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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    BTW, Miner, I like when you add the links to the FAQ and other information sources. Always nice to have the further background to what you are pointing out.

  2. beepaphone Says:

    Flying off the subject here, but I just got a new place and I was hoping to procure a Pollock for the office and was totally taken back when I saw the going prices on eBay. Is at the actual show the only way to get one for <$50? Haven't thought about it or even asked anyone until now.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^agreed…enjoyed reading about the jamming types this morning, though I spent way too long doing so.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Leo, try the “Hose” one Miner linked to the other day. That leads to so many other topics, you’ll get caught in the tentacles of the FAQ files all day long!

  5. HarryHood Says:

    Agreed on stumbling upon familiar jams. The Low Rider jam in Ghost from Worchester (2/26/03) is a perfect example. It’s labeled as a Low Rider Tease but it’s apparent that it wasn’t intentional. I remember standing there looking around to see if anyone else could hear what I was hearing long before they actually gave it real attention. As a matter of fact, I’m sure if you were to ask the guys, most anything tagged as a “tease” within a song structure was most likely an accidental inclusion.

  6. AintNoTele Says:

    Lycan: food+food jam is great, I love the last few mintues of food wher eit goes from that spacey synth into a solid theme jam. I dont know of that the structure of the song, but it works great. any chance more streams are available?

  7. Marshall Says:

    will someone PLEASE help me figure out what the tease is in Cities from Deer Creek 8/10/1997 – check it out beginning at about 17:00 minutes in – it lasts for a solid 3+ minutes. I always think Doobie Brothers, but I something tells my brain that that’s not it. PLEASE – SOMEONE SOLVE THIS MYSTERY THAT’S BEEN IN MY HEAD FOR 12 YEARS. In fact, this is a fun jam if you’ve never heard it (GTBT and Rotation Jam follow).

  8. Bapslap Says:


    Isn’t it Doobie Bros. “Listen to the Music”…?

  9. Marshall Says:

    That’s it, Babpslap! Thank you very much. I thought I recognized it, but I’m no Doobie Brothers expert.

  10. Bapslap Says:

    Nor am I, just have an ear for classic rock. Glad to help.

  11. sumodie Says:


    Notes from the setlist claim it’s “Listen to the Music” by the Doobie Brothers. Your brain was right!

    It also says SOAM has a “Third Stone from the Sun” (Jimi Hendrix) jam.

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Type III…I followed that one and had to cut myself off before the tentacles wrapped me up.

    @Marshall…still no luck, huh? I’ll give it a go later today and let you know what I think.

  13. wvbrdr Says:

    Miner, those pics are great. That first picture of Red Rocks looks like the mothership has landed and is ready to take us all to gamehenge. And I love that second shoreline pic, it looks like there is a crystal star right above the band.

  14. Marshall Says:

    That set started out so great (extended Cities, GTBT) but then dropped into la-la land with the 11 minute rotation jam experiment > [one of my least favorite songs] Rocko William. The Bowie that followed to close the set brought the heat, certainly, but afterwards, I didn’t quite feel satisfied. It felt like a 3 song set (cities, GTBT, bowie) with a big waste of time in the middle.

  15. Marshall Says:

    @ LW – seems the mystery has been solved, but thanks anyway.

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    yeah, I saw all the help after I hit submit. I’ll give it a listen anyway…love me some cities and at 23 minutes, that one should be good.

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    @aintnotela –

    yes we will be posting a new stream each week.
    please leave comments on OUR board so all of our fans can see and get to know you fine people!

    thanks for checking it out.

    and that jam that comes out of Food is not normal, first and only time that has happened.

  18. bl68300 Says:

    Miner…im soooo glad you brought this show up! this was the first show i ever went to, my cousin took me, and i was 12, i didnt really know what that “funny smell” all night was, and certainly had no idea what to expect from a live show…I remember i kept askin him what every song title was, and he was like, dude, at set break well talk about it. Since that show, I will not talk to ANYONE during set, its awesome, Phish paints this whole world for me, and sometimes i feel like im the only one zoned in (but know other people are right there on that plane with me). Its probably one of the best feelings in the world!

  19. Marshall Says:

    Can’t imagine what I would have thought seeing something like Phish at 12 years old. The only thing I was concerned with at age 12 was riding my bicycle and organizing my baseball cards (maybe seeing Return of the Jedi again).

  20. HarryHood Says:

    ^^^ Were you riding that bicycle slowly?

  21. Jer Says:

    8-10-97 is a great all-around show. Gin->Sparkle opener, absolutely INCREDIBLE Melt, a first set Hood closer, arguably one of the best jams of summer ’97 in Cities, GTBT just takes off, and Bowie with the requisite craziness (for that tour) during the high-hat that leads into a smoldering version.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    ^^^ with your shirt off?

  23. Marshall Says:

    @ Hood – LOL – Trey’s advice had not yet been rendered. I was shredding it BMX style.

  24. bl68300 Says:

    it was awesome! my brain was pretty malleable to music, i was 12, he was 16, our parents told me to stay with him, and he was like dude wanna go see phish? i was like whos that? Ha also, we had to move to seats cuz he tried to get on the floor…a 12 yr old @ hampton on the floor=crushed! amazingly, its probably still the most significant show ive seen to date!

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    @ AW

    You make it to the Allmans last night?

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