May 31, 2009

Phish Fenway Park Setlist, Photos and Song Stats

Did you hear how the rain stopped when Phish started, and a rainbow appeared over The Pesky Pole when Chalk Dust Torture cranked up? Tis true ...

The show was available for download from at 11:48 p.m. PST -- and it sounds good to me!!! Grab it here. Phish Thoughts "No Spoilers" audience recordings are also available. Set One & Set Two. Click on the song links below for "video" of tonight's show.

Saturday, May 31, 2009

Funky Bitch, Star Spangled Banner, Kill Devil Falls#

Star Spangled Banner (sung acapella from the pitcher's mound -- the infield was roped off from the crowd, as you can see here), Sample in a Jar, Moma Dance, Chalk Dust Torture, Ocelot*, Stash***, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, Limb by Limb, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Down with Disease, Destiny Unbound**, Character Zero

Tweezer --> Light*, Bathtub Gin, David Bowie, Time Turns Elastic*^, Free, The Ballad of Curtis Lowe****, You Enjoy Myself

Cavern, Good Times Bad Times, Tweeprise^^

#New song Trey dedicated to the Phans outside the ballpark; *First time played; **First time played since 2/28/03; before that it was last played on 11/15/91!!! This is only the 28th time Destiny Unbound has ever been performed live;***, It's Ice and Take Me Out to the Ball Game teases before the song; ****Lynyrd Skynrd cover, last played 8/2/93, 624 shows ago and only the 26th time ever played; ^Trey says, "That's our single," and laughs; ^^Trey starts in the wrong key.

Interesting that there was almost no jamming between songs. Hmmmmm. Perhaps Phish 3.0 is going to be much more song-centric than anyone anticipated? Time (turns elastic) will tell. Stay tuned ...

Boston Globe review of the show.


Boston Herald photo gallery of the show. The Herald also published a story about pot smoking around Fenway Park (a Massachusetts ballot initiative approved last November decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana; if you're caught all you get is a $100 citation) that quotes one "Marco Esquandolas." I can't believe they were able to find him!

Absolutely killer online photo album of the show show by Phish's own photographer C. Taylor Crothers.

Here is a shot of the back of the stage from the bleacher bar inside Fenway Park before the show. Notice the trampoline on the left.

Street drummer outside the show. He's pretty bad-ass!

Here's Trey's high school senior year photo from a feature at on what rock stars looked like as kids. He's already goofing it up.

Tickets for tonight's show.

During the second set.

Crowd panning video during The Moma Dance from the front of the stage, Fishman's side. Very high quality. Too bad there's not more.

Craigslist ad: Take me to Alpine Valley ... please!!!

Audio of Horn and Ocelot from rehearsal on Saturday in Worcester, Mass.

May 30, 2009

Phish Kicks Off 2009 Summer Tour at Fenway Park

The wait is over!

Exactly 1,750 days since the end of their last tour (Coventry, August 15, 2004), Phish will hit the road on their 2009 Summer Tour, kicking off a 25-date run with a show at Boston's Fenway Park tonight (May 31, 2009) at 6:30 p.m.

If you listen closely, here is Phish playing The Moma Dance during soundcheck today in Worcester, Mass. And here is Rift. (Saturday, May 30)

Ticket prices have come way down from just a couple of weeks ago. Currently, you can purchase tickets for the Jones Beach run on for $33 each, less than face value. Honestly, I didn't see that coming.

When Phish played the Hampton Coliseum March 6, 7 and 8, Phish-heads basically took over Twitter. People reported what was going down in the lot, inside the venue, setlists as they unfolded, photos, short videos ... just about everything a Phish-head who could not attend would hope for. Look for the Tweats to start flying again.

A good way to follow all of the Tweats that have the word Phish in them is at It's a Twitter aggregator that also acts as a live, online chat community. It's a lot of fun to follow the show this way. I thought I was going to be able to post the setlist live as it happens from Fenway, but a personal committment I completely forgot about may keep that from happening. We'll see as the day unfolds ...

I also have a couple of field reporters out on tour who will be posting setlists here live from Phish's 2009 Summer Tour. I can't be in front of the computer for every show -- nor would I want to be -- but when I can The Wagger will go live. So, tune in each night there is a show for setlists, news, photos, etc. I'll do my best to bring the shows to you. If you really wanna get into it, I suggest having your song files ready and each time a new song starts play that song on your computer, stereo, et al, so you can listen to a version of what the band is performing as they are playing it. I threw a faux Hampton party this way, and it was very, very fun.

Remember to be safe out there on the road, and to respect the locals, especially at Red Rocks. Stay hydrated, help out other Phish-heads who are truly in need, and above all HAVE FUN!

