Archive for February, 2009

Weekend Nuggets: Fuji Rock ’99

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

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

fujiThis weekend we have the two headlining gigs from Phish’s first trip to Japan in Summer ’99.  Playing on the isolated “Field of Heaven” stage, Phish treated the predominantly Japanese audience with two blistering shows, carrying their momentum from their extensive US tour to the Far East.  Highlights abound throughout these two shows, including two phenomenal second sets.  The 31st was held down by the huge “2001 > Bowie,” opening the flowing second set with some extended improv.  A late set “Fluffhead” fir perfectly as a cathartic release to this frame.

7.31.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP < LINK

7.31.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP < TORRENT LINK

I: My Friend My Friend, Golgi Apparatus, Get Back on the Train, Limb by Limb, Free, Roggae, Sparkle, Character Zero

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Prince Caspian, Fluffhead, The Squirming Coil

E: Vac/Horn Duo*, Brian and Robert**, Simple

Encore began with Tibetan monk Newang Chechang (sp?) speaking about the situation in Tibet. *Fish on vacuum with Newang on a long horn. **With Newang on wooden flute.

Source: unk

**

8.1.99 (phish.com)

8.1.99 (phish.com)

The last night of Summer ’99 was certainly one of the best.  With a second half that boasted a “Tweezer,” a “Mike’s Groove,” and a “YEM,” the last set of the summer was chock full of musical fireworks. In addition to the well crafted second set, the first read like a “Who’s Who” of old-school Phish songs.  This is a show that is required for any complete collection, and its a SBD, taboot, taboot.

8.1.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP SBD < LINK

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8.1.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP SBD < TORRENT LINK

I: Cities, Rift, Wilson, The Moma Dance, The Divided Sky, Horn, Split Open and Melt, Poor Heart, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope

II: Possum > Tweezer > Llama > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Wedge, Lizards, You Enjoy Myself

E: Sweet Adeline, Tweezer Reprise

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HAMPTON PHOTOGRAPHY: HELP NEEDED!

hampton_outsideI am putting out an open invitation for photo contributions from Hampton, specifically inside the show, to use on Phish Thoughts the very next day.  Anyone can email me photos after the show that night, and I will use the best shots for my review of the show.  Please email me the files and at mrminer@phishthoughts.com within three to four hours after the show is over. The photos selected for use on the site will be clearly accredited to you, the photographer.  Thank you in advance for any and all contributions- it will be great to have current pictures on each new post from you, the readers!

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HAMPTON CONTEST: WIN A SUNDAY TICKET!

3251306826_09e533a8acDr. Trip over at Festival Family.com is running a contest for one last 3.8 Sunday night Hampton ticket! The rules are simple, and are as follows:

  • The person with the funniest Festival story, Picture or Video wins the ticket!
  • Contest is going to run from 02/26/09 -03/04/09
  • Anyone is allowed to enter as many times as they like.

Click here to enter!

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND

Fuji Rock Festival Montage 1999 (You get a great feel for the festival)


The Contours of Our Lives

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

861908007_5b4984449aIf you’ve been reading this site for any amount of time, you’ve figured out that my affinity is for dark, menacing Phish.  The flip side of this musical coin are Phish’s many blissful improvisations, such as “Hood,” “Reba,” or “Slave;” songs that you must lack a pulse to not feel drawn to.  Yet, Phish isn’t just about the peaks, they are about the natural contour of their shows.  When they play a memorable one, the dynamic of the music mirrors the spectrum of human experience.  While the band often accesses the more tender points of life via delicate improvisation, they also do it through the use of ballads.

While many a jaded fan consider Phish ballads time for a “piss break,” they are anything but.  I never really grasped the concept of leaving the room while Phish was onstage; you just never know what could happen, and you miss the full experience.  The band doesn’t play ballads to fill time in the set, rather, they are part of the organic flow of the Phish phenomenon.  Sure, they could play “Tweezer > Mike’s > YEM > Tube > Antelope > Weekapaug,” but then they wouldn’t be Phish (though you phili6wouldn’t see me complaining.)  Phish is about the totality of our lives, not just the fun and exciting parts, but the pensive and reflective ones, too.  Often times, Phish ballads are a central way to access those places in our minds and in our hearts that we don’t readily visit.  But the beauty of Phish’s slower songs exists in their congruency to the universal human emotions that we all feel.

If you keep an open soul to receive the Phish, you have come to appreciate and understand the purpose of these songs.  Several are able to artistically convey feelings of loss, desperation, longing, and fear with rich imagery-laden lyrics.  “If I Could,” expresses the helplessness of someone who cannot meet the needs of their lover, and who futilely tries to figure a way to make things work.  “Wading In a Velvet Sea,” a poignant ballad, both musically and lyrically, exposes a vulnerable narrator who longs for “moments in a box” representing his past days of connection that have long since passed.  “Fast Enough For You,” is another similarly themed song, expressing the loss of love and the inability to recapture times gone by. “Lifeboy’s” liquid music matches its introspective lyrics- “Dangling here between the light above and blue below that drags me down.”  These aren’t “cheesy” themes; this is the fabric of life.

pict0020Using these more melancholic songs, Phish is able to access the parts of our lives in which we have felt such loss and pain; and who hasn’t?  Tapping into life’s universal themes, the band employs these songs as an entry point into our feelings.  Take, for example, “Dirt.”  Its simple melodies and lyrics speak volumes about a human emotion that everyone has felt- the desire to disappear from the madness and confusion that often plagues us in our everyday lives.  Sure, these songs may not be what you or I want to hear at a particular moment, but their rightful place in the arc of a Phish show is undeniable.

