Right at 3:41 when the jam in 7Below starts, you know Trey is on IT for this version, the finest 7Below to date. While he kinda noodles around a bit in the first few minutes of the jam, above strong accompaniment from Mike, Page and Fish, he starts taking off around 6:45 and soaring. At 7:40 or so Trey returns to the 7Below theme again for several measures before kicking into a SECOND jam segment at 8:06. After a measure or two the jam kicks back a notch and opens up as Page becomes more prominent while Trey rhythmically chords along.
The jamming around this point (9:30) is clearly "Type II" -- the 7Below typical jam structure has been transcended and they're improvising above and beyond the ordinary and customary 7Below structure. At 10:25 or thereabouts the jam gels as Fish and Mike pick up the pace and although it flounders a bit in here (11 mins), Fish kicks out an almost 2001-like rhythm (11:15) for a few measures as Trey gets very spacey, sustaining some eerie effects. But then Page starts pounding out some chords (somewhat reminiscent of Tweeprise though not a tease) and Trey starts repetitively chording along. I believe that it's around this point (12:25-13:20 mins) or so that some folks hear "Cool It Down" being teased. But I disagree. The jamming around this point is sweet, melodic and repetitive and reminds me of something -- but I'm having trouble ID'ing it. It's awesome, though (13:20). Could be a tease of something...
Mike at 13:30 is playing BEAUTIFULLY, and then Trey starts soloing in a gorgeous, hose-everyone-off manner (13:50 or so). LOVE the jamming at this point but it cools down much too quickly into a spacey-yet-still-melodic jam that's reminiscent of a lot of late 1990s jams. (14:50) I really love Mike's playing in this jam in particular. He's just on IT!! I really wish this jam had gone on much longer. There's an off note or two from Trey in the jamming in here, but around 16:20 Trey starts repeating a catchy theme and then Mike, Page and Fish just groove on it with him. Gorgeous jamming around 18:10 -- they are improvising as ONE at this point. It is for jams like this that I still love this band's music and download and listen to every note. A triumphant, life-affirming jam ensues around 19 mins. A gem! Definitely the most inspired improvisation of 2009 imo. Trey's soloing around 20 mins is just phenomenal and he continues to hose everyone down! Those of you up close and personal with the band at this second Albany show were B L E S S E D!! Hallefckinglujah! Around 22 mins the jam begins to chill and by 23 mins the air is basically let out of it as Trey lets loose a few effects here and there and Fish retreats to the cymbals alone. At 24 minutes you'd be hard-pressed to guess the next song, since Fish's drumming at this point (23:45) is 7Below-like -- as if he was expecting or inviting Trey to return to the 7below theme. But then Trey starts up Ghost...
And damn. If you haven't heard this Ghost, fyi, it is one of the best Ghosts since the late 1990s. It certainly isn't THE best (there a ton of awesome GHOSTs out there, check out the song history), and the jamming kinda goes all over the map (great and not so great) in this version, but it's definitely one of the most adventurous jams since Summer 04. Not long after Trey teases 7Below (6:03-6:10) the jam segment starts to fly. Mesmerizing improv around 9:30. It gets a bit spacey and repetitive around 13 mins, and even a bit ugly... before taking off again around 13:50. The jamming in the middle of this Ghost is a bit aimless until around 15:50 or so when they start grooving in an almost weekapaugian-like manner. But this doesn't last very long when a heavy, pounding, theme takes hold (around 16:50). The jamming in this Ghost is kinda haphazard and old school, like parts of the experimental, neverending Tweezers were back in the mid-1990s. At 17:30ish the jam explodes back into a RAGER and gets progressively more ferocious and twisted! Anyone who has doubted whether Phish is "really" BACK needs to hear this.
This siiiick Ghost jam (19 mins) eventually, slowly but surely, fades away into a somewhat spacey, but still preciously melodic, haze... Download this show! Albany II and Portland are easily the top two Fall tour shows IMO.
There's plenty to say about the titanic twofer that opens Set Two, but it's worth posting separately just to point out that the Albany versions of Stealing Time, Foam, Split, Vultures, and Jibboo are all very very fine, and the show contains best-of-3.0 versions of Wolfman's Brother and (I'd say) YEM, along with a surprise Julius closer that's in strong contention for the title of Best Thing Since Music Was Invented. Some fools complain about the Melt, but don't listen - it's a strong heady brew. Even without the Seven Below > Ghost diptych (my pick, after a couple of listens, for Phish's best stuff since at least June 2004, maybe summer 2003) this would be a swell show, ably and energetically performed. The dark Set Two suite fired the band up, and Trey was in heaven during the show's crashing final act - he tears it up on YEM and couldn't stand still for more than a couple of seconds during Wolfman's Bro. Wonderful to see (and hear).
