Archive for January, 2009

Weekend Nuggets: Gamehoist

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 31, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEKEND:

6.26.94 Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, WV < LINK

savegamehendge-395x561Here is one of Phish’s most unique shows of all time.  For starters, imagine walking into a show that opened with “Kung.”  The odd opener proceeded to be the portal to a complete first-set Gamehendge narration in the band’s first visit to West Virginia. Capped with a triumphant “Divided Sky,” the first set was enough to carry any show. But the second set was even more unique than the first.  Coming on stage, the band played their newly released album of Hoist in its entirety.  Not only did they play all the songs in the same order, they played them identically to the album versions; or as close as humanly possible.  The band even tacked a “Split” jam on the end of “Demand,” though not quite as nasty as jam from 4.21.93 in Columbus, OH that is featured on Hoist.  Throw a rare “Tube” in a four song encore, and you’ve got a certifiable piece of Phish history that is a must have for any collector.

I: Kung > Llama > Lizards > Tela > Wilson > AC/DC Bag > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird > The Sloth > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > The Divided Sky

121996757_593853d83eII: Julius, Down With Disease, If I Could, Axilla [Part II], Lifeboy, Sample in a Jar, Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Dog Faced Boy, Demand*

E: The Old Home Place**, Amazing Grace, Tube, Fire

*With “Split Open and Melt” jam & “Y-Rushalayim Schel Zahav” ending.**First time played.

***

VIDEO OF WEEKEND:

6.21.94 “Mound” Cincinnati, OH


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Ticket Paranoia!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 30, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Staring at the glowing screen with sweaty palms as your heart palpitates; refreshing the screen every second waiting to see that magical “Buy Tickets” button; constantly glancing at the time, moving as slow as Elmer’s glue; it’s all back.  This ritualistic stress has returned as we sit on the brink of Phish’s first ticket on-sale weekend in five years.  This time, it’s not just three shows, but an eleven show run over two days.

201The nerves always become a bit tense in the 24 hours leading up to the moment, as you try to devise the perfect strategy to succeed. Maybe you should open three windows at once?  Maybe you should drive a few states away to a random outlet and score in person?  Maybe you should try to keep the agent on the phone for the right amount of time?  Maybe you should go into work early on a Saturday morning to use their fast Internet connection on multiple computers?  Maybe you should split up the shows with your friends and all try for a separate one?  The options are endless, and the irony is that there is no clear cut “best way” to score tickets in this age.  This fact makes the game all the more fun to play!

1999-10-03gnTicket paranoia- it can be paralyzing! As you lie in bed the night before or sit at work waiting for the few hours to pass, your mind can become numb.  All of a sudden, you find yourself unable to perform any tasks other than refreshing the browser and your mind becomes obsessively one-tracked.  Thinking about, let alone accomplishing, anything else can sometimes be straight up impossible.  Maybe that’s where you’re at right now.

As the time approaches, the butterflies flutter a bit faster while your heart rate begins to steadily increase as if you were exercising.  Refresh.  The clock says 9:57.  Thoughts of Phish, the joys of summer, the warm air in the amphitheatre, the first set under the fading sun, the long carefree drives.  The clock still says 9:57.  Damn! Refresh.  This type of pattern continues for the next three minutes- however it seems like three hours- before that :59 finally turns to :00.

1998-04-04gn210:00.  Now the adrenaline kicks in, as you try your best to control your mouse-clicking finger, making sure you do things briskly, yet carefully.  At this point, your nerves and adrenaline can actually work against your fine motor skills; your body becomes momentarily discombobulated.  But you push through, overcoming as you must.  Damn!  You can’t read that security word- “Why the hell do they make them so hard to read?” you wonder.  You ask for another code word, thinking that this step could be your demise, or mean the difference between a great seat or a lawn seat.  Quickly you type in “design” and “snowbank” as quickly as possible while wondering how the hell they choose these random words. You finally click “Enter.”  Your waiting time is less than 2 minutes. Two minutes!!  You begin cursing in your mind, letting one or two leak out of your mouth. That wheel is spinning forever!  Around and around and around and around, then all of a sudden your wait time jumps down to “less than a minute.”  “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s GO!”, you think to yourself, waiting for that ticket page to appear.  YES!! Like a shaft of light shining on you from above, time stands still as the next screen appears -“Section 103, Row G, Seats 23, 24.”  Booyakasha!  A hundred pound weight lifted off of your head, and your anxiety turns to momentary glory.

