A Labor Day Laid Back Phish Mix

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 30th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

As everyone heads home for a three-day Labor Day weekend, it is a time for relaxation, end-of-summer barbeques, and friends.  Marking the end of the fourth, and in all probability, the last Phish-less summer for a while; it is a time to kick back and take in the season’s traditional finale.  We may now have less than a year left without the powers of the Phish- and that my friends, is quite exhilarating.

With a Trey tour on the brink of announcement, Mike’s tour raging hard, and Fish and Page about to sit in with other bands, things are good in the land of the Phish. People seem healthy and happy to be playing music, and heading on a crash-course for the same stage.  This is a time to relax and let things come as they may- and as everyone is bound to be relaxing in one way or another at some point during this three-day weekend, I’ve compiled some selections to provide a soundtrack for your barbeques, drives, sessions, and beyond.

The songs for “Miner’s Picks: Labor Day ’08″ were selected without a focus on any one era, but generally chosen for their laid back vibe- for the most part.  Just a collection of Phish greatness from over the years to accompany you over this transition back into September.  Its over four and half hours of sick, yet, chiller jams, with some nuggets of darkness thrown in.  Enjoy the weekend, the tunes, and see you in a day or two.

MINER’S PICKS: LABOR DAY PT 1. <<<<DOWNLOAD LINKS!!!

MINER’S PICKS: LABOR DAY ’08 PT 2.

MINER’S PICKS: LABOR DAY ’08

1. Mellow Mood 9.8.00 Albany, NY

2,3,4. Disease > Have Mercy > Disease 11.12.94 Kent St, OH

5. Slave to the Traffic Light 10.31.94 Glens Falls, NY

6. Reba 6.13.94 Kansas City, MO

7. Antelope 3.20.92 Binghamton, NY

8. Harry Hood 4.18.92 Stanford, CA

9. If I Could 12.29.94

10,11. Mike’s > Breathe (instr.) 10.25.95 St. Paul, MN

12. Tweezer 7.6.94 Montreal, CAN

13. Simple 11.18.96 Memphis, TN

14. Weekapaug 7.2.1994 Garden St. Arts Cntr, NJ

15. Slave to the Traffic Light 10.6.1995 Vancouver, BC

16. Harry Hood 8.10.96 Alpine Valley, WI

17. Tweezer 11.23.94 St. Louis, MO

18. Bathtub Gin 9.29.00 Las Vegas, NV

19. Down With Disease 12.30.03 Miami, FL

20. Fluffhead 4.13.92 Tempe, AZ

21. YEM 11.18.95 No. Charleston, SC

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The Night The Moma Was Born

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 29th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

It was late one winter night, past midnight in fact, when The Moma Dance first joined the world.  It’s older and rougher sister Katy, had stomped around all fall- making particularly boisterous appearances in Hampton, Cleveland and Winston-Salem.  But tonight, a baby would be born.  It was December 30th, 1997, and Phish had just finished playing a marathon, Harpua-laced, second set with an long and twisting AC/DC opener, a phenomenal Hood and a smoking Guyute to close the set; and with all that enthusiasm, the Phish had accidentally played way past the MSG curfew of 11pm.  It was a quarter to twelve, but instead of killing the hyped crowd without an encore, Trey announced they would “just keep playing until New Years Eve,” since the fine had already been levied.  And so the band played on, and that’s when our story begins.

It only seemed proper that on such an occasion, the encore would match the crazy and unique situation.  A show which had unleashed the first Sneakin’ Sally since 1989 , and was crystallized by Harpua and the udder-ball, deserved a special encore.  You got the feeling this would be more than a Bouncin, Rocky Top.  As the band took their spots, the anticipation rose after Trey’s curfew explanation- a hush fell over the crowd.  A hush that would be powerfully crushed by the opening metal chords of America’s first-ever “Carini.”  Having debuted the song in Amsterdam, back on 2.17 under the name of “Lucy,” and played it only five times in Europe that winter, it was only fitting that Phish would drop this monstrous song in such a monstrous venue.  It was huge- the place literally blew up as they sat into the song’s long-sought darkness.  They even brought Carini (Fish’s Drum Tech) out on stage after they slowly ripped through the sinister verses; the vibe was infectious in there, everyone in the building was having the time of their lives- band included.

Yet, as the chorus ended, and Trey would normally rip into a seething solo, the band just dropped into the most ridiculously dirty segment of music.  It’s the crunchy and metallic dinosaur residue of Carini mixed with the deepest, slowest, most ’97est funk.  It is the greatest.  It’s only about thirty seconds before they gradually reach a change, and began playing Black Eyed Katy- slowly- really slowly.  So slowly that after the show, many fans hadn’t even realized that they had played Katy at all.

If you go back and listen to this section of music, you’ll realize those thirty seconds of crack represented The Moma Dance pushing through the universe’s birth canal into the lap of Madison Square Garden.  What ensued was a super-thick, super-slow Black Eyed Katy; but listening years later, it’s an instrumental Moma Dance-literally.  It even launches into a bit of the soon-to-be-familiar funk-rock that became the end of the song.  But this night, it was back to the funk, as they remained thick as tar while smoothly moving into a slowed down Sally reprise, stamping this encore as officially “best ever,” even before the band ended with a raging Frankenstein.  Given the circumstances, and the music, there can barely be an argument.

Not to be seen again until the debut of “The Moma Dance” in the dark stone surroundings of Copenhagen’s Den Gra Hal, this version in New York was truly the night the band figured out what they would do with this ridiculous funk groove.  Slow it down a bunch, throw some lyrics on top, add a chorus, and- boom-everyone’s favorite song.  At least for a while.  But it was one of those that got every one out of their seat and amped every time.  Even the non-dancers managed to get some sort of rhythmic or arrhythmic groove on to The Moma Dance, as it became a setlist staple for years to come.

