For the First Time

13699471image9b586be0479711d7As we are now constantly thinking about the beginning of tour and what might develop with so much new material waiting in the wings, let’s look back at some other tour openers where slews of new songs made their debuts in years past.


1994: 4.4.94  Burlington, VT

flynnThe first show of 1994 marked the beginning of Phish’s combined spring and summer tour.  Beginning in their hometown of Burlington, at the Flynn Theatre, the band embarked on the road a mere week after Hoist was released.  Arriving to the Flynn with a plethora of premieres to play, this show featured six debuts, including the full “Down With Disease” whose jam rang in the New Year in Worcester months earlier.  Other Hoist songs that were introduced at the Flynn were “Scent of a Mule,” “If I Could,” “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Julius,” and the short-lived Jungle Book cover, “I Wanna Be Like You.”  Enhancing the debuts of “Julius,” “Wolfman’s,” and “I Wanna Be Like You” was the full lineup of The Giant Country Horns, who joined Phish for the majority of the second set.

1995: 5.16.95 Lowell, MA

Phish and Gloria Steinem 5.16.95

Phish and Gloria Steinem 5.16.95 (

Although this was not the first show of summer tour, outright, this one set benefit for Voters For Choice was the first show of the year.   Before Phish took the stage, after two opening acts, host Gloria Steinem promised fans more new music in one night than ever before, and Phish delivered.  Debuting ten songs in a single set, many which wound up on Billy Breathes, the only songs performed that Phish had played before were “Reba,” “YEM,” and “Sample.”  The setlist went like this:

Don’t You Wanna Go, Ha Ha Ha, Spock’s Brain, Strange Design, Reba, Theme From the Bottom,  HYHU > Lonesome Cowboy Bill > HYHU, Free , Glide II, You Enjoy Myself, Sweet Adeline, Sample in a Jar  E: I’ll Come Running > Gloria

Among the ten debuts, three were covers, and two were played only at this show.  The encore of Brina Eno’s “I’ll Come Running” into Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” in honor of Ms. Steinem, was a circumstantial choice.  But Velvet Underground’s “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” would pop up twice more during Summer ’95, again in Vegas for Halloween ’98, and one more time in Camden’s 2003 standout first set.  (Note: “Taste” and “Acoustic Army” were debuted at 1995’s first real show on June 7th in Boise, ID.  This is also when the general public got their first taste of much of Lowell’s new music.)


Though not much new music debuted in 1996, Phish used an unannounced show a month before summer tour at a bar in Woodstock, NY billed as “Third Ball” to unveil “Character Zero” and “Waste”- two songs that would go on to become Phish classics.

1997: 6.13 – 6.14.97 Dubln, IR

7.1.97 Amsterdam (M.Welsh)

7.1.97 Amsterdam (M.Welsh)

This opening two-night stand of Summer ’97 in Dublin, Ireland brought a motherlode of new material.  Tucked into the intimate S.F.X Centre, Phish was far from the maddening crowd, giving them comfort to test drive many new songs.  On the first night, the band broke out seven new originals- “Dogs Stole Things,” Limb By Limb,” “Wading In the Velvet Sea,” “Water In the Sky,” “Vultures,” “Ghost,” and “Oblivious Fool.”  In addition, this show marked the first public appearance of Sly and the Family Stone’s, “Stand!” and Jimi’s, “Izabella;”  the latter would be incorporated into some epic Phish sets.  The most creative debut of the evening was the gooey transition into “Ghost” out of a funked-out “Chalk Dust” jam.  Stemming from the most unlikely of places, Phish unveiled their new funk epic that would dominate setlists through 2004.

The second night in Dublin proved to be more of the same, this time featuring six new songs.  The introductions of “Dirt” and Fishman’s “Bye Bye Foot,” took place in the first set, while the second set carried some more significance. Phish opened the set with the first versions of “Twist” and “Piper,” two songs that became centerpiece jams in their repertoire up until they stopped.  Additionally, the second set saw the initial renditions of “I Saw It Again,” and “Waking Up,” a short Trey composition that was never played again.  Some of these Dublin debuts would find a home on 1998s The Story of the Ghost, and others would land on 2000’s Farmhouse. (Note: “Black Eyed Katy” was debuted in Fall ’97’s first show in Las Vegas.)


