The Hampton Opener?

508665625_591543fa33With 21 days to go until Hampton’s three-day reunion bash, few fans can stop speculating about what song the band will open up the third chapter of their career with.  Speculation has been running rampant daily on Phish Thoughts’ comment threads and Internet message boards all over, so I figured that we would dedicate this Friday to the question fans have been tossing around for almost five months now- “What will they open with?!”

Always a fun topic to discuss, even for a regular show, the reasoning used to support current theories are far more detailed and thought out for this comeback show.  Everyone has different opinions on what Phish will start with because everyone has different opinions on what message they will be trying to send.  What will they welcome us home with?  In the most highly anticipated show of the band’s career, the opener will be used to not only set the tone for the run, but for all of Phish 3.0.  Let’s explore some of the possibilities and reasonings for some potential tour openers. (Revised and updated from October.)

507814199_b5715078861. You Enjoy Myself: The magnificent opus that has long defined the band is one obvious choice for the opener; getting back to where it all began right off the bat.  “YEM” has always been Phish’s quintessential song, merging precise composition, loose improvisation, and silly lyrics.  Earlier this summer, Trey said he would give his left nut to play “YEM” five times in a row every day until he dies, however, odds are they will only play it once.  A “YEM” opener would signify the enthusiasm of the band to return to glory, and would get Hampton bumping in no time.  Usually reserved for the end of a set, “You Enjoy Myself” would be a perfect reentry into Phish’s kingdom.

2. Down With Disease: We all know how much the band loves to break out this song in big situations, and there has never been a Phish situation bigger than the one at hand.  “Disease” has to be a strong candidate for the first song out of the gates.  Lyrically symbolic of leaving their troubled times behind them, Phish will “be on their way” to becoming a dominant musical force and the inspiration for so many fans again.  The lyric, “Trying to stop these demons that keep dancing in my head,” delivers the message of redemption and a focus on the future and not the past.  The future is what 3.0 is about after all- letting bygones be bygones and moving forward.  In addition, “Disease” contains plenty of time for the crowd to let out minutes of deafening roars before launching into the jam.  This seems like strong candidate.

Hampton (C. Clark)

Hampton (C.Clark)

3. Chalk Dust Torture: One of the most frequently played songs in the band’s career, and a clear favorite of Trey’s, this song could be used to open the run and whip the crowd into an immediate frenzy.  A common set opener, this is another likely candidate.  Lyrically fitting, the reprise of, “Can’t I live while I’m young?” still has profound meaning for Phish and their aging fan base, and it would be a poignant message to deliver right away.  If the band wants to start back with some straight rock and roll, you can be sure that “Chalk Dust” will be leading off.

4. Tube: If Phish wants to use Pulp Fiction’s technique of giving us an adrenaline shot directly to the heart, they will choose “Tube.”  Can you imagine if the lights went out, they stepped on stage, and an asteroid crashed?!  The place might just pop- the energy would be straight up, unfathomable.  This would be the opener in a crazy dream you might have, but it could happen- this is Hampton after all.

507864448_9be89ae1455. Punch You In the Eye / Wilson: Either “Punch” or “Wilson” would serve as a rowdy Gamhendge supercharge right from the get go.  Both of these songs would bring forth amazing energy and get the crowd re-situated in Phishland very quickly.  With nothing too improvised, these songs would, nonetheless, get Hampton sweating and bouncing in no time at all, complete with audience participation.

6. Mike’s: If Phish were to come out to the opening licks of  “Mike’s”- forget about it.  We would witness the immediate implosion of the venue and surrounding Hampton area.  This would be the ultimate statement that “We are back, and we mean business.”  Hampton “Mike’s Songs” were a staple of Phish’s previous life, and this would be the perfect time to drop the sixth one ever.  Imagine if three minutes into Phish 3.0 we plunged into a 511197412_b46c4bbe11militant “Mike’s” jam!?  Whew!  Just the thought of it makes my heart pound faster.  A “Mike’s” would catapult us back into the thick of things with little time to mentally or physically warm up for the madness.  This would be a dream come true- a Hampton”Mike’s” straight away.  This would be incredibly powerful.

