Today we look back to December 30, 2009…

Phish Move from Undermind to “Manteca” in Miami

The second night of Phish’s four-show run at Miami’s American Airlines Arena featured a mix of road-tested jam-vehicles and latter day deep cuts. The band’s first set ran the gamut—from early rockers such as a show-opening “Golgi Apparatus” to complex compositions like “Reba” and “The Divided Sky” to simpler folk songs like “Driver.” Phish also offered the second ever live versions of the Undermind tracks “The Connection” and “Access Me.” The band had not played Mike Gordon’s bouncy “Access Me” since June 26, 2004 and only first performed “The Connection” at Noblesville, IN’s Deer Creek Amphitheater this past June. The group flexed its improvisational muscles as well with an exploratory “Maze” and a funky “Wolfman’s Brother.”

Phish’s second set opened with the Joy rocker “Kill Devil Falls,” but really took shape during an extended “Tweezer.” The song quickly moved past its scripted outline and into a jam based around Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca.”(Phish released a cover of the song on A Picture of Nectar). After playing around with nonsensical vocals, the group moved into a beautiful melodic passage that recalled moments off The Siket Disc and, finally, “Prince Caspain.” The meat of the rest of the set consisted of a freeform, delay loop-heavy “Gotta Jibboo” that quickly shifted into “Wilson” and back in “Gotta Jibboo,” “Heavy Things” and “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Sleeping Monkey” and “Tweezer Reprise” brought the night to a close.

Bonobo And The Biscuits

The Disco Biscuits are currently in the midst of a multi-night run at New York’s Nokia Theatre. Influential British DJ and producer Simon Green, who performs as Bonobo, both opened for the group at the Nokia this past Sunday and played one of the group’s official post-shows at New York’s Highline Ballroom. In addition, last night Green sat in with the Disco Biscuits for “Flash Mob” at the start of its first set. Later in the night, the Disco Biscuits’ set was also interrupted when a fire alarm went off during a version of the song “Floes.” The Disco Biscuits will return to the Nokia tonight, while Bonobo will perform in Budapest on New Year’s Eve.

Yonder To Perform on Craig Ferguson, Dr. Banjo Joins The Band

Last night in Boulder, the Yonder Mountain String Band opened its three show New Year’s Eve run. Although the group did not add a drummer as it has done on occasion, it did break from bluegrass tradition as Ben Kaufmann moved from acoustic to electric bass for a few songs (“Pockets,” “Midwest Gospel Radio” and “New Speedway Boogie”). In addition, Dr. Banjo himself, Pete Wernick, guested on a few tunes during the second set. Wernick appeared on “No Expectations,” “Walking Shoes” and then the encore run from “Ruby” into “Ruben’s Train” and back into “Ruby.”

Yonder will appear at the Fillmore in Denver over the next two nights and then has a special performance slated for Tuesday, January 5. The group will be the musical guest on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Actresses Patricia Heaton and Carey Mulligan are also set to appear on the show which airs following the Late Show with David Letterman (technically the early morning of Wednesday January 6 in most of the U.S.).

John Zorn’s Annual End Of The Year Improv

A number of musicians will come together tonight in New York City to support The Stone. John Zorn is the artistic director of the venue, which is located in the East Village at the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street. This evening’s show doubles as a rent party, helping to raise funds to keep the not-for-profit performance space afloat. This evening’s show will feature Zorn on sax along with: Billy Martin (percussion), Kenny Wollesen (drums), Erik Friedlander (cello), Sam Kulik (trombone), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass), Ned Rothenberg (sax), Harris Eisenstadt (drums), Jim Staley (trombone) and many others.