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”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    both Hampton ’97 shows are must-haves IMO (not exactly a controversial opinion, I know)

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Dallas Ghost ’97 Love it!

    Actually Texas ’97 deserves some reverence. Guest drummer always adds a dimension. Good, bad, indifferent the dimensionerr dimentia is there. in ’97 it was dimentia.

  3. cottle Says:

    ^I couldn’t agree more. Does anyone have a copy of 11/22 for trade?

  4. Neemor Says:

    Miner’s the guy to ask for picks,
    but he can sometimes be reclusive or akin to a turtle.

    Ask him gently, softly and he may shine some light….
    …..or he may pull in his little feet and his little turtle head and……
    you will just have to download everything because with Phish, the gems are where you least expect them…..

    My HO

  5. SOAM Says:


    B. WHY IS mIKE TALKING TO ANYONE IN poughkeepsie

  6. SOAM Says:

    c. I peaked during Little Feat at Giants in 91-this was back when Acid was a big deal and new to me and I did not know what was happening but “it ” was happening -fuckin freaked and boogied to the Feat-They were pretty damn good-

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @SOAM – I am a huge 70s Little Feat fan – the first time I saw the “comeback” version without Lowell G I was very skeptical but they blew me away, at the old Sunrise Music Theater in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a great, high energy show. I think they’re lost energy since then, or maybe I’ve just caught bad shows. The times I saw them in the late 90s weren’t that great.

    if anyone on this board has never heard a Feat live show from the early 70s, let me know and I’ll post one – they are sick sick sick

  8. Neemor Says:

    For me, when it comes to recommendations like that:

    Do the leg work.
    Like anything in life, it pays off in the end if you work towards it.

    I started with a bootleg or two.
    A crappy sixth generation cassette that I could barely make out audible music upon.
    Then I went out and found more.
    I wanted to know how different versions of You Enjoy Myself were different.
    I wanted to know if that OJ Show was the exception or the rule.
    When Dayton ’97 crossed my palette, I suddenly knew why the term “Ice cream for the Ears made sense.”
    I had purchased the Book.
    The Phish Companion (Version One).
    I read every setlist.
    I read people’s stories about why Bathtub Gin means what it does for them today.
    Who Nancy was.
    What song is Mike’s favorite to play.
    I devoured that poor book.
    It looked like it had survived the trenches of StallenGraad when I was through with it.

    And when the time came for my tenth show or so, I finally got it.
    I had seen them before from the periphery, always from the periphery.

    Once I had done the work, it all crystallized.

    This is what happened to me.
    Now I find beauty in everything they do.
    Because I know why, at least the significance, of what they do.
    The elusive genius now makes sense.
    I speak Phish.

    Listen to everything. Don’t stop until you’ve caught up until today.
    You can fast forward through Mule if you’re not feeling it that day.
    But you might miss it.
    I appreciate that you guys have done the work.
    I’m glad we still have work to do!

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow neemor, preach it!

    I’m in a fun phish place right now for sure

    I know enough to get the overall shape of the history and I know the obvious highlights

    but there’s still a huge amount left for me to hear for the first time…and now they’re back making new music too…and Miner’s work was like the last piece of the puzzle for me, someone who knows it front and back and has similar taste to mine, apparently…

    so now everything is in place for several years of absorbing high quality new music one show or mix at a time

    not very many things in life better than that

  10. joe Says:

    you know you’ve been reading the comments section on this site (and listening to phish in general) too much when you have a dream that you are watching a phish show on tv and it’s being commented on like a televised sporting event by the NASCAR crew.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    for example, I could name 10 Dark Stars without thinking about it that would all kill, or 5 of any other big-gun Dead tunes; and those lists won’t change much from here out, ’cause I’ve heard almost everything that’s in circulation. Probably 95% of everything from late 68 to mid 1978 and 75-80% of the rest.

    But 10 really great Ghosts? I’m still working on that list. I mean, I could name 10 I like, sure. But I’d have to go look at my CDs, and more importantly, ask me again in a year and probably at least 5 would be different. Same for all the big Phish tunes. I have favorite Gins and Tweezers and all that but I’m well aware that there are dozens of versions of each that are very well loved by fans that I’ve never heard.

