Step Into The Freezer

Rosemont 2000 (Unk)

Rosemont 2000 (Unk)

Nine years ago today we were in Chicago – the Rosemont Horizon turned Allstate Arena, to be exact – for the conclusion of a two-night stand in Chicago. Fall tour started in Albany back on September 8th and wove its way around the east for the first ten shows. This beginning stretch of tour contained some of the best playing of the entire fall, but there was one thing missing. We were almost halfway through what we thought could be the last tour ever, and the band  hadn’t dropped a ‘Tweezer.” Phish created impressive jams from many other vehicles – but with the absence of those crunching “Tweezer” grooves, there was a certain Phishiness that was missing.

As shows passed, we continued to believe that each subsequent night would certainly contain the all-of-a-sudden elusive throwdown. Great Woods, Darien, Hershey, Merriweather, Cleveland…no “Tweezer.” Once we got to the Windy City, we expected that over the two nights, the band would unshelve their epic. But a blistering first night never flirted with the song, and when the second set of the second night opened with “Birds,” we wondered if we were wrong.

Fall 2000 (M.Mitchell)

Vegas -Fall 2000 (M.Mitchell)

Then- as the closing hits of “Birds” bounced off the concrete surroundings – out roared “Tweezer.” You can hear the pent up enthusiasm of the crowd on the recordings as the band dropped their exploratory piece for the first time all tour. As the freezer door opened, the band dove into a driving beat, taking command of the ride without allowing time to settle. Moving through beefy but straight-forward “Tweezer” territory, Phish used the guitar-led build to get the crowd jacked before reaching more engaging improv.

Phish settled the initial music into a less-forceful groove in which Trey unleashed dissonant growls, drawing the band further and further outwards. Both Mike and Page responded with spacey , and stage two of the jam took off. While exploring this murkier texture, Mike took the lead with a strapping bass line that Trey locked onto instantly. Moving into an effect-laden, yet, percussive canvas, the band created some engaging music through this section. Phish eventually slid back together into their original “Tweezer” groove once their musical trek finished.

Albany - Fall 2000 (Unk)

Albany - Fall 2000 (Unk)

Was it a show highlight- definitely. Was it a musical masterpiece to be remembered for the ages- definitely not; but sometimes that just doesn’t matter. When I am living each note – one by one – fully immersed in a jam, it’s the experience that I remember.  That feeling of utter joy, oneness with the universe, raging the Phish in a hyper-aware dream state. When we think back on our Phish careers, our memories are made of feelings more than anything else. Sure, we then listen back, analