The Finest In the Nation

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

6.2.09 Jones Beach I (D.Vann)

Over the years, I’ve found that many Phish songs go particularly well with certain times of day, and there is nothing quite like a “Reba” in the morning.  The bass driven grooves pulsate as your mind wakes up to the day.  Thick and laid back, the cushion of bass provides a soft buffer between you and the outside world for several crucial minutes.  The aura that emanates from a spectacular “Reba” is one of unmatched relaxation; drifting on a musical raft, allowing only the notes to keep you afloat. The quintessential daytime Phish jam, no other feeling resembles the euphoria of a top notch version, and no other Phish peak blends better with waking up.   Yesterday morning, as I stepped outside, I turned on the Jones Beach “Reba” and with the combination of sunshine, a cool breeze, and my favorite version since IT back in ’03- things felt completely in sync.

It was a much nicer morning than the evening of June 2nd at Jones Beach, when Phish dropped into the summer’s first “Reba” late in the opening set.  Following the smoking combo of “Timber,” “Cities” and a “Driver” interlude, the band continued the highlight-strewn set with tales of coconuts and chloroform.  Though the skies were grey, the rains stayed away as the band hit one of the best jam-drops in their catalog.  “Reba’s” furious fugue transformed into a pool of sonic pleasure as the uncovered pavilion allowed the music to waft over the stadium-like venue.

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

Trey entered the mix with some coy offerings, while Mike led the jam early-on.  Instead of moving the music forward, like most other times this summer, the band took a big step back into an intricate, minimalist section of  tightly-laced improv.  The band moved slowly, as if reacquainting with an old friend.  Fully exploring this territory, Phish peaked the quiet jam before diving back into the outright groove of the song.

It is sections like this that separate more interesting versions from the standard.  Rarely did latter-year “Rebas” diverge from the song’s surreal build, but the special versions- the ones that are remembered and that landed on mix tapes- were the ones that brought something unique to the table.   In this delicate portion of the jam, Fishman drops his beat to a whisper, as Trey and Mike enter into some quiet, intertwined playing.  Page backs the communication, gradually joining in.  Completely locked and playing ever so gently, the band extended this part before one chord from Trey returned them to their classic course.

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

At this point, Mike began to completely slaughter the jam, complementing Trey’s emotive wails and Page’s piano lines.  Peaking with a repeated sprint up and down the fretboard, Trey hit the lick of the night as the jam reached its apex.  Converging on a dime, Fish’s drum roll signaled the end of the jam, and the band went on to complete the “full” version with whistling accompaniment.

This majestic “Reba” was part of Phish Jones Beach blast-off set, adding a first-set version of one of their classics that could hang with many older renditions.  Moving into setbreak, this “Reba” echoed in my mind as that guitar lick replayed itself over and over.   Many first set jams that are delivered early in a tour wind up getting looked over in the long run, but don’t sleep on the Jones Beach “Reba.”  It’s a keeper.

Listen to 6.2’s “REBA” NOW!




6.16.09 The Fox, St. Louis, MO < TORRENT

6.16.09 The Fox, St. Louis, MO < MEGAUPLOAD

Offical Fox Poster

Offical Fox Poster

On an anti-climactic night, Phish played a “theatre-appropriate” show, highlighting some of their more mellow pieces.  The “Slave” jam is great before the botched ending, but the late-show “Mike’s Groove” is the most exciting part of a pretty tame show.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Ocelot, Brian And Robert, Sample in a Jar, Rift, Yamar, Reba, Train Song, Horn, Possum,  Slave To The Traffic Light

II: Halley’s Comet > Runaway Jim, Frankie Says, Time Turns Elastic, Sleep, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Character Zero

E: The Star-Spangled Banner, McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Source: Schoeps CCM41(DIN)>Sonosax sxm2>sound devices 744tTapers: Ian Stone & Gregory Mault

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247 Responses to “The Finest In the Nation”

  1. Walfredo Says:

    Ryan- was at Cactus last night down there. Let me know if you want to meet up for a beer sometime…

    My name is dan-

  2. Frankenstein Says:

    @ Walfredo…Ryan is Frankentstein, and vice versa….haven’t posted from my laptop in awhile and forget to switch the name to the new one. I’m up for it for sure…I’ll send you a text, what’s the #?

