Archive for Culture

Straight Across

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

Equilibrium: a state of balance between opposing forces or actions.

In "Line" at Hampton (J. Kravitz)

In "Line" at Hampton (J. Kravitz)

Equilibrium is the state that Phish attains when things are flowing subconsciously- in from the universe and out through their instruments.  It is this state that is sought every time the band steps on stage; sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t- but the ride of discovery is half the fun.  Phish has utilized different techniques throughout their career in a constant attempt to achieve this musical balance.  From their famous “Fill in the ‘Hey” hole” jamming exercise to their collegiate Oh Kee Pah Ceremonies; from “the Blob” that formed Billy Breathes to their collaborative funk grooves, Phish has continually strove to reach a musical equilibrium.

3.8.09 (Unknown)

3.8.09 (Unknown)

One of Phish’s techniques used to achieve this balance throughout most of their career was their “four across” stage set up- Fish and Page turned in slightly and looking at each other.  Absent from 1999 to 2004, the band came out at Hampton in their original stage set up- the one we grew up with.  This was clearly an intentional return to the band’s on-stage roots, and the decision carries a certain significance and symbolism.  Set up as four equal parts, all next to, and able to see, each other’s eyes, the “old” Phish was back.  As the band reconnects with many of their early musical habits in 2009, the switch to the old-school lineup aligns perfectly with this rejuvenation.

3.6.09 (Unknown)

3.6.09 (Unknown)

At the first show of 1999- June 30th at Bonner Springs- the band took the stage, for the first time in their career, in a new arrangement.  Fish was placed on a riser behind the band- the conventional spot for a drummer.  Mike was brought front and center, while Trey was bumped to stage left.  Quite disorienting at first, the band remained with this set up all the way through 2000.  Mike’s prominence in the music, and a physically-tighter rhythm section were going theories as to why the switch was made at this time.

When the band came back from their hiatus, there was another on-stage shape shift.  Trey returned to his place in the middle of the band, able to better communicate with everyone, and Mike assumed his former spot on stage left.  Meanwhile, Fish remained behind the other members in the same position.  The band carried this arrangement throughout the 2.0 era, and it seemed like the “line” was forever gone.

Fast forward five years- we enter The Mothership.  Re-acclimating ourselves to the foreign, yet familiar, surroundings, when glancing up at the stage, we are struck by the “line” again!  Initiating the old-school vibe before a note was even played, Phish was returning to their roots.  The stage looked normal again, and when the band came out with “Fluffhead,” everything seemed to be falling into place.  This was the band we knew!

"Contact" (J.Kravitz)

"Contact" (J.Kravitz)

Phish has always been a musical phenomenon- four equal cogs that, when working together, equal far more than the sum of their parts.  Musical balance is key to this transcendence; absorbing the ideas of all four band members equally- questing for that moment.  With their return to the original stage set up, the balance of Phish’s music is once again physically manifested.  Lined up as peers, each member is an equal part of the greatest whole on earth.  The band’s original arrangement will likely trigger their original stage dynamic and style of communication.  We began to observe this already at Hampton.  As Phish continues to forge a new musical path, they will do so with revitalized energy, a dedication to practice, and an enhanced physical balance.  With this recipe, the result will be an aural equilibrium that will provide many an adventure in IT.



Hampton – Photo: Jeff Kravitz (insidecelebpics)



phish-red-rocks-946.10.1994 Red Rocks < LINK

6.10.1994 Red Rocks < TORRENT LINK

Everyone knows about the stellar 6.11.94 Red Rocks show with the great FM SBDs that have circulated over the years.  This show was the night before.  A classic second set was anchored by the epic beautiful combination of “Curtain > Tweezer > Lifeboy,” and capped with a vintage ’94 “Hood.”  “Demand > Bowie” added some beef to the openeing frame.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sample in a Jar, Nellie Cane, Demand > David Bowie, Lizards, Cavern, Julius

II: Axilla [Part II], The Curtain > Tweezer > Lifeboy, Sparkle, Possum, HYHU > I Wanna Be Like You > HYHU, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

E: Sleeping Monkey > Rocky Top

Source: Nuemann TLM 170i>DAT [Set 1: Sub-cariods; Set 2: Cariods)

Reuniting and Restarting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 5, 2009 by Mr.Miner

phishisbackAs we approach tomorrow with utmost anticipation, there is more coming back into focus than just simply the music-the Phish community is reuniting for the first time since 2004.  These shows will serve as a family reunion, a funked-out fashion show, and carry the optimism and excitement of the first day of school.  We are all standing at our own bus stops, waiting for the big yellow vehicle to whisk us off to a new place.  Those butterflies and that unpredictability that we felt heading into elementary school are very present as we re-enter the school of Phish.

13699471image9b586be0479711d7As the scene descends on Hampton and its surrounding area, crews are reuniting, old friends are in touch via text, email and phone for the first time in years, and we will all surely bump into folks we haven’t seen since the muddy bog of Coventry.  As the saying goes- “The gang is back together”- and it’s never been so sweet!  The reunion will  go beyond simply the people in each crew, but will extend to the acquaintances that everyone made on tour.  Maybe not the people you hung with until 6 am every night, but the people you raged shows and shared moments with- faces and names you thought you might never need to recall are back in play- so dig deep in the recesses of your memory for the identities of these parallel travelers!  As the R & B song goes, “Reunited and it feels so good.”

3328702513_05e64f24faIn addition the reunion aspect of this weekend, the shows are shrouded in mystery.  Similar to the first day of first grade- this spectacle holds all the wonder in the world.  For school the questions were, “What would your teacher be like?”  “How would the other kids be; would they be nice?”  “How would you be treated?”  You always picked out a special outfit- or maybe your parents did- to sport on this special occasion- and Hampton is not all that different.  Fans will be funked out to the nines to celebrate the return of our dreams, and that unknown excitement and wonder we will feel walking through the threshold of The Mothership won’t be so dissimilar from the swirling emotions that flooded our little  heads as we proudly carried our new lunchbox into the classroom for the first time.  What will “the teacher” be like?  How will all the new kids be?  What will it be like?  The dynamic is similar- though I’m not so sure any of us felt quite like this before any school year!  This beginning of 3.0 puts us all on a level playing field, each with our own new lunchbox, starting the same grade together.


photo- (J.Pinsky)

As our family and friends come back to the source of our undying Utopian vision, there is a revitalized energy in each and every one of us, that when combined will reach epic proportions.  Our creativity and expression are part and parcel of who we are, and when so much palpable spirit is contained in one round room, the possibilities become limitless- beyond Phish, beyond ourselves, into something far greater.  Who knows what will happen?  And that mystery is so much of the fun!

Before long, we will be discussing how the first show was instead of wondering ad infinitum what will happen.  The anticipation has grown to the point of bursting, and it’s just about time to pop that bubble.  Tomorrow, we will have answers.  Tomorrow, we start anew.  Tomorrow the stars will realign and the universe will subtly shift back into order.  Tomorrow…



What looked to be a mini-Mothership was yesterday found to be a “Welcome” sign in front of the venue, with it likely being part of a security “corral” allowing people to enter in an orderly fashion and prevent gate crashing.  I’ve heard there may be hired outside security guards rather than the usual Hampton employees as well- we shall see.  According to reports from people in Hampton already, there is a significantly increased police presence in the surrounding area, so be safe people!  In unrelated news, I read here that Phish are trying to crack down on the sale of bootleg merchandise in the lot, a staple of years past. Interesting developments. In more interesting news, check out this New York Times article about their rehearsals, the best jam in five years, and how they are planning to be around a while !  All Hampton Photos by Meaty.

photo - (Meaty)




11.4.94 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse NY < LINK

11.4.94 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse NY < TORRENT LINK

photo - (J.Kremin)

photo - (J.Kremin)

Here we have another treat from November ’94.  As Phish geared up for the last month of a phenomenal tour, they pulled into their extended home turf in Syracuse, NY.  This second set is a winner with a monster “Mike’s Groove” and capped with a “Slave.”  The first set provides a visit to Gamehendge via “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” and an oddly-placed, yet well-played mid-set “Bowie.”

I: Sample in a Jar, It’s Ice,  Bouncing Around the Room, David Bowie, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Scent of A Mule, Suzy Greenberg, Chalk Dust Torture

II: The Curtain > Mike’s Song > Simple > Mike’s Song > Tela > Weekapaug Groove, Ya Mar, Golgi Apparatus,  Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Loving Cup, Rocky Top

You Won’t Steal My Tape Recorder

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 2, 2009 by Mr.Miner

hw7As we are making the final preparations for Phish Thought’s “No Spoiler Hampton Downloads,” the steep evolutionary curve of audio technology and distribution has really struck me.  Within ten years or so, we have moved from analog B & P trades where you waited weeks to hear a show to Hampton, where you should be downloading the show within an hour of its ending.  If Phish was cool with it, some tapers even have the technology to stream the show live- gimme a break, right?  If you’re on the west coast, you should be listening to the show from Phish Thoughts  around 9pm- the night it happened!  But it wasn’t always this easy and there was a long road traveled to arrive at this destination of Hampton 2009.

First there were tapes.  Analog tapes; veritable dinosaurs of a bygone era.  Ninety minutes- no longer.  Any longer and the tape got too thin and possible quality and/or longevity issues could arise.  Quality was everything, and certainly never a given!  In this vein, if you casetteswere a heady collector, you had two single decks (preferably Nakamichis) instead of the common dual-deck setup.  It was all about deck-to-deck taping.  High speed dubbing?  Psshaw- that was the devil’s technology!

