Weekend Nuggets: Fuji Rock ’99

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 28th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

fujiThis weekend we have the two headlining gigs from Phish’s first trip to Japan in Summer ’99.  Playing on the isolated “Field of Heaven” stage, Phish treated the predominantly Japanese audience with two blistering shows, carrying their momentum from their extensive US tour to the Far East.  Highlights abound throughout these two shows, including two phenomenal second sets.  The 31st was held down by the huge “2001 > Bowie,” opening the flowing second set with some extended improv.  A late set “Fluffhead” fir perfectly as a cathartic release to this frame.

7.31.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP < LINK

7.31.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP < TORRENT LINK

I: My Friend My Friend, Golgi Apparatus, Get Back on the Train, Limb by Limb, Free, Roggae, Sparkle, Character Zero

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Prince Caspian, Fluffhead, The Squirming Coil

E: Vac/Horn Duo*, Brian and Robert**, Simple

Encore began with Tibetan monk Newang Chechang (sp?) speaking about the situation in Tibet. *Fish on vacuum with Newang on a long horn. **With Newang on wooden flute.

Source: unk

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8.1.99 (phish.com)

8.1.99 (phish.com)

The last night of Summer ’99 was certainly one of the best.  With a second half that boasted a “Tweezer,” a “Mike’s Groove,” and a “YEM,” the last set of the summer was chock full of musical fireworks. In addition to the well crafted second set, the first read like a “Who’s Who” of old-school Phish songs.  This is a show that is required for any complete collection, and its a SBD, taboot, taboot.

8.1.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP SBD < LINK

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8.1.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, JP SBD < TORRENT LINK

I: Cities, Rift, Wilson, The Moma Dance, The Divided Sky, Horn, Split Open and Melt, Poor Heart, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope

II: Possum > Tweezer > Llama > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Wedge, Lizards, You Enjoy Myself

E: Sweet Adeline, Tweezer Reprise

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HAMPTON PHOTOGRAPHY: HELP NEEDED!

hampton_outsideI am putting out an open invitation for photo contributions from Hampton, specifically inside the show, to use on Phish Thoughts the very next day.  Anyone can email me photos after the show that night, and I will use the best shots for my review of the show.  Please email me the files and at mrminer@phishthoughts.com within three to four hours after the show is over. The photos selected for use on the site will be clearly accredited to you, the photographer.  Thank you in advance for any and all contributions- it will be great to have current pictures on each new post from you, the readers!

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HAMPTON CONTEST: WIN A SUNDAY TICKET!

3251306826_09e533a8acDr. Trip over at Festival Family.com is running a contest for one last 3.8 Sunday night Hampton ticket! The rules are simple, and are as follows:

  • The person with the funniest Festival story, Picture or Video wins the ticket!
  • Contest is going to run from 02/26/09 -03/04/09
  • Anyone is allowed to enter as many times as they like.

Click here to enter!

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND

Fuji Rock Festival Montage 1999 (You get a great feel for the festival)

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

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The Contours of Our Lives

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on February 27th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

861908007_5b4984449aIf you’ve been reading this site for any amount of time, you’ve figured out that my affinity is for dark, menacing Phish.  The flip side of this musical coin are Phish’s many blissful improvisations, such as “Hood,” “Reba,” or “Slave;” songs that you must lack a pulse to not feel drawn to.  Yet, Phish isn’t just about the peaks, they are about the natural contour of their shows.  When they play a memorable one, the dynamic of the music mirrors the spectrum of human experience.  While the band often accesses the more tender points of life via delicate improvisation, they also do it through the use of ballads.

While many a jaded fan consider Phish ballads time for a “piss break,” they are anything but.  I never really grasped the concept of leaving the room while Phish was onstage; you just never know what could happen, and you miss the full experience.  The band doesn’t play ballads to fill time in the set, rather, they are part of the organic flow of the Phish phenomenon.  Sure, they could play “Tweezer > Mike’s > YEM > Tube > Antelope > Weekapaug,” but then they wouldn’t be Phish (though you phili6wouldn’t see me complaining.)  Phish is about the totality of our lives, not just the fun and exciting parts, but the pensive and reflective ones, too.  Often times, Phish ballads are a central way to access those places in our minds and in our hearts that we don’t readily visit.  But the beauty of Phish’s slower songs exists in their congruency to the universal human emotions that we all feel.

If you keep an open soul to receive the Phish, you have come to appreciate and understand the purpose of these songs.  Several are able to artistically convey feelings of loss, desperation, longing, and fear with rich imagery-laden lyrics.  “If I Could,” expresses the helplessness of someone who cannot meet the needs of their lover, and who futilely tries to figure a way to make things work.  “Wading In a Velvet Sea,” a poignant ballad, both musically and lyrically, exposes a vulnerable narrator who longs for “moments in a box” representing his past days of connection that have long since passed.  “Fast Enough For You,” is another similarly themed song, expressing the loss of love and the inability to recapture times gone by. “Lifeboy’s” liquid music matches its introspective lyrics- “Dangling here between the light above and blue below that drags me down.”  These aren’t “cheesy” themes; this is the fabric of life.

pict0020Using these more melancholic songs, Phish is able to access the parts of our lives in which we have felt such loss and pain; and who hasn’t?  Tapping into life’s universal themes, the band employs these songs as an entry point into our feelings.  Take, for example, “Dirt.”  Its simple melodies and lyrics speak volumes about a human emotion that everyone has felt- the desire to disappear from the madness and confusion that often plagues us in our everyday lives.  Sure, these songs may not be what you or I want to hear at a particular moment, but their rightful place in the arc of a Phish show is undeniable.

However, not all ballads are of somber subject.  Phish has an ability to capture our imaginations with ballads, touching on the more tender side of life.  “Billy Breathes” is the delicate story of a child’s birth told through majestically composed music.  “Train Song” captures the night time tranquility of the countryside as two lovers share one of life’s soulful moments together. “Strange Design” represents life-affirming advice about our struggle to “keep the tires off the lines,” sending the message that whatever trials and tribulations are put in our path, the human spirit can persevere.  “Just relax you’re doing fine, swimming in this real thing I call life.”  These are meaningful life messages that are often lost in fans’ hyped up desires for the next huge chunk of improv.  Don’t worry, that jam will come; but they key to Phish is “the moment,” and these songs are as much a part of “the moment” as any.  Some may not want to accept this as true, desiring more time spent with rocking improv, but those people are swimming upstream, against the natural current of a Phish show.  “The trick is to surrender to the flow,” and these are necessary parts of Phish’s natural flow.

dscf29380The band can also bring us to a place of childhood wonder with their slower songs.  “Prince Caspian,” while almost universally disliked, boasts a fantastic voyage “afloat upon the waves.”  Like a nighttime reverie of a young child, the subject longs for the wonder and adventure of the fictional Prince, alluding to his adventures in Narnia.  Even if you never read “The Chronicles of Narnia” as a child and don’t connect with the lyrics of this song, Trey’s soaring guitar solo narrates the triumphant plot for you.

If you were to go through each and every Phish ballad, you could connect a genuine human experience to each, giving these songs an emotional legitimacy that is often ignored due to their tempo.  Without these interludes between the “Bowies” and “Splits” and “Stashs,” there would be no natural curvature to an evening with Phish.  Countless DJs and other bands can provide a non-stop dance party, but Phish goes deeper into the soul; deeper into what makes us human.  It is this multi-dimensional richness that defines the Phish experience.  If you don’t get what I’m saying, well…just go take a piss.

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HAMPTON “PUSH ON” AFTER-PARTIES:

If you want to kick it to some electronic beats after the shows, the Bay Area’s Symbiosis Events and ArtNowSF are teaming up with The Beat Register to throw down three parties with some eclectic lineups at the Tribeca in Newport News.  Details can be found here. Tickets can be bought here.

push-on-flier-tryptych

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: NEW TORRENT FEATURE!

