Archive for Jams

And The Room Begins To Spin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 19, 2009 by Mr.Miner
3.7.08 (M.Walters)

3.8.09 (M.Walters)

Tucked away amidst a two-hour first set on Saturday at Hampton was one of the dark horse jams of the weekend.  With marathon setlists each night, some moments were inevitably lost in the extended fray- especially “Split Open and Melt.”  Representing the first real jam of the evening, the band took a daring ride down an abstract ally, creating a seething piece of music that was reminiscent of the band’s full on experimentation in ’94.  Leaving groove behind, the band attacked this jam vigorously, previewing the more open-ended excursions of the second set.

wendy1

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

Contributing to the early ’90s vibe that defined this first set- and the entire weekend- “Split Open” was the first piece of the night that really got the show going.  Immediately firing up the crowd, the band sat into the introductory grooves of the song.  As they approached the pre-jam break, that rush of anticipation grew tangible, knowing we were about to live the first “Split” in five years.  As we plunged below the water line, between beams to the gloom room, we were soon covered with seaweed and slime- and then it was time to melt.

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3.8.09 (M.Walters)

Starting the jam at a brisk pace, the band wasted no time getting into the thick of things, characteristic of most all the shorter jams at Hampton.  Delving into the dense musical canvas, the band almost immediately guided the jam out into more abstract territory.  With Fishman playing a complex and grooveless beat, the other members began adding their interpretations of this experimental plane.  Trey focused primarily on wailing tonality and searing walls of sound, bringing the improv ever deeper with his work.  Mike played a continuous bassline that followed the jagged contours of the jam, while Page added blocked piano chords that anchored the far off jam to the song.

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

As the band got involved in twisting improv, one could have been fooled into thinking they were listening to a version from the mid-nineties.  Trey progressed into his dirtiest tone, playing more distinct phrases, as Fish worked over his cymbals like it was the last time he would ever play them.  Following this maddening path, the band came to a dissonant peak before pushing onwards through the sonic sludge.  At this point, Mike began pounding out a heavier, repetitive line, inviting the band to return to the song’s structure.  Within a minute, they had congealed and completed  “Split,” but the brevity of the jam certainly took nothing away from its quality.  A menacing portrait of the band’s 3.Old-school sound that painted the Hampton shows, this jam was a quick reminder of Phish’s ability to take a jam very far out in no time, and speed back to earth like a fiery comet.

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

As illustrated by this “Split,” the beauty of Hampton was that it was only the beginning.  Primarily, the band played concise, to the point jams as they got their sea legs back again.  Come mid-summer, shows will assume quite a different landscape.  And by the time summer ends, Hampton will exist as a mystical memory of the weekend when it all started to come back together again.

LISTEN TO 3.7’s “SPLIT” NOW! < LINK (Roll over link and press play)

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PHISH TO RECORD IN APRIL:

rspage1In a very candid Rolling Stone article, Phish gave writer, David Fricke, further insight into their upcoming studio plans.  Very exciting was the fact that Phish already has 20 new songs and is prepared to start work on their next album in April.  Teaming up with Steve Lillywhite (Billy Breathes) again, look for a cohesive effort that moves beyond their previous albums.  Trey supported this assertion, saying, “I’m not convinced we’ve made a great record yet.”  Yes, the passion is back!  The article also gives you a look into the band’s dynamic during the break up and over the Hampton weekend.  Although the article is not online, someone scanned it in.  The three pages are below, click on the links and then click on the page to zoom in.  It’s a great read!

Rolling Stone: Page 1 < LINKS
Rolling Stone: Page 2
Rolling Stone: Page 3
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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.13.93 The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN SBD < LINKS BACK SOON

8.13.93 The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN SBD < TORRENT LINK

murat_theatre

The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN

Continuing our week of ’93 downloads, they don’t come much more classic than this.  A second set of segue-mania features the fan favorite “Murat Gin” as well as incredibly dynamic playing throughout.  A definitive piece of August ’93, this SBD is a must for all collectors.