2003-02-18gnThere is no time to rest, you have one minute and thirty seconds to complete a couple more steps.  Payment.  Since we haven’t ordered tickets in years, maybe you no longer have your credit card number memorized, so you lay it beside your keyboard.  Looking back and forth between every four numbers, you carefully type in the digits.  Then the expiration. Then the code.  Finally, the shipping.  You know this info by heart and you breeze through, recheck it all and submit your order.  Finally, you can relax.

livenation_logoBut this time there is no time to rest with seven shows going on sale!  Then four Saturday morning.  You’ve got to get your nose directly back to the cyber-grindstone and go for the gold.  Today, all of this will take place on foreign territory- Live Nation.  For years, fans have cursed Ticketmaster for any and every reason, but we all got very used to their website. We no longer needed to look for anything on the screen.  This time through, with a poor user interface, your guess is as good as mine as to how this will turn out.  Live Nation may crash and error out orders with the high demand for all we know- even Ticketmaster did that sometimes.

1997-11-28gnBut with all the different shows going on sale at the same time, the demand will hopefully be dispersed enough to ensure that many people can hook up some stubs.  With the likely ability to only score a couple of shows, I foresee a lot more online ticket trading before the beginning of June.  In the end, if you passionately want to go to any of the shows this summer, besides Asheville and The Fox, your will will get you in.  Just don’t give up, and for God’s sake, don’t stay home because you don’t have a ticket!  This may be against Phish’s “advised polices,” but if you haven’t found a ticket yet, and you really want one bad enough, you will find one on the lot.  Just get there early enough and scour like a madman! Don’t stand like a statue with your finger in the air.  It simply comes down to desire.

Best of luck to all in the newest version of the ticket game; this is only the beginning!

Share today’s ticket stories in Comments!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.14.99 BSU Pavilion, Boise, ID < LINK

9.14.99 Boise, ID

9.14.99 Boise, ID

Due to all of yesterday’s talk around this epic show, it has jumped to the top of the pile for today’s download.  Celebrate whatever tickets you get with one of the most exciting Phish sets of ’99.  Only two words needed here– “Bag,” and “Gumbo.”  Enjoy the weekend!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Sloth, The Curtain > Waste, Loving Cup, What’s the Use > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Farmhouse, Nellie Cane, Taste, Rocky Top

II: Peaches en Regalia, AC/DC Bag > Gumbo > Down with Disease, Frankenstein

E: Simple, Hello My Baby

A Blunt Prediction

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 29, 2009 by Mr.Miner

It was setbreak.  About halfway though, I ran into a buddy and fellow secret agent of mine on our highly classified Phish mission. After strategizing for a moment, we made an executive decision to chill and burn one.  As we sat down on the rubberized basketball court of the half-empty Boise State Pavilion, I pulled a pre-rolled blunt out of my pocket.  (Although I live out west, I did grow up on the East Coast!)  Few of our friends had made the significantly out-of-the way drive from Portland to Boise, only to turn around and head to back Shoreline on the coast, so when we met up, we thought we’d take the last train to Sparksville.

18821768_0a602c31bb1

9.14.99 Boise

As we inhaled our smoky delight, our spun minds turned to what Phish would come out with in the second set.  I noted that they hadn’t dropped a “Bag” thus far this tour, and Sean responded that he had noticed the same thing about “Gumbo.”  Hmm. “Sick!”, we thought, some sort of “Bag,” “Gumbo” combination in the second set! That would be great.  Our conversation drifted several different ways before it was ended as blunts burn for so long!  At some point we decided it was time to stake out our spots for the second set, despite the place being a ghost town.  He headed up front while I hung out about a third of the way back on the spacious floor. Meeting up with some other friends before the lights went down, my conversation with Sean was long gone from my memory- at least for now.

