Five Songs That Got Shut Out

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

After playing 84 songs over six never-ending sets at Hampton’s last month, Phish still managed to leave a few classic pieces untouched.  With only three shows, there was no doubt that some songs would have to be left off the guest list, with their finger in the air.  But when sets turned into mini-shows, and the evenings stretched to four hours, it seemed that no stone would be left unturned.  As the band tore into most of their classic old-school repertoire, it seemed that we would hear all of the significant snippets from Phish history.  Yet upon further review, we missed a couple.  And given the vibe of the weekend, it is hard to believe that these, somehow, missed the cut.

1. “The Lizards”

The gateway to Gamehendge, “Lizards” is a hallmark of early Phish composition.  One of the most-loved non-improvisational pieces in the band’s catalog, “Lizards” embodies the Phishy spirit and was, similarly, the gateway to the world of Phish for many a fan.  Its absence within the three-show weekend wasn’t noticeable at the time, yet unfathomable in retrospect.  Trey’s composed “If I Were a Dog” solo in the second half of “Lizards” is one of the most sacred moments of Phish music, and one we will be sure to hear this summer.

2. “Cavern”

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

Hampton (J.Volckhausen)

One of the most popular set closers in the band’s history, “Cavern” could have also slid anywhere within those two-hour first sets.  “Cavern” was one of the feel-good arrivals of a Phish show, and often the song that punctuated that special set.  Its funky rhythms always gave you one last song to rage before the encore.  Choosing many less prominent songs over this night-time mission, Phish left “Cavern” to close a set this summer- coming soon to an amphitheatre near you.

3. “The Mango Song”

In a weekend in which Phish showcased their compositional chops on their most unique pieces, “Mango” was curiously absent.  Debuted in ’89, this happy genre-defying song was played consistently through the years if not often.  Its relative rarity built it into a crowd favorite, and it would seem to have fit the bill for Hampton just right.  Carrying a distinctly summertime vibe, perhaps they decided to save it for the warmer months, just like last Friday’s Phish Thoughts’ feature song, “Ya Mar.”

4. “Ya Mar”

Hampton (J.Bryce)

Hampton (J.Bryce)

A song that dates back to Phish’s days of college, this adopted cover was a staple of summer Phish.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see it appear early in the first show at Jones Beach, welcoming the community back to the summer circuit.  Its calypso rhythms and island vibe would fit nicely along the water at Wantaugh, NY for the first summer show since ’04.

5. “Llama”

In any three-day exploration of old-school Phish, one would expect to hear this short and fiery Gamehendge reference.  Embodying the tightness and precision that band has vowed to reconnect with, “Llama” would have been musically congruent with the weekend’s goal.  You would imagine that this one won’t stay in hiding for long, and when it does return, expect it to jump of the stage with a renewed gusto.

Sure, they could never have fit them all into three shows, but after brainstorming which songs were left off the list, these were the non-selections that stood out the most.  All fixtures the Phish’s early catalog, each holds a distinct and special place in the band’s history.  Applying only trivial significance into these omissions, it is interesting to think back at all those hours of Phish and realize that we never heard these five.

ADDENDUM: “Golgi” and “Fee”

feeAfter waking up this morning and reading through the comments, I realized somehow left out “Fee” and “Golgi”- two of the songs that should most definitely be on this list before “Mango” and “Yamar.”  These omissions are directly related to the lack of sleep I got all weekend and the tired state in which I wrote this post.  These classics of the Phish catalog were two of the more surprising omissions given their history and popularity amongst all levels of fans. (How could they not play “Golgi” after that ticket fiasco!?)

Other significant older pieces that were left outside of Hampton looking in were: “The Sloth,” “McGrupp,” “Lifeboy,” “Mound,” and “Julius.”



12.31.91 Worcester Memorial Auditorium, MA SBD < LINK

12.31.91 Worcester Memorial Auditorium, MA SBD < TORRENT LINK

Phish Poster 5/91

Phish Poster 5/91

Sticking with the old-school theme of the day, here is a SBD copy of the 1991 New Year’s Eve show.  This would be the final New Year’s without some sort of additional spectacle.  Just lots of crisp, old-school jamming.  This one contains many a Phish classic.