I: Lengthwise > Llama, Makisupa Policeman > Foam, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan > Fluffhead, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Horn, David Bowie

II: Buried Alive > Rift, Bathtub Gin > Ya Mar, Mike’s Song > Lifeboy, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg

E: Amazing Grace, Highway to Hell*

***

spence


“Mexican Cousin” 3.7.09 –  Photo: Spencer Short

The Significance of “Fluffhead”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by Mr.Miner
"We're Back" (John DiGiuseppe)

"We're Back" (John DiGiuseppe)

In the most surreal moment of Phish’s career- and many of our own lives- they opened with “Fluffhead.”  Who’d have thunk it?  After months of rampant speculation as to how Phish would start round three, they took it back to where it all began.  I couldn’t help but seeing this as a new beginning.  I thought immediately back to the opening of Boston’s 20th anniversary montage that started with four funny looking kids in a dorm room playing the open chords of “Fluffhead”.  Symbolic for so many reasons, the opener was like a lucid dream- it couldn’t be happening, but you were seeing it with your own eyes.  Chapter three could not have started with a more stunning introduction.

"Fluffhead" (J. DiGiuseppe)

"Fluffhead" (J. DiGiuseppe)

People were a bit awed by merely being inside of Hampton once again, and the pre-show feeling was one of excitement, yet overwhelming anticipation bordering on anxiety.  We had all been brought back to The Mothership to bear witness to these events, and the impending reality was overpowering.  On pins and needles, people mingled, chatted and found ways to kill time; everyone awaiting the moment.  Gazing around the circular portal, the feelings that flooded were of surreal disbelief.

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

As it usually does, the moment the venue went dark took everyone by complete surprise.  Much closer to 8 pm than the band used to take the stage, the venue turned to black with a pristine turquoise cloud of smoke on stage.  As the band emerged from the left corner of the stage, everyone’s emotions overflowed into a massive ongoing roar.  As if out of a fairy tale, the members emerged from this cloud of smoke and back into our lives.

Awaiting the first notes like a five-year old on his first truly conscious Christmas morning, five months of intrigue had built to this moment.  After Trey and Mike briefly exchanged words, the members stepped into position.  Through raucous cheers and floating dreams, the last notes one thought they’d hear emanated from the stage- they were playing “Fluffhead!”

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

“They’d never open with “Fluffhead.”  It’s too hard for their first song and they’ll be too nervous”- so the theories went.  A handful of empty years made people forget who they were talking about- this was Phish- masters of the universe.  And as they hit the opening rhythms of the song, as loud as everyone felt inside, a more focused silence overtook the room as everyone wanted to hear the song’s first performance in over eight years (9.29.00,  Las Vegas.)  And just like that, Phish restarted.

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

Knowing that the band put extensive thought into these setlists, a “Fluffhead” opener carried so much meaning.  After ignoring the compositional opus during the less precise but improvisationally heavy period of Phish 2.0, starting out with “Fluffhead” was a powerful statement of intent.  Having practiced for months before Hampton, the band immediately let us know that this time would be different.  Recomitting to the drill-bit precision that helped carve their legacy, the band used one of their most complex song’s to deliver this message.  If people had any trouble receiving that message, the band soon sent a PS. in the form of a “Divided Sky.”

3.6.09 I (S. Wiltse)

3.6.09 I (S. Wiltse)

Starting round three with one of their oldest and most hallowed pieces, the band also reconnected to their Phishy roots that had been diluted during ’03 and ’04.  While the band certainly created lots of amazing music during the post-hiatus period, their fun-loving, old-school prankster spirit wasn’t always there- a spirit that “Fluffhead” virtually embodies.  The smile on their faces as they opened up Hampton spoke volumes to this reinvigorated gusto.  Phish was back- and they meant business- things couldn’t have been better.

3.6.09 I (S. Wiltse)

3.6.09 I (S. Wiltse)

Listening to the band work though the methodical composition was like watching a miracle happen.  Phish resurrected themselves after five years and the first song they played was the song everyone wanted to hear.  The majesty of the moment was undeniable, and the resulting emotions were like a tidal wave of goosebumps, adrenaline, tears, disbelief, and ultimate gratitude.  Just hearing any Phish, let alone the intricate patterns of “Fluffhead,” would have been the fulfillment of our dreams, and this elevated the experience to a whole different level.

dscn11051

3.6.09 (S.Wiltse)

As Phish progressed through the six-part epic, everything crystallized when they reached “Bundle of Joy.”  Considering all of the bumps, hurdles and obstacles we all had to overcome to reach this moment in time, the melodic affirmation that “Life is just a bundle of joy,” reminded us of how simple it can be if we just allow it to.  As the climbing refrain spiraled towards “The Arrival,” we felt emotions that hadn’t touched us for half a decade.  Awakening spirits, the band built towards the massive release…and then it came- “FLUFF-HEAD!!”

