6-21-09 - Alpine Valley Music Theater, East Troy, WI
review submisions to me at dws at phish.net, or phishreview
at gmail.com. please include the date in the subject line...
please review the show, not the other reviews....
date Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 2:41 PM
subject Alpine Valley 6-21-09
Opened with Brother squared with their kids in the bathtub which was cool.
Brother was short and to the point. Wolfman's Brother was also well played
with about a 4-5min jam that was also to the point. Funky Bitch was by
request and then as can be expected in the middle of any outdoor 1st set
show - Divided Sky. Trey nailed the main solo as the clouds were hovering
overhead. Joy, a new song, was next and I'll have to hear it more before I
form an opinion. Back on the Train was the funkiest version I've ever
heard and had Page melting my face with his Moog & clavinet. Taste was
also well played, but the jam kept relatively tame. Poor Heart thru TMWSIY
was somewhat uneventful for me although my Jewish friends really dug
Malkanu. They closed the 1st set with Time Turns Elastic which I have a
feeling will grow on me kind of like Fluffhead did some 25 years ago.
Check with me next tour!
2nd set was the goods as far as jams are concerned. Crosseyed and the
ensuing jam was monstrous as Page again was working the Moog. Disease was
it's usual killer jam and clocked in at about 14min. I never liked Bug and
this version seemed a little rushed. Piper was more like the '99 versions
where they sing only a couple verses and then they launch. It got real
thick around the 10min mark and a serious meltdown followed. Wading is a
good song when they don't overplay it and I liked it tonight. Boogie on
like Train was extremely funky but kind of short. Slave is always a great
closer and tonight was no exception. Encores Grind and Frankenstein were a
great way to end the tour. Especially like the 5 or 6 neck guitar and I
LOVE the Keytar. I'd give the show an 8 out of 10.
from Bryan Pohl
date Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 2:44 AM
subject 6-21-09 Alpine Valley review.
Let me open this by saying that this was my first show since New Yearís
í99 at Big Cypress.
Back On the Train
Silent in the Morning
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday>
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
Time Turns Elastic
Crosseyed and Painless>
Down With Disease
Wading in the Velvet Sea
Boogie On Reggae Woman>
Slave To The Traffic Light
Grime (a cappela)
I was a little shocked when I arrived at how much the lot scene had
changed since I was a 19-year old dreadlocked hippy kid selling veggie
burritos. Actually, before my wife and I and our friends left the
campground, wifey offered to make me a sandwich. I refused, saying that I
would ďjust grab something on the lot.Ē Although I wish she had, she
didnít protest too much and just let me ďdo my Phish thing.Ē We got to the
show and I immediately realized that the crowd was much older and much
mellower. I guess everyone else had put on ten years, gotten involved in
careers, and had kids, too.
While my wife and friends sat down and started drinking beers (I was the
designated driver), I began my quest for a veggie burrito. Now, back on
summer tour í98, this would have been about a thirty second quest to the
end of our parking aisle. However, this was to be a quest that would test
my mettle and my ability to deal with hunger. In all, I walked the hill
from the green lot to the blue lot and saw lots of tents, and what LOOKED
like a Shakedown area, but never found any vending. Resigned to the fact
that I was going to have to pay venue prices for food, I walked back to
the car, watched my wife and friends finish their beers, and began the
walk back up the hill to the venue. As we entered the place, I saw the
food prices and refused to pay them. $8.50 for two rubbery chicken fingers
and some fries? Seriously?! So, I decided that I would just suck it up and
hope that the show would be so good that I didnít even notice how hungry I
was. We sat down in our pavilion seats, which were 25 rows back, directly
in front of Page, and began the wait for the show to begin (it is very
nice to be married to someone with connections). I canít even explain the
anticipation I felt while waiting. I didnít want to talk to anyone, I just
wanted the boys to come on stage.
When they finally did enter the stage, I lost itÖ began screaming at the
top of my lungs, and was dying to find out what theyíd play for my first
show in ten years. Brother! Pretty cool, even though I specifically named
it as a song that I didnít want to hear before the show. It was still fun
to see all of their kids coming out and hopping into the tub, one by one.
