Weekend Nuggets: Gamehoist

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 31st, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEKEND:

6.26.94 Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, WV < LINK

savegamehendge-395x561Here is one of Phish’s most unique shows of all time.  For starters, imagine walking into a show that opened with “Kung.”  The odd opener proceeded to be the portal to a complete first-set Gamehendge narration in the band’s first visit to West Virginia. Capped with a triumphant “Divided Sky,” the first set was enough to carry any show. But the second set was even more unique than the first.  Coming on stage, the band played their newly released album of Hoist in its entirety.  Not only did they play all the songs in the same order, they played them identically to the album versions; or as close as humanly possible.  The band even tacked a “Split” jam on the end of “Demand,” though not quite as nasty as jam from 4.21.93 in Columbus, OH that is featured on Hoist.  Throw a rare “Tube” in a four song encore, and you’ve got a certifiable piece of Phish history that is a must have for any collector.

I: Kung > Llama > Lizards > Tela > Wilson > AC/DC Bag > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird > The Sloth > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > The Divided Sky

121996757_593853d83eII: Julius, Down With Disease, If I Could, Axilla [Part II], Lifeboy, Sample in a Jar, Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Dog Faced Boy, Demand*

E: The Old Home Place**, Amazing Grace, Tube, Fire

*With “Split Open and Melt” jam & “Y-Rushalayim Schel Zahav” ending.**First time played.

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VIDEO OF WEEKEND:

6.21.94 “Mound” Cincinnati, OH

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Ticket Paranoia!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 30th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Staring at the glowing screen with sweaty palms as your heart palpitates; refreshing the screen every second waiting to see that magical “Buy Tickets” button; constantly glancing at the time, moving as slow as Elmer’s glue; it’s all back.  This ritualistic stress has returned as we sit on the brink of Phish’s first ticket on-sale weekend in five years.  This time, it’s not just three shows, but an eleven show run over two days.

201The nerves always become a bit tense in the 24 hours leading up to the moment, as you try to devise the perfect strategy to succeed. Maybe you should open three windows at once?  Maybe you should drive a few states away to a random outlet and score in person?  Maybe you should try to keep the agent on the phone for the right amount of time?  Maybe you should go into work early on a Saturday morning to use their fast Internet connection on multiple computers?  Maybe you should split up the shows with your friends and all try for a separate one?  The options are endless, and the irony is that there is no clear cut “best way” to score tickets in this age.  This fact makes the game all the more fun to play!

1999-10-03gnTicket paranoia- it can be paralyzing! As you lie in bed the night before or sit at work waiting for the few hours to pass, your mind can become numb.  All of a sudden, you find yourself unable to perform any tasks other than refreshing the browser and your mind becomes obsessively one-tracked.  Thinking about, let alone accomplishing, anything else can sometimes be straight up impossible.  Maybe that’s where you’re at right now.

As the time approaches, the butterflies flutter a bit faster while your heart rate begins to steadily increase as if you were exercising.  Refresh.  The clock says 9:57.  Thoughts of Phish, the joys of summer, the warm air in the amphitheatre, the first set under the fading sun, the long carefree drives.  The clock still says 9:57.  Damn! Refresh.  This type of pattern continues for the next three minutes- however it seems like three hours- before that :59 finally turns to :00.

1998-04-04gn210:00.  Now the adrenaline kicks in, as you try your best to control your mouse-clicking finger, making sure you do things briskly, yet carefully.  At this point, your nerves and adrenaline can actually work against your fine motor skills; your body becomes momentarily discombobulated.  But you push through, overcoming as you must.  Damn!  You can’t read that security word- “Why the hell do they make them so hard to read?” you wonder.  You ask for another code word, thinking that this step could be your demise, or mean the difference between a great seat or a lawn seat.  Quickly you type in “design” and “snowbank” as quickly as possible while wondering how the hell they choose these random words. You finally click “Enter.”  Your waiting time is less than 2 minutes. Two minutes!!  You begin cursing in your mind, letting one or two leak out of your mouth. That wheel is spinning forever!  Around and around and around and around, then all of a sudden your wait time jumps down to “less than a minute.”  “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s GO!”, you think to yourself, waiting for that ticket page to appear.  YES!! Like a shaft of light shining on you from above, time stands still as the next screen appears -“Section 103, Row G, Seats 23, 24.”  Booyakasha!  A hundred pound weight lifted off of your head, and your anxiety turns to momentary glory.

