The Cincinnati Gin

14129230p2220030We sit amidst the six-year anniversary of Phish’s two week comeback run in the Winter of ’03.  As investigated earlier this week, Las Vegas was the springboard for the rest of a phenomenal run that restored our faith in the Phish.  Despite the many highlights  from this fortnight, there were two half-hour jams that were talked about, listened to, and revered more than any other pieces of music on this tour.  These two excursions came to represent all that was right in the Phish universe, signaling that Phish’s improvisational prowess was as healthy as ever; their desire to musically evolve was still ingrained in their ethos.  In a two-part- Friday / Monday- series we’ll check out these two jams-  Cincinnati’s “Bathtub Gin” and Nassau’s “Tweezer.”  Today- the “Gin.”

The Cincinnati weekend marked the halfway point of Phish’s short winter tour, and as the only other weekend stand besides Vegas, these shows drew fans from all over the country.  People needed to see for themselves a reinvigorated Phish, and the they would not be disappointed.

As the band came out for their final set of the weekend, everyone’s juices were flowing.  Dropping a fierce “Tube,” the band and crowd leapt into the fray together.  An infectiously-paced and funkified jam set the tone for the rest of the set; the best was yet to come.  As the band ended their escapade in groove, Trey morphed directly into the intro lick to “Bathtub Gin.”

13699475image9b58dede479711d7Wrapping up the composed section, the band got ready for take off and the crowd roared in anticipation of what was coming.  Trey wasted no time in getting started painting some initial melodies onto the musical canvas. But it wasn’t until a couple minutes in, when Mike dropped a heavy groove, that the improv really took off.  Fishman was right with him, and Phish moved directly into some outright dance rhythms.  This initial section of improv was characterized by robust rhythms and gorgeous melodic leads by Trey that fit congruently into the musical space.  Yet this uplifting section seamlessly transformed into something far more exploratory and adventurous.

Like Lewis and Clark exploring the west, the band were on a mission of their own, discovering their new direction for this chapter of their career.  Growing more aggressive and piano-heavy, the jam began moving away from its “Gin”-themed improv into some distinctly post-hiatus grooves.  Trey’s un-compressed edge provided an interesting juxtaposition against his bandmates’ slower offerings.  Then, as if a race horse cracked by the whip, Phish sped up the jam into double-time, creating a totally different, and more aggressive, musical feel.

13699471image9b586be0479711d71The band carried a rhythmic gallop into this section of improv, tearing into some enthusiastic full-on playing.  The driving textures of this jam shifted when Page began playing his clav, lending a pseudo-electronic feel to the music.  At this point, the band seemed to hit a place of contentment as they slowed down their pace, peeled away some layers, and dove into a less distorted, mellower musical pond.

Switching vibes all together, the band united in a more abstract place, bringing the improv even further into the unknown.  This is where the jam got extremely interesting.  With almost no beat, Trey began playing, and teasing, the “Gin” lick over a greatly divergent- almost electronic- backdrop.  With Page using extreme effects through his keyboards, Fish creating a shimmering, cymbal-heavy beat, and Mike playing a bizarrely melodic bass line, image004the band entered some other-worldy territory.  Meanwhile, Trey continued playing forms of the “Bathtub” melody over this demented Phish-tronica canvas.  Phish was molding incredibly unique music, with Page going off in directions unheard before.  Creating an “alternate” version of the song, their improv remained as connected to “Gin” as it was divergent- a wholly new musical experiment.  This was one of those times that Phish took a big risk, and overwhelmingly succeeded.

As Trey played some repetitive licks, signaling to wrap it up, the band and crowd emerged from being immersed in some deeply “other” Phish.  Finishing the jam collectively, and with authority, the band oozed back into a slowed down version of the song’s ending.  Flabbergasted, everyone exchanged looks of wide-eyed amazement as the band took a minute to collect themselves before decompressing with “Friday.”  While many shining moments developed over the week from LA to Chicago, this “Bathtub Gin” was the most divergent and defining musical portrait of the first half of tour.

(All photos from Cincy 2.22.03)



phish20baseball-400-x-585-111.6.96 Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN < LINK
With Phish about to return to Knoxville this summer, I thought we’d travel back in time to their last performance in Tennessee’s metropolis.  This show took place during the first week after Halloween’s “Remain In Light” performance- when the shows on tour really started to take off.  The second set is held down by a large “Mike’s Groove,” while the first is bookended by “Split” and “Bowie.”  Check out this under-circulated nugget from Fall ’96

I: Split Open and Melt, Cars Trucks Buses, Fast Enough for You, Taste, Train Song, Poor Heart, Punch You in the Eye, Billy Breathes, David Bowie

II: Wilson, The Curtain > Mike’s Song > Swept Away > Steep > Weekapaug Groove, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar, Funky Bitch

E: Rocky Top

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104 Responses to “The Cincinnati Gin”

  1. showhe Says:

    They need to put up some chicken wire.

  2. Panda Says:

    What about the Nassua Gin?

    ust as good as the Tweezer IMO, however I have not heard the Cinci gin.

    wheres it at miner?