However, not all ballads are of somber subject.  Phish has an ability to capture our imaginations with ballads, touching on the more tender side of life.  “Billy Breathes” is the delicate story of a child’s birth told through majestically composed music.  “Train Song” captures the night time tranquility of the countryside as two lovers share one of life’s soulful moments together. “Strange Design” represents life-affirming advice about our struggle to “keep the tires off the lines,” sending the message that whatever trials and tribulations are put in our path, the human spirit can persevere.  “Just relax you’re doing fine, swimming in this real thing I call life.”  These are meaningful life messages that are often lost in fans’ hyped up desires for the next huge chunk of improv.  Don’t worry, that jam will come; but they key to Phish is “the moment,” and these songs are as much a part of “the moment” as any.  Some may not want to accept this as true, desiring more time spent with rocking improv, but those people are swimming upstream, against the natural current of a Phish show.  “The trick is to surrender to the flow,” and these are necessary parts of Phish’s natural flow.

dscf29380The band can also bring us to a place of childhood wonder with their slower songs.  “Prince Caspian,” while almost universally disliked, boasts a fantastic voyage “afloat upon the waves.”  Like a nighttime reverie of a young child, the subject longs for the wonder and adventure of the fictional Prince, alluding to his adventures in Narnia.  Even if you never read “The Chronicles of Narnia” as a child and don’t connect with the lyrics of this song, Trey’s soaring guitar solo narrates the triumphant plot for you.

If you were to go through each and every Phish ballad, you could connect a genuine human experience to each, giving these songs an emotional legitimacy that is often ignored due to their tempo.  Without these interludes between the “Bowies” and “Splits” and “Stashs,” there would be no natural curvature to an evening with Phish.  Countless DJs and other bands can provide a non-stop dance party, but Phish goes deeper into the soul; deeper into what makes us human.  It is this multi-dimensional richness that defines the Phish experience.  If you don’t get what I’m saying, well…just go take a piss.

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HAMPTON “PUSH ON” AFTER-PARTIES:

If you want to kick it to some electronic beats after the shows, the Bay Area’s Symbiosis Events and ArtNowSF are teaming up with The Beat Register to throw down three parties with some eclectic lineups at the Tribeca in Newport News.  Details can be found here. Tickets can be bought here.

push-on-flier-tryptych

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: NEW TORRENT FEATURE!

I recently switched over to Amazon S3 hosting for Phish Thought’s daily downloads.  In addition to faster and more reliable downloads, a great feature of this service, is that I can generate torrent files with the click of a button.  Therefore, If you have a BitTorrent client installed on your machine, please grab the “Download of the Day” using the torrent link as much as possible.  The torrent link will be right under the usual download link.  It would save me a buck or two if everyone began to use this feature, which would be great since I’m not making any money through this site.  We are also preparing and testing the system for the much anticipated No Spoilers Hampton Downloads, so if can use the torrent today, please do.  If you don’t have a BitTorrent client, feel free to download it the old fashioned way with the regular link.

Why torrent? Two main reasons:

1) It will be faster for you.  The power of a large BitTorrent swarm means you will be grabbing the file from many users – and also from Amazon, as necessary.

2) It will be cheaper for me.  I host these files at Amazon S3 because they are super reliable – this will be key for the No Spoilers downloads.  Unfortunately, Amazon charges me for storage and bandwidth used, so if you can help save me a few bucks, I’d appreciate it.

PS: If you don’t have a BitTorrent client and are feeling adventurous, you could try to download one for free.  Perhaps uTorrent for Windows, and Transmission for Mac.  Or Vuze for either.

PPS: If you don’t know much about torrents, one important thing is to keep your client running after you’ve downloaded the file – that lets you keep uploading to others once you’ve finished downloading

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.11.96 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK DBSD < LINK

7.11.96 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK DBSD <  TORRENT LINK

Europe '96 Poster

Europe '96 Poster

Here we have a DSBD copy of the band’s first headlining gig during Europe ’96.  In between these few shows, Phish would play one-set openers for Santana, prepping the European audience for return tours over the next two summers.  Some of the treats in this show include a rare “Harry Hood” set opener, “2001 > Maze,” first set versions of “Stash” and “Reba,” as well as the UK debut of The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life.”

I: Runaway Jim, Cavern, Reba, I Didn’t Know, Sparkle, Stash, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar

II: Harry Hood > Bouncing Around the Room, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Maze, Lizards, HYHU > Terrapin > HYHU, You Enjoy Myself, Hello My Baby

E: A Day in the Life

A Space Odyssey

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

hw8“Also Sprach Zarathustra,” a thirty minute classical piece, was composed in 1896 by Richard Strauss as a musical response to Fredrick Nietzshe’s nihilistic writings in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”  The introduction to Strauss’ piece, the popular melody we know, was written as a “tone poem” with intentional unresolved harmonies to convey his belief of the unsolvable mystery of the universe.  This introduction came into popular culture in 1968 with its prominence in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” musically symbolizing a cosmic rebirth.  Carrying as much power and profundity as any track in cinematic history, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” punctuated the humanistic themes that defined Kubrick’s work.  Though the Phish scene adopted the nickname “2001” from Kubrick’s masterpiece, the band took their musical inspiration from the ’70s fusion-era artist, Deodato, who transformed the classic piece into a funk-laden escapade.  It is his reworked version that Phish has popularized since 1993, thrilling audiences with its wide open space-funk textures.