I recently switched over to Amazon S3 hosting for Phish Thought’s daily downloads.  In addition to faster and more reliable downloads, a great feature of this service, is that I can generate torrent files with the click of a button.  Therefore, If you have a BitTorrent client installed on your machine, please grab the “Download of the Day” using the torrent link as much as possible.  The torrent link will be right under the usual download link.  It would save me a buck or two if everyone began to use this feature, which would be great since I’m not making any money through this site.  We are also preparing and testing the system for the much anticipated No Spoilers Hampton Downloads, so if can use the torrent today, please do.  If you don’t have a BitTorrent client, feel free to download it the old fashioned way with the regular link.

Why torrent? Two main reasons:

1) It will be faster for you.  The power of a large BitTorrent swarm means you will be grabbing the file from many users – and also from Amazon, as necessary.

2) It will be cheaper for me.  I host these files at Amazon S3 because they are super reliable – this will be key for the No Spoilers downloads.  Unfortunately, Amazon charges me for storage and bandwidth used, so if you can help save me a few bucks, I’d appreciate it.

PS: If you don’t have a BitTorrent client and are feeling adventurous, you could try to download one for free.  Perhaps uTorrent for Windows, and Transmission for Mac.  Or Vuze for either.

PPS: If you don’t know much about torrents, one important thing is to keep your client running after you’ve downloaded the file – that lets you keep uploading to others once you’ve finished downloading

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.11.96 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK DBSD < LINK

7.11.96 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK DBSD <  TORRENT LINK

Europe '96 Poster

Europe '96 Poster

Here we have a DSBD copy of the band’s first headlining gig during Europe ’96.  In between these few shows, Phish would play one-set openers for Santana, prepping the European audience for return tours over the next two summers.  Some of the treats in this show include a rare “Harry Hood” set opener, “2001 > Maze,” first set versions of “Stash” and “Reba,” as well as the UK debut of The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life.”

I: Runaway Jim, Cavern, Reba, I Didn’t Know, Sparkle, Stash, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar

II: Harry Hood > Bouncing Around the Room, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Maze, Lizards, HYHU > Terrapin > HYHU, You Enjoy Myself, Hello My Baby

E: A Day in the Life

Tags:

A Space Odyssey

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 26th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

hw8“Also Sprach Zarathustra,” a thirty minute classical piece, was composed in 1896 by Richard Strauss as a musical response to Fredrick Nietzshe’s nihilistic writings in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”  The introduction to Strauss’ piece, the popular melody we know, was written as a “tone poem” with intentional unresolved harmonies to convey his belief of the unsolvable mystery of the universe.  This introduction came into popular culture in 1968 with its prominence in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” musically symbolizing a cosmic rebirth.  Carrying as much power and profundity as any track in cinematic history, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” punctuated the humanistic themes that defined Kubrick’s work.  Though the Phish scene adopted the nickname “2001″ from Kubrick’s masterpiece, the band took their musical inspiration from the ’70s fusion-era artist, Deodato, who transformed the classic piece into a funk-laden escapade.  It is his reworked version that Phish has popularized since 1993, thrilling audiences with its wide open space-funk textures.

Adopting the song in the Summer of ’93, Phish immediately grew addicted to its futuristic feel, as they opened virtually every second set of the tour with the adrenalizing piece.  A showcase for Kuroda’s lights and smoke machine, “2001″ was a catalyst for big sets, serving as a launchpad into central jam vehicles such as “Mike’s,” “Maze,” “Antelope,” and “Bowie.”  This new four-minute funk intro hyped up crowds all summer long, and continued to play this role throughout ’94 and ’95.

861967917_598b96e7a4It wasn’t until until the historic Halloween ’96 show that “2001″ began to develop.  On that night, guest percussionist Karl Perazzo convinced the band to settle into the ascending patterns before each passage through the song’s famed chorus.  Following Perazzo’s lead, the band molded a set of chunky grooves that stretched the song to seven minutes; an idea was born.  Not coincidentally, it was the “Remain in Light” set from this show that shifted Phish’s musical focus towards collective groove.

Throughout the rest of 1996′s fall tour, Phish continued to push the boundaries of “2001″ with longer versions appearing in Memphis (11.18), Sacramento (11.30), and Las Vegas (12.6).  By the time Summer ’97 rolled around, “2001″ had transformed into a new beast.  But it wasn’t until The Great Went’s out-of-body experience that we all realized the song’s potential.

Fitting congruently into Phish’s style of Fall ’97, “2001″ was showcased across the country five times, and once on New Year’s Eve, establishing itself as one of the band’s preeminent vehicles for funk improvisation.  As the years progressed, the tiny intro of 1993 was long forgotten in favor of far more extended versions, as Phish created countless adventures in psychedelic space-groove.

Few songs are more liberating to hear live than “2001,” and below are five classic versions.  (You can listen to each on this page.)

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12.6.96 The Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

508820594_dd75c3239aThis version forever solidified “2001′s” place as a Phish jam.  Pushing this first set version longer than ever before, the band fully realized their next monster on the last night of Fall ’96.  This early extended rendition featured impressive improvisational chops by Page, a deep pocket from Mike and Fish, and some would-be classic ’97 funk lines from Trey, including his frequently quoted P-Funk licks.  Experiencing Phish crack like never before, fans came away from this set with a revelation and a preview of what was to come in the following year.

LISTEN TO 12.6.96 “2001″ NOW! (Roll over link and press play.  These are big files, so let them load.)

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8.17.97 The Great Went, Limestone ME

3251307446_d82a7cd91c1Amidst one of their greatest sets ever, Phish reinvented their space-age cover.  Standing in a vast field, under the heaven of a speaker tower, thick grooves rained like never before in our lives.  With a series of loops as a backdrop, Phish crafted a revolution.  In our first trip to the hallowed grounds of Limestone, the band and audience, alike, had a cathartic experience over a half-hour of bliss.  This was the first outlandish incarnation of “2001,” and the first where it was pretty clear that Phish was involved in some alien contact.  As the band members peeled off, one by one, to create an onstage mural, the other three kept the groove pumping with loose, yet locked, communication.  An experience like never before, this evening forever changed the course of the song and the band.

LISTEN TO 8.17.97′s “2001″ NOW!

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11.19.97 Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL

508840095_015303024fThe second appearance of “2001″ in the Fall of ’97 proved to be one for the ages.  From the first snare hit, this version possessed the perfect tempo for the band to be able to go off, both individually and collectively, creating one of the tightest versions in history.  With to-die-for licks, Trey complemented Mike’s massive bass patterns like glue, while Page filled in the spaces in between.  Like the rhythmic maestro he is, Fishman framed this masterful improv with a delicate , yet driving, beat.  This version represents Phish smack dab in the middle of Fall ’97′s blossoming.  Whenever I want to listen to a “2001″ specifically, this one usually finds its way to the CD player.

LISTEN TO 11.19.97′s “2001″ NOW!

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7.17.98 The Gorge, George, WA

3182714970_58492826c3This ’98 version of “2001″ has become virtually synonymous with the majestic venue of the pacific northwest.  A mathematical expression of this phenomenon would be “Phish + The Gorge = 1998′s “2001.”"  A flawless example of Phish matching their music to their surroundings, this loose, laid back, and locked half-hour odyssey seemed to descend from the heavens as much as it emanated from the stage.  This version best represents the band amidst Mike’s sought after on-stage state of “half awake and half dreaming,” as the music flowed through them naturally and effortlessly.  Trey organically moved from wah-grooves to lead melodies as the situation dictated, spraying infectious guitar flair all over this adventure.  Heavy on the Rhodes throughout, Page enhanced the celestial feel of this jam, while Mike pumped out dominating bass lines.  Taking fourteen minutes to even approach the first apex, this was an exercise in psychedelic groove.  Featuring peaks and valleys, this version possesses incredible dynamism.

LISTEN TO 7.17.98′s “2001″ NOW!

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7.7.1999 Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC

3306318907_c97d4edc21Opening an amazing second set, this “2001″ boasted a hugely climactic eight-minute build up before Phish unleashed their fury.  This was a showcase for the band, who patiently worked through a memorable twenty-two minutes of space travel.  More atmospheric and less in your face, Phish built a lush soundscape out of this Summer ’99 classic.  Featuring an out of character rhythmic breakdown in the middle of this monstrosity, this version illustrates the risk-taking of Phish as well as their experiments with sound and texture that defined ’99.  This colossal set opener would be remembered for years to come.

