So Stupendous…

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.



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.”



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.



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.



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.


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



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.

Tags: ,

180 Responses to “So Stupendous…”

« Previous12345678Next »
  1. Al Says:

    If you want to listen to the best Post-Hiatus “TUBE” then download the SBD for 99cents from LIVEPHISH.COM – It’s the Cincinnati 02/22/03 Tube opening the second set!

  2. RobAins Says:

    Wow, it’s 8:30am EST and only one (now two) comments??? Hmmmm

    Anyway, I’m partial to Dayton ’97 and Rosemont 2000, I think I remember Oswego ’99 being pretty sick. Been a while since I listened to that one though…..

  3. John Campion Says:

    Tube…..always has been one of my favorites

  4. HSV 007 Says:

    Tube is an all time favorite & a great way to kick things into high gear. So many notes & so many words just seem to flow together seamlessly in a super high energy goove that never lets up,…even thru the nasty bridge section you know whats coming. The Pelham, AL Tube provided by Miner today was the bookend to a 1st set, 3 song ambush that lit the place on fire. One of my all time favorite renditions.

    I agree completely with Al’s 2.22.03 Cincy. What a great way to start a 5 song 2nd set filled with the phunk.

    7.3.99 Lakewood, ATL: a kicking phunky end to a summer daylight 1st set: Tube>Funky Bitch>NICU. Straight up incredible.

    7.27.03 Raleigh, NC: to close out the 2nd set & the gems of the show (IMO) Tube>Prince Caspian>2001

    “Cause there’s more pain from necessity….”

    38 days…….tick-tock, tick-tock

  5. Pence Says:

    First words out of Treys mouth at hampton An Astroid Crashed.

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Thanks for a great song Nancy. *Gordeaux* Simply genius Miner.
    @BillyBreathes: I’d like 2 of each night if offer still available. Please let me know.

  7. showhe Says:

    Quite possibly the oddest place for a Tube was on 7.12.2000 (last night of a 3 night run at deer creek) as the first set starts off like this:

    My Friend My Friend > The Curtain With > Tube > Heavy Things

    It was definitely a down tempo night after the insane show the night before.

  8. Jacob Says:

    Let’s see….one off the top of my head is 7.12.00, Noblesville, IN. While this version isn’t really a stand-alone, I thought at the show that it was part of what could be my favorite opening trio ever of a Phish show: My Friend, The Curtain With (first time in like 12 years), Tube. I was sold on that show after that opening segment. The tasty nugs we had didn’t hurt either.

  9. Jacob Says:

    Showhe: You aren’t my long lost twin are you? Good call man. Hope you have tickets for this year’s Deer Creek run.

  10. showhe Says:


    lol. I’m the guy that people always come up to and ask if I’m so and so, apparently I look like a guy everyone knows. It’s odd…so we may be long lost twins. I will be at deer creek this year…camping at Sleepy Bear!

  11. Panda Says:

    Man kids many heavy Tubes, Hampton always comes to mind, but today I ‘ll pick the “last” Tube ever at Deer Creek 2004, it got sick did it not?

  12. SOAM Says:

    Pence-astroid? Is that a name for a bad case Ass zits — tube is a great tune-but I think it’s the type of song you need to be in “show shape” for-fast lyrics-tempo changes-maen solos-the band has to be firing on all cylinders and I just don’t think they will do it first song-How about an Acoustic Waste into My Soul>Pebbles and Marbles>Maze>Circus>Punch>Timber ho>old home place >Antelope set 1 3/6/09

  13. Billy Breathes Says:

    TUBE! What a phenominal and absolute genius song…all around. Hot Hot Hot….when they take it to the Next Level.

    PS – I have 2, 4 or 6 to Alpine Valley Lawn for each night…let me know how many you want.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    They played Tube at my first show, Hampton 96, I was too green to know what was up. Then I quested for it the next few years, kept missing it by a night. I was floored when it came out of the rnr pt 2>mighty quinn> tube opener at hampton 98. That one lacked the thick funk though and it was a couple of years until I get a real funky jammed tube .. I was at that deer creek 2000, though I don’t remember the Tube at all, the second night and the curtain with stand out to me and the rest is a haze. Always been a favorite song. Love the Dayton of course and that dark side show tube is def. an overlooked hot one.

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    I want 2 for each night if you can swing it. Let me know.

  16. Pence Says:

    edit to post above… An Asteroid Crashed. You just designated yourself *SOAM OFFICIAL SPELL CHECKER* Are you a English teacher? With all your mnemonics and correct spellings?

  17. Justin Says:

    The festival opening “Tube” at Camp Oswego in ’99 should make the honorable mention list for this post. Trey’s haunting solo combined with the nuclear bomb’s Cactus was detonating throughout the entire middle jam make this a must listen. Everyone needs to go back and listen to this version…If they open Hampton with this song my head may explode along with the 13,500 other adrenaline junkies. Tick tock, tick tock.

  18. SOAM Says:

    Am I “an” english teacher-no do approve of designations no do i think phish should play Highgate VT-yes and finally do I detect a little too much sensitivity on some members of this club-you bet-you gotta lighten up-just a little joke there Paco

  19. Pence Says:

    I was just asking, jeez. So sensitive.

  20. Billy Breathes Says:

    BingosBros…check ur email.

    TUBE: Paranoid the doctor ran,
    Shouting his graphic translation
    All out of order
    Gang wars and ails of riches,
    Spewing forth their color
    He purposely waited till I was done
    To knock on the lavatory door
    Accusing me of ruining the fun,
    He knocked on it some more
    The fun, He knocked on it some more.

  21. SOAM Says:

    The best song at Oswego was performed in the lot by Buffalo Union (or something like that) lot rat will know–it went-o-O-O-OSWEGO

  22. SOAM Says:

    Penceski-little reverse psychology there huh? Peace-wheNICU at Hampton-I’ll blast you out with some super duper double bubble power danky and it will all be good

    wilson opener?

  23. Pence Says:

    sarcasticness isnt the easiest thing to pick up on posts like this…i was kiddin all along. Appreciate the offer. Im hoping to win hampton tix through the Clifford Ball promo…AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHHA.yeah Im sure I’ll be there

  24. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    another great post mr. minor! Nothing like getting flashbacks before work. Just the mention of that pelham show did it for me!

    some other fine tubes to ponder:

    07-03-1999 atlanta
    12-31-1999 big cypress
    someone mentioned it above, but the Raleigh 7-27-2003 tube and 2001 were the absolute heat!”
    12-31-2003 the frisbee tube

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    just started listening to the 12/6/96 recommended by camman the other day, and whilst enjoying the Wilson opener, I reflected upon what a perfect opener it’d be at Hampton .. the intro would give everyone an opportunity to freak out and then scream and then of course IT ROCKS so it would fit the bill there.

« Previous12345678Next »

Leave a Reply