Memories of a Past Era

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 30th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
9.30.00 Las vegas (M.Mitchell)

9.30.00 Las Vegas (M.Mitchell)

On September 30, 2000, nine years ago today, Phish played Las Vegas on Trey’s birthday while sitting on the brink of extinction. Sure, they were proclaiming a “hiatus,” but who knew what would actually transpire. The band had finally run out of gas. Throughout Fall 2000, there were still moments of brilliance (see “Bathtub Gin” from the previous night), but they were fewer and further between. Improvisation remained adhered to song structure, and by the time the band reached the west coast, there were several nights, in retrospect, that Phish was simply going through the motions.

2000-09-30moIt’s an interesting time to reflect upon, because as I was going to every show – still having a blast nightly -  the musical stagnation wasn’t as apparent as it became years later listening back.  One might think the opposite; if I’d seen shows for years, wouldn’t the changes be more apparent? Well, not really. Busy living each and every Phish moment as if it was my last, I have nothing but fond memories of that last tour. But that final west coast run after Vegas certainly felt different. Defined by a bittersweet helplessness, we went to those last four, but this night in Vegas was the last show that carried the sense of still being on tour without the end yet in sight. There was still a show in Phoenix and a four-night run up the coast, but needless to say, emotions ran deep as the lights dropped on the last indoor Phish show.

Interestingly, I went back to listen to what has always been the musical highlight of the evening for me – “Twist > Sand” – only to discover that my memory was far brighter than the actual music. I hadn’t listened to it in years, though I certainly had heard it plenty of times. But juxtaposed with today’s Phish that I’ve been cranking lately, this time through, the band sounded pretty lazy; the period of decline had set in.

9.30.00 (D.Clinch)

9.30.00 (D.Clinch)

While much attention has been given to this Vegas evening due to Trey’s birthday and the copious bustouts, I’ve always found its only improvisational merit buried deep in the second set. After the appearances of “Walfredo” (244 shows), “Esther” (142 shows), and “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” (144 shows), but before “A Day in the Life” (166 shows) and “Emotional Rescue” (151 shows), Phish sank into a chunk of improv for the only time in the second set, combining “Twist” and “Sand.” After the “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” narration, referencing the band’s upcoming break, the musical highlight of the show unfolded – though on this particular night, that wasn’t saying all too much.

cover_502119312005

Live In Vegas DVD

Introduced by Mike’s bass lines, the opening of “Twist” subtly emanated from beneath the boisterous arena crowd.  As the jam gets underway, the band enters some pretty standard Santana-esque “Twist” grooves, with Trey flowing particularly well. Remaining anchored to the template of “Twist,” the band creates a minimalist backing that Trey and Page toy over collectively. Before they approach anywhere significant, the lyrical reprise returns, ending what could have been. But when the song ends, the band sustains a drone soundscape that Fish cuts through with the opening beats of “Sand.”

Adapting a laid back vibe throughout its composition, the rhythmic juggernaut seemed to be saving its wrath for the jam. But launching into a relaxed groove with Trey starting out on keys, maybe there would be no wrath at all. The band layers textures and effects instead of offering any melodic leads, creating a spaced-out vibe to the improv. Mike and Fish drive the jam behind the sonic layers before Trey even picks up his Languedoc.

9.30.00 Vegas (S.Phly)

9.30.00 Vegas (S.Phly)

Hitting some heavily altered notes, Trey uses his guitar to add another layer of sound rather than a distinct pattern. Without ever building the jam vertically, Phish explores spacier realms in a song usually reserved for ballistic exploration.  I can dig on this version, but I can certainly understand those who can’t. As I said, it’s an interesting time to look back on.

For some reason that I am still trying to figure out, this show became Phish’s first full-show DVD release, showcasing the band at one of the very few downtimes in their career. This show always seemed like an odd choice, somehow over-hyped, especially since the night before – despite the Kid Rock fiasco – was far more musically engaging. Some things I’ll never understand. Nonetheless, make your own decision on this Vegas 2000 “Twist > Sand” by clicking play below.

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Winged music note====

Jam of the Day:

Mike’s > Keyboard Cavalry > Weekapaug” 9.30.95 II

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Fourteen years ago today, Phish started a small tradition of dropping large Shoreline “Mike’s Grooves.” (The tracking is weird on this, and “Mike’s” actually goes four minutes into the second track.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.12.98 Vernon Downs, Vernon, NY < Torrent

8.12.98 Vernon Downs, Vernon, NY < Megaupload

1998-08-12moAnother Phish tradition is to play a massive show right before a festival, causing many a fan prioritizing a good camping spot to miss the throw down.  In ’96 it was the vastly underrated Hershey show, in ’97 it was Darien’s Bozo-laced adventure, and in ’98 it was this show at Vernon Downs. The last show before Lemonwheel, Phish threw down the a two-set effort that featured more than a few highlights.  The “Ramble On > Slave” is a must hear, while the band kills the entire second set.  Prepare to get bassed with these chunky FOBs!

I: La Grange, Makisupa Policeman, Funky Bitch, Possum, Roggae, Character Zero, Ramble On > Slave to the Traffic Light

II: Mike’s Song  > Simple > Rift, Loving Cup, Sleeping Monkey, Weekapaug Groove, The Squirming Coil

E: Burning Down the House*, You Enjoy Myself

*debut

Source: (FOB/BTP) Schoeps CMC6/MK41 > Sonosax SX-M2 > DA-P1

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A Gallery of Possibilities

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , , on September 29th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
The Invitation

The Invitation

With their ever-expanding use of technology coupled with their desire to hype up Festival 8, yesterday Phish posted a “gallery” of 99 outstanding albums as the splash page on their web site, introduced by a Festival 8 invitation with the simple instructions: “Phish – Play the Last Record Alive.” Much like the Save the Date map that preceded this haunted galleria, albums have already been “killed off,” with Medeski Martin & Wood’s Shack Man, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, Huey Lewis’ and the News’ Sports, Talking Head’s Fear of Music, and Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man quickly getting the axe- literally. And much like the wild-goose chase of their Save the Date map, this list of albums could be just that.

Huey Lewis Is Dead - Or Is He?

Huey Lewis Is Dead - Or Is He?

With a list of 99 records, Phish put almost every Halloween suggestion ever made on the table and then some. The site includes many albums we all know, and most likely quite a few we don’t all know, giving us time to familiarize ourselves with some.  With a reputation of playing more obscure albums, some of the most popular recordings like, Led Zeppelin’s I or IV, The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” or “Electric Ladyland” seem unlikely for Halloween. This gallery of possibilities also contains contemporary classics such as Radiohead’s Kid A, U2′s The Joshua Tree, Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire, Nirvana’s Nevermind, and Pearl Jam’s Ten. Although we’ve never seen Phish tackle a modern-day work in full, maybe this will be the year. In my gut, however, this also seems unlikely.

Anything Is Possible

Tom Petty Got the Axe

With defining albums of many genres and eras, along with several obscure gems, the gallery also hangs some records for humor of the imagination- see the offerings from Pork Tornado, Hall & Oates, Kiss, Metallica and Black Sabbath. (Some great albums, yes. Real possibilities, no.) At this point, it’s very difficult to take anything from Phish at face value, making me think this could be ploy to increase interest, boost lagging ticket sales, and divert attention from fall tour speculation.

But what is going to happen with this gallery? Are we going to know what the album is beforehand?! I seriously doubt it. At the same time, I don’t even want the possibilities narrowed to five- that would be incredibly anti-climactic, as the audience has traditionally known nothing about the bands’ musical costume when walking into the venue on Halloween night. While “The White Album” and Quadrophenia weren’t revealed until the set began, Remain In Light and Loaded were unveiled via “Phishbills” handed out as everyone entered the arena – but never has there been any level of knowledge before hand.  This album elimination is a clever idea, but I think they should stop at a certain number to maintain the suspense of the evening.  Is it going to be one of two options walking in?  That would be strange.

Anything Is Possible

Anything Is Possible...

Personally, I loved not knowing Remain In Light, and Loaded when Phish bust them out – it was like a genuine costume; a mystery to me. Each album had at least one song everyone knew (“Once In a Lifetime,” “Sweet Jane” and/or “Rock and Roll,” making it just familiar enough, but making the musical journey a genuine trip. Knowing the album well made for an entirely different – completely surreal – experience with Dark Side, but that was Dark Side.  While knowledge of the album note for note can bring enhanced appreciation, it can also carry preconceptions.  Would I like to know the album when they play it – for sure.  But I’m not gonna chase down every album on this list that I don’t know – and there are many – in the hopes of discovering the music that might transpire, though I’ll definitely download a few. Whether this gallery is a trick or a treat, Phish has certainly exposed us to a plethora of classic albums, a great resource in itself. And in the end, their choice is most likely on the screen right now – but who knows if it has been killed already? Halloween is all about the rising of the dead, is it not? With the masters of trickery at the helm, the suspense never ends.

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Jam of the Day:

Wolfman’s > Lizards” 11.18.98 II

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This set opening “Wolfman’s” highlights Phish’s ambient jamming they added to the mix during of Fall ’98. Moving out of the funk and into spacier textures, this little-known version kicked off a significant second set in Greenville, SC. The half-empty, brand-new arena was the perfect locale for a mid-week throwdown. (Note: Yesterday’s “Reba > Walk Away” is fixed.)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.28.99 Oak Mountain Amp, Pelham, AL < Torrent

9.28.99 Oak Mountain Amp, Pelham, AL < Megaupload

Phish - Fall '99 (A. Foley)

Fall '99 (A. Foley)

On the topic of mid-week throwdowns, here we another that celebrated its ten-year anniversary just yesterday. After a rainy afternoon in the lot, Phish lit a fire inside the southern amphitheatre, bringing hot dance grooves right off the bat. Opening the show with”Wolfman’s,” “Sneakin’ Sally” and “Tube,” Phish set the plate with a hearty dose of funk. “Harry Hood” made a rare appearance as the first set closer, while “Tweezer > Makisupa” and a blowout “YEM” sealed the deal on a great evening in Alabama.

I: Wolfman’s Brother, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Tube, Ginseng Sullivan > Roggae, Maze, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Harry Hood

II: Farmhouse, Heavy Things, First Tube, Tweezer > Makisupa Policeman, Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself

E Halley’s Comet > Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps CMC 641 > Apogee AD-1000 > DA-P1

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On Vacation…

Posted in Uncategorized with the on September 27th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

…and will return tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Winged music note=====

Reba > Walk Away > Simple” 10.29.98 II

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One of the most sublime and psychedelic excursions to ever stem from “Reba” kicked off Fall ’98 in style.
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Weekend Nuggets: December ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 25th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Phish Circa '93 (Unk)

Phish Circa '93 (Unk)

Without a fall tour in 1993, fans were ready and waiting for December’s New Year’s Run.  Salivating since a scintillating summer circuit, everyone filled with joy for the holiday season with. The epic shows on the 30th and 31st have been posted on this site, but these are the two gigs that led up to the climactic end of the year. Hitting up Washington, DC and New Haven, CT before heading north, Phish was still in the days of four-city Holiday Runs. Enjoy the relics.  (Due to being away from home, torrents won’t be available until I get back on Monday.)

12.28.93 Bender Arena, Washington, DC < Megaupload

I: Peaches en Regalia, Poor Heart, Split Open and Melt, Esther, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Ya Mar, It’s Ice, Fee, Possum

II: Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself, My Friend My Friend, Lizards, The Sloth, Fast Enough for You, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Highway to Hell

E: Memories, Golgi Apparatus

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12.29.93 New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, CT < Megaupload

phish93I: Runaway Jim, Peaches en Regalia, Foam, Glide, The Divided Sky, Wilson, Sparkle, Stash, The Squirming Coil

II: Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, Fluffhead, Run Like an Antelope, Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars > Walk Away > Big Ball Jam > HYHU > If I Only Had a Brain > HYHU, Sweet Adeline, Chalk Dust Torture

E: Nellie Cane, Cavern

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In Case you missed em:

12.30.93 Portland, ME < Megaupload

12.31.93 Boston, MA < Megaupload

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Jam of the Weekend:

Yamar” 7.25.98 I

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One of the occasional beasts to rise from “Yamar,” this played to the sunset in Austin during the summer of’98.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Stash” jam Red Rocks, 7.30 I

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An Acoustic Set ?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 25th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

festival8-caIn an unexpected twist, Phish announced yesterday that one of their Festival 8 sets will be an acoustic affair. At the “crack of noon” on Sunday, Phish will perform a their first “full length” acoustic set to a combined flock of early risers and those still reveling from the night before.  Following the darkness of Halloween night, Phish will balance things out with a light afternoon offering. With the virtually-guaranteed weather of Indio, this set should be a laid-back way to kick off the last day of the festival.  And yes, coffee and donuts will be served.

To be honest, my first reaction to the announcement was -”Wow, that sucks!”  And while I would still rather hear a straight up Phish set any day of the week, I’ve begun to think this may be something special.  First, off – it’s not gonna be Trey solo on a stool – the watered-down sing-along experience most of us are used to.  Second, I don’t think Phish would unplug just to unplug, they must have a concept of what form this set will take.  Third, I’ve seen over hundreds of electric Phish sets, and zero acoustic, so the pure novelty of the experience will make it worth the while. Sunday morning Phish – coffee and spliffs – sounds good to me.

Acoutsic Mini-Set '96 (J.M.Richter)

Acoutsic Mini-Set '96 (J.M.Richter)

One immediately wonders what music they will play during this set at high noon. The Bridge School Benefit shows in October 1998 – apparently not qualifying as “full-length sets”- saw the band play many of their standard tunes in the acoustic setting.  Their sets got rave reviews and were highlighted by a first-night “Harry Hood > Helpless” with Neil Young. And during Summer ’96,Phish used acoustic mini-sets to showcase some of “Billy Breathes” songs. This time, left to their own devices, Phish will craft an afternoon that will most likely be quite memorable. Much like the unexpected “Harry Hood” at Shoreline 11 years ago, I’m sure Phish will pull out more than a few surprises in their afternoon escapade. I can’t see them dedicating an entire set of their festival to something that won’t be great; they haven’t done that in their previous seven festivals, why start now? But it will have to be some pretty damn good acoustic playing to sit in for an “full-length”set of electric Phish; these guys aren’t the Grateful Dead after all.

But bring it on – the only rule is it begins after all. With seven other electric sets throughout the weekend, and many more to come, we can all chill for a bit with our favorite band on the outskirts of the California desert. If Phish is feeling it, everything should work out. And with so many other sets surrounding this afternoon oasis, I don’t think we’ll be leaving Indio lacking any improv.

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The entire Festival 8 Schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY (10/30)
4:00PM Concert field opens
7:30PM Set I
10:00PM Set II

SATURDAY (10/31)
12:00PM Concert field opens
3:00PM Set I
7:30PM The Halloween Set
10:00PM Set III

SUNDAY (11/01)
10:00AM Concert field opens
12:00PM Acoustic Set
5:30PM Set II
8:30PM Set III

From Phish.com: With lush green fields and palm trees, and surrounded by vistas of California’s majestic Santa Rosa mountains, the festival site is simply breathtaking. The band will play eight sets over the course of three days, and as with all past Phish festivals, fans will enjoy on-site camping, numerous attractions and art installations throughout the weekend.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Harry Hood > Helpless” 10.17.98

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The acoustic highlight from The Bridge School Benefit.

AC/DC Bag > Ghost” 11.7.98 II

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This combo from UIC is one of the enduring highlights of Fall ’98. Did you really think I would leave you hanging with an acoustic Jam of the Day?

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DOWNLOADS OF THE DAY:

9.25.00 Sandstone Pavilion, Bonner Springs, KS < Torrent

9.25.00 Sandstone Pavilion, Bonner Springs, KS < Megaupload

Unofficial Poster

Unofficial Poster

Today is the nine year anniversary of one of the coldest outdoor shows in memory.  The end of September in Kansas- whew!  Steam rose from dancing bodies as Phish pumped through the piercing air.  Opening the show with “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” for the first time since Halloween of ’94, the show took off into a rather large first set with a “Disease” and a “Tweezer.”  The second set brought the anthems of “Mike’s Groove” and “Hood.”  All in all – a solid show.

I: Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, Down with Disease, Lizards, Tweezer, Back on The Train, Water in the Sky, Bug, Julius

II: Gotta Jibboo, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Axilla, Harry Hood, Funky Bitch

E: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Driver, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Neumann KM184′s

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10.17 & 10.18.1998 – Bridge School Benefit < Torrent

10.17 & 10.18.1998 – Bridge School Benefit < Megaupload

DSC_0061-752349Some acoustic Phish to get prepared for the upcoming acoustic set.

Setlists are here.

Source: Schoeps CCM4

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Jams of Japan

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

phish-kabuki-99Phish’s Japan tour of 2000 came right on the heels of Big Cypress and Radio City; an incredibly exciting time in Phish history. Still carrying the musical and emotional momentum that crested in the Everglades, Phish took off to the Pacific for their first tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. Greeted by a prepared legion of Japanese heads- with lot shirts, mushrooms, and hash to share- the band and their American fans were happily surprised by the graciousness and enthusiasm of the Japanese Phish culture. Much of the musical focus of this tour has centered on the other-worldly Fukuoka show that transformed into one the strongest LivePhish releases to date. However, the band was on fire all week long, producing more mind-numbing music than most people realize. Although Phish wouldn’t be around by the end of the year, these Japan shows showcased one of their last pre-hiatus bursts of creativity, producing perhaps the most interesting week of Phish2k. Below are three jams that you may or may not be familiar with- all of which absolutely smoke.

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Tweezer” 6.9.00, Tokyo II

dscn0888

On Air East - 6.9.00

On Air East, a tiny club hidden up side street in Shibuya, a shopping district of Tokyo hosted Phish’s first show of tour. Making our way through the intricate subway system to the tiny, bright yellow building, every step was surreal; tracking down a show in the middle of Tokyo! And as the second set started in this simple cement room, a dream came true. Wasting no time, Phish unveiled the long-awaited “Tokyo Tweezer”- it even sounded legendary in name. Phish knew as well as we did, that they had a moral imperative to greet the wildly psychedelic city with a blowout “Tweezer”- and this 30 minute introduction was one for the books.

The improv began with a distinctly laid-back feel, as the band got on the same page via some methodical grooves. Subtly building the relaxed rhythms into aggressive textures, led by walls of face-melting guitar dissonance, the band began to fire. A truly perspective-altering segment of music, the overflowing energy and people bounced off the walls and each other in this crowded demonic dungeon. As Trey let up, the band settled themselves, allowing everyone to momentarily gather their shit before delving far deeper.

stub-0609A frightening walk down a mysterious alley morphed into an ambient exploration of a Japanese tea garden, as Phish seemingly incorporated the foreign culture into their improvisational concept. Patiently exploring this delicate realm, the band took their time to lift themselves from the meditative space. But when they did, the band arrived at an incredibly triumphant groove that took us sailing into the Tokyo night, where the future seemed as bright as the thousands of neon lights that flooded our vision.