2003-02-18gnThere is no time to rest, you have one minute and thirty seconds to complete a couple more steps.  Payment.  Since we haven’t ordered tickets in years, maybe you no longer have your credit card number memorized, so you lay it beside your keyboard.  Looking back and forth between every four numbers, you carefully type in the digits.  Then the expiration. Then the code.  Finally, the shipping.  You know this info by heart and you breeze through, recheck it all and submit your order.  Finally, you can relax.

livenation_logoBut this time there is no time to rest with seven shows going on sale!  Then four Saturday morning.  You’ve got to get your nose directly back to the cyber-grindstone and go for the gold.  Today, all of this will take place on foreign territory- Live Nation.  For years, fans have cursed Ticketmaster for any and every reason, but we all got very used to their website. We no longer needed to look for anything on the screen.  This time through, with a poor user interface, your guess is as good as mine as to how this will turn out.  Live Nation may crash and error out orders with the high demand for all we know- even Ticketmaster did that sometimes.

1997-11-28gnBut with all the different shows going on sale at the same time, the demand will hopefully be dispersed enough to ensure that many people can hook up some stubs.  With the likely ability to only score a couple of shows, I foresee a lot more online ticket trading before the beginning of June.  In the end, if you passionately want to go to any of the shows this summer, besides Asheville and The Fox, your will will get you in.  Just don’t give up, and for God’s sake, don’t stay home because you don’t have a ticket!  This may be against Phish’s “advised polices,” but if you haven’t found a ticket yet, and you really want one bad enough, you will find one on the lot.  Just get there early enough and scour like a madman! Don’t stand like a statue with your finger in the air.  It simply comes down to desire.

Best of luck to all in the newest version of the ticket game; this is only the beginning!

Share today’s ticket stories in Comments!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.14.99 BSU Pavilion, Boise, ID < LINK

9.14.99 Boise, ID

9.14.99 Boise, ID

Due to all of yesterday’s talk around this epic show, it has jumped to the top of the pile for today’s download.  Celebrate whatever tickets you get with one of the most exciting Phish sets of ’99.  Only two words needed here– “Bag,” and “Gumbo.”  Enjoy the weekend!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Sloth, The Curtain > Waste, Loving Cup, What’s the Use > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Farmhouse, Nellie Cane, Taste, Rocky Top

II: Peaches en Regalia, AC/DC Bag > Gumbo > Down with Disease, Frankenstein

E: Simple, Hello My Baby

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A Blunt Prediction

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 29th, 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.

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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

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So Stupendous…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 28th, 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 December 7, 1997, 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 Fall ’97, they rediscovered the song and found 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 later that tour at Albany and the other time 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? Transforming the song 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 lesser known, yet still stupendous, versions to check out.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Spacetime Funk

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 27th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

holy-islandWith the next episode of LOST coming tomorrow, I figured we’d do a little time traveling of our own.  Let’s hop in, fire up the flux-capacitor, harness 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity and be on our way back to 1988.  August 6th, 1988 to be exact.  Upon vanishing from 2009, and skidding into the past, we find ourselves flux1amidst the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  We land in the small town of Telluride; a ski town during the winter, but, for us, it is a fine summer night.  It feels like we were brought here for a reason- but what is that reason?  The quantum puzzle is a bit overwhelming and we just need a beer to relax for a minute.  Taking a turn down the nearest street, we ditch into the first bar.  It was called “The Roma.”

Sitting at a table, we order a few drafts.  But before getting them, we notice a thumping groove coming from the stage behind us.  Turning around, we are struck by the absolute dorkiness of the musicians, yet the music is good, no it was better than good, this shit is funky!  These guys are…Phish?!

telluride-town-centerAs our side-effects dissipate from the journey through space-time, we figure out we have been summoned by an old-school YEM jam to this very bar, but why?  When is the last time we have actually listened to 1988 Phish?  Maybe that was part of the answer?  All these existential thoughts are quickly wiped from the forefront of our mind as a huge groove takes over the bar.

The jam is laid back, very relaxed- almost like a half-speed YEM from the future.  But what stands out is the patience of such a young band and the way they use each other’s musical ideas to further their own.  They might be young, but these guys have the chops; they can play.  Forming some truly funky rhythms during the beginning of the jam, Trey sits way back and let phish-colorado_88_bMike and Fishman lead things out of the gate.  Page provides the lead melody in the form of large organ swells, while in the background, Trey smiles that goofy smile and begins throwing down a series of exact rhythm licks that we would come to love and know by heart nine years later.

Trey remains in the background as the other three direct this jam’s initial course.  But when Trey slides into the improv, he begins to wail some signature YEM leads with authority over the already fat groove.  All of a sudden we are smack in the middle of a raging YEM and Gordon begins to assault us with huge bass bombs, digging in far deeper mid-jam, launching the explosives into the small audience without concern.  The music far out-sizes these tiny surroundings as the band brings the YEM to a soaring peak- eighties style.