Adopting the song in the Summer of ’93, Phish immediately grew addicted to its futuristic feel, as they opened virtually every second set of the tour with the adrenalizing piece.  A showcase for Kuroda’s lights and smoke machine, “2001” was a catalyst for big sets, serving as a launchpad into central jam vehicles such as “Mike’s,” “Maze,” “Antelope,” and “Bowie.”  This new four-minute funk intro hyped up crowds all summer long, and continued to play this role throughout ’94 and ’95.

861967917_598b96e7a4It wasn’t until until the historic Halloween ’96 show that “2001” began to develop.  On that night, guest percussionist Karl Perazzo convinced the band to settle into the ascending patterns before each passage through the song’s famed chorus.  Following Perazzo’s lead, the band molded a set of chunky grooves that stretched the song to seven minutes; an idea was born.  Not coincidentally, it was the “Remain in Light” set from this show that shifted Phish’s musical focus towards collective groove.

Throughout the rest of 1996’s fall tour, Phish continued to push the boundaries of “2001” with longer versions appearing in Memphis (11.18), Sacramento (11.30), and Las Vegas (12.6).  By the time Summer ’97 rolled around, “2001” had transformed into a new beast.  But it wasn’t until The Great Went’s out-of-body experience that we all realized the song’s potential.

Fitting congruently into Phish’s style of Fall ’97, “2001” was showcased across the country five times, and once on New Year’s Eve, establishing itself as one of the band’s preeminent vehicles for funk improvisation.  As the years progressed, the tiny intro of 1993 was long forgotten in favor of far more extended versions, as Phish created countless adventures in psychedelic space-groove.

Few songs are more liberating to hear live than “2001,” and below are five classic versions.  (You can listen to each on this page.)

***

12.6.96 The Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

508820594_dd75c3239aThis version forever solidified “2001’s” place as a Phish jam.  Pushing this first set version longer than ever before, the band fully realized their next monster on the last night of Fall ’96.  This early extended rendition featured impressive improvisational chops by Page, a deep pocket from Mike and Fish, and some would-be classic ’97 funk lines from Trey, including his frequently quoted P-Funk licks.  Experiencing Phish crack like never before, fans came away from this set with a revelation and a preview of what was to come in the following year.

LISTEN TO 12.6.96 “2001” NOW! (Roll over link and press play.  These are big files, so let them load.)

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8.17.97 The Great Went, Limestone ME

3251307446_d82a7cd91c1Amidst one of their greatest sets ever, Phish reinvented their space-age cover.  Standing in a vast field, under the heaven of a speaker tower, thick grooves rained like never before in our lives.  With a series of loops as a backdrop, Phish crafted a revolution.  In our first trip to the hallowed grounds of Limestone, the band and audience, alike, had a cathartic experience over a half-hour of bliss.  This was the first outlandish incarnation of “2001,” and the first where it was pretty clear that Phish was involved in some alien contact.  As the band members peeled off, one by one, to create an onstage mural, the other three kept the groove pumping with loose, yet locked, communication.  An experience like never before, this evening forever changed the course of the song and the band.

LISTEN TO 8.17.97’s “2001” NOW!

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11.19.97 Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL

508840095_015303024fThe second appearance of “2001” in the Fall of ’97 proved to be one for the ages.  From the first snare hit, this version possessed the perfect tempo for the band to be able to go off, both individually and collectively, creating one of the tightest versions in history.  With to-die-for licks, Trey complemented Mike’s massive bass patterns like glue, while Page filled in the spaces in between.  Like the rhythmic maestro he is, Fishman framed this masterful improv with a delicate , yet driving, beat.  This version represents Phish smack dab in the middle of Fall ’97’s blossoming.  Whenever I want to listen to a “2001” specifically, this one usually finds its way to the CD player.

LISTEN TO 11.19.97’s “2001” NOW!

***

7.17.98 The Gorge, George, WA

3182714970_58492826c3This ’98 version of “2001” has become virtually synonymous with the majestic venue of the pacific northwest.  A mathematical expression of this phenomenon would be “Phish + The Gorge = 1998’s “2001.””  A flawless example of Phish matching their music to their surroundings, this loose, laid back, and locked half-hour odyssey seemed to descend from the heavens as much as it emanated from the stage.  This version best represents the band amidst Mike’s sought after on-stage state of “half awake and half dreaming,” as the music flowed through them naturally and effortlessly.  Trey organically moved from wah-grooves to lead melodies as the situation dictated, spraying infectious guitar flair all over this adventure.  Heavy on the Rhodes throughout, Page enhanced the celestial feel of this jam, while Mike pumped out dominating bass lines.  Taking fourteen minutes to even approach the first apex, this was an exercise in psychedelic groove.  Featuring peaks and valleys, this version possesses incredible dynamism.

LISTEN TO 7.17.98’s “2001” NOW!

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7.7.1999 Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC

3306318907_c97d4edc21Opening an amazing second set, this “2001” boasted a hugely climactic eight-minute build up before Phish unleashed their fury.  This was a showcase for the band, who patiently worked through a memorable twenty-two minutes of space travel.  More atmospheric and less in your face, Phish built a lush soundscape out of this Summer ’99 classic.  Featuring an out of character rhythmic breakdown in the middle of this monstrosity, this version illustrates the risk-taking of Phish as well as their experiments with sound and texture that defined ’99.  This colossal set opener would be remembered for years to come.

LISTEN TO 7.7.99’s “2001” NOW!