LISTEN TO 7.7.99′s “2001″ NOW!

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Throughout its late-’90s history, “2001″ was the bearer of some of the most epic dance sessions ever, as the song grew and morphed with the trends of Phish’s music.  One song that everybody loves to hear every time it is unsheathed, I recently considered the enticing prospect of  “2001″ opening Hampton.  This would provide the requisite freak-out time for the entire crowd, and would levitate The Mothership immediately.  Following the bombastic “welcome-back groove session,” the band could slide right into “YEM,” opening 3.0 in regal fashion.  A kid can dream, right?  Whenever “2001″ is first launched this time around, watch out, things will get crazy!

Other Top-Notch 2001s: Riverport 8.6.97, Hartford 11.26.97, Providence 4.4.98, Christiana 7.1.98, 8.8.98 Merriweather, Lemonwheel 8.16.98, Alpine 8.1.98, MSG 12.29.98, 12.2.99 Detroit, Philly 12.11.99, Hampton 12.18.99, 1.1.00 Big Cypress, Fukuoka 6.14.00, Cincy 2.21.03, Greensboro 3.1.03, Great Woods 8.11.04

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NO SPOILERS UPDATE:

hampton_outsideWe’ve heard some feedback and discussed things, and to err on the side of caution, we are going to revise our “uploading window” to be within an hour of the show finishing – unless something goes tragically wrong.  While we have thought this out, are confident, and have Plan Bs, some things are beyond our control.  It may be a bit faster, it may be a bit slower, but we’ll take care of you!

phishthoughts.com/nospoilers

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BONNAROO UPDATE:

bonnaroo1The headlining slots for Bonnaroo were announced yesterday.  Phish will be playing their late-night set on Friday, and closing out the entire festival on Sunday night with their two-set performance.  The Boss will headline Saturday night.  No one upstages the Phish!  This should be huge!

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PAGE ON TWITTER: A FALSE RUMOR

twitter_logo_125x29UPDATE: Scotty B at HiddenTrack did some sleuth work, proving that Jamptopia’s report is, in fact, bunk!  Check out his write up as to how he found out.

Over at Jamtopia.com, they have posted a story about the alleged recent use of Twitter by Phish members.  As if we needed more fuel for our overflowing souls, the most exiting item was this recent update from Page regarding Hampton:

Page_McConnell is absolutely amazed, exhausted and exhilarated, but it’ll all be worth it! We promise

I think they are trying to make us lose sleep this point.  For more news about Phish on Twitter, check out Jamtopia’s article! (FYI: Theories abound that this might not actually be Page.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.17.00 Merriweather Post Pavilion < LINK

Merriweather Post

Merriweather Post

Sticking with this week’s trend of gems from 2000, this show may take the cake.  With a second set that is filled to the brim with type II Phish improv, and an hour and forty-five minute first set boasting several favorites including “Fluffhead” (for the second to last time) and “Curtain (With),” this show was arguably the best outing of the fall.  Immersed in the mystical woods of Merriweather, Phish accessed some deeper magic from the dawn of time in creating sparkling memories on the last tour of Phish’s initial go round.

I: Guyute, Back on the Train, Bathtub Gin, Limb by Limb, The Moma Dance, Lawn Boy, Fluffhead, The Curtain With, Chalkdust Torture

II: Rock and Roll > Theme from the Bottom > Dog Log > The Mango Song > Free

E: Contact, Rocky Top

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Words I Sailed Upon

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 25th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Usually it’s the music, not the lyrics, that gets a Phish crowd going, as the band transforms their communal energy into unbridled cheers and enthusiasm.  Using their on-stage dynamic, Phish are masters at melding the minds of the masses into one musical sponge and creating the ultimate party.  However, sometimes, it merely takes a few words to elicit an enormous reaction from the crowd; words that go beyond their literal meaning and hold a greater symbolism for the Phish community.  Most often, these words are part of a lyric, and sometimes they are ad-libbed, but whenever you hear the following phrases, you can be sure that a passionate response from any Phish crowd will follow.

pink“Let’s get this show on the road!” (AC/DC Bag)

This ever-popular line from the classic Gamehendge song, especially when coming at the beginning of a show, will never cease to draw cheers from the masses.  Signifying the exuberance and enthusiasm shared by all fans in the building, this phrase gets people excited not only for the forthcoming “Bag” jam, but for the psychedelic smorgasbord that will present itself over the next three hours.  If this one comes out early at Hampton, the reaction will be extraordinary!

“Cause we’re all in this together, and we love to take a bath!” (Bathtub Gin)

Summing up the Phish community’s ethos in one line, this lyric always prompts cheers of joy.  Touching on the communal focus that has defined the scene from the beginning, this line not only affirms that we all are unified and equal, but that we all want to jump into the raging waters of a Phish show.  If the music was water, I’d bathe all day.

“Play it Leo!” (NICU, Yamar, Rocky Top)

ham10

(J. DiGiuseppe)

This cat call from Trey, directing Page to throw down furious piano and organ solos, always brings a raucous response from any group of fans.  Though not a formal lyric, but used routinely in these three songs, this line brings the show’s focus on The Chairman of the Boards; a spotlight he does not often garner.  While just as important as any band member, Page’s sounds are the most easily blended into Phish’s jams, and often times he doesn’t get proper distinction for his masterful and complementary playing.  Well, for these instances, everybody gets a chance to express their heartfelt appreciation for Page’s astronomical abilities.  The “Leo Trio” has only been played once in sequence at Alpine Valley on July 19, 2003, as “NICU > Yamar”, “Rockytop.”

“And I know I play a bad guitar…” (Loving Cup)

“Loving Cup” generally appears at the end of sets or in encores; times when the crowd is emerging from darkness and reveling in the celebration that is Phish.  During the sparse piano intro, these words are sung by Trey in a crystal clear voice- usually after he has shredded the arena to bits with his Languedoc.  The cheers emitted with this line are ones of comic irony; as if Michael Jordan was confessing to being a poor hoopster.  Trey has been known to sport a shit-eating grin to the crowd’s response, and this all comes right before the song kicks in for real- always a “warm” moment at a show.

“…but I sure got some powerful pills!” (Fluffhead)

ham3

Hampton (J. DiGiuseppe)

This line never ceases to draw animated responses- especially after the late-’90s mainstream infiltration of ecstasy into the scene.  Half of the cheers are generated by the mere fact that the band is playing “Fluffhead,” while the other half is generated by the obvious drug reference that most of Phish’s crowd can appreciate in one capacity or another.  The structure of the song even gives the audience the leeway of shouting “Oh Yeeeah!” in unison with Trey, inviting participation from the amped audience.

“Woke up in the morning… _____” (Makisupa Policeman)

While we are on drug references, this is Phish’s classic homage to ganja.  While not everyone in the scene indulges in psychedelic recreation, most everyone partakes in the hibbage.  Well loved from teenagers to senior citizens, marijuana has become a global, cross-cultural phenomenon; or to put it differently, “Everyone’s loves to smoke the weed!”  So when our red-headed Jedi mentions any form of THC, from “spliff” to “gooball,” “skunk” to “dank,” the crowd goes wild.  This represents yet another common ground between Phish and their fans.  The more creative Trey gets, the more cheers he elicits.  On 12.14.95, he came up with one of his most absurd versions, “Woke up this morning…Khaddafi in my bed.  So I smoked a joint with him.”  We’ll see with his new, cleaned-up, ways what word he will bust out if they play “Makisupa” again, or if he will stick with “poured myself a tall cool soy milk” (8.10.04 Great Woods).  At least Trey never lost his sense of irony.

“Filter out the Everglades…” (Water In the Sky)

p1020035Ever since Phish rang in the millennium at Big Cypress, this innocent line in “Water In the Sky” took on a whole new meaning.  With each utterance, the entire Phish community is reminded of that idyllic weekend in the Florida swamps so many years ago.  And each time they remember the life-affirming time, people respond in droves.  This is probably the quietest lyric to receive such a dramatic response.   And now, with the rumors of returning to Cypress for a ten-year anniversary, if this line is sung, you can be sure you’ll hear peoples’ enthusiastic opinions!