The drop into Mike’s bass solo lasts only a short bit before the rest of the band hops back into the mix, engaging in song-ending antics where Trey and Fish straight go batty.  As the two improvise lyrics such as “Baby! Baby! Baaabay!” and shouting “Good God y’all!,” all of a sudden, we are witnessing a legitimate old-school Phish freak-out!  The band emerges from this absurdity with a funky groove, different than then the previous jam.  Before getting a chance to acclimate to the jam, Phish shifts right into “Cities” without missing a beat.  Hearing this version that doesn’t sound all-together different from the versions of the late ’90s, a thought begins to stir inside your head.

While Trey sings the song as a twenty-something rather than a forty-something, the music behind it is still so slammin’!  All of a sudden, you find yourself carving out a slice of dance floor and bumping to the infectious beats.  This band was going somewhere- you knew that- but now you knew why.

p07074ew206As the second verse ends, Trey and Page begin a shrill pattern that departs from “Cities,” while Mike and Fish create a uniquely Phishy groove beneath them.  What the hell was going on?  You’ve never heard this before.  That is correct, this is a full on raging “Dave’s Energy Guide!”  As soon as you realize it, boom!  The band slams back into the full speed grooves.  And people say that Phish funk started during 1997!?  Ha!  This was funky as hell.  Phish had played funk all along!  Just as quickly as this crazy experience happened, the band slammed on the breaks, ending the song, and the 25 minute multi-dimensional experience.

25smAs we begin to join in the applause with the rest of the intimate bar, we feel a force drawing us backwards towards the door.  We try to stay, but we can’t; someone or something won’t let us.  As we are pulled though the doorway, we drop a couple twenties on the ground to settle our tab, as we hear Phish start up “Take the A Train.”  Once outside, we can barely hear anything at all.  What was the point if we couldn’t even stay for the second set?  The show had just started!  Hmmm.  Something strange was afoot at the Circle K.

As we are pulled back into the DeLorean and sped back to the future, the reason for this escapade dawns on us.  Someone wanted to send us a message, and the message came loud and clear.  Phish didn’t get funky on Halloween ’96.  Phish didn’t even turn funky in Hamburg, Germany on March 1st, 1997, even though they made an album out of it.  Phish were born funky.  Now we understood.

hw77The myth goes that Phish was a band that didn’t play dance grooves until their seismic transformation in 1997.  However, go revisit any show from any year, and I guarantee that you will hear echoes of the late ’90s ring true.  While the cosmic magnifying glass was certainly placed on whole-band groove come ’97, this was something Phish had incorporated into their music from day one. Well, at least since that crazy “YEM > Cities” in 1988!  That much we now know for sure.

LISTEN TO 8.6.88’s YEM >CITIES NOW! (Roll over songs and click play.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.23.88 “Pete’s Fabulous Phish Fest” Underhill, VT SBD < LINK

phish_logoKeeping with the theme of both yesterday (“Mike’s Groove”) and today’s of old-school improv, here we have a three-set Phish extravaganza from 1988 that features the public debut of “Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug.”  All of the early classics are found somewhere within this marathon gig. Check out very young versions of lots of your favorite songs.  Ironically, this SBD recording will be passed onto Pete, the host of the party over 20 years ago!  It’s a small world.

I: Intro. Jam, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Lizards, On Your Way Down, AC/DC Bag, Possum, Walk Away, Bold as Love, No Dogs Allowed

II: The Sloth, Fire*, The Curtain, Terrapin, Run Like an Antelope, Satin Doll, Blue Bossa, La Grange, Alumni Blues, Peaches en Regalia

III: You Enjoy Myself, Contact, Harry Hood, Dinner and a Movie, Slave to the Traffic Light, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Good Times Bad Times

Show billed as “Pete’s Fabulous Phish Fest.” *With Peter Danforth (host) on sax.

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The Middle of Mike’s

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on January 26th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Mike’s, Hydrogen, Weekapaug. Ahhh.  It rolls off your tongue sweetly, with just enough syllables to create a mini-rhythm all its own.  This musical combination represents a pristine Phishy realm, like an untouched natural habitat.  Debuted at Underhill, VT, on July 23, 1988, the trilogy of “Mike’s Groove” was born.   During the band’s formative years from late-1988 thru the end of 1992, the band would engage in over 200 “Mike’s Grooves” without anything but “I Am Hydrogen” between the bookends.  Yet, as the band progressed into late-’93 and ’94, things didn’t always remain as pure.

img_1416Regardless of the many interludes the band would take between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” during their career, “I Am Hydrogen” always fit the best.  Providing a gorgeous confluence of harmony and melody, it was the ideal connection between the dark and boisterous “Mike’s” jam and the happy, celebratory nature of “Weekpaug.”  Together, the three formed a mini-psychedelic journey all on their own.  Flowing seamlessly from sinister mystery to inner reflection and capped by cathartic release, “Mike’s Groove” was an acid trip in a microcosm.  The three-song suite grew to be as Phishy as anything in the band’s catalog, never ceasing to bring roars from any and every crowd.

Before “Simple” was debuted at San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre on May 27, 1994, Phish had already begun creating divergent segues out of “Mike’s Song.”  Breaking the 200+ streak on February 4th, 1993 in Providence, RI by merging “Mike’s” with “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday,” all bets were now off.  But on this spring night in San Francisco, Phish introduced what would become the next chapter in “Mike’s Groove” mid-pieces.

picture-021bAs the band began to experiment with the transition into “Simple,” hitting it at various points in the Mike’s jam, the effect was always similar- a surge of collective adrenaline and a roar from the crowd.  The guitar anthem had such a catchy hook and playful lyrics, it was hard not to enjoy the new addition.  Yet, the Gordon-scribed piece, while adding energy to the overall “Mike’s Groove,” took away the flowing peaks and valleys of the musical path.  Throughout the rest of 1994, “Simple” split time with “Hydrogen” as the Mike’s Groove connector.

Once ’95 hit, Phish began using different songs out of “Mike’s,” diverging from their pattern of years past. 1995, the year of the fewest “Mike’s Groove’s” up to that point, saw such diverse pieces as “Contact,” “McGrupp,” “Keyboard Cavalry” and “A Day in the Life” take “Mike’s” into “Weekapaug.”  In 1996, “Simple” morphed into its own jam vehicle, and while often played inside “Mike’s p1010089Grooves,” many standalone versions provided set highlights.  Throughout ’96 and ’97, “Simple” and “Hydrogen” again split time as the dominant “Groove” connectors, and on July 22, 1997, amidst an epic second set and monsoon in Raleigh, NC, the band brought both songs into a super “Mike’s Groove” for the first time ever, a hallmark occasion in Phish history.  During these same years, however, a new trend was also emerging- the “Mike’s Sandwich.”

As the mid to late ’90’s progressed, “Mike’s Sandwiches”- instances where Phish would stuff multiple songs in between the slices of “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” became more prevalent.  Often creating whole sets out of a “Sandwich,” the band turned more inventive in what could constitute a “Groove.”  Most of these “sandwiches” fell in line with the burgeoning pattern of using “Simple” as the main exit out of “Mike’s” for ’98, ’99, and ’00.  During these years, the band literally cut most “Mike’s Song’s” in half, substituting “Simple” for the second Mike’s jam after the initial, old-school strobe and trampoline jam.

image-ba5376ba449611d7Phish’s final show at Shoreline before the hiatus, 10.7.00, saw “Mike’s Groove” return to its original incarnation, kick-starting the band’s finale early in the first set.  This farewell “Groove” proved to me a harbinger of post-hiatus “Mike’s Grooves” which would see a return to the combo’s initial form.  All but one performance in ’03 and ’04 adopted the uncompromising flow of the original trilogy- “Mike’s > Hydrogen  > Weekapaug.”

Only three times in their career did Phish bypass a connector all together, improvising right from “Mike’s” directly into “Weekapaug.”  All three- Hershey 12.1.95, Niagara Falls 12.7.95, and The Gorge 7.17.98- were huge moments in band history.

With the impending return of Phish, you would figure we aren’t too far away from our next “Groove.”  It will be interesting to see what direction Phish will take its classic interlude in this third time around the block.

What are your favorite “Middle’s of Mike’s?” Respond in Comments!

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SUMMER ’09:

BONNAROO: While the official line-up will be announced on February 3rd.  Most feel that with the addition of Knoxville, that Phish is a shoe in.  This article from Spinner.com certainly seems to think so.

header-new1TICKETS: Things seemed to go more smoothly for the general community with Summer Tour’s ticket requests.  Despite the inevitable rejections (including my order), with less concentrated demand, more fans seemed to get their hands on some tickets.  If you have some extras that you need to trade, there is a lot of trading going on over at Phantasy Tour.  If you have any extra pavilions for any show, look no further than mrminer@phishthoughts.com! I’m looking! I’ll get all the regular on sale info up here in an organized fashion before Friday so you can plan your strategy….In other news, I’m already hearing talk about Halloween at MSG!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.20.93 Red Rocks SBD < LINK
pollockposterWith most everyone waiting with bated breath for the potential announcement of Red Rocks shows, (and others denying it could ever happen), I thought we’d revisit the band’s first trip to Morrison, Colorado’s legendary venue. A sublime show the whole way through smack in the middle of one of Phish’s best months of their career, highlights abound from both sets.  The setlist speaks for itself.  The “Antelope” is insane.

