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. Rhombus Says:

    How about DWD>Free>PYITE to open things up?

  2. Rantelope Says:

    a lot of these sound more like ‘Roo openers for the masses, rather than Hampton for the ‘heads. I’m leaning towards something new for the reinvention.

  3. uncle ben Says:

    Phish is gonna hit everybody upside the head. Expect the unexpected. It’s gonna be completely different.

  4. MangoMan Says:

    My Left Toe> Grind. ha

  5. Pnutbag99 Says:

    I am hoping for a Tube or even a My Friend, My Friend, but I honestly think it is going to be Chalkdust.

    Whatever they choose I know I will have a shit eatin grin. Just thinking about it makes me sooo happy I’ll be in the building!

  6. uncle ben Says:

    I’m definitely calling opener:

    Smurfette> Tricknology

  7. uncle ben Says:

    Anyone been watching ticket prices??? Wow!! I’m glad I’m in.

  8. showhe Says:

    Get your $10,000 phish ticket right here!

  9. dice1976 Says:

    I’m putting all my money on AC/DC Bag…

    “Let’s get this show on the road!”

    Or… First Tube

  10. hairy pood Says:

    celebration day

  11. cottle Says:

    Golgi would be hot too, ….”I saw you…with a ticket stub in your hand!” Not to mention the way the song moves from an upbeat rocker to a mellowed out, kind of soothing jazz tune.

    Or kick things off with a Tweeprise. Skip the Tweez and go straight for the moneyshot. This too has been done before (Lincoln, NE ’95, for example) but it would still be pretty frickin’ sweet, and a guaratneed party-starter.

  12. Davey Says:

    That’s ridiculous. All these people are going to end up eating these tickets in front of the Hampton. If you’re sill looking just wait it out.

  13. cottle Says:

    Uncle Ben – yes, I’ve been keeping a close eye on prices, hoping that they would drop slightly now that the rest of the tour is announced/sold. They totally spiked upward last weekend and show no signs of dropping. If I don’t luck out in the Clifford Ball DVD drawing, then I’m gonna have my work cut out for me in March. For what it’s worth though, I have a sneaking suspicion that TM is getting set to re-release some tickets. I’d be trying to get on the website about 10AM tomorrow. THIS IS BASED ON NOTHING MORE THAN SPECULATION AND MY OWN BRAND OF “LOGIC”. Typically, when you log onto TM and a show is sold out, you can still go through the process to find tickets, but your search won’t yield any resutls. If you log onto TM now, and click on any single night Hampton show, you get the message that tickets are currently not available for one of the following reasons…, which is the message that they usually give you before tickets go on sale. In my own estimation, if they were going to do another re-release, why not on Valentine’s day (a Saturday, the day that tickets usually go on sale anyways). It’s probably wishful thinking, but I figure it’s worth a shot.

    P.S. if anyone is able to score tickets based on my ridiculous assumptions, PLEASE keep me in mind.

  14. bosevelt Says:

    Divided Sky should be added to this list.

  15. contact420 Says:

    Mr. Miner, Which TAB show has the title track Undermind on it?

  16. vtsnowboarder802 Says:

    also sprach?
    let everyone cheer their hearts out through the beginning, and just when it’s starting to die down, drop the hammer….

  17. cottle Says:

    Has anyone seen the blurb on that Fishman broke (or injured, I should say) his foot while working on his wind turbine? There is a mention of possibly postponing the Hampton shows? Is this some kind of prank? can anyone else confirm this story?

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    Undermind was played six times by TAB, mostly in ’03. The shows that it was played at are below:


  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ Cottle, that was a prank from about 3 months ago 😉

  20. contact420 Says:

    I have those 2003 shows and that’s not the same Undermind as the Phish title track.

  21. Davey Says:

    I can’t find anything on CNN about that. Probably fake.

  22. contact420 Says:

    I’ve never heard a live version that sounds like that title track

  23. nonoyolker Says:

    Whatever the opener is, it is going to be a) WELL thought out and planned by the band, b) drowned out for the first 10 min with crowd noise, c) probably be something no one predicted (Piper 2002, WTF??), d) be totally fucking kick ass shit because the boys are fucking back!!!! Guessing openers is like Christmastime for adults. I feel giddy. Not sure if its that, the dangerous amount of afternoon caffiene in my system, the fact that there is one hour to go at this dog and pony show i call “work” and this shithole of a week can finally end, but i am ready to suckerpunch this three day weekend! I am so amped, i could throw a temp through a window!!!!! I feel like renting a santa suit and buying everyone in the bar a round of chicken wings on me. That is all…

  24. cottle Says:

    Whew!!! good to know. Reminds me of April Fool’s one year, when somebody pirated the website layout, and updated the tourdates page (i think this was during the hiatus), it looked legit, but the URL was obviously phony, and the one of the shows was on the moon, one was in so-and-so’s backyard, etc. etc. Anybody remember that? I can’t remember if it was on Gadiel’s page, or maybe from an etree link?

  25. Jeff Says:

    showhe – is Strange design playing??? If so, great chance!

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