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Mid-thought, when the lights went out, and I quickly ditched my stuff safely before the music started.  As the band emerged, everyone assumed their desired place in the wide open gym of the Broncos.  As Phish stepped up to play, Fish’s quaking drumroll led right into the beginning of “Peaches!”  The band hadn’t broken out their old-school Zappa cover since 2.28.97 in Berlin, Germany.  The intimate crowd was immediately treated to a special moment, as all were fully aware that the Phish hadn’t thrown down a “Peaches” in years. My mind was taken adrift by the bust-out, and when they dropped directly into “AC/DC Bag,” my mind never considered my conversation of twenty minutes earlier.

As most know, this “Bag” transformed into an all-time highlight, as the band transcended the song with existential playing that spoke directly to the soul.  Moving from funky AC/DC Bag textures, the band moved into ambient beauty that started in a dark place and became one of the most truly beautiful and awe-inspiring Phish jams.  The dark mysterious textures patiently grew into a musical portal directly to the divine through some of the most inspirational playing of the fall.  Peaking this gorgeous section of improv, the band dove  into a straight-ahead groove, hinting at “Crosseyed,” much like the Portland Meadows “Ghost” from days before, taking the theme for an exciting ride.

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Once the music settled to the point of almost all sustained effects, they peeled them away at once for a heavy drop into “Gumbo.”  Boom– our prophecy had come true, but shit if i realized it!  I was so lost in the magnificence of what had just happened, that even the plunge into “Gumbo” didn’t make me recall the prediction we had made.  The music bellowed out of the speakers, taking over the small crowd who no longer knew if there were five or fifty thousand people there.  As the slow paced song took its time loafing into the jam, I embraced the compositional break without having my heart tied directly to spiritual improv for a few minutes.

But when those verses ended, we knew to expect a dance party with ample room for everyone and their double.  As the jam began, it took almost no time at all for Mike to begin teasing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”  The music was moved from the uber-psychedelic realm to that of a dance club, and the band began pounding out slow rhythms.  As soon as Trey began joining the tease, the crowd responded huge and the band returned their energy with a full-on jam of the song.  Some of the most engaging grooves of the night came when the band began to improvise out of the Queen rhythms, creating a somewhat retro Phish-funk jam that reminded us of years past.

In a set that ended with “Disease” and “Frankenstein,” the musical fireworks were front-loaded in this one, yet Phish selected the perfect songs to feed off of the energy and emotion they had stirred up within their audience.  After the magnificent set, I met up with my friend Adam inside the venue and began heading out, reveling in the post-show flood of emotional bliss.  As I threw a sweatshirt on to head out into the mild fall night,  I saw Sean walking up ahead.

9.16.99 - Shoreline (Susanna Millman)

9.16.99 - Shoreline (Susanna Millman)

“Wait a second!?” I thought to myself, as our setbreak blunt talk quickly replayed through my head in milliseconds.  “They just ripped exactly what we had said they should!”, I thought, as my heart pounded heavier.  “And I never even realized it the entire set!? Ha!” I laughed to myself out loud.  I sprinted ahead and caught up with Sean and tapped him on the shoulder enthusiastically.  As he turned around, he knew exactly why I was so excited, and we reflected on the bizarre connection to something bigger that we felt at that point.  Did we predict the future?  Had we invented the set?  Would it have happened if we hadn’t shared that smoke and spoken that conversation?  Maybe so, maybe not.

These are the things that are beyond our explanation; strange predictions that turn out correct, synchronicities between you and the band.  This time, the “Bag > Gumbo” was a tour highlight, not to mention one of the high points of all ’99.  With this Phishy magic in the air, my absurd backtrack to Portland to pick up my future wife, which seamlessly segued into a non-stop drive to our place in Santa Cruz, seemed like nothing at all, albeit a near-24 hour haul.  Sometimes when the larger forces are at play the menial tasks don’t seem so important.  Puffing bubblers of Bubbleberry with Adam across the Northwest, pumping the “Bag > Gumbo” on the desolate Idaho highway, nothing could have been more perfect.  It was one of those timeless moments on tour that you will remember forever; the moments that make up the fabric of it all.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.15.98 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA < LINK

phish-fillmore-98The announcement of this special show sent ripples through the Phish community as the band prepared to play a pre-tour gig at one of Bill Graham’s famous haunts.  Once the on-sale location was disclosed over the radio, fans raced to a specific pier on the Embarcadero to get a place in line that would ensure them tickets.  The show contained many highlights, including a first set that far outshone the second.  Compiling two 90 minute sets, everyone got their hard fought ticket’s worth out of this night.  Show highlights include “Ghost,” “Wolfman’s,” “Gumbo,” and “Reba”– all in the first frame!  The second set brought a welcome rendition of “The Moma Dance” and a fabulous set ending “Hood.”