*

Throughout its late-’90s history, “2001” was the bearer of some of the most epic dance sessions ever, as the song grew and morphed with the trends of Phish’s music.  One song that everybody loves to hear every time it is unsheathed, I recently considered the enticing prospect of  “2001” opening Hampton.  This would provide the requisite freak-out time for the entire crowd, and would levitate The Mothership immediately.  Following the bombastic “welcome-back groove session,” the band could slide right into “YEM,” opening 3.0 in regal fashion.  A kid can dream, right?  Whenever “2001” is first launched this time around, watch out, things will get crazy!

Other Top-Notch 2001s: Riverport 8.6.97, Hartford 11.26.97, Providence 4.4.98, Christiana 7.1.98, 8.8.98 Merriweather, Lemonwheel 8.16.98, Alpine 8.1.98, MSG 12.29.98, 12.2.99 Detroit, Philly 12.11.99, Hampton 12.18.99, 1.1.00 Big Cypress, Fukuoka 6.14.00, Cincy 2.21.03, Greensboro 3.1.03, Great Woods 8.11.04

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NO SPOILERS UPDATE:

hampton_outsideWe’ve heard some feedback and discussed things, and to err on the side of caution, we are going to revise our “uploading window” to be within an hour of the show finishing – unless something goes tragically wrong.  While we have thought this out, are confident, and have Plan Bs, some things are beyond our control.  It may be a bit faster, it may be a bit slower, but we’ll take care of you!

phishthoughts.com/nospoilers

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BONNAROO UPDATE:

bonnaroo1The headlining slots for Bonnaroo were announced yesterday.  Phish will be playing their late-night set on Friday, and closing out the entire festival on Sunday night with their two-set performance.  The Boss will headline Saturday night.  No one upstages the Phish!  This should be huge!

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PAGE ON TWITTER: A FALSE RUMOR

twitter_logo_125x29UPDATE: Scotty B at HiddenTrack did some sleuth work, proving that Jamptopia’s report is, in fact, bunk!  Check out his write up as to how he found out.

Over at Jamtopia.com, they have posted a story about the alleged recent use of Twitter by Phish members.  As if we needed more fuel for our overflowing souls, the most exiting item was this recent update from Page regarding Hampton:

Page_McConnell is absolutely amazed, exhausted and exhilarated, but it’ll all be worth it! We promise

I think they are trying to make us lose sleep this point.  For more news about Phish on Twitter, check out Jamtopia’s article! (FYI: Theories abound that this might not actually be Page.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.17.00 Merriweather Post Pavilion < LINK

Merriweather Post

Merriweather Post

Sticking with this week’s trend of gems from 2000, this show may take the cake.  With a second set that is filled to the brim with type II Phish improv, and an hour and forty-five minute first set boasting several favorites including “Fluffhead” (for the second to last time) and “Curtain (With),” this show was arguably the best outing of the fall.  Immersed in the mystical woods of Merriweather, Phish accessed some deeper magic from the dawn of time in creating sparkling memories on the last tour of Phish’s initial go round.

I: Guyute, Back on the Train, Bathtub Gin, Limb by Limb, The Moma Dance, Lawn Boy, Fluffhead, The Curtain With, Chalkdust Torture

II: Rock and Roll > Theme from the Bottom > Dog Log > The Mango Song > Free

E: Contact, Rocky Top

Words I Sailed Upon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 25, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Usually it’s the music, not the lyrics, that gets a Phish crowd going, as the band transforms their communal energy into unbridled cheers and enthusiasm.  Using their on-stage dynamic, Phish are masters at melding the minds of the masses into one musical sponge and creating the ultimate party.  However, sometimes, it merely takes a few words to elicit an enormous reaction from the crowd; words that go beyond their literal meaning and hold a greater symbolism for the Phish community.  Most often, these words are part of a lyric, and sometimes they are ad-libbed, but whenever you hear the following phrases, you can be sure that a passionate response from any Phish crowd will follow.

pink“Let’s get this show on the road!” (AC/DC Bag)

This ever-popular line from the classic Gamehendge song, especially when coming at the beginning of a show, will never cease to draw cheers from the masses.  Signifying the exuberance and enthusiasm shared by all fans in the building, this phrase gets people excited not only for the forthcoming “Bag” jam, but for the psychedelic smorgasbord that will present itself over the next three hours.  If this one comes out early at Hampton, the reaction will be extraordinary!

“Cause we’re all in this together, and we love to take a bath!” (Bathtub Gin)

Summing up the Phish community’s ethos in one line, this lyric always prompts cheers of joy.  Touching on the communal focus that has defined the scene from the beginning, this line not only affirms that we all are unified and equal, but that we all want to jump into the raging waters of a Phish show.  If the music was water, I’d bathe all day.

“Play it Leo!” (NICU, Yamar, Rocky Top)

ham10

(J. DiGiuseppe)

This cat call from Trey, directing Page to throw down furious piano and organ solos, always brings a raucous response from any group of fans.  Though not a formal lyric, but used routinely in these three songs, this line brings the show’s focus on The Chairman of the Boards; a spotlight he does not often garner.  While just as important as any band member, Page’s sounds are the most easily blended into Phish’s jams, and often times he doesn’t get proper distinction for his masterful and complementary playing.  Well, for these instances, everybody gets a chance to express their heartfelt appreciation for Page’s astronomical abilities.  The “Leo Trio” has only been played once in sequence at Alpine Valley on July 19, 2003, as “NICU > Yamar”, “Rockytop.”