You really needed to stay within the first three generations to have a truly listenable tape- but I sure had plenty of “unknown” generation with that  snake-like hiss- that dreaded hiss!  Some of the tapes we all listened to at some point were laughable by today’s standards- like having you ear pressed toa foam wall trying to hear something in the next room.  But those were the first bricks in this yellow brick road.  And without the ability to skip from track to track, most people listened to sets straight through, getting better acquainted with songs and growing relationships with them- one beauty of the bygone era of analog.

sonydat_largeAnd then there were DATs.  The hiss was gone!  But DAT players were expensive.  Yet anyone who invested in a DAT player had a leg up in the game.  There was no more generational loss, simply digital clones- it’s amazing what a bunch of 1s and 0s could do.  If you had a portable DAT, it was on- as long as you had some friends in the taper’s section.  By the time late ’98 rolled around I had this dialed in.  Sneak the D8 in, hand it off to my buddy (big-ups Dreyfus!), go rage wherever seemed fit, and grab it after the show.  Sometimes I had to switch tapes at setbreak, which always added a twisted mission to the already *interesting* interludes.  We’d hop in the car to the next show, and booyah- we rocked the set while the energy still bubbled inside.

img_0361DATs provided an exact portrait of the show in pristine form, but they were still tapes; they could break or the tape could get stuck in the machine, and thus CD-Rs were born.   Christening the audio-on-computer based stage of Phish collecting, you could now burn CDs from each other and rack up Case Logic books like they were going out of style- and in fact they were- very quickly.  But during the few years of the CD-R’s reign, all of a sudden we had to deal with splitting shows in three!?  That was the worst part of it all- raging a set, and then having it stop only to have to physically switch CDs to continue- even analogs had auto-reverse!

cd_rThen came the 80-minute CD-R, upping the ante by a whopping six minutes!  Though seemingly insignificant, this advance allowed some sets to fit on on disc, and potentially allowed a show to fit onto two if you risked overburning and juggled some tracks around.  Once that started to happen, the technology outworked itself, producing disjointed discs with “Set 1 + end of set II and E.”  That was crap- talk about killing the flow of things.  I’d waste a disc just to keep the already broken flow instead of crashing into the encore after the first set ended- there was just no continuity.  It also gave you the opportunity add some filer to the end of a disc  – a popular practice of the analog age that made the jump to digital.  If you had a six-disc changer in your car, you had the capability of rolling with two shows loaded- a far cry from your whole collection in the palm of your hand these days.

But before long, CDs were all but annihilated by the IPod.  All of a sudden, instead of lugging two hundred-CD books around, you could fit two times that in your back pocket.  This is when the future finally caught up with itself.   People began to fill external hard drives with music, stocking amounts unfathomable five years before onto a device as big as a book.

original-ipodYet with this huge advancement, there was also a cultural compromise- the onset of the MP3.  With a far more convenient file size than .wavs, before long, the norm became listening to “lossy” music, or compressed files, that didn’t provide you with the *true* sound of the show.  Though with encoded bit rates of 320 kbps, the convenience began to outweigh the audiophile in me, and my countless CD binders became home fixtures.

Then, all the effort was taken out of things when with the onset of Phish 2.0 and the creation of LivePhish.  Now, anyone could download Mp3 or SHN (and later FLAC) files within a day or two of the show.  With profits eventually going all to charity, it was hard to find a flaw with their service- though many cite poor mixes and a general flat quality to these SBD releases that could be ameliorated by the use of matrix recordings (mix of SBD snd AUD recordings)- though they would obviously take more time to release.  With every give there is a take, though noticeably, there have been no pre-order offers by LivePhish for Hampton, nor any mention of the shows being released at all.

hw55For those looking to spend no money and stick with audience recordings there is BitTorrent and the world of FTP (and the largely hidden world that is DC++)- getting music directly from people’s computers all over the world.  With many sources posted within a day of any current show, the availability of these dwindling audience recordings are usually quicker than the official SBDs.  And now, with the ability to record directly to hard drives or solid state media, Phish Thoughts is bringing you the show almost immediately after it is over.

It is only a matter of time before Phish gets on their game and offers live streams of their shows.  It would be an absurd business move not to, let alone not offer webcasts.  There are plentiful options for listening to the show as it happens, and it will be interesting if the stripped down organization will offer any.  Before long, you’ll see pirate streamers at the shows, posting live streams.   I’d give at year at most before people start figuring out how to do it well if Phish doesn’t do it first.

hw2It’s been a crazy trip as we’ve progressed through each stage of these rapidly developing technologies.  From padded mailers with blanks and postage to the massive (yet low bit rate) Google Spreadsheet, the distribution of Phish has evolved as far as the technology side has.  No longer must we seek out a human being and actually- or virtually- interact with them to score music; not necessarily a good thing, as many a friendship blossomed from tape trading.  Only a search bar and a mouse is necessary- it’s completely crazy when you put it in perspective and you have lived through each technological shift over Phish’s career.  As the band enters step three and technological innovation continues to peak, one would think that these two forces will come together and emerge with something we have yet to experience, it may just be a matter of what.



All Phish Thoughts comments threads will now be split into 30 comment “pages.”  There will be options to navigate to “older comments” or “newer comments,” 30 at a time.  This will greatly decrease the amount of scrolling necessary for discussion, a feature that is long overdue.  The most recent 30 comments will appear when clicking on initially clicking on “Comments.” Enjoy the lack of scrolling! I know I will.



11.12.94 MAC Center, Kent State Univ. Kent, OH < LINK

11.12.94 MAC Center, Kent State Univ. Kent, OH < TORRENT LINK

phish-dane-county-941Here we have a classic relic from the standout month of November ’94.  The first set was vintage ’94 selection of songs, while the second set boasts the show’s gem in the exploratory “Disease > Have Mercy > Disease” landing in “Lifeboy.”  A wonderfully collaborative “Harry Hood” punctuated a top-notch show.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, If I Could, Guyute, Maze, Stash, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Julius, Fluffhead, Down With Disease > Have Mercy > Down With Disease > Lifeboy, Rift, The Old Home Place*, Nellie Cane*, Foreplay* > Long Time*, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

E: Sample in a Jar


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)


(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)


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.