The song truly became a relic of the funk era, a reminder of what Phish was doing every night during 1997.  It was only fitting that it would transform with a change of the calendar, in the early moments of New Years’ Eve.  Taking only the Island run off before coming back to a white hot spotlight during the summer and fall of 1998, The Moma Dance would grow, mature, and become an adult Phish song.  But now you know the story of its’ birth and when it took its first thick breaths of funk on a cold winter night, a long time ago.

LISTEN TO THIS EPIC ENCORE NOW!>> CARINI > BLACK-EYED KATY > SALLY REPRISE > FRANKENSTEIN

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY>>4.21.92 Redwood Acres, Eureka, CA

Along Phish’s famed spring west coast run in 1992, with the band’s best playing to that point in their career, they stopped in Humboldt County for a show.  Smack in the middle of hippie-central in Northern California, a polished and young geeky-hippie band from Vermont threw down a sick show amidst clouds of weed smoke covering the small venue.  Taken from an archived Phish.net review, Trey announced before the encore, “We hope you enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed your dope!”  Ah, the old days.  A raging set closing Bowie foreshadowed what was to come.  The epic second set features an adventure with Colonel Forbin on a houseboat to find the evil King Wilson, a gorgeous  Tweezer that still stands out today, and a fierce Mike’s Groove.  Enjoy some old school greatness!

04-21-92 Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, Eureka, CA

I: Suzy Greenberg, Uncle Pen, Split Open and Melt, Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Possum, It’s Ice, Eliza, NICU, Bouncing Around the Room, David Bowie

II: Dinner and a Movie, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Tweezer, Tela, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Weigh, Catapult*, Lively Up Yourself, Vocal Jam, Sanity, Maze

E: Memories, Sweet Adeline, Cavern

*Mike only, a capella.

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Scents and Subtle Sounds

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 28th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

If you would only start to live

One moment at a time

You, would I think, be startled

by the things that you would find

Creeping out like a the opening of a old fable, Scents and Subtle Sounds begins.  Whispered like cryptic life instructions to their audience, as we navigate an overwhelmingly complex modern age, Trey and Tom suggest a more examined life- with simplicity comes virtue.  With slowed down conscious moment-to moment living, most people in this country would be baffled with what their life would be like.  The pace of life today is absurd, and seldom do people stop to appreciate the fabric of it all.  This song is all about the fabric- the subtleties in life that often inspire the most beauty.  The unexpected often arrives when we stop trying and doing for a while, and just let things unfold– paying attention the the usually glossed over details.  If we can manage to live in the ever-unfolding now” the things that we “might find” are the things we have been questing for our whole life- peace, happiness, fulfillment, inspiration, focus, positive energy, love.  As “startling” as it may be to reach these places, the song suggests that “it” is ultimately possibly for us all.

Like scents you never noticed

And many subtle sounds

like colors in the landscape

And textures of the town

Running late, sipping coffee while getting off the subway, working with our head buried all day; only to race home, have a few drinks and start again.  This reality we live in is fast, but that doesn’t mean our minds have to be.  I’m no buddha, and certainly do not attain states of continued enlightenment- but I know that we set our own pace.  We need to; because as Ferris said, “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  And what they are telling us in this song, is a metaphorical version of what Ferris told us over 20 years ago.  If we don’t stop once and a while we’ll miss out on the fabric.  The scents we never noticed and many subtle sounds.  The colors and textures that are woven into the fabric that make each moment unique- it is our choice how many we are present for.

Then the winds will would lift you up

Into the sky above

And you’d be treated to a view

Of everything you love

If we live in the moment- every moment- recognizing what it provides for us, we are bound to succeed.  Good or bad, foolish or smart, each moment is there to live to the fullest, teaching us, bringing us up into the sky above.  If we are true to ourselves, true to the moment, true to our souls; we will be always surrounded by love.  The winds of inspiration will blow eternal for us if we live focused for only the present, because in reality, there is nothing else.  Just as Garth once commanded Wayne, “Live in the now!”

And if the moment passes

You should try it once again

For if you do it right

You’ll find that moment never ends

We all make mistakes.  We can’t always be present, and that awareness of being in the moment is often fleeting.  All we can do is try our best.  But if we lose our path, or the moment passes- we should always remain determined.  If successful in blazing our path in life, happiness springs eternal.  That blissful moment, at the peak of your favorite Phish jam, is eternity- its possible.  I am sure of it.  Don’t ask me how- but I am sure of it.  I’ll be sure to post about it if I figure it out.

If you would stop and notice that we number every day

But allow the many moments left uncounted slip away.

We, as a mass culture, are missing it.  Ripping pages off the calendar, stretching for the weekend, but allowing the fabric to go unnoticed.  There is beauty in all moments, and we often choose to ignore it. We must try to appreciate each experience for the value it has, and move from one focused experience to the next.  We need to pay more attention.

You don’t have to count them, just enjoy them one by one

Then things would take a different hue and sparkle in the sun

The wind would lift you up into the sky

Just live.  Don’t count experiences.  Don’t count shows.  Don’t worry about how much of one thing or another you have- just enjoy.  Just be.  Rage every moment of every Phish show- rage every moment of every day.  Rage our showers, and our dreams; rage our classes and our families.  Rage life unconditionally.  If we can just live for the sake of living, moment by unfolding moment, things might look a little different and “sparkle in the sun.”  And here are those winds again.

The winds would lift you up into the sky above

Where you would see a trail of treasured memories you love

A rainbow record of the thoughts and moments you’ve enjoyed

Arcs behind the earth as spectral colors in the void

The void- nothingness, everything, the universe, eternity.  Lyrical poetry that barely needs interpretation.  Valuing the now will lead to rainbow trails in eternity.   Spectral memories of moments you enjoyed; you didn’t lose track.  You did it.  You never lost sight of the big picture for too long, and never lost sight of the fabric- the invisible art that paints our daily moments and inner galaxies- colors in the void.

At least that’s what I think the song is about.