“And I know I play a bad guitar…” (Loving Cup)

“Loving Cup” generally appears at the end of sets or in encores; times when the crowd is emerging from darkness and reveling in the celebration that is Phish.  During the sparse piano intro, these words are sung by Trey in a crystal clear voice- usually after he has shredded the arena to bits with his Languedoc.  The cheers emitted with this line are ones of comic irony; as if Michael Jordan was confessing to being a poor hoopster.  Trey has been known to sport a shit-eating grin to the crowd’s response, and this all comes right before the song kicks in for real- always a “warm” moment at a show.

“…but I sure got some powerful pills!” (Fluffhead)

ham3

Hampton (J. DiGiuseppe)

This line never ceases to draw animated responses- especially after the late-’90s mainstream infiltration of ecstasy into the scene.  Half of the cheers are generated by the mere fact that the band is playing “Fluffhead,” while the other half is generated by the obvious drug reference that most of Phish’s crowd can appreciate in one capacity or another.  The structure of the song even gives the audience the leeway of shouting “Oh Yeeeah!” in unison with Trey, inviting participation from the amped audience.

“Woke up in the morning… _____” (Makisupa Policeman)

While we are on drug references, this is Phish’s classic homage to ganja.  While not everyone in the scene indulges in psychedelic recreation, most everyone partakes in the hibbage.  Well loved from teenagers to senior citizens, marijuana has become a global, cross-cultural phenomenon; or to put it differently, “Everyone’s loves to smoke the weed!”  So when our red-headed Jedi mentions any form of THC, from “spliff” to “gooball,” “skunk” to “dank,” the crowd goes wild.  This represents yet another common ground between Phish and their fans.  The more creative Trey gets, the more cheers he elicits.  On 12.14.95, he came up with one of his most absurd versions, “Woke up this morning…Khaddafi in my bed.  So I smoked a joint with him.”  We’ll see with his new, cleaned-up, ways what word he will bust out if they play “Makisupa” again, or if he will stick with “poured myself a tall cool soy milk” (8.10.04 Great Woods).  At least Trey never lost his sense of irony.

“Filter out the Everglades…” (Water In the Sky)

p1020035Ever since Phish rang in the millennium at Big Cypress, this innocent line in “Water In the Sky” took on a whole new meaning.  With each utterance, the entire Phish community is reminded of that idyllic weekend in the Florida swamps so many years ago.  And each time they remember the life-affirming time, people respond in droves.  This is probably the quietest lyric to receive such a dramatic response.   And now, with the rumors of returning to Cypress for a ten-year anniversary, if this line is sung, you can be sure you’ll hear peoples’ enthusiastic opinions!

“If I could be, wasting my time with you.” (Waste)

A line that brings into question values and priorities in life, the meaning is paradoxical.  What most of the world views as “wasted” recreational time at a rock concert, we value as sacred.  When Trey utters these words, it is a reminder of the meaningful time spent together, living the Phish experience.  This line illustrates the shared importance of Phish to our collective lives.  The spectrum of human emotions and experience that arise at each and every show are highlighted by this simple, yet powerful, lyric.

“Oom Pah Pah!” (Harpua)

Needing virtually no explanation, when the four white spotlights come on to the band’s chorus of “Oom Pah Pah!  Oom Pah Pah!  Oom Pah Paaaaaah!”, it’s on!  Rarely busting out the well-loved and oft-requested saga of “Harpua,” each time Phish does, it’s a cause for celebration.  These opening “sounds” flood the venue with copious excitement due to the song’s rarity and the always entertaining story of Jimmy and Poster Nutbag.  Always taken off the shelf when you least expect it, “Harpua” will result in ovations for the rest of time.

p1010033While these lines will cause audience eruptions at all Phish shows, there are a few lines that if busted out at Hampton, will hold extra-special meaning, and could get more than their regular share of cheers.

“I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand!” (Golgi Apparatus)

With the well-documented, and virtually impossible ticket mission that fans navigated to get into The Mothership, you can be sure that if “Golgi” appears, this line will get the royal treatment.

“It took me a long time to get back on the train” (Get Back On the Train)

Though this song isn’t anything spectacular, each time Trey returns from a voluntary, or forced, hiatus, this lyric seems to possess a certain potency.  A song about regaining your focus and intention in life, this is thematically appropriate for next week’s shows.  A concept that everyone can relate to, you can be sure that this line will be greeted with a crowd explosion if played.

“I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year…” (Silent In the Morning)

A lyrical reference to the cyclical nature of our existence, fans adopt this concept to the Phish realm.  Reveling in the long-standing personal relationships we all have with Phish and their music, when this lyric gets sung, we think back to our memories of years gone by and all of the happiness they have brought us.  Out of context for the song’s meaning, leeway is taken by the crowd with this lyric to rejoice in the church of Phish.

“I feel the feeling I forgot” (Free)

This wouldn’t be on this list except for its obvious reference to the last five years.  If and when it is sung, expect an above average response to the now-poignant line.

Sometimes, it just takes a few words.

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“NO SPOILERS” UPDATE

ham1“Let’s Get This Show on the Road!”

We have made some significant progress on the “No Spoilers” project!

We now have two tapers on board – and some great gear taboot. This should allow us to upload the show almost immediately after it’s over. We are therefore revising our estimate from 12 to 24 *hours* after the show ends, to 12 to 24 *minutes*! *

UPDATED NOTE: To err on the side of caution, we are going to revise
this to say within an hour of the show finishing unless something goes tragically wrong.  We have thought this out, we’re confident, and we have Plan B’s, but some things are beyond our control.”  It may be faster, it may be a bit slower.

