Phish Plays 46-Minute ‘Seven Below’ & ‘Ghost’ Sequence In Albany On Fall Tour 2009
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
It took Phish some time to reach the improvisational heights of their previous eras in 2009, following their return to the stage after a five-year breakup. Arguably the best jamming of the year took place at the Times Union Center in Albany on this date during Fall Tour 2009, when Phish kicked off their second set with a monstrous +46-minute pairing of “Seven Below” and “Ghost.”
Phish’s November 28, 2009 performance was the second night of a two-night Thanksgiving Weekend run at the Times Union Center, a venue where the band made their debut on December 9, 1995 when it was known by its original name of the Knickerbocker Arena. The Knick became the Pepsi Arena by the time Phish came back for two nights in 1997. One show followed during Fall Tour 1998. Then, the band ended Fall Tour 1999 and kicked off Fall Tour 2000 with two shows a piece at the venue. A memorable performance on December 1, 2003 would be Phish’s last show at the arena until the Thanksgiving Weekend run in 2009.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
The otherworldly “Seven Below” > “Ghost” sequence contains plenty of bliss jamming, in which the quartet segued into pretty major-key progressions they rode to huge climaxes. In 2018, JamBase asked Phish.net’s Scott Marks to put together a list of the 10 Most Memorable Phish Albany Moments. It comes as no surprise the “Seven Below” > “Ghost” scored one of the top spots.
Read Scott Marks’ description of the outstanding start to Phish’s second set on November 28, 2009:
The words “20 minute jam” get thrown around a lot in the Phish community. In its purest form, it’s just a number, but those three words form a meaningful metric to many fans. Upon digging into the enormous amount of live shows circulating in the band’s career, you’ll find countless jams that are under 20 minutes that are spectacular and perhaps better improvisationally than some of their 20+ minute counterparts. The longer the improvisation, the more chance the band has to musically explore and go into new territory.
On the second night of Phish’s last two night run in Albany, fans were treated with two consecutive songs that exceeded the 20-minute mark in “Seven Below” and “Ghost.” While there had been some clear highlights in the band’s 2009 return after their breakup (the Camden “Sand” on June 7th and “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” and “Bathtub Gin” from the Gorge on August 7th immediately come to mind), this two-song combo passing 46 combined minutes is perhaps the best of the best for the year and holds up well when being compared to any era of great Phish. The “Seven Below” has 16 minutes of spectacular Type II jamming (improvisation played outside of the song’s core structure) with multiple directional shifts and by itself is a tremendous piece of the set. The “Ghost” that follows is just as good: a soaring, high energy jam to start with before taking off into new territory after a few minutes and then picking up speed and later intensifying around 17:30 for a ferocious finish.
The jam-filled start to the second set was followed by a huge ovation from the capacity crowd. Roars continued for what seemed like a few minutes before Phish unveiled the next trick up their sleeves: a cover of “Cool It Down” by The Velvet Underground. “Cool It Down” was last played on July 29, 2003 — a span of 71 shows. Phish famously debuted their take on the tune during their complete performance of Loaded on Halloween 1998 in Las Vegas.
“Cool It Down” wasn’t even the biggest bust out of the night, as Phish dusted off their cover of “Uncle Pen” in the first set. “Uncle Pen” had been shelved since July 11, 2000 — a span of 128 shows. Other highlights from the band’s show on this date in 2009 include the first “Vultures” of the era, rare renditions of “Sanity” and “Walk Away” and the “You Enjoy Myself” encore.
Watch Phish pair “Seven Below” and “Ghost” in Albany during Fall Tour 2009 below: