Damn,That Jam!?

They innocently oozed into it right out of Moma.  Phish had the crowd in the palm of their hand, and decided they’d play with them a bit.  Beginning from a place of near silence it commenced.  A few meandering bass notes with some guitar noise, and before you knew it, the band began to shape their ball of musical play-doh.  Very subtle at first, adding only sound and effects, Phish created a space-scape with a delicate texture shimmering like a the first star in the summer sky.

hw9Trey added some walls of tonal color and dissonance, with Page following suit.  The entire band instantly was up to their ears in a primordial sonic soup.  As the size of the sound continued to grow, and its shape expanded, most everyone in the spaceship was sure the band was creating a monumental build to 2001.  It was a given; where else would they possibly bring this type of gnarly martian music?  The entire building would explode with Fish’s snare hit.  This was it.

hw551This inner anticipation created the childlike dynamic of needing to stay in bed just ten more minutes before you could get up on Christmas morning.  The excitement living inside your soul was so deep it was almost sickening.  You couldn’t wait to run down those stairs, into the family room to see a twenty-minute 2001 sitting under the tree.  The five-minute passage that Phish created seemed like an eternity as we lied under our covers,  knowing what lied just ahead of this menacing passage.  The dark to the light, the eerie to the divine; this is what Phish was all about.  With each sonic swell, you felt the bass bulge inside you, and heard the intergalactic keyboard tweaks setting the gears for take off.

As the band checked their systems, using their instruments in unique and complementary ways, they formed a flowing cosmic noise.  It felt as though the entire room was levitating, and would soon zoom off into the ether, leaving vapor trails like Doc Brown’s Delorian.

As Fish rolled around on the toms, snare, and cymbals, take off was imminent.  Safety belts were strapped as the band entered a silent countdown.  3…2…1…”Bug?!”

img_0460Just as everyone and their mothers thought Phish was taking us to the outer rings with Fall ’99’s last 2001, the band dropped right into “Bug.”  On the recording you can hear Trey make the call about four seconds beforehand.  What many people would complain about after the show, was actually an incredibly Phishy anti-climax.  While the band became known for blowing your brains out, but they were also famous for pulling the anti-climactic move when you least expected it.  Yet, while everyone was wondering why they weren’t dancing to funk, Trey and the band were busy annihilating the “Bug” jam, creating a soaring piece of improv in its own right.

Hampton '99

Hampton '99

Phish were known to throw the change-up when the crowd is sitting dead red on a fastball, and to be honest, that is what made them so fresh and unpredictable.  Often dropping  “Harpua” out of the blue, the band would also use their ballads and composed songs at times when you expected a deep journey.  This is where expectations came into play.  Don’t carry them- they are unneeded emotional baggage.  Phish will naturally unfold in front of you, and the beauty of it all is being a part of that organic experience.  Forcing your own thoughts and ideas into what should be played only tarnishes a pristine experience.  Yet, during this jam in Hampton, nine years ago today, Phish convinced everyone in the building that we were heading for the Andromeda Galaxy.  The anticipatory nature of the jam is so definitive that the band used it as the backing music for their comeback announcement video, late that fall night.

Phish’s trickery was always half the fun.  We were, in fact heading for unbridled psychedelia, it was just coming  a few minutes later in the form of a demented twenty-minute “Split Open and Melt.”  They say that good things come to those that wait, and the following night, to open the last set of tour, Phish tore apart that 2001 we all so longingly desired.  And it was good.

LISTEN TO 12.17.99 MOMA > jam! > BUG NOW!



5.1.92 The Rave, Central Park, Milwaukee, WI < LINK

Spring '92 Poster

May '92 Poster

Another show from a reader’s request, this one is plucked from the all-star spring of 1992.  This high-quality AUD is allegedly from the rig Shapiro and friends’ ran during this tour.  A high energy beginning with Suzy and My Friend got the adrenaline coursing early, as Trey shredded the My Friend solo ferociously.  The first set reads as a typical 1992 first set, but is highlighted by an atypically smooth, piano-led “It’s Ice” jam.  Set two features a “Sanity, Buried Alive” opener and a hot Mike’s Groove.  A side note, this was the last appearance of Fishman’s “Bag-Vac” in “I Didn’t Know.”  Thought you’d like to know.

I: Suzy Greenberg, My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, The Landlady, NICU, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, It’s Ice, Horn, I Didn’t Know, Possum

II: Sanity, Buried Alive, Wilson, All Things Reconsidered, My Sweet One, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Mound, Lizards, Llama, Terrapin, Golgi Apparatus

E1: Lawn Boy, Good Times Bad Times

E2: Rocky Top

Tags: ,

17 Responses to “Damn,That Jam!?”

  1. Little Buddy Says:

    Another great post, Miner! This was the night I fell in love with bug. It was a perfectly unexpected placement. I don’t think I would have appreciated the incredible bug they dropped at Big Cypress as much as I did without the bug at Hampton a few weeks earlier. The subtlety of the melody and jam just have a way of grounding me. I remember looking back at the woman who later became my wife during the jam that preceded bug and it looked like her head was going to roll off her neck. Perfectly relaxed waiting for the storm of 2001 to arrive, but it was put on hold with a beautiful bug. Thanks again, Mr. Miner. I look forward to getting to work early every morning just to read your Phish thoughts.