So if all goes according to plan (and it’s technology – what could go wrong?) you should be listening to the crowd roar sometime around midnight EST!  Set 2+E will follow shortly thereafter.

If you have been on the fence because of our initial time estimate, it’s time to reconsider doing this!  Help spread the word – point people to phishthoughts.com/nospoilers!

Thanks to the following cool folks for helping make this happen:
Mark Hutchison
Jamie Lutch
Jason Sobel
Disco and the rest of the SHNfamily
Craig Harris

Please check out phishthoughts.com/nospoilers for more updated details on the project!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.14.00 Polaris Amphitheatre, Columbus, OH < LINK

2000-07-14mo2In one of the craziest beginnings to a show, Phish came onstage while a fierce storm raged over the venue.  The sky looked like something out of “Ghostbusters,” tinted green and purple with nature’s psychedelia.  Forced into a weather delay after only one song, Phish came back with a menacing monsoon of their own.  After an exciting first frame, the and came out and played “Mike’s,” “Bowie,” and “Sand” within this excessively dark second set.

I: Sample in a Jar*, Punch You in the Eye > Timber (Jerry), Gotta Jibboo > Boogie on Reggae Woman, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Dog Faced Boy, Farmhouse > Taste, Golgi Apparatus

II: Mike’s Song** > Frankie Says, David Bowie, Waste, Sand** > Lizards, Weekapaug Groove

E: The Inlaw Josie Wales##, Driver^, Guyute

*Band announced that they will be taking a break until the heavy rain slowed down; followed by 26-minute delay **With Trey on keys. ##Trey on acoustic ^Trey on electric


Source: unknown

The Art of Phish

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

phish-gorge-99-pollockEveryone loves souvenirs.  Whether it’s a Van Halen mirror that you won at the county fair for popping balloons with darts, an “I heart NY” tee you scooped on your first visit to Times Square, or a new snow globe to add to your collection, every grand experience deserves a memento.  Experiences don’t come much grander than Phish, and while there’s always  generic tour merch available at each venue, Phish often took it a step further and offered limited edition posters that represented their stop along the road.  By the end of 2.0, other artists had entered the Phish poster scene, but the artist who will forever be linked with the ultimate Phish souvenirs is Jim Pollock.

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Jim Pollock (J. Kaczorowski)

Pollock’s unique and labor intensive hand-pulled prints became a staple of big Phish shows and weekends come the late ’90s.  A hand-press process using linoleum or wood blocks resulted in every print being unique depending on how much pressure was applied, how much ink was on the block, how the paper was pulled, and other such variables.  These one of a kind reminders of epic nights gone by created a subculture within the Phish scene of serious Pollock collectors.  Appreciating in value from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the rarity of the print, the initial $40 price tag no longer seems so steep.  The posters of Jim Pollock have become cultural icons- representing the magic-filled evenings of yesteryear.

phish-allstate-00-pollockWhat make Pollock’s art so special is not just the limited nature of his print runs, but the subject matter of his posters and how they convey the band’s place in time.  Pollock used all types of imagery to symbolize the venue and location of a particular show- and often went further, symbolizing where Phish’s music existed at that point.  Some examples of this congruency are the posters from Deer Creek ’99 where a tractor amidst a cornfield is pictured with a farmer yelling the dates of the show; Hartford Meadows ’00 where a pilgrim is depicted riding on a rooster as a horse grazes in the background, symbolizing the bucolic life of the nation’s first settlers in New England; Polaris ’00 where a Hindu goddess clutching many fish in her arms represented the more layered ambient psychedelia that the band experimented with that year; Shoreline ’00’s cowboy lassoing a fish for the last shows of 1.0; or Coventry’s image of a Phish corralled within fences.  From the literal to the abstract, Pollock’s posters always held meaning to their specific time and place.

phish-polaris-00Sold all over E-Bay and Expressobeans, Pollock prints have acquired status in the world of art collectors.  And it all started so many years ago.  Pollock attended Goddard College in the early-mid eighties and wound up roommates with Page McConnell before he was even in Phish!  Having been there for the genesis of the band, Pollock was in the right place at the right time.  He began early on doing work for the Phish, creating ink drawings for their early show posters.  Their affinty for his work soon developed into Pollock doing the classic art for Junta.  Over the years, Pollock’s art grew inseparable from Phish, as his images graced their tour shirts, mail order tickets, concert (and non-concert) posters, and their Live Phish CD covers, each of which contains hidden clues that represent that show.  Pollock also had booths at Phish’s initial festivals where he created unique postcards and prints.

phish-shoreline-00-pollock-lePollock’s work became so popular among fans, that many began to go into venues early just to make sure they could scoop one (or ten) before they sold out.  There were many a night in ’99 and ’00 where the posters were actually sold out before the first set began.  Unique in style and always vibrant in color, Pollocks made classy home decorations for even the most mature fan.  And with the online secondary marketplace, believe it or not, some fans found a way to scalp their extras for a pretty penny.

When the final jam had ended and the last cymbal crashed, the front-of-house music welcomed you back to reality.  Alas, it was time to go.  Sometimes the experience was so powerful, you just wanted to curl up on your dance space and stay forever.   But even if you tried, and I have been near the last one out of a venue or two in my time, the security guards will always, in fact, make you leave the building.  However, when this harsh reality descends, you could always grab your poster tube, head back to the hotel, and unravel the colorful night right in front of your eyes.  That night was with you forever- poster or no poster- but hey, everybody loves a souvenir.

