Jamming With The Aquarium

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

If you have been reading this site for a while, you’ve probably come to know how I feel about guests stepping onstage with Phish- more often than not it doesn’t really work.  Most of the time the improv is diluted by the band trying to cater to their guest by laying back musically; and other times they just don’t gel.  Yet there have been those special times when guests have not only fit in with Phish, but have pushed them and made the music better.  On this date sixteen years ago at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY, long-time friends and touring cohorts, The Aquarium Rescue Unit, stepped on stage with Phish during “You Enjoy Myself,” resulting in the craziest, and one of the best, guest sit-ins of Phish’s career.

Aquarium Rescue Unit

The Aquarium Rescue Unit

A large part of the reason that these two bands gelled so well on stage, tapping into the same wacky psychedelic energy, was that they had a close friendship.  In the early ’90s, as both bands were trying to extend their fanbase into each other’s region of the country, Phish would open for ARU in the South, while they would return the favor and invite ARU to open for them in the Northeast.  As the two bands shared bills around the country, they developed a friendship and an affinity for each other, sharing an eccentric sense of humor.  In addition, the two bands were founding members of the H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992, an acronym for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere.  Inspired by Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza the year before, they sought to put a foot forward for the second wave of the “jam” scene.

Oteil Burbridge

Oteil Burbridge

Another reason why this guest spot worked out so well was the sheer musicianship of Col. Bruce Hampton’s crew.  Combine Phish with Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, and Jeff Sipe, and you had some serious chops on stage.  Subtract sixteen years from today, and you had a youthful, zany energy behind the collaboration, driving it at a breakneck pace in very exploratory directions.  This is the Phish of old, with like-minded friends, absolutely tearing shit apart.


May 1993 (A.Dines)

With several added layers to the jam, members of both bands took liberty to improvise vocally, as well as musically, lending a bizarre psychedelia to much of the jam.  All the musicians onstage, while having a blast, were simultaneously taking their improvisation incredibly seriously, creating some insane music.  Page absolutely slaughtered it as the lone piano player on stage, leading some of the early parts of the jam.  Gordon and Oteil, two of the best bass players on the planet, were crushing it, while there was incredibly dynamic interplay between Trey and Jimmy Herring.  Jeff Sipe added some tight percussive tabla rhythms to Fish’s beat, and took over the drums as Fish moved to vacuum for a bit.  Following the Electrolux-centric section, the groove resurfaced as a quasi-ska beat, but almost immediately moved out of it as Fish hopped back onto the kit and Trey began to get loose.  If the madness of all these virtuoso musicians wasn’t enough, this jam also featured The Dude of Life carrying on with his antics and “singing” some nonsensical lyrics.

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

Before coming to an end, the improv turned the way of jazzy textures with some straight up scatting over top.  Touching on so many different musical feels, all with incredible coherency, this was one guest spot that certainly did not disappoint, and goes down in history as one of the most outrageous “YEMs” ever played.


LISTEN to the 5.5.93 “YEM” NOW! ^ LINK (Roll over, click play)




5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < TORRENT LINK

The Palace, Albany, NY

The Palace, Albany, NY

Although this is a repost from months ago, I figured it would be appropriate given today’s sixteen year anniversary of the show.  Beyond the absurd “YEM,” this show is filled with oddities, including “My Friend > Manteca > My Friend,” and “Cavern > Take the ‘A’ Train > Cavern.”  If you didn’t grab it last time it was posted, grab this SBD recording of a great show.

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*25 min jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

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120 Responses to “Jamming With The Aquarium”

  1. old dude Says:

    guy – think you are correct.
    i gots my TM, but not PTBM yet.

  2. Frankie Says:

    SWEET! The music is just flowing through Jerry…. it’s unbelievable! 🙂

  3. Selector J Says:

    I only heard 11 tracks, too. I downloaded it, cut it into tracks, and burned it to a disc before realizing it.

    I keep listening for the drums to double up somewhere during a segue but am striking out.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    I am so underqualified to play the quiz game its pathetic – but its fun to listen to anyway!

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    to all re: quiz- give it a shot anyway!…i have only gotten two responses thus far-

    start with 12 songs and go from there- there are some gimmes on there 😉

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    must be one great segue on there 🙂

  7. Jack O Roses Says:

    THC stays in the system for like 28 days. It attaches to fat in your body. So time and exercise are what will help your body rid itself of it.

    I was (still am) a chronic smoker many moons ago and had a test sprung on me. I had a week. I stopped smoking, took the tea, and drank a shit load of water, and failed. I think what got me was how watered down the pee was. Either that or I just didn’t flush enough out of my system.

    There are also quality of tests. Mine was for the court. There was a guy standing in the room full on watching me piss. I’d imagine for a job it would be less monitored.

    If you use your pee, there is a vitimin you can take to make the pee come out yellow. (They may not take it if it’s clear…) If you use someone elses, make sure it stays body temp…

    Good luck!

  8. shpongleyez Says:

    Signing on late, not sure where the THC test question is coming from but 28 days is for chronic smokers (and for some it can be longer). If you only puff occasionally, it should be MUCH shorter. Exercise alot, drink plenty fluids, on the day of test eat a juicy burger. There are also emergency drinks (gross, but they work) and fake pee with or without fake shlong (make sure you get the right color).

    Miner’s mixes rule. Haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I’m sure it is super funky and a keeper. Good luck to all!

  9. Selector J Says:

    Definitely a masterful segue embedded in there somewhere. I have a hunch as to where it lies but I’m not positive.

    Just curious: What software do people use to make their mixes? I’ve had some fun with Magix Audio Cleaning Lab 12 making some reggae mixes- haven’t ventured into Phish mixes yet but this software might be useful for that especially if you’re trying to clean up a less than stellar copy of something.

    I bought it to transfer vinyl and tapes to the digital world but now use it almost exclusively to burn mix cds. It’s an old version but it already does way more than I need it to including a wacky song transition effect that, while wearing headphones, makes it feel like the two songs are circling around opposite sides of your head. It’s too much fun, I tell ya.

  10. Frankie Says:

    I’d love to hear some of those reggae mixes, Selector J… can’t get enough of that sound… 🙂

  11. Mugician Says:

    Miner: I was looking through the archives, and one post mentioned a 50 minute Hood> Bowie. I NEED TO HEAR THAT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can you point me in the right direction?

  12. Mugician Says:

    Jesus. Kuroda is nuts. The house is bumpin. This is fucking INSANE!


  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    charlotte 7.25.03 has the 50 minutes of Hood > Bowie…your best best is downloading the livephish sbd. definitely worth it.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    selector- I’m using old school cdj 700s…just doing one take on the fly….

  15. whole tour! Says:

    yy….charlotte 03 was the dark horse of the tour….the gin is sick….second set was killer all out jam-fest!

  16. whole tour! Says:

    i’m on my 2nd copy of the livephish sbd…i wore a hole in my 1st copy!

  17. whole tour! Says:

    charlotte > atlanta > 2nd set of raleigh 2003 were some of my favorite shows i saw.

  18. Mugician Says:

    Thanks Miner!

  19. Mugician Says:

    Maybe someone can point me in the direction of some more killer post-hiatus shows? I absolutely love IT.

  20. AbePhroman Says:

    I disagree Miner, I like guest spots. Don’t you remember EL BUHO?!

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