  2. AbePhroman Says:

    Those shows were great! I love the Twist from the first night, and the 2001>Sand the next night was off the hook.

  3. Los Says:

    I luv bug

  4. jerrydamule Says:

    Miner, r u saying first Big Wheel or first Atari type anticipation as u head downstairs to check under the tree? Either way, I hear you, the mindblowing numbness of such a curveball. U just have to chuckle.

  5. Justin Says:

    Good morning Mr. Miner! Another great post this fine snowy day. I have a request. My roommate was wondering if you had a quality recording of 8/14/97 at Darien Lake. It was his first show and a bizarre one at that. With the appearance of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, this was a psychedelic mind bender. Just curious, thanks again Mr. Miner.

  6. Phrance MOD Says:

    Thank You Mr. Miner, for another great post.

    I “learned” so much from that Bug that night and it was all about expectations. I like this especially

    “This is where expectations came into play. Don’t carry them- they are unneeded emotional baggage. Phish will naturally unfold in front of you, and the beauty of it all is being a part of that organic experience. Forcing your own thoughts and ideas into what should be played only tarnishes a pristine experience.”

    I have a good friend from tour that used to let an ill placed Circus or Waste ruin his show. My journey was trying to understand his perspective and not try to convince him of my point of view.

    The lyrics of Bug reinforce the classic Phish theme of letting go . . . living in the moment . . .surrendering to the PHLOW. “So, we didn’t drop into 2001 when you thought we would?? Deal with it. It doesn’t matter.” I think the last lines of Bug are especially relevant today:

    Spending or saving, Credit or Debt
    Which did you think I meant?
    Nothing I see can be taken from me”

    For me this night of Hampton will always be the fun we had in the hotel room after the show. Old friends from far and near riding out the lingering effects of lot paper . . .laughing at everything . . .and at nothing. And the growing excitement of the tour closer the following night.

  7. cason Says:

    bug sucks.

    on a related note, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THE 5.1.92 SHOW!!!

    i have a copy of this show from an old import CD called the Sloth. i am guessing it is a SBD copy of the first set, possibly mixed by someone. the bass at the beginning of Suzie is really, really high and is almost funny to listen to. comical even. this recording of suzie was what got me listening to phish. nuff said.

  8. themanatee Says:

    justin check out Miner’s post about that very show (8.14.97) from back in July i think

  9. gills Says:

    still stuck on the 12-11-97 DWD man i lve that jam at the end. Puts me into a meditative trance, some straight relaxing phish.

  10. RWP Says:

    Listening to that space jam, i would have guessed a Down With Disease was about to rip out of there. I didn’t check the setlist to see if they had already played it, but on a purely historical basis it had the aire of a pre-DWD space intro…with Cactus just itching to drop that big bass thump.

    Man I cannot wait to catch a summer tour show somewhere!

    Thank You, Mr. Miner.

  11. lanser Says:

    it doesn’t matter.

  12. empire Says:

    I was wondering where that jam from the announcement came from.
    I remember the feeling of it too, waiting for the beginning of 2001 to start
    the only problem with that night was that god awful song Jenifer Dances..yikes what were they thinking besides getting laid…
    Phish surprises are the best, they love to fuck with peoples heads.

  13. themanatee Says:

    the workers they come back from the day in the fields…

  14. Wax Banks Says:

    Aah, every time I see that 5/1/92 I’m reminded that NICU used to have a thrilling arrangement, complete with goofy modulating middle section, before its understandable but disappointing reduction in coolness somewhere along the line. Nowadays it’s kind of a piss-break song; that old old arrangement is one of the things that convinced me that Phish was capable of anything, anything at all.

  15. Wax Banks Says:

    Decent recording of 4/21/92 on phishows.com with that exciting through-composed NICU, if anyone wants to share this fantastic vibe happening in my apartment right now!

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ posted on this site. GREAT QUALITY AUD recording. use the search bar and search “4.21.92”

    great show

  17. bryant Says:

    Mr minor please look into getting the Valnetine’s Night Massacare (2’14’97)in the Chocolate Capital of the World, Brussels, up on your site …. where Phish destroyed lots eardrums, and many plants wilted inside a small room attached to the city’s Botanicals Gardens …. the antelope alone is still raging in my head as they pushed the boundries of sonic acceptance …. they truly wanted to rip the roof off the place…that was their goal and I say mission accomplished …. I’d love more people to discover this unique ’97 show … thank you kind sir and keep up the good work

Leave a Reply