Shot like a human cannonball into heaven, a rejoicing flooded the room; we had collectively arrived.  It was really happening, and we were all a part of it, whether standing in Hampton, listening with friends across the nation, or listening with headphones by yourself- and we knew it.  “Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy Head!!”  We made it!  We had all been transported to a place where dreams come true and music reigns divine.  We were back on Phish tour.

LISTEN TO 3.6’s “FLUFFHEAD” NOW! < LINK (Roll over link & press play)

***

“FLUFFHEAD” VIDEOS

The Moment the Lights Went Out(Justin Ciandra)

More Extensive Footage – (stormchasingmonkey)

“The Arrival” – EPIC !! (Wendy Rogell)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

4.17.93 Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI SBD < LINK

4.17.93 Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI SBD < TORRENT LINK

phish-florida-theater-93Though it seems impossible to stop listening to the three Hampton shows, I thought I’d start this section going again.  Due to the old-school vibe that permeated the weekend at Hampton, I figured we’d go back to a nice 1993 SBD.  You’ll notice more than a few similarities in the setlists.  Enjoy this old school nugget as we prepare for the new.

I: Llama, Foam, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, It’s Ice, Glide, My Friend My Friend, All Things Reconsidered, Golgi Apparatus, Run Like an Antelope

II: Wilson, Reba, The Landlady, Halley’s Comet > You Enjoy Myself, Lifeboy, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Big Ball Jam, The Squirming Coil

E: Sweet Adeline, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars

“Down With Disease > Seven Below”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 16, 2009 by Mr.Miner
3.8.09 (B.Ferguson)

3.8.09 (B.Ferguson)

As each show in Hampton grew in musical stature and improvisational meat, Phish finally let loose during the last set of the run.  Starting off the culminating set with their first truly exploratory excursion of chapter three, it was only fitting that this jam grew from one of Phish’s most popular anthems, “Down With Disease.”  While the band had wet their improvisational toes during the previous night’s second set, this time they would dive right in.  Taking over twenty minutes to explore their musical musings, Phish created their first free-flowing jam of 2009.

(B. Ferguson)

Hampton (B. Ferguson)

It was only a matter of time before they busted out the big welcome-home “Disease,” and once the last set had arrived, it was a virtual shoo-in for the set opener.  As the defining bass turbulence signaled the onset of the song, you had the feeling that this would be the most extensive trip yet.  “On [our] way” back to the land where Phish frolic freely, the band carried us with a blistering composed section of “Disease”- one of the Phishiest pieces of music out there.  As the acid-rock rhythms guided the refreshing melodic path, both Trey and Page complemented each other, leading the band through a triumphant return of one of their favorite songs.

3.8.09 (B.Ferguson)

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

The jam began to move away from its structure as it continued to pick up steam.  Trey began offering some choppy licks as Mike and Page began steering away from the song’s melody.  Fishman caught on immediately and switched beats into a more amorphous, rolling pattern.  All the band members came together here, offering shorter-almost staccato phrases- that combine to create a sublime meandering journey.  Trey and Mike played off each other’s lines, lending a more spiritual and soul-searching quality to the jam, as Page colored the canvas with electro-washes.  Trey’s melodies really took center-stage here; while he may have been in the background of some other weekend’s jams, he most certainly emerged at the forefront of this one, guiding us through the dark forests of our mind with guitar licks of discovery and exuberance.  Like the Pied Piper, Trey led us into Hampton’s deepest segment of improv, as the band followed him down an increasingly ambient path of mystery and exaltation.

(B. Ferguson)

Hampton (B. Ferguson)

As we glimpsed the first light out of the forest, the music transformed into a spacescape, sounding like the onset of the first “Disease > 2001” ever played.  The two-song combo seemed like the perfect entrance into the revelatory plane of Phish 3.0, and while the band built up effects to this nature, Fish sped up a beat that could have easily brought liftoff.  Yet, as the audience’s eyes gleamed wide for this potential combo, Fish kicked it up a notch with a far more aggressive beat and the band hopped onto his tempo, creating scorching improv, but leaving any possibility of a “2001” segue until later in the set.