“If I could be, wasting my time with you.” (Waste)

A line that brings into question values and priorities in life, the meaning is paradoxical.  What most of the world views as “wasted” recreational time at a rock concert, we value as sacred.  When Trey utters these words, it is a reminder of the meaningful time spent together, living the Phish experience.  This line illustrates the shared importance of Phish to our collective lives.  The spectrum of human emotions and experience that arise at each and every show are highlighted by this simple, yet powerful, lyric.

“Oom Pah Pah!” (Harpua)

Needing virtually no explanation, when the four white spotlights come on to the band’s chorus of “Oom Pah Pah!  Oom Pah Pah!  Oom Pah Paaaaaah!”, it’s on!  Rarely busting out the well-loved and oft-requested saga of “Harpua,” each time Phish does, it’s a cause for celebration.  These opening “sounds” flood the venue with copious excitement due to the song’s rarity and the always entertaining story of Jimmy and Poster Nutbag.  Always taken off the shelf when you least expect it, “Harpua” will result in ovations for the rest of time.

p1010033While these lines will cause audience eruptions at all Phish shows, there are a few lines that if busted out at Hampton, will hold extra-special meaning, and could get more than their regular share of cheers.

“I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand!” (Golgi Apparatus)

With the well-documented, and virtually impossible ticket mission that fans navigated to get into The Mothership, you can be sure that if “Golgi” appears, this line will get the royal treatment.

“It took me a long time to get back on the train” (Get Back On the Train)

Though this song isn’t anything spectacular, each time Trey returns from a voluntary, or forced, hiatus, this lyric seems to possess a certain potency.  A song about regaining your focus and intention in life, this is thematically appropriate for next week’s shows.  A concept that everyone can relate to, you can be sure that this line will be greeted with a crowd explosion if played.

“I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year…” (Silent In the Morning)

A lyrical reference to the cyclical nature of our existence, fans adopt this concept to the Phish realm.  Reveling in the long-standing personal relationships we all have with Phish and their music, when this lyric gets sung, we think back to our memories of years gone by and all of the happiness they have brought us.  Out of context for the song’s meaning, leeway is taken by the crowd with this lyric to rejoice in the church of Phish.

“I feel the feeling I forgot” (Free)

This wouldn’t be on this list except for its obvious reference to the last five years.  If and when it is sung, expect an above average response to the now-poignant line.

Sometimes, it just takes a few words.

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“NO SPOILERS” UPDATE

ham1“Let’s Get This Show on the Road!”

We have made some significant progress on the “No Spoilers” project!

We now have two tapers on board – and some great gear taboot. This should allow us to upload the show almost immediately after it’s over. We are therefore revising our estimate from 12 to 24 *hours* after the show ends, to 12 to 24 *minutes*! *

UPDATED NOTE: To err on the side of caution, we are going to revise
this to say within an hour of the show finishing unless something goes tragically wrong.  We have thought this out, we’re confident, and we have Plan B’s, but some things are beyond our control.”  It may be faster, it may be a bit slower.

So if all goes according to plan (and it’s technology – what could go wrong?) you should be listening to the crowd roar sometime around midnight EST!  Set 2+E will follow shortly thereafter.

If you have been on the fence because of our initial time estimate, it’s time to reconsider doing this!  Help spread the word – point people to phishthoughts.com/nospoilers!

Thanks to the following cool folks for helping make this happen:
Mark Hutchison
Jamie Lutch
Jason Sobel
Disco and the rest of the SHNfamily
Craig Harris

Please check out phishthoughts.com/nospoilers for more updated details on the project!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.14.00 Polaris Amphitheatre, Columbus, OH < LINK

2000-07-14mo2In one of the craziest beginnings to a show, Phish came onstage while a fierce storm raged over the venue.  The sky looked like something out of “Ghostbusters,” tinted green and purple with nature’s psychedelia.  Forced into a weather delay after only one song, Phish came back with a menacing monsoon of their own.  After an exciting first frame, the and came out and played “Mike’s,” “Bowie,” and “Sand” within this excessively dark second set.

I: Sample in a Jar*, Punch You in the Eye > Timber (Jerry), Gotta Jibboo > Boogie on Reggae Woman, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Dog Faced Boy, Farmhouse > Taste, Golgi Apparatus

II: Mike’s Song** > Frankie Says, David Bowie, Waste, Sand** > Lizards, Weekapaug Groove

E: The Inlaw Josie Wales##, Driver^, Guyute

*Band announced that they will be taking a break until the heavy rain slowed down; followed by 26-minute delay **With Trey on keys. ##Trey on acoustic ^Trey on electric


Source: unknown

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The Art of Phish

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on February 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

phish-gorge-99-pollockEveryone loves souvenirs.  Whether it’s a Van Halen mirror that you won at the county fair for popping balloons with darts, an “I heart NY” tee you scooped on your first visit to Times Square, or a new snow globe to add to your collection, every grand experience deserves a memento.  Experiences don’t come much grander than Phish, and while there’s always  generic tour merch available at each venue, Phish often took it a step further and offered limited edition posters that represented their stop along the road.  By the end of 2.0, other artists had entered the Phish poster scene, but the artist who will forever be linked with the ultimate Phish souvenirs is Jim Pollock.

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Jim Pollock (J. Kaczorowski)

Pollock’s unique and labor intensive hand-pulled prints became a staple of big Phish shows and weekends come the late ’90s.  A hand-press process using linoleum or wood blocks resulted in every print being unique depending on how much pressure was applied, how much ink was on the block, how the paper was pulled, and other such variables.  These one of a kind reminders of epic nights gone by created a subculture within the Phish scene of serious Pollock collectors.  Appreciating in value from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the rarity of the print, the initial $40 price tag no longer seems so steep.  The posters of Jim Pollock have become cultural icons- representing the magic-filled evenings of yesteryear.

phish-allstate-00-pollockWhat make Pollock’s art so special is not just the limited nature of his print runs, but the subject matter of his posters and how they convey the band’s place in time.  Pollock used all types of imagery to symbolize the venue and location of a particular show- and often went further, symbolizing where Phish’s music existed at that point.  Some examples of this congruency are the posters from Deer Creek ’99 where a tractor amidst a cornfield is pictured with a farmer yelling the dates of the show; Hartford Meadows ’00 where a pilgrim is depicted riding on a rooster as a horse grazes in the background, symbolizing the bucolic life of the nation’s first settlers in New England; Polaris ’00 where a Hindu goddess clutching many fish in her arms represented the more layered ambient psychedelia that the band experimented with that year; Shoreline ’00′s cowboy lassoing a fish for the last shows of 1.0; or Coventry’s image of a Phish corralled within fences.  From the literal to the abstract, Pollock’s posters always held meaning to their specific time and place.

phish-polaris-00Sold all over E-Bay and Expressobeans, Pollock prints have acquired status in the world of art collectors.  And it all started so many years ago.  Pollock attended Goddard College in the early-mid eighties and wound up roommates with Page McConnell before he was even in Phish!  Having been there for the genesis of the band, Pollock was in the right place at the right time.  He began early on doing work for the Phish, creating ink drawings for their early show posters.  Their affinty for his work soon developed into Pollock doing the classic art for Junta.  Over the years, Pollock’s art grew inseparable from Phish, as his images graced their tour shirts, mail order tickets, concert (and non-concert) posters, and their Live Phish CD covers, each of which contains hidden clues that represent that show.  Pollock also had booths at Phish’s initial festivals where he created unique postcards and prints.

phish-shoreline-00-pollock-lePollock’s work became so popular among fans, that many began to go into venues early just to make sure they could scoop one (or ten) before they sold out.  There were many a night in ’99 and ’00 where the posters were actually sold out before the first set began.  Unique in style and always vibrant in color, Pollocks made classy home decorations for even the most mature fan.  And with the online secondary marketplace, believe it or not, some fans found a way to scalp their extras for a pretty penny.

