Phish | 06.19 | Noblesville, IN

Words by: Brian Bavosa | Images by: Dave Vann

Phish :: 06.19.09 :: Verizon Wireless Music Center :: Noblesville, IN

Phish :: 06.19.09 :: Noblesville, IN
The final shows of the Midwestern run find Phish returning to two old lovers – Deer Creek and Alpine Valley – and the weekend has begun with orgasmic results.

Friday night in Indiana witnessed things that have rarely, if ever, happened at a Phish show. Mother Nature turned on a dime and made this gig unforgettable.

All day the weather was in the low 90s, with the humid air making many phans feel sluggish. Most of the first set also seemed to feel this way as well. Opening with the new tune, “Backwards Down the Number Line,” this version didn’t hold a candle to Bonnaroo’s smoking jam. “AC/DC Bag” is always welcome, and “Limb by Limb” saw Trey noodle his way through the motions, with Fish prominent on the skins.

“The Moma Dance” was loose and funky, but again, things seemed a half step behind to start the show (I honestly blame the heat and humidity.)

Phish :: 06.19.09 :: Noblesville, IN
“Split Open and Melt” went absolutely nowhere and saw an atypical jam that never took off. “Water in the Sky” was a foreshadowing of things to come, as heat lightning began flashing in the area, rising from the ground up, and looking like the heavens were conducting a science experiment.

“The Wedge” was well played, while the first ever “The Connection” also found its radio-friendly persona welcomed to the stage. Another superbly executed “Fluffhead” closed out set one with the lightning building something fierce, before all hell broke loose in the Indiana corn fields.

After about a twenty-minute break, McConnell came onstage and asked all those on the lawn to go back to their cars, and the pavilion patrons to stay put, as a ridiculous thunderstorm and potential tornado was in the area. Before long, the rain hit and people were scattering for cover, running back to their cars, while lightning and thunder seemed to shake Deer Creek (this had shades of Polaris’ epic storm back in ’99 or ’00.)

Relentless rain came, things were covered on stage, and finally after almost an hour and a half, the band reemerged for the appropriate “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.” From this cut on, one thing was apparent: the energy that started with Mother Nature had fed directly into the band and crowd, as everyone was fired up. The vibe in this second set was absolutely, well, “electric.”

Phish :: 06.19.09 :: Noblesville, IN
After the dark, inspired “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” the band walloped into another water-related tune, “Drowned.” Trey has always said that for him, it’s all about the energy, and boy was he feeling it during this set. There were a few minutes of playing by him early in the “Drowned” jam that were so fire-blazing hot, I was absolutely stunned. Shit sounded like Machine-Gun Trey from ’94 or ’95 and made me shake my head and rub my eyes in disbelief. The boys were back, feeding on energy and about to deliver a “Children Of The Corn” type set for those who braved the weather, which, for the record, was everyone!

A stellar “Twist” also saw Trey light things up with reckless abandon, while the only slow moment came with “Let Me Lie,” a song I simply don’t see fitting into the Phish repertoire.

A huge, dark, lively “Tweezer” gave birth to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (the 2001 theme), and had the venue simply going ape-shit. Seriously, this was a night where the music was feeding off of the elements and the crowd was returning the energy, one to those “had to be there” type of things.

Albeit overplayed this tour, a McConnell driven “Suzy Greenburg” and “Possum” closed things out, as everyone in the audience was jumping, screaming, hooting, hollering, growing crazy, and FIST PUMPING along to a packed, once-in-a-lifetime event. Again, the music was super, but the energy was unmatched by the collective events this night.

Phish :: 06.19.09 :: Noblesville, IN
“Sleeping Monkey” was a nice mini-bustout for the encore, followed by the most animated Trey during a “Tweezer Reprise” since the now-famous YouTube version of him doing the robot chicken-type dance of 04.03.98. He was jumping around (as he was all set) and whipped the place into another chaotic frenzy as lightning again appeared in the sky and rain began to fall. Upon hitting the last note, as if on cue, a giant bolt lit up the sky, proving yet again that Phish conjures up some magical, witchcraft type stuff when they come to Deer Creek.

Also of note, on the way out the sky opened up and DUMPED worse than even Jones Beach earlier this tour, making this a wet, electric night.

Next up, our final stop, Alpine Valley, where the lawn is steep and the crowds are twice as big – another Phish favorite…

Set I: Backwards Down the Number Line, AC/DC Bag, Limb By Limb, The Moma Dance, Water In The Sky, Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Wedge, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, The Connection, Ocelot, Fluffhead
Set II: (Rain Delay) A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing > Drowned > Twist, Let Me Lie, Tweezer > 2001 > Suzy Greenberg > Possum
Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

For more pics of Phish in Noblesville, IN go here.

Phish perform again tonight (6/20) at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI. Check back for setlists, pics and full reviews. Complete Phish tour dates available here.

JamBase | Electric
Go See Live Music!