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Down With Disease” 6.15.00, Big Cat

Phish pulled into Osaka for the final two nights of their short, but sweet, run splitting time between two different venues. The first night, the band played a club that was in a multi-level shopping plaza- everyone had to take an elevator up to the floor of Big Cat. The band had tore it up all week long, and when they opened the second set with “Disease,” the madness began all over again. Taking the composed jam into snarling territory, Phish had the pedal to the metal, driving the music with abandon.

phish-osaka-00Peaking the initial segment, the band dropped into a galloping groove led by Mike’s thumping bass lines. Trey layered some rhythm licks atop the pulsing canvas, and the band morphed into a “Crosseyed”-esque jam. Greatly diverging from the opening segment of music, Phish sat into this groove session with a purpose, adding, subtracting, and altering layers along the way.

But the most intriguing section of this “Disease” came last, as the rhythmic patterns transformed into eerie, unclassifiable music, sounding like the soundtrack to a Phishy haunted house. Some of the most original improv of the run, this section likened a musical narration of a ghost story, again led by Mike’s thick patterns. The rest of this piece is defined by spacey psychedelic exploration; some genuinely “other” type of stuff . Click play and take a ride.

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Runaway Jim” 6.1.6.00, Zepp Osaka

Zepp Osaka

Zepp Osaka

The final show of Japan was again centered around the second set opener – this time, “Runaway Jim.” Wasting little time in taking the song away from its character, Page, Mike, and Trey combined in a sublime harmony over Fish’s shuffling beat, instantly bringing majesty to the music. Phish has a way of infusing a bittersweet quality into their final jams of tour, and while this was only the beginning of the set, that emotional feel set in with the band’s complementary tones.

Hinting at the song’s theme as they carved their way beyond it, Phish’s virtuoso communication seemed routine by this point. Trey began to play a completely original melody, leading the band to more dainty pastures. Moving like a four-headed being, the locked-together music seemed to be generated from a single mind.

stub-0616As the band rode this segment of music to its natural conclusion, they soon found themselves in some of the most intriguing music of the week. Peeling away sonic layers, Phish created a sparse palette for creation – an opportunity Fish seized to create a totally different beat.  As the others drifted with him, the band got into a segment of completely original music. With creativity paramount and Trey on keys, this “Jim” evolved into some nouveau Phishtronica, yet another illustration of the outer realms that Phish explored throughout the Far East.  This piece is right up there with their most unique outputs.

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Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Piper” 6.10 Zepp Tokyo I

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Sticking with the theme of Japan 2000, here is another scorcher.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.2.96 Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL < Torrent

11.2.96 Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL < Megaupload

11.2.1996 West Palm Beach (J.Awrat)

11.2.1996 West Palm Beach (J.Awrat)

The show that kick-started the second half of Fall ’96, Coral Sky also holds up as one of the best of the entire tour. Plucking “Crosseyed” from their Halloween set for the first time, the band took the cover for an extended ride before everyone had “waited long enough” and the band transitioned into a centerpiece “Antelope.” One of the classic segments of ’96 Phish, “Crosseyed > Antelope” saw the band adapt the percussive style of Remain In Light into their own music. Beginning to embark on a new musical path, Karl Perazzo stayed on for a few to help the boys along. “Yamar” and “Hood” are also standout versions. Included in this fileset is an additional pre-FM SBD of the second set.

I: Ya Mar, Julius, Fee, Cavern, Taste, Stash, Lizards, Free, Johnny B. Goode

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Run Like an Antelope, Waste, Harry Hood, A Day in the Life, Sweet Adeline

E: Funky Bitch*

Karl Perazzo played the entire show. *With Butch Trucks on drums and Fish on Trey’s mini-kit.

Aud Source: Unk / Pre-SM SBD of set II

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Step Into The Freezer

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 23rd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Rosemont 2000 (Unk)

Rosemont 2000 (Unk)

Nine years ago today we were in Chicago – the Rosemont Horizon turned Allstate Arena, to be exact – for the conclusion of a two-night stand in Chicago. Fall tour started in Albany back on September 8th and wove its way around the east for the first ten shows. This beginning stretch of tour contained some of the best playing of the entire fall, but there was one thing missing. We were almost halfway through what we thought could be the last tour ever, and the band  hadn’t dropped a ‘Tweezer.” Phish created impressive jams from many other vehicles – but with the absence of those crunching “Tweezer” grooves, there was a certain Phishiness that was missing.

As shows passed, we continued to believe that each subsequent night would certainly contain the all-of-a-sudden elusive throwdown. Great Woods, Darien, Hershey, Merriweather, Cleveland…no “Tweezer.” Once we got to the Windy City, we expected that over the two nights, the band would unshelve their epic. But a blistering first night never flirted with the song, and when the second set of the second night opened with “Birds,” we wondered if we were wrong.