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Download of the Day: E Centre: Salt Lake City, Utah 11.14.97

A year before shocking the Phish world by dropping “Dark Side” in this venue, Phish played an incredibly adventurous two sets that truly set the tone for Fall ’97. Boasting the first “four song second set” of Fall 1997 in Wolfman’s > Piper, Twist > Slave, this show was a huge foreshadowing of the type of playing would emerge on the now legendary tour. With a first set featuring a quality Runaway Jim, Gumbo opener, a funkadelic 2001>Funky Bitch, and a hot Antelope to close; this show smokes from start to finish. Download and listen to the show that really got Fall ’97 kicked off after a solid warm up in Vegas the night before. The second set is a can’t miss gem.

ALSO, Miner’s Picks: Summer ’99 have been updated to Mediafire.

11/14/97 E Centre, Salt Lake City, UT
Set I: Runaway Jim, Gumbo, Maze, Fast Enough For You, Gumbo, Also Sprach Zarathustra >Funky Bitch, Guyute, Run Like An Antelope
Set II: Wolfman’s Brother > Piper > Twist > Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Bold As Love

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Den Gra Hal – “Download of the Day”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 27th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

What happens when you contain the forces of Phish with an intimate stone barn in Scandinavia?  Throw in the fact that the barn is located in the center Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen- an old semi-autonomous hippie community from the early ’70s.  Marijuana, hash, and mushrooms are peddled openly at stands in the town’s center square, a few hundred yards from the door to the venue- which could only fit a couple thousand people at most.  The whole town wasn’t more than a few city blocks in area, and the only posted rule in the village was “no hard drugs.”  These volatile ingredients were the recipe for outstanding Phish jams and a lot of excitement.  This was Den Gra Hal- a former horse stable turned music venue- which Phish blew apart as the beginning of their Summer tour in 1998.

The few hundred Americans who stumbled upon Christiania  the night before the first show show were greeted by a multi-color graffiti laden building, The Grey Hall, in which Phish would be playing the next three nights.  It certainly had a unique vibe.  As fans congregated outside that evening before the run, Phish played an extended two hour sound check with the back doors intentionally left open for sound, allowing everyone an auditory glimpse into the band’s new tunes.  Trey popped in and out to chat with fans and when asked about the interior of Den Gra Hal, observed that he “could really see that room on a lot of acid,” and encouraged all to indulge on the following evening for the show.  No joke; a resounding endorsement by Trey, himself.  The surroundings were heavenly- the summertime “darkness” was more akin to four hours of deep purple skies each night in which to bask after the show.  A few outdoor bars and a small lake atop a hill rounded out this ideal locale for a three day Phish stand.

Phish made good on Trey’s recommendation, playing a well-over three hour show on the first night to kick off the party featuring such highlights as the first Moma Dance, a huge Mike’s, a Stash>Cities, a reworked Ghost, a Tube, and a Wolfman’s> Frankie Sez> Antelope.  There was no messing around on the first night of tour, but I have come to discuss the second night.

Sometimes you leave a show knowing that Phish just threw down the gauntlet.  You know that throughout the rest of the tour, they may throw down some nasty stuff, but it wouldn’t be any nastier than that.  This feeling happens from time to time, and the first of July in 1998 was certainly one of those times.  Exiting the musty and dank stone room onto the lawn with heavy Phish grooves echoing through your skull, gazing up at the royal sky- you are amidst one of those life-affirming moments we quest after with such determination.  Fulfillment.  You just had the time of your life, were walking up the cobblestone path to grab some smokeables in the square, and turning left to grab some icy Tuborgs with your friends after witnessing Phish as good as they get.  Smoking and joking, trying to figure out what superhuman powers had been bestowed on the band lately- you were amidst the seven best consecutive shows in history- the Island Run and three months later, these three in Christiania.  Trying to wrap your head around the epic forty minute Tweezer > 2001 that had just gone down inside the confines of that horse stable across the way.

It was all so cohesive; progressing naturally through multiple groove segments, screaming to the inner dancer in us all.  Settling in with bass and clav grooves, the music built to a place where Trey subtly joined in the texture before moving into lead melodies that perfectly accentuated the music.  The band locked into a more unified pattern, gaining momentum, before they jumped into the cauldron together.  Soon, Trey started tickling the crowd with his wah-rhythm grooves over a sublime  musical palate led by a fine Gordeaux.

This was all happening in a tiny barn in Denmark!  Yeah, this was dreamland- it had to be, this is what I’d always dreamed of.  A third section of the jam was initiated by Fishman, and the band sounded like they had rehearsed these changes as they flowed effortlessly through some of the smoothest most refined music.  Trey wove melodic tales in the context of the band’s framework, soon giving way to some of his more explosive soloing in the jam.  As the band morphed into another place, Trey reaches up to the purple sky with his melodies.  His playing gets sublime before the band melts into ambience on their way to a precise and slammin’ fifteen minute club-version of 2001.

Leaving the outer-space magnitude for the amphitheatres later in the summer, Phish ripped a notably clean 2001 with little dissonance and distortion, and lots of spot on funk.  Everyone played tight lines, totally bouncing off each other; Page highlighting his Rhodes, Trey consistently improvising melodies, Mike thumping away adhesive, and Fishman carrying, while accenting, the rhythms.  This faster note-heavy version of the song was perfectly suited for the size of the room where the sound did not need to travel more than several hundred feet.  The room was crowded, yet had energy pockets that had been popping off since the beginning of the set, with plenty of room to move and receive the magic.  This is what it was all about- losing yourself to a massive Tweezer in a tiny barn under a wooden roof and a purple star-lit sky.

Sometimes foreign Phish shows, like The Grey Hall, bring a new appreciation for the show experience altogether.  With few in attendance for tangential reasons, the focus of everyone is on the band.  The space between the band and crowd is all but eliminated, as club shows morphed into nightclub parties which band members often attended.  Everyone had busted out their passport and trekked across oceans to get there- this wasn’t home turf- so there were no chips carried on anyone’s shoulder.  No one was there to hang out in the “lot,” and often foreign Phish-goers were the most mellow of all.  During that summer in Europe and, later, in Japan, I vowed never to miss another foreign Phish show.  Let’s hope I can take myself up on that.

Tweezer > 2001” 7.1.98

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY LINK: 7.1.08 Den Gra Hal: Copenhagen

This Scandinavian epic is going to kick off Phish Thoughts’ “DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY.” In response to multiple requests for full-show downloads, the “DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY” will be one show, in its entirety, up for download on the site each day. Along with the link, there will be a short review of what the show is all about.These will be standout shows with great audience sources- they will sound crispy.(There will be archived links, so you don’t need to download every day.)

In response to recent slow download speed, I am using Mediafire + bandwith as a temporary solution until I get my own host.  Sorry about the slow Sendspace links, revision is in the works.  Miner’s Picks: Summer ’95 pts. 1 and 2 are on Mediafire already, and when I wake up all of ’95 and all DJ mixes will be bumped over to Mediafire for faster access. I hope you check back every day and take advantage of this welcome addition to Phish Thoughts.  The first selection, as reviewed above is:

7/01/98 The Grey Hall – Freetown Christiana, Copenhagen

I: NICU, Sample In a Jar, My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own, The Moma Dance, Down With Disease > Dog-Faced Boy > Piper, Waste, Chalkdust Torture Set

II: Tweezer > 2001 > Loving Cup, My Soul, Sweet Adeline

E: Harry Hood

(photos: russ kahn)

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Creating Your Ideal Jam

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on August 26th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

What if you could create your favorite Phish jam?   You could formulate and build one Phish jam sequence for the rest of your life.  That’s all- nothing else, but it would be exactly what you wanted.  Like sitting on the proverbial desert island with a boombox fully loaded with this one jam- for the rest of time; happily.  If you can disregard the absurdity of the proposition, it can certainly open up an interesting conversation.

First off, I would want something of at least 40+ minutes that hits on multiple Phish realms- grooves, bliss, ambient space, evil darkness- all wrapped into one jam.  It would need to be exploratory, yet cohesive; out there, yet directed.  The jam would have to posses an extended session of ferocious Phish grooves, with Trey and Mike crushing it, to satiate just that part of my addiction. Page and Fish would both frame and contribute to the action as two complimentary cogs on the machine. Trey would have to then take the lead over the funk and begin playing ridiculously improvised lines and melodies- practically sounding rehearsed.

The jam would most definitely have to travel to an abstract Phishy-ambient space, with Fishman playing shimmering beats, bringing the music deeper.  Page, Mike and Trey would be an amorphous ball of harmony and melody. This jam might seem that it was heading for a landing point, but the whole band would jump on a new idea and take the abstract jam to a much darker place. It would then build into one of those delicate and sacred places, where the band just oozes “it,” and Trey would enter his “spiritual” playing with divine phrases and licks.  The band would move as one through this plane, bringing you along for the ride.  Things would just become subconscious- for them, for you, for everyone- the unifying spirit; completely unique experience.  Led by improvisation that you don’t see every day, and would most definitely write home about, this jam would posses at least some of the answers.  Phish would then somehow creep the music, unsuspectingly, from the depth, back to where you thought it was going in the first place.

Seamlessly transitioning into a new song that they nail- just as the adventure was over, there would be a new beginning- they would start to jam out of the end of the song for the only time in the band’s career! You always knew this song could reach another level if they used the ending as a jumping off point-and they do- this is your perfect world.  The improvisation would build from beauty back into even darker and heavier abstract places- stuff you’ve never really imagined.  Spirits of the universe groaning awake after a slumber of a million years.  They band would be channeling an extra-terrestrial energy, providing a psychedelic trampoline to face your inner-self amidst this celestial sludge- confronting your fears and realizing your dreams.  This jam would build to a frightening peak in this alternate universe before trickling back down to earth.  Yeah, all that would have to happen if this was gonna’ be my only jam for the rest of my life.

To me, there is really only one answer to this seemingly impossible question.  I just described it.  The Island Run’s Roses>Piper.

Listen and watch below.

What is your “desert island” jam? Reply in comments and start a conversation!

SOME SNIPPETS FROM THE JOURNEY:

ROSES ARE FREE Part 2

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ROSES Part 3

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(photos: Nassau 4.3.98, Joel Price::video: silverchair97)

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Summer ’95: Psychedelic Warfare

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 25th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

With summer winding down, and visions of tours past dancing in our heads, I want to focus one more post on a summer tour- musically, my favorite summer tour of all time- Summer ’95.  This summer was not for the lighthearted, as Phish was at its peak of psychedelic experimentation in the truest sense.  Straight mind-fucking madness leapt down your throat from the stage each and every night.  Multiple twenty-plus minute excursions into abstract and aggressive darkness were routine.  Each show was truly a trip- bringing you face to face with the demons and then back to the light of the divine.  Coming six months after an insane end of 1994, with the band tight as ever and carrying the most momentum of their career, Phish dedicated the tour to ridiculously dark improvisation.  Summer ’95 would provide the open space to deeply explore both the abstract and fiery jamming that had defined their careers, and Phish would move beyond anything done previously into music parallel to the realms of outer space.

Experimentation was paramount this summer; risk taking with no abandon- jumping into the void without knowing what would come out.  With the depth of the band’s communication, and a focus on very dark and psychedelic adventure, fans had to dig in each night.  You were never sure when a 40+ minute Tweezer would come crawling out of the speakers- there were multiple that summer- or when a dark groove would melt into an extremely ambient space- suggesting the mystery of the unknown.  The only thing you could expect was the unexpected.  Massive Bowie’s exploded all over the summer landscape; both abstract and heavy tension-and-release Stash’s, Split’s, and Antelopes raged in a way not seen in the late ’90s; terrorizing Mike’s Grooves descending from above.  The new, Free, began to expand itself into cool combinations with classic songs.  The band’s focus on putting together true mind-fucking outward journeys was clear, and the results were often brain numbing psychedelic treks through yourself and beyond.  Some jams made you sincerely question, and maybe fear, the massive power of the Phish.  It was like a summer of Phish Acid-Tests?  Could you pass?

