An Anthem of August

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

If one thing was for certain this past tour, when the band cranked up the intro to “Down With Disease,” we knew were were in for a creative jam session.  Each of the the song’s four appearances on the second leg of summer was unique, and all were highlights of their shows.  Always a band and crowd favorite, Phish made no bones about pushing the classic vehicle this summer.  Using “Disease’s” safe and upbeat textures to get the audience going and the band united, their real creativity usually came after the searing composed jam.  Much like “Drowned” and “Rock and Roll,” the band’s other frequent summer springboards, “Disease” allowed the band to settle into a fool-proof rock groove before stepping up and taking musical risks.  Bringing the song to all corners of the musical globe, “Disease” was one of August’s most versatile jams.

8.1.09 (G.Lucas)

Red Rocks - 8.1 (G.Lucas)

Beginning an the third night of Red Rocks, Phish segued out of a set-opening “Rock and Roll” into the first “Disease” of the run.  Centering it squarely in the second set, this piece of improv took center stage , providing the most adventurous excursion of the evening by leaps and bounds.  After Phish crushed the initial part of the song, they careened out of its structure into some aggressive rock patterns, whose layers were gradually peeled away, leaving an oddly-percussive groove.  Taking this arrival point on an exploratory path, the band entered into some new musical turf, guided by Page’s prominent organ leads and Trey’s note bending complimentary patterns.  Fishman, however, stood as the player of this piece, continually flowing with unique rhythms that defined the sound of the jam.

Shoreline - 8.5 (voopa)

Shoreline - 8.5 (J.Florek)

When the band landed in the Bay Area for a Wednesday night affair at Shoreline, “Disease” was again showcased in the second set with a colossal twenty-minute version.  The composed section of this go-round featured some inspiring “type-I” shredding by Big Red, setting up, arguably, the most outstanding version of the entire summer.  Trey took the lead out of Shoreline’s composed jam, offering some gnarled leads and hard rhythm chops while Page killed his clavinet.  Trey began to change the pattern of his chops, slicing and dicing the jam from all angles, on top of a sparse, yet cogent, pocket.  As Mike and Fish engaged in some eclectic interplay, the rhythmic structure of the jam became its most unique quality.

Shorline (voopa)

Shoreline (J.Florek)

After using his guitar percussively, Trey oozed out of his grooves with a series of darker leads and effects, coaxing the entire band into a spacier milieu.  Trey  explored this realm with organic melodies while Page remained glued to his clav as if it were a matter of life or death.  This segment evolved into an eerie, ambient groove that was pure, unadulterated improv.  Phish settled into collective “type-II” experimentation- something that became the norm for “Disease” during August.  The exploratory epic landed in some intricately crafted drone soundscapes that reached deep into the abyss before segueing somewhat abruptly into “Limb By Limb.” Listen here.


After playing such a huge version of “Disease” at Shoreline, Phish turned right around and surprisingly opened The Gorge with the same summer anthem.  This time using the song to fire up the crowd, “Disease” opened a show for only the tenth time in its life.  Keeping this rendition within the song’s confines, the energy that the band infused into the jam was overwhelming.  With Trey jumping up and down before the song even kicked in, the band’s enthusiasm seeped directly into the audience.  Dripping with adrenaline from start to finish, this jam set the tone for what would be an unforgettable weekend.

Hartford - 8.14 (D.Vann)

Hartford - 8.14 (D.Vann)

The fourth and final appearance of  “Disease” came as the opener of Hartford’s second set.  Kicking off a frame of non-stop improv that would culminate with a visit from “Icculus,” this version climbed far beyond the boundaries of the song, resulting in one of the summer’s most surreal musical passages.  Getting the set moving with its high-octane rock and roll, Mike led the piece from behind the scenes with a flow of unique, pulsing rhythms.  In this version, the band rode out the composed jam a bit longer before sculpting the music- first with slick grooves, then percussive patterns, eventually getting to a final couple minutes of pure transcendence.  Breaking down the music into a slower groove, the band- all off a sudden- was surfing a spiritual wave out of nowhere.  If you were to craft a mix with of best minutes from the tour, these final two certainly be included.  But the blissful music was suddenly lopped off by the much-discussed “Wilson”-induced abortion.

Each time we heard Mike’s bass-slapping reverb this summer, it was like revving up the engine for a ride.  Four times we hopped in, and four times we came hopped out with a huge smile.  A feel-good summertime vehicle, “Disease” also gave Phish the perfect platform to craft multi-part jams, drawing in the audience with high-speed rock en route to deeper psychedelia.  As we move from Summer to Fall, we will likely see more diverse jam vehicles, but if there is one thing we know for sure, “Disease” is here to stay.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Disease > Free” 8.1 II


“Disease” is at the anchor of this set-opening sequence from Red Rock’s third night.

Down With Disease > Wilson” 8.14 II


The beginning chapter of a larger second set story.