I: Ghost, Water in the Sky, Wolfman’s Brother, Gumbo, David Bowie, Brian and Robert, Reba, Character Zero

2: My Soul, Chalkdust Torture, Roggae, The Moma Dance, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Prince Caspian, Frankie Says, Birds of a Feather, Lawn Boy, Harry Hood

E: Dirt, Limb by Limb

So Stupendous…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Does anyone in the scene not love “Tube?” If such a person exists, I have yet to meet them.  A former four-minute rarity between the years of ’93-’96, “Tube” was busted out in more ways than one at Dayton’s Nutter Center in December of ’97.  A song that always contained small portions of incredibly dancy and hard-hitting grooves, one could never get enough of the elusive favorite.  But that night in Dayton changed everything.

508836745_2e13da97e8It was on that night that Phish discovered how perfectly congruent the song was to their new jamming style, and as the band tore through the patient rhythms that typified their style of Fall ’97, it was like they were rediscovering the song and finding its new potential for improv.  In fact, they liked what they heard so much, they decided to hop right back into the jam when the song ended, improvising off the funked-out theme by slowly blending melodies into the mix, reaching a transition to a majestic set-ending “Slave.” The band clearly enjoyed their new vehicle, revisiting the song twice more that month; once being the pimp-daddy version on 12.29.97 at MSG.  But over the next three years “Tube” would become a regular occurrence at Phish shows for the first time since the early ’90s.  And this time around, it was a whole new ballgame.

Everyone knows about the popular “Tubes”– Dayton ’97, MSG ’97, Nassau ’98, Gorge ’98, Hershey ’00, Miami ’03, Deer Creek ’04– but what about some more obscure versions of this dance anthem?  Making the transformation into a musical launchpad during late-’97, Phish would go on to play 31 tubes by the end of ’03, most of the extended variety.  Here are five of these lesser known, yet still stupendous, versions to check out. (Roll over links and press play to listen!)

7.29.98 II Riverport Amphitheatre Maryland Heights, MO

dscf0002Coming deep in the second set of this unique and outstanding show, this “Tube” has lived in the shadows of the monster “Gin” and “Buried Alive” in the same show.  If the “new” “Tube” was born during Fall ’97, the jam came of age in the Summer of ’98, moving in more directions than ever before.  This version features outstanding lead playing by Trey, coupled with passages of quintessential ’98 wah-grooves.  Mike let loose interesting bass patterns throughout the entire jam, providing a dynamism to the music that you don’t hear out of every “Tube.”  Locked in and oozing uptempo summer dance grooves, Phish provided a chunky late set highlight that absolutely raged.

LISTEN TO 7.29.98 TUBE NOW!

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11.2.98 I E Centre, West Valley, UT

This colossal “Tube” opened the usually overlooked first set to “The Dark Side Show.”  Many forget anything else even happened that night in Utah, but in fact the entire show was filled with blistering Phish, including this raucous fifteen-minute 510920898_5f88668239“Tube.”  Trey set up a palette of loops and effects at the beginning of the jam while Fish led a sparse groove with an urgent beat and shimmering cymbal work.  This opener is faster than many “Tubes” of ’98, unleashing a fury of dance rhythms at us.  Amidst this high-speed chase, the band allowed for bits of melodic release, a la Gorge ’98, while they continued to chug along. Trey moved in and out of lead melodies and funk rhythms fluently as this jam grew quickly.

Upon the conclusion of the song, the band was so amped about how the show had started, they leapt right back into the “Tube” jam a la Dayton ’97.  Splashing back into the fast-paced jam, Trey and Page immediately took it into darker, spacier territory as Fish responded by switching up the beat underneath.  The band entered a period of improv that digressed from the typical Phish-funk of “Tube.”  Trey played some leads that took the jam further down this divergent path, soon hinting at the chord progression of “Drowned,” foreshadowing their upcoming transition.  The music became increasingly nasty and sublime simultaneously before Trey peaked the jam with some “First Tube”-esque searing walls of sound.  Without missing a beat, the entire band smashed directly into into the beginning of “Drowned.”