Read an interview with Jim Pollock from 2005. < LINK

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY

7.15.99 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ < LINK

1999-07-15moThis is the first, and far more psychedelic, night of a northern New Jersey stand during Summer ’99, and it never really gets the credit it deserves.  Following some lengthy “Meatstick” banter to open the second set, the band improvised out of the ’99 anthem for the only time ever- and it was a smashing success.  Creating a gentle funk-ambiance out of the song, Phish creatively played their way through a unique jam landing in a massive “Spilt Open and Melt.”  Crashing into “Kung” at full speed, the Split jam then morphed out of the golf cart marathon into an eerie psychedelic opus.  This was some truly intense Phish, not to mention the chock-full 90 minute first set.

I: Punch You in the Eye > Ghost, Farmhouse, Horn, Poor Heart, Axilla > Theme from the Bottom, I Didn’t Know, The Sloth, You Enjoy Myself

II: Meatstick > Split Open and Melt#  > Kung > jam, Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture

E: Brian and Robert, Frankenstein

#unfinshed
Source: Senheiser mics (model not known)/FOB

The Nassau Tweezer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 23, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As the Cincinnati weekend came to a close, fans dispersed back across the country with plenty of tales to tell.  With only three shows before Nassau, the date that everyone had circled on their calendars when this tour was announced, Phish’s winter momentum was snowballing.  Two nights after a hot show in Worcester, Phish returned to the scared stomping grounds of Nassau Coliseum- the site of half of The Island Run and, more significantly, the divine events of 4.3.98.  Having stopped there only two other times in 1999, for a pair of wholly underrated shows, the communal anticipation of something huge in Nassau was building.  And huge would turn out to be an understatement.

The first set shone with the band’s second consecutive top-shelf  “Gin”- the first since Cincy’s standout escapade- and the eternally sought after oldie, “Destiny Unbound,” played for the first time in 791 shows (11.15.91).    The overwhelming excitement following this set filled the arena, and had it buzzing like a hornet’s nest during the break.  Yet when people eventually left the Coliseum on this last night of February, their memories would hardly be focused on the first set.

030228_stubHaving only dropped one “Tweezer” thus far on tour- a monster version in Chicago- Phish was due to break out one of their most popular jam vehicles.  As fans assumed their places for what was obviously going to be massive set, the opening lick of the song bled from Trey’s Languedoc.  Boom!  Just like that,  we were amidst a set-opening “Tweezer” that was most certainly heading to great places.  Where- we didn’t know- but there was an overwhelming aura of greatness that surrounded the composed section of the song.

Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As we prepared ourselves to enter the Freezer, Phish built up the maniacal, noisy peak before we collectively took the plunge.  As the final phrasing of the melody oozed into the jam, the feeling of potential was limitless.  Jumping right into some lead melodies, Trey joined the band’s directional groove right off the bat.  Moving briskly, Phish pumped through some quintessential “Tweezer” textures before beginning to build the improv outwards.

In a break that left the drums and bass both prominent and reverberating, the music took a distinct turn into the second part of the jam. Feeling the way he wanted the music to move, Trey hopped into the fray with some authoritative leads.  The totality of the jam possessed a laid back vibe as Page tickled the Rhodes in the background and Mike bounced some relaxed patterns.  Trey took front and center, guiding this section of the improv with some quality licks that charted the band’s course.

508809808_6a5329e1c4Soon the music became far quieter, with each member taking their sound down a notch, as Mike and Fish’s mellow, yet popping, groove kept things on track.  It was this moment that set the course for the most triumphant musical passage of the entire winter tour.  With one chord, atop this minimal groove, Trey revved his psychedelic lawnmower, creating a distorted sound that seemed to vibrate and echo like a bizarre elastic band.  The band responded to each guitar chord by slightly shifting their ideas, filling in the space by complementing Trey’s sound.  It was at this point that Trey used an incredibly unique effect and played a series of chords that belonged in a post-modern collage, entering the band into yet a third section of this “Tweezer.”

From this point, the band’s musical ideas fused together as they began to move as one entity.  Mike and Page were straight killing it here, as Trey conceived his next move.  What came next out of his guitar would be a spring of gorgeous, spontaneous melodies that give me the shivers to this day.  This was one of those spectacularly surreal moments that only occur at Phish shows.  The entire band understood what needed to happen and wrapped their groove around Trey’s confessional, creating some of the most sublime music of the year.

Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As Trey moved right from these awing melodies into a pattern of distorted chords in which he would echo himself, the band truly hit their stride.  This was the bliss we chased across the country.  This was IT;  this was what we believed in.  This was the reason for it all.  The crowd was engulfed by the cosmos, as the universe’s energy, channeled through our four superheroes, rained down upon us.  Trey moved on to some spectacular and divergent playing in which he threw a beautifully dissonant musical boomerang around the venue; each time he caught it, throwing it higher into the rafters.  This section developed into one of the classic passages of music in the band’s history, as its unique playing and spiritual feeling was a revelation to the entire Phish world.

As this section of other-worldly music wound down, one had to presume that the band would wrap up the “Tweezer.”  But it took them less than a minute to transition into a completely different jam all together!  In some far more grounded improv, Phish entered faster, more straight ahead playing that seemed like it had come from a totally different song altogether, perhaps a “Piper.”  The band would gradually meander their way to some bluesy rock and roll, eventually morphing into a scorching jam around Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do?”  Bringing the song to a second, and completely different type of peak, the band chugged forward, knowing what they were in the midst of creating.