When the final jam had ended and the last cymbal crashed, the front-of-house music welcomed you back to reality.  Alas, it was time to go.  Sometimes the experience was so powerful, you just wanted to curl up on your dance space and stay forever.   But even if you tried, and I have been near the last one out of a venue or two in my time, the security guards will always, in fact, make you leave the building.  However, when this harsh reality descends, you could always grab your poster tube, head back to the hotel, and unravel the colorful night right in front of your eyes.  That night was with you forever- poster or no poster- but hey, everybody loves a souvenir.

Read an interview with Jim Pollock from 2005. < LINK

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY

7.15.99 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ < LINK

1999-07-15moThis is the first, and far more psychedelic, night of a northern New Jersey stand during Summer ’99, and it never really gets the credit it deserves.  Following some lengthy “Meatstick” banter to open the second set, the band improvised out of the ’99 anthem for the only time ever- and it was a smashing success.  Creating a gentle funk-ambiance out of the song, Phish creatively played their way through a unique jam landing in a massive “Spilt Open and Melt.”  Crashing into “Kung” at full speed, the Split jam then morphed out of the golf cart marathon into an eerie psychedelic opus.  This was some truly intense Phish, not to mention the chock-full 90 minute first set.

I: Punch You in the Eye > Ghost, Farmhouse, Horn, Poor Heart, Axilla > Theme from the Bottom, I Didn’t Know, The Sloth, You Enjoy Myself

II: Meatstick > Split Open and Melt#  > Kung > jam, Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture

E: Brian and Robert, Frankenstein

#unfinshed
Source: Senheiser mics (model not known)/FOB

Tags:

The Nassau Tweezer

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 23rd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As the Cincinnati weekend came to a close, fans dispersed back across the country with plenty of tales to tell.  With only three shows before Nassau, the date that everyone had circled on their calendars when this tour was announced, Phish’s winter momentum was snowballing.  Two nights after a hot show in Worcester, Phish returned to the scared stomping grounds of Nassau Coliseum- the site of half of The Island Run and, more significantly, the divine events of 4.3.98.  Having stopped there only two other times in 1999, for a pair of wholly underrated shows, the communal anticipation of something huge in Nassau was building.  And huge would turn out to be an understatement.

The first set shone with the band’s second consecutive top-shelf  “Gin”- the first since Cincy’s standout escapade- and the eternally sought after oldie, “Destiny Unbound,” played for the first time in 791 shows (11.15.91).    The overwhelming excitement following this set filled the arena, and had it buzzing like a hornet’s nest during the break.  Yet when people eventually left the Coliseum on this last night of February, their memories would hardly be focused on the first set.

030228_stubHaving only dropped one “Tweezer” thus far on tour- a monster version in Chicago- Phish was due to break out one of their most popular jam vehicles.  As fans assumed their places for what was obviously going to be massive set, the opening lick of the song bled from Trey’s Languedoc.  Boom!  Just like that,  we were amidst a set-opening “Tweezer” that was most certainly heading to great places.  Where- we didn’t know- but there was an overwhelming aura of greatness that surrounded the composed section of the song.

Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As we prepared ourselves to enter the Freezer, Phish built up the maniacal, noisy peak before we collectively took the plunge.  As the final phrasing of the melody oozed into the jam, the feeling of potential was limitless.  Jumping right into some lead melodies, Trey joined the band’s directional groove right off the bat.  Moving briskly, Phish pumped through some quintessential “Tweezer” textures before beginning to build the improv outwards.

In a break that left the drums and bass both prominent and reverberating, the music took a distinct turn into the second part of the jam. Feeling the way he wanted the music to move, Trey hopped into the fray with some authoritative leads.  The totality of the jam possessed a laid back vibe as Page tickled the Rhodes in the background and Mike bounced some relaxed patterns.  Trey took front and center, guiding this section of the improv with some quality licks that charted the band’s course.

508809808_6a5329e1c4Soon the music became far quieter, with each member taking their sound down a notch, as Mike and Fish’s mellow, yet popping, groove kept things on track.  It was this moment that set the course for the most triumphant musical passage of the entire winter tour.  With one chord, atop this minimal groove, Trey revved his psychedelic lawnmower, creating a distorted sound that seemed to vibrate and echo like a bizarre elastic band.  The band responded to each guitar chord by slightly shifting their ideas, filling in the space by complementing Trey’s sound.  It was at this point that Trey used an incredibly unique effect and played a series of chords that belonged in a post-modern collage, entering the band into yet a third section of this “Tweezer.”

From this point, the band’s musical ideas fused together as they began to move as one entity.  Mike and Page were straight killing it here, as Trey conceived his next move.  What came next out of his guitar would be a spring of gorgeous, spontaneous melodies that give me the shivers to this day.  This was one of those spectacularly surreal moments that only occur at Phish shows.  The entire band understood what needed to happen and wrapped their groove around Trey’s confessional, creating some of the most sublime music of the year.

Nassau 2.28.03

Nassau 2.28.03

As Trey moved right from these awing melodies into a pattern of distorted chords in which he would echo himself, the band truly hit their stride.  This was the bliss we chased across the country.  This was IT;  this was what we believed in.  This was the reason for it all.  The crowd was engulfed by the cosmos, as the universe’s energy, channeled through our four superheroes, rained down upon us.  Trey moved on to some spectacular and divergent playing in which he threw a beautifully dissonant musical boomerang around the venue; each time he caught it, throwing it higher into the rafters.  This section developed into one of the classic passages of music in the band’s history, as its unique playing and spiritual feeling was a revelation to the entire Phish world.

As this section of other-worldly music wound down, one had to presume that the band would wrap up the “Tweezer.”  But it took them less than a minute to transition into a completely different jam all together!  In some far more grounded improv, Phish entered faster, more straight ahead playing that seemed like it had come from a totally different song altogether, perhaps a “Piper.”  The band would gradually meander their way to some bluesy rock and roll, eventually morphing into a scorching jam around Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do?”  Bringing the song to a second, and completely different type of peak, the band chugged forward, knowing what they were in the midst of creating.

511607974_7b50588edbRarely do Phish songs get two distinct jams, but this Nassau “Tweezer” was an anomaly, boasting three completely different pieces of connected improv.  The central jam was so psychedelic and stratospheric that the band decided to slide people back to earth with another ten minutes of improv.  Eventually- a half-hour after it started-  this “Tweezer” turned into heavily muddied sound effects without a beat, signaling not only the end of the jam, but the oncoming drop of another song, as they sustained these effects for well over two minutes.

Out of the depths came some delicate reggae chords from Trey.  What was at first disorienting turned celebratory as the band glided aboard for the second-ever “Soul Shakedown Party” (2.17.97).  Phish clearly recognized how special the evening had become, and gave the nod by dropping the Marley cover out of the deepest part of the show.  As we all know, the band moved right into a hugely sinister “Bowie” out of this reggae interlude, but that is a separate article for a separate day.

001fThe Nassau “Tweezer,” in my humble opinion, stands as the greatest relic from Winter 2003; and can hold its weight in any “all-time” conversation.  A definitive piece of music of the post-hiatus era, this jam sits right at the top of any 2003 compilation.  Signifying their emerging musical direction that would be furthered come summer tour, this “Tweezer” was a masterpiece.  Phish had made quite the return to the hallowed grounds of Nassau, and with one show left in their comeback run, things looked as promising as ever.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.24.00 Target Center, Minneapolis, MN < LINK

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Here is a highlight from the much-maligned tour of Fall 2000.  While Phish may have been losing steam, they still had what it took to pop out legitimate shows- this being one of them.  The second set opened with a fabulous funk turned ambient excursion of “Cities” which wound its dark path into “Free.”  This show also saw the welcomed return of Velvet Underground’s “Cool It Down” for the first time since Halloween ’98, as one of seven covers played this night.