LISTEN 11.2.98 TUBE NOW!

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9.28.99 I Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham, AL

508787037_b7ab1319a8After a long rainy day in a lot that, at best, boasted outdoor Kentucky Blueberry, fans were greeted by the thick triumvirate of “Wolfman’s,” “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Tube” to open the show.  Bursting with dance-candy, Phish treated the crowd to slowed-down experiment in “Tube.”  Utilizing the open-air structure of the amphitheatre, the band laid way back, playing less notes and allowing them to bellow over the crowd with emphasis.  This was the type of music you felt like you were in.  The initial part of the jam saw Trey and Page focus more on sculpting a soundscape than playing melody.  Instead, Mike takes over the melodic lead, providing an improvised series of bouncing Gordeaux bass lines.  Trey adds in some very ’99 style effects, allowing some seething sounds to emerge from his guitar.  Towards the end of the jam, Big Red finally adds some hard rhythm playing for all the Trey-crack addicts in the crowd.

LISTEN TO 9.28.99 TUBE NOW!

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12.13.99 I Providence Civic Center, RI

atl51This “Tube” fittingly opened a show that was squarely focused on groove the entire evening.  Phish cannonballed into this show with high-energy dance grooves that popped off the stage.  Trey sat back, set up his loops and effects and subtly accented the band’s pattens while Mike and Page stepped forward.  Following a drum fill, Trey comes flying into the jam off of a tornado slide with his “Joker” tone, as if he is actually laughing through his guitar.  Taking center stage, he absolutely shred apart the entire rest of the jam as the venue raged along.  The whole band decided to come out firing with enthusiasm on this night, creating a veritable fest of groove.

LISTEN TO 12.13.99 TUBE NOW!

***

9.22.2000 II Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

9.22.00 Rosemont

9.22.00 Rosemont

Page, Mike and Fish carried the early portion of this succinct second set opening version. Trey played in the background of this deep groove moreso than most, yet would emerge more prominently as the version progressed.  This rendition, typical of many ’99 and ’00 “Tubes,” saw Trey set his own series of loops and effects while his mates created a rhythmic canvas for him to come in and paint on.  The band got hooked up in earnest during the second half of this jam, killing it, and setting up a big set. Trey hopped onto his keyboard for the final part of this jam, echoing patterns we heard played via his guitar.

LISTEN TO 9.22.00 TUBE NOW!

What are your favorite “Tubes?”  Respond in Comments below!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.4.96 Sports Arena, San Diego, CA < LINK

phish-clifford-ball-jp-fishThis penultimate show of Fall’96 was carried by a massive “Mike’s Sandwich” that is rivaled by few others.  The entire second set, aside from the quick “Ha, Ha, Ha” opener was stuffed into the over-sized “Groove.”  Coupled with a long first set that contained several favorites, this show can hold its own against any from the two-month Fall ’96 run.

I: My Friend My Friend, Chalk Dust Torture, Horn, Uncle Pen, Timber Ho!, Sample in a Jar, Train Song, Guyute, Character Zero, Lizards, David Bowie

II: Ha Ha Ha, Mike’s Song  > Prince Caspian > Sparkle > Punch You in the Eye, Life on Mars, Reba, Lawn Boy*, Weekapaug Groove

E: Jesus Just Left Chicago

*Trey thanks the caterering crew and gets two of them on stage to dance.

Spacetime Funk

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 27, 2009 by Mr.Miner

holy-islandWith the next episode of LOST coming tomorrow, I figured we’d do a little time traveling of our own.  Let’s hop in, fire up the flux-capacitor, harness 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity and be on our way back to 1988.  August 6th, 1988 to be exact.  Upon vanishing from 2009, and skidding into the past, we find ourselves flux1amidst the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  We land in the small town of Telluride; a ski town during the winter, but, for us, it is a fine summer night.  It feels like we were brought here for a reason- but what is that reason?  The quantum puzzle is a bit overwhelming and we just need a beer to relax for a minute.  Taking a turn down the nearest street, we ditch into the first bar.  It was called “The Roma.”

