The Revitalized “Harry Hood”

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

One of Phish’s most revered songs, “Harry Hood’s” emotional quality and ethereal improvisation taps into the very ethos of the band and their grand musical experiment.  A tightly-woven path of exaltation, “Hood” jams, when played with intent, are like none other.  Peaking with a mind-boggling, yet blissful intensity, I consider “Hoods” to be musical metaphors for life itself.  One of the band’s most magical pieces, “Harry Hood” is pure Phish.

But there came a time, around ’98 through ’00, where the band continued playing the song, but with much less passion.  Often noodling their way to generic peaks, the start of “Harry Hood,” instead of giving me instant goosebumps, was almost a letdown, because I knew how great it could be.  Then came post-hiatus.  With more energy and an exploratory spirit, Phish began taking “Hoods” where they’d never gone before- crafting two for the record books in Charlotte and Camden in the Summer of ’03.  But just as the band was getting into things, it was over.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Fast Forward to this summer.  Beginning with Jones Beach’s other-worldly experimentation, “Hood” announced itself on the summer scene with a deeply-psychedelic excursion, leaving the entire crowd buzzing long after the show.  Bringing the jam to a new realm of ambient space, Phish made a statement with “Harry Hood,” reawakening its hibernating spirit from the corner of the universe, and back into our lives.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

When Phish dropped the next “Hood” at Great Woods, those goosebumps were back.  Combining musical urgency and a delicate patience- seemingly a paradox- Phish played perhaps the tightest and most triumphant version of the summer.  Extending the jam with mini musical tangents, this was the type of “Hood,” that when it finally arrives at its peak, finds the entire crowd involuntarily blissed out.  All four members carried on a vibrant musical conversation, each offering creative musical phrases; none dominating at all.  If Jones Beach represented a dark spiritual awakening, this climactic version was a soulful sprint through an open meadow with deepest blue sky and long green grass swirling around you.  “Hood” was officially back- and it had never felt better.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

As Phish continued to drop frequent “Hoods” throughout June, each and every one was welcomed with rife anticipation of where the ride might take us.  Remaining anchored in the jam’s structure, each brought a brilliant improvisational path, as the band and audience rejoiced in one of their most hallowed pieces.  Knoxville and Bonnaroo’s versions each crafted a gentle journey that was a highlight of their respective sets.  June’s final version came at Star Lake, a soaring and emotive rendition led by Trey’s dynamic playing- again, one of the jams of the night.

“Harry Hood” fell right in line with the band’s June trend of tight, purposeful improvisation that remained, largely, inside the box.  But being a song that never strayed far from its path (other than in ’03) this suited “Harry” just right.  With a renewed intent, Phish crafted spiritual excursions out of “Hood” all tour long, reconnecting with their own souls as well as ours.



6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < TORRENT

6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < MEGAUPLOAD

Official Star Lake Poster

Official Star Lake Poster

The first of June’s final four nights, Phish improvised coherently throughout the second set.  Warming them up for Deer Creek and Alpine, this show became far more interesting after setbreak.  The “Disease > Free,” “Piper,” and “Hood” are all highlight explorations, while the “YEM” was, in my opinion, the best of tour.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Wolfman’s Brother, The Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska, David Bowie

II: Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > When The Circus Comes To Town, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself

E: Grind, Hello My Baby, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Loving Cup

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din)-FOB > Lunatec V2 > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Taper: Z-Man



Phish At the Fox – Photo: Brian Kisida

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209 Responses to “The Revitalized “Harry Hood””

  1. R1 Says:

    ^Me neither Colonel

  2. HarryHood Says:

    Nectar’s has actually changed hands a few times over the last few years. Still has the same basic theme though and the name has remained the same. Great live music downstairs, nightclub upstairs, and the best damn gravy fries on earth! Trust me on the fries…..

