A Desert Antelope

I was blindsided at the gym this weekend.  No, not by some musclehead in a roid rage, but by an aggressively improvisational “Antelope” that might as well have been on the cream and the clear.  I had been continuously working my way through a Phish playlist from a friend, and as I was finishing the cardio portion of my workout, the old school version of “Oblivious Fool” came on.  Not particularly suitable for working out, and an odd addition to the playlist altogether, I skipped directly to the next song-  Antelope.

gw2I didn’t bother to look at the date or anything, I just kept going.  Since I consider myself pretty well-versed in Phish, especially Phish highlights, I thought I’d figure out what I was listening to.  Yet, as the jam progressed, it was raging, and though I could tell it was from ’97 or ’98, it didn’t ring a bell.

During the late ’90s, Antelope’s jams generally remained within their predestined structure.  While there was never any lack of improvisational madness, Anetlope jams rarely went “way out” there, or really anywhere except where you thought they would go.  In no way is this a knock on the song; the same holds true for “Harry Hood” or “Slave.”  That’s just the way some Phish jams are.  There was no shortage of huge Antelope’s in the late ’90s, but the song didn’t necessarily possess the adventure it did in ’94 and ’95.  It’s just the way things were.  But this version blaring in my ears was different.

533239286_d84e190ab7As this mystery Antelope raged on, Trey annihilated the early jam with soaring evil licks, before moving into more intricate patterns of notes.  All the while, the band was knee deep in a heavy, sinister groove.  This music began moving in an alternate direction as Fish and Mike switched up the rhythm; less straight ahead than most Antelopes, and as I was doing sit-ups, my ears perked up and took notice of the diverging musical course.

Pretty quickly the improv got really dark and the entire band began jamming out of the song’s structure.  Entering a quiet and murky musical pond, Mike’s bass lines lead the way.  The music continued progressing “way out” of “Antelope” and into some insane Phish improv.  “What!?” I thought.  Quickly flipping over my iPod to see what I was listening to and why I wasn’t fully cognizant of this epic jam I was immediately foiled- no date, Damn!  I decided to ride it out.

Moving deeper in, the music got into some slower melodic places that do not really come out of Antelopes.  Straight up mystical, transcendent Phish- this was crazy!  It was like hearing a brand new Phish jam for the first time; and that hadn’t happened in eons.  The band built the jam into a faster affair with all members just shredding at insane speeds, gradually merging paths with the original course of the song.  As the band built towards the Antelope peak, the playing was particularly frenetic, yet beautifully coherent- one of those things that Phish does masterfully.  To an untrained ear, it sounds like cacophony, but when you hear what they are actually doing at the peak of an Antelope, it’s just absurd.

gw1The jam finally dropped into the post-peak funk at the seventeen minute mark to the monstrous roar of the crowd.  The band continued to heavily improvise throughout the “composed” ending, as they tended to to when they were feeling the flow.  This normally routine section became quite interesting with heavy effects from Page, Mike and Trey, and then they popped into the final chorus with more spunk than usual.  This was my new favorite Antelope, but what was it?  As I looked back at the playlist menu, it was listed under 7.29.97.  A ha! Desert Sky. I had a huge “Oh yeah!” moment, as I remembered the magnitude of this Antelope that batted second in set two.

I wasn’t at that Phoenix show, and for some reason, I hadn’t heard the jam since the late ’90s.  A pretty high key show to have just forgotten about, but aside for the first set “Gumbo,” I had.  That’s what’s so great about Phish- just when you think you’ve heard it all, you’ll hear a new jam that absolutely floors you.  There are just so many out there, and soon, there will be so many more.

LISTEN TO 7.29.97’s Antelope now! < LINK (Roll over link and press play)



7.29.97 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < LINK

1997-07-29mo1Here is the show you just read about, and I forgot about.  It’s a certain keeper from the Summer of ’97.  With one of the great “Gumbos,” a classic-sounding “Ghost,” an early, yet all-time great version of “Twist,” and of course the epic “Antelope,” this show was as hot as the weather it was played in.

I: Theme From the Bottom, Beauty of My Dreams, Gumbo, Dirt, Sparkle, Ghost, Swept Away > Steep > Loving Cup

II: Oblivious Fool, Run Like an Antelope, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Twist, Taste, Sample in a Jar, Rocky Top, The Squirming Coil

E: Possum



400799230152In honor of today’s topic, I wanted to highlight a community member’s effort to help save the North American Pronghorn Antelope.  The website, Antelope Gatefree Paradise, details the issues putting Antelope in danger and what you can do to help.  In addition, you can purchase the classic lot shirts and stickers with the famous “Antelope Crossing” logo under “Merchandise.”  All proceeds go to volunteer organizations actively working to save the Pronghorn Antelope.  You can help out and score one of the all-time classic Phish lot t-shirts all at the same time!

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77 Responses to “A Desert Antelope”

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  1. Mulch Says:

    This is my first listen and I have to agree. Extra thick grooves.
    I am also a fan of the 12-29-97 Antelope.