Sitting at a table, we order a few drafts.  But before getting them, we notice a thumping groove coming from the stage behind us.  Turning around, we are struck by the absolute dorkiness of the musicians, yet the music is good, no it was better than good, this shit is funky!  These guys are…Phish?!

telluride-town-centerAs our side-effects dissipate from the journey through space-time, we figure out we have been summoned by an old-school YEM jam to this very bar, but why?  When is the last time we have actually listened to 1988 Phish?  Maybe that was part of the answer?  All these existential thoughts are quickly wiped from the forefront of our mind as a huge groove takes over the bar.

The jam is laid back, very relaxed- almost like a half-speed YEM from the future.  But what stands out is the patience of such a young band and the way they use each other’s musical ideas to further their own.  They might be young, but these guys have the chops; they can play.  Forming some truly funky rhythms during the beginning of the jam, Trey sits way back and let phish-colorado_88_bMike and Fishman lead things out of the gate.  Page provides the lead melody in the form of large organ swells, while in the background, Trey smiles that goofy smile and begins throwing down a series of exact rhythm licks that we would come to love and know by heart nine years later.

Trey remains in the background as the other three direct this jam’s initial course.  But when Trey slides into the improv, he begins to wail some signature YEM leads with authority over the already fat groove.  All of a sudden we are smack in the middle of a raging YEM and Gordon begins to assault us with huge bass bombs, digging in far deeper mid-jam, launching the explosives into the small audience without concern.  The music far out-sizes these tiny surroundings as the band brings the YEM to a soaring peak- eighties style.

The drop into Mike’s bass solo lasts only a short bit before the rest of the band hops back into the mix, engaging in song-ending antics where Trey and Fish straight go batty.  As the two improvise lyrics such as “Baby! Baby! Baaabay!” and shouting “Good God y’all!,” all of a sudden, we are witnessing a legitimate old-school Phish freak-out!  The band emerges from this absurdity with a funky groove, different than then the previous jam.  Before getting a chance to acclimate to the jam, Phish shifts right into “Cities” without missing a beat.  Hearing this version that doesn’t sound all-together different from the versions of the late ’90s, a thought begins to stir inside your head.

While Trey sings the song as a twenty-something rather than a forty-something, the music behind it is still so slammin’!  All of a sudden, you find yourself carving out a slice of dance floor and bumping to the infectious beats.  This band was going somewhere- you knew that- but now you knew why.

p07074ew206As the second verse ends, Trey and Page begin a shrill pattern that departs from “Cities,” while Mike and Fish create a uniquely Phishy groove beneath them.  What the hell was going on?  You’ve never heard this before.  That is correct, this is a full on raging “Dave’s Energy Guide!”  As soon as you realize it, boom!  The band slams back into the full speed grooves.  And people say that Phish funk started during 1997!?  Ha!  This was funky as hell.  Phish had played funk all along!  Just as quickly as this crazy experience happened, the band slammed on the breaks, ending the song, and the 25 minute multi-dimensional experience.

25smAs we begin to join in the applause with the rest of the intimate bar, we feel a force drawing us backwards towards the door.  We try to stay, but we can’t; someone or something won’t let us.  As we are pulled though the doorway, we drop a couple twenties on the ground to settle our tab, as we hear Phish start up “Take the A Train.”  Once outside, we can barely hear anything at all.  What was the point if we couldn’t even stay for the second set?  The show had just started!  Hmmm.  Something strange was afoot at the Circle K.

As we are pulled back into the DeLorean and sped back to the future, the reason for this escapade dawns on us.  Someone wanted to send us a message, and the message came loud and clear.  Phish didn’t get funky on Halloween ’96.  Phish didn’t even turn funky in Hamburg, Germany on March 1st, 1997, even though they made an album out of it.  Phish were born funky.  Now we understood.

hw77The myth goes that Phish was a band that didn’t play dance grooves until their seismic transformation in 1997.  However, go revisit any show from any year, and I guarantee that you will hear echoes of the late ’90s ring true.  While the cosmic magnifying glass was certainly placed on whole-band groove come ’97, this was something Phish had incorporated into their music from day one. Well, at least since that crazy “YEM > Cities” in 1988!  That much we now know for sure.