  3. Albert Walker Says:

    best hood memory
    11/22/94 Columbia Mo

    After a ripping second set that opened Funky Bitch into a 22 minute a jam into cry baby cry and then blackbird
    Trey let some sister jump up on stage (few thousand person lecture hall) and asked her what she wanted to hear
    She screams Hood and they tore it up
    I would have had a better choice if given the opportunity but fun old school night

    this show rips and I’m still searching for a good source
    some of the second set is a filler on a Phish release

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    HarryHood, I’m with you on those fries! Had them a few weeks ago!

  5. Leo Weaver Says:

    @picker…word on the 12.31.98 hood. that whole show was great (and just a damn good time taboot). I still think that may be the best, most intensely swirling Antelope I’ve ever heard…and then it rolls into one of the best Frankensteins ever. Hell, that whole 4-day run was a hell-on-wheels good time…huge “tits”. Never lost my wallet or picked up a sweater like your boy, but I tweaked and freaked a few times. Napped on my sister’s apt floor for about 4 hours after the NYE show (and getting in at like 8 a.m.) then hauled ass out of NYC trying to beat a snowstorm heading in…rolled back into Athens, GA around 4:30 a.m. on January 2nd wondering what had just happened.

  6. CJ Says:

    Star Lake: Best Hood of the tour.

  7. whole tour! Says:

    the cypress fake hood intro > 2001 always is fun.
    charlotte 03 hood went off the deep end.
    knoxville hood was a masterpiece.

  8. HarryHood Says:

    @ Type III.

    I love when you roll up to the sidewalk window drunk at 2:30am and they slam the fork into the top of the styrofoam container and basically fling them out the window at you! I think they taste better once they’ve been flung.

  9. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Leo – I didn’t beat the snowstorm back home to Indiana. I wrecked my car somewhere north of Dayton, and I was crawling, maybe 15 mph and just wham, the thing just spins around on me and I wind up in a snowbank. That car saw a lot of tour. I bought it the week before Deer Creek shows and we drove it all the way up to the Wheel.

    Speaking of that Antelope, I remember turning to my tour buddy and saying something like “this is a strange place for Antelope to wind up, I think they are jamming sideways.”

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    I think it was Hood that Mike was talking about when he said that the jam doesn’t do it for him just automatically, and I agree with that. The build and release can be mechanical or formulaic: science instead of art. What’s the difference between a version like that and one that’s transcendent, with legitimate feeling and passion? Is it in the notes? Could you have two versions that are identical on tape, but one was mechanical and the other was magnificent when experienced live?

    Hood is the prototype of a class of Phish songs that for me all share this paradox. Reba, Slave, Bowie: composed head, then the drop into a contained jam that builds tension to a peak and release. All can be either formulaic or monumentally beautiful or anywhere in between, but the best versions of each are among the finest moments in Phish music.

  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    ALO Hood is the “measuring stick” version for me. Like many of you guys, it was the first one that really stuck and resonated with me (ALO was incredible after being hooked by Lawn Boy album). And yeah WT, Charlotte ’03 went WAY off the deep end…it was definitely one of those “what song was this” moments…pure bliss.

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Hood is the prototype of a class of Phish songs that for me all share this paradox. Reba, Slave, Bowie: composed head, then the drop into a contained jam that builds tension to a peak and release. All can be either formulaic or monumentally beautiful or anywhere in between, but the best versions of each are among the finest moments in Phish music.”

    ^^ well said

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    Well put Mr. C…that “class” includes some of my favorites. A large part of the magnetism of those songs I think is what you point out…they’re all composed pieces with the option to throw in a few more variables via jam (like a science experiment)…it’s what they do with those variables that can take it from the science box to pure art…never know what you’re gonna get…even when formulaic, the tension/release feeds my emotion.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    ’95 Hoods = so amazing

  15. butter Says:

    maybe a “nectar” somewhere during late summer?

  16. whole tour! Says:

    my favorite part of any good ‘hood’ jam is page’s cosmic playing on the fender rhodes and how trey plays off it. a sonic texture as wholesome as milk. they love to drop hood late in a second set, usually after a huge jam.