The beginning of 1998 was the Island Run- not exactly your conventional Phish tour.  Nonetheless, Phish used the initial night in Nassau to unveil “Birds of a Feather” (which had developed out of an Albany ’97 jam) and “Frankie Says” (then thought to be named “Red Sand” or “Relax”.)

During the initial show of Summer ’98, at The Grey Hall in Copenhagen, Phish introduced three new songs- “The Moma Dance,” “Roggae,” and Brian and Robert.”  Two nights later in the same building, the band would unveil two of Mike’s post-Bearsville creations, “Meat” and “Fikus.”


1999-06-30mo2Though 1999 was also light on the new material, Phish launched three new songs amidst a standout Bonner Springs tour opener on June 30th.  The TAB transplant “Get Back On the Train” reared its bluegrass-funk in the first set, while the debut of Trey’s power-ballad “Bug” segued into an incredibly psychedelic “My Left Toe”- the first track the band broke out off of the instrumental Siket Disc.  “My Left Toe” served as an ambient lead-in to a dark and crashing set-closing “Stash,” putting an exclamation point on an excellent show.

phish-gorge-99-pollockFall ’99 saw seven new songs played within the first three shows covering Vancouver and the Gorge.  More TAB transplants- “First Tube,” the acoustic “Inlaw Josie Wales,” and “Mozambique”- saw their first Phish show in Canada on 9.9.99, while “Gotta Jiboo” and the cover “Will It Go Round In Circles?” had to wait for the next night at The Gorge.  But the most significant debut of all came on the third night, when Phish opened up the second set, and a new universe, with a driving segue out of “Wolfman’s” into Phish’s first “Sand.”  The perfect venue for such massive grooves, “Sand’s” debut was a peak convergence of all the elements to create an unparalleled music/nature/outer-space experience.  Phish also introduced their next single, “Heavy Things” during the first set of this show.


Needless to say, we have tradition here, and as discussed yesterday, we are now 11 days away from starting it all over again.  Rife with anticipation, hold onto your hats, because we’re not gonna’ know what happened after we are hit with the first epic ___________.



7.21.97 Virginia Beach Amphitheatre < LINK

7.21.97 Virginia Beach Amphitheatre < TORRENT LINK

97_summer_tour_pollock_backBecause not all of us made it over to Dublin to begin the summer, this first show of Phish’s US Tour took on a huge air of excitement.  Opening with the first stateside “Ghost” and beginning the show with four straight new songs, this show immediately took on the energy of one strewn with new songs.  Additionally, this show saw the US debuts of “Piper,” “Dogs,” Dirt,” and “Velvet Sea.”  In terms of musical highlights; coupling with the huge “Ghost,” a ridiculously funky “Bathtub Gin” lit up the first set, while a deep “Wolfman’s > Magilla, Bowie” opening stood out as the musical highlights of set two.  After Leroi Moore joined the band for some multi-instrumental antics, a beautiful “Slave” topped it all off.

I: Ghost, Dogs Stole Things, Piper, Dirt, Ginseng Sullivan, Bathtub Gin*, Character Zero

II: Wolfman’s Brother > Magilla, David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Theme From the Bottom#+ > Funky Bitch#, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Loving Cup

*At the end, Trey welcomes the beginning of the U.S. Summer Tour after time spent in Europe, mockingly chanting “USA! USA! USA!” He then introduced the new songs to the American crowd.  #With Leroi Moore of Dave Matthews Band on sax.  +With Multi-Instrument Jam (Leroi with 2 saxes, Trey with 3 guitars and Fish’s cymbals (running around like a madman on stage), and Mike with 2 basses. Meanwhile Fish was playing with multiple (somewhere between 6 and 8 ) drum sticks while Page was laying on his keyboards trying to play as many as he could and banging on them like a madman.)

Source: Schoeps CMC641 > Sonosax > SBM1 > D8


167 Responses to “For the First Time”

  1. nonoyolker Says:

    @VT – I respect your opinion, but there is something about the music DBM makes that is straight corny. The scene reminds me of Abercrombie and Fitch, drunk teens, and lot fires. Awful.