Wolfmanís was as great as itís ever been for a first-set fun dance song.
Divided Sky sent me soaring. Couldnít believe they played it. I was
convinced they wouldnít. And what a great versionÖ not necessarily as
great as some Iíve heard, but it didnít have to be. Joy, Train, Taste,
Poor Heart were fun, but nothing I was necessarily too excited to hear,
until the first few strums of Horse made me jump up and start yelling
because I knew Silent was coming. And they definitely nailed both. Just
when I was a little sad to hear Silent being finished up, I heard another
song. The sad thing is that it had been so long that I couldnít even
remember the name of it at first. Of course, it was TMWSIY>Aevnue>TMWSIY.
Iíve seen a LOT of shows in my life and have never been lucky enough to
hear this live. I was absolutely on cloud 9. Time Turns Elastic closer was
okay, but Iím honestly not very crazy about this song. The end of it is
great, and I understand why theyíd use it for a closer, but the first ten
minutes are just not at all what I was hoping to hear. Kind of a let-down
in my book, but Iím sure others will disagree vehemently. All in all,
great first set, though.
As the lights went up for set-break, despite that Phish-induced buzz, my
attention turned directly back to my stomach. I also felt extremely
dehydrated from dancing so hard. I went on a food and water quest that
took the entire set-break and only resulted in my paying $8 for two waters
and still being about as hungry as I had ever been. Grrrrrr
I donít even think I can describe the second set. Crosseyed>DWDÖ I called
Crosseyed>Mikeís to open the second set, but I was fairly happy to be at
least partially wrong. My wife went absolutely nuts when they struck up
Crosseyed, and almost knocked me over from jumping up and down. I was
surprised at how well they played it. It really was spot on. DWD was as
great as ever and included a great spacey jam from which the first strums
of Bug emerged. Iíve always loved Bug in a special way that I canít
describe, but had never heard it with the new lyrics until very recently
(thoughts faded, overrated, etc). the song is just very introspective, and
Iíve found it to be an appropriate soundtrack for my feelings about the
transition of the last ten years from dreadlocked tour head to husband,
father, home-owner, bread-winner, etc. Ten years go by and to take a
snapshot of the two times in my life and put them side-by-side would seem
such juxtaposition, but both brought me joy beyond my comprehension. I can
always think back on my tour days and thank god for allowing me to have
such amazing experiences with such incredible people and such a great
band. All of these feelings kind of hit me at once during Bug, and I think
I cried the whole way through that song, especially at ďNothing I see can
be taken from me.Ē Piper and Velvet Sea were more than I could ever ask
for. They nailed them both, and I thought about how itís been really
interesting to see the evolution of both of those songs since their
inception. Velvet Sea was, again, a very emotional song, but didnít get my
crying like Bug did. Boogie On was a fun way to send things back into more
fun mode, and it was very good, albeit a little shorter version of the
song than I was used to. At the first sounds of Slave to the Traffic
Light, I went absolutely nuts, screaming, yelling, and waving my arms in
the air. GOD, that was the one song I had wanted to hear more than
anything else in the world. I would have paid $50 and driven from
Indianapolis to Alpine Valley just to hear them walk on stage, play only
Slave, then walk back off. Slave was wonderful, Slave was perfect, Slave
was everything I remembered. There was a point where my eyes were closed,
Slave was about half-way done, there was a huge smile on my face, and I
just could have died right there, dancing in the twenty-fifth row of the
The Grind / Frankenstein encore was fun, and itís already been described
in other posts, so I wonít try to add anything else. It was just plain and
simple fun that reminded me of why I began seeing these guys in the first
As we walked out of the venue, Slave still ringing in my head, I heard my
friends talking about what a bad show it was and how Page had to save them
a few times and how this or that didnít work, but I honestly didnít even
want to hear it. I was floating, and I just wanted to be alone with my
thoughts for a little while. I told everyone I had to go find a veggie
burrito and just kind of went wandering around, thinking about the show
and leaving the others behind. Phish had only ever made me cry once
before, and it was when they played Terrapin Station at VA Beach. I donít
know if this show was technically great or if the song choice worked or
not, and I didnít care at all. I loved every second of it. These guys have
given me more than theyíll ever know. Iíve traveled the entire country
seeing them, meeting people, and just having a blast, and they had just
blown my mind again. I had to get away from everyone and just soak it all
in. Of course, I was still STARVING, when I was just looking up at the sky
and heard, ďVeggie burritos!Ē A younger girl with dreadlocks was standing
by her cooler. Ostensibly, that cooler was once full of burritos. I bought
her last two burritos and remarked in my head that she was probably only
about 18 or 19 and maybe doing her first tour. As I chowed down on my
first burrito, I began to miss my little boy, who was staying with his
grandma, and my wife caught up to me and gave me a hug and asked for one
of my burritos. As hungry as I was, there was only one person in the world
who could have had one of my burritos, and she was that person. I gladly
handed it over, rubbed her back, smiled at her, and told her I loved her.
