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. Mr.Miner Says:

    “… DON”T MISS ENJOYING 12/17/95 download available here ”

    ^ agreed! 🙂

  2. Matso Says:

    In case anyone returns to these comments, a few reasons the 12/17/95 show is not to be missed are:

    1. MFMF opener – so atmospheric in that small arena in the snowy mountains;

    2. An explosive Antelope three songs in;

    3. A fantastic Chalkdust to close the set;

    4. Maze – see for yourself.

    5. Free>2001>Hood – the Hood being, imo, one of the best ever (listen to that little phrase that Trey plays right at the beginning of his solo – it’s from a children’s song, I think, something like “there’s a hole in my bucket, dear liza, dear liza, there’s a hole in my bucket, what do I do?”

    6. Tweezer->Tweezer Reprise – if you’ve never heard this, it is not to be missed. I never understood why Dirksen didn’t rate this an A+ (I can’t remember what he gave it but whatever it was, it wasn’t high enough).

  3. Dan B. Says:

    Either Antelope or Possum.

    For the build up I would go with Possum but a ripping Antelope would blow the shit up!

  4. Brian T. Bowman Says:

    Emotional Rescue

  5. Stashylimbs Says:

    Lengthwise -> Maze

  6. Vultured Says:

    I have a feeling it will be something off of Round Room (Walls of the Cave as Billy suggested) or a really cool Scents and Subtle Sounds.

  7. enrico pierangeli Says:


  8. jonathan Says:

    I would love to see the new song “Light”. Trey dropped this in Wallingford recently and I was immediately hooked. Sometimes trey likes dropping thos ambient jam openers to start off big shows.

    If I had to bet my mortgage on it I would go with PYITE.

    I am hoping they open up with the a David Hasselhoff Cover – Look at me I am beautiful and tan from his 1996 Bronzed and Beached album bu t I won’t hold my breath.

  9. unclejohn Says:

    guess the opener and win $100 (or more!!)

    here’s the list of so far > >

    Song List & Confirmed Bidders:

    Makisupa Policeman – unclejohn
    You Enjoy Myself – messengerbird
    2001 – Heather
    Wilson – Scott (aka WhatstheUse?)
    The Curtain With – August
    Chalk Dust Torture – caravan2001
    David Bowie – Freya
    Runaway Jim – Aaron
    Run Like an Antelope – birdman
    Down with Disease – Ryan
    Tube – Ali
    The Curtain – chriskovach
    Mike’s Song – Steven B
    Destiny Unbound – Worm
    Golgi Apparatus – blatboom
    Simple – mandi
    Punch You in the Eye – cactusfan
    Piper – Hicks
    Bouncing Around the Room – Barret
    AC/DC Bag – adam B.

    still plenty of great songs choices left to bid on.
    only $5 to join.

  10. Col. Forbin Says:

    It’s going to be something ripping. The reason Hampton is my favorite place to see a show is the incredible energy in the building. Trey absolutely loves this, and always comes out with something rocking, and a lot of the time it is normally outside of their “usual openers.” I mean just look back at some past openers; Ha ha ha, emotional rescue, mike’s, hood, piper, tweezer, llama, and rock n roll part 2. Just incredible openers in a long list of legendary shows.

    I think they also want to open with something they haven’t opened with there before, which is why I will go with Antelope. I also like a couple others I have heard tossed around; AC/DC bag, possum, and tweeprise would also fit this bill. The boys are back in town is always thrown out there when they come off a break, but I haven’t really ever bought into it. For some reason this time, I wouldn’t be surprised at this.

  11. Evan Says:

    What about Fluffhead! Its a great opener and they havent played it in like 10 years.

  12. Evan Says:

    Does anyone have any input to why Phish quit playing Fluffhead after hiatus. I saw Fluffhead at one of my 1st shows ever at Allstate Arena (Those 2 nights at Allstate in 99′ or maybe 00″ were the shows that hooked me forever), and I have never seen it since out of 24 total shows.

  13. lot rat Says:

    What about Fluffhead! Its a great opener and they havent played it in like 10 years.

    might wanna keep trey away from the powerful pills

  14. Hooks Says:

    Personally I have no idea, but at the same time I kinda wonder, “But I sure got some powerful pills!”. I wonder if the scene’s worsening drug situation at the time and maybe Trey’s/the band’s increasing substance use kinda made them quietly ignore the song after a point. of course, the music following that line in the song is more than enough to overshadow silly lyrics, but when have they not exaggerated that line to the full, complete with a deliberately loud “OHHH YEAAHHH!!” (I’m not a phish show/archive expert, btw). I dunno, seems that could possibly have contributed to leaving Fluffhead alone for a while. maybe the tongue-in-cheek exuberance of that line wasn’t so tongue-in-cheek anymore. MAYBE, just a thought…

  15. Hooks Says:

    By time I finished my comment, lot rat said basically what I was trying to say…

  16. jaradb Says:

    An asteroid crashed and nothing burned, it made me wonder.
    Tube opener sets the mothership on fire!!!!

  17. mosesmauzy Says:

    David Bowie?

  18. mosesmauzy Says:

    or actually they will do some teases, but most likely they will wait until moments before they go on to decide. do you think they are as excited and giddy and ????? about choosing the first song opener as we are? a new song i suspect. we must just listen and feel what they are expressing and go with what is the new phish. they are not gonna be the band of the past. although they will have to play some crowd pleasers, not just their new direction. if you continue to play the old one never evolves and grows. they are ever changing. this will be a change along with some oldies, but goodies.

  19. UnitMonster Says:

    Though I doubt a cover, but of course who knows. If so then Foreplay> Longtime is the absolute perfect opener.

    It’s been such a Longtime!!!!

  20. tba Says:

    Well it was going to be Great Woods and Alpine for me to start, and then a friend just called with tickets for me from good old Gordo. Minki rules, but that’s what happens when you don’t pine for something, it just happens. Thank goodness for the kind hearted parents of Phish :SOAM>Get Back (*Beatles)>SOAM>Reprise. Now that’s a first set. :<) Power

  21. tba Says:

    Gouess my post got hacked, ouch. 1st set Fluffhead, Free, Freebird, Did not Know, tweezer then Soam…..

  22. kevin are hollo Says:

    ^Fluff’s Travels is an incredibly hard piece of music to play/remember.

    Even doubly so when you’re

    a) not actively practicing


    b) high as fuck on coke.

  23. SOAM Says:


    Set 1
    Crowd Noise (5-10 Mins)>
    >Wont get fooled again>Free>Antelope>Possum>My soul>Gumbo>Pebbles>Divided Sky>Old Home Place>Punch>Stash

  24. Mulcahey Says:


  25. Hooks Says:

    Cars Trucks Buses (and planes, and bicycles). how are we getting to hampton?

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