  17. pebbles Says:

    Bios, nice.

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Hancock, NH
    Currently: Manchester, NH
    Past Residences: Nassau County, LI; Burlington, VT; Middlebury, VT
    First Show(s): Great Went
    # shows: Never counted, at least 80-90
    This Year: Hampton II, Fenway, GW, Camden, Alpine I, II
    When I first got it: Summer of 1994 at summer camp when my counselors got the dining room to sing Antelope a capella
    Most shows in a year: 1999 (24– all of summer tour until Japan, most of Fall tour– what can I say, sophomore year of college wasn’t very demanding….)
    Most Shows in a venue: Loring AFB (6), Great Woods (6).
    Most shows in a state: Mass (~15)
    Favorite outdoor venue: Loring AFB, wherever the next festival is
    Favorite indoor: Hampton Coliseum
    Show attended worthy of an archival release/ most underrated: 6/30/2000 Meadows Music Theater in Hartford.
    Biggest Phish Regrets: Not getting started earlier, having spent so many summers passing up tour for work, having gotten emotionally invested in Coventry
    Least favorite tunes: Bouncing, Farmhouse

    Holy Grail(s): Ya Mar, (really good) Hoods, Timber Ho, Cavern, Undermind (this has only become a “grail” song for me since Knoxville this year. woooo-eeee!), Rock and Roll, Dirt.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Colonel. That Chula “Hood” was the first of the summer in ’03, and began to set a course for the jam during that summer that would become increasingly exploratory with each version. So if you like Chula, I would def check out ALL the Summer 03 Hoods- awesome.

  19. Floyd the Chimpanzee Says:

    Perhaps one of the best Hoods I ever saw was in Antioch, TN, (6-22-00) when the boys brought out Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Rob McCoury on banjo, and Sam Bush on fiddle. Playing Hood > Dog Faced Boy > Hood in the second set, they took this song to unheard of heights and spaces by creating one of the most joyful and beautiful versions I have ever heard. As the later half of the song was played, the addition of the strings seemed to push the band to create new spaces for the additional instruments and thusly allowed for one of the most creative build-ups for the songs climatic peak. I will never forgot the sound of the fiddle and banjo dancing their way through the blissful piece.

    It was lovely, beautiful and something I will never forget.

    Thank God for these moments for they are the ones that keep me sane.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ agreed, Floyd. That “Hood” was gorgeous. One of few sit-ins that truly ENHANCED the music.

  21. halcyon Says:

    The 10/96 Hood in Hampton is a notable standout as well. The Clifford Ball one goes without saying…..

  22. HarryHood Says:

    The Hood versions that really stand out for me are the one’s that include a build-up jam that drops back and builds again. To me, there is more satisfaction in hearing them build up a few times than just heading straight for the top.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Floyd that sounds cool, I will have to check that out

  24. sumodie Says:

    I’m in thee Hood camp as described by Colonel Joy, others, and especially Mr. Completely’s comment. In person Hood didn’t do it for me this tour, though apparently I missed the better versions. Still waiting to listen to the tour enders (I seem to stuck on listening to the shows I saw (phen > Roo – JBs).

    Sort of off topic, yesterday I was reflecting back on all the amazing song analysis here and I realized I am an experientialist phish phan – it doesn’t seem to be in my nature to compare song versions and analyze the band’s playing (a quality I admire, btw). Sorry, I couldn’t come up with a big fancy word to describe that ability 🙂

    I’ve no doubt that Hood will click again with me -I just have to be patient. As I said before, I loved the Antelopes, Zeros, and Possums this tour, and they had all been off my love list for a few years.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sumodie – FWIW I absolutely forbid myself from committing the sin of analysis *during* the show. That’s for later, after the moment ends.

    Indeed, a big part of the point of going is to be as narrowly in the moment as possible.

    “Personal density is inversely proportional to temporal bandwidth.” -T. Pynchon

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