LISTEN TO 8.6.88’s YEM >CITIES NOW! (Roll over songs and click play.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.23.88 “Pete’s Fabulous Phish Fest” Underhill, VT SBD < LINK

phish_logoKeeping with the theme of both yesterday (“Mike’s Groove”) and today’s of old-school improv, here we have a three-set Phish extravaganza from 1988 that features the public debut of “Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug.”  All of the early classics are found somewhere within this marathon gig. Check out very young versions of lots of your favorite songs.  Ironically, this SBD recording will be passed onto Pete, the host of the party over 20 years ago!  It’s a small world.

I: Intro. Jam, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Lizards, On Your Way Down, AC/DC Bag, Possum, Walk Away, Bold as Love, No Dogs Allowed

II: The Sloth, Fire*, The Curtain, Terrapin, Run Like an Antelope, Satin Doll, Blue Bossa, La Grange, Alumni Blues, Peaches en Regalia

III: You Enjoy Myself, Contact, Harry Hood, Dinner and a Movie, Slave to the Traffic Light, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Good Times Bad Times

Show billed as “Pete’s Fabulous Phish Fest.” *With Peter Danforth (host) on sax.

The Middle of Mike’s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 26, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Mike’s, Hydrogen, Weekapaug. Ahhh.  It rolls off your tongue sweetly, with just enough syllables to create a mini-rhythm all its own.  This musical combination represents a pristine Phishy realm, like an untouched natural habitat.  Debuted at Underhill, VT, on July 23, 1988, the trilogy of “Mike’s Groove” was born.   During the band’s formative years from late-1988 thru the end of 1992, the band would engage in over 200 “Mike’s Grooves” without anything but “I Am Hydrogen” between the bookends.  Yet, as the band progressed into late-’93 and ’94, things didn’t always remain as pure.

img_1416Regardless of the many interludes the band would take between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” during their career, “I Am Hydrogen” always fit the best.  Providing a gorgeous confluence of harmony and melody, it was the ideal connection between the dark and boisterous “Mike’s” jam and the happy, celebratory nature of “Weekpaug.”  Together, the three formed a mini-psychedelic journey all on their own.  Flowing seamlessly from sinister mystery to inner reflection and capped by cathartic release, “Mike’s Groove” was an acid trip in a microcosm.  The three-song suite grew to be as Phishy as anything in the band’s catalog, never ceasing to bring roars from any and every crowd.

Before “Simple” was debuted at San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre on May 27, 1994, Phish had already begun creating divergent segues out of “Mike’s Song.”  Breaking the 200+ streak on February 4th, 1993 in Providence, RI by merging “Mike’s” with “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday,” all bets were now off.  But on this spring night in San Francisco, Phish introduced what would become the next chapter in “Mike’s Groove” mid-pieces.

picture-021bAs the band began to experiment with the transition into “Simple,” hitting it at various points in the Mike’s jam, the effect was always similar- a surge of collective adrenaline and a roar from the crowd.  The guitar anthem had such a catchy hook and playful lyrics, it was hard not to enjoy the new addition.  Yet, the Gordon-scribed piece, while adding energy to the overall “Mike’s Groove,” took away the flowing peaks and valleys of the musical path.  Throughout the rest of 1994, “Simple” split time with “Hydrogen” as the Mike’s Groove connector.

Once ’95 hit, Phish began using different songs out of “Mike’s,” diverging from their pattern of years past. 1995, the year of the fewest “Mike’s Groove’s” up to that point, saw such diverse pieces as “Contact,” “McGrupp,” “Keyboard Cavalry” and “A Day in the Life” take “Mike’s” into “Weekapaug.”  In 1996, “Simple” morphed into its own jam vehicle, and while often played inside “Mike’s p1010089Grooves,” many standalone versions provided set highlights.  Throughout ’96 and ’97, “Simple” and “Hydrogen” again split time as the dominant “Groove” connectors, and on July 22, 1997, amidst an epic second set and monsoon in Raleigh, NC, the band brought both songs into a super “Mike’s Groove” for the first time ever, a hallmark occasion in Phish history.  During these same years, however, a new trend was also emerging- the “Mike’s Sandwich.”