I: Mellow Mood, Chalk Dust Torture, Back at the Chicken Shack, Sparkle, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Roggae, First Tube, Punch You in the Eye, Sample in a Jar

II: Cities* > Free, Ya Mar, Carini, Lawn Boy, HYHU > Love You > HYHU, Cool It Down, David Bowie

E: Fire

*w/ ambient jam with Trey on keyboards.
Source : Schoeps m222/mk41 > nt222 > AD-1000 (Ken Rossiter)

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Weekend Nuggets: Texas, Fall ’95

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 21st, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

phish-austin-95Regardless of how sketched out one can feel being on Phish tour in Texas, the band always played great shows in The Lone Star State.  This weekend we have Phish’s three-night Texas run from Fall ’95, each great for its own reasons. The first night in Fort Worth saw the bust out of “Tube,” the debut of Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”, a nice combo of ‘Theme > Wilson > Antelope,” and a one-two punch of “Split, ‘Fluffhead in the first set.

10.13.95 Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, TX < LINK

I: Ya Mar, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Maze, Billy Breathes, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, Prince Caspian, Split Open and Melt, Fluffhead, Life on Mars?*

II: Tube, Uncle Pen, Theme From the Bottom > Wilson > Run Like an Antelope, Keyboard Army, Lizards, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

E: Bold as Love

*debut

Source: Tascam PE-125 > D7 > DAT (Bill Shaw)

***

1995-10-14gnThe second night saw Medeski, Martin, and Wood- then not so famous outside of NYC- jam with Phish for an extended and experimental “YEM.”  A smooth ’95 “Reba” kicked off the second set while a dark “Stash > Catapult” highlights the first.

10.14.95 Austin Music Hall, Austin TX < LINK

I: AC/DC Bag, Cars Trucks Buses, Kung, Free, Sparkle, Stash > Catapult, Acoustic Army, It’s Ice, Tela, Runaway Jim

II: Reba, Rift, You Enjoy Myself*, Hello Ma Baby, Scent Of A Mule, Cavern

E: A Day In the Life

*With Medeski Martin and Wood, and Dominic Falco on trumpet. Trey played both guitar and mini drum set up front. Mike played bass and some kind of horn at the end of the jam. Fish played vacuum and trombone. Billy Martin played Fish’s drums. Medeski and Page played keyboards and Page did vocal jamming at the end. Chris Wood played a bizarre one string stand up bass with a bow.

Source: unknown

***

Austin Music Hall

Austin Music Hall

The third night (and second in Austin) was back to pure Phish, and what night it was.  After the adrenalizing opening combo of “Buried Alive > Poor Heart,” and a dramatic third song “Slave,” one knew this would be a special night.  The rare “Demand” and a tight  “Foam” held down the middle of the first set, while a 20-minute “Bowie” put the frame to rest.  The second set was filled with classic Phish songs including standout versions of “Tweezer” and “Harry Hood.”

10.15.95 Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX < LINK

I: Buried Alive > Poor Heart, Slave to the Traffic Light, I Didn’t Know, Demand, Llama, Foam, Strange Design, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, David Bowie

II: Julius, Simple > Tweezer > Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Suspicious Minds, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

E: Funky Bitch

Source: AKG 460 Cards > Technics SV 260A > DAT (Linda Webster)

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND

20th Anniversary Montage (30 mins)

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

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PHISH ALLEGEDLY KILLING IT IN REHEARSALS

11-08rehearsalTrusted sources close to the Phish organization have reported that the band has been playing amazingly well in preparation for Hampton.  People who have talked with the band have said they the band is incredibly psyched and wish Hampton was tomorrow.  Others who have heard the rehearsals have been floored by what’s been going down.  Take it for what its worth, but this is not made up. Two more weeks!


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The Cincinnati Gin

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 20th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

14129230p2220030We sit amidst the six-year anniversary of Phish’s two week comeback run in the Winter of ’03.  As investigated earlier this week, Las Vegas was the springboard for the rest of a phenomenal run that restored our faith in the Phish.  Despite the many highlights  from this fortnight, there were two half-hour jams that were talked about, listened to, and revered more than any other pieces of music on this tour.  These two excursions came to represent all that was right in the Phish universe, signaling that Phish’s improvisational prowess was as healthy as ever; their desire to musically evolve was still ingrained in their ethos.  In a two-part- Friday / Monday- series we’ll check out these two jams-  Cincinnati’s “Bathtub Gin” and Nassau’s “Tweezer.”  Today- the “Gin.”

The Cincinnati weekend marked the halfway point of Phish’s short winter tour, and as the only other weekend stand besides Vegas, these shows drew fans from all over the country.  People needed to see for themselves a reinvigorated Phish, and the they would not be disappointed.

As the band came out for their final set of the weekend, everyone’s juices were flowing.  Dropping a fierce “Tube,” the band and crowd leapt into the fray together.  An infectiously-paced and funkified jam set the tone for the rest of the set; the best was yet to come.  As the band ended their escapade in groove, Trey morphed directly into the intro lick to “Bathtub Gin.”

13699475image9b58dede479711d7Wrapping up the composed section, the band got ready for take off and the crowd roared in anticipation of what was coming.  Trey wasted no time in getting started painting some initial melodies onto the musical canvas. But it wasn’t until a couple minutes in, when Mike dropped a heavy groove, that the improv really took off.  Fishman was right with him, and Phish moved directly into some outright dance rhythms.  This initial section of improv was characterized by robust rhythms and gorgeous melodic leads by Trey that fit congruently into the musical space.  Yet this uplifting section seamlessly transformed into something far more exploratory and adventurous.

Like Lewis and Clark exploring the west, the band were on a mission of their own, discovering their new direction for this chapter of their career.  Growing more aggressive and piano-heavy, the jam began moving away from its “Gin”-themed improv into some distinctly post-hiatus grooves.  Trey’s un-compressed edge provided an interesting juxtaposition against his bandmates’ slower offerings.  Then, as if a race horse cracked by the whip, Phish sped up the jam into double-time, creating a totally different, and more aggressive, musical feel.

13699471image9b586be0479711d71The band carried a rhythmic gallop into this section of improv, tearing into some enthusiastic full-on playing.  The driving textures of this jam shifted when Page began playing his clav, lending a pseudo-electronic feel to the music.  At this point, the band seemed to hit a place of contentment as they slowed down their pace, peeled away some layers, and dove into a less distorted, mellower musical pond.

Switching vibes all together, the band united in a more abstract place, bringing the improv even further into the unknown.  This is where the jam got extremely interesting.  With almost no beat, Trey began playing, and teasing, the “Gin” lick over a greatly divergent- almost electronic- backdrop.  With Page using extreme effects through his keyboards, Fish creating a shimmering, cymbal-heavy beat, and Mike playing a bizarrely melodic bass line, image004the band entered some other-worldy territory.  Meanwhile, Trey continued playing forms of the “Bathtub” melody over this demented Phish-tronica canvas.  Phish was molding incredibly unique music, with Page going off in directions unheard before.  Creating an “alternate” version of the song, their improv remained as connected to “Gin” as it was divergent- a wholly new musical experiment.  This was one of those times that Phish took a big risk, and overwhelmingly succeeded.

As Trey played some repetitive licks, signaling to wrap it up, the band and crowd emerged from being immersed in some deeply “other” Phish.  Finishing the jam collectively, and with authority, the band oozed back into a slowed down version of the song’s ending.  Flabbergasted, everyone exchanged looks of wide-eyed amazement as the band took a minute to collect themselves before decompressing with “Friday.”  While many shining moments developed over the week from LA to Chicago, this “Bathtub Gin” was the most divergent and defining musical portrait of the first half of tour.

(All photos from Cincy 2.22.03)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

phish20baseball-400-x-585-111.6.96 Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN < LINK
With Phish about to return to Knoxville this summer, I thought we’d travel back in time to their last performance in Tennessee’s metropolis.  This show took place during the first week after Halloween’s “Remain In Light” performance- when the shows on tour really started to take off.  The second set is held down by a large “Mike’s Groove,” while the first is bookended by “Split” and “Bowie.”  Check out this under-circulated nugget from Fall ’96

I: Split Open and Melt, Cars Trucks Buses, Fast Enough for You, Taste, Train Song, Poor Heart, Punch You in the Eye, Billy Breathes, David Bowie

II: Wilson, The Curtain > Mike’s Song > Swept Away > Steep > Weekapaug Groove, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar, Funky Bitch

E: Rocky Top

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The Victor Disc

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Poking around the Internet yesterday, I stumbled upon some new Phish music!  Posted in multiple Phish forums was the complete version of The Victor Disc, a series of instrumental outtakes from a 2002 jam session.  I had posted the first three tracks on Phish Thoughts recently, but now we have uncovered all ten tracks to the mysterious quasi-album!  The story behind the recording is as follows.