Their playing this summer featured more insane improvisation- the kind when you can’t remember what song they were in, because in essence, they weren’t in any- they were just letting it hang out.  Some fans reject this style as too over the top and inaccessible, but this was a major focal point and piece of Phish’s development that would be refined through the peak of Fall 1995.  Jams like the Red Rocks Mike’s Groove, the Mud Island Tweezer, the Lakewood Bowie, the Walnut Creek Split, Sugarbush’s Runaway Jim, or the Great Woods Stash showcased just what Phish was capable of at the time- heavy full band psychedelia, not resembling the groove-centric playing of later years.  This was the depth of the quagmire, the primordial soup, the overt attempt to disrupt your reality.

Yet, with these dark adventures came divine moments of bliss as well- heavily improvised Reba’s, ultra-tight Hoods, and triumphant Slaves seemed to fit right in with these dark themed shows.  The focus on precision playing and communication brought these uplifting songs to colossal heights.  Juxtaposed against the madness they came before or after, they always provided necessary stops in the sunshine before lifting another cosmic rock to find out what creature lied beneath.

This was also the last tour that was happening in conjunction with Dead tour- it would all change after this.  Phish’s scene would grow much bigger, attracting the hangers-on of Dead tour who were just out there for the lifestyle and the lot.  And some would begin to come for the music as well.  The Phish scene was still purely Phish during Summer ’95, and it would be the last time that this would be the case.  The whole size of the scene would begin to multiply after this blissful summer in Gamehendge, and things would never quite be the same.

There would come a loss of Phishy innocence after this summer, and many saw the year of 1995, culminating in the triumphant New Year’s show at MSG, as the peak of Phish’s career.  While it certainly was the absolute peak of their career and style up to that point, they would go on to redefine themselves into the industrial groove machine that dominated the late ’90s with danceadelic shows and quite a different style of play.  Some people stayed, some left, and a whole lot more came.  But Summer ’95 was when Phish’s teeth were razor sharp, and you had to survive a trip into the jaws of the band each and every night.  Coming out alive, or the same, was not guaranteed.  They spent all June and July stretching the limits of improvisational music and re-defining what was possible with a four-piece band.

To remember such a special time in Phish history and evolution, I have created the third installment of Miner’s Picks: “Summer ’95.”  Totaling over seven hours of straight madness, this compilation will surely have you amazed at the mastery and overt psychedelic nature of what Phish did before 1997. Download away!

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’95 PT. 1 (new mediafire link)

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’95 PT. 2 (new media fire link-fixed)

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’95 PT. 3 (new mediafire link)

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’95 PT. 4 (new mediafire link)

Miner’s Picks: Summer ’95

1. Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug 6.10 Red Rocks, CO

2,3. Runaway Jim > Makisupa 7.2 Sugarbush, VT

4. David Bowie 6.15 Atlanta, GA

5. Reba 6.19 Deer Creek, IN

6,7. Curtain > Stash 6.17 Gainsville, VA

8,9. Down With Disease > Free 6.26 SPAC

10. Split Open and Melt 6.16 Walnut Creek, NC

11,12,13. 2001 > Halley’s > Bowie 6.24 Philadelphia, PA

14. Slave to the Traffic Light 6.15 Atlanta, GA

15. Run Like An Antelope 6.23 Waterloo, NJ

16. Mike’s Song 6.20 Cuyahoga Falls, OH

17,18. Runaway Jim > Free 6.16 Walnut Creek, NC

19. Harry Hood 7.1 Great Woods, MA

20. David Bowie 6.19 Deer Creek, IN

21,22. Stash > Strange Design 7.1 Great Woods, MA

23. YEM 6.19 Deer Creek, IN

24,25. Timber Ho > Bowie 7.3 Sugarbush

26. Tweezer 6.14 Mud Island Amphitheatre, Memphis, TN

(photo of band: Shoreline 1995, Tim Mosenfelder; Sugarbush: Jon Michael Richter)

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In Case You Missed It: “From the Archives”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on August 23rd, 2008 by Mr.Miner

On Thursday, Phish Archivist, Kevin Shapiro, broadcast live via Livephish.com, and bust out some crispy gems from the archives. His archives show always take me back to the festival days, and the Phish radio stations that broadcast 24/7.  They remind me of the placid puffing of a spliff near our tent at the Lemonwheel- on the night before the show- and watching the sunset while the “Runaway>Free” raged from our boombox- what a great slice of life.  The archives shows always provide top-notch definitive chunks of Phish history; some we’ve heard a lot, but never in the pristine form of a soundboard; and some more obscure pieces.  A recent “From the Archives” conjured up such crispy classics as the Hampton ’97 Halley’s, the Worcester ’95 Real Gin, and the Dayton ’97 Tube>jam.  This newest broadcast had incredibly diverse offerings- let’s take a look–

1. Limb by Limb 7.22.97 soundcheck:  Kind of a random selection thrown in the lead-off position here.  WIth the newly released Raleigh DVD from this date, this is a glimpse of the calm before the storm- literally.  Having just come back from Europe, this was a song yet to debut in America- and was the band getting in some practice.  Possibly a preview of what was to follow the first set closing Taste, had a lightening bolt not got in the way.  This song was the only song, Shapiro says, that was played in soundcheck and not in the show.

2. Reba 8.16.93 St. Louis, Mo.:  A first set improvisational masterpiece, this Reba gets dark and practically beat-less before slowly building to a unique and triumphant groove.  This type of way-out creative improvisation typified much of ’93, and more so ’94. There is nothing “traditional” about this Reba, as the band, again, brings the jam back to virtually nothing before slowly building the familiar Reba groove back, gradually speeding up the tempo.  This is a delicate and gorgeous piece of music that really benefits from the soundboard recording.  This is a can’t miss.