Trey performed Time Turns Elastic with the Baltimore Symphony Orhcestra last weekend. Here is a review from the Baltimore Sun newspaper. Interesting that the writer chose to describe the sound as having "a certain tint of nostalgia and longing," and referred to Divided Sky as being "laid back." Maybe in that setting, but standing at The Gorge in the middle of the summer as Phish rips through the improvised section of Divided Sky it is anything but laid back. (Also, it looks like he has a new Languedoc, judging by the guitar's finish in the Sun's photo. Does anyone know if it is in fact new?)

Phish also released Time Turns Elastic (here's a short video of them in the studio recording TTE) as a single (a 13-minute single!!) on iTunes. You can download it here.

As I expected, the song has been met with mixed reviews, many, many negative, posted by "Phans" on message boards across the Internet, especially at, where people slammed it more than anything (sometimes I just don't get the mentality of posts over there; I'm all for constructive criticism, or a solid negative review, but just writing a post that says "truly a piss break song" or "it's crap-tastic" is f-ing ridiculous. At least this time around people dissed the dissers.).

I'm not surprised with the negativity. For some reason, to many of the so-called Phans out there, Phish can do nothing right anymore. Plenty of people dissed the Hampton run, too. In my opinion, those shows were nearly perfect. I mean, if you didn't like Hampton I'm not sure what you're looking for, or expecting from Phish. A return to 1994 or 1997? At this point in their career, Phish is what it is ... get over yourself. Phish 3.0 is here, and thank God for that.

As they used to say in Grateful Dead land, "You're either on the bus or off the bus."

But I digress. Time Turns Elastic costs $1.29. What else can you buy for $1.29 these days? Not much ... A cup of coffee. A soda. Your choice of stuff from the dollar store (my new favorite shopping experience). A lighter. Half a gallon of gas. A slurpee ... all nice little goodies to have, but for $1.29 I think Time Turns Elastic is a fine allocation of resources.

My opinion of the song, you ask? Time Turns Elastic is great -- and I don't think everything Trey has ever done is great, either; I still can't stand Character Zero. (On a funny side note, when Hoist first came out I cringed every time I heard Wolfman's Brother but looked what it turned into.) It's not the best song Phish has ever recorded, and it's far from the worst (Tomrrow's Song, anyone? Talk about filler ...). Best of all, Time Turns Elastic is different than anything Phish has done in the past, and if you've followed this band as long as I have (first show Cameo Theatre, Miami Beach, Feb. 25, 1993), and I'm sure some of you have, you know that when Phish is pushing itself and trying new things all is good.

I think it's going to take a little time for Phish to start firing on all cylanders to the point where they start turning a corner in their playing and hit on something new -- New Year's Eve 1995 was the peak of the tension and release days; Summer Tour 1997 brought funk into the mix; Big Cypress ushered in the era of spacey jams; and post-hiatus 2003 Spring Tour saw the band break new ground that has best been described as "space with a groove."

Will there be a new approach creeping into their playing by the end of Summer Tour 2009? Only time (turns elastic) will tell!!!

May 9, 2009

Clifford Ball, Trey Talks Drug Court and a Complete Roundup of Recent Phish News

22 days and counting until the first notes float over the Green Monster at Fenway Park ...

First of all, here is the link to streaming video of the second set, second night from Phish's legendary, landmark 1996 Summer Festival, The Clifford Ball, available at The Bonnaroo website for the next few days.

The Clifford Ball is the show that started it all ladies and gentlemen: The Bonnaroo, Rothbury, 10,000 Lakes, Live Oak, moe.down, Camp Bisco, AllGood, Gathering of the Vibes -- you name it. If there is a summer festival in existence today it used The Clifford Ball, and subsequent Phish end-of-summer camp outs Lemonwheel, The Great Went, Camp Oswego, NYE Meltdown Big Cypress, and IT (Coventry ... ahhhh, not so much), as its road map.

The only festival of any significance that came before it was Lalapalooza, but the granddaddy of summer festivals has since fallen off the significance map, turning into nothing more than a glorified weekend in Chicago making poor use of the Lalapalooza name -- I don't even think Lalapalooza Founder Perry Ferrel is involved with it anymore.

Does anyone remember the 1992 H.O.R.D.E. tour (which stood for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere)? It was the original Jambands tour, put together by John Popper, consisting of Phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Spin Doctors and The Samples. For some reason, H.O.R.D.E. doesn't get the credit it deserves for putting the Jamband scene on the map.

But I digress ...

A small number of tickets have been released for Trey's upcoming performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on May 21. Trey will join the BSO and Musical Director Marin Alsop at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to perform orchestra versions, with guitar accompaniment, of "classic" Phish tunes, as well as the East Coast premiere of Anastasio's latest major composition, "Time Turns Elastic."

Additionally, for the past couple of weeks, the BSO (which apparently is considered the "hippest orchestra" in America, according to the blog "On The Record,") has been dropping hints on Twitter about a secret location where Phans can find two tickets to the performance.

Here is the first Tweet (@BaltSymphony) sent from BSO Marketing Coordinator Jamie Schneider: "Phishing for the last two Trey Anastasio tickets? Be the first to arrive at our secret location on May 5 @ 5pm."

A later Tweet read: "Hop to our secret location @ 5 for 2 free tickets to the 'Resurrection' of Phish tunes. Just a stone's throw away from the Meyerhoff."

Finally, on May 5th at 1:48 p.m. Schneider revealed someone found the tickets: "Josh is our winner! He found us at Brewer Art (Baltimore's Best Bar). A BSO and Brewer's Art Fan. He gets 2 tickets and dinner for 2."

Four minutes later she added the following Tweet: "There are still a few tickets left for those of you who didn't win. Call 410.783.8000." Not sure if those tickets are still around, but it may be worth a call for those of you in Charm City.

Trey, who has professed his desire in the past to stay out of politics (even going so far as to turn down a personal endorsement request from Vermont's own Howard Dean when he was running for the Democratic nomination back in 2004), addressed a gathering of drug court professionals and congressmen in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, May 6th supporting the drug court system as a positive alternative to prison- or jail-time for convicted drug users and addicts.

Anastasio, who interestingly introduced himself as a "recovering alcoholic" rather than a recovering addict, told the gathering of officials that his life "had become a catastrophe. I had no idea how to turn it around. My band had broken up. I had almost lost my family. My whole life had devolved into a disaster. I believe that the police officer who stopped me at 3 a.m. that morning saved my life."

Trey went on to talk about the 14 months he spent in the drug-court system, providing anecdotes about time spent "scrubbing toilets" and "cleaning fairgrounds."

According to the Huffington Post, Trey said, "I've been sober for two-and-a-half years. My children are happy. In August, my wife and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. My band is back together with a sold-out tour. And in September I'll play a solo concert at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic." (The article mentioned that this statement by Trey impressed the crowd more than mention of Phish's "sold-out tour.")

He dropped a little news there, considering there has been no announcement of Anastasio performing this September with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, nor is the show announced on the NYPO website.

There was also a National Association of Drug Court Professionals official press release with several quotes from Trey, including this nugget: "Prison will turn a person with a substance abuse problem into a lifelong felon. Drug courts can change that same person into a sober citizen, someone who takes responsibility for their actions and who stands ready to help others."

Not sure if he is required to do these public service announcements or if Anastasio is doing them of his own volition. Either way, being a recovering addict myself, I say Bravo Trey! Bravo!

Ticketbastard took one on the chin recently when two private citizens, simply referring to themselves as "music fans," filed a lawsuit against ticket pricing practices and policies of the monopoly.

According to this story in the USA Today, two women claim they were screwed out of buying tickets at advertised prices when Ticketbastard's online system re-routed them to their own ticket resale (scalper) site, (it's TicketsNow, but if you capitalize the S instead of the N it reveals the company's true modus operandi).

Another story in the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper says the lawsuit, a 22-page complaint, is being filed "on behalf of fans who tried to purchase tickets" to see Britney Spears, Hannah Montana, The Dead and/or Phish (quite the entertainment grouping there) and were instead re-directed to TicketSnow. "This artificial manipulation of the market price for tickets results in purchasers having no choice but to pay grossly-inflated prices for tickets just minutes after the tickets first become available to the public," the article states.

So far, Ticketbastard has declined to offer any sort of public response to the lawsuit (at least none that I could find).

Following similar events in February surrounding the sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets in New Jersey, Ticketbastard agreed to a settlement with the Attorney Generals Office that "entitled some fans to gift cards, tickets at face value and chances to buy seats to future Springsteen shows," the Star-Ledger reports. Supposedly, Ticketbastard also agreed to "erect a wall between its site and" and to pay a $350,000 fine, which it should be able to cover by scalping a few tickets to shows this summer, don't ya think?

But earlier this year, Ticketbastard North America President David Butler, in a March 25th interview with Hidden Track covered here at The Wagger, said Ticketbastard plays "virtually no role in the secondary ticket market."

So why the need to erect a wall between the two websites since that interview? What an asshole ...

Vegetarian Star, a blog that says it is devoted to "celebrity vegetarian gossip and news," reported that a recent Tweet by Mike (that's right, one of Mike's Twitter entries received press coverage) professed his love for Vegan Carrot Kugel.

According to the blog, "Kugels are awesome traditional baked Jewish dishes that features vegetables, fruit or other starches, and thickening agents."

Makes me want to run right out and get one myself for a hearty breakfast before I head out later this morning for the 10-hour drive south to Shoreline to catch The Dead on Sunday night.

Yechhh ....

On a horribly sad note, as posted at "On April 29th Kristy Manning, Trey's sister, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. She was on of Phish's first fans and biggest supporters. In recent years, Kristy helped form and lead Trey's non-profit endeavor, The Seven Below Arts Initiative."

The complete obituary is available at this link.

Kristy was famously seen on Trey's arm at the Grammy Awards a few years back. Originally, when I saw those photos (which unfortunately I can no longer find) I thought she was his wife, Sue.

Condolences to Trey and his family from The Wagger.