10.25.1996 Hampton Coliseum < Torrent

10.25.1996 Hampton Coliseum < Megaupload

Hampton '09 - ( J.DiGiuseppe)

Hampton '09 - ( J.DiGiuseppe)

Here we have the second Hampton show of the band’s career.  This is the night that Trey proclaimed Hampton to be his favorite room to play, thus  beginning the Phishy mystique behind the room they inherited from The Grateful Dead.  Before long, however, The Coliseum would transform into The Mothership- one of the Phishiest rooms in the land.

I: Ha Ha Ha, Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Maze, Billy Breathes, Mound, Guelah Papyrus, I Didn’t Know, Stash, The Squirming Coil

II: Tube, Prince Caspian, Timber Ho, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, NICU, Free, Strange Design, Harry Hood, Cavern, The Star Spangled Banner*

E: Johnny B. Goode

*A capella.

Source: Unknown

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448 Responses to “An Anthem of August”

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  1. Baxter Says:

    Thank you Mr. Miner. I enjoy yourself.

  2. Mitch Says:

    Disease was my pick for 2nd set opener in the phantasy tour setlist game. It sucks when your song isnt played where you needed it (a la shoreline) and you know you wont see it for a few days and then BAM! The very next show at the gorge, they bust it out AGAIN going back to back. And again, in a spot that screwed me.

    Who could care tho when you are at the show rocking that weekend opening version. Fuck points, this is PHiSH! Anything is possible. Expect the unexpected.

  3. afroskully Says:

    there was a moment in june when i thought i was going to get very tired of DwD. My most recent late 1.0 and 2.0 shows always had a disease (wow…that statement is very true on so many levels). I was starting to use it as a bathroom song. Crazy, right?? Then JB3 2nd set opens up with it and I’m thinking, noooooo!! I really like this song its it’s on total overkill mode. But it nicely segued into that twist>oye como va, and i’m starting to give it another chance. Then I start listening to the RR and shoreline versions, and it’s starting to get new life again…and i’m happier. Then hartford 2nd set comes along and I was suddenly in a total different perspective of dwd. Hooray!

  4. cottle_jason Says:


    Thank you SO MUCH for today’s download. This was my first show, and still one of my favorites. TMWSIY>Avenu>TMWSIY, Makisupa, Mound, Guelah…the only versions I’ve ever seen of those tunes. I didn’t think I’d ever see a Ha Ha Ha again, until they pulled it out for Merriweather.

    …and that Tube…ahhhh the Tube. This was one of only three that tour (I think), and boy did it smoke. I remember thinking that this was the best show of Fall 96 (based on the tapes I’d heard). I’m interested in going back and seeing if it still holds true. Lexington, KY might have been a close runner-up.

  5. notkuroda Says:

    Listened to RR DWD on the way to work today. Fun version. Loved hearing the opener at the gorge. I swear in the months leading up to the reunion I always imagined catching a dwd opener, having it be a springboard to a mindbending show. It happened

  6. bhizzle Says:

    Last night I had a dream that I won the pre-order contest of free travel, hotel, shuttle and tix to 8. IT felt soooooo….good.

    re: DWD. The intro is one of my favs. It sounds so evil for such a happy sounding song. I look forward to hear your samples Miner. I am not able to remember how the only one I heard at Star Lake went. Either it was not all that good or that chocolate was better. (BTW if anyone one knows were I can find a nice source it’d be greatly appreciated. I want to hear that Wilson & Tube again).

  7. T. Leo Says:


    Here are some links from Bt.etree for Star Lake:

    If you don’t use a Bit Torrent, than try checking for it on the Phish Downloads Spreadsheet (it has everything):

  8. cottle Says:


    I’ve got a decent AUD if you want it. email cottle_jason AT yahoo DOT com.

  9. Marshall Says:

    The link to the starlake show is posted here on Miner’s site

  10. Marshall Says:

    Summer tour tickets went on sale around 5 months prior to the first show. All this talk about potential Fall Tour (incl. the dates that seemed to be confirmed?), yet still no on-sale announcement. Is time not running out? I know there doesn’t have to be huge lead time, since they sell out, but seems like we would have heard something by now.

  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    I’m with you Marshall…waiting on an annoucement before booking tix to NYC which I don’t need to do as I can’t really afford it now, but whadda you do? You buy the tix 🙂

    Thanks Miner for the JOTDs…those with my morning cup o joe have helped motivate me to plow thru some work today. Hadn’t heard the RR sequence since listening to your NS the morning after…had forgotten just how sweet it is! And the first photo above is f’in killer…may have to use it as a screen saver or background.

  12. Danny B Says:

    I know this has been discussed before, but at the very end of the Hartford Disease, when they begin the transcendant groove, was it a Reba Jam?

    When I first listened back to it, I just thought it was a great example of Trey changing keys and then Page and Mike following along. I listened to it again last night, and brought out my guitar, and trey is definitely playing in the same key as Reba and using similar scales. Page and Mike jump in with a very similar Reba-ish pattern, before the evil Wilson comes in and destorys the beautiful jam they were building.