  3. Walfredo Says:


  4. Pence Says:

    Mike just tore up through some states on his segway

  5. Frankenstein Says:

    Has anyone else noticed how Indiana seems to be right smack dab in the middle of the text both on the top and bottom? Here’s my dark horse call, haha….

  6. Mugician Says:

  7. Mugician Says:

    Is it okay to post that?

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    you guys can now download the listen nows by simply clicking on the song title! Thanks to your crack Phish Thoughts tech team- Alexander K.

  9. Frankenstein Says:

    @ miner…is there a way to listen without downloading?

  10. larrybirdflu Says:

    excellent miner! even better

  11. Phish...Yup Says:

    Loving the instant listen addition Miner. It’s like a cup of coffee at work in the morning. The 2001/Slave from yesterday got multiple listens.

    Going back to the old/young crowd debate, I’m 25 so I guess it’s on the young end on this site, but I didn’t see any hostility between any of the older and younger crowds at any of the shows I went to, especially when I was on the lawn. I saw a 17 year old looking kid passing a joint to a 60ish dude and it cracked me up.

    And thanks for bringing up Bisco whoever that was. Hadn’t listened to much of them since college, and just downloaded a show from the Archives and it was the heat.

  12. Phish...Yup Says:

    I know there’s some Dali fans here and just found this Dali/Disney collaboration. I recommend taking a couple puffs before watching:

  13. butter Says:

    “btw being the grizzled tour vet of your crew at age like 22 can get you madly laid. Just sayin’.”

    lol….true dat

  14. lot rat Says:

    In reply to John from a few pages ago re: being young at shows

    Dont let the dueschbag vets get in your way of having a good time. I went to school in burlington during the 90’s and met plenty of the “holier than shit” phish fans. what a turn off most of these tirds were. Some (not all) of the so called pageside crew were complete fuckin tools.

    A quick story for you though…..Deer Creek 7/20/94. I’m 17 in Indiana visiting my friends father, he hooks us with tix to all 3 deer creek shows and his new volvo…fuckin bliss. It’s prob my 7th show and im still new to the scene. Sit down in our pavillion seats and these 3 old fat loads start talking shit about us. my buddies starting to get bugged, wants to go to the lawn. i said fuck no, these seat are sick and i dont care what some asshole (who never spoke to me) thinks. There talking shit about how we too young to know who jerry is, we weren’t there for the summer of love blah blah blah….Finally I turned to them in the thickest boston accent i could dig up and asked them to shut there fuckin holes. They were a little surpised that this “kid” who they thought was from indy, snapped back with a little pride. The guy next to me loved it, rolled up a number the size of a redwood. I began to explain that the only possible opener that night was stranger and if i was a betting man you could lock in peggy-o in the 2 spot. I said it out loud for all to hear. Bobby came out in some nut huggers, Jerry in a pair of bright green shorts, socks up to his knees….they nailed stranger…and as the openig note of peggy-o hit i had a smile a mile fuckin wide. I looked back with a corker of some kind in my yap with F-U looks for the ages.

    By the middle of the second set these slobs were half passed out sitting down…lame. As Garcia finished off AM Dew I looked back at these defeated tools and simply said…..see you tomorrow.

    The moral. Dont take shit from people who claim they are sacred vets. Most of them are just old and jealous that your 20 staying out every night, tagging young chicks, and going to school. Get on tour.

    Sorry about the rant…hope john actually reads it

  15. John Says:

    I read it, good shit man.

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @rat – I was at that show. Was that the night they did the 3 rain songs and then here comes sunshine? I was so out of it all three nights, I pretty much remember the Shakedown opener night one, and the third night is such a blur that I hesitate to even speak of it. Jesus….well, if you know than you know.

  17. butter Says:

    @Mr. C and Little Buddy
    “The Dead and Phish have melted my face. Nothing else has to this point, except for some jazz acts I’ve caught here and there.”

