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.

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180 Responses to “So Stupendous…”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    I’ve known people who have found decent tour friends through the internet. Be careful, but it’s possible for sure..

  2. camman Says:

    as far as the internet goes, the most im willing to do is contact people about tickets.. i know of some guys who have had a local band for 10 years named Bockman that met in a phish chat room, and thats how there band was started

  3. camman Says:

    man, STS9, Victor Wooten, and Les Claypool are all playing in STL in the same week

  4. MangoMan Says:

    Hands Down.. Best TUBE was DeerCreek 04′
    2nd.. only bc it wasnt finished (i guess) 12/30/03 Miami!!!!! I was on the floor dead center about 15 rows back.. The energy was unreal!

  5. Davey Says:

    We got a caravan starting in NY making the rounds. Just look for Asa and Dave. We’re the kids who don’t look like kids anymore.

  6. Los Says:

    Ummm blister in the mule!! c0wfunk just took me to right back to 98…in Barcelona!

    Thanks for memory!

  7. Jerzey Says:

    camman- just do what I did for my first tour. Take a greyhound to the first show and hope for the best. I did that a few times and it always worked out- you will never be left stranded on a lot.

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    hood > paug definitely epic. Loved the start stop jamming in weekapaug, very nice indeed.

  9. showhe Says:

    There used to be a ride board that I hooked a few people up with rides to various shows from. Not sure if that’s around…I don’t even remember the name of the website anymore…too many brain cells lost to the Tube.

  10. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    two more crunchy tubes i forgot about, but are worthy:

    hershey 2000 tube/tube reprise….add this to the epic piper and you got a set to shake your bones to.

    deer creek 1998 tube is spectacularly funky.

    i have a question about asheville tickets. They are listed on both ticketmaster and livenation. Is live nation the way to go? I just thought ticketmaster was in charge of asheville. Just saw it on livenation and was wondering if its safe to use that?

  11. Chalkdustin Says:

    I don’t go over to PT too often, but what’s all this about “practicing” on LiveNation for getting tickets?

  12. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    BTW….i got denied for nknxville tickets. So lets see where that leaves me:

    Hampton: denied/shut out
    Mansfield: Denied by lottery
    Asheville: Denied by lottery
    Knoxville: denied by lottery

    the lottery sucks. I’m sorry, but it just does 🙁
    gonna try the public onsales….if anyone knows if you can buy asheville on livenation please let me know. I’d really like to see phish again within the next 5 years.

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    people are practicing the “captcha” screen, because essentially, if you get the captcha on the first try, you get tix and if you don’t, you don’t… or at least that’s how it went for Hampton

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    asheville civic center is a ticketmaster only venue from what I know.

  15. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    ^^ asheville is up on livenations website too for some reason!?!

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    hmm not sure then . I’ve been reading that livenation’s website redirects you to TM anyway? I was planning on trying on

  17. guyforget Says:

    how funny would it be if one of us on here were one of the band members. if i had a guess, SOAM is Fishman.

  18. Chalkdustin Says:

    Thanks for the explantion cOwfunk. Those cats over there at PT think it’s some sort of science…

  19. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    i’ll never forget in my whole life when i tried for hampton tickets and got through at 10am, and the damned security code didnt load at all. After the one minute it took to refresh, show was sold out. so they can practice all they want over there, bottom line is ticketmaster is corrupt and rigged so that scalpers get first shot. sameful but true.

  20. guyforget Says:

    cowfunk, i had the easiest captcha (dont remember what it was nand had it typed in half a second) and had it correct and i got shutout for hampton, so i have to think that theory is not correct. there is no sciene except to do what the brokers do and have 10s of thousands of people offshore in india and such do what we do. it’s a simple equation of the more trying, the better the chance. my thoughts at least..

  21. SOAM Says:

    How did you guess- i am a pounder of skins

  22. guyforget Says:

    plus, all brokers pool the tickets and profit share, right?? so it’s literally man vs evil empire.

  23. guyforget Says:

    well, than so am i if that’s your definition!! Ahhhhh.

  24. Chalkdustin Says:

    more resources + fancy schmancy computer programs = more tickets = cheating = unhappy common folk

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    gotcha .. that was just from my experience. I was in a room with 10 laptops, I was the only one who got the captcha on the first try, I got a 3 day pass, everyone else watched an hour glass. Certainly not foolproof, but the faster you get that screen, the better off you are. Maybe I just got through because I was the only one smart enough to wire in to the router, everyone else was wireless..

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