A Blunt Prediction

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.


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.



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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113 Responses to “A Blunt Prediction”

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  1. Al Says:

    Good morning everyone! There are not really many songs I dare to say that it is THE version of that song in their career. But the Boise AC/DC Bag is the best of the best. It beats the NY 12/30/97 easily IMO. If you plan to burn a CD of THE EPICS, I can tell you what I actually burned on a 3CD album: Tweezer (12/06/97), AC/DC Bag (09/14/99), Ghost (07/23/97), Harry Hood (12/30/95), YEM (12/29/96), Maze (10/18/96), Runaway Jim (11/29/97), Reba (06/19/95), Piper (06/19/04). This is my personal selection, ’cause I love that style & era. You might find your own EPICS, which might include a GIN (08/16/97 or 11/07/96). That’s the great thing about PHISH – it’s highly individual what & when you feel the magic.
    By the way, if you like the funky 1997 Tour, help yourself and find the Worcester 11/28/97 SBD(!) somewhere on this website. The Ghost (Mike’s goin’ slap-crazy) and YEM are tour highlights. Incredible!!

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    also quite enjoy the 8/9/98 and 11/21/97 Bags .. I believe 11/21 was the first extended bag? the way they just push through the peak and it just skids along stands out in my mind. 8/9 was mellow and funky all throughout, great summer tour phishy goodness.

  3. camman Says:

    So, i was watching Comedy Central last night, and some movie whose title i do not know was on, and the first scene i saw went something like this:

    Actor#1 ” You know that being a vegan increases your high right?”
    Actor#2 “What?”
    Actor#1 “Yeah the Deadheads figured it out and then passed it on to the, Phish.. Phish People after Jerry died.”
    Actor#2 “Thats the most assinine thing i’ve ever heard”

  4. BourbonCowboy Says:

    My friends and I used to have the ‘Taco Bell Dinner’ challenge before Sets 1 and 2 to see who could guess the opener. If the guest song appeared in the set you got a taco, a “whole dinner” if it opened. this post brought back fun memories of being a poor college student trying to score a taco bell dinner at a phish show. Thanks!

  5. Jeff Says:

    Nice story Minor. I guess we could possibly thank you and Adam for that nights epicness! How about in Hampton you think about a thick Tweezer opener?

  6. Chalkdustin Says:

    After that story, Miner, I’m listening to you for Hampton openers.

  7. Pnutbag99 Says:

    Reading this makes me upset again that I was one of the people who skipped this show. It was my first west coast tour (I am an east coaster) my friends and I decided to skip Boise b/c it was so out of the way and instead take some time to check out the Pacific NW and take our time down to Shoreline. We were all pretty pissed when we saw the setlist and even more upset when I heard the show. At least I didn’t miss out on Peaches totally as they dropped it again at Shorline 2 shows later.

    Either way I am glad you were there to enjoy it and I learned my lesson on skipping out of the way shows. Thanks for the memories of what will always be a special tour for me!

  8. John Campion Says:

    Do Deer Creek tix go on sale tomorrow or Sat?

  9. JeffD Says:

    oh the boise bag. an absolute monster, a personal top 3 jam of mine. definition of triumph.

  10. Chalkdustin Says:

    Deer Creek is tomorrow, as far as I know. The only one on Saturday is Alpine.

  11. Jerzey Says:

    This AC/DC-Gumbo was not a highlight- it was THE highlight. That was my favorite moment of 99- including Cypress. In fact, it was probably one of my favorite Phish moments ever- next to the 8/16/97 Bathtub Gin- Oh and by the way- Bathtub Gin opener in Hampton with Runaway Jim opeing the second set

  12. camman Says:

    dont forget that knoxville is also on Sat.

  13. John Campion Says:

    great woods i thought was saturday too!??

  14. Jerrydamule Says:

    ummm… Miner, between your 12/31/96 call of Bohemian Rhapsody and today’s post, maybe you’re the guy can help me out. I’m in a pool with some buddies re: Hampton opener…

  15. Billy Breathes Says:

    For Hampton….I’d be prepared for a Birds, Wilson, Chalkdust, etc, something they are familiar with and can work on getting into the groove with somewhat easily….a nice warm-up tune. Going to be a lot of ‘nerves’ running that night…

  16. John Campion Says:

    i’m still calling Antelope opener

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    Never skip the out of the way show!

    At my first dead show, as a 16 year old, a guy behind me called the bucket opener. I was stunned. Then the show ended with a brokedown palace encore, which was magically cued up in my car when I started it after the show.

    Phish openers to me have often been difficult to call, as they were liable to do almost anything and make it work.

    And great story, btw! Blunts at phish, truly east coast style!!

  18. Billy Breathes Says:

    No chance! Might get that Antelope mid 2nd set somewhere. Look for a Bathtub somewhere in that 2nd set as well.

  19. Chalkdustin Says:

    Camman and John, you’re both right. I clearly have only had one cup of coffee this morning…need a little Tweezer to wake me up!

  20. SandyMcTube Says:

    this boise show is an all time favorite of mine! out of the nearly 100 shows i saw, i have to say this is the one i wish i would have seen…
    thank you, mr. miner, for the daily phish-crack!

  21. John Campion Says:

    ha. no prob chalkdustin!

  22. bhizzle Says:


    The only two Grateful Dead shows (Albany 95) I’ve been to, I was able to call some tunes, not placement setwise, but still called. Also able to call songs at Ratdog and P+F shows. It seems like they come easier for some reason.


    Since you posted links to all those Tubes yesterday I was anxiously awaiting a link for the Bag>Gumbo due to not ever hearing it before and now especially after reading the comments.

    Also the Tubes I was having a difficult time trying to determine my favorite of them all. Thanks

  23. A_Glide Says:

    My Hampton opener call is GBOTT

    @Billy Breathes, yesterday you made mention of having Alpine Extras, you stiil got a couple to get rid of?

  24. Billy Breathes Says:

    A_Glide…check ur email…I have a couple for each night if you would like.

    Hampton opener: BROTHER. Yah Right!

  25. Los Says:

    In my dreams, Im calling for a Harpua>Curtain>Harpua>YEM>Harpua Hampton opener…followed by a raging Chalkdust…

    Just my dream opener folks…

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