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…”

  1. SOAM Says:

    If we have a bad set don’t complain or we will quit again. I can’t wait to boogie with my bros.

  2. SOAM Says:

    feel like makin..feel like makin looooove too youuuuuuuuuuu

  3. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    FWIW….i saw keller on sunday night here in town. It was my birthday! he played “birds of a feather” and there is a video of it posted over at highlight of the show for me at least.

  4. guyforget Says:

    i actually didn’t trust wireless either, so i wrangled up my girlfriend and friends and brough them to my office at 8 am and fired up all the PCs with a wicked fast connection. Still no luck.

  5. elbows Says:

    I LOVE TUBE! Definitlely top three favorite Phish songs. My favorite science-fiction song ever! And while Dayton, in my opinion, is the best…I love the earlier Tubes as well, with the piano and the faster melody. I can’t believe I get to dance to a Tube again! (If I ever score tickets). Ten cents to the dollar, now…

    Also: It’s really great to see all this enthusiasm and acceptance for canman. Too many self-entitled noob-hating vets these days. I’ve been seeing Phish for a long time, and I, for one, invite and accept all sorts of youngians to the carnival. Nobody owns Phish, though some people feel like they do. Phish for the people!

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    wanted to see keller last week in greenville but I have class wednesday night. I’m not sure I’ve seen BOAF on his setlists before, though I’ve him do a few phish songs. What kind of treatment did he give the song?

  7. Chalkdustin Says:

    That’s how I did it, but for me it wasn’t a matter of getting the captcha right or wrong, my computer just went to the purchase page while the others sat there. I must say I’m a bit nervous this time since I think a lot of people are sick of being cheated by these sites and are stepping up the game a lot (and “practicing”). Plus I have to try and get tickeys while at work, as opposed to having a weekend (excluding the Alpine shows).

    On the other hand, maybe less people will be using the site since they’re sick of the TM/LN bullshit….

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    well the load will be split among a few shows this time, instead of everyone trying for the same thing at least.

  9. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    ^^ he played it sick…..check out that video. He set the loop for the bass line and basically threw in some nasty solo’s over it. He jammed it out into another song and then back into birds i think. It was a good show, I just really despise the venue. Tiny venue, no re-entry, the a-hole security guy insisted on going through everyone’s pockets. When he insisted on going into my pocket, i laughed when he pulled out a dirty snot filled kleenex in my pocket with the remenants of my “birthday present” in it. The look on his face was priceless, but hey thats what you get when your being an intrusive ass.

    Show was good, but overcrowded. its good to actually be able to score a ticket to a show for $20 the day before the show. Really shpws how this whole reunion thing has been blown way out of perspective and goes well beyond the abuse needed just to go to a show.

  10. snigglebeach Says:

    I missed out yesterday so i am day late.
    The Lost post was got me thinking.

    Lost is really a gamehendge feedback loop.

    Col. Forbin = John Locke
    Wilson = Ben Linus
    Icculus = Jacob
    Rutherford = Jack
    Tela = Juliet
    Sloth = Sawyer
    Mockingbird = Aaron

    And if you watch Lost u know were Divided Sky comes in.

    Just bored June is sooo far away

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    will check out the vid when I can fo sho .. can’t now at work. More and more venues have become like that unfortunately. (public service announcement for those coming to Asheville for the Orange Peel!!! Their pat down has gotten ridonkulous in the last little while! Though they still allow reentry.)

  12. full tour: ANNOUNCED! Says:

    ^ thanks for the advice on asheville. I guess i’m gonna go up there weather i get a ticket or not. Got a tight house up there a relative said i could use for phish. I’m really hoping to be able to get a tcket cause downtown asheville is gonna be raging!!

  13. hairy pood Says:

    ^mangoman, you were right that Deer Creek ’04 featured an amazing Tube, and in fact the setlist and tightness that day were both spectacular. but, I could never place either that night’s or miami’s tube above the dayton tube or a few others from the late 90’s

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    downtown will be crazy. I’m sure the orange peel will have a show that night as well, as will many other bars downtown as a fallback.

    lovin this suzie G + primus & Elvii. That halftime Harpua was weird at the beginning

  15. hairy pood Says:

    6/24/04 Deer Creek
    Set I: Loving Cup, Cities -> Back On the Train, Vultures, My Mind’s Got a
    Mind of its Own, Down With Disease -> Rock and Roll
    Set II: Tube, Run Like an Antelope, The Wedge, Timber (Jerry), Prince
    Caspian -> Simple, Walls of the Cave
    Encore: The Squirming Coil
    Show Notes: “Walls” contained a tease of “Disease” toward the end.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    I think I remember reading once that the lyrics from Tube came from Tom (and Trey?) writing down a line from each channel as they channel surfed the ‘tube’ .. can anyone confirm this?

  17. Chalkdustin Says:

    I’ve never heard that, but it seems like something Tom and Trey would do.

  18. guyforget Says:

    i was robert palmer for halloween, and my girlfriend and all her friends were my bitches from his videos. it was a kick ass costume ensemble, and i had no problem being it, simply for the Phishiness of it, which of course, nobody else got, or needed to!!!

  19. Uberchef Says:

    Hampton Comes Alive tube was the equivalent of a hot quickie, heard in person 🙂

    Since this thread has 815 responses, I only checked out the last few…that theory of the Tom/Trey TV session is cool!


  20. A_Glide Says:

    Billy Breathes, you still got Alpine extras? hit me up if you do,, 2 ea night, I got shut out of everything except the Fox, can’t complain too loudly about that.

    SOAM, how long’s it been since you’ve written on the back of a Maxell? is it SOAMelt, or SOAMule?

  21. Stashylimbs Says:

    Miner, thanks so much for putting up 12/4/96 for download. I haven’t heard it again since that night. I was gong to school in LA at the time and I couldn’t believe how empty the venue was. Being from Chicago, I was obviously surprised at the turnout. If only tickets were still that easy to come by. 37 days left!!!

  22. guyforget Says:

    so, on livenation, how do you request multiple shows? Or do you have to try for each show individually and add to a cart?

  23. Chalkdustin Says:

    I think you can open up multiple windows and do it that way…no?

  24. Selector J Says:

    @Guy Forget (from a way back post)

    I remember seeing that 18 wheeler tanker in the ditch at Coventry. I have some non-digital pictures of it somewhere. I was just telling someone about how terrible the Coventry situation was that I couldn’t complain or be frustrated anymore. I ended up having a great time in retrospect.

    Best part of Coventry: Seeing Trey’s autograph on the boob of some 45 year old, hair metal-loving, country Vermont lady. Apparently, his tour bus broke down on one of those back roads right in front of her house. Taking that as a good omen, we ended up camping across the street in her neighbors yard.

    Worst part of Coventry: Walking *barefoot* through the tree line on Page side after the show. In the dark it was impossible to tell that there was a *warm* streaming running through. Immediately regretted this decision.

    Favorite Tube not yet mentioned:
    Desert Sky, 7/21/98
    Miner mentions the turn Tube took in summer 98 and this is yet another example occurring just a week prior to the Riverport Amphitheater show. Mike simply kills it.

  25. guyforget Says:

    Selector, no shit, sounds like you can i may have been camping on the same street, or maybe even lawn!! were you right next to the on ramp for 91 south, which was the sweetest part. I woke up at about 8 am that monday morning and was back in NJ at 1 pm. That friggin semi was nuts, especially how no one seemed to give a shit about it!!!

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