I have only seen Phish six times since my 1st in '92, but after attending the 11-27 & 11-28 shows in Albany, I feel compelled to comment. This second show was one of the best concerts of any kind I have seen! They nailed the sound mix half way through the 1st song, then proceeded to tear the place up. The energy levels of the crowd and the band were incredible - off the chart. This show (especially the 2nd set), was pure unadulterated, free-form, ass-kickin', psychedelic rock&roll! The band moved seamlessly between ultra-tight rhythmic jams, well formed space, and hot face-melting guitar licks and crescendos. I sweated off half my body weight from dancing my ass off. The quality of the music, the light show, and the purely positive energy exuding from the band and the crowd, made this show a joyous experience that I will never forget. One Question for the die-hard phans who saw this show. Is this typical, or did I witness something extra special like I think I did? THANK YOU - For a real good time.
Now, I did not go to the first night. But I did hear some talk in the lot about how it (the first night) was pretty boilerplate...a lot of 6 min. standard issue songs. Lots of folks believed that they could have gone a lot deeper with several of their tunes. But to me, and to most people that have been going to Phish (or most touring rock bands in general) know that the second night is ALWAYS better. The first night was just a setup....a benchmark for them to absolutely soar, to hit that outlier off the charts of the bell curve. Ya, I think we all had a good time.
Set one included an Uncle Pen that hasn't been seen in 9 years, classic NICU, techincal latiny oldschool goofiness with Foam, a Lawnboy favorite, Split open and melt, and VULTURES, yes ....Many have spoken before on the fact that lots of bands (including their fans) have a few years of creation, manifest some classics that everyone wants to hear, and than are content on playing them over and over, for decades in some cases, with no evolution of the sound. Now I am absolutely not hating on The Dead or any other bands because it takes a lot of talent and passion to be able to be on the road performing for decades. I'm just pointing out a difference in style and culture. Phish not only plays the shit out of their old songs, but has created a bunch of worthy new ones. One thing that really stands out in my mind was the ambiance created from the lights during Alaska...something about the blending of cool blues and greens, with a touch of purple, that just seemed to make sense with the lyrics of the song....
Set two, as stated before, put to rest ALL inclinations brought on by the lack of jamming the previous night, that they were there to ROCK. It was a dance party. And for whatever reason, during Ghost, the one thing that kept comming to mind was FLUX. FIshman and Gordon would simply drive the bodies of every person in the arena, pulsating in unison, until Trey would flick on his Boomerang petal, and bend the groove backwards, forwards, sideways....simply freaking out ALL of the freaks.....
Now lots of other stuff happened during set two (Gotta Jibbo + Wolfmans + Julius), but I'm feeling a bit too bombastic, so I'll let the other phans go into more detail on it, BUT, I would be remiss to not mention the YEM vocal jam encore. I could barley handle it. ...chants, encantations, they even were able to replicate the sound of a aboriginal didgeridoo with just their voices...honestly, I had to close my eyes for the greater majority of it.....I'm not sure if the recordings would be able to capture exactly what was laid down that night, but you'll get an idea....picture yourself tied to a sacrifical stone, with a witchdoctor, eagerly awaiting the shrinking of your head....
I could easily go on and on about this show, but calling it a show or concert simply isn't doing it justice, it was an experience. Night two in Albany was one of those rare occasions where everything just seems to "click". The energy flow between band, audience and Chris Kuroda's MASTERFUL light display was awe inspiring, the vibration of life was strong and everyone was riding the wave.
Take the Seven>Ghost out of the equation and you could still write home about this performance. All the new songs played happen to be my favorites and are the finest renditions of each you'll find to date, all the classics are tight and Uncle Pen was a very, very pleasant surprise. Treys guitar licks and tone during Stealing Time are SEARING, Alaska is this centuries "Tennessee Jed" and to start out the 1st set was "Party Time", literally the perfect song to set the mood for what was to come. Set 1 was a dance party.
At set break you could tell the audience knew it was in for a special night, what will forever be known as the "Albany Seven-Ghost" was proof that Phish is not only back, but in old form. Seven's jam kept coming in wave after wave, each time driving the crowd into a frenzy, each more rowdy than the last. Even the most reserved people around me couldn't help but scream and high five as each peak was hit, only to be driven to even further heights of excitement over and over again. The jam teased too many songs to rehash but the whole time I would have bet the farm that 2001 was coming soon with the way page was "droning" the first note through almost the entire jam. I was wrong, but couldn't be happier with what was to come.
