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. butter Says:

    ^ great rule Mr. C

  2. butter Says:

    As i mentioned earlier, I am devirginizing (from PHish) my 19 year old brother at RR later this month ( he gets to see all 4!!). I am working on burning him some discs. So far, Camden, Creek and Alpine 2 from this year. Any other recommendations from you folks on other required listening?

  3. Adam Says:

    Hey all,
    I never hear the Hood from 3/31/93 mentioned as a part of this discussion. Maybe I just love this Hood because it is the one that got me into the song to begin with. I’d also like to give props to 11/22/97 (goes without saying).

  4. Al Says:

    Best Hoods I can think of:

    JB 1 2009
    Burgettstown 2009

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @butter I’m sure you will get lots of suggestions but without being specific I’d say like one thing from each year starting in ’90? That would be a pretty interesting way to learn your phish, esp. if you had the discipline to listen to them in order.

  6. butter Says:

    Listening to 5-25-88 set I…now. The vocal jamming during sneakin sally is crazy. I don’t feel like sending him shows like this as this is an entirely diff band than he will hear.

  7. Adam Says:

    That JB1 hood was almost hosing me but the ending was totally flubbed which messed it up for me. The composed part was flubbed also. Great jam though leading up to the flubbed ending, if they had finished that one with a bang I think it would have gone in my top 5.

  8. Al Says:

    The first none-flubbed version (“thank you mr. minor” part) was at Bonnaroo. Maybe the guys told Trey to finally rehearse that written part cause he had been playing it wrong since the Hampton Reunion. Maybe my hint at helped also a bit 😉

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    @butter…one of my favorite “phish for beginners” shows is 9.28.99 Oak Mtn Al…it’s a fun show with a great range of songs that cover all the bases:

    Anthem – Hood (nice version as 1st set closer from what I recall); YEM with “Sweet Home ‘Bammer” vocal jam
    Bluegrass – Gensing
    Funk – Tube (and a really good one taboot)
    Cover – Sneakin’ Sally
    Raggae – Makisupa
    Pop – Heavy things
    Good ‘Ol Fashioned Phishy Darkness – Tweezer (pretty f’ing sick from what I recall), Maze

    …and then some…

  10. whole tour! Says:

    i tripped balls at oak mountain 99….sick sick show!

  11. Al Says:

    @Leo Weaver – I have that show on my iPod, but can’t even remember if I have already listened to it. But I know I have it. My Phish beginner menue usually goes 12/29/97, 11/22/97, 12/31/95

  12. Al Says:

    ^the menu goes on like 12/06/97, 07/23/97, 12/02/97, NYE 97….

  13. Al Says:

    By the way, if you want people to hook on Phish with just one song/version/jam – you might also want to consider the Boise 9/14/99 ACDC Bag. My alltime favorite version of that song…

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’d forgotten about the Boise Bag. That’s good stuff.

  15. verno329 Says:

    Don’t leave out the 11/16/96 Hood from Omaha…or perhaps I should call it the “Leigh Fordham” from that show. A really great high energy performance which features Trey holding a single note for close to 3 minutes before finishing the Hood, with the band absolutely raging behind him the entire time. And the Suzy (that you smell coming a mile away) that follows is quite good too. The whole second set actually.

  16. halcyon Says:

    @ Verno
    I watched a video not too long ago that someone had posted, that was a great hood. It was fun to watch. IT was on that night.

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Me too WT…really didn’t grab ahold of me until setbreak. thought I’d officially lost my small link to reality when I started hearing Sweet Home Alabama rolling out of the vocal jam…totally mesmerized trying to decide if they were actually singing it or if it was a total audially hallucinated experience of place, ya know being in the ‘ham and such…did I mention that lot SUCKED?

  18. verno329 Says:

    Indeed! That Hood was unbelievable plus we got to see Mike do what can only be described as veil dance following Catapult that night. What a strange night!

  19. Chonz Says:

    One of the most interesting Hoods I remember seeing was 8/10/97 in Deer Creek. I can’t seem to find any mention of it in the couple reviews I looked up, but I distinctly remember Mike playing two basses at the same time during it, maybe some of the other guys doing weirdness as well. I was as relatively sober as I get at this show so I don’t think it was a hallucination….and listening back to the tapes there is definitely some strangeness afoot in this Hood.

  20. verno329 Says:

    I was actually about to listen to that show now here at work and I will make a point now to check out the Hood. I generally get so caught up in the Cities>JAM that I forget how good the rest of that set is.

  21. sumodie Says:

    @Mr. Completely: I’m with you a 100% on that. And my comment was not meant to be critical of others in any way, purely a reflection on me. I very much appreciate the diverse ways in which we all appreciate the band.

    More musings off the Hood topic:
    I watched the IT dwd again last night. Made me remember the feeling that I forgot, namely, that my belief in phish (and what the whole scene represented) went way deeper than the quality of the notes being played at any one moment. It was a great realization to recall at this point in my life as I feel I’ve yet to fully express in the rest of my life what I used to (and looks to be returning in 3.0) get from shows. Perhaps someday soon I’ll take a stab at fully describing what I mean.

    Those festivals in Maine were beyond the beyond, even in 2003. Pinnacle phish magic, even in ’03 (the Tower jam was BRILLIANT on every level, imho). Coachella may not have the remoteness of Maine or Big Cypress, but I’ve never missed a big festie yet, and I’m not about to start now. Bonnaroo was an amazing weekend, but it was definitely missing that extra something that I only find at a phish festival.

    Now back to hood 🙂

  22. ColonelJoy Says:


    Come to think of it, I remember reading about the epic Hoods of Summer 03′, but Chula was my only show that tour. A strong second night effort, BTW.


    I was dancing in my boxers to the Boise Bag just the other day….and then they busted the Another One Bites the dust jam during the Gumbo and I imagined them playing that jam again, maybe when Dick Cheney dies….seriously, that is what I imagined.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sumodie it didn’t sound critical at all

    definitely one major axis on the spectrum of phish fan types

  24. whole tour! Says:

    @ leo… i didn’t spend too much time in the lot at oak mountain. I heard it was pretty lack luster. Didn’t effect me in the slightest since i came with all the essentials. 😉 Actually, i remember that we forgot that alabama was in a different time zone, so we forgot to set our clocks back an hour. We were an hour ahead swo when we walked over to the lot from our hotel we thought it was almost show time. Since out clocks were wrong we all uno dosed tres an hour early. So i was beyond GOLDEN during the first set and i peaked nicely during the second set. The waffle house after the show was freakishly amusing.

    Funny story about the uno doses tres as well. I guess i was wearing a phish shirt a day before i left and this guy approached me in my dorm’s cafeteria and told me he had these black gels. The guy ended up being my future roomate and the black gels were kick ass. I remember the tweezer being extra psychedelic. I called it the “octopus arm loop tweezer”. I stil remember how that “chalkdust” raged in the rain. And the “halley’s comet” encore was kick ass.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    Cheney’s human body died years ago, sacrificed to Cthulhu in return for powers of unspeakable evil. All that’s left is either a mechanical replicant or some kind of sorcerous projection, not sure which.

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