I: Possum, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Lizards, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Esther > Llama, Golgi Apparatus

II: Brother, Bouncing Around the Room > Buried Alive > Auld Lang Syne, Runaway Jim, The Landlady, Reba, Cavern, My Sweet One, Run Like an Antelope

III: Wilson > The Squirming Coil, Tweezer > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove**

E: Lawn Boy, Rocky Top, Tweezer Reprise

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278 Responses to “Five Songs That Got Shut Out”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    i’ve got the lemonwheel hood blasting from throughout this 12 room house audio system I’m programming .. good stuff!

  2. Jay Says:

    I think I am going to make it to Fenway. I knew this day would come that Phish plays stadium shows (especially in the summer). Even if this (and Toyota Park) are quasi-stadiums. Mark my words, they will eventually play some football stadium somewhere on the east coast within 2 years. Also, trust me, you don’t want to be in the stands for a stadium show.

  3. nonoyolker Says:

    Big Papi to come on stage and sing Notorious’ “Big Poppa” w/ phish

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    this seems more like “lets play a cool venue” than “let’s play a stadium” I don’t see football stadium in this band’s future any time soon..

  5. Mdawg Says:

    They have probably always wanted to play fenway and now they can.

  6. elbows Says:

    Even though there are 2 official ‘stadium’ shows on tour, it’s nice that they were creative with their choices. I mean, say what you will about Toyota Park, but it’s actually not huge, no Soldier Field, and Fenway? Vintage ballpark…I’ll take that. As someone stated above, we’re not yet at the RFK, Giants stadium level. Plus, Fox, RR, Asheville? The boys are all over the map with this tour. Points for creativity, in my opinion at least.

  7. snigglebeach Says:

    Is it uncool to wear my trusty old Red Sox shirt to a Phish show at Fenway??

    Never went there wearing anything else.

    Guess the black-flies in Maine will have to do without me for once on Memorial Day weekend.

  8. guyforget Says:

    Miner, thanks for the weekend nugs, much appreciated. two of my all time favorite nights of phish.

  9. Frankie Says:

    Listening too right now…
    That huge Mike’s Groove sandwich on 12.2 is as good as i remember…

  10. Mitch Says:

    ^sniggle I think a jersey is completely acceptable, esp when its tradition.

    even cooler would be to make one of the custom jerseys phish related from the redsox site. I saw some really cool custom jerseys at hampton.

  11. Joey R. Says:

    mr. miner, what about simple? i really missed that song this time around at the mothership, as well as guyute? they are both classics

  12. vtsnowboarder802 Says:

    i’m excited to see the boys again this summer, but is anyone else worried that maybe they’re going too big, too fast, rather than just easing back into things?

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    sox “fluffhead” with the number 09 would be hot

  14. Mitch Says:

  15. guyforget Says:

    i always think it’s uncool to wear a redsox shirt…

  16. hairy pood Says:

    Guyute was the song that seemed most absent to me, possibly due to its prominence during 2.0. All good points you made here, though.

  17. Mitch Says:

    heres your fluffhead cowfunk

    with a countdown to the show

  18. Doc Says:

    Can’t wait to go in my Yankees cap.

  19. msbjivein Says:

    ’09 WIL be a year to remember in PHISHstory!

  20. beatenworker Says:

    I think Lizards may have been excluded to what we’ve always heard about Mike’s take on Gamehendge, i.e. he considers Gamehendge tunes to be Trey songs, not Phish songs, and is never exactly thrilled to play them.

  21. msbjivein Says:

    Not a Sox fan but the Fluffhead Jersey’s sic!

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    nice mitch that’s sweet..

  23. Mitch Says:

    If I get tix, I wanna make one. I grew up hating the yanks but live in NYC now so I’d love to sport this around town.

  24. wizzle1986 Says:

    Said this before, but I was surprised to see no Jiboo (Trey loves this song, imo), pebbles and marbles, and cavern and llama as well for different reasons…but I think these songs just didn’t fit the vibe of Hampton….particularly newer songs like Jiboo and Pebbles…these songs are just easier to play and more fresh on everyone’s mind so they don’t need to be relearned and don’t really technically wow the crowd like a Fluffhead, Foam, Stash, Melt of Bowie…which is Phish obviously making an attempt to get back to the roots…precision rock…Hampton was a test run for 82 songs to see where they stand…what they need to tune up, what is rusty, what is good to go and what have you…all will come in due time…

  25. Mitch Says:

    just updated the site with a navy / phish

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