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!

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 for more updated details on the project!



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.


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



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

Source: Senheiser mics (model not known)/FOB

Dear NooBs,

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2009 by Mr.Miner

First and foremost, Welcome!  You are about to arrive at the greatest place on Earth; Phish.  Yes, I speak of it as a place because in many ways it is.  In the most literal sense, you must go to the show, so it is a concrete location.  But more figuratively, Phish is a place inside of you.  Phish ultimately has nothing to do with the spectacle and madness of “tour,” and everything to do with what happens inside of you.  Sure, everything else is a blast, but it wouldn’t exist without that inner connection.

205When the lights go out, you can’t see all your friends- all you have is you and the music.  And this is the part that you have no idea about.  You may have listened to every bootleg from ’95 on or ’97 on, and you may know every jam like the back of your hand, but in the end, that has nothing to do with it- those are the fun tangentials.  Listening to the tapes afterwards, talking about the shows, compiling stats, post-show parties; these are the external frills.  Of course they are fun, but they also wouldn’t exist without that connection.

One the music starts, nobody will look at you.  There is no such thing as cool or uncool.  Image is nothing; soul is everything.  Regardless of if you stack hemp necklaces five deep or wear an Izod shirt to the show, it doesn’t matter.  Wear what you love- nothing else matters.  You don’t need to wear patchwork and grow pseudo-204dreads to be a fan; all you truly need is you!  Once the lights go out, that is all that is present- yourself and the Phish, and this is when the magic begins.  These frozen moments will transform you like you never knew possible. You will discover an intimacy that is impossible to achieve via headphones, and with nothing but a blank canvas and Phish, your journey will begin.  There are few thing as beautiful in the world; this is what you will learn.

Phish is going to be different than they were on those old tapes and CDs, so I wouldn’t come with a list of your top 15 songs you’re dying to hear.  Odds are you’ll be disappointed.  Be thankful for those tapes- they brought you here, but you needn’t try to recreate them.  This holds true for experiences as well.  Don’t try to recreate Phish experiences you’ve read about online or have been told about over the years- this is your time!  Forget what you’ve heard and discover your own adventures with yourself, the band, and whatever music they churn out.  There is no doubt it will be special.  There is no reason to fret about being too young for the ’90s, because you’re here now, and that’s all that matters.  Now is the time.

(J Huntsman)

(J. Huntsman)

So don’t bother coming armed with glowsticks, tortillas, marshmallows and whatever else you’ve heard people throw at Phish shows; don’t worry if your hair is clean and you like to shower daily; don’t worry about figuring out how to look cool, or what to wear.  Just bring comfortable sneakers.  Because once your eyes close, the only thing that can stand in the way of your night-long bliss can be uncomfortable shoes.  I don’t jest.  I have had trial runs for tour kicks- don’t ask.  Surely there will be other variables, but whatever you do, take care of your shoes.

Lastly, if I can leave you with any words of wisdom, they would be, “Dance your heart out!”  You are about to discover that you can dance better than you ever thought you could- well, most of you.  Rage like there is no tomorrow and without a care in the world.  Regardless of what is going on in your life, for those sacred three hours each night, you can’t affect that stuff and nothing else matters.  When the song ends, everything will still be img_0077the same- relatively, of course.  Don’t get too preoccupied with where you are in the arena or amphitheatre, just find a place that’s loud and where you have some room to move.  Everything else will take care of itself.

Oh- and if you get separated from your friends at setbreak or during the show, don’t freak out- they didn’t go far, you are all there for the same reason.  The best solution is to relax and continue raging.  Once the lights come on, they will magically appear.  And in the end, this isn’t about your friends.

You are about to uncover a mystical world that you never knew existed, and guess what- you DESERVE to be there!  Enjoy this time; it will never come again!




hw22Phish Thoughts is kicking around the idea of offering “No Spoilers”
versions of the Hampton shows for download as soon as possible after
they’re available.  Since there are so many fans unable to head to Hampton, this would be the next best thing to being there.  You would experience the show in tape delay, but also in mystery, without knowing what magical journeys Phish decided to bust out.

These downloads would be hosted on a separate page, as you would need to avoid Phish Thoughts (and other electronic devices, for that matter) until the show was ready.  These would be decent quality MP3 versions, with identifying information scrubbed clean (i.e. generic file names, and no tag information).  We’re even toying with the idea of having two files for download: Set 1 and Set 2+E, so you wouldn’t even know how many tunes they played in each set. (Will the 4-song 2nd set return in 2009?  you won’t know until you listen to the whole damn thing!)

3251307416_fd2bc41136Is this obsessive-compulsive and geeky behavior taken to a whole new level?  Sure, but we think there are a few fans that fall into those categories.

The caveat is that these downloads wouldn’t be available until approximately 12 – 24 hours after the show, so you would have to possess ultimate patience and not find out what was played. (Exactly how long depends on the tapers.  If you are a taper and would like to collaborate on this crazy project, please let us know!)

Email us at and let us know your thoughts- i.e. should we do this?