3. Gumbo 7.29.97 Phoenix, Az.: An emerging funk jam in the Summer of ’97, Gumbo was amidst a transformation when they decided to explore its jam at Desert Sky this evening.  A version made famous by Trey, who has since mentioned that he holds this jam in high esteem, this Gumbo was certainly a highlight of the summer.  Featuring big bouncing bass lines of Gordon, and both lead lines and wah-funk from Trey- this jam screams Summer ’97.  This was definitely what this tour was all about!  Trey’s tone gets into some different ranges during the jam as the band is locked in grooveland for about ten minutes.  Straight Phish crack.

4. Bathtub Gin 6.28.00 PNC, NJ: Good to see ’00 getting some love here.  This Gin is a masterful piece of first set improvisation that was a major highlight of a great two-night PNC stand.  2000 is a year that gets way more flack than it deserves, and I’m glad Shapiro picked out one of the many reasons why.  This Gin begins in a very uptempo place, grooving hard right away as Trey noodles out of the Gin melody into some classic licks.  Some great Trey and Mike interplay pops right out at you on this soundboard copy!  Before long, Trey begins a melodic chord progression that the band hops on, sailing their ship into blissville.  Upon arriving, Trey disembarks and begins to shred heavy lead lines to the crowd awaiting ashore.  The band and Trey completely tear apart the ending of the jam with a massive peak.  A great nugget from Summer ’00!

5. AC/DC Bag 12.30.97 MSG: In a MSG-dominated New Year’s Run, capping one of the greatest years in Phish history, this Bag stands out as the best jam from the 30th.  This multi-faceted twenty-plus minute Phish-fest passes through so many improvisational feels and segments, putting the jam on par with several “best-ever” jams in the fall of 1997.  Allowing us to hear the intricacies of the quieter sections of the jam, the soundboard gives us a whole new appreciation for the second half of the Bag!  Showcasing many styles of Phish music, this Bag jam is a definitive representation of Phish at the end of 1997.

6. Brother 5.17.92 Union College, Schenectady, Ny: A truly ripping ’92 version of this song; the whole band is absolutely crushing on this one.  Bringing out Trey’s fast and furious side, he wails through the entire song, bringing out a side not seen these days.  The music sounds like it is about to burst at the seams as there is so much energy pumping through it.  Within its first year of existence, this Brother represents Phish going for its juvenile jugular.

7. Halley’s > David Bowie 11.26.94 Minneapolis, Mn:  Everyone loves “A Live One” ‘s Slave, but far fewer know the massive set that led up to such a triumphant ending.  It is this near 40 minute magnificently exploratory Bowie that brings the band, and the crowd, to the depths of their souls and back again.  This jam is characteristic of the insane and historic month of 11/94 in Phish history, and goes to excessively deep places.  This is the stuff they just don’t do anymore.  It was these type of Bowie’s that Fall ’94 became famous for, and this one, from the Orpheum in Minneapolis, is one of the greatest.  Complete with a tripped-out vacuum solo in the depths of the jam, this off the wall risk-taking and genuine adventure in this improv is what defined this era of Phish music.  After sitting through this dark journey, one can understand the incredibly cathartic nature of the Slave everyone has loved for years.  This jam is yet another piece of music that defines the band at a point in time.  This is a special gem that is gift to have in a soundboard after listening to it via audience copy for so long.

8. Ghost>Slave 7.4.99 Atlanta. Ga: One of the most sublime transitions the band has ever pulled off, this Ghost>Slave is one of Phish’s all-time highlights.  Opening the second set of Lakewood’s July 4th celebration, this Ghost provided heavy dance music to start the set with the whole band just locked in and killing it.  From these Ghost grooves, the band morphed into some of the most beautiful moments of music as the jam slowly transformed into Slave.  This Slave is one for the ages, as Trey hits a lick fairly early in the build and just takes it all the way to the top, as the band simply explodes with majestic music.  The energy in the pavilion couldn’t have been higher during this jam, as the entire band and audience shared a moment that no one will ever forget.  Another wonderful soundboard treasure that deserves much thanks!

DOWNLOAD THESE EPIC TRACKS NOW!!

From the Archives: 8.20.08 Part 1

From the Archives: 8.20.08 Part 2

THANKS KEVIN!!

AND MUCH THANKS TO cyanidebreathmint who ripped, tracked, and posted these links to PT!!!

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Just the Jams

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 22nd, 2008 by Mr.Miner

If you’re like me, you’ve listened to Phish for uncountable hours during your lifetime. I’ve listened to them for so many hours over the years, I had a desire to increase my “listening efficiency.”  Hence, the “compilations” I have created for years and have been putting out this week; I no longer need the filler songs.  Taking this even further, there came a point, while still living in the analog era, when I knew how long to fast-forward each song before the jam dropped, cutting out the non-essentials.  While I always love the continuity of listening to entire shows, especially second sets- I also love just listening to the shit.  I reached a place where I did not always need to hear the perfectly composed sections of YEM for the eight millionth time, or repetitive rhymes about coconuts and chloroforms and Uncle Ebeneezer. While adoring these composed sections, and still loving them in a live setting, I found that they took up half of my listening on a short drive or a quick workout, and since I knew those parts in my sleep, I often wanted to get to the heart of things. No time wasted; all jams all the time.

I know some purists will not agree with such habits, and always want to hear a version of a song in its entirety, but they way I see it- life is short, why spend time listening to the intros and composed sections of songs that are indelibly burned into my brain?  Yet, there is a time and a place for everything.  Anyhow, all that stopping and starting of analogs got a bit tiresome after a while, and with the advent of new technology, a few years ago I had an idea. Why not use my CD turntables to spin Phish mixes? Like a DJ set, they would be continuous, seamless, and put together within a conceptual framework. Sure, the beats wouldn’t match between songs, but they would have a flow; a natural beginning and ending point.   You would never hear a word, and often not discern any song; all jam all the time. No need to for frivolous formalities, just get right to the heart of why we all love Phish so much.  No frills.