I: The Divided Sky, Harpua, Poor Heart, Maze, Bouncing Around the Room > It’s Ice > The Wedge, Ginseng Sullivan, Rift, Run Like an Antelope

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, My Friend My Friend > Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain* > HYHU, Cavern

E: The Mango Song, Freebird

*With Mimi Fishman (Fish’s mom) on vacuum.

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Weekend Nuggets: The Palace Theatre ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

img_0645This weekend we have two soundboard copies of a classic two-night stand in Albany during May of 1993.  Both are beautiful relics of a bygone are; standout shows from the “speedjazz” era of 1993.  Enjoy!

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*Jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

5.6.93 The Palace Theatre, ALbany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Mound, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, All Things Reconsidered, Llama, Fluffhead, Possum, Lawn Boy*, Why You Been Gone so Long**, Tennessee Waltz**, Fast Train**

II: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer, Tela, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam, The Squirming Coil, Mike’s Song > Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da jam* > Rocky Top*, HYHU > Cracklin’ Rosie > HYHU, That’s Alright Mama**

E: Sweet Adeline, Contact, Tweezer Reprise

*With Dick Solberg on fiddle. **With Dick Solberg on fiddle and Jeff Walton on acoustic guitar.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Mike’s Song > H2″ 3.31.92 Columbia, MO

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“Weekapaug” 3.31.92

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Tour Stop: The Gorge

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 23rd, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Few music venues in the world combine the magic of the natural world with fabulous sound and a carefree atmosphere.  The Gorge, however, is one of these special places.  A Phish stomping ground, the Gorge in George, Washington hosted the band for four two-night stands, each producing some of the most memorable shows from their respective tours.  The stunning visual beauty of the blazing sunset over the Columbia River combined with the aural beauty of Phish improvising a perfect soundtrack can be overwhelming– in the best way possible.  With camping on site, and relatively little hassle by authorities, The Gorge has been Phish’s west coast Mecca since 1997.

gorgeAny time a west coast run was anticipated, The Gorge routinely jumped to the top of the rumor list, and still does, as no other Phish experience can quite compare.  Nobody will ever forget their first visit to The Gorge.  As you walked over that grassy ridge and finally saw where the stage was located, you had to do a Scooby-Doo “double-take” to believe your eyes.  This was where Phish was meant to play!  With a 22,000 person capacity and a massive property, when the circus came to George, a mini-west coast festival vibe emerged each time.

Some of Phish’s most memorable summer moments have occurred right in front of the natural majesty; eternal moments and memories.  As we prepare for The Gorge ’09, whether it is in August or September, let’s take a trip down memory lane and recount the Phishy exploits that have gone down at the band’s northwestern home.

8.2 – 8.3, 1997

Phish’s initial visit to The Gorge came at the half-way point of a colossal summer tour that began in Virginia Beach, moved through the south and up the west coast, and all the way back  to Limestone, ME.  A new style of slowed down funk grooves that combined with Phish’s first Gorge experience made for some musical fireworks.  These shows, raved about for the rest of the tour, would set the bar for Gorge Phish.

3181900701_8fab2075d0The first show at The Gorge would start in earnest with the third-song “Ghost,” the song everyone was dying to hear after its debut and extended explorations in Europe.  This jam embodied the raw Summer ’97 sound, with big bass lines, spacious grooves, and copious rhythm playing by Trey.  Leading right into crunchy improv, we got our first taste of the massive open-air acoustics that makes The Gorge sound so beautiful.  With nothing inhibiting the sound, the monster-sized rhythms ate up the entire audience.  As the set continued, Phish used “Divided Sky” as backing music for the sunset, creating a completely surreal and Phishy moment at their new playground.  A rubbery “Wolfman’s” and a fierce “Split” rounded out the highlights of the opening frame.

gorge-014The second set was one of the classic second sets to ever take place at the storied venue.  Following the rocking “Down With Disease” jam, the band seamlessly slowed into some patterns that suggested a far different musical milieu.  As the pace became as thick as tar, akin to the Raleigh 7.22.97 Disease, Trey slipped in the intro lick to “Tweezer,” right at the jam’s deepest point.  Boom!  Just like that The Gorge was transformed into the world’s largest Phish tank, as we swam through the colorful, over-sized funk.  This was the first of only two “Tweezers” played over the 19-show tour, with the other coming on the last day of The Great Went.  Needless to say, the drop into the “Tweezer” jam brought more than your average excitement.  Settling into some ridiculously collaborative grooves, Phish’s style had completely transformed from anything we had heard in Fall ’96.  This was straight dance music, and it took some of the older fans time to understand what Phish was even doing with their new style.  I distinctly remember reading Charlie Dirksen’s review of this “Tweezer” saying that “nothing happened” musically.  Oh, Charlie, you just didn’t get it!  This is a jam that should be heard by all, and more specifically pumped at high volumes at a dance party– the music is so thick you can feel it envelop your body.