7. Get Back On the Train: If this song were selected, it would obviously be a lyrical choice that would reflect the band’s personal battles they have overcome to reach the stage together once again.  Although the lyrics fit the situation, this would be an incredibly underwhelming choice for Hampton’s opener.  An average song at best, this one wouldn’t have the same musical effect as other choices.  But who knows, Phish could open with this and drop right into YEM, something not so far fetched.  Although there would be legitimate meaning here, I think the opener will be a bit bigger.

8. Undermind: This song, the title track of Phish’s last album, was never played in 2004.  Busted out by Trey’s solo band a couple of times years ago, this song would be a perfect musical and lyrical fit to open up the rest of time.

Relocated, not retired
Reprimanded and rewired

Mystified and mishapen
Misinformed, but not mistaken

Reinvented, redefined
Rearranged, but not refined

These spot on lyrics, infectious melodies, and chunky grooves could be the ideal opener.  Familiar, yet never played, it would represent Phish bridging their past with a new sure-to-be crowd favorite.  This could be the perfect way to start- with a new jam we have never heard.



9. The Curtain (With): This would seem like the natural choice to lead off with since they closed Coventry with a horribly botched version of their hallowed classic.  Beginning in the wrong key, the band had to stop and take it from the top for their their last song ever.  It was sad.  But now there is a chance to right the wrong of Coventry, and they could very well choose to symmetrically open up their next chapter by nailing the gorgeous composition which leads into an uplifting jam.  It would give a nod to the fact that Coventry was not the way it was supposed to end, and that Phish is back to do things the right way again.  Used as a launching pad into a larger jam vehicle, they could use a “Curtain (With) > YEM” combo to open the show in incredibly Phishy fashion.  “Curtain” could also be paired with a lot of other songs to initiate the party.  “Curtain > Tweezer,” anyone?

508844243_dbfa6d4e5c10. A New Song: It is very possible, since Phish will evolve into a different monster, that they will come out with something we’ve never heard before. With all the new material Trey and Tom have been writing, it would be a very Phishy move to ignore the obvious classic choices and welcome people to the future with a song that nobody has heard.  It would send the message, “We are back, and don’t expect us to be the same.”

Matured with a greater perspective, the band could come out and drop something that reflects their renewal- a proposition that seems very inviting.  Phish will be different, that is for sure; so we might as well start off on a new foot.  While I think “Backwards Down the Number Line” will open up a second set during the three night run, it could be what they come out of the gates with.

hampton0The first notes that emanate from the stage at Hampton will spark joy and jubilation in the minds of thousands, and it could take so many different routes.  These are merely some of the possibilities I have conjured up, and I am sure there are more legitimate guesses out there.  They could always open up with “Runaway Jim,” like most every other show in history- who knows?  What do you think?  One of these?  Something different?  Respond in comments and let’s hear what you think!

12.17.95 Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY < LINK

Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY

Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY

This is the final show of the marathon 54-gig run of Fall ’95. Well-oiled and firing on all cylinders, Phish would conclude their epic journey with two standout shows in the intimate upstate New York venue.  I’d run through highlights, but the setlist speaks for itself.

I: My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, A Day in the Life, Run Like an Antelope, The Mango Song, Tube, Stash, Lizards, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Free, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Harry Hood, Sparkle, Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise

E: Hello My Baby, Runaway Jim

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233 Responses to “The Hampton Opener?”

  1. The Mad Hatter Says:


    I feel the feeling I forgot….

  2. JPhishman Says:

    Jam>Ghost to open 3.0….
    Even without the Ghost, I say they just come out and start grooving and segue smoothly into something familiar, maybe Undermind?

    I like the Gin opener idea as it could build slowly to very rocking/phishy/uplifting places.

    Covers: If they busted an electric Long Time I would absolutely love it. Boys are back in town would fit but would probably be a little too cliche. I can’t really see them opening with a cover…..