Ten years doesnít feel like a very long time when you look back on how
quickly time has passed. Yet, I think of all the things that have happened
since I was that 19-year old with dreadlocks in a parking lot somewhere,
thousands of miles from home, trying to sell my own veggie burritos, and
ten years seems like forever. Iím thankful for all of the experiences Iíve
had in that time and I know that things will only get better from here.
While I know that Iíll never do another Phish tour again, or end up 2,500
miles from home while my mom thinks Iím just a couple hours away, I know
that Iíll always have those memories, and Iíll know that those memories
have added more to my life than I ever could have expected. And Iíll tell
my son all about it, and Iíll encourage him to do something that he loves,
even when others think heís crazy. And heíll do things that I donít know
about. And heíll live through them and heíll tell me all about them years
after the fact. And hopefully, like his father, heíll have no regrets.
from Brendan Fitzgerald
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:13 AM
subject phish show review 6/21/09
Oh man! This show blew the the night before out of the water! They were
really on and had lots of super high energy jams that really smoked!
Back On the Train
Silent in the Morning
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday>
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
Time Turns Elastic
Crosseyed and Painless>
Down With Disease
Wading in the Velvet Sea
Boogie On Reggae Woman>
Slave To The Traffic Light
Grime (a cappela)
Brother: Really great opening song. The guys brought out each of their
kids one by one and sat them in a big tub on stage! Good fun, a solid high
energy opener. And to go along with the "brother" theme...
Wolfman's Brother: Great wolfman's jamming in this one. It's a solid song
for them to loosen up with and just get comfortable groovin and feeling
out the jams. Very solid.
Funky Bitch: Taken by request. This song never disappoints, and trey was
really on tonight
Divided Sky: Hell yeah. Just what everyone needed. From what I could tell,
they played the technical parts flawlessly, and trey really blew up at the
end, lots of energy in this one.
Joy: New song. I liked it, as far as new songs go. It had a easy going
feel to it, as the title would tell you. Fun song to ease everyone down
after the monster divided sky.
Back on the Train: If not for anything else, check this set out for this
song! The boys were on fire with it. Its naturally a really grooving,
funky sorta tune, but the jamming they did with this one was really
spectacular. Not in a shredding, or experimental way, in a really tight,
super funky, synchronized way. Everyone was meshing really well, I
personally think this is by far the highlight of the first set. They went
off into the depths of funkytown with this one. Hot Dang!
Taste: A great song live. As with everything so far, they're really crisp
and tight, no sloppiness, no flubs; clean as a whistle. This one was
especially cool because they extended it with a really cool jam. I'm not
sure if they usually do that or not, but I think they were feelin so good
comin off that super hot Back on the Train that they just wanted to go off
some more. Best version of taste I've ever heard live considering the jam
Poor Heart: Perfect placement for this. Gets the energy back up again.
Solid and lots of fun, as usual.
The Horse >Silent in the Morning: Cool, all in all standard. It's good to
hear this tune, the spaciness and syncopation of it was nice after the
poor heart. Again, the guys sound really tight, really crisp tonight and
it comes through in a song like this.
TMWSIY >Avenu Malkenu >TMWSIY: Alright some gamehenge! Good placement for
this, it kept the same sort of flow coming after silent in the morning.