There I stood with hundreds and hundreds of CDs and no particular idea of where I was gonna’ go with this; so I just started- recording live to my DAT machine- without an ability to overdub or fix mistakes. I made it through my first 80-minute excursion, and while not every transition was perfect, when I listened back to the creation, I liked the flow of it. I began playing it for others- they also liked it. I emailed it to some friends- they loved it! I had discovered a new hobby- making Phish DJ mixes. (I even DJ’d Phish dance parties using the same technique of sticking with solely masterful improvisation, and lo and behold- people loved it!) Using the same turntables formerly used to play electronic parties, I would create a magical Phish jam laboratory!

So I began to make more- on the fly, deciding what jams would naturally flow together-  I wove eighty-minute jigsaw puzzles of Phish music. My first few were with the post-hiatus sbds because the levels were so even, and then branched back into the auds from the past. I believe I have a total of five mixes right now, four of which I have posted for download below; and when I get the fifth back, I will post that as well. Enjoy them, get lost in them, try to figure out what jams they are made from, or delete ‘em- do with them as you please!  You can listen to my most recent and my first creations right below here, and the download links for all are right below that.

LISTEN TO A DJ MIX NOW>> SUMMER TOUR ‘08- A Mr, Miner DJ Mix (BIG file. Wait for it to load, or open it in new window)

SUMMER TOUR ’08 TRACKS

(Gorge 97 Tweezer > CCCC Gin 12.7.99 > UIC 97 Bag > Rock N Roll Merriweather 9.17.00 > Jim 6.16.00 Osaka > Piper 9.23.00 Chicago > Simple Worcester 98 > Stash 7.1.95 > Tweezer Mud Island 6.14.95 > Cypress Drowned 1.1.00)

DOWNLOAD TWO MR. MINER DJ MIXES

DOWNLOAD ANOTHER MR. MINER DJ MIX

DOWNLOAD THE LATEST MR. MINER DJ MIX

photos:dank: (11.29.03)

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The Summer of ’99: Starting up the Mountain

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 21st, 2008 by Mr.Miner

So much love permeates the Phish scene for the years of 1997 and 1998; yet people don’t often mention 1999 in the same way- and I’ve never understood this.  ’97 and ’98 were clear steps on the way to 1999- a year that featured a blistering summer tour, two fall tours, and Big Cypress- the millennial festival the band has called the apex of their career.  1999 was defined by the momentum gained over the past two years, melding the musical approaches they had developed, while adding a new “millennial” sound that featured more dissonance and distortion; prominent walls of sound and color, and fast-paced abstract psychedelia. As the band careened towards Big Cypress in the fall and in December, this millennial sound would become more and more prominent- but here we will focus on the beginning of that journey during the placid days of summer.

Taking a full six months off Phish, Trey initiated his solo trio, and completed a well-received Spring run introducing his first side project and a host of new songs.  Coming off their collective break, the band reassembled in June ready to continue their romps across the country that had defined their career.  Excitement was high that Kansas afternoon of June 30th, as fans readied themselves for their re-immersion into paradise.  Bonner Springs kicked off the tour in grand fashion with a show that set for the tone for the month.  Mike was in the middle now; jams were more bass lead than ever, and his Modulus sounded massive with the uncovered pavilion in Kansas.  After stopping in Atlanta for the introduction of “Meatstick”- the summer’s anthem- and a top notch July 4th offering, the band turned up through the Southeast, up through Jersey to the only mid-tour festival at Oswego, NY, and into Canada before circling back around the Midwest, settling in the comforts of Alpine and Deer Creek.

The music on this tour took the raw funk ’97, and the funk/ambience of ’98, and incorporated new styles featured on the newly released, The Siket Disc, a collection of instrumental shorts and ambient experiments that went over huge with fans favoring dark, more adventurous jamming.  The result was not only an alteration of their musical style- no longer solely focused on groove- but also the addition of “My Left Toe” and “What’s the Use?” to the rotation, two songs that got into deep abstract improvisation quickly, and provided “connector-jams” in several second sets- Kansas, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Star Lake- to name a few.  Some fans didn’t care for this more overtly abstract style, longing for the direct dance music and rhythm guitar of the past.  But one thing I learned over the years is that Phish was constantly evolving, and you must also evolve with them, or you’ll be left in the past.  This happened to a lot of people in 1997, as they dropped off with the onset of the slow funk era.  Each tour and each year, added something to Phish’s style and approach, and as things were added, other facets of their playing were necessarily lessened a bit.  But let’s be serious, there was no lack of funk and dance music in 1999, there was just more aspects to the music.  As 1998 saw the addition of “ambient jams” in the fall, Summer ’99 is when Trey began to develop his “millennial” sound that would become accentuated throughout the fall and December, and deliver us into 2000.  With more focus on layering, tonal texture, and manipulating sounds and effects, Trey and Phish tore through an amazing Summer that provided many highlights and pointed to a very exciting Fall.  Finishing up in Japan for three stellar shows at the Fuji Rock Festival- setting up their Japan Tour of 2000- Summer Tour ’99 continued building on the musical evolution that started two years earlier in ’97.

The band was firing on all cylinders all summer, as it began its uphill climb to the pinnacle of Big Cypress.  While many cite a drop off in consistent balls-to-the-wall playing in the year of 2000, it was 1999′s drive to the millennium that pushed the band to the brink.  As Trey and Fish walked off stage at Big Cypress, with tears in their eyes, after reaching, in their opinions, the high point of their career, they looked at each other and said, “I think we should stop.”  In the words of Trey, “The wave had crashed into shore,”  indicating a wonderment of what else there was for Phish to accomplish.  Everything that preceded this moment in Phish’s career had built to this point of indescribable magic- experienced by the band even more strongly than the fans- and the summer of ’99 was a significant building block in the year that Phish reached the top of the mountain.

