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. whole tour! Says:

    @leo… you couldn’t have had a better first show IMHO! That 7.23.97 show was insane! the weather! the lightning! the rain! the red churning clouds during “melt”…the mother of all “ghosts”…the YEM > polish mafia jam > rocky mountain weigh > chalkdust left us all in a puddle of goo.

    I had seen phish a few time before 7.23.97, but 7.23.97 was the first show i was heavily puddled for…lets just say that saying i finally “got it” dosen’t do it justice. After that show i swore in a blood oath that i would never ever miss an atlanta phish show. Since then i haven’t missed not a one!

  2. Leo Weaver Says:

    Yeah, it’s a good one. Unfortunately, all the outside forces were working against me that particular day and it wasn’t the best experience. I was able to tune some of the issues out and did the best I could to enjoy. Knowing what I know now, I would’ve told the crew I was with to all “fuck off, I’m heading down to the pavilion!” But it’s a show that holds up very nicely on listenback and I just recall the best memories of the day, most of which you just mentioned. Thankfully though, my second show was 11.23.97 which was no slouch either…had good people around me and a pocket full of those tiny yellow pills. Definitely got it that night!

  3. whole tour! Says:

    ^ thats crazy!!! i was also at that winston salem show accompanied by those mysterious tasty yellow dots!!! good times!
    i’ll never forget that raging first set and then the super jam second set with that dwd > low rider > dwd. at that winston salem show, i swear that my friends and i packed up this huge bowl of nug and we passed it down the row and liuterally watched the bowl be passed around the entire coliseum and it was returned like a miracle to us with a freshly packed bowl in it! we laughed our asses off! Shit like that never happens!

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    wt! –

    you still operating from your PS3?

  5. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^I think I hit that bowl! I’ll never forget how that place erupted at the “powerful pills” line…almost like Trey and everybody else in the place had a few of ’em. That show is one of my favorite “dark” shows…the dwd you mention AFTER the 31 minute Gin excursion to the other side of the universe and back, the BEK, the Stash…wow. Good times for sure! Need to give it a full show spin. I think Mr. C mentioned giving it a go earlier today.

  6. whole tour! Says:

    the fun part is typing without a keyboard!
    i got a serious computer virus last november and i haven’t gotten it fixed. It burned a hole in my harddrive and would have cost more money to fix than to buy a new one.

    so now i use my Ps3 and sometime a shitty backup laptop from 1994. I used to do bit torrent constantly, but since december i have been limited to mp3 downloads on my ps3 and snail mail trades.

  7. alber walker Says:

    Warren, Derek, Oteil sat in with Larry McCray band at Buddy Guy’s last night

    If I would have seen McCray was playing on a Tuesday I would have noticed something is up. big names don’t play Tuesday nights in Chicago. He’s def a weekend headliner.
    fuck the allman panic shit that’s the place to have been
    sure beats me sitting around watching the cubs on a Tuesday night

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    @wt! –

    ha ha I had the same problem for a while. Finally fixed my PC, thanks to the help of some good friends. Trading is a great way to get shit done. Anyway.. was just wondering… was wanting you to check some things out..

    @albert –

    sorry if this seems dense, but couldn’t tell from your post.. did you got ABB/WSP last night or something else?

    My brain has been destroyed by these ’95 Miner Picks, so forgive me.. 😉

  9. alber walker Says:

    they sat in after the show at Buddy Guy’s Legends
    it’s a blues bar here in Chicago
    did some blues and a warren tune or two

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    ah.. nice

    did you enjoy the ABB at all?

  11. alber walker Says:

    I love Derek and enjoy Warren when he is playing more traditional blues and not rock

    I did not attend the show. A friend went to the sit in with McCray.

    I opted out of the ABB panic thing. I’m to lazy and would have only gone to half the show anyway.

    I rarely go to shows anymore unless I find them real interesting.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    heard that…

    i’m getting old in that department too.. especially with weekday shows.
    as i stated earlier, im lucky to have a pretty good venue to catch all sorts of great up and coming acts within walking distance.

    (side bar – did you ever check the CF out? with your critical ear, i would be curious to know your thoughts)

  13. whole tour! Says:

    last panic show i went to, the band had to stop the show because some dumbass drunk rednecks got into a fight right infront of the stage. That had to be last october. It was the first time i had seen panic since mikey died. I used to see panic all the time starting in 97 here in my home town at the florida theater…i remember that the played low rider and i also remember the huge glass bibbler my neighbor had…lol

    I saw some great panic shows, the best ones being in their home state of georgia. Albany 2000 they had these star backgrounds that changed colors…then there was this other show i saw at GSU i think?