Great old school phish right here... into Avenu Malkenu! yeah! Some great
jewish fun right here, heavy and epic sounding... and bring it back down
ever so beautifully again with TMWSIY.
Time Turns Elastic: This was another new one, my first time hearing it.
It's quite the epic piece of song writing. It's got a bit of a progressive
feel to it. Its like a new, heavier, bit darker sounding trey super song.
The structure of the song seemed a bit erratic, or scattered, until the
end which builds into an intense bombardment of sound. It's definetely
worth making it through the long technical parts, which are cool, but
different, to get to the ending. A truly epic way to end the set.
Crosseyed and Painless>: Oh Yeah! What a great way to start the set! Super
energetic, the boys are so on! Just tearing this one to pieces. It's so
funky I feel like dancing out of my skin. It's the talking heads times
100, and that's really saying something. I don't know what else to say,
it's reminiscent of the best shows from late 96 and 97. Super funky and
energetic going all over the place here. And it's even hotter because trey
is so on tonight. He's being real fluent and has no inhibitions it seems.
LOTS of fun. They bring the energy down ever so gently, its almost
unnoticeable...getting spacey... leads into
Down With Disease: A monster crowd pleaser here. I totally called this one
too during the spaciness beforehand. It just felt like the perfect place
for it. Man, so much good jamming happening and its just the first 2
songs. DWD gets really high, I mean, sometimes DWDs can have good jamming
but the energy doesn't quite go off too much. But THIS one really has it.
Bug: This came out of nowhere. I personally think it was a little early in
the set to bring the energy down again, and I mean, it's bug, eh. They do
get some pretty sweet rocking in though. As my buddy said to me at the
show, only Phish could make Bug a great song. That's how on they were,
they made Bug sound great! haha
Piper: GET THIS PIPER! It seemed a bit fast in the beginning, but it was
still crisp as could be. The vocals were on too. This to me was the
highlight of the whole show because of the insane jamming that came out of
this one. Once they start jamming on this one, the energy just shoots this
one off into outerspace. I mean, they really blow up on this tune. The
tempo slowly accelerates, and everyone is on fire. After some really hot
jamming which completely leaves any trace of piper behind, they really go
off into risky experimental land. This jam is a perfect piece of
everything I love about phish. It embodies the amazing skill and
togetherness with which they can go off from a song and play around with
sheer sounds. Really far out there, creative jamming.
Wading: The placement of this one also caught me off guard after such a
long crazy piper jam. But I guess it did the job of toning everything down
again, bringing everyone back to earth so to speak. A pretty standard,
powerful and velvety Wading.
Boogie On Reggae Woman: Shoulda saw this one coming since they were
playing so much Stevie Wonder on the PA before the show. The perfect way
to bring the upbeat energy back. Good Lord they are sounding so funky, and
so tight. Mike is SUPER hot in this one, laying down some of the funkiest
bass you'll ever hear. They have lots of fun boogying down in this super
funky tight jam.
Slave: A great slave. Everyone needed another epic Phish tune here in this
second set, Slave definetely does the job. They really take their time
building the jam, its all very fluid and full sounding. A climactic way to
end the set for sure.
E: Grime. It's great hearing some good ol acappella from them. A very
cooky version of grime where they sing the number of days they've been
alive, not sure if that's what they usually do with it, i've never heard
this one before.
Frankenstein: YEEEAAAA! Perfect show stopping encore. Trey busts out a 5
neck guitar! Page has a killer solo on the keytar and mike's rocking this
crazy bass that's in the shape of a giant flame. Oh yea this Frankenstein
was really rockin hard. And brought the whole venue down with it. A great
way to end a really amazing show.
Overall, this is the best phish show I've ever seen in person. It blew the
night before at alpine out of the water. From what other people were
telling about the other shows on this tour, this show has been the best
one so far. I can completely see how it would be one of the best. The jams
in here are a perfect 10. I mean, they're not the same jams from 20 or 15
years ago, but obviously they shouldnt be. As far as what Phish sounds
like in 2009, this show should be the model. Yeah, their sound will always
be changing, but the way they jam, groove, rock out, and experiment with
each other is still as tight as ever. This show is the perfect example of
that. I think I had goosebumps for like 80% of the show.