Ghost started out standard fare, and soon morphed into a dark, foreboding assault on the senses. Again CK's amazing lighting display fully engulfing you and taking you off to the Mothership, off to "that" place between here and there, the reason I and countless others go see Phish. The "backlighting" employed towards the end of this EPIC jam was one of the coolest visuals Ive ever seen at a show, there's a few videos on YouTube that show it, but it doesn't even come close to making you feel the way it did when you witness thousands of people being illuminated, strobing and changing colors "floating" above the band. Seven set it all up, and Ghost knocked it all down.
The rest of the set was great, Gotta Jibboo was tight and made me fall in love with the "siren sound" Trey loves to loop all over again. Wolfman's and Julius capped off arguably the best set of 2009 (night 1 in Philly was amazing as well).
One word to describe the YEM encore (notably the vocal jam) was spiritual, my favorite to date.
This show is a must have, after many, many listens from beginning to end I can easily say this is one of the greatest concerts, or should I say "experiences" I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
I was not at this show, but this might overtake the first night of the gorge as my favorite show of the year. uncle penn was a nice first set treat, not having been since since deer creek 2000... wow it'd been that long! sanity, foam, walk away, vultures, and a solid melt were are really nice first set scores.
the 2nd set really lights up. this seven below>ghost is without a doubt, the jam of the year. to me, seven below is like light, in that the "song" portion does not do too much for me, but these jams are amazing. i'll be brief, there are other good reviews on this jam here, but they really played as a great collective unit. i saw the 30 minute alpine 04 7 below, but this one has a touch more intensity and focus behind it. after slipping into ghost, they slip back into a jam very similar to the seven below jam. after working through some nice seven below teases and good jamming this one sort of peters out.
after that, they drop another rare treat in Cool it down. the rest of this set works well, but after the monster opening jam, everything else is gravy.
great show from start to finish. this and syracuse might be the gems of the fall tour.
Icculus has a nice blow-by-blow of the seven>ghost jam here. I wanted to add a couple points: To me, the repeated chord sequence at around 13 mins of "seven" sounds like a slowed-down version of "rock and roll". I think it's the same chord progression. I love the little seven-note melody that Trey finds in the section immediately following and really feel like it inspires/propels the jam to further heights. At around 17 mins Trey is playing around with a little arpeggio and sends it to a subtle loop which he then solos over beautifully, building up the the main crescendo. Just such a great and understated use of delay. In both Seven and Ghost, the jam flags at around the 10 minute mark, and Fish pulls it back together and drives it forward again, making Fish the night's MVP in my mind. But overall, the whole 50 minute sequence is sonic heaven, a exemplary run of collaborative, egoless, "one-mind" playing.
I hear the "cool it down" tease in Ghost, maybe 7 or 8 minutes in, following the breif restatement of the Seven Below theme (i think...going on memory here).
I was there and the whole second set blew my head off. The first hour of it was one of my 2 or 3 greatest concert experiences of all time. Great to be able to hear it again the next day...gotta love the interweb. I got an audience recording from bittorrent that sounds incredible, a testament to how perfectly tuned the sound was to the room by the time they got to set 2 night 2.
almost two weeks on and I can not stop thinking about these 2 Albany shows. I really felt the first night that things were just not quite setting up right for a real trip around the block. Maze and Piper, in particular, both felt too fast, and it seemed as though there was a bunch of steam built up, just waiting for release, and it came spitting out at the start of each tune but pushed them too fast along to be useful. Then the second night second set, it all sort of fell into place. The two shows still very feel much like one thought. None of it particularly poorly articulated, but with the feeling that comes when your head is on fire and you can't quite get it all straight with the first try.
Page killed everything. I'm not a huge vet, but I've never heard Page quite so on.
If nothing else, they are officially new phish for me. They embraced the newer tunes, and I no longer get the feeling they are just tossing them in willy nilly. They are part of the repertoire now and might have me longing for them 10 years down the road when one or two of them fall off the current 400 song playlist.
This is--in my opinion--a mellower type of show than your typical 1994-vintage "rager," but it has a particular flavor all its own. Mike is low in the mix on the LivePhish soundboard recording, but I actually like the effect of that, and the overall smooth quality to the mix. Speaking of Mike, he's not very erratic at all in this show, to my ears: this is a really good group effort that is coherent despite some flubs. Foam in the first set is very well played, and receives a deserving raucous reaction from the crowd that's audible on the SBD. The biggest story of this show for most phans was the Seven Below > Ghost, which represented nearly 50 minutes of jamming, until then not seen in 3.0, and--I'm reaching deep here--not again seen in quite such a quantity with only a two-song combination to this day. Seven Below has a more relaxed, ambient, spacey sort of vibe, with hints of funk, while Ghost veers more toward peaking tension-and-release, though not of a kind that you'll be expecting if you haven't heard a good deal of 3.0 yet. I highly recommend this show as a pleasant listening experience: words you don't often hear used to describe a Phish show, but "pleasant" is the impression that I get here on this vernal equinox of 2017, with a warm day, plenty of sunshine, and a cool breeze playing around the old Howth Castle and Environs.