    Panic never really did it for me like phish and the dead do, but they put on a good rock and roll show.

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    @wt, you in Jax, right? I remember my friends talking up that Albany show…I was in Chucktown at the time so couldn’t make it. Have to say, one of the most fun weekends of my life was when they did the “Panic in teh Streets” show in Athens. We had lots of friends staying with us, lots (and I mean lots) of party favor varieties and flavors, and non-stop action. It was a 4 day party at my place…by Sunday afternoon I started kicking folks out, I was totally spun, geeked out, freaked out, and all of the above. May’ve been the hardest partying I’ve ever done in a 5 day span. I knew we were in for a rough one when a group of friends showed up on Wednesday nite with a zipper of powdah and a 100-ct bag of mixed beans…

  15. whole tour! Says:

    i once had front row orchestra pit tickets to see the allman brothers here in town back in 1995. Get down to the venue and sign on the door said “show cancelled due to illness” aka dickey betts couldn’t score a fix and they cancelled the show. Really left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Didn’t get around to seeing ABB again untill well after they got derek trucks…think it was at the first roo or one of the first wanee fests.

    Derek trucks actually has a house right down the road from me, he’s never there of course because he’s ALWAYS touring. My friend installed the cable there once. I got to meet and hang with the DTB here like 2 years ago. Gave them some nug and they all gave me a signed setlist. It was a great night. Derek can play the hell out of that axe.

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    @lycan, you ever listened to Midlake? Son Volt? Listening to your streams now and both of those bands come to mind (and do every time I crank CF up)…good stuff!

  17. whole tour! Says:

    @ leo…

    Something about those homestate shows always brought the heat from panic.

    i have a friend that swears by those panic in the streets shows! he said it was off the chain. He kinda always considered those shows to be the finest panic run he ever saw.

    I had it on disc for years and of course the “light fuse, get away” dvd is smoking!

  18. whole tour! Says:

    yy…jax native too!

  19. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^yep…IMO that “in the streets” show was their peak. good times back then.

  20. freshtracks420 Says:

    The memory from Hampton ’96 that will probably always stick out in my mind the most would proabably have to be Trey absoloutely killing the Johnny B. Goode encore…he was seemingly doing a million things at once…stepping on (many) pedals, dancing around, rocking…silly. I still don’t know that I’ve ever seen him seem so posessed. And the Tube, Timber, TMWSIY->Avenu were also memorable. We had the birds eye perspective from just above stage-right…good memories. Still can’t sleep on the next night’s Charlotte show. I’ve mentioned it here at least a few times…serious rocker…check it out!!
    Regarding the WP discussion, I am originally from the south, and have seen them several times…definitely not my thing. Had friends that travelled far and wide to see them. Personally, I honestly always found it to be a sloppy mess live, and just didn’t think that it was of much substance. No disrespect, but the guitarwork never was quite up to par…haven’t really heard much with Herring, but it would have to be a marked improvement, IMO. I am certainly familiar with the whole element of the WP fanbase that also loathes all things Phish, but have historically viewed it as an inferiority complex sort of thing. In my old age, I’m less vocal about my feelings on this…plus not quite so many “spreadnecks” in the PacNW to have to engage in that conversation with now. WP fans can be outspoken…let’s say. Of course, to each their own…I know that some out there are capable of appreciating both…don’t want to step on anybodys toes. Hell, I must admit that I do have an affinity for sometimes reeling off an off-the-cuff “SIPPIN’ ON A TALL BOY!!!!”….from time to time, when the mood strikes and the timing is right, in my best scratchy John Bell voice, of course ;)!! This is made all the more fun for me personally because my last name is Bell and my first name starts with a J. A little personal antecdote along with my 2cent :).

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^I was a phish head among panic-worshippers…discussions among friends got tense from time to time due to that complex sort of thing you mention. what corner of the south you from FT420?

  22. halcyon Says:

    I like WSP for what they are. I have seen them a bunch of times, and more often than not, I have had to take the bad with the good.

    I really enjoyed them in the early-late 90’s. Nowadays not so much.

  23. halcyon Says:

    There is definitely a complex when it comes to discussing WSP and other bands amongst some of their (WSP) hardcore fans. Then again, I guess that happens amongst all facets of fans, and life.

  24. gus Says:

    i was just listening to a recent fluffhead – any notice that trey plays the beginning slightly different in the more recent years of phish? I think he started doing it in like ’98 or ’99 but i dont know.

  25. sumodie Says:

    “WP fans can be outspoken…let’s say.”

    What!?! More than Phish fans? How dare they!


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