511607974_7b50588edbRarely do Phish songs get two distinct jams, but this Nassau “Tweezer” was an anomaly, boasting three completely different pieces of connected improv.  The central jam was so psychedelic and stratospheric that the band decided to slide people back to earth with another ten minutes of improv.  Eventually- a half-hour after it started-  this “Tweezer” turned into heavily muddied sound effects without a beat, signaling not only the end of the jam, but the oncoming drop of another song, as they sustained these effects for well over two minutes.

Out of the depths came some delicate reggae chords from Trey.  What was at first disorienting turned celebratory as the band glided aboard for the second-ever “Soul Shakedown Party” (2.17.97).  Phish clearly recognized how special the evening had become, and gave the nod by dropping the Marley cover out of the deepest part of the show.  As we all know, the band moved right into a hugely sinister “Bowie” out of this reggae interlude, but that is a separate article for a separate day.

001fThe Nassau “Tweezer,” in my humble opinion, stands as the greatest relic from Winter 2003; and can hold its weight in any “all-time” conversation.  A definitive piece of music of the post-hiatus era, this jam sits right at the top of any 2003 compilation.  Signifying their emerging musical direction that would be furthered come summer tour, this “Tweezer” was a masterpiece.  Phish had made quite the return to the hallowed grounds of Nassau, and with one show left in their comeback run, things looked as promising as ever.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.24.00 Target Center, Minneapolis, MN < LINK

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Here is a highlight from the much-maligned tour of Fall 2000.  While Phish may have been losing steam, they still had what it took to pop out legitimate shows- this being one of them.  The second set opened with a fabulous funk turned ambient excursion of “Cities” which wound its dark path into “Free.”  This show also saw the welcomed return of Velvet Underground’s “Cool It Down” for the first time since Halloween ’98, as one of seven covers played this night.

I: Mellow Mood, Chalk Dust Torture, Back at the Chicken Shack, Sparkle, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Roggae, First Tube, Punch You in the Eye, Sample in a Jar

II: Cities* > Free, Ya Mar, Carini, Lawn Boy, HYHU > Love You > HYHU, Cool It Down, David Bowie

E: Fire

*w/ ambient jam with Trey on keyboards.
Source : Schoeps m222/mk41 > nt222 > AD-1000 (Ken Rossiter)

Weekend Nuggets: Texas, Fall ’95

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 21, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

phish-austin-95Regardless of how sketched out one can feel being on Phish tour in Texas, the band always played great shows in The Lone Star State.  This weekend we have Phish’s three-night Texas run from Fall ’95, each great for its own reasons. The first night in Fort Worth saw the bust out of “Tube,” the debut of Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”, a nice combo of ‘Theme > Wilson > Antelope,” and a one-two punch of “Split, ‘Fluffhead in the first set.

10.13.95 Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, TX < LINK

I: Ya Mar, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Maze, Billy Breathes, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, Prince Caspian, Split Open and Melt, Fluffhead, Life on Mars?*

II: Tube, Uncle Pen, Theme From the Bottom > Wilson > Run Like an Antelope, Keyboard Army, Lizards, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

E: Bold as Love

*debut

Source: Tascam PE-125 > D7 > DAT (Bill Shaw)

***

1995-10-14gnThe second night saw Medeski, Martin, and Wood- then not so famous outside of NYC- jam with Phish for an extended and experimental “YEM.”  A smooth ’95 “Reba” kicked off the second set while a dark “Stash > Catapult” highlights the first.

10.14.95 Austin Music Hall, Austin TX < LINK

I: AC/DC Bag, Cars Trucks Buses, Kung, Free, Sparkle, Stash > Catapult, Acoustic Army, It’s Ice, Tela, Runaway Jim

II: Reba, Rift, You Enjoy Myself*, Hello Ma Baby, Scent Of A Mule, Cavern

E: A Day In the Life

*With Medeski Martin and Wood, and Dominic Falco on trumpet. Trey played both guitar and mini drum set up front. Mike played bass and some kind of horn at the end of the jam. Fish played vacuum and trombone. Billy Martin played Fish’s drums. Medeski and Page played keyboards and Page did vocal jamming at the end. Chris Wood played a bizarre one string stand up bass with a bow.

Source: unknown

***

Austin Music Hall

Austin Music Hall

The third night (and second in Austin) was back to pure Phish, and what night it was.  After the adrenalizing opening combo of “Buried Alive > Poor Heart,” and a dramatic third song “Slave,” one knew this would be a special night.  The rare “Demand” and a tight  “Foam” held down the middle of the first set, while a 20-minute “Bowie” put the frame to rest.  The second set was filled with classic Phish songs including standout versions of “Tweezer” and “Harry Hood.”

10.15.95 Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX < LINK

I: Buried Alive > Poor Heart, Slave to the Traffic Light, I Didn’t Know, Demand, Llama, Foam, Strange Design, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, David Bowie

II: Julius, Simple > Tweezer > Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Suspicious Minds, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

E: Funky Bitch

Source: AKG 460 Cards > Technics SV 260A > DAT (Linda Webster)

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND

20th Anniversary Montage (30 mins)

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PHISH ALLEGEDLY KILLING IT IN REHEARSALS

11-08rehearsalTrusted sources close to the Phish organization have reported that the band has been playing amazingly well in preparation for Hampton.  People who have talked with the band have said they the band is incredibly psyched and wish Hampton was tomorrow.  Others who have heard the rehearsals have been floored by what’s been going down.  Take it for what its worth, but this is not made up. Two more weeks!