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. JPhishman Says:

    FUUUUUUCCCCKKKK! I have had this guy stringing me along for some Hamptons for the last 2 weeks, he promised them to me more than once…… and just wrote and said “sorry bro I found a local buyer, good luck” So brutal……. so so brutal…..

  2. JPhishman Says:

    But on a lighter note: “Ten cents to a dollar now for a shelf of pregnant hens”
    Man I love Tube!

  3. guyforget Says:

    honestly, and i don’t know why, but for some reason, i feel i would only trust people on this site for anything regarding tix.

  4. Chalkdustin Says:

    JPhishman, what an a**hole. It’s easy to trust people over the Internet when they sound so sincere, only to have them screw you over. I hope things work out for you man.

  5. Selector J Says:

    I forget exactly where we were in relation to the I-91. Wherever we were I had no idea how we got there. If it wasn’t for some drunken Chicagoan who shared a ride in on the back of a pick-up (@ $5 a head) who said, “Everyone shut the fuck up! Remeber the name of that street sign.” I’m pretty sure we wwould have never found our makeshift campground ever again.

  6. guyforget Says:

    so true….such a drunken haze. i had my sisters brand new explorer and the next thing i knew, i was following some crazy dude throug the backwoods of vermont, thinking A), my sisters gonna kill me, and B) i hope this isn’t some Deliverance shit!!!

  7. JPhishman Says:

    So I may be a little behind here but I just realized that while everything else goes on sale Friday morning, Alpine goes on sale Saturday morning….. Whats up with that?

  8. JPhishman Says:

    I was thinking that put people who only want Alpine at a disadvantage but I guess if that place holds 40k it shouldn’t be a problem…..

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    knoxville is also saturday. fwiw

  10. showhe Says:

    Knoxville is also on sale saturday

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Sorry for what happened to you JPhishman, thats shady as fuck. @GuyForget I agree about trusting people on this site over any other. Had never tried to get tix over net before but big ups to BillyBreathes for hooking me up for Alpine. So stupendous, living in this tube.

  12. camman Says:

    i agree.. why is it that this site seem so much friendly? is it just diehards that have found this site?

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    camman it’s because people come here to talk about music, not BS.

  14. camman Says:

    haha cool, well i hope we all get the tickets we’re looking for and don’t get shafted like jphishman. we don’t need to be each others enemy

  15. guyforget Says:

    if anybody has any extra fox’s (yeah right, i know!!) by buddy and i would be much obliged. we can turn it into a “business trip” for us, and may be able to hook up some hotel rooms. Sorry to be a pest, but just phishin’

  16. guyforget Says:

    bingos – exactly.

  17. camman Says:

    any chance phish will surprise us and add some extra dates after Alpine?

  18. Pencilneck Says:

    Like Toronto you mean?

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    friend just messaged me and told me there are already people camping at the civic center, 15 or so.. this is in the rain and 35 degrees. We’re all crazy, no?

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    Good Lost tonight. Richard Whitmore was always an asshole, huh?

  21. showhe Says:

    no hurley tonight. lol.

  22. aintnotele Says:

    Hell yeah Mr Miner!!! I’ve been crankin that providence 99 show you posted a few days and loved that tube opener. I was gonna ask you today to recommend other tubes…but whah-la! (or maybe wah-wah would be more fitting). Thanks for reading my mind!
    Any good recommendations for a super Theme? I just got into that song and love how Trey uses that last little composed part (well just arpeggios but the same everytime) as a runway to take flight into such a beautiful jam.

  23. Carl Says:

    I love Page’s chromatic clav runs on 4/2/98. Opening the first set of the first tour with Tube was a bold claim to make about where 1998 was headed, given the importance of Tube in 1997.

    I don’t know who suggested it, but no way Tube will be the opener at Hampton. It’s too weighted with meaning, too saturated with history. If Phish doesn’t have an independent sense of the music they want to make *now*, they shouldn’t be coming back. I know that Trey’s discussion of the breakup in the Charlie Rose interview is mostly a cover for his own deeper problems (watching the tape now, it’s almost like Trey is breaking up Phish in order not to confront his addiction), but I am 100% percent in agreement with Trey’s claim to wish to respect the beauty and spontaneity of what Phish had created. I think Phish will take the stage with something forward-looking, or better, something unpretentious and silly to duck the question, diffuse the build-up… a bluegrass opener, maybe… we could probably break a thousand comments discussing all the possible and impossible openers… pretty much every old song will have people in tears probably all summer

    BTW… am on the lookout for 2 for Great Woods…

    ideal ticket distribution system: pay cash at the door and go in

  24. guyforget Says:

    so, i’m sitting here at midnight, no work tomorrow, heading to the FBR Open to watch golf and drink beer all day, woohoo!…and i just saw a commercial that reminded me that i need some opinions..

    Am i the only one who loves the dudes who jam on the commercials????

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    guy I want to strangle those guys with their guitar strings.

Leave a Reply