The first night at the Gorge is the better show, but nothing else from 2009 even comes close to the Seven Below > Ghost from this show. The Gorge show had some great jams; Possum, Sally, Light -> Taste, and Gin are all well above average, the Sally is even in the running for best of all time, yet none of them compare to the joyful, frenetic, festive chaos of this second set opening sequence.
As far as the rest of the show goes, there is lots of solid playing all around. The Wolfman's, Julius, and YEM are all very nice, and there are lots of tasty treats in the first set as well. Party Time, Uncle Pen, Sanity, and Vultures all in the same set? Yes please! There are even nice renditions of Foam and Alaska taboot.
However, this show isn't without its vices. The first set Melt is a disaster. Its atrocious, actually. The last four minutes are comprised of near endless flailing as they try to bring the 9/8 bar back, to little avail. They are finally able to bring it back and end it, but it takes forever and is not good jamming. The jam before that is pretty nice, and even gets to a relatively unique place, but the last third of the song is downright painful to listen to. Also, Let Me Lie is just a shitty song. Joy and Show of Life are infinitely better, and I'm not even a huge fan of those.
All in all though, a great show, just not as consistent in its greatness as the Gorge show.
How in God's name did I miss this show? I have kept a honest routine with seeing Phish during the holiday's in Albany for years.
Anyway sitting on the couch reviewing this amazing, mind altering show something good did come from it. My cousin who I introduced and took to his first show was in the Pepsi for this. I guess my work has been completed. Filling the younger generations with the music of Phish is what it is about, but I can argue that giving isn't better than getting when it comes to this show.
SET ONE- Party Time, a solid opener that continues to grow on me. Stealing time, I really wish they played this to the peak. Uncle Pen > Sanity> Foam, Why oh Why did I miss this show??? kicking myself several times for good reason. Walk Away, NICU, Alaska is a good breather for the mayhem that was created. Split Open, Holy!!! Love this tune. Joy > Vulutes, BWDTNL a good way to end the show and bring us into Set Two.
Set Two- Seven Below > Ghost, may possibly be the highlight of the entire year, decade or century for that matter. Seven Below was played to the highest moment and continued to grow and grow into a deep deep jam of jams. One of the top 10 jams in Phishistory. Cool it down > Jibboo, Let me lie is nothing but static or feedback coming back from the Seven Below > Ghost jam that was performed. Wolfman's > Julius. How can they even continue playing after melting faces and taking names is beyond me? Encore- You Enjoy Myself, I am and continue to be at a loss of words, this show is maybe one of the best Phish shows at the Knick, and that is including the 1995 YEM festival. Glad for those who were in attendance for this show, the Pepsi continues to be a hot spot for amazing playing for Phish and to those who wrote off Phish back during the hiatus take a listen and revise your options. 5/5. Perfect.
Massively sick light show this evening. We were in the top, slightly behind page...might've been the best angle for the lights I've witnessed. You saw the whole range very clear.
And of course it was a fun show. The Lot after was pretty legendary. If you were there, you know....
And lets not forget the feeling of realizing that it was "Cool It Down" being played after that RIDICULOUS 7>Ghost....it was frickin' mind-blowing! And it was hilarious in a way only PH can bring....Great show. I always have a blast at Albany!
This one gets off to a fun start with "party time" a catchy if not cheesy song but a good way to get the crowd primed. "stealing time" is my favorite tune from the new album and this version rips. Nasty blues licks in the mold of "my soul". "sanity" is a rare treat. I was so spun it seemed like Trey was actually singing what I was thinking. Lost my mind a couple of times indeed! SOAM is a little too tempered for my liking but a solid version. Finally "Vultures" is brought back and a descent version to boot.
I'm sure you've heard all the hoopla about the "seven below>ghost by now and I must set the record straight . . . it was sick!!! The mood went from happy to angry to joyful to aggressive. Rock, funk, blues and jazz intertwined in a 45 minute musical assault. The most creative jamming I've seen since Greensboro 03. "cool it down" did just that. "Jibboo" reminded me of a short 2000 version (thats a good thing). "Wolfmans>Julius" is titanic especially the latter. Top 5 "YEM" of the decade!
This was a special show both musically and spiritually! Thanks to all for sharing a true symbiotic event in which the crowd and band breathed as one!
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