  2. Frankie Says:

    You forgot “Dream On” in there… :op

  3. old dude Says:

    what’s wrong with drunk teens? damn consent laws…

  4. nonoyolker Says:

    dream on would be pretty sick. they teased that in Bowie -12/30/93 if i remember, no?

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    Alpine night 1s anyone?

  6. RobAins Says:

    VTSnowborder:: I couldn’t agree more. Similar to how I feel about Phish, I could care less if people don’t like DMB. But you can not say that they are not talented musicians. And the main point (as VT said above) the bands are LONG TIME friends, and enjoy playing together!

  7. Frankie Says:

    Yeah man! That is one hell of a start to a show… 12.30.93 is mandatory listening… 🙂

    Friends playing music together is a beautiful thing but in that case, i would rather Trey would guest at the DMB shows than having Dave at the Phish show… just ’cause there is nothing like PURE Phish…

  8. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    @nono – I guess that’s like saying we’re all drop-outs w/ dreads. I haven’t had that experience at the DMB shows I’ve been to.

    I guess my bigger point was, DMB was a friend to trey at a rough time (and for a long time prior), and I expect that friendship to be reciprocated.

    I really just hope anyone other than the boys who steps on stage is treated respectfully. If they’re on stage with Phish, chances are the ‘might’ be a better musician than the people in the crowd.

  9. old dude Says:

    Nono – 12/30/93 is right. i was listening to an old cassette of that two nights ago. Love the Slave closer. best night of that NYE run (i think. although next night was not bad…) and the one show i missed b/c of the drive to Portland.

    another “out of the way show i shouldn’t have skipped” story.

  10. fromthetub Says:

    I think all Phish guests are treated respectfully… I mean, I even clapped for Kid Rock. Whatever happens, I’m sure Fenway will be fantasticly mind-blowing. Without Dave, or even with him.

  11. Frankie Says:

    I hope people won’t be disrespectul as well… Phish is about fun…

    Especially since he’ll come out for Waste after the 30 minute Ghost>Undermind… 🙂

  12. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    @frankie, i agree. i haven’t seen phish in years. i want to see phish alone, but if we’re treated to a guest, i will be disappointed if there’s boo’s… see prior posts…

    @nono: if you don’t like the music, that’s cool. just be respectful.

  13. nonoyolker Says:

    @ VT – i hear you about friends supporting friend, which is totally cool. My feeling is that phish is better w/out any guests at all, no matter who they are. They never really add up to being anything better than phish when ever they have anyone step in. And personally, i just don’t like anything about DMB. They may be talented, but not my cup of tea. Rather no guest appearance at all.
    As for the scene, there is some truth in both. You’ll see some dreads at a phish show and some drunk, rich high school kids at a DMB show.
    I hope everyone gets treated with respect as well, and most likely, they will.

  14. HarryHood Says:


    Anyone need extras for Chicago? Got two in Sec 108. I can only make the east coast shows and I’d like to just get my $$$ back. I paid face for them.

  15. the foonshoe Says:

    I’m of the opinion that Phish should open their tour without any guests. Dave or whoever else, please just hang on the side and watch history being made, my friend my friend!

  16. nonoyolker Says:

    @ VT – never said i would be disrespectful or boo or anything, just that it would be a let down. thats all.

  17. old dude Says:

    Hood – who told you there were gals in this joint?

  18. whole tour! Says:

    lol @ old dude..that’s hillarious!

  19. HarryHood Says:

    @old dude…… There were a few people that said they were hoping that DMB joined Phish onstage at Fenway, so I assumed there were a few girls on here! haha. kidding.

  20. nonoyolker Says:

    ^ WOW

  21. HarryHood Says:

    @ VT

  22. Frankie Says:

    Ahaha! Good one! 🙂

  23. HarryHood Says:

    I almost feel bad about that last post……. I’ve actually seen Dave a few times and have no real disrespect for the guy. I just wanted to see who would blow up.

  24. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    @nono, sorry, wasn’t trying to insinuate YOU would be disrespectful. I could see how it could come off that way, sorry.

    I just have been hearing “i hope dave doesn’t join them” a lot, and am concerned about the respect level in general. Like all here, I just want to have a great time at the Fens.

    no harm, no foul.

  25. Frankie Says:

    TOo many dicks on the dancefloor!

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