    Always enjoy your posts and downloads you share. : )

  2. John Campion Says:

    Ahhh….my pick for Hampton Opener! 03/06/09

  3. MangoMan Says:

    Working out and while listening to Antelope go hand and hand..!
    cant wait to download this tonite!

  4. colonelforbinn Says:

    run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

  5. Jeff Says:

    nice! that is indeed a sick Antelope. I love discovering jams like that!

  6. AbePhroman Says:

    That antelope is the shit. Can’t wait for it in Hampton.

  7. JeffD Says:

    my fav antelope as well. had to be put on the f*ck your face vol. 4 mix 🙂

  8. Powder Lips Says:

    If I remember corectly that was the first Antelope played that summer tour and Dessert Sky was 6 or 7 seven shows in. There were different theories why they were holding out, I think they were just waiting to drop the big one.

  9. John Campion Says:

    anyone get their hampton tix in the mail yet?

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    summer 97 tour was funny like that .. they had gone to europe and shuffled the song rotation around a bit and there was a supposed “list” of songs that had been “retired” then as those songs showed up one by one, it seemed like a huge relief. That was also when the concept of a set I vs a set II song started to be turned on its ear and that fall we started getting the Mike’s / Tweezer / YEM openers.

  11. hawkinbj Says:

    Great post yet again; giving it a listen now.

    Glad to see you made it to the IRC channel Miner! For anyone interested (or who knows what IRC is) there’s a channel on What-net (irc.what-network.net) call #Phunk where we just shoot the shit about tour etc. Hope to see some new faces 🙂

    Keep up the excellent work Miner!

  12. full tour: announced! Says:

    there is a soundboard of that gumbo circulating on a phish mix tape. charlie miller got the tape phil lesh had from before the 99 phil and friends show.

  13. themanatee Says:

    dont sleep on that second set twist….chariots o fire

  14. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    Campion, my Hampton tickets and my Camden tickets from the more recent order have all arrived.

  15. camman Says:

    I’m definitely digging this antelpoe…. for a long time it took me to get into antelope and mike’s becuase of the sheer madness tehy unleased i could handle it… or hand’t trained myself to handle it… i love the unusal groovy jams that come out of the normal monsters, like the 11/22/97 Mike’s…

  16. camman Says:

    shit this antelope smokes…. oh my…

  17. John Campion Says:

    @In Flagrante Delicto: thanks

  18. Jacob Says:

    Awesome. The same thing happened to me last summer when I was getting ready for a 5k race I run in. With about a mile to go, this really funky 2001 started, and by the end of my run and the cool down, 12.18.99’s 2001 and I were good friends.

  19. MP Says:

    Proof that Antelope is good for your abs.

  20. Frankie Says:

    It’s funny how you can pick the year of a jam through the way they play first but then the sound changes… First Page’s keys sound in 93… then Mike’s sound change in 97… then Trey’s compressor-less sound of post-hiatus…

    I love discovering new Phish jams… and it seems to happen all the time…
    Last fall, i had such a good time discovering unknown jams through the Miner’s Picks: December ’95. There is at least one jam of every show they played in december ’95 up to New Year’s Eve. This is a must hear for every fan! That was one peak for sure! Just rocking stuff from beginning to end!

    Thank you Mr. Miner!

  21. showhe Says:

    Check out the 9.22.2000 “Meatalope” for one of the more bizarre Antelope’s out there. In fact that entire set II is pretty tight from the Tube opener, a nice Reba and Ghost to the set closing Antelope.

    I can’t d/l music at work so I have to wait until I get home to listen to this show. 🙁

  22. bhizzle Says:

    I know, I know.. I am way off the beaten path and not constrained to the subject matter, however I feel you all will be forgiving and that is why I am posting these questions here.

    Yesterday my OL and I got a desktop with Vista (64 bit) as the OS. Hence my question yesterday regarding the *.rar software. Thanks for answering. Anyway, I am having difficulty installing the shn and flac software. The flac error is saying a file is missing and the shn error is saying not enough memory.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Regarding the subject:

    Set the gearshift!!!!!!

    Always loved the Antelopes. So positive and overwhelmes me.

  23. Jeff Says:

    showhe – when the crowd kept singing Meatstick after it was over and well into the Antelope intro, was one of the coolest fan-band interactions i’ve been a part of at a concert. on tape you can hear the crowd doing the Meatstick clap for a while into the beginning of the song.

  24. showhe Says:

    @Jeff….yeah it was definitely a cool experience, the band just quit meatstick and the crowd kept going…then they kick in with Antelope with the meatstick tease while the crowd is still going. I may have to pop my copy of this show in the car tonight.

  25. Wilfred Brimley Says:

    Wow, the 9-22-00 show at Allstate (formerly Rosemont Horizon) is probably one of my favorite complete shows of 2000. Please don’t discount the first set slave, monster bathtub gin, and set closing funkfest YEM….with a vocal jam that caused one of my buddies on purple gel to vomit! This show and the first night in New Jersey are my favorite shows of 2000…what about eveyone else’s favorites so I can give them a listen….?

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