8.3.98 Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN < LINK

1998-08-03gnThis is the second show of Phish’s outstanding two-night stand in the cornfields during Summer ’98.  Highlights abounded from this night at one of Phish’s Midwestern homes.  Opening with Smashing Pumpkin’s “Rhinoceros,” out of nowhere, the band started the show with some fun and excitement.  But the second song “Halley’s Comet,” kicked it into high gear with a devastating jam. The second set is anchored by one of the defining versions of “Gumbo” of all time, and a classic Deer Creek “Antelope” for an encore.

I: Rhinoceros*, Halley’s Comet > I Didn’t Know, Ride Captain Ride**, Cars Trucks Buses, The Moma Dance, Strange Design, Character Zero

II: Gumbo, Axilla, Limb by Limb, Meat, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head U, Tube, The Wedge

E: When the Circus Comes > Run Like an Antelope

*First time played (Smashing Pumpkins cover); allegedly had been part of soundchecks for years **Blues Image cover; last played 12-30-92 (486 shows)

Post-Football Food For Thought

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 2, 2009 by Mr.Miner

What a weekend! Capped with an incredibly exciting Super Bowl, these last few days have been a roller coaster ride of Phish ticket mania.  With all tickets now sold, we may be seeing West Coast dates before too long.  Imagine what will happen to Live Nation’s site when Red Rocks goes on sale?  I don’t even want to.  Many of the frustrations we faced with their ticketing system are documented for their CEO here.  Nonetheless, as we all try to position ourselves for these summer shows, it is all finally sinking in- Phish is happening…

13699471image9b586be0479711d7…For those paying attention (I wasn’t), there was a Hampton re-release right after the Super Bowl ended.  A ticketless friend of mine pulled two for each night in six separate transactions, completely reversing his plans for the first week of March!  Maybe some of you scored too, but by the time I heard, there was nothing left.  This may continue to happen.  Be alert…

…Phish seems to be way under-priced, causing scalpers to drool at the profit margin they can make on our band and flock like vultures to the tickets.  While other bands of their stature use tiered ticket structures, charging well over $100 for the best seats, Phish should be respected for giving the people who actually get to buy tickets a real bargain.  But the increasing number of fans who have been forced to scalp from brokers have had to cough up an amount of money that much closer represents Phish’s “market value.”  It is becoming increasingly apparent that Phish’s “market value” today is between $100 and $400 dollars depending on the size of the venue and the quality of seat.  As someone on this comment board brought up over the weekend, would it help if Phish tickets cost $100, therefore decreasing the profit margin to be made by scalpers?  Maybe this is one step, albeit counter-intuitive, to reducing broker interference with the Phish scene.  If there isn’t enough money to be made, maybe they will go elsewhere?  Maybe not…

phish2People in Ashvelle got screwed on Friday. After being told that 400 tickets would be sold at the Civic Center, over 150 people waited for over a day to score these tickets.  The fans even organized their own list of names so people didn’t need to remain lined up, creating a mini-Phish lot party.  Yet when 10 am Friday came, an “error” in the Ticketmaster computer system released the 400 tickets that were to be held for Asheville’s box office, resulting in only twenty locals scoring stubs for the summer’s second smallest show.  Sorry Asheville people, that sucks…

…Let’s hear it for!  Out of the four ticket systems used for tickets this weekend, Knoxville’s seemed  by far the most efficient.  Granted they probably weren’t hit with nearly the traffic of Live Nation or St. Louis’ Metrotix, but the system worked smoothly.  I looked for Knoxville on Live Nation before realizing they were being sold elsewhere.  Quickly logging onto, I was automatically queued and the screen refreshed every 60 seconds, like Metrotix did for The Fox.  However, unlike Metrotix where I never saw another screen, I was quickly brought into the site, pulled up a 100 level after searching for a floor ticket twice, and checked out without hassle.  Compared to all my other attempts this weekend, this was a breeze…

image-ba5300d6449611d7…Hampton is now officially one month away! What once seemed like an eternity has been condensed to only four weeks of waiting.  What seemed like fantasy is now an impending reality!  Using the future tense to predict what might happen will soon be out the window, as we will be talking about what Phish is doing on a nightly basis.  There couldn’t be a more fitting venue than Hampton to launch round three; with a purely GA free for all, things will be insane and explosive to say the least.  People have referenced the last comeback, saying these Hampton shows will merely be sloppy warm-ups.  And while I agree that Summer will be a different story when all is said and done, I have a feeling these first three shows are gonna’ be a hell of a lot different from the last return.  I’m not going on anything but intuition, but it just feels different- way different…

…I guess Phish 3.0 is all about trading tickets online.  In a flurry like nothing I’ve ever seen, fans have been wheeling and dealing all over the web, trading, selling, and scoring any and all tickets they need.  I like it; it’s very democratic.  While I do believe you can get tickets at shows, it is always nicer to have yours beforehand, and it seems like more fans are trying to do that.  This can only be a good thing.  I am trying to devise a tool to facilitate this exchange. Stay tuned…



7.24.98 Woodlands Pavilion, Houston, TX SBD < LINK

1998-07-24moToday we have a leaked SBD of a dark-horse Summer ’98 show.  The second set starts off with the funkalicious combo of “Wolfman’s > 2001,”  before taking an abrupt left turn into the rare “Scent of a Mule.”  A set-ending “Slave,” “Chalk Dust” one-two punch, punctuated a fine night in Texas.  The first set contained the summer’s omnipresent “Moma Dance” and psychedelic segments of improv in “Stash” and “Taste.” Enjoy the SBD!

