The Laid Back Funk of Summer ’98

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

As Phish progressed through their career, each tour seemed to add a new element to their music.  Constantly evolving their sound, the band kept fans engaged not only with new songs and new jams, but new styles of playing.  In ’93 they peaked all that had come before with the ferocious “speedjazz” era. In ’94 their jamming grew far more exploratory and adventurous, combined with the aggression of a wild hyena.  ’95 brought extended abstract spacescapes in the summer and moved into blistering tight arena rock in the fall.  1996 was a year of transition, moving from their style of Fall ’95 towards whole-band groove, and in 1997 this transition was completed.  With the rawest funk grooves coming in the summer, Fall ’97 brought a refined James Brown-esque disco-funk into the mix, living symbiotically with outlandish psychedelia.  Phish never grew complacent with their music, and never stopped pushing themselves out of their comfort zone into different milieus.

Hampton (M.Yates)

Hampton (M.Yates)

As 1997 came to a close, the community was on cloud nine, having just finished one of the outstanding years in Phish history- yet what laid ahead?  First came the Island Run, which was a sublime aberration all to its own.  And after a brief stint in Europe, the band returned to the west coast to showcase their new summer style.  If we traced the rhythmic playing of the band from raw to refined, this summer represented a nuanced shift to a slower and beefier relaxed style of jamming.  Congruent with the feeling of summer, Phish engaged in plentiful sessions of patient funk grooves.  While many people remember the summer of ’98 for all of the one-time covers busted out by Phish, the band’s primary focus of the season was creating thick textures that blossomed in the summer air.

Starting off in Portland, OR, they made no bones about what the central theme of the tour would be, opening with “Wolfman’s,” followed two songs later by the first stateside “Moma Dance.”  This focus would emerge more obviously in the second set with the now-famous segment of “Tweezer > California Love > Tweezer > Free, Meat.”  The funk was deep; the funk was relaxed; the funk was infectious- and this would be the overwhelming trend for the rest of Summer ’98.

Hampton (T.Caine)

Hampton (T.Caine)

In a summer that oozed fun, Phish seemed to have a ball creating sweltering dance sessions amidst their favorite songs.  The enthusiasm was contagious, as every night brought addictive fun and more surprises.  The Summer ’98 sound featured prominent, yet slowed-down, lead bass lines from Gordon, favoring a soft and round tone- our ears were bouncing on trampolines all night.  The pace of the tour’s definitive improv was brought to a far slower tempo.  Trey utilized tar-thick wah-grooves all summer long to rhythmically and delicately dance around Mike’s patterns.  Also guiding the band with danceable leads, Trey was focused on rhythmic playing for the whole tour.  Page shied from his piano in favor of more textured sounds that enhanced their funk canvas.  The clavinet and the Fender Rhodes grew more prominent in his sound.  Fishman held down an incredibly deep pocket with Gordon, and was a band leader within this beat focused era.

Hampton (S.Hanna)

Hampton (S.Hanna)

The laid back music of ’98s summer tour supported the concept of Phish as maestro mood matchers- always fitting their music to their locale.  The improv discussed herein would have never taken place indoors during a fall tour- that wasn’t the place for this type of music.  The amphitheatres and open-air venues that made up the summer circuit allowed the slower music to bellow across the crowd, especially in the roofless venues.  When playing these stops- like Portland Meadows, The Gorge, and Sandstone- the sound dynamic coaxed the band to delve into even slower tempos.  Each night, as the sun set, you could be sure that you’d be dancing to some seriously thick Phish for most of the night, and the tour took on a character of its own.

Throughout this summer, the band played incredibly well together, forming cohesive jams all over the place.  Even if their improv wasn’t always straight-laced groove, there was always a certain rhythmic quality that marked their playing.  In one of Phish’s most well-loved tours,  you knew that every show would bring a different dance party centered around this style.

Upper Page Side (S.Hanna)

Upper Page Side (S.Hanna)

Some of the highlights from this tour that defined this playing were the aforementioned “Tweezer > Free” from Portland, the Shoreline “YEM,” the Austin “Tweezer,” the Deer Creek “Gumbo,” the Merriweather “Sneakin’ Sally, and the Lemonwheel “Gumbo.” And those are just some of the most significant episodes.  When aurally perusing the entire tour, this pattern of laid back funk clearly emerges.  And, naturally, as the summer was coming to a close, the band began to drift into more layered, ambient style, foreshadowing their musical evolution of the upcoming fall.

To chronicle Phish’s very own “Summer of Love,” I have selected one representative jam from every US show during this special era of Phish. Totaling over seven hours of music from Summer ’98, this collection should keep the grooves going until the break of dawn.   Chronologically combined into one compilation, I present to you “Miner’s Picks: Laid Back Funk ’98.”  There are a few song repeats, due to the band’s song rotation over the summer. (And I forgot to add the Deer Creek “Gumbo!” It will be linked below.) The tracks and download links are below.  Relax, kick back, and enjoy!






1-4. “Tweezer > California Love > Tweezer > Free” 7.15, Portland, OR

5. “Reba” 7.16, The Gorge, WA

6. “Gumbo” 7.17, The Gorge, WA

7. “YEM” 7.19, Shoreline, CA

8. “Bathtub Gin” 7.20, Ventura, CA

9,10. “Ghost > She Caught The Katy” 7.21, Phoenix, AZ

11,12. “Wolfman’s > 2001” 7.24, Houston, TX

13. “Tweezer” 7.25, Austin, TX

14. “YEM” 7.26, Dallas, TX

15. “The Moma Dance” 7.28, Bonner Springs, KS

16. “Tube” 7.29, Riverport, MO

17,18. “Curtain > Free” 7.31, Columbus, OH

19. “Mike’s Song” 8.1, Alpine Valley, WI

20. “Ghost” 8.2, Deer Creek, IN

21. “Halley’s Comet” 8.3, Deer Creek, IN (Forgot the “Gumbo!”)