Fall 2000 (M.Mitchell)

Vegas -Fall 2000 (M.Mitchell)

Then- as the closing hits of “Birds” bounced off the concrete surroundings – out roared “Tweezer.” You can hear the pent up enthusiasm of the crowd on the recordings as the band dropped their exploratory piece for the first time all tour. As the freezer door opened, the band dove into a driving beat, taking command of the ride without allowing time to settle. Moving through beefy but straight-forward “Tweezer” territory, Phish used the guitar-led build to get the crowd jacked before reaching more engaging improv.

Phish settled the initial music into a less-forceful groove in which Trey unleashed dissonant growls, drawing the band further and further outwards. Both Mike and Page responded with spacey , and stage two of the jam took off. While exploring this murkier texture, Mike took the lead with a strapping bass line that Trey locked onto instantly. Moving into an effect-laden, yet, percussive canvas, the band created some engaging music through this section. Phish eventually slid back together into their original “Tweezer” groove once their musical trek finished.

Albany - Fall 2000 (Unk)

Albany - Fall 2000 (Unk)

Was it a show highlight- definitely. Was it a musical masterpiece to be remembered for the ages- definitely not; but sometimes that just doesn’t matter. When I am living each note – one by one – fully immersed in a jam, it’s the experience that I remember.  That feeling of utter joy, oneness with the universe, raging the Phish in a hyper-aware dream state. When we think back on our Phish careers, our memories are made of feelings more than anything else. Sure, we then listen back, analyze, and have fun with it all- but it’s those feelings that Phish is all about. I wouldn’t be writing this article and you wouldn’t be reading if it were not for those feelings that blossom inside us during Phish jams. And on this night, my enduring memory is the shot of psychedelic adrenaline that flooded my mind throughout the first “Tweezer” of Fall. And no recording, re-listen, or analysis can ever re-create that or take it away.  But, hey, it’s always fun to listen back – just click play.

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Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Split > Catapult” 12.31.99 I

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The clear highlight of the afternoon set, the Cypress “Split” should need no introduction.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.14.96 Hershey Park, PA < Torrent

8.14.96 Hershey Park, PA < Megaupload

1996 Summer Tour T-Shirt (Pollock)

1996 Summer Tour T-Shirt (Pollock)

Here we have an underrated show from an underrated summer tour.  Squeezed between the higher key escapades of Deer Creek and The Clifford Ball, this Hershey show often gets glossed over as unworthy. I beg to differ. From the opening “Wilson” jam which morphed into “Disease,” through the dark-horse “Tweezer” deep in set two, this show has quite a bit to offer. Great times in Chocolate City!

I: Wilson > Down With Disease, Fee,  Poor Heart, Reba, The Mango Song, Gumbo, Stash, Hello My Baby

II: Runaway Jim, You Enjoy Myself, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Cars Trucks Buses, Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom, HYHU > Cracklin’ Rosie > HYHU, Sample In a Jar,  Tweezer Reprise

E: Julius

Source: Schoeps CMC6/mk4 > Sonosax > D10 Pro II > DAP1 (m)

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Fall Tour ?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 21st, 2009 by Mr.Miner

It’s almost October and no fall tour announcement – hmmm.  We know its happening; Trey mentioned that fall was mapped out in a recent interview with Timeout: New York, while Mike vaguely discussed further fall Phish plans with the newspaper, The Poughkeepsie Journal.  The rumored dates that have circulated for well over a month seem all but set-in-stone.  Then why is Phish holding back?

fest8Rumor has it that ticket sales for Indio haven’t gone as well as expected, potentially pushing back the announcement of any other shows.  Well, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that placing the festival as far as possible from the band’s home turf, in an expensive resort town, would adversely effect the draw. With trips from the east coast to Indio totaling in the $1000 range, people aren’t exactly flocking across the country.  This limited audience is one reason that Festival 8 could send the intimate west coast crowd directly to Cloud 9. The organization seems to have stripped away any surrounding shows from Halloween, in an effort to funnel everyone out west to Indio. If the band was playing the Hollywood Bowl in a month, you’d think we’d know already. But it seems just as peculiar that Phish wouldn’t play a couple warm-up gigs before stepping under the vast desert sky of Festival 8.

At this point, it seems that plans have been made – so announce the shows.  The set of dates that have circulated for quite some time, from a number of reliable sources are as follows:

Fall Tour 2009
November 20: US Bank Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio
November 21: US Bank Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio
November 24: Wachovia Center – Philadelphia, PA
November 25: Wachovia Center – Philadelphia, PA
November 27: Times Union Center – Albany, NY
November 28: Times Union Center – Albany, NY
December 2: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
December 3: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
December 4: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
December 5: John Paul Jones Arena – Charlottesville, VA

Indoor Phish Awaits (Unk)

Indoor Phish Awaits (Unk)

All of these high-key east coast shows will sell out in minutes, perhaps another factor reasoning into the delayed announcement.  Assuming this is the Fall Tour, it a mere ten shows.  But of these ten shows, seven are in absolutely classic houses of Phish and will certainly be spectacles.  The Spectrum > MSG chunk of the tour is the true meat, with a midwestern appetizer and a southern dessert.  With an extensive summer under their belt, it’s not surprising that Phish would reel it back a bit for the fall. When an initial month long trek was rumored, it seemed like we were back in the late ’90s rather than in ’09.  But as we approach 2010, the mere existence of fall tour is cause for celebration.