    I have to agree that Mikes>Simple would be my #1 choice

  3. Frankie Says:

    First Tube > Tube > Last Tube*

    *First time played by Phish (w/Giant Country Horns)

  4. Jezmund Says:

    This is Phish we are talking about, whom happen to be the most unpredictable band. Sure along the way i’ve felt like we were due for a tube or tweezer or forbin and they dropped it. I’ve been debating with my friends and we were spot on with Miner except for GBOT i had a tweezer. Personally a Tube opener would be the most rediculous opener and you would then know that they were all biz. Until this week I was figuring Chalkdust or Tube but today I have no clue. The last time they came back they opened with Piper which wasn’t even on my mind. I start overlooking ACDC, rift, taste, split,etc. How sweet would a oh kee pa or funky bitch. The ball is in there court and i will rack my brain until i see the lights go out. Then what they want to do with all the emotion and energy inside the building is up to them and i will love every second of whatever they want to do.

  5. DoctorFredPants Says:

    I am calling All Things Reconsidered>Glide. But lately I have been having a lot of visits from Possums they are invading my bird feeders. This might be a sign of the opener. I am so pumped I am feel light headed………

  6. snigglebeach Says:

    Sticking with Wilson opener

    Been said a couple times already, almost needs to be something they can play in their sleep. only because they may not be able to hear each other over the crowd (or see each other through the smoke).

    And i think audience participation early might help settle the crowd and the band. It will be so emotionally charged up in that building, for everyone.

    Wilson just fits. Classic opener anytime.

  7. Hooks Says:

    I’ve only left one post on here before – I was compelled to chime in on the “noobs” discussion because I felt like a “noob”, I guess, too when I was a kid getting into the band and finally made it to a single show that would have to last me a year until the next time I could go… – this shit is so infectious, talkin about the opener!! I’d say whatever happens, everybody should feel new to it in some aspect or another (I guess, to state the obvious) because of the renewed energy they seem to have. Like Miner said, it just feels different. BTW, officially, thank you, from me as well for a great and informative site. I would have agree with “Zero” or First Tube or something in that category. I’d say it would be in their/our best interest to launch immediately into the most straight-forward rockable, rockin, most aggro-energy rock song that rocks they can come up with. what with the crowd’s noise at the beginning… the band and crowd need to have an intensity contest straight out! because whatever they play it’ll be intense due to the moment, but I say go for gold, blow it the fuck up! that’s just me. (so far I’m not going, I have until 6pm the 6th to cancel my room in Newport News).

  8. Frankie Says:

    Bottom line is Phish is Phish. And their bag of tricks is full right now. Who got the Piper opener right back in 2002? Not me… 🙂

  9. HSV 007 (CWgang) Says:

    I’ve said it before on this site & I’ll say it again…PYITE. The staccatto opening will get everybody set & by the 1st “HEY!” the entire place will be on fire. ATL 007 you are exactly right, the cheering during the 1st tune will drownd out the entire 1st 5 minutes. We will get a phat Cities & a Destiny Unbound at some point during the Hampton run.

    E: Frankenstine 1st night…….mark it dude

    “I come from the land where the oceans freeze
    Spent three long months on the open seas”

  10. uncle ben Says:

    I see the Vultures moving in…….

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    totally off subject, but how’s today’s Lake Placid download working out? Faster? I switched hosts from Media fire to amazon s3, and it should be great. Just checking in.

  12. guyforget Says:

    Still calling Axilla opener. i’m i the only one who can see this as a viable opener.

  13. Chalkdustin Says:

    Miner, thanks for switching to amazon. The mediafire said it would be complete in 2 days…now it’s only about 1/2 hour. I appreciate it!

  14. Frankie Says:

    I think that’s a great idea… I love the energy of that song. Have you checked out the HOIST sessions videos on youtube? I think it’s in part II, you see Mike in the studio and then out of nowhere he just screams in the mic AXILLA! AXILLA! AXILLA! So funny…

    Thanks for the Lake Placid show, can’t wait to download it tonight. The Hood is so good, it could make a dead man cry…

  15. Selector J Says:

    Unlikely, but… a Carini would not disappoint.

    I like the idea of the Antelope opener that Jon said, too. The first part would be completely drowned out by crowd noise and then Trey stomps that pedal and the place likely spontaneously combusts.

  16. Davey Says:

    I’ve said it before and I’m sticking with The Curtain. They have to.