22. “Wolfman’s” 8.6, Atlanta, GA

23. “Ghost” 8.7, Raleigh, NC

24. “Sneakin’ Sally” 8.8, Merriweather Post, MD

25. “YEM” 8.9, Va.Beach, VA

26,27. “Wolfman’s > Time Loves a Hero” 8.11, Star Lake, PA

28. “YEM” 8.12, Vernon Downs, NY

29,30. “Gumbo > Sanity” 8.15, The Lemonwheel

31. “2001” 8.16, The Lemonwheel

(32.) “Gumbo” 8.3, Deer Creek, IN (Right Click, Save As, or listen)


Hampton (S.Hanna)

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193 Responses to “The Laid Back Funk of Summer ’98”

  1. msbjivein Says:

    SOAM, I believe Oswego was in ’99. Camp Oswego at least. All the years combine and melt into a dream.

  2. Jerrydamule Says:

    somewhat off topic, but not really. I think Cfunk the other day noted the change in your web marker – from the W of Great Went to Hood. I took the plunge this morning and re-saved your site as an icon on my phone’s homescreen. Lost the “W” forever and the “Hood” symbol won’t load. Arggghhh! I know, this is really important subject matter! Oh well, no worries, onward to today’s mix!

  3. empire01 Says:

    Yo Mr. Miner I love it when you put these best of tours together.
    I stopped dl whole shows a long time ago and then burning them to cdrs.
    I really appreciate the effort you put in for your picks. It makes it really easy to get a new digital collection of the good stuff with out any effort what so ever from lazy phish heads like myself. Right now my collection is live phish releases any sbd’s that I can get my hands on. and a shitload of Mr. Miner’s Picks.. you are the man!! thanks brah

  4. Bapslap Says:

    Love the site and the daily discussion. A perfect way to start every work day!

    I will certainly donate to the cause when I can.
    Thank you Mr. Miner.

  5. Mitch Says:

    that wasnt the W from went, it was from WordPress, the blog site he was using. Now that he has his own domain host, he can make mods like the hood logo and the page numbered pagination. it gives you more freedom.

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    fwiw the new site loads much slower on the blackberry than the old one did. Other than that I like it. favicons can be quircky – was working on a site last night that the favicon would only show up on one of 3 browsers (worked on safari)

  7. Whole tour! Says:

    summer 98 was the SHIT!!! the band was tight and funking shit out, not to mention the crazy jukebox theme with covers that came out of nowhere. Rhinocerous!!! Running with the devil!!!! Sweet Jane!!! Terrapin!!!! sabotage!!! it was nuts!

    thanks for showing lakewood some love with that “wolfman’s” miner…that show was bad ass…they brought the funk heavy with “moma” and “Yem” as well. The Atlanta 98 “fluffhead” wasn’t too shabby either.

  8. SOAM Says:

    Thanks Jivein-I have not been a precise tune/show recaller since fall 94 GD tour

    It seems like all this life was just a dream-indeed

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    wow thanks for the heads up on the downloads, nice group of shows there, time to get a summer 98 refresher! (I just can’t bring myself to listen to greatest hits collections! It’s full shows or nothing for me..)

    @hawkinbj will drop you a note later today when I get a moment…thanks!

  10. Mitch Says:

    my post earlier is still pending approval until miner wakes up on the left coast but i’m trying to plan a gathering at the beer garden before the jones beach shows. it had links so i think it got sent for approval.

  11. jimbo Says:

    Me and friends always kinda thought they switch jamming from fast to slow kind of coordinated with the switch from tripping to rolling popularity. I know it sounds weird but it makes a lot of sense and late ninties was when good rolls were everywhere and some kinds weren’t even illegal yet….

  12. Jerrydamule Says:

    @ Mitch, see, This Everlasting Spoof, posted by Mr. Miner on 12/15/08, scroll down to picture labeled “The Great Went Entrance.” That’s where I thought the W originated from. Like I said, this is really important subject matter stuff. Oh, and may I add, “I love toooooooooooooooor.”

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    No idea about why the links aren’t working- I’m trying to figure it out.

  14. El Duderino Says:

    I think it’s very cool how you give out these taste tests. Nice work Miner! ’98 has always been a favorite of mine. The last year they actually practiced! It shows too!

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    damn- can’t figure it out…

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    the source code I get has a and a with a color style on it, but i don’t see any tags anywhere..

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    uh yeah .. has a *p* tag and a *span* with color style, but I don’t see any *a* tags

  18. shpongleyez Says:

    Leading off with my “go to” jam!!! Everything’s coming up eyez. Nice uh.

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    the last file, gumbo number 32 now has a link- not sure if it did before.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    “uh yeah .. has a *p* tag and a *span* with color style, but I don’t see any *a* tags

    ^^ wish i knew what that meant

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    I can download the file from amazon, this link isn’t working though

  22. Chalkdustin Says:

    Still no go for me.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    this makes no sense. I can email the link and it works to download, but once I put it on this site it doesn’t work….hmmm

  24. Kaveh Says:

    Post the code Mr. Minor, so I can look at it….thanks.

  25. Kaveh Says:

    It could be a simple as not having a close tag to the opening one. HTML is picky like that, one small mistake and nothing works.

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