Check it out.
Peace phellow phans.
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM
subject Phish Show Review- 6.21.09 Alpine Valley
this my 3rd show of the weekend, such a rager! the first set was so much
phun, TMWSIY > anvenu malkanu > TMWSIY, seriouslly??? what a breakout.
during setbreak couldn't even imagine what they'd do for the second set.
when i heard the opener, i knew it was on! crosseyed > alpine jam was
amazing and the piper jam was definitely the highlight of the night, you
simply MUST hear it. boogie on was so much fun to dance to and slave to
close the set was incredible. the a capella grind was cool and then when
they brought out the new guitars, i literally could not stop laughing and
dancing. bottom line: 09 (sober) PHISH is simply incredible
....reviews of the download or tapes of the show....
from Lane H. Jost
date Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 7:29 AM
subject 6/21/09 Download Review
Thanks, Dan for giving this page a Renaissance!
6/21/09 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI
I: Brother, Wolfman's Brother, Funky Bitch > The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On
The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man
Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkanu > The Man Who Stepped Into
Yesterday, Time Turns Elastic
II: Crosseyed and Painless > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper > Wading In
The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Grind, Frankenstein
The following is a review of the final show of the early summer tour with
hearty compliments to the "No Spoilers" crew, who have given those of us
unable to go AWOL on the road, due to unfortunate obligations of life,
quite a gift. I was not in the fields of dairy country last weekend, so
this will be a sober critique of the music. I looked at no setlist prior
to listening. Again, my gratitude to the "NS" folks, This is a hell of a
Reviewer's bio as per the great Charlie Dirksen's request (btw, anyone
heard from this guy?; haven't seen one of his estimable reviews since 2000
Shoreline): I've seen over 60 + shows dating back to 1992. Though saddened
by the breakup, I was actually happy for the band and have felt a little
ambivalent about Phish 3.0. Nonetheless, the next time I see the lights
drop and watch Big Red saunter out with the shit-eating grin (at
Merriweather), you can better believe I'll be bouncin'.
I've listened to a few sets of this tour and all of Hampton. My last show
was the underrated first night in Brooklyn on 6/17/04. Overall impressions
have been tha the band is better than the 2004 version, though all
proclamations that they're back to 1993-1997 seem premature.
There's no question that the "Brother" bustout was a nod to all things
quintessentially Phish. These sorts of antics have been few and far
between during the first 20 or so shows of the comeback, so I was happy to
hear the tub routine with all the band kids. This is indeed a different
era, and juxtaposition of the weirdly proggy "Brother" with children
sitting in a bathtub on stage was well, Phish humor 3.0. I was pumped to
hear this, and hope the band works it back into the rotation for late
summer. This version basically has no improvisation at all, which doesn't
bother me, considering how tight it is. This song works well as a opener
and the performance is impressive given the long hiatus. Nice way to start
a father's day show, and certainly sets an old-school mood in the shed.
The "Wolfman's Brother" that follows is good, with a concise jam ("type
I") that seems somewhat emblematic of this tour. I know folks seem to pan
these coherent jams, preferring longer, more wildly exploratory passages.
I personally think this is an excellent trend for a band that has always
sought to evolve. Trey's acknowledgment of a fan holding the "Funky Bitch"
sign was nice to hear, and the subsequent performance was hot. Not the
tightest or most groovy Bitch, but had I been in the house, I would have
been beaming, as I expect all the lucky ones in attendance were. Again,
the Bitch coupled with "Brother" certainly signaled a fan-friendly show.
"The Divided Sky" has been played admirably throughout 2009 and this
version is no exception. I love this song, and while the jam section
seemed to peak in 1994, I think they can keep playing this way forever if
they like. Now "Joy" is honestly one of my favorite ballads off the
forthcoming record (assuming this cut makes said record). Many folks will
fold their arms in disgust, but let's face it, Trey LOVES writing these
introspective songs, going back to 1993 (FEFY), so accept it. The lyrics
in this one work well with family theme of this show, and I think this
will sounds great on the record. One thing that's markedly better about
Phish 3.0 are the vocals: harmonies and singing quality is basically
on-point has it always was pre-2000. Phish will never be remembered for
its lush singing, but they were always tight pre-hiatus, and I'm glad
they've recommitted to this.
