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

Tags: ,

113 Responses to “A Blunt Prediction”

  1. A_Glide Says:

    On my way out to Hampton in ’03 we passed some rest stop that had a Cars Trucks and Busses sign and everyone in the car thought it was an omen and was calling for the opener, and then we get a ragin Chalkdust right out the gates.

    My friend just e-mailed me he’s calling for the first ever Hydrogen opener.

  2. Pence Says:

    breathes, still got extras?

  3. camman Says:

    my money is still on a backwards down the number line opener or a raging mikes

  4. camman Says:

    and i willa dmit, i havent heard the bag from this show, but the gumbo and diease are among my all time favorites

  5. Pence Says:

    Anybody have xtras for DC or alpine?

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    11.7.98 Bag is just as good….

  7. Wilfred Brimley Says:

    How about a very boisterous Punch you in the Eye opener…I can’t imagine the energy during the first Hey!!

  8. Billy Breathes Says:

    Pence…I think I might have 2 Alpine’s for Sunday. Let me know.

    A_Glide…still waiting on you!

    Hampton Opener: Bag

  9. elbows Says:

    Calling songs was such a fun component to Phish shows. I was pretty good at it, but I’ll never forget Oswego, when out of nowehere I said to my friends “Maybe they’ll play Mighty Quinn tonight” or something like that, and, lo and behold…we were pulling on a tube when I made the call. so maybe cannabis intuits the prophetic voice. Good post, Mr. Miner. These moments have probably happened to all of us, and they further the link between the external circus and the psychic bubblings of inner space.

    My opener call: Cheers Theme->Harry Hood.

  10. Billy Breathes Says:

    Live Nation is a tricky site indeed.

  11. A_Glide Says:

    @BB, I can’t check my e-mail from work, but I’m going out for lunch so I’ll stop somewhere and get back to you in a little bit. I definitely want them, unless I get pavilion tix Saturday, then you can hook someone else up.

  12. Pence Says:

    @billy breathes Ill take them what do i need to do?

  13. Clod Says:

    Can anyone point me towards a place to download this epic Boise BaGumbo?

  14. Clod Says:


  15. John Campion Says:

    off the topic alitte bit….but whenever i was late coming into a show, it seems i always came in durring SOAM! Weird! It started with my first show 12/29/94, walked in durring the ending jam in SOAM. This happend to me 4 other times ! ! ! all SOAM

  16. Asher Says:

    Miner, this is why I freaking love this site!! Boise is an all timer for sure and one of my personal favourite shows ever. There must have been something in the air that day because I had an eerily similar experience. Interestingly enough it began with an epic set break blunt sesh! Afterwords, just as the lights went down, I found myself standing on a stair in the second level. I just got this overwhelming feeling that we were in for something epic. Maybe it was the blunt (or the truly amazing kef that someone threw on top of it), maybe it was magic in the air, maybe it was the blue football field?. Probably a combo of everything. I have this vivid memory of thrusting my fist in the air, closing my eyes and thinking “Ok, just drop it! Drop something sick. I know you can do it. I know you have it in you!!” and ….
    BOOM! Peaches! The rest is history. There is nothing quite like it when that level cosmic synchronicity occurs between you and the band.

  17. Jer Says:

    This is the AC/DC Bag on which all others should be judged. It was the watershed moment of Phish in 1999…even with Big Cypress, there was nothing played before or after in that year that can compare with this AC/DC Bag. This is a prime example as to why (at least in the days of longer tours) you should always make a point to get to shows that are “out of the way”. Just listen to the shows played in Idaho and Montana (there aren’t many of them, but they are all very very good, save 6/7/95). 11/23/97 was an afterthought to many following Hampton and I’m here to say that I think the Winston-Salem show is as good if not better than either of the previous nights.

    More on 9/14/99…it has to have one of the most depressing first sets (musically speaking) of all time. There are lots of slow melancholy songs spattered throughout, and the playing is quite subdued as well (even Chalk Dust and Taste). Note that I don’t think this takes away from the music…in fact, I feel like quite the contrary…and I love this entire show for this very reason.

  18. Asher Says:

    Take it from a guy who skipped Utah Fall ’98. The DSOTM show. Don’t skip out of the way shows!! While hiking in Zion National my buddies and I were wondering what we might be missing. I joked “Probably a 45 minute long Harpua.” Sometimes being right sucks!!

  19. snigglebeach Says:

    My money is on Wilson opener. They do it a lot, it has fan participation so its gets everyone involved right off the bat.

    Almost disapointing if they do really could do something different, but i feel that is it. Sure to be a Golgi right at the end of second set, second to last song before encore.

    Anyone have any thoughts about songs that they talked about “retiring” at Coventry??

    What they should do is open the Curtain, and we will know nothing has really been retired.

    Sorry to those of you who got unlucky with lottery, But I Love Phish Ticketing. hooked me up. double ordered everything(w/help) and got just what i needed and even good seats. GL saturday folks.

  20. A_Glide Says:

    7.15.03 Bag opener kicked off a sick show that didn’t even fill the pavillion. A bunch of people we were caravaning with skipped utah after the gorge to go right to Kansas, we went to utah but skipped Kansas to go right to alpine. When we met up at alpine they were all pretty pissed they missed the only show of the tour to rival StarLake and IT.

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    Hey Miner, what’s the Pick 4 for the Lotto in Illinois tonight? I didn’t know that show was on the blue football field, home of the Boise State Broncos, winner of the greatest football game ever played! What a weird place to see a Phish show. Also, who do you like in the Super Bowl Miner?

  22. MP Says:

    Make sure he is smoking a blunt while you ask those questions.

  23. SOAM Says:

    ac dc bag-deer creek 96 set 2-incredible jamming
    Bag>Mikes>lifeboy >paugh groove

  24. soulish Says:

    Love this show, I can remember the first time I heard I had to immediately listen to it again, and again. It is standard listening material for any long trek, especially to a show, along with the Allman’s Fillmore album and some Ernest Ranglin.

    What do you think the chances are for a Peaches anywhere at Hampton. I love this song and think it always raises the level of a set, like 2001 was always thought to raise the level of the song that followed it. A personal dream of mine is to see a Reba->Peaches, as the climax drums in Reba are the same drums that start Peaches, obviously skipping the whistling. They have done Reba and Peaches back to back a couple times, but never like this. How awesome would it be to get to the climax of Reba and then go straight into the energy of Peaches?

  25. Billy Breathes Says:

    @ A_Glide and @ Pence – let’s see how this weekend goes and then I’ll let you know…

Leave a Reply