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. showhe Says:

    @Jeff…yes they are. I’m still trying to convince some friends to go, so I’m iffy right now but I really have some bad cabin fever and need to get out.

  2. tubeopener Says:

    tube opener!!!!

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Opener : Forbins>My Left Nut
    Encore : Sleeping Monkey>Monkey Man

  4. lot rat 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

    Agreed. But, Phish always seems to hit you with the unexpected at those points. I dont see a song that jumps right into lyrics (golgi, wilson, tube) etc, because no one will be able to hear it for the first few mins…I cant wait for the opener, im also pretty pumped for 2nd, 3rd, & 4th song of each night. I am constantly contradicting myself.

    I Wedge>Simple Get Back on The Train, Reba, Limb By Limb, Guyute, Possum, Sample, Stash>Golgi

    II DWD>Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Backwards Down The Number Line, Piper>Jiboo>Moma Dance, Slave

    E. YEM

  5. Davey Says:

    Off topic, anyone see Joaquin Phoenix dosed on Letterman. Weird man.

  6. elbows Says:

    Ha Ha Ha -> (insert song here…YEM, Curtain, Bag)

    Listening to Hartford 2000 about two weeks ago, when they opened with Ha Ha Ha, the lightbulb went off above my head. It would be so phishy…such a great way to jump right back on while indulging in Phish’s odd brand of humor.

    Please save TUBE for Sunday night, when I will be there!

  7. wanderin Says:


    The link worked great, that was a great show that night. I don’t know if you were at the previous nights show, but I remember Mikes Groove going into some scattered directions though…and dont remember if they ever finished that jam…..Anyways thanks for this post Lake Placid Rocks!!!

  8. gtgwbab2495 Says:

    the mango song

  9. showhe Says:

    Miner…didn’t notice much a difference in the d/l time…maybe a minute or two quicker but nothing noticeable.

  10. dyda Says:


    just a few that randomly occurred to me. you know it’s going to be something we aren’t really expecting

  11. skuzzmonkey Says:

    G-Man, I called After Midnight at Big Cypress. I wasn’t certain when they would play it but I figured it would come sometime during the midnight set. I was also expecting 1999 and Here Comes the Sun. I was really glad to hear those two come off CD instead of from the band though.

    Hampton opener?

    I’ve had a feeling about Tweezer Reprise for the first song. Lots of energy, and everyone knows exactly how it goes so you wont miss much when the crowd drowns out the music.

    More than anything I expect some “theatrics” to start things off. Probably NOT a giant hot dog… but something more spectacular than just: house lights out > band walks on stage.

  12. carl Says:

    wow–this is a topic for a whole BLOG, not just a single post

    it will have to be something they can play over the loudest sound a crowd will ever make

    can’t wait to study this thread when i have some time

    miner–you took it on the chin at PT for your noob letter, but i’m sure you knew this would happen; kudos to you for representing the positive & welcoming side of the phish community; rather than dis your knowledge of solo trey, we should mine it: it would be great if you post a mix of tunes from trey shows you think it might be good to know to prep for phish 3.0

  13. Billy Breathes Says:

    heavy things –> rift

  14. jeff Says:

    showhe – all my Phish friends moved out of state which leaves me with my other friends. the metal/punk rock disciples – who take joy in bashing the boys. so if i go i’m solo. the wife will have to watch the kid. anyway, if you go –

  15. derreck Says:

    My call is Free, but I’d LOVE a Tube as well.

    Always thought they’d pull this off some day…

    1st Tube > Tube > Fresh Tube > Last Tube

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    my cousin’s wife (not phishy at all) had a baby today and named it Julius .. I’m going to go with that as my dark horse call now 🙂

    don’t blame it on yourself..

  17. teggun Says:

    The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony-> AC/DC Bag
    and the mothership lifts off

  18. John Says:

    Bouncing Around The Room

  19. Bryant Says:

    everyone, wookies & old heads alike … i’m burning thru many old shows right now and specifically ’95 and 97 stuff … BUT PLEASE TRUST ME AND DOWNLOAD THIS OLYMPIC CENTER SHOW MINOR HAS POSTED … if you haven’t listened to it yet … unreal, a perfect pic of where they were at the end of a hilacious year that 1995 was … this was last show of the tour, before classic holiday run, and talk about finishing strong and saving your best for last … unfortunately people forget about this show because of the holiday run … DON”T MISS ENJOYING 12/17/95 download available here … and maybe write a review in the comments section … hey minor that could be a whole different section here, rewiews of your posted shows a for a few days after you post them … keep rasing your game kid, your writing is a pleasure to read …

  20. mag Says:

    i really really really hope it will be broadcasted on serius or something since i did not get tickets

  21. mag Says:

    o and i hope the opener will be “free”

  22. FarmerCarpenter Says:

    I remember bidding on what was going to be the first show at MSG for 2.0. I was surprised initially by Piper, but then it seemed like an obvious choice. The song structure allowed them to essentially warm up while the song got going. 2001 has the same potential. David Bowie, Maze, Possum also can start with a fair amount of improvisation at the beginning, but they do not seem like likely candidates.

    Wilson = ego stroke

    I have no idea.

  23. showhe Says:

    Doods and doodettes…

    Camman is MIA…wtf? I hope he’s feeling ok….it’s been a little empty without him today.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ lol….fact…big kegger tonight 😉

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    “II DWD>Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Backwards Down The Number Line, Piper>Jiboo>Moma Dance, Slave

    E. YEM”

    ^^ I like!

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