's long past time the band & their people shared this experience with the rest of the world with a CD/DVD Boxset release.
I thought this show was awesome at the time. But the livephish sbds for this show have become a fixture in my music listening rotation. From It's Ice to the end of set I rages. I even love the slower ballad 'Two Versions' great tune imho. But the Timber > Limb and Light are absolutely sick. Set II is all about Golden Age. Piper > Tomorrow's was nice too and I love the rage at the end of the Fluff. I also love the segue between Bag and Maze. Trey does this thing where he hits a percussive note that is repeated through effects, and somehow that morphs into the opening rhythm of Maze. It's only a brief bit of sonic wizardry, but shee, that's the kinda stuff you'll ONLY hear phish play. Brilliant. Hella good show. Way underrated.
Loved the show! They had a good mix of new and old.. I especially like the MY Friend into Golden Age (which is a pretty good new song)
I'm not the biggest fan of Fire but it always gets the crowd pumped up so i'll take it!
Overall a great time, Albany is one of my fav places to see phish!
This was the first time I have seen Phish since 2000! During their "break" I got married, had 3 kids and opened a coffee house. I owe part of this success to them because if they didn't stop touring I probably wouldn't have accomplished so much! Anyway I had a blast. I went to the show with 3 of my employees/friends who have only seen them twice compared to my 75 times and it was great to see them appreciating their talent and having as much fun as me. The only reason I knew Golden Age was a TV on the Radio cover was because of my friend Sal who is 25, 10 years younger than me. My over all review is that "the boys still got it" and I hope to see them more if my family lets me. The only bad point of the night is that I fell in the bathroom, killed my elbow and missed the last 4 songs because I was in so much pain. Oh it's great getting old. At least I got to see my "Cavern"!
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