    Maybe they were attempting to throw it in the mix, Disease>Reba Jam, and it didn’t quite click. Or maybe it is just really awesome improvisation, that magically appeared in a Reba Jam like place. Either way, it think it would be awesome if they would put the Reba Jam or the Disease Jam in the middle of some toatally unrelated jam.

    Just a thought, I know lots of people are very against calling it a Reba Jam, but whatever it was, it had the transcendent beauty of a Reba Jam, and I didn’t want it to end.

  13. HarryHood Says:

    @ afroskully

    “My most recent late 1.0 and 2.0 shows always had a disease (wow…that statement is very true on so many levels).”

    ^^^ Hopefully it was something that a little antibiotics could clear up for ya 😉

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    I am in agreement, that my initial response to DWD this summer was lackluster at best. But despite me trying to be tired of this song, it continued to top itself each time out the door. This of course pinnacled at Shoreline, with one of my favorite jams of the summer. I would still like to see a little more variance in song choices for big jams, but I will not be doubting or sighing with annoyance when the big bass bombs drop for DWD anymore.

    And good morning to all of my new friends.

  15. bhizzle Says:

    Thanks for the links and offer. Cottle, I’ll email you soon. In fact I was hoping it’d be an AUD due to all I’ve heard regarding the LivePhish sound.

    Re: Fall tour, word over at PT is they’re waiting for more 8 tickets sales, but really who knows? Who knows if they’ll even have a Fall Tour? I’d be happy with a winter/holiday tour. I’d be happy with a stream of 8 and then another tour in summer.

  16. Marshall Says:

    Reba Jam is everywhere.

    Call it Disease(th): that’s Disease + with – (rift part of with)

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    re: “Reba Jam”

    although similar, hell damn near the same, I feel that it might be wrong to label it as a “Reba Jam”. Again this goes back to me feeling like we read more into teases and quotes because we are able to assess things after the fact and go back and listen endlessly trying to compare teases to actual songs. It sounds like the boys just got into a nice two chord major jam, which is all the Reba jam really is, and it could just as easily be the (With) jam. All in all, when you are improvising nightly, you are bound to stumble upon familiar ground whether intentional or not.

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    Morning Lycan (and all)…been giving some more of your stuff a listen, really enjoying it. Re: “All in all, when you are improvising nightly, you are bound to stumble upon familiar ground whether intentional or not.” I totally agree with you here…and will add IMO, many times when they discover or recognize what they’ve stumbled upon, they give it a full-on quote a la Praise You (sorry to rehash that discussion from a few days ago). But yes, it’s a definite that they unintentionally stumble across things when running through the full complement of musical structure during improv.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    DWD is becoming to me what Tweezer was for a period in the mid-90s: not a song I go in hoping to hear (but seemingly see a lot) but always impressed and wondering why I was doubting it after they play it. My crew had a joke about always seeming to catch Tweezer, which is just lovely, but not something I want to hear every night. Without checking my personal stats, it sure feels like DWD is catching up…

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Leo –

    Im not going to rehash my thoughts on the Praise You tease… too early for that battle. 😉

    Glad you still enjoying the stuff. Stop on over to our blog (click on my name to get there) and leave us a comment or two. I’m sure the rest of the band would like to get to know you (and others) as well.

  21. Danny B Says:

    Re: Lycan, and Marshall…..I totally agree, especially about “All in all, when you are improvising nightly, you are bound to stumble upon familiar ground whether intentional or not.”

    I am not necessarily advocating calling it a Reba Jam, but it does have a distinct similarity once Mike and Page click at the end. All in all, I think it’s just a really good example of changing keys mid jam, and I would have liked them to develop it more, instead of cutting it short and dropping into Wilson. Although, I would rather they drop an awesome piece of improv for 2 minutes, than not at all.

  22. MakisupaSecurity Says:

    Great DWD rundown. Also thanks for the link describing the types of jams, been meaning to ask!

    I bet DWD’s frequent appearance had a lot to do with Fenway. I was VERY close to the stage and could see the enjoyment in the bands faces when they started to really rip into it. Sure that version isn’t the same flavor as the rest, but it let us know what could be served up in the shows to come.

  23. Marshall Says:

    Perhaps there are a few musical cues that are simply … Phish.

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    Thought that may strike a chord with you 😉 but yeah, you’re right on about stumbling onto familiar ground…music has a formula and the variables are the same many many many times which lead to these teases we all recognize…it’s the end result of the formula and how they use those variables that we’re all most interested in. OK, back to work now…

    I’ll definitely check out your blog, just haven’t had a chance yet.

  25. sumodie Says:

    DWD is a song I have rarely ever tired of. Mike’s intro always feels other worldly to me, like he’s summoning the music up out of the primordial ooze from another dimension. And then the band crushed me.


    Read Rolling Stone’s 4 star review of Joy here:

    No need to obsess about the Terrapin Station comment, it’s been discussed to death already on the green board 🙂

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