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. VTsnowboarder802 Says:


  2. nonoyolker Says:

    @ VT – it’s all good man. Raspekt… A great time will be had for sure.

    Loving the ribbing too, way better than doing work at work…

  3. HarryHood Says:

    I’m just bitter because the last time I saw Dave, a sixteen year old girl puked on my shoe.

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    there’s no way there will be guests at fenway

  5. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    much better than work… i see this happening much over the next 11days.

  6. fromthetub Says:

    I think if there is a guest, it will only be for the encore.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @nono if they cover machine gun i will be so phucking happy

  8. nonoyolker Says:

    Guest appearance by Ted William’s frozen head for Trey’s solo “Goodbye head”

  9. HarryHood Says:

    nono, that’s priceless…….

  10. VTsnowboarder802 Says:


  11. msbjivein Says:

    @Hood, I’m interested in the Chicago tix. Are they still available?????

  12. nonoyolker Says:

    I’m pulling a Costanza and going out on a high note. “And i’m outta here!”

  13. msbjivein Says:

    @Miner, I might have an extra lawn for Alpine 6-21. You interested????

  14. Selector J Says:

    VT: I agree with you, man. I got into Phish and DMB around the same time during middle school (~92-93). There was a point as a kid where all I listened to were “Rift” and “Remember Two Things.” (A year later, ‘Remember Two Things’ would be supplanted by “Recently” which remains DMB’s best effort, imo.) I lost interest in DMB as they became mega-pop stars after ‘Under The Table and Dreaming,’ but I think a lot of people would feel differently about DMB if they had not been introduced to them by ‘Ant’s Marching’ on MTV or by some preppy high school student. (Nothing against preppy high school students.) Not saying everyone would love them if this were the case, all I’m saying is that people wouldn’t feel so obligated to hate them.

    As far as a guest appearance, the ‘Waste’ (encore?) w/ Dave sounds quite possible. Of course, then they could thank him and see him off the stage before ripping the Tweeprise to close the night…

    I’m sure someone has mentioned “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” but I don’t see how they couldn’t do an acapella/sing along for that one at some point in the evening.

    miner: good luck with the alpine ticket quest.

  15. Frankie Says:

    “Believe it or not, he isn’t at home, please leave a message at the beep…”

  16. HarryHood Says:

    msbjivein, They are in fact still available.

    E-mail me at and we can set something up. I’m heading home for the day, so if I don’t get right back at you, no worries. I’ll e-mail you first thing in the morning.

  17. msbjivein Says:


  18. El Duderino Says:

    @Miner 100 sec. for Alpine that’s dreaming! 🙂

  19. V Says:

    Does anyone have photos of each of the members of the band playing multiple instruments at the Virginia Beach Show? I had thought this was a myth the entire time!

  20. youenjoy09 Says:

    Anybody need 2 Reserve seats (sec.4L) for 6/2 Jones Beach for face? I just had somebody -Gerard Greenan- from the ticket-exchange board BAIL on buying them (with less than 2 weeks till showtime) after we have had an agreement locked down. Now I am stressed about getting rid of them! Hit me up

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    In reference to a comment earlier- anyone bagging on 6.30.99 needs to listen to the show again, it is pure fire….

  22. A_Glide Says:

    I was listening to a ’93 YEM and they didn’t have to start the intro over again and I thought that was wierd. I’ve been listening to Hampton a little too much lately. 12 Days til I get new music. Sick.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    6.30.99 FREE….straight up fire!

  24. Billy Breathes Says:

    i have 2 alpine valley 1st night pavilion sect 102. email if interested.

    just kidding miner!

    i really do have 2 Jones Beach 6/2 in the pavilion…email me if you want them.

  25. Jacob Says:

    Hi all,

    I’m really impatient with some things, and this may have already been discussed, but has anyone received their e-mails for Deer Creek and Alpine tickets yet? Just starting to get a little anxious.

    They’re just lawns, but hey, I haven’t seen Phish in 5 years!

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