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:

    i never hated the tune…it was very abstract.
    It was just very hard to hear/appreciate the subtle corners of it from a packed lawn in 2003.

  2. halcyon Says:

    the subjects and themes on their upcoming album are known here all to well (recovery, addiction, family, death). I think it makes the lyrics meaningful, and the album meaningful.

    I remember something Wax said a long time ago where he said he felt danger in where the music is taking him.

    Maybe its not possible that they can capture the danger that people often feel seeing them live. Although, echoing many sentiments above, it would be great to see them go deeeep.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    re: TTE- agreed not like floyd, but grasping for epicness…

  4. sumodie Says:

    “They need a straight up dark, balls to the walls, space epic.”


  5. halcyon Says:

    Still a TTE believer -> especially the last half of it.

  6. joe Says:

    is it possible that Party Time will have more of the studio experimenting?

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ dont think so based on the songs I know

  8. whole tour! Says:

    i’ve come to enjoy/appreciate TTE.
    When i first heard it, i thought that wouldn’t be possible.
    But it makes more sense now after hearing it so many times.
    I kinda look forward to it now.

  9. whole tour! Says:

    and not seeing TTE live yet…it’s something everyone has to do…at least once 😉

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    1. “Party Time” (Fishman)- 2:43
    2. “Alaska” (Anastasio, Marshall)- 7:16
    3. “Windy City” (McConnell)- 5:20
    4. “In A Misty Glade” (Fishman)- 2:51
    5. “Gone” (Anastasio)- 4:10
    6. “Only A Dream” (Gordon)- 4:10
    7. “The Birdwatcher” (Anastasio, Marshall)- 2:16
    8. “Let Me Lie” (Anastasio, Marshall)- 3:57
    9. “If I Told You” (McConnell)- 3:53
    10. “Splinters Of Hail” (Anastasio, Marshall)- 3:33
    11. “Can’t Come Back” (Gordon)- 4:38
    12. “Shrine” – 1:54
    13. “Liquid Time” (Anastasio, Marshall)- 4:23

    all very short songs, and we know 7 of them..

  11. sumodie Says:

    The band is just getting re-oriented, so I think Joy, with its ‘adult-contemporary’ feel, is a great return effort. I’m just holding out hope that the band will take a bigger risk next time, along the lines of our recent suggestions here.

  12. sumodie Says:

    So, anyone hear word about Indio and ticket sales? Any truth to the rumor that ‘slower’ sales are nixing other shows out west? This would sort of tie into Mike’s comments in the Poughkeepsie article about having time off after Indio.

  13. whole tour! Says:

    i have a feeling it won’t sell out.
    October is a crucial month for people in school/working.
    I know several people who can’t cut work to go.

    The other fests were during vacations or holiday breaks.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    “They need a straight up dark, balls to the walls, space epic.”

    Yes please.

    Could be done with a “Dark and Down”. I live for that moment.

  15. whole tour! Says:

    I could do a weekend, but the added travel days are the killer.

  16. whole tour! Says:

    @bingos… i friggin love “dark and down”. that is a great song i wish phish would do.

  17. AintNoTele Says:

    This may totally miss the point Trey is trying to convey, but I would like a TTE sandwich where they split the movements up throughout a whole set. I mean to split the four distinct sections over an entire set. Set1 Ex:TTEpt1> jim> TTE2(submarine section> maze/split or any underwater theme song (waves or undermind)> TTE3(hard rock “melody in darkness” lyric section> then song i heard the ocean sing> TTE4 (the happy set-ender)

    there may be much better songs to put in the segue spots but these made sense to me, especially the submarine section into an underwater like song and the hard rocking TTE section into oceans

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    yeah, when Dark and Down was played on Trey tour, it was like a Floyd jam- bring it! Also, they need to be playing a case of ice and snow….

  19. AintNoTele Says:

    the submarine section into a dark mindfuck maze or split would be sick as hell, get you all warm and happy then melt your ass

  20. sumodie Says:

    some great ideas floating around here tonight -I hope someone on the inside is reading this

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    Def second that Ice and Snow. What a great vehicle that would be to drive around in.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    You readin this shiz Trey? Me, Miner and Whole Tour want a Dark and Down>Case of Ice and Snow pronto. Now make it happen! Pretty please?

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    I like it tele…there does need to be some kind of bridge between the sections. I think that’s one of TTEs weaker points. I really like the first and last sections, it’s space between the submarine and melody in darkness parts where it gets a little bogged down IMO. I think it has a ton of potential, it’s just not quite right yet.

  24. William H. Bonney Says:

    What about “Dark” Union Federal ?

  25. AintNoTele Says:

    Miner, can you post one of those discerns tomorrow as a listen now?

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