  3. A_Glide Says:

    ^Yeah, and then sing Rawhide

  4. SOAM Says:

    Like roadhouse-shout out to Swayzee-playing vultures-

    f your gonna throw a stick-make it a fat cat surprise ie (tasty doobage) instead of a 2year olds toy.

    What would you rateh get hit with?

  5. SOAM Says:

    substitute seth yacavone for the blind dude who rips blues in roadhouse.

  6. showhe Says:

    ^^That was Jeff Healy I beleive…he passed away a few years ago. I saw him on H.O.R.D.E fest back in like ’95…dood could play. Sorry to get us off tangent.

  7. SOAM Says:

    Imagine if they have plexiglass shields that rise up at the start of the next glow-tard war.

    that would be cool!

  8. bhizzle Says:

    I was thinking the same thing A_Glide..more of a Blues Bros fan than a Swayze fan.

  9. showhe Says:

    Either that or have like thin meshing that would drape down and surround the band the entire show, I think you could even get lights in on that action to add more of an effect…CK will figure it out.

    I was also thinking more in the Blues Brothers vein than roadhouse.

  10. hawkinbj Says:

    Man, if I’m honest I don’t recall ever listening to the Cinncinati show at all, let alone the Gin. I’m mid-way through and it’s damn good so far 🙂

    I must say, on the topic of (presumably) tomorrow’s Tweezer run-through, that is – by FAR – by favorite tweezer of all time (both pre/post hiatuses).

    Great work Miner

  11. MangoMan Says:

    I had tickets for that show but trade it for Nassau… so I cant be that BUMMED!

    Mr. Miner or anyone else… I was looking thru the slip stich and pass CD cover insides.. Does anyone know who that dude is whose face they blurred out with each member of the band?? is it Brad?

  12. gills Says:

    I totally forgot that a destiny unbound was played at the Nassuau show. lLove that old school ditty. Destiny, my Hampton opener.
    “We got to get on the road, destiny unbound”
    You saw it here first

  13. SOAM Says:

    Hopefully CK is not on the dreaded poland spring!!

  14. spideyguy0 Says:

    The Nassau Gin was only slightly below the Nassau Tweezer, but was easily the 2nd highlight of that show. Never heard the Cincy Jin before today but I still sorta like the Nassau one better, maybe cause I’m more familiar with it.

    On another note, this made me so furious last night, I found a guy eBaying his Hampton hotel room because he found out that infants under 2 are not admitted to the shows for free and now needs to buy a Friday ticket for his infant. WTF, that’s 1 more phan that’s not gonna get into the show because u spent $800 on your infant, when really you could’ve just hired a babysitter to watch him at the hotel for $20.

  15. lot rat Says:

    Imagine if they have plexiglass shields that rise up at the start of the next glow-tard war.

    Great idea, duck tape anyone’s mouth who yells “hood” after harry as well. if they wanted those lyrics they would have written em.

  16. lot rat Says:

    split open and tour

  17. lot rat Says:

    On another note, this made me so furious last night, I found a guy eBaying his Hampton hotel room because he found out that infants under 2 are not admitted to the shows for free and now needs to buy a Friday ticket for his infant. WTF, that’s 1 more phan that’s not gonna get into the show because u spent $800 on your infant, when really you could’ve just hired a babysitter to watch him at the hotel for $20.

    Who the fuck would bring an infant to the show? Find a babysitter or dont go. Its one thing if it an outdoor summer show with a big lawn and some earplugs, but Hampton. I’ll be sure to call this loser out if i see him in the lot or gig. Phish 3.0 will not put up with people this dumb, nor should the fans.

  18. Little Buddy Says:

    Does anyone know when people started yelling “hood?” I’m not a fan of the chant… I know it wasn’t done when I started going to shows in ’94 but I really don’t remember when it started.

  19. full tour: announced! Says:

    99 i think….there was a tour flier instructing people to yell hood….

  20. Jezmund Says:

    If i do recall right Trey asked the crowd to chant hood after the band said harry. It was at red rocks, i think it was in 96′. I’m allmost positive but all the shows have melted into one in my mind.

  21. showhe Says:

  22. bhizzle Says:

    down with the hood chant………..

  23. kevin are hollo Says:

    saying things like “best v2.0” is like saying “that’s the best peanut butter and jelly i’ve ever had.”

    if you want a real sandwich, why not go to the deli?

    how about a review of a show before 1998?

    i’ll give this one a try tho, simply b/c dude said “computer techno fuck.”

  24. Pnutbag99 Says:

    It is funny you bring up the Hood chant. I was driving at lunch today and I had 12/11/99 on and I started to think to myself. ‘When exactly did this start?’ I thought it was after 96, but hey you learn something new everyday. I remember not liking it at first, but it grew on me after a while.

    TWO WEEKS!!! TWO WEEKS!!! TWO WEEKS!!! (in best Total Recal voice)

  25. Frankie Says:

    @ Kevin
    Ahahaha! I think he meant funk but you never know…

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