"Back on the Train" is an excellent late era groove and was again played
admirably with Fish leading the shuffle forward. And yeah, this song is
particularly poignant on this tour. The "Taste" through "Horse/Silent"
run was solid, if unspectacular. I like the return of "Poor Heart" though
still wish "Uncle Pen" would be bustout. And Trey it seems, just can't
play that hot opening lick to "Poor Heat" anymore. Oh well, evolution is
cool too. "Taste" was OK, though I think it still finds both Page and Trey
to be tentative with their solo sections. This is both harmonically and
tempo-wise a very difficult piece, so it will come with time.
TMWSIY > Avenu > TMWSIY! Yes!! Well-played. Mike was using this cosmic,
drippy bass effect he has been tinkering with all tour. To be honest,
while it may work for "Ghost" or "DWD," keep it clean for this one! A bit
out of place. Still, nice bustout.
Now, I am NOT a "Time Turns Elastic" hater. Yes, some of the lyrics need
to be exhumed ("These silver sounds are reigning down on me..."), but boy
is this an interesting composed suite! How many bands in 2009 could pull
off a live version of something like this? I hear those of you who say it
would probably work better in a jazz club or concert hall rather than a
rock concert, but it just kick back and listen to the melodies. I think
the band may have found that it works best as a first set closer. Tighter
versions have been played on this tour, but I think the outro was more
explosive here at Alpine. A good way to punctuate a generous, old-school
set. No one performance stands out, but a fun set with interesting
bustouts and band-audience interaction.
The "Crosseyed and Painless" that opened set 2 was not a total shock given
set 1's mischief, but was nonetheless exhilarating. To this point, the
band had already dusted of a handful of tunes shelved for too long. I
think the jam here which segued into "DWD" was the best of the night. Trey
plays authoritatively, with excellent support from Fish. Not a TRUE segue
into "DWD" but you can hear Mike teasing it for several minutes ahead of
time, if only through his toying with fuzzy bass effects. Nonetheless,
this must have been amazing to hear live, as "DWD" has become quite a
crowd pleaser and seems to be a band staple for 3.0. The "Piper" that
follows is good, fast and exploratory, but I found it sloppy and the
vocals a bit off. I still prefer the summer 1997 versions that built more
slowly and then reached a crescendo. Now, the band rushes through the
composed section and jumps into the jam. This jam is very interesting and
even screams a bit, but I guess I find it a bit amateurish. "Piper" on
paper is a simple piece, but Phish's dynamics make it epic. "Wading" was
good, though I am not the biggest fan of this song. I can't ever forget
Page falling apart during the disastrous version of this song at Coventry.
To me, the "Boogie On" was oddly placed and featured absolutely no funky
jam. Maybe they were playing it for a friend backstage? Weird. "Slave" is
universally welcome and was a great choice in a night of excellent
choices. The soaring jam ala "Reba," "Hood" and "Theme" was good per
usual. I hate to be a downer, but don't think "Slave" is fully back yet.
They create a nice canvas, but the momentum never really tips for me. This
version was a lot better than the one played at the Fox in St. Louis, but
pretty tame nonetheless. Trey is not yet fully on his game on these
minor-key, soaring music pieces. I think the "Hoods" from this tour are
examples of this as well -- relative to 1993-1994, pretty darn aimless.
"Grind" was excellent and seems to be the vogue acappella number of the
day. I love the number of days aive gag. "Frankenstein" was about as
sloppy as I've ever heard Phish perform it, but given the keytar, the
flame bass and Trey's multi-neck axe, excused. The live experience must
have been hilarious. Still, I think they preform this tune better with
Page sitting in front of the organ and Trey concentrating on one neck.
All in all, I enjoyed listening to this gig, and definitely am excited for
my first show in five years in August. As per normal, the band grew
stronger each night in June and I expect August to be another step
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