After an extended funk session, the band gradually built back into “Down With Disease,” though their final transition was a bit sloppy,  The Gorge “Diseazzer” was born.  This jam would remain a summer highlight long after The Great Went ended.  One other piece of Phish history was born on this night.  This was the first time Trey asked Kuroda to shut the lighting rig off as the band jammed to the stars for the “Harry Hood” encore.  One of the more transcendent experiences– living a Hood jam in the dark with nothing but the heavens providing guidance, was the perfect ending to a perfect night.  Trey would repeat his request at The Great Went, which prompted the first ever glow-stick war, yet the magic of The Gorge inspired this idea in the first place, creating pure serenity for the 22,000 fans.

gorge-018Phish’s follow-up, while being quite exciting, couldn’t match the exploits of night one.  The opening combo of “Bathtub Gin > Foam” provided twenty-five minutes of the most intricate and tightest playing of the evening.  The brand new song, then known as “Twist Around,” popped up later in the set for its second appearance of tour.  As the band was still figuring out the jam, they created a wide-open soundscape that seemed to merge perfectly with the vast surroundings.  A late set “Limb by Limb” allowed Trey to emote the magic he was feeling on such a stage via a well-phrased solo.

The final set of 1997’s Gorge installment centered around the more anthemic songs of “Simple” and “Fluffhead.”  Having delved deep into darkness on the previous night, this set would be celebratory.  The melodic glory of Simple’s jam washed the audience with good feeling as if cleansing the palate of their mind.  When the jam dribbled down to silence, the music twisted right back up with the opening of “Fluffhead.”  The ultimate feel good Phish song was centered in the second set at one of the most extraordinary Phish venues, and it was perfect.  Phish, masters of their art, ended the weekend at The Gorge the only way possible– with a slowly-building and gorgeous encore of “Slave to the Traffic Light.”  This was a vivid illustration of how Phish truly “gets it,” and how their sense of the moment is unparalleled.

7.16-7.17, 1998

Arguably the definitive Gorge stand in Phish’s career, they blew this one up.  One show and a few days removed from an amazing Europe run, Phish pulled into George for the second time.  With all sorts of momentum, the band crafted two shows that will stand forever as part of their west coast legacy.  When people mention The Gorge, these are the shows that shoot to the front of everyone’s minds.  Let’s see why.

3182714926_bcb5d804a8Right off a scorching show at Portland Meadows, Phish stepped in front of the Columbia River the next day and put on a clinic.  One of Phish’s perfect sets got the weekend underway immediately.  Casually entering the set with the combo of “Squirming Coil” and “NICU,” the band then dug significantly deeper with standout versions of “Stash” and “Reba.”  In this ultimate summertime “Reba,” Trey didn’t start his quintessential solo out of the gates, but instead sat back into some idyllic wah-grooving that we were unaccustomed to hearing as part of the song.  But it fit perfectly with the mood of the evening.  Phish carried out the unfinished jam as the sun’s path began to lower, eventually dipping below the horizon as they segued into “Fast Enough For You,” yet another synchronicity between Phish and nature.  A rare first set “Circus” was chosen to settle things down before the band blew out a set-ending “Antelope.”  Perfectly sculpted and executed masterfully, this first frame upped the ante for the upcoming three.

y1plr5ueogzm1z8xl95wg9rv32aoxqvo-a9The second-set, while holding some stellar jams, didn’t quite hold up to the first.  Carried by the late set triumvirate of “Bowie,” “Tube,” and “Slave,” the audience would stream out talking about these late set jams as opposed to the more contained songs at the beginning of the set.  All three of these jams deserve huge props as they represent highlight versions.  The “Tube” is one of the best ever.

Night two would go down in Phish history.  The second set of “2001 > Mike’s > Weekapaug > Character Zero” would be raved about for a decade to follow.  The three song opening combo equated to one hour of the best Phish improv of the summer.  Often referred to as the definitive version of “2001,” inspired by the universe above, they put on a twenty-five minute clinic in Phish groove.  This was pure crack– a mega-2001 under the stars with the natural world surrounding us– it didn’t get much better than this.  As if the half-hour of adrenaline wasn’t enough, at the 3181882151_d0fea0a7872peak of the jam, the band hit the opening riff to “Mike’s,” reuniting the two pieces that were once close buddies.  If you want to talk bombast, put on this Mike’s!  As soon as the jam starts, Trey hits a rhythm pattern that he would take most of the way through the jam, continuously upping the intensity along the way.  This was militant Phish at its best, throwing down music for an army to march into battle to.  This aggressive Phish kept people raging non-stop from the beginning of the set.  With the drop of the second “Mike’s” jam, the band exited the militaristic textures and entered some of the most beautiful and blissful playing to ever morph out of a “Mike’s” jam.”  Inspired by the venue’s beauty and creating a perfect juxtaposition to the music that preceded it, Phish took us on a divine ride through the most colorful places of our imagination.  Our musical tour guide, Phish showed us the gamut on this mystical night in Washington.