512266001_ed6e7332b2On December 19th, 2002, while Phish was in New York to appear on The Late Show With David Letterman,  Trey and Page popped into a downtown recording studio sometime after midnight.  Deciding to play, they called Fishman and Gordon, asking them to join.  Phish then taped an extensive spontaneous jam session, and decided on the title, The Victor Disc, named after the session’s engineer.

The overwhelming feel of the album is organic improvisation.  Looser than most Phish music, The Victor Disc is a portrait of a band reacclimating to each other by simply playing together.  With no particular goal in mind, the band got into the studio and let it flow.  If The Siket Disc was focused on psychedelic soundscapes, The Victor Disc is focused on looser jazz-based improvisation with a distinctly Phishy twist.   When digging into the extensive album, one will find that the first few tracks that had leaked onto the Internet are hardly the highlights.  Totaling two hours and twenty minutes of pure Phish improv, there are some golden moments hidden within.  Since we have already heard the first three tracks, let’s look at some of the other, far longer, offerings.  (You can download the entire album below via torrent.)

“Victor Jam Session” 11:20

This segment of improv passes through many Phishy textures, starting in a noodly territory and meandering through various loose musical feels.  Eventually, this track picks up some momentum, and the band locks into some rolling patterns.  Mike steps up to take the lead, and the band locks onto his bass line creating minutes of extremely cohesive Phish music.

“Sky Train Wand” 17:24

1141298742_834063c520Beginning solely with a sparse drum beat, Trey slowly layers some rhythm licks into play, inviting Mike and Page to subtly step into the quiet medium.  Sounding like a hybrid of reggae and jazz, Phish is off creating another unique slice of improv.  Illustrating the patience that became a huge part of 2.0, this jam uses space as much as it uses notes.  What is great about these extended “glimpses” into Phish’s private world is that we get to see a raw picture of the band offering new and original musical ideas with no preconceptions whatsoever.  While this point is reached in shows, there is always a context to the music; yet behind closed doors, we get to see a bit deeper into the band’s experimentation and imagination.  The second half of this “jam” sees Trey and Page combine to play beautiful leads over the open backdrop before the band congeals back together.

“Blue Over Yellow” 15:30

Trey carries a thematic lead melody over a unique pocket formed by Mike and Fish during this outtake.  Sounding like he is playing around with the “Banana Pudding” melody, Trey draws in Page’s piano accompaniment and the band engages in a methodical, cooperative groove.  Page adds quite a bit of tonal color to this segment of music, as the band locks into a series of slowed down hits- all very much on the same page.  Fish leads them out of this section as the band remains locked and incredibly loose.  In the second half of this track, they gain more of an edge, lending some harder, more dissonant sound to the mix.  The entire band is moving like a single-celled organism on this track (and on most of the disc, for that matter.)  This is a laid back, yet engaging, piece of music.

“Guantanamo Strut” 17:22

image-407d4750449b11d71Divergent from any of the previous tracks on this album, “Guantanamo Strut” starts right in with a harder rock feel.  Trey uses a much louder tone at the beginning of this piece than on any other (except the last track.)  Maintaining a jazzy beat behind the more straight ahead accompaniment, Fish maintains a rhythmic focus to the track, while Page lends piano chords that returns a jazzier feel to the improv.  One of the two most groove-based tracks, this jam possesses real musical diversity, and doesn’t stagnate in any one place.  Segueing back into a jazzier feel, the band locks into some interesting patterns that sound like they could be derived from a jazz version of “Stash.”  Building out a legitimate groove, the band explores in a free-form way, sounding like they are playing in a late-night smoky jazz club.

About two-thirds of the way through, the music becomes much more Phishy as Trey begins to access his more signature sound, creating sustained melodic leads, causing the music to sound like an ambient Phish jam you might hear at a show.

“35 Minute Jam” 35:33

By far the longest “track” on the album, “35 Minute Jam” moves through several different improvisational realms.  Stylistically fitting with the album’s loose playing, the start of the track possess a “louder” feel than much of the delicate Victor Disc. For the beginning of the jam, the 508810816_640c76bfddband maintains a blues-rock feel before switching gears into a far more mellow milieu.  As if they changed songs on a dime, this track’s second section become very quiet and beautiful, moving into an sparse “ambient” place.

The jam winds down into near silence for some minutes before Trey begins to add some happy rhythm chords to the barely existing canvas, inviting Mike and Page back into the mix.  Taking their time, and with precision, the band continues to morph in and out of some minimalist patterns.  Soon, the band jams back down to virtual silence again, this time with Mike leading them back out. Progressing into an interesting musical narrative, Trey plays more conventional patterns; albeit at a slowed tempo.  Gradually slipping into a drone pattern, the band unites in some improvised starts and stops, illustrating their cohesiveness and focus.

“Heartache”  0:34

This is tiny interlude that features a melancholic piano-led pattern that is gone before it really starts.  The only lyrics on the album appear for a few seconds on this track- a sample of a woman wistfully saying something indiscernible about about heartache.

“The Last Victor Jam” 24:23

511634157_9e98c9f655This track starts in with the most aggressive musical palette on the album, jumping in seemingly mid-jam when the band has already built some musical momentum.  While remaining firmly rooted in piano-led jazz, this track has more drive to it than all the others.  Moving a bit faster, Fish holds the framework of this musical stew as Page really stands out.  As it builds, this “jam” finds a distinct direction and follows its course, creating the sound most similar to live Phish that exists on The Victor Disc.  As the jam moves on, the band returns to the jazz aura of the session, while still holding onto their more direct path.  A definite album highlight, “The Last Victor Jam” puts a nice cap on this series of instrumental Phish.

At last, the mystery of The Victor Disc has been revealed.  In a collection of extended instrumental outtakes, Phish painted a portrait of where they were in December 2002, on the verge of stepping back onstage at Madison Square Garden for their second go-round.  Now, on the verge of part three, we can look back, listen, and reflect on a time gone by.  More extensive, yet less polished, than the “scrapbook-psychedelia” of The Siket Disc, The Victor Disc allows us to peek in on Phish with a completely different mindset than they had while creating its ’99 counterpart.

DOWNLOAD THE VICTOR DISC NOW < TORRENT LINK

1. Lazy and Red (5:57)
2. Den of Iniquity (9:55)
3. Bubble Wrap (4:34)
4. Sky Train Wand (17:24)
5. Blue Over Yellow (15:30)
6. Guantanamo Strut (17:22)
7. Victor Jam Session (11:19)
8. Heartache (0:34)
9. 35 minute jam (35:33)
10. Last Victor Jam (24:23)

(Track titles are questionable)

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MAYBE SO, MAYBE NOT- THE DOCUMENTARY

456_msmn_trippy_v2_copyFan and filmmaker, Noah Wilderman, is in the midst of a documentary project that examines the evolution of the Phish community- “Maybe So, Maybe Not.” In Noah’s own words:

The Phish experience is an important cultural phenomenon, embodying the journey of my generation in many ways.  I’d like to tell that story.  Quite simply, now is the time to tell this particular story because this generation is coming into its own, personally and politically.  Our journey through life has been to a soundtrack that seemed to match the beats of many lives step by step.  By analyzing both the timeline of Phish side by side with the tides of the generation, we can see how closely they are linked and signify the relevance of Phish in the lineage of a century of influential music communities with a historical perspective.

hampton_outsideEverything is currently in place to do copious filming around Hampton to capture the face of the community.  While some established shoots are already set up, Noah is also looking to talk to people in a variety of settings, doing Phish related activities, random reunions, lot activities, local impact, etc.  Some of the things he hopes to capture are:
- old school fans and their views about Phish and the evolution of the scene and where it’s going (and where they hope it goes)
- new fans and their vibe
- community activism
-  the craziness and fervor over the reunion and why it’s important.
-  mini web interviews just for fun so people can go to the web and see their little piece of Hampton.

