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”

  1. showhe Says:


    This is really all I could find re: shn/flac issues on vista.


    hope this helps some, I’m on xp so I can’t say I’ve had any exp. with converting/burning on vista.

  2. kevin are hollo Says:

    hi everyone (is there any women on here yet?),

    i wanted to take a minute out of my busy workday (natch) to address the youngun. yes, you, cam.

    maybe it’s cuz you remind me of me (spastic energy, overeager consumption of phish, desire to horde the secrets, etc) at that age, maybe it’s cuz i think things have changed so drastically that it’s moot, but either way, a few things to rememeber/learn (if you want to):

    -your first show should be confusing, shadowy, alarming, boggling and hazy. you’re not supposed to remember anything!
    -least of all it should be about making money, or selling something on the lot, etc. while i realize money might be an obstacle in getting to/from, vending in the lot is a time and energy consuming JOB/DUTY/RESPONSIBILTY. your only responsibility should be on the music, dancing, and soaking it all in.
    -phish wear their influences on their sleeves for a reason: to get you to track down that other music! it’s one of the reasons these guys are so great. i overstand that their mythology is pretty vast compared to other bands, but why not journey outside your comfort zone and give their influences a try?

    phish opened my ears, and i’ll be forever grateful for that. it’s funny to me know, but that obsession that i fed for so many years back then spurred me on to other music, and whether i was concious of it or not, that love of the unknown informed everything i heard after.

    Example time (starts with phish, transition, then current band analogue)

    Split Open and Melt circa 93/94 Avant/Noise Rock of John Zorn and New York Scene Battles
    Ya Mar Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, et al Damon Albarn and resulting side projects
    Crosseyed and Painless Talking Heads DFA label
    Mike’s Song…Weekapaug Groove Paul Simon’s Graceland Vampire Weekend
    David Bowie/BBFCFM/Heavy Metal Wilson Van Halen, Fugazi, Bad Brains
    Ghost/Tube/funk Prince, Peter Gabriel Francis and the Lights
    Harpua/Makisupa/Have Mercy Cutty Ranks, 80’s dancehall Buju Banton, et al

    these are just off the top, but you get the idea. it’s all about that ethno-musical journey, with trey and co as guides. some of his favorite bands/biggest influences didn’t make sense to me for over 10 years, but are some of my favorite bands now.

    phish is a great springboard to other sounds, so keep an open mind! and don’t feel guilty for liking pop music 😉 phish is pop music too.

    i wish you the best in your efforts to get to a show. others said it best: you’ll get in where you get in.


  3. kevin are hollo Says:

    damn it! stupid HTML.

    ok, there’s sposed to be arrows between those band names. it’s not going to make a lick of sense.

    let’s try that again:

    Split Open and Melt circa 93/94 :: Avant/Noise Rock of John Zorn and New York Scene :: Battles
    Ya Mar :: Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, et al :: Damon Albarn and resulting side projects
    Crosseyed and Painless :: Talking Heads :: whole DFA label output
    Mike’s Song…Weekapaug Groove :: Paul Simon’s Graceland :: Vampire Weekend
    David Bowie/BBFCFM/Heavy Metal Wilson :: Van Halen, Fugazi, Bad Brains :: Chalk (rip)
    Ghost/Tube/funk :: Prince, Peter Gabriel :: Francis and the Lights
    Harpua/Makisupa/Have Mercy :: Cutty Ranks, 80’s dancehall :: Buju Banton, et al

  4. Davey Says:

    I love antelope. And Deer Creek is going to get one. Deer…Antelope…Deer…Antelope. It’s a must.

  5. Chalkdustin Says:

    This is one of my favorite jams, and one of my favorite songs to hear them experiment with. As you said, Miner, they don’t do that a lot. But when they do, it usually floors me. The combination of lyrics and music (“Set the gearshift..” really moves me, as cliche as it is) coupled with a deep jam sends me off into another world. There’s a deep, contemplative feel about this particular one, which is why it always sticks out in my mind as something truly special. Thanks, Miner.

  6. Frankie Says:


    6/14/00 !!!

  7. bhizzle Says:


    out of sight. thanks for taking time out of your day for the help man.