    Very exciting.

  12. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Neemor – wow, amen.
    My Phish Companion has no binding anymore. It is all loose, dog-eared sheets. Well said brother.

    Just woke up from a glorious nap, feeling much more human, going to get out there and do the damn thing. One thing to pass on:

    My buddy and I have been looking for the ever elusive “Tiny” track from the Undermind Sessions. This is the point in specimens of beauty where they are not getting it right and Trey says (paraphrasing) “Lets get fucked up and play a bad one” – they go on to wail a sweet jam, called “tiny’. I thought it would be on the heaphones jam – its not. My buddy may have found it, along with a shit ton of other rarities on PhanT (DEFINITELY not promoting PhaT, just happens to have the link):

    Hopefully the quest is over. Going to check that later.

    And, what the hell some Ghost recommendations:
    IT, 7-4-99, 05-22-00, 7-06-98, 8-16-98, 12-11-99

  13. MOONSHAKE Says:

    second day off work… had a listen to the Hartford souncheck… this stuff is great… I hope they break this out this fall tour… more than likely at Indio… which sadly, I cannot go to, even though I really want to. In all actuality, the undertow is pulling me to Indio, no matter how hard I try to fight it. The party from the lamp post is beckoning me.

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    Also, where the hell is the old dude?? His one liners were classic. Maybe he was VERY old…

  15. wvbrdr Says:

    Nice recommendations by everyone. That Ghost was just so sublime, I couldn’t get over it. Listened to it twice on the way home yesterday and again on the way to work this morning.

    I have a handful of favorites that I listen to over and over. There are of course the Slave from the Ball that everyone has and the Deer Creek 2000. But as for less widely distributed jams, I love the 9-12-99 Gin and the 12-15-95 Bowie.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    man o man… these summer 95 gems of Miner’s Picks are great. The DWD from SPAC 95: good lord. fitting listen for today’s post too.

    These heavy staccato jam is mind melting for sure.

    REally nice

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    it really is sublime

    that’s the right word for it

    you have the schoeps FOB source right? Itgets confused for a sbd a lot. it’s better than any sbd though. pure Trey stage tone right from the amp.

    you can hear the shape of the room


  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    Lycan, have you gotten to the Mud Island Tweezer??? 🙂

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    mud island is fucking nuts

    really really nuts

    one of my favorite things out of all that ’95 stuff

  20. voopa Says:

    “I love the 9-12-99 Gin”

    That show has a good Ghost too…5 song second set: Ghost->Jim>Roggae, 2001>YEM

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m glad we went to 9-12 and shoreline but we skipped Boise to make it happen – d’oh!

    classic phish obscure-location bomb droppage

  22. wvbrdr Says:

    Grabbed it off, I can hear someone go “WHOOO” into the mic before they play.

    As far as Phish immersion, I haven’t listened to as much Phish as I have this summer in over a decade. The thing is, other then the hugely circulated shows, I really only held onto shows that I have been to. So I do have a pretty good sized collection from 95-98, but not much after that, and there are a lot of gaps.

    I’m back in it. Looking for those hidden gems that I’ve been missing. That’s why I’m here.

  23. voopa Says:

    -off topic-

    Anyone here read The Arcata Eye? It’s the police log for Arcata, home of Humboldt State. Good stuff!

    “Go home and cook your steak in your yard in your comfortable home,” they squealed, acting on the premise that anyone not subscribing to their lazy-faire zeitgeist is some sort of bourgeois, yard-bound cow-devourer.

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    yes i have heard the Mud Island Tweezer. Was actually familiar with that before finding Miner’s Picks.

    I went on a spree of downloading Phish that was in my region right before I went to see them for the first time to see what the South’s impact, if any, would do to the improv.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    OMG voopa haven’t read that site in a coupel years. So glad they’re still doing it!

    “3:08 p.m. A citizen engaged in an exercise in statistical futility by dutifully reporting a “huge grow” in the 1300 block of Sunset Avenue, with some sort of vent “hanging out the window” emitting major pot stench. Suddenly, nothing happened.”

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