If you’d like to support film making efforts, they have started a grassroots fundraiser with the goal of getting each participant to donate $5.  If you’d like to be in the film, get in contact with the producers.  With only a few weeks left, every person following along and every $5 is huge.

Check out more about this project at Maybe So, Maybe Not’s website, or his Facebook group for the movie, and look out for him down in Hampton.
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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.25.95 St. Paul Civic Center, MN < LINK

St. Paul Civic Center, MN

St. Paul Civic Center, MN

A quality nugget from Fall ’95, this second set flows beautifully.  An uptempo “Reba” kicks things off before the band gets downright dirty with “Mike’s.”  Check out some great Trey work all over this jam, and then the band moves into an instrumental jam around Dark Side of the Moon‘s “Breathe.”  If you’ve never heard this one, you should.

I: Ya Mar, Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, The Wedge, Scent of a Mule, Free, Strange Design, My Long Journey Home, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Reba, Life on Mars?, Cars Trucks Buses, Mike’s Song > Breathe*> Sparkle > Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg > Crossroads

E: Fire

*Pink Floyd cover (first time played); instrumental

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TAB > PHISH ?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on February 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

2753470556_323b1c04b7As we approach our final stages of preparation for Phish 3.0, many readers have put out the practical request to review some of the new music we could hear from Trey’s new catalog come Hampton and beyond.  On his Classic TAB tour last October, he played many new songs that he and Tom Marshall had recently finished; and something tells me Trey and Tom didn’t sit down to write a bunch of tunes for Tony, Russ, and Ray to play!  If things are as they appear, Trey wrote most of this new material with Phish in mind.

Having played some of his new songs once, and others only a few times over his eight shows, it seemed that Trey was holding out on the most significant songs, waiting for his “other” band to chart their destinies.

Obviously, any TAB versions of these songs represent mere templates of what they could be.  What Phish will do with these pieces if, and when, they play them is a whole different story.  Here are ten selections we may hear come 3.0.

Backwards Down the Number Line

2752637457_502e1c88f3Debuted acoustically at Rothbury last summer, and played over the second half of Trey’s tour, this is the new song that all fans are familiar with.  The song’s poignant theme of old friends reuniting captures the tone of the moment in the Phish world.  With an uptempo rock-based jam and a lyrical reprise at the end, this song seems like the new-school “Down With Disease.”  Odds are favorable that we will hear this at Hampton, potentially opening one of the three second sets.

Light

2752637427_0dfa5e4516

“Light” is the song that *sounds* like Phish the most.  With sublime harmonies and melodies within a transcendent milieu for improvisation, this song seems specifically written for our favorite foursome.  With an ambient intro, reflective lyrics, and a soaring jam, this one brings shivers just imagining what Phish could do with it.  Trey only played this song once over his tour, most likely signaling its place in the Phish universe.  When they bust this one out, you will know- it will be one of the highlights of the show.  “Tweezer > Light,” anyone?

Greyhound Rising

A multi-faceted compositional beast, “Greyhound Rising” is another song that seems custom made for Phish.  Beginning with a gorgeous ballad-esque feel, the song progresses through wistful lyrical passages before moving into the distinctly different, and more grooving, second section.   The song then slides into a blues-based jam before eventually building back to the original lyrical melodies.  “Greyhound Rising” has a little of everything Phishy, and it is another that sounds like a perfect fit for the band.

Valentine

2744294710_757c96018aThis song was only brought out twice along Trey’s tour due to the improvisational limitations of TAB.  When this song first dropped in Brooklyn last summer, it was an immediate favorite with its soulful feel and unique lyrical path.  An inspiring piece of music, this one seemed to be stashed away for Phish after TAB’s third show; a guitar solo could only take it so far.  Add Mike, Page, and Fish to this tune, and you’ve got a Phish staple for years to come.  This song catches you immediately and draws you right into its flow.  This will fit in perfectly if Phish so chooses.

A Case of Ice and Snow

Trey included an acoustic version of this song on his solo album, Bar 17, but when he played it throughout his solo tour, the song took on a wholly different shape.  Reflecting on hard times gone by, the mellow and gorgeous song could give way to surreal soundscapes, something that was merely hinted at via TAB.  Again, this sounds very much like a Phish song, and it could be a tremendous addition deep in the second set- like how The Dead used “Morning Dew.”

Ruby Waves

508845899_e37b3b878dTrey only busted this song out once over his eight shows.  Representing the poppier side of his writing, this song could certainly fit in with Phish 3.0.  Boasting a smooth palatable groove and an uplifting chorus, this could turn out to be a latter-day Phish “single” with legitimate improvisational potential when played live.  This is a song that Phish could vibrantly enhance.

Burlap Sack & Pumps

Consistently introduced with the group of songs that Trey wrote with Tony and Russ, and that made the transition to Phish, it seemed that Trey was implying that this song would do the same.  A centerpiece of Trey’s October tour, this was rearranged for a four-piece, with Trey taking adopting the horn’s lead melodies from TAB’s big-band incarnation.  With two distinct jams, this “Burlap Sack & Pumps” could provide multiple launch pads for Phish.  Many feel that due to the song’s long TAB history, this one won’t be brought into Phish.  Yet, after hearing the psychedelic planes that this song traversed throughout Trey’s tour, I wouldn’t be making any wagers!

Let Me Lie

508836127_44cdb2be4eThis could be the next beautiful Phish ballad, though due to its incredibly autobiographical nature, I’m not sure it will make the jump.  Played extensively over TAB tour, this recovery-themed song seemed very appropriate for his solo comeback performances.  Though the song would definitely translate beautifully to Phish, whether they choose to include it is another story.

Spin

2986884805_0fc77b4ca7An older song off of Shine, this was also played a on GRAB tour a few years ago, so Mike already knows it.  Played twice over the recent TAB tour, “Spin” possesses an dark and open-ended ambient jam at the end that Phish could absolutely slaughter.  A reflection on Trey’s less-happy days, this one could also be too personal to bring to his “other” band.  If Phish does decide to play this- forget about it- the results will be huge.

Alaska

A straightforward, and somewhat comedic, blues song, Phish could adopt this for a diversity of feels.   This could work, bringing some dirty blues-based jamming into the mix.  As most fans seem to know the lyrics already, this one could be an underwhelming arena sing-along that morphs into improv.  Only time will tell.

DOWNLOAD THESE “TAB > PHISH?” SONGS NOW! < LINK


Time Turns Elastic

img_06031The second movement of Trey’s orchestral piece that he debuted with Orchestra Nashville in September surfaced as a solo acoustic demo on the Internet.  When listening to the acoustic piece, one can hear how this entire movement could translate into a latter day Phish epic.  With lyrics rich in imagery and diverse musical approaches, this “song” could develop into a masterpiece.

LISTEN TO TIME TURNS ELASTIC (ACOUSTIC) ^ LINK (Roll over and press play)

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ANDY GADIEL ON THE RADIO / WEB STREAM TONIGHT! – 8-10 pm

ph_headerGodfather of Phish Internet space, and good friend, Andy Gadiel, will be guest DJing a special “Phish Reunion Set” set tonight on KPFA’s “Dead to the World” radio show with David Gans on 94.1 FM in the Bay Area from 8-10pm.  Manning the DJ booth for two hours, you can be sure he will throw down a juicy playlist!  Regardless of where you live, be sure to tune in for what is sure to be a good time! Tune in to the broadcast at KPFA 94.1 FM in the Bay Area, kpfa.org or nugs.net online everywhere.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.16.95 Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY < LINK

Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY

Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY

This is the first of the final two nights of Fall ’95.  This would be show number 53 of 54, and Phish was clicking.  Two weeks away from their legendary New Years Run, these two nights in Lake Placid are revered in Phish history.  (The second show was posted a couple days ago.)

I: Buried Alive, AC/DC Bag, Fog That Surrounds, Ya Mar, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Dog Faced Boy, Julius, Suzy Greenberg

II: Sample in a Jar, Reba, Scent of a Mule, Cavern, Mike’s Song > Simple > Weekapaug Groove, The Squirming Coil

E: Fire

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