I: The Moma Dance, Runaway Jim, Bouncing Around The Room, Stash, My Soul, Taste, Golgi Apparatus, Loving Cup

II: Wolfman’s Brother > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Scent of a Mule > Ha Ha Ha > Scent of a Mule, Slave to the Traffic Light, Chalkdust Torture.

E: Character Zero

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!



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

The Lot Paradox

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 22, 2009 by Mr.Miner

There has always been endless debate about the culture that exists on Phish lot.  Many have decried the drug-focused and money-making endeavors that they have observed there.  Others have espoused the lot’s vibrancy, culture, and diversity, using it as an illustration of Phish’s community that has evolved over the years.  If I were to interject in this debate, I would venture to say, “You’re both right!”  The Phish lot is a place that can be both inspiring and downright depressing; a place that highlights the creativity and artistry of Phish fans as well as a place for those unconcerned with the music to hang out, do and sell drugs while pulling down the vibe of the community.  It was always a very delicate balancing act on lot.  Was this a positive place or was it a degenerative place?  The question will never be answered definitively, but it can certainly spawn some discussion.

2311745_fe310e65c9Upon arriving on Phish lot at your first few shows, you couldn’t believe the immense amount of activity going down.  People hawked everything from beer to burritos, from patchwork to Xanax.  The marketplace, itself, was overwhelming as “Shakedown” took on a life of its own.  This was exciting to the new fan; not many other concert experiences could provide the type of extra-curricular entertainment and open market that Phish lot could.  Artists sold their work, from paintings and jewelry to clothes and photos, and creativity overflowed from the committed bohemians who routinely turned lot into an their own craft show.  Witty lot t-shirts, psychedelic artwork, amazing works of blown glass, handmade garments; these were the fabric of the nomadic street market.

508809808_6a5329e1c4But as Phish continued to grow, especially after the Dead’s demise in 1995, the lot gradually became a seedier place.  A population of hanger-ons began flocking to Phish shows for the lot and not for the music.  The potential economic gain was too hard for drug-selling “kidz” to stay away; the customer would come to them every single night.  Soon there was an infiltration of these “pseudo-hippies” who came to the scene to hawk their drugs, take their drugs, and ride the coattails of the greatest band on earth.  Most never cared about going into the venue to see Phish unless a free ticket landed in their hand.  These were the ragged kids that dragged malnourished dogs behind them while listing the drugs they had to offer.  While I am sure there are some innocent folks in this demographic, it was this group who used Phish for personal gain without loving Phish at all.

It was one thing if a fan was on tour trying to get from show to show by selling bags of weed or providing people with their desired party favors.  It was a complete different thing when disenchanted and disconnected kids flocked to the lot just to engage in the harder drug trade of substances such as cocaine, oxycontin, and heroin.  These are the people that eroded the community.  And it was substances like these that drove Phish to quit for survival back in 2004.  Given these circumstances, we arguably have a certain responsibility to maintain a cleanliness to the Phish scene for one another, and for the band.

lsd_blotter_full_sheetBecause Phish grew out of the psychedelic counter-culture of the ’60s, as carried into the ’90s by The Grateful Dead, these mind-altering substances will also always be present on Phish lot.  Psychedelics in moderation, however, don’t usually cause any problems.  One may bug out and miss what they came for, but no one is going to OD on mushrooms or LSD.  It really all comes down to intentions.  What does one want to get from the experience?  The use of psychedelics to enhance your personal show experience can be profound, but no drug should define your experience.  When it comes right down to it, Phish’s music is the most powerful drug on the planet.

2153734696_c2f7c31812What is of far greater concern than people ingesting one thing or another for the show is the rampant drug market that exists after the show, which is an open invitation for fans to hole up in a hotel room and overdo it. I have always thought that leaving a Phish show is one of the “purest” states I have ever felt.  With all the crap in life swept aside, I am able to see what is truly important.  It was always a bizarre juxtaposition to watch people scour the lot, buying all sorts of powders to “party” all night long.  But alas, all you can control in this world is yourself, and if we are all looking after our own and our friends’ best interests, we can all significantly impact where Phish culture will evolve to in 2009.

2206130814_2621f3c169I am not naive.  I don’t think the negatives of the the Phish lot will magically vanish when they return to the stage, and with a new younger generation, who knows what will happen!  I probably won’t spend too much time investigating.  By the time 2.0 came around, my game plan had morphed into “Park > Go in > Come out > Meet up > Get out of Dodge.”  No doubt, it is the greatest to hang out in the lot post-show while feeling Phish’s energy still bubbling inside you; that “post-show glow” is one of the best feelings in the universe.  This energy is enough to carry you through the night all by itself.  Sure, add some decompression drinks and smoke, or absolutely nothing at all.

We all owe it to Phish to bring our best selves to these shows this year, as the band has worked with dedication to do the same.  Bring your spirit, bring your heart, and bring your dancing shoes; let’s keep in real and rage it in ’09!