  17. guyforget Says:

    i agree with The Curtain being a strong possibility
    Coventry Who???

  18. uncle ben Says:

    I saw Carini and that naked dude……

    I couldn’t eat my food…………..

  19. billy boy Says:

    Walls of the Cave….super nasty blistering rip your face off deer creek 04 style no the weak meandering ones. I can also see a new song whipping out. I mean they whipped out walls of the cave at the MSG 02 reunion. I am sure they have a new walls or divided sky or something off the chain up their sleeve.

  20. jon_hansen Says:

    Riker’s Mailbox–>set-long Catapault.

  21. Davey Says:

    Although I think something else would get the crowd pumped a lot more they could just open with The Curtain>Tweezer like the show we all know too well that was played 3 days before the download of the day. 😀

  22. soulish Says:

    I would think that there are a few types of openers to consider.

    1. songs that just start and BAM you’re in them, like Tube, Golgi, Divided Sky (to some extent), Axilla, Birds, Peaches, Chalkdust, Llama, Tweezer, Suzy, Frankenstein, Tweeprise.
    These would be great to bust the roof off the place

    2. songs that have an extended intro to them, so that you can build slowly or at least give the crowd time to cheer itself out, these would be like Piper, Antelope, PYITE, Hood, Possum, Fluffhead, Oh Kee Pa and Buried Alive would be here too, Bathtub, Curtain, My Friend, Icculus or Kung, Moma Dance.

    3. songs that don’t really (musically, or loudness wise) blow the roof off, nor have long intros but in terms of their meaning or history would be awesome to start with, like Simple, Mikes, Hood, Disease, YEM (yeah YEM has an extended intro, but you really want to hear it and its composed as opposed to say the repetitive intro to Possum or Piper).

    4. songs that are topical, with lyrics corresponding to the comeback, GBOTT, BDTNL, and a few others.

    I think that the band could easily choose from any of these lists, depending on how they want to start things. Personally I would go with list 1, and take either Golgi or Tube. But we have seen their previous choice being Piper, so maybe they like the idea of letting the crowd cheer itself out, in that case I would take the Moma Dance or Antelope. I would think it unlikely they would start with a Mike’s, Hood, YEM, etc just b/c I think they would rather get a few quick songs out of the way before really going full bore. I mean how good of a jam do you think they could get out of an opening Mike’s or Tweezer? I’d much rather have that open the 2nd set when they’ve got their bearings. Its gonna be loud when they start so it’ll be hard to hear anything, i’d much rather enjoy a 2nd set Tweezer and get to listen to it, than just get excited they started with it, but have the jam not be much. I mean, they’re only gonna play one Tweezer, Mike’s, YEM, etc. so let’s have it be grand.

    So in summary my guess is Golgi, my wish would be for either Tube or Tweeprise as either would be awesome.

  23. Davey Says:

    On a side note I timed out DL’ing the show of the day. I think it’s my internet though.

  24. Rhombus Says:

    It has to be something rockin like DWD, Llama, PYITE, ect.


    Trey could just come out and start talking about something…then start jammin on something.


    The boys may just come out and open things up with some funky Ambient/Space Jam with loud solid thumping by Mike

  25. devo Says:

    To those going to Hampton without tickets:

    If you do not score a ticket by the time the show starts do not fret. While it will be devastating to miss the beginning of the show there is still a way in. Back during the Hampton run at the begnining of Phish 2.0 I was shut out, or so I thought of the third night. I had gotten tickets easily to the first two. (Which is in and of itself strange, because you would think the sunday show would be the easiest ticket to pull of the three) But anyway, after most were in and the show started I sort of hung around near the entrance where the security guards were standing guard to make sure no one rushed the doors and after a while one of the security guards motioned towards me and several other people and lead us through the front doors and pointed us towards the box office where they sold each of us a ticket to the show. True, we missed most of the first set and the ticket was full price for only the second set, but hey the second set is better than nothing and I did get in during the SOAM jam at the end of the first set. I think they sell any will call tickets that aren’t picked up by the end of the first set. They might do that again this time so do not despair if you think you are shut out, just hang tight hang around the security guards and don’t piss them off and they might hook you up to. Some Phish is better than no phish.

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