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. alber walker Says:


    I will check it out soon.
    Still have a set or 2 from second leg Phish have not gotten through. don’t get much time to listen.
    I’ll be out for a while work picks up after Labor Day and I’ll be busy.
    Been enjoying the end of summer everyone on vacation been dead since July.
    I will spin it and give it a listen on a run some time soon and get back.
    I plan on checking it out.
    The non jam band style thing def peaks more interest just from descriptions.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    that one washington state panic show with trey as a guest was pretty smoking.

  3. whole tour! Says:

    the drums and bass are what i have always liked the most about panic. That rolling backbeat with the percussion and monsterous bass.

  4. sumodie Says:

    btw, FT420, you have the most distracting screen name. Every time I come across a posting of yours, my eyes glaze over with thoughts of skiing for a couple beats, then I bounce back to reality. Happens almost every time.
    Phish has easily crushed any hope I might have had to hit up Jackson Hole this coming season.

  5. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^ouch…Jackson Hole…that mtn kicked my ass 6 ways to sunday, I still have nightmares…

    @wt, agree about the drums and bass…my favorite was always watching Sonny work.

  6. halcyon Says:

    WT….Light Fuse Get Away is a great album. Thats about the only WSP I listen to nowadays.

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    re: Panic
    I’m from the south (hattiesburg, ms) and while i dabbled in WSP for a little bit. I got bored fast. Yet everyone here loves em to death. Its tough to be a Phish fan in the south no doubt. We (Chance Fisher) has even lost fans cause we dont “like” WSP. Ha their loss.

    @Leo –

    Son Volt and Wilco and Uncle Tupelo are among my favorites.

    @albert –
    right on…
    appreciate it.

  8. freshtracks420 Says:

    @ leo- Originally from the Carolinas…Myrtle Beach, SC to be more specific. Now reside in Oregon.
    @ sumodie- Sorry for the distraction…at least it sounds like it’s not a bad one, though!! Do the boarding thing personally, but fresh tracks are nice no matter how you cut them, right? Also, FWIW, when I’m working, sometimes your handle (along with some others) randomly pop into my head…I’m all “sumodie…what the hell is it and WHY IS IT IN MY HEAD?!?” Oh well…the mind is an interesting thing….and a terrible thing to waste 😉 .

  9. whole tour! Says:

    in case anyone is interested:

    Over at LL ( my buddy superfreakie is moderating the 95 phish project. He asked me to spread the word about it. LL is a great place for music lovers. They might be taking new members again.

  10. freshtracks420 Says:

    Oh yeah, sumodie, I hope that no on Jackson Hole means yes on Indio…hope to see you there!! BTW, regarding the Mike Poughkeepsie interview referenced here earlier…so I wasn’t quite sure what exactly to make of that? Was he referring to the possibility of a few more Cali show after Fest 8, or was he maybe just talking about the other rumored fall dates back east in mid-Nov-December? How did everyone else percieve this?

  11. whole tour! Says:

    i percieved it as mike telling us to book rooms in miami and hopefully atlanta….

    i got my fingers crossed

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    @lycan, I can hear the influence. I continue to be impressed with each new song and re-listen. And you said it so eloquently…”it’s tough to be a Phish fan in the south…”

    @ft420…gotcha, that’s about the only corner of SC I haven’t spent any time. Think I might trade that coast and area for the one you’ve got out there!

  13. AintNoTele Says:

    the roxy panic show with trey and page is really good too, 93 i think…

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    tele, do you know what days the ABB/WSP shows are up here? Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun?

  15. AintNoTele Says:

    Sat/sun 10.3and4

    To me, panic is “predictably fun”…
    Phish is a constantly morphing monstrosity, unpredictable…phish is always striving to reach new depths/levels pushing what they are (innovators in the moment), panic has honed their skills to perfection in something set. I love me some panic and have a blast every time, it just isnt as mentally engaging as phish is to me. I guess phish throws in a sense of wonder that panic doesnt…creation in the moment sold me from day one. I found my way into the “jam scene” through panic and loved them because of “the jam”, then i found phish and realized what a true jam can be

  16. AintNoTele Says:

    regardless, ABB/WSP combo is blowing shit up…4hrs of music sounds good for 40 bucks

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    well said tele. hmmm…I might actually be able to make the Sunday show…could be fun…it has been a while

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hey everyone, how has your day been? I’ve been great

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    @phamily – pretty much all the Daylights I have is from Oregon or Washington – sorry dude!

    @voopa – very possible – that rings a bell, Matt I mean. I saw Hanuman a lot, certainly. I dug all those tribal acoustic groove groups, that was a cool little PacNW thing.

    @lycan, wow, Benevento and Stanton, nice

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    my favorite panic shows were with T. Lavitz in probably ’90? I was a pretty big dixie dregs fan at the time so I geeked out on that a bit. We got to meet and puff out with the band, it was a dry southern summer but we were stocked, so we took care of them. I have to say they were all real chill guys. But that was a long time ago and before they were as big as they are, who knows what it’s like now.

    but T. Lavitz is a serious player and he brought a level of ability and knowledge that added a lot to that band

    didn’t last long of course, less than a year I think

  21. whole tour! Says:

    when was that tour where panic and phish flipped flopped the opening sets for a run? 92?

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    too much Panic! they suck 😉 Anyhow, anyone else think Phish should have far more studio prowess? Like they should be able to makle a floyd-level album, but just don’t try.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    but seriously, I can’t do the southern rock thing….just me

  24. whole tour! Says:


    i never said i’d go ‘whole tour!’ for panic

    phish is special – can’t be touched by any band in this universe currently.

  25. whole tour! Says:

    that’s funny miner!
    my buddy who lives north of san fran tells me that people up that way can’t get enough southern rock. When i was up there, every place i went had some skynard blasting from a boombox.

    I just grew up around it too much. overload. I guess being around it so long it makes one immune to it. 😉

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