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

Tags: , , ,

448 Responses to “An Anthem of August”

  1. voopa Says:

    All About Jazz is featuring John Zorn today, his 56th birthday:

  2. bhizzle Says:

    nice to see the Pixies on a list


  3. Neemor Says:

    Pixies have a decent documentary on Tv right now. I think on IFC.
    Their reunion tour 04. Good shit.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    help the cause! Buy a fresh PhishThoughts Tshirt! Click on Mr. C’s name for more info!

  5. Neemor Says:

    I’ll be buying at least a hood.
    They look nice, Miner.
    BTW, not sure if it helps at all, but I work at a sporting goods store in Ct that has a good link w/ a screenprinter.
    Very cost effective.
    Not sure what kind of deal you guys are getting, but I can usually beat any price when it’s all said and done in order to maximize the support potential.
    Just an offer.

  6. Little Buddy Says:

    Just checking in for a minute. Looks like an interesting discussion…

    A few things:

    Television is a great band if you haven’t checked them out already. If the Kinks haven’t been mentioned on the A list – they probably should be. Bhizzle is right too, Fugazi MUST be on the A list.

    The pixies documentary is the shit and yes, its on IFC.

    The t-shirts are great. And Mr C. – My wife was especially excited to see the plus size ladies shirts. Mother nature hasn’t been too kind to her since she gave birth to the little guy and she hates wearing “dude” t-shirts. Good lookin’ out!

    Peace out! Great write-ups this week, Miner! Ok, back to work/hell now…

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @voopa nice

    @Neemor – idea? hm. I had the image before I used it for this, basically gathering dust with all my other digital art. It started as a technical exercise, an attempt to develop a unique vector art style. You can see a couple variations at – they had to much gradient detail to print well on a shirt.

    The visual of the radiating waves is more or less just what I see in my mind’s eye at the show…

    I may go back to this style at some point, but right now I’m doing stuff in Photoshop mostly, and I don’t even really have time for that.

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    ah yes Television great band, do check them out. try to find some live stuff if you can for they definitely jam.

  9. cottle Says:

    So I just ordered my long sleeve t-shirt (it is almost fall, after all) and when I checked out, I was informed that new customers can send their friends a $5 discount via email. So, if you plan on ordering a shirt, and you coordinate with your homeys before hand, you can save them each $5 on their order. Just thought I’d pass it on.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    @buddy – parenthood is a high impact vocation for sure – glad she likes them.

    @neemor – the reasons to do cafepress are that there are no upfront costs at all, and they handle fulfillment and the payout. So its very easy to do, with no risk that we’ll end up holding shirts that don’t sell. If a “real” printer could match that I’d like to know about it ’cause at some point I’m sure I’ll want to sell some of my other designs.

  11. Neemor Says:

    I see the radiating ‘mind’s eye’ thing.
    I’m curious about the ‘thank you’ in the thought bubble.
    Makes me think of Trey in the ‘IT’ DVD talking about the “Joy” that he sees on a nightly basis, the energy transfer, the ‘escapism’.
    If you didn’t already love Trey, go watch that video.
    For that matter, it makes all of them look like the biggest group of huggy bears ever.
    Or maybe I just want to hug them for the things that they’re saying.
    And not in a gay way.

    Phish loves us. In a big way, and I’ll support that until they never play again.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @cottle – that’s awesome! and that comes right out of cafepress’ cut so no harm done to the cause. You should be able to daisy chain it and get everyone a break.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Neemor – it’s a reference to Thank You Mr. Miner since it’s a benefit project to thank him for all his work and expense – but I like that it’s ambiguous so people can project their own meaning on to it.

    Certainly Trey seems thankful these days, and we all are as well, so it’s fitting regardless of how you look at it

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    …and it’s OK to be gay for trey if that’s where you’re at. Just sayin’. 😮

  15. wvbrdr Says:

    ^^ lol

  16. wvbrdr Says:

    Mr C, that 7-2-98 Ghost you recommended yesterday was freaking fantastic. With recommendations like these, I need more…what are some of your other favorites?

  17. Neemor Says:

    ‘if that’s where you’re at…..’
    Good stuff.

    I guess it all makes sense now.
    Maybe if I buy one for my girlfriend, *poof*, I’ll get a girlfriend.

    2/26/03 Ghost>Low Rider.
    Own it.

  18. voopa Says:

    I’m not Mr. C., but check the Shoreline Ghost from 7-19-98- mid 1st set face-melter. A couple days later at 7-21 they closed w/Ghost->Katy>Bitch, also recommended.

  19. cottle Says:

    @ Mr. C – yeah, if I’d been thinking, I’d have come back here first, gotten some email addresses and started the ball rolling. Instead I put my deadbeat friends’ emails in there, who probably won’t even order a shirt. Slackers.

  20. Neemor Says:

    Ambiguous Tee Shirt
    Ambiguous Tee Shirt
    Where have you one?

    Laundry is over,
    A new slouch is on.

  21. cottle Says:

    Ghost from 7/21/97….the first show of the US tour.

  22. Neemor Says:


  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    @wv, I play a knowitall on this board, but the fact is that I’m one of the less Phish-knowledgeable regulars around here. I pimp that Ghost because it was the first great version of that song I heard, and is relatively under-appreciated.

    So my favorite phish stuff is mostly either well known, or things I learned about through Miner’s Picks. I’m a huge fan of those mixes because I’m only attached to whole-show listening for shows I was at, and they’re reliably great. I particularly like the ’95 and ’97 mixes, and Summer 98, and BTW miner there’s no Fall ’97 on that list? really? hook me up bro!

    If I was going to grab a small box of shows (only shows, no mixes) for a long roadtrip they’d be these:

    Something old with BBFCFM on it
    Greek ’93
    11-14-95 II
    11-23-97, just the show from that era I’m most into right now, could be almost anything from that tour
    7-1 and 7-2-98, maybe 7-6 as well
    Lemonwheel ambient jam
    Halloween ’98 livephish, with the 10-30 bonus disk
    IT tower jam and some other IT stuff, Waves, Chalkdust…
    6-19 and 6-20-04
    Gorge ’09

    Really all very basic stuff. Your time would be well spent in the Miner’s Picks section if you haven’t done that already.

  24. cottle Says:

    Hampton 97 Ghost. Part of a 4-song 2nd set, IIRC.

    Bag>Ghost I’m drawing a blank on the rest.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh did you specifically mean Ghosts? LOL

    um, what they already said. And Denver ’97 obv.

    I’m really not the person to ask for detailed Phish recommendations yet, that’s what I’m here to learn.

Leave a Reply