Using this jam as the melodic interlude before “Weekapaug,” the band skipped over any connector and melted directly into the second half of “Mike’s Groove.”  As the “Weekapaug” soared off into the improvisational stratosphere, all was smiles in the land of Phish- this was the type of show we lived for!  (Note: The first set contained a great “Gumbo” and another sunset “Divided Sky,” circa ’97.)

9.10 & 9.11, 1999

phish-gorge-99For the third year in a row, Phish would make a two-night stop at The Gorge, this time, however, the two nights came right at the beginning of fall tour.  Following a smoking Vancouver opener, the caravan traveled directly south to what was now a very Phishy venue.  This visit to The Gorge would see some new developments in Phish’s catalog as “Gotta Jibboo” and “Sand” would both make their Phish debut over the weekend.  There was no better way to kick start the fall than a return to the Columbia River Gorge.

The first night featured a melange of songs that didn’t necessarily flow so well.  The first set combined classics like “Divided Sky” with TAB songs like “First Tube” and “Will It Go Round In Circles?” and The Siket Disc‘s “What’s The Use?”  The second set is where the highlights from this evening would spring from.  A blistering “Disease” sparked the fire of the set that would be continued with the popular combo of “Moma Dance” and “Piper.” This combo demonstrated the band’s diverse styles while providing a meaty start to the second half.  “Gotta Jibboo” was a welcome addition to the Phish catalog, donating some happy candy-grooves to the mix, but the most intriguing moments of the night emerged out of “Split Open and Melt” and “David Bowie.”  Both of these jams share a patient and menacing quality that stretched them out to 15 and 25 minutes, respectfully.  These were the two jams of the show in which Phish really dug into some psychedelia, easily providing the most engaging music of the night.

The second night of this stand would see some more significant improvisation and incorporate two more songs from Trey’s band.  The show began with an infectious “Tube,” “Funky Bitch” duo that commenced the raging right away.  This first set was more eventful than the previous night’s, incorporating “Limb,” “Punch You in the Eye,” and “Free” into the setlist.

phish_03_0095However, the segment that absolutely stole the show came at the beginning of the jam-heavy second set in the form of “Wolfman’s > Sand.”  Carrying out the shows rhythmic theme, Phish entered into an inviting dance-a-thon out of “Wolfman’s.”  As this multidimensional jam built momentum, Trey began directing it from the background using wah-grooves to push the music in different directions rather than a searing solo.  Morphing into a dissonant ’99 soundscape, the band navigated textures as they transitioned into the first-ever “Sand.”  This was like a revelation!  The massive spacious dance grooves of “Sand” boomed out of the speakers, welcoming us all into a brand new musical universe.  Nary has there been as much fun at a Phish show as raging all-out to this jam with the most room you could ever want.  This was yet another Goliath-sized peak Gorge experience.  After the colossal twenty-minute all-star introduction to the song of Fall ’99, the band dipped the “Meatstick” before segueing into a hectic fifteen-minute “Maze,” again showing off multiple jamming styles.  Getting deep into the madness of “Maze,” Phish continued the psychedelia that characterized this second set.  Following the early classic, Phish settled the rest of the show with phenomenal versions of “Prince Caspian” and “Harry Hood.”  Particular focus should be given to this twenty-minute “Hood,” a song for which The Gorge always brought out the best.

7.12 & 7.13, 2003

phish6dangareau1After Phish had taken their hiatus and Summer ’03 was charted, two more nights at The Gorge were on tap towards the beginning of tour.  having written the recipe for northwestern magic, how could Phish not revisit one of their favorite haunts of all time?  With Round Room songs in the mix, these Gorge shows would serve as an honest sampling of where the band stood musically at the time.  Following two great shows at Shoreline, Phish was ready to up the ante in Washington, and up it they did.