In all likelihood, we will hear something soon- just in time to juice you for “mail-order” money before heading to Indio. But fall tour will be upon us before we know it, transitioning this experiment in latter-day Phish from the breeze-filled nights of summer to the dark, concrete super-structures where dreams come true.  Three multi-night stands and three nights at MSG in the middle of tour?!!  If this is all true, go ahead, Phish, and take your sweet time to announce the dates.  We’ll be here waiting.

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Jam of the Day:

Free” 11.22.95 II

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An aborted second-set opening “Rift”  made way for the most colossal “Free” ever played.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

5.3.1985 Last Day Party, UVM-Redstone Burlington, VT SBD < Torrent

5.3.1985 Last Day Party, UVM-Redstone, Burlington, VT SBD < Mega

phishThis is an historic Phish show for many reasons.  First and foremost, this was the first time Page sat in with the band, playing for the entirety of set III.  Strewn with Dead covers, including the only known performance of “The Other One,” Phish was still in the process of finding their musical niche- and their keyboard player.  If that doesn’t give this show enough significance, it also contains the first known performances of “Mike’s Song,” “McGrupp,”  “Alumni Blues,” “Dave’s Energy Guide,” and also the first incarnation of “Antelope.”

I: Slave to the Traffic Light, Mike’s Song* > Dave’s Energy Guide*, Big Leg Emma**

II. Alumni Blues, Wild Child, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Jam > Cities, Bring It On Home**

III: Scarlet Begonias > Eyes of the World, Whipping Post, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters* > Makisupa Policeman > Run Like an Antelope Jam*^ > The Other One**

E: Anarchy

*debut, ** only performance, ^ jam only

Notes: The only part of set I that is on this recording is “Mike’s > Dave’s Energy Guide.” All of Set II is missing. This is the only known circulated source of this show.

Source: SBD

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Still Waiting…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 21st, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Throughout the Summer of ’09, Phish dusted off more than a few songs from their seemingly endless catalog, busting out surprises all tour, from “Curtis Loew” and “Destiny Unbound” to “Icculus” and “Harpua.” But even though many rarities surfaced, there are still some songs that have yet to emerge in the 3.0 era. While this isn’t a complete list, here are some songs that will make a splash upon their reintroduction.

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“Scents & Subtle Sounds”

The Gorge '09 (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

One of the most anticipated returns waiting to happen, many thought we’d hear this one unveiled somewhere along summer’s second leg. When “Scents” finally does resurface, one can only hope it will be in its original form – with the introduction attached. Spoken like secret life instructions, this inspirational tale blossoms into a gorgeous jam that Phish had explored on more than one occasion. Regardless of the several standout versions in 2003, “Scents” was still in in its improvisational infancy with so much ground left undiscovered. The song, interestingly, has never been played indoors, opening a big question mark for Indio. The desert surroundings might be the perfect setting for a return of one of post-hiatus’ greatest pieces, and a song that Phish embodies now more than ever.

“Glide”

And were glad glad glad that you’re alive
And were glad glad glad that you’ll arrive

Shoreline '09 (W.Rogell)

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

Having played such a central part in Coventry’s emotional breakdown, it seems that a 2009 reprise of the song is only fitting.  The lyrics, in 2004, were powerful because the band had all – literally – survived, but in 2009, the words will take on a whole new meaning. An arrival like none other, this year has been a celebration of all that Phish will be – and at some point – like “Curtain (With),” Phish will likely come full circle with “Glide.”

“Lifeboy”

As ballads go, “Lifeboy” is one of Phish’s most poignant. With an ethereal backdrop, the song’s dripping melodies routinely provide a beautiful landing point for darker jams. Unplayed since the waning days of August ’04, this song is due for a return to the stage. When tactfully placed, there are few more emotional points of a Phish show.

“My Left Toe”

The Fox (B.Kisida)

The Fox (B.Kisida)

The most exploratory track from ’99′s Siket Disc, this amorphous piece would mesh powerfully with Phish’s current willingness to patiently layer jams.  With a starting point, but no defined ending, “My Left Toe” is a recipe for excursions into the abyss. A piece that can go in almost any direction, from the sonic sludge of Charlotte (7.7.99) to the soaring melodies of Star Lake (7.21.99) this improvisational instrumental seems perfect for a mature Phish to tackle. The results would be astounding.