  8. guyforget Says:

    My first import bootleg Phish show i ever heard was below, and the Antelope was the x-factor. Page had the boards sounding like something i had never heard before, and the rest is history. I’v been dying to get this show again. Miner do you have it?? I’m interested to hear if it was really as good as i remember, or if it was just because it was the first. Phriends, help! Wicked first timer set 2, huh?

    06-16-94 State Theater, Minneapolis, MN

    1: Bouncing Around the Room, Rift, Julius, Fee-> Maze, Gumbo, The Curtain-> Dog Faced Boy, Stash, The Squirming Coil

    2: Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent-> Kung-> Famous Mockingbird, Big Ball Jam, Down With Disease-> Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars-> Purple Rain-> HYHU, Golgi Apparatus

    E: Ginseng Sullivan, Amazing Grace, Good Times Bad Times

  9. guyforget Says:

    if you want to check out a sick desert jam from Phoenix, check out the Ghost from 7.21.98

  10. full tour: announced! Says:

    crosseyed antelope 11.02.1996…….nuff said…..

  11. hairy pood Says:

    i thought the unfinished antelope—>2001 at Great Woods 04 was cool. I was there with my brother, who started going to shows about 6 years before me, but this was only his second show post-hiatus,maybe since 98 or so. he called 2001 about 10 minutes before they started playing it and I was like, “no, we haven’t even got to running yet.” goes to show you should respect your elders, and have no expectations from phish. don’t even expect the unexpected.

  12. hairy pood Says:

    itchin’ for west coast dates, need the gorge!

  13. Wilfred Brimley Says:

    Guy Forget- the tennis standout, I have a link to this show for you…http://www.phishows.com. This is hands down the best site to download Phish, with over 1000 shows to choose from…This site may have changed my life….ENJOY the rest of your Monday!

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ Guy-
    I am putting the SBD of that Minneapolis show up tomorrow….

  15. Wilfred Brimley Says:

    Miner, I meant no disrespect to phishthoughts which is also a fantastic spot to download as well as converse and read your brilliant musings every day…

  16. guyforget Says:

    Wilfred – yeah, phishshow rules, but i haven’t usd it in a while, and i always remember the quality being weak, but listening to this antelope from the site now, i can see it’s not. thanks bro.

  17. guyforget Says:

    Miner, you da man. Thanks.

  18. lot rat Says:

    anyone get their hampton tix in the mail yet?

    No. TM says tix not shipping till next week. Lottery tix are supposed to sent this week, but no email yet. The pressure builds…

  19. kevin are hollo Says:

    Complete show of 2000?

    Look no further than 9.17, Merriweather Post.

    First set highlights include one of the tour’s only Fluffheads and a Curtain With that was truly gorgeous.

    The second set was over an hour of non-stop full-band improv, rife with chaos math and malicious reggae. Dark magus indeed. Dog Log? Like you’ve never heard. And it swings! A truly experimental Mango Song? Yep, over 28 minutes of madness. An encore of Contact was enough to sway any jaded old head.


  20. camman Says:

    Thanks for the shout out Kev,…. i’m still working out the kinks of my summer tour plans and i wish i could experience the band like you mentioned above.. in the end that’s my goal……i’m not sure what’ll happen in the end, but hey thats whats fun about. 121 days until knoxville and counting, and honestly i can’t wait… i have a lot of work to do until then… and a lot of obstacles to overcome… but before the doors open, there will be a party be my car fellas.. hell yea… i just gotta get a car 1st.. 😛

  21. camman Says:

    by the way… the peak of this antelope today… will make your balls drop to the floor….

  22. guyforget Says:

    Cam ,we knew you were young, but we’re glad he hear your balls finally dropped.

  23. showhe Says:


  24. full tour: announced! Says:

    charlotte 2003 hood broke the mold for that song like desert sky 97 did for antelope. 1st ever half hour hood.

  25. Frankie Says:

    I didn’t know about an half hour HOOD! Nice!!

    Sold! That 9.17 show looks amazing!

    So much Phish music for my old days… in the retirement home… with my headphones… and a reefer of “medicine”…

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