    Mr. C, you added Kimock to your face melting list ( a few times)

    I have had my face melted off by the music at New Orleans Jazzfest and Jam Cruise many different years and by many different musicans. I guess you both did say jazz has done it. Well New Orleans Jazzfest has been over the top in helping me see dream collaborations come true. I highly recommend trying to make it to New Orleans for some face melting. Trombone Shorty and Big Sam stole some of the shows this year, joining many different acts including Galactic. Midnight Disturbers were a band assembled that played twice this year. (the band consisted of Galactic with Trombone Shorty, Big Sam, Skerik and 6 more hand picked Big Easy brass players.) Once at the fairgrounds and once late night. I was lucky enough to catch the fairgrounds show on Sat May 2nd. Get this show if you can for some of the most syncopated , funk tranced circular breathing horn playing you’ll hear.
    In these non-Phish years that have passed I’ve witnessed some unbelievable music on that damn boat known as Jam Cruise . Ya’ll should check out ” the sounds of San Francisco” from JC 5 if you can get the recordings. Donna G, Martin Fierro, Kimock, the ALO boys and some of the Hot Buttered Rum boys put together a gorgeous GD set. Martin and Kimock weaved their way in and out of the slipnot like it was 1975 all over again. Donna G knows how to sing alot of the songs too.
    This year on the boat JC7, at one point on the last night during Karl’s Tiny Universe things got a little face melty. George Porter Jr., Skerik, Robert Walter, Ivan Neville and a few other members from his Duphstafunk, and Stanton Moore all joined Karl’s Tiny Universe.
    Of course my first example is Kimock joining GD people. My second is basically jazz-funk…a little more funk I think. Anyway I guess you covered these as face melting capable. Just thought i’d site a few examples of face melting that happened to me, that wasn’t GD or Phish.

  18. lot rat Says:


    Yes. 1st night shakedown opener, tight Rat out of space
    second night, the show mentioned above is a 94 tour nug. after those opener there is a BIODTL, High Time>Memphis Blues….tasty…second set box, looks like, samba?>HCSS!!! Intense Jerry Jaam going out of matilda into drumz…UJB out of space smokin miracle and my first dew…
    3rd night had the help>slip>frank midway thru the second set….place went nuts when jerry hit the opening chord to frankies….got lost in some cornfields on the way back to my friends old mans place…chain smoked
    some marly reds and realized tour was where it was at.

    On aanother note, buddy just sen me a text 30$ HARTFORD LAWN TIX ON LIVENATION RIGHT NOW LIMITED NUMBER.

  19. lot rat Says:

    he says you get hot dog and soda ta boot…

  20. Corey Says:

    OK, since I was away teaching, I managed to miss the thread about my favorite Phish tune, Reba. Gotta say, that is where some of the most beautiful Phish music forms.

    But, 12.31.93 is where it’s at.

    Live Phish Darien Lake 9.14.00 can lift your spirits too.
    Around 8:42ish Mike just sits on the low G while Trey hovers 2+ octaves higher on an A…and then out they come. It’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas, like at 9:07 or at 12:11. Give it a listen with the lights off and turn it up. Pretty stuff.

    12.7.97 was fun in its context (especially since I saw/heard it from 7th row ctr.) around Psycho Killer and Boogie On…

    6.13.94, 3.22.93, 5.14.94 are three other versions that really move me.

    Anyone see the irony this summer in Knoxville? Arguably the loudest crowd this year, except for the real opening night in Hampton. And they decided to take Reba down to nothing for a long time. Quite patient; reserved. Not my all time favorite or anything, but I enjoyed their different approach. Anyone see Trey chat with Fish before the a capella? I’d like to think the Trey told Jon he wasn’t done lifting Reba even higher. It seemed to me he went back to that place in Harry Hood, making it longer than expected. At least that’s what I’d like to believe.

    Regardless, Reba is intense and then intense-ly-beautiful and then just beautiful. It’s a great ride no matter what version you like.

  21. Al Says:

    Reba from Deer Creek 5/19/95 is one of my all time favorites!!! First mellow, then into a great blues* jam, back and then several mindblowing peaks! Really, check it out! >

  22. Doug Says:

    It’s funny that they played 6 Character Zero’s and not one made this list. They just couldn’t really take any off the ground. 4 Tweezers though, they’ve been tearing those up. Overall, good diversity of jams though. Love it.

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