In honor of such an amazing summer, and to expose a lot of music that may be unfamiliar to a lot of people, I am releasing the second in the series of “Miner’s Picks,” “Summer ’99.”  Totaling 34 tracks and over seven and a half hours of music, this compilation should allow everyone to discover, or rediscover the amazing playing that went down during this historic summer.  Enjoy! (Photos: band-summer ’99, Fishman-oswego)

THE DOWNLOAD LINKS AND TRACK LIST IS BELOW:

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’99 PT. 1 ( all new mediafire links)

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’99 PT. 2

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’99 PT. 3

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER ’99 PT. 4

“MINER”S PICKS: SUMMER ’99

1. Run Like An Antelope: 7.3 Atlanta

2. Bathtub Gin 6.30 Bonner Springs

3,4. Birds > If I Only Had a Brain 7.8 Va. Beach

5. 2001 7.7 Charlotte

6,7. Tweezer > Have Mercy 7.17 Oswego

8,9,10. Mike’s > Simple > My Left Toe 7.21 Star Lake

11,12. Reba > Carini 7.13 Great Woods

13. Chalkdust 7.10 Camden

14. Free 6.30 Bonner Springs

15,16. Ghost > Slave 7.4 Atlanta

17. Split Open 7.12 Great Woods

18,19. My Left Toe > Stash 6.30 Bonner Springs

20,21,22. Tweezer > Catapult > Tweezer 7.24 Alpine

23,24. Runaway Jim > Free 7.18 Oswego

25,26,27,28. Meatstick > Split > Kung > Split 7.15 PNC

29,30. Birds > Walk Away 7.25 Deer Creek

31,32. Halley’s > Roses 7.13 Great Woods

33. Tweezer 7.10 Camden

34. YEM 7.1 Nashville

VIDEO BONUS: TWEEZER: ALPINE 7.24.99 (IN TWO PARTS)

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You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

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Five Versions of Free

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 20th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Debuted at the classic Lowell 5.16.95 show, with an assortment of new material, “Free” grew from a song many fans were initially skeptical about into a fan favorite over the course of a few years.  Using metaphor to describe birth, its earliest incarnations featured Page-led piano based jams, with the band diving into soupy

phish.com

photo: phish.com

and often amorphous textures (Check out SPAC 6.26.95, Jones Beach 6.29.95).  The addition of Trey’s mini drum kit in Fall ’95 took the guitar out of the mix, and the jam seemed to lose direction at times, but it was working its way into the regular rotation.  When a reworked studio version appeared on 1996′s, Billy Breathes, it had lead guitar lines not previously played.  This new format helped transform the song when Phish shifted towards funk in 1997, taking on a whole new character and danceability.  Featuring a crowd rousing Mike bomb section followed by a Trey led group jam, It continued to be a staple until the end.  Below are five of my favorite Free’s- I’m not trying to argue them as the “top 5″- just five I love.  Read a mini-review and listen to each standout version of the song, or download all five versions below.

1. BONNER SPRINGS, KS: 6.30.99: Like a freight train driving into your skull to open the tour, this Free highlights the second set of the first show of 1999.  With the huge Bonner Springs open-air sound, Mike in the middle for the first time, driving the course of the jam, and with smoke machines pouring against the blood red lights blanketing the stage, this Free was as nasty as they come.  Amidst this scene Trey swoops in like a hawk with a nasty scowl and rips a dirty melody to initiate his solo line.  This massive militant mixture of darkness and groove evokes the very essence of what Free’s jam is all about.

LISTEN NOW>> 6.30.99 BONNER SPRINGS FREE

2. MCI CENTER, DC: 12.15.99: It is always a debated decision among fans whenever Trey picks up an instrument other than guitar.  Yet, this Free contains extended precise rhythmic and melodic use of his late ’99 keyboard.  Trey on keys, begins a drone pattern, that sets up a playfully large and bouncy jam with Mike playing some totally unique bass lines.  Minutes later, Trey then he hops off keys and begins to shred infectious guitar melodies over the top of it all.  This Free is a multi-faceted jam during the climactic two-week run of December 1999- only two weeks before reaching the mountain top at Big Cypress.   A unique 15+ minute version that diverts from its usual format, this Free comprises half of the centerpiece of the second set with the beautiful Reba.

LISTEN NOW>> 12.15.99 MCI CENTER FREE

3. UIC, IL: 11.9.98: This first set Free on the third night of an epic Chicago run was an instant classic.  The heavy crunching groove factory opened as soon as the jam commenced.  The band industrially chugs together, as Trey begins coloring the groove with accented rhythm licks.  This is straight Phish crack.  Page comes in with some masterful symbiotic clav melodies as he and Trey communicate over the plodding beat and bass bombs. Truly a whole group gem, this one stood out immediately after the show, and after not hearing it in years, it really shines and reminds me why I used to listen to it constantly.

LISTEN NOW>> 11.9.98 UIC FREE

4. Columbus, OH: 7.23.99: Far heavier and thicker than Polaris ’98’s light summer funk of Curtain > Free; this version is the ending point of an aggressive set-opening Ghost, and a boisterous stop off before some exploratory jamming in the Birds that follows.  Basking in the hugeness of the moment, jumping and stomping around while playing searing walls of tone and sound, Trey left his delicate rhythm and funk licks for another night.  Shredding in commanding fashion, Trey wails heavily in the post bass-bomb section of the jam.  This Free brought the amphitheatre to insane levels of energy amidst a second set that would end in a torrential downpour.   Massive in both shape and sound, this is a “can’t miss” raging version of the classic song.

LISTEN NOW>> 7.23.99 POLARIS FREE

5. Darien Lake, NY: 8.14.97: Somewhat of a dark horse, this first set version is one of the early great funk-based > guitar solo shaped Free.  Trey uses delicate rhythm chords to set up the texture of the jam, and then begins to weave tales over the top with great melodic phrasing in his classic ’97 tone.  Mike and Fish are holding down a deep pocket as the band moves into a directed adventure in groove.  This version totally rips, strewn with raw Summer ’97 funk, and often gets overshadowed by the second set Bozo-laced journey to Gamehendge.

LISTEN NOW >> 8.14.97 DARIEN LAKE FREE

DOWNLOAD ALL “FIVE VERSIONS OF FREE” RIGHT HERE!!

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