Western St. College Gym, Gunnison, CO

Western St. College Gym, Gunnison, CO

3.14.93 Western State College Gym, Gunnison, CO SBD < LINK

Here we have a classic relic from the analog era with a tape that almost every fan had at one point or another.  The show took place in a small college gym and was filled with Phish’s zany humor and wonderfully tight ’93 playing.  This is two sets of great Phish, highlighted by a massive YEM medley in the middle of the second set.  A first set “Stash” and a rare “Ballad of Curtis Loew” also stand out in this overall great show. The recording includes most of the soundcheck as well.

Soundcheck: The Ballad of Curtis Loew (missing), Loving Cup, Tale of Ulysses Jam > Sunshine of Your Love Jam

1: Loving Cup, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Sparkle, Stash, Paul and Silas, Sample in a Jar, Reba, Punch You in the Eye > Runaway Jim

2: Halley’s Comet, David Bowie, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, You Enjoy Myself > Owner of a Lonely Heart > Low Rider > Spooky > Oye Como Va > You Enjoy Myself*, Lifeboy, Rift, Big Ball Jam, Great Gig in the Sky, HYHU, The Squirming Coil

E: Memories, Sweet Adeline, Golgi Apparatus

*End of instrumental jam included a quote tease of “A Spanish Piece” (Pink Floyd). Vocal jam contained: “We Will Rock You” (Queen), “We Are the Champions” (Queen), and “Welcome to the Machine.”

A New Era

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 20, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Regardless of your political leanings, and unless you’ve been in a coma, you have been moved in some way or another by the events in Washington, DC over the past few days.  A hopeful wave of good feeling has crested in America, despite hard economic times, and a new era is dawning.  Today is the the most momentous day of my lifetime.  Only 46 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, his dream has become embodied in Barack Obama.  Today, Obama, an African-American, will be inaugurated as the President of the United States.  This notion seemed so inconceivable only a few years ago that Chris Rock made a spoof about its absurdity in 2003’s “Head of State.” Yet, today, in 2009, America is making the greatest step forward that I have ever witnessed.

861967917_598b96e7a4In a strange way, Phish is riding this great emotional wave.  2009 is the year that things are beginning to progress again; we were stalled there for a bit.  Obama even bodes well for Phish, as they have always flourished under a Democratic White House, while not faring so well with Republicans in office.  As Clinton was inaugurated in January of 1993, Phish went on a streak of years representing the greatest of their career (so far.)  Bush was “elected” president a month after Phish played their final show at Shoreline in 2000, and, as we needn’t be reminded, remained in office for the past eight years.  Let’s see, in the past eight years, Phish played for one and a half before crashing and burning. Hmmm.

2904046075_1258b89024Yet, on the brink of a new era of potential unity in America, the hope of redemption lingers in the air.  Simultaneously, a happy and healthy Phish has emerged out of the woods in Vermont to bring us back to the promised land.  As I have watched the inaugural celebrations and thought of Phish, I have had a distinct feeling that this wave of inspiration will not be limited to politics, but infuse American culture at large.  Only time will tell, but it sure feels different today than it did yesterday, and once March 6th hits, things will shift yet again, and our dream will be realized.

header-new1As most of America is optimistic for Barack, so should we be for Phish.  Things are pointing in the right direction, and it seems to me that the third time around will last considerably longer than part deux.  Our soundtrack is back.  No longer will we need to dig into the archives to find some new Phish to listen to, we will be living it.  We will download new shows instead of searching for old ones, but most of all, we will dance again to the greatest beat in the universe.

To commemorate this historical day in American history, I have compiled some Phish to complement the occasion.  Here are some choice cuts and a blurb about each that make up “Miner’s Picks: 1.20.09.” Download links are below. Enjoy!


2001 > Curtain > Tweezer 11.19.95 Charlotte Colieum, NC

513460520_fe780696b6A phenomenal start to the second set of this standout Charlotte show, this segment seemed like an appropriate launching point for a new era.  A classic combination of Phish springboards splash-lands in a twenty-minute “Tweezer.”  An improvisational monster, this jam progresses through distinct portions, all possessing their own feel and building to their own peak.  This is a heavily underrated nugget of Fall ’95.

Piper 12.8.99 CCCC, Portland, ME

In a year that featured too many outstanding “Pipers” to list, this one stands apart from the rest.  After its typical break-neck paced shred-fest, this version breaks down into some mid-tempo grooves before transforming into a gorgeous and abstract ambient excursion.  This multi-faceted jam is highlighted by the transcendent  final portion of soul-filling music.  Completely atypical for any “Piper,” the powers of Phish took over, directing this episode places never explored by the song.

Reba 10.18.94 Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN SBD

1141298742_834063c5201994 was unquestionably the year in which the band took “Reba” for the most exciting rides.  This dark-horse ’94 version features Phish at its best, creating something wholly different with the classic groove.  Transcending the song’s blissful path, the band takes an abrupt turn, moving into more subtle and spacey patterns.  This new segment grows on its own and blossoms into its own peak within the jam.  A phenomenally triumphant and dynamic “Reba” seemed perfect for this historic day.