As the mid to late ’90’s progressed, “Mike’s Sandwiches”- instances where Phish would stuff multiple songs in between the slices of “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” became more prevalent.  Often creating whole sets out of a “Sandwich,” the band turned more inventive in what could constitute a “Groove.”  Most of these “sandwiches” fell in line with the burgeoning pattern of using “Simple” as the main exit out of “Mike’s” for ’98, ’99, and ’00.  During these years, the band literally cut most “Mike’s Song’s” in half, substituting “Simple” for the second Mike’s jam after the initial, old-school strobe and trampoline jam.

image-ba5376ba449611d7Phish’s final show at Shoreline before the hiatus, 10.7.00, saw “Mike’s Groove” return to its original incarnation, kick-starting the band’s finale early in the first set.  This farewell “Groove” proved to me a harbinger of post-hiatus “Mike’s Grooves” which would see a return to the combo’s initial form.  All but one performance in ’03 and ’04 adopted the uncompromising flow of the original trilogy- “Mike’s > Hydrogen  > Weekapaug.”

Only three times in their career did Phish bypass a connector all together, improvising right from “Mike’s” directly into “Weekapaug.”  All three- Hershey 12.1.95, Niagara Falls 12.7.95, and The Gorge 7.17.98– were huge moments in band history.

With the impending return of Phish, you would figure we aren’t too far away from our next “Groove.”  It will be interesting to see what direction Phish will take its classic interlude in this third time around the block.

What are your favorite “Middle’s of Mike’s?” Respond in Comments!

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SUMMER ’09:

BONNAROO: While the official line-up will be announced on February 3rd.  Most feel that with the addition of Knoxville, that Phish is a shoe in.  This article from Spinner.com certainly seems to think so.

header-new1TICKETS: Things seemed to go more smoothly for the general community with Summer Tour’s ticket requests.  Despite the inevitable rejections (including my order), with less concentrated demand, more fans seemed to get their hands on some tickets.  If you have some extras that you need to trade, there is a lot of trading going on over at Phantasy Tour.  If you have any extra pavilions for any show, look no further than mrminer@phishthoughts.com! I’m looking! I’ll get all the regular on sale info up here in an organized fashion before Friday so you can plan your strategy….In other news, I’m already hearing talk about Halloween at MSG!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.20.93 Red Rocks SBD < LINK
pollockposterWith most everyone waiting with bated breath for the potential announcement of Red Rocks shows, (and others denying it could ever happen), I thought we’d revisit the band’s first trip to Morrison, Colorado’s legendary venue. A sublime show the whole way through smack in the middle of one of Phish’s best months of their career, highlights abound from both sets.  The setlist speaks for itself.  The “Antelope” is insane.

I: The Divided Sky, Harpua, Poor Heart, Maze, Bouncing Around the Room > It’s Ice > The Wedge, Ginseng Sullivan, Rift, Run Like an Antelope

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, My Friend My Friend > Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain* > HYHU, Cavern

E: The Mango Song, Freebird

*With Mimi Fishman (Fish’s mom) on vacuum.

Weekend Nuggets: The Palace Theatre ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 24, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

img_0645This weekend we have two soundboard copies of a classic two-night stand in Albany during May of 1993.  Both are beautiful relics of a bygone are; standout shows from the “speedjazz” era of 1993.  Enjoy!

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*Jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

5.6.93 The Palace Theatre, ALbany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Mound, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, All Things Reconsidered, Llama, Fluffhead, Possum, Lawn Boy*, Why You Been Gone so Long**, Tennessee Waltz**, Fast Train**

II: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer, Tela, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam, The Squirming Coil, Mike’s Song > Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da jam* > Rocky Top*, HYHU > Cracklin’ Rosie > HYHU, That’s Alright Mama**

E: Sweet Adeline, Contact, Tweezer Reprise

*With Dick Solberg on fiddle. **With Dick Solberg on fiddle and Jeff Walton on acoustic guitar.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Mike’s Song > H2” 3.31.92 Columbia, MO

“Weekapaug” 3.31.92