The focus of the first night was placed squarely on the second set.  Stringing huge versions of “Piper,” “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” and “David Bowie” together with a few fillers, Phish created a monster.  But the clear highlight was the dancetastic “Ghost” which prompted many cross-country phone calls after the show.  The jamming throughout the set was sublime, and characteristic of Summer ’03’s creative direction.  One of the standout sets from this tour, and a great example of the post-hiatus sound, this set was a popular CD in the car for the rest of the summer.  Not to mention that the first set had great versions of “Taste,” “Stash,” and “Maze,” taboot.

p10101961Phish’s last performance at The Gorge provided a legitimate set of musical highlights.  The first set was much more significant this time around and boasted a hot “Runaway Jim, “Scents and Subtle Sounds” opening combo.  The final of four appearances of the song “Round Room” came in this set, exploring its ambient and abstract textures.  This song always produced amazing jams, but was hardly touched.  We may very well see more extended “Round Rooms” this year.  Whenever YEM closes the first set, you know the band means business, and by closing this frame with a monstrous version, we knew set two had big things in store.

The meat of the second set read “Wolfman’s > Jesus Left Chicago, Seven Below, Harry Hood.”  Each version listed is noteworthy, but the “Seven Below” took the cake as the most adventurous post-hiatus jam to date.  Taking the mellifluous song to the depths of dissonant psychedelia, this jam moved mountains in the Phish world.  Giving us the feeling that Phish was back with their sense of over-the-edge adventure, everyone left The Gorge in ’03 rightfully amped for the rest of the summer.  As the band announced their presence of authority with two outstanding shows, The Gorge once again proved to be the perfect place to see Phish.

phish10dangareau1With a Summer tour announced already, the community now eagerly awaits the knowledge of when we will return to our northwestern home.  Whether it is in August or September, you can be certain that we will find ourselves on that precipice, watching the golden sun drop below the landscape once again as Phish carries us out into the night.

To commemorate all of the wonderful nights spent in George, Washington, I have put together a compilation of “Miner’s Picks: The Gorge.” Within you will discover much of the musical magic described above (minus the ’03 stuff because I only have official SBDs.) Download and enjoy this audio history of the best venue in the country.  The track listing is below.  Share your memories of The Gorge in Comments!

DOWNLOAD MINER’S PICKS: THE GORGE Pt. 1 < LINK

DOWNLOAD MINER’S PICKS: THE GORGE Pt. 2 < LINK

MINER’S PICKS: THE GORGE
8.2.97
1.  Ghost I
2.  Divided Sky I
3.  Split Open and Melt I
4,5,6.  Down With Disease > Tweezer > Disease II
7. Harry Hood E
8.3.97
8,9. Bathtub Gin > Foam I
10,11. Twist > Jesus Left Chicago I
12,13. Simple > Fluffhead II
7.16.98
14. Stash I
15,16. Reba > Fast Enough For You I
17. Run Like An Antelope I
18. David Bowie II
19. Tube II
20. Slave to the Traffic Light II
7.17.98
21. Gumbo I
22,23,24. 2001 > Mike’s > Weekapaug II
9.10.99
25. Split Open and Melt II
26. David Bowie II
9.11.99
27. Tube I
28. Free I
29,30. Wolfman’s Brother> Sand II
31. Harry Hood II

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THE VICTOR DISC:

14313__phish_lEver heard of The Victor Disc? Much like The Siket Disc, there was an alleged series of instrumental outtakes from a 2002 recording session floating around. Well, some of it has surfaced on the Internet in the phishposters.com forum.  Here’s the gist of what was posted.
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On December 19th, 2002, while they were in New York to appear on The Late Show With David Letterman,  Trey and Page popped into a downtown recording studio sometime after midnight.  Deciding to play, they called Fishman and Gordon, asking them to join.  Phish then taped an hour and a half of spontaneous jamming, and decided on the title, The Victor Disc, named after the session’s engineer.  The track listing is below.

1. Den of Iniquity (9:53)
2. Lazy and Red (5:54)
3. Sky Train Wand (17:21)
4. Blue Over Yellow (15:27)
5. Bubble Wrap (4:31)
6. Guantanamo Strut (17:21)

(Recorded 12/17/02 in NYC)

Three tracks have leaked onto the internet! They are: “Lazy and Red”, “Den of Iniquity,” and “Bubble Wrap.” Roll over songs and click play to listen now!

DOWNLOAD THESE THREE TRACKS NOW! < LINK

Not quite a new album, but new Phish nonetheless!
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The Lot Paradox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

Western St. College Gym, Gunnison, CO

Western St. College Gym, Gunnison, CO

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

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

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

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

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

E: Memories, Sweet Adeline, Golgi Apparatus

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

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Phish Adds Knoxville on June 10th!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on January 21st, 2009 by Mr.Miner

header-new1Just announced, Phish adds Thompson-Boiling Arena in Knoxville, TN to their Summer Tour! Tickets requests can be made here between now and Sunday.  This is a 20,000 person GA venue, making up for some of the smaller shows during the same week. This also is an obvious sign that Bonnaroo is going to be part of their tour as well. Keem ‘em coming!

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