“Walls of the Cave”

Hartford (T.Salido)

Hartford (T.Salido)

Another post-hiatus composition that was kept largely contained, one would expect this emerging set closer to make a return – hopefully strapped with more adventure. This intricate composition gave way to a straight forward jam that rarely diverged from its course. Though when it did – a la 2.14.03 “Walls > Carini” or 6.19.04 “Walls > Bowie” – the results were sublime. Assuming this song does come back, Phish will hopefully use its jam as a launch pad for whole-band exploration rather than simple, guitar-led rock and roll.

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“Roggae”

Multi-part vocal harmonies enhance the already dreamy feel of “Roggae,” Phish’s now-elusive Ghost-era song. Having not seen the lights of stage since Vegas ’04, many have awaited the return Phish’s existential and introspective piece. While never a huge improvisational journey, “Roggae” plays its rightful part in the shifting emotional contours of a Phish show.

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Help The Waterwheel Foundation win $10,000!

n104824254984_353Please take 30 seconds to nominate Phish’s Waterwheel Foundation in The Christie Cookie $25,000 Charity Giveaway. The charity with the most nominations wins $10,000, with the second place winner receiving $5000. The next ten charities will get $1000 each. With the renowned determination of the Phish community, we can get this done! Click here or the link above to nominate Waterwheel. Represent!

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Winged music noteJam of the Day:

Mike’s > Simple > My Left Toe ” 7.21.99 II

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A stunning segment of improv from Star Lake’s ’99 installment ; its most magnificent moments come in the glorious and divergent path of “My Left Toe.”  This is an immediate must-hear if you don’t know it well.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.21.99 Pima Co. Fairgrounds Tucson, AZ < Torrent

9.21.99 Pima Co. Fairgrounds Tucson, AZ < Megaupload

Pima Co. Fairgrounds '99 Poster

9.21.99 Promo Poster

10 years ago today, while crossing the Southwest, Phish made a stop in Tucson that – by all accounts – was the most random show of tour.  Taking place in a middle of a field with a relatively small stage and no defining barriers, everyone was able to have as much room as they could possible want. To go along with the odd locale and the sparse crowd was quite an odd setlist. The first was highlighted by the combo of “Split,” Drowned,” while the second set kicked off with a growling “Carini” and landed in a groovy “Antelope.” In between was some out-of -the-ordinary jamming in “Vultures > Limb” that left a unique mark on the show.  To punctuate this bizarre night in the desert- a “Reba” encore.  All of these idiosyncrasies combined for an great mid-week time for all in attendance.

II: Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, Split Open and Melt, Drowned, I Didn’t Know, Get Back on the Train, Birds of a Feather, Theme from the Bottom, Golgi Apparatus

II: Carini > Bug, Strange Design, Vultures* > Limb by Limb, Will It Go Round In Circles, Dirt, Run Like an Antelope

E: Reba*, Bold as Love

*Unfinished.

Source: Unknown

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Weekend Nuggets: Two Nights In Europe

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 19th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Europe '97 Summer Tour T-Shirt

Europe '97 Summer Tour T-Shirt

This weekend, I am featuring two shows from the game-changing tour of Europe Summer ’97.  Fully realizing their transformation to groove, Phish explored slow, funky realms throughout the beginning of summer. Warming up to the point of sizzling over the course of a 19 show European tour, Phish then turned their attention stateside for one of the most beloved summer runs.  Starting in Virgina Beach and ending in Limestone, Summer ’97 was a special era of Phish.  But the excellence we witnessed throughout the U.S. had its foundation in Phish’s European vacations in winter and summer.  These two nights represent explorations of the new style, with funk galore and a whole lot more.  These Europe ’97 shows are very underexposed, in general, containing many a night glossed over.  These are two of those nights.

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6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria < Torrent

6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria < Megaupload

1997-06-19gnI: Limb By Limb, Dogs Stole Things, Theme From the Bottom* > Punch You in the Eye, Water in the Sky, Maze, Waste, Vultures, Runaway Jim

II: Stash > Ghost > I Saw It Again, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Piper, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Prince Caspian

E: Beauty of My Dreams, Character Zero, Hello My Baby#

*With “The Landlady” tease (including dance by Trey and Mike).  #No mic

Source: Schoeps CMC 64

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7.3.97 Serenadenhof, Nuremburg, Germany < Torrent

7.3.97 Serenadenhof, Nuremburg, Germany < Megaupload

I: Piper, My Soul, The Divided Sky, Beauty of My Dreams, Taste, Train Song, Theme From the Bottom, Rocky Top

II: Ghost*, Cars Trucks Buses, Billy Breathes, Sparkle, Harry Hood, Cavern

E: Character Zero

*Included themes from the 07-02-97 Set II Jam, and more “Back of the Worm” vocals.

Source: AKG C1000 > DA-P1

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Weekend:

Stash > Ghost > I Saw It Again” 6.19.97 II

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A essential chunk of Europe ’97 from Vienna; a segment of one of the downloads above.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“The Tower Jam” Montage, IT 8.2.03 – From Festival 8 The8tre (SICK!!)

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