Run Like An Antelope 8.6.97 Riverport Amp. Maryland Heights, MO

This ridiculously intense summer Antelope closed the set after an absurdly long half-country trek from The Gorge to St Louis.  This version includes top-notch fiery Summer ’97 jamming, while stopping in a Makisupa portion during the post-jam segment.  I believe this to be the wildest North American Pronghorn of this summer, and because it’s not a part of one of the tour’s high-key shows, it often gets overlooked.  Trey absolutely slaughters this version with thoughtful, atypical offerings.

AC/DC Bag > Sparkle 8.9.98 Virgina Beach Amp, VA

This AC/DC bag was not only the outright highlight of this great show, but one of the defining jams of an outstanding Summer of ’98.  With grooves straight out of the gate, this is some classic summertime funk, not to deep, but infectious and as dancy as anything.  An outstandingly tight carnival ride through Phish improv, this Bag kicked off the blistering set that would end with the “Terrapin Station” encore.

Ghost > Free 7.23.99 Polaris Amp. Columbus, OH

2338849685_1576546f7dOne of the nastiest portions of Phish in all of 1999, this segment was composed of militant, in-your-face Phish.  One of the great “Ghosts” of the year opened the second set with a larger-than-life feel.  This version features some precise and standout playing that can best be characterized as slow, yet urgent.  Trey emotes deeply, annihilating this version, while locked with Gordon who straight owns this piece.  This “Ghost” is a phenomenal archetype of Summer ’99 and redefines the word “raging.”  A very cool, unexpected martian-esque transition into “Free” blew the place apart.  A jam that saw Trey lunging and leaping all over the stage, this “Free” creates a sonic soundscape of that seems like it is coming from the depths of fall tour.  An inseparable piece from the “Ghost,” this jam complements the audacity and massive quality of the set opening jam.

Stash > NICU 11.23.97 LJVM Winston-Salem, NC

I have often said that “Stash” is the dark horse song of Fall ’97, while the magnifying glass was most often placed on more funk-rooted vehicles.  This intricate version of “Stash” passes through both melodic and dissonant sections on its twisting path, but ultimately ends up focusing on eerie and intense psychedelia.  Overflowing with intensity, this quality of improv illustrates where Phish took some other jams in the fall of ’97.  Traveling far off the beaten path, this mind-fucking episode winds up innocently segueing into “NICU” in Phishy fashion.

Tube 9.18.99 Coors Amphitheatre Chula Vista, CA

phili3In a two-set outdoor fall show completely in the dark, the Phish community discovered one of the greatest most accommodating amphitheatres in the nation.  Covered with huge flat cement platforms made for throwing down, Phish allowed just that by exploding in an outstanding ten-minute “Tube” toward the end of the first set.  Pure Phish crack, this one got the heart rate up quickly and didn’t let up as the band explored the funk at a slower open-air pace.  One of the best “Tubes” of the late ’90s flourishing of the song, Page sparkled as this one lit up the dark desert night.

Down With Disease 12.11.97 Rochester, NY SBD

This wildly popular Disease never gets old because it detaches so far from the song’s conventional upbeat structure.  Delving deep into darkness early in the the first set, Phish created a monster that features some of the band’s best playing of the entire tour.  Moving away from the rock n roll, the band settles in a menacingly slow, inspected groove that eventually moves unfinished into “Maze.”

YEM 8.12.98 Vernon Downs, NY

2926669175_bbc854cbf7This encore version following the bust-out cover of “Burning Down The House,” capped a ridiculous pre-Lemonwheel show.  Amidst a predominately muddy field aside the horse track, this wide open free-for-all made for two outstanding sets that led up to this YEM.  The chunky grooves echoed across the fields as bodies moved as if in some sort of mind-control experiment. These gargantuan grooves were prominent throughout Summer ’98, but this night in upstate New York, the size of it all was awing.

Slave to the Traffic Light 12.5.97 CSU Convocation Cntr, Cleveland, OH

When was the last time you listened to this “Slave?” If ever?  I bet it’s been a while.  This Cleveland show gets buried in the excitement of Detroit and Dayton, and when it does get its cred, it is usually in the form of first set praise.  This second set  “Slave” culminates a jam out of “Julius,” and takes a path you don’t hear every day.  As the jam builds along its delicate and transcendent path, the band begins to add layers of dissonance to the jam, and soon Trey initiates what you would think to be the beginning of the peak of the jam.  Not even close.  On one collective hit, the band decides that the jam is going elsewhere, vary far elsewhere.  For the rest of the time, the band created a climactic and colossal soundscape that sent everyone into the stratosphere.  What was going on?  Nooone really knew,  but it was insane.  Check this out for a real ride over the edge.

Harry Hood 8.16.96 The Clifford Ball, Plattsburgh, NY SBD

1996-08-16mo2When thinking about a wave of positive emotion overtaking people, “Harry Hood” immediately springs to mind, and this version washed over 70,000+ at The Clifford Ball.  One of the most majestic of all “Hoods,” this version closed out the first night the first festival ever.  Everyone was in awe of the weekends’ spectacle, and the band harnessed that magic in this sublime jam.  One of my all-time favorites, this one suits the dawning of a new age just fine.  Tapped in like none other, the band reaches places words cannot begin to describe.




Hampton ’04 – Photo: Chris Clark