3.8.09 (J. DiGiuseppe)

3.8.09 (D.Overend)

As the music came to a natural ending, the band never returned to “Disease,” but came out of their experiment with the opening of “Seven Below.”  Much like the “Limb by Limb” provided melodic closure for Saturday night’s “Rock And Roll” jam, “Seven Below” gave the same arrival for the band’s Sunday night journey.  The beautiful Round Room staple of 2.0 carried us into a piano-led jam in which Page set the melodic framework.  Trey and Mike picked up on his ideas and began adding solo lines of their own, each of them flowing around each other brilliantly.  Trey’s playing in this section was some of his most precise and uplifting of the night, as the jam took on a cathartic energy of its own following the deep introspective nature of “Disease.”

3.8.09 (B.Ferguson)

3.6.09 (B.Ferguson)

A compact amalgamation of harmony and melody, “Seven Below” capped the set’s diverse opening adventure in high-style.  Spanning the spectrum of human feeling, Phish’s path brought us from the celebratory composed “Disease” jam into darker, open-ended improv that reached the greatest depths of the weekend, through some building ambient soundscapes and into a pool of refreshing melodic release- classic Phish.

While the band spent most of the weekend showing off their practiced chops and relearned songs by running through a huge part of their catalog, this segment of the last set sent the message, “Yes, we can still melt your minds.”  Merely scratching the improvisational surface of what will take place this summer, Phish gave us the first preview of the beautiful abyss we all seek to swim circles in come June.

Listen to “Disease > Seven Below” NOW! (Roll over links and press play)

***

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Hampton – Photo : Brian Ferguson

“Twist > 2001 > Moma”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 13, 2009 by Mr.Miner
3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

One of the tightest musical segments of Hampton, and certainly one of the most exciting, was the “Twist > 2001 > Moma” late on night three.  Combining three of the last remaining songs in their eighty tune
repertoire for the weekend, Phish put together the run’s biggest musical climax.  In a show that featured the most precise and highest-energy playing from the band, these jams fit right in.  This crowd pleasing knockout punch featured some of the biggest outright dance grooves of a weekend that focused more on composition and abstract jamming.

3.8.09 (J. DiGiuseppe)

3.8.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

Trey growled out of the composed section of “Twist,” speaking through his raunchiest, uncompressed tone, and Mike shot laser beam bass lines, similar to several ambient ’03 “Twists.”   Their interplay to start the jam stood out; Mike taking the lead melody as Trey spat distorted, yet expressive, licks with his guitar.  Page chimed in with some electro-sounds, adding a completely new sonic element to the puzzle.  This music represented some supremely different electro-Phish, as all three non-drummers used unique and over the top tones.  The band morphed into a dark psychedelic milieu before the music slowed down quite a bit.  Turning blissfully ambient, Phish used their “amoeba-like jamming” to create surreal textures.  But minutes into this deepening musical path, the band subtly- on the drop of a dime- slipped out of the sonic stew into the beginning of “2001!”  Trey led the way with a beautiful descending melody, carrying everyone into outer space as Mike revved up the bass-heavy groove.

In one of the slyest transitions of the weekend, Phish transformed

3.7.08 (S.Wiltse)

3.7.08 (S.Wiltse)

Hampton Coliseum into “The Mothership,” and the venue careened through the corridors of outer space.  With slammin’ funk grooves, the band initiated a short, but oh-so-sweet, dance session that brought the highest energy of the night.  An old-school version, this “2001” was simple, chunky, and ripping.  Like candy for the mind, the rhythmic patterns dusted off a part of our soul that had lay dormant for five years.  As the band quickly reached the second peak of the song, what would they launch into?  What did they have left?

3.8.09 (J. DiGiuseppe)

3.8.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

As Phish sustained the climax of the song for seconds after the last note, they collectively made the hugest drop of the weekend into the tar-thick funk of “Moma Dance.”  It was virtually a joke how well this setlist was written, forcing everyone to dig deep into their reserves of energy- but no one had any trouble finding them.  A song with a bit of Hampton history, this performance gave a raucous nod to 1997’s epic “Tweezer > Black-Eyed Katy.”  Page absolutely tore up the clav all over this song, much like every other song over the weekend with one keyboard or another. With the smoothest lounge-funk, Phish completed what was the tightest and most energetic excursion of the run.

Phish saved some of their most spectacular playing for late in their three-day magic show.  Leaving the audience with the best music of the run throughout the last set, the band left people jonesing for more.  Blowing up one of the standout musical stanzas of all three shows right near the end, Phish left many a fan with the question, “Is it June yet?”

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

3.7.09 Hampton Coliseum < LINK

3.7.09 Hampton Coliseum < TORRENT LINK

I: Get Back On The Train, Runaway Jim, Brian and Robert, Split Open and Melt, Heavy Things, Punch You in the Eye, Gumbo, Reba > Mexican Cousin, It’s Ice, Halley’s Comet, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Guelah Papyrus, Lawn Boy, Run Like An Antelope

II: Rock and Roll > Limb By Limb, Ghost > Piper > Birds of a Feather, Wolfman’s Brother, Prince Caspian, Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Character Zero
E: A Day in the Life

Source:  (FOB) Schoeps mk22 > kc5 > cmc6xt > Audiomagic Hyperconductors > Grace Design Lunatec V2 > Darktrain Custom Cables > Sound Devices 744t (@ 24 bit / 48 kHz)

Transferred by: Jason Sobel; A Team BTG Production brought to you by:Dave F, Scott G, baustin, Greg L, Mikey K, Carrington C, Matthew, Rick, Eliot, Oliver, Foxy, Steve F, Tara, Jimbo, BHadella, Jenny, Jerryfreak, and more…

***

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“3.6.09 Encore” Photo by Jeff Kravitz @ insidecelebpics.com

“Rock And Roll > Limb”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 12, 2009 by Mr.Miner
3.7.09 II (S. Wiltse)

3.7.09 II (S. Wiltse)

In a weekend that oozed positivity on all fronts, some of the specific musical passages were lost in the sheer spectacle of the event.  The three shows carried a very old-school vibe, from song choice to playing style.  Most of the jams were shorter, directed, and concise, following the path of their earlier days.  But, as usual, it’s quality, not quantity that is sought in Phish jams, and multiple segments from this weekend possessed an amazing dynamic.  Over the next while, we’ll take a look back at some of the moments that helped define Hampton ’09, and today we’ll start with Saturday night’s “Rock And Roll > Limb By Limb.”

Ready For Blast Off (J.Kravitz)

Ready For Blast Off! (J.Kravitz)

Coming out for their fourth set of the run, Phish had engaged in minimal open-ended improv over the previous three.  Most jams were structured and tight, but lacked much exploration.  This would change with the onset of this set.  The playing throughout this entire segment flowed organically, with nothing sounding forced or contrived.  The opening chords of the Velvet Underground cover riled up everyone immediately, bringing memories of the band’s late ’90s era of glory.  As Page started to sing, everything felt in place once again.

The lyrics leading into the improv were particularly poignant, speaking of the power of music to lift us out of hard times-  “Her life was saved by rock n roll…Despite all the complications…It was alright.”  A perfect ode to Phish’s present state of affairs, the crowd latched onto the meaning, cheering the powerful words. As the band sailed into the jam, Trey sat into an emotive solo, while Mike and Page created some interlocking offerings that, when combined with Fish’s work, formed a tightly cohesive and thematic jam.

"Free" 3.8.09 (J. DiGiuseppe)

"Free" 3.8.09 (J. DiGiuseppe)

Trey initiated the more exploratory section of improv with some guitar riffs that slowly guided the band out of the song’s structure.  Hopping onto his ideas, the band switched gears into a slowed down and murkier texture.  In a quick moment, they were amidst a separate jam that had nothing to do with the song; flowing fluidly.  Page and Trey complemented each other beautifully here, as Trey began to send guitar cries upwards towards the heavens.  The band congealed around these more spiritual licks, and allowed Trey to lead the improv, which continued down an emotional path until Page’s piano roll wound the jam down to a point where Trey picked it up and segued seamlessly into “Limb By Limb.”

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

3.6.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

As “Rock And Roll” went unfinished, the “Limb” was the natural continuation and peak to this introductory portion of the set.  Attacking the song with a delicate ferociousness, the band slayed it.  As the jam soared, the band was glued together and absolutely crushing it.  Trey took one of most gorgeous solos of the weekend, and the spirit emanating from the stage was infectious. Moving as one entity as they approached the apex, any separation between the band members was obliterated in their collective peak.  Reflective and celebratory at the same time, this jam served as a destination for the set’s initial climb.

3.7.09 II (S.Wiltse)

3.7.09 II (S.Wiltse)

As the set and the weekend rolled along, Phish would dig deeper into improvisational ground, but this piece of music would remain the first time Phish 3.0 took an open-ended musical risk and succeeded.  “Rock And Roll > Limb,” though not the longest piece in history, was played perfectly, fit right in with the vibe of the weekend, and will always be remembered as the first unstructured improvisational leap of the new era.

LISTEN TO “ROCK AND ROLL > LIMB” NOW! < LINK (Roll over link and press play)

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HAMPTON AUDS UPDATE

hampton_outsideI should have tracked copies of the AUDs up by this weekend at latest. They will be from one of the No Spoilers tapers, Jesse Hurlburt, whose rig sounded great.  I know a lot of people prefer the AUDs, which is why I am posting them.  But if you have downloaded the SBDs and are into them- I think they are the best yet- save me a buck or two and hold off.  As always, please use torrents when possible.  In related news, I am going to set up a donate button soon for the cost of site / download maintenance with any profit going to charity, so stay tuned!

***

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“3.6.09” Photo: John DiGiuseppe

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.)

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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!

***

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!

***

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

=====

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.)

======

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

Not So Simple

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 12, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Debuted at the Warfield Theatre on May 27, 1994, “Simple” has played several roles through Phish’s career.  A central use of Gordon’s composition has been as a high-energy interlude between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” supplanting “Hydrogen’s” role for much of the late ’90s.  Giving any “Mike’s Groove” a vastly different contour, “Simple” became a somewhat galvanizing song among fans.  Some loved it’s catchy hook and bombastic energy, while others thought it was an intruder on sacred ground.

2998740559_9879522a7aAlthough the band integrated standalone “Simples” into their setlists, it wasn’t until 1996 that it emerged as a vehicle for improvisation.  Taking its feel-good melodies for the musical equivalent of mellow sails across the bay, Phish began to gradually explore the song’s potential.  During Fall ’96, this potential was realized with several standout versions; specifically Halloween’s third set standout, Champaign’s powerful version of 11.8, Memphis’ emotive rendition of 11.18, and the popular twenty minute excursion from the tour’s last stop in Vegas.

1997 brought some outstanding versions of “Simple,” as the song straddled the fence between its independence and its connection with “Mike’s.”  The Great Went‘s super-sized version was one of the most poignant ever played, while 12.9’s half-hour exploration brought the song to depths uncharted.  1998 brought “Simple” closer to its roots, as it was again the primary link in “Mike’s Grooves.”  Yet 1998 is where our story begins.

phish-worcester-98A week after Phish had unveiled a stunning ambient journey through “Simple,” immortalized on Hampton Comes Alive, the band found themselves in Worcester, on the cusp of their last set of their ’98 fall tour.  As they picked up their instruments for the final frame, they decided to open with “Roses Are Free!?”  As the opener of the last set of tour, the sky was the limit!  My mind zoomed directly into the stratosphere, dreaming of Nassau’s hallowed trek.  As the song moved out of its composed section and into the distorted grooves that followed, all hopes were peaked for about a minute of music filled with aggressive textures.

Then, like a slap across the face, Trey came over the top of the potentially explosive launchpad and laid down the “Simple” lick completely out of context.  Catching the rest of the band totally off guard, the “transition” was a trainwreck.  “Ouch!”  I thought to myself.  Cutting of a “Roses” that had a full head of steam for “Simple!?”- that just didn’t seem right.  But it was what it was, and I rejoined the concert after a momentary reflection on the musical incongruity.  As the song passed through its verses and the band entered the jam, the music dynamically glided through the guitar-led improv.

511633729_2a62d0a2f3Just when “Simples” usually trickle out into a quiet melodic ending, Phish chose the road less traveled.  Instead of moving into silence, Trey began playing searing strings of notes that signaled to the band that they wouldn’t end there.  Quickly getting the message, the others hopped back on board, creating an improvised realm that took very little time to grow into something wholly different.  Taking a moment to collect their bearings, Phish plunged into a dark and evil jam.  From the onset, the intensity was electric as the band molded a ball of dissonant sonic madness.

As the effects and distortion provided the glue of the jam, Trey and Fishman broke out into a cooperative groove that Mike and Page meshed their way into.  For a period, this “Simple” existed as a driving rhythmic canvas dripping with excessive psychedelia, but it transformed quickly into outright lunacy.  The band entrenched themselves in one of the craziest jams of the entire tour with absolute aggression.  Mike’s basslines thumped a unique pattern buried deep under layers of experimental dissonance.  Trey and Page created a terrifying wall of sound as Fishman threw down a barely-human beat behind it all.  This was a voyage to the center of the earth, descending through the pathways of Hades.  This was the power of Phish rearing its head in a brand new way; this time as the soundtrack for an insane asylum.

507822011_63b14557b7Peeling away some of the layers in play, Phish took the madness down momentarily before returning to a peak that ended this twenty-minute adventure.  As the band let their effects echo out over the crowd, most people were completely floored by the sheer intensity of it all.  Phish had entered a whole new territory and it took a mental adjustment to process the music.  Yet, just as our minds were organizing the lunacy, Phish skillfully slid into the opening of “Makisupa.”  Ever the tacticians, the band used one of their more relaxing songs to bring people “back” from the netherworld of “Simple.”

The rest of the set would progress to great heights, closing the tour with the triumphant farewell of “Bathtub > YEM.”  However, none of jams would approach the daring experimentation and outright psychedelia of the not-so-“Simple” episode that took place at the beginning of the set.

LISTEN TO 11.29.98’s ROSES > SIMPLE NOW! (Roll over links and press play)

====

“NO SPOILERS” HAMPTON DOWNLOADS UPDATE

Aaron de Groot

(A. de Groot)

The feedback received to the idea of “No Spoilers” downloads was a resounding, “Hell, Yes!”  That being said, we are going to give it a whirl!  There were many questions that came up, as well as some good suggestions- I will address a few now, but there will be a FAQ put up soon regarding the process.

The downloads will be hosted on a separate page.  This is where the FAQ will also be posted, and I will publish that URL as soon as it’s up.  Regular downloads (tracked and labeled) of the Hampton shows will be  posted around the same time on Phish Thoughts’ home page, which will be the norm.  The goal is to have two mp3 files for download: “Set 1” and “Set 2+E.”  Every effort will be made to have one show posted before the next show starts, yet there is only so much within our control. (This time would be greatly decreased if there was a taper willing to join in on this project!)

While this all takes a lot of restraint on your part, it seems that people are willing to exchange patience for excitement, and we are gonna give it a go!  More to come…

====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.24.93 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA < LINK

Great Woods, MA

Great Woods, MA

Here is Phish’s stellar performance at Great Woods in the revered Summer of ’93.  A ripping second set opened with the fire of “2001 > Split, Fluffhead,” while also featuring a strong “Mike’s Groove” with an outstanding “Weekapaug.” Phish were a week away from entering August ’93, one of their peak months ever, and here you can begin to see why.

I: Llama, Horn, Nellie Cane, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Rift, Stash, The Mango Song, Bouncing Around the Room, The Squirming Coil

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Split Open and Melt, Fluffhead, Maze, Glide, Sparkle, Mike’s Song > Y-Rushalayim Schel Zahav > Weekapaug Groove, Purple Rain > HYHU, Daniel, Good Times Bad Times

E: Golgi Apparatus, Freebird

A Desert Antelope

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 9, 2009 by Mr.Miner

I was blindsided at the gym this weekend.  No, not by some musclehead in a roid rage, but by an aggressively improvisational “Antelope” that might as well have been on the cream and the clear.  I had been continuously working my way through a Phish playlist from a friend, and as I was finishing the cardio portion of my workout, the old school version of “Oblivious Fool” came on.  Not particularly suitable for working out, and an odd addition to the playlist altogether, I skipped directly to the next song-  Antelope.

gw2I didn’t bother to look at the date or anything, I just kept going.  Since I consider myself pretty well-versed in Phish, especially Phish highlights, I thought I’d figure out what I was listening to.  Yet, as the jam progressed, it was raging, and though I could tell it was from ’97 or ’98, it didn’t ring a bell.

During the late ’90s, Antelope’s jams generally remained within their predestined structure.  While there was never any lack of improvisational madness, Anetlope jams rarely went “way out” there, or really anywhere except where you thought they would go.  In no way is this a knock on the song; the same holds true for “Harry Hood” or “Slave.”  That’s just the way some Phish jams are.  There was no shortage of huge Antelope’s in the late ’90s, but the song didn’t necessarily possess the adventure it did in ’94 and ’95.  It’s just the way things were.  But this version blaring in my ears was different.

533239286_d84e190ab7As this mystery Antelope raged on, Trey annihilated the early jam with soaring evil licks, before moving into more intricate patterns of notes.  All the while, the band was knee deep in a heavy, sinister groove.  This music began moving in an alternate direction as Fish and Mike switched up the rhythm; less straight ahead than most Antelopes, and as I was doing sit-ups, my ears perked up and took notice of the diverging musical course.

Pretty quickly the improv got really dark and the entire band began jamming out of the song’s structure.  Entering a quiet and murky musical pond, Mike’s bass lines lead the way.  The music continued progressing “way out” of “Antelope” and into some insane Phish improv.  “What!?” I thought.  Quickly flipping over my iPod to see what I was listening to and why I wasn’t fully cognizant of this epic jam I was immediately foiled- no date, Damn!  I decided to ride it out.

Moving deeper in, the music got into some slower melodic places that do not really come out of Antelopes.  Straight up mystical, transcendent Phish- this was crazy!  It was like hearing a brand new Phish jam for the first time; and that hadn’t happened in eons.  The band built the jam into a faster affair with all members just shredding at insane speeds, gradually merging paths with the original course of the song.  As the band built towards the Antelope peak, the playing was particularly frenetic, yet beautifully coherent- one of those things that Phish does masterfully.  To an untrained ear, it sounds like cacophony, but when you hear what they are actually doing at the peak of an Antelope, it’s just absurd.

gw1The jam finally dropped into the post-peak funk at the seventeen minute mark to the monstrous roar of the crowd.  The band continued to heavily improvise throughout the “composed” ending, as they tended to to when they were feeling the flow.  This normally routine section became quite interesting with heavy effects from Page, Mike and Trey, and then they popped into the final chorus with more spunk than usual.  This was my new favorite Antelope, but what was it?  As I looked back at the playlist menu, it was listed under 7.29.97.  A ha! Desert Sky. I had a huge “Oh yeah!” moment, as I remembered the magnitude of this Antelope that batted second in set two.

I wasn’t at that Phoenix show, and for some reason, I hadn’t heard the jam since the late ’90s.  A pretty high key show to have just forgotten about, but aside for the first set “Gumbo,” I had.  That’s what’s so great about Phish- just when you think you’ve heard it all, you’ll hear a new jam that absolutely floors you.  There are just so many out there, and soon, there will be so many more.

LISTEN TO 7.29.97’s Antelope now! < LINK (Roll over link and press play)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.29.97 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < LINK

1997-07-29mo1Here is the show you just read about, and I forgot about.  It’s a certain keeper from the Summer of ’97.  With one of the great “Gumbos,” a classic-sounding “Ghost,” an early, yet all-time great version of “Twist,” and of course the epic “Antelope,” this show was as hot as the weather it was played in.

I: Theme From the Bottom, Beauty of My Dreams, Gumbo, Dirt, Sparkle, Ghost, Swept Away > Steep > Loving Cup

II: Oblivious Fool, Run Like an Antelope, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Twist, Taste, Sample in a Jar, Rocky Top, The Squirming Coil

E: Possum

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HELP SAVE THE ANTELOPE!

400799230152In honor of today’s topic, I wanted to highlight a community member’s effort to help save the North American Pronghorn Antelope.  The website, Antelope Gatefree Paradise, details the issues putting Antelope in danger and what you can do to help.  In addition, you can purchase the classic lot shirts and stickers with the famous “Antelope Crossing” logo under “Merchandise.”  All proceeds go to volunteer organizations actively working to save the Pronghorn Antelope.  You can help out and score one of the all-time classic Phish lot t-shirts all at the same time!

A Blunt Prediction

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

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

18821768_0a602c31bb1

9.14.99 Boise

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

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

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

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

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

Fall '99 (Jay Blakesburg)

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

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

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

9.16.99 - Shoreline (Susanna Millman)

9.16.99 - Shoreline (Susanna Millman)

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

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

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.15.98 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA < LINK

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

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

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

E: Dirt, Limb by Limb

So Stupendous…

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

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

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

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

7.29.98 II Riverport Amphitheatre Maryland Heights, MO

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

LISTEN TO 7.29.98 TUBE NOW!

***

11.2.98 I E Centre, West Valley, UT

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

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

LISTEN 11.2.98 TUBE NOW!

***

9.28.99 I Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham, AL

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

LISTEN TO 9.28.99 TUBE NOW!

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12.13.99 I Providence Civic Center, RI

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

LISTEN TO 12.13.99 TUBE NOW!

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9.22.2000 II Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

9.22.00 Rosemont

9.22.00 Rosemont

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

LISTEN TO 9.22.00 TUBE NOW!

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

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.4.96 Sports Arena, San Diego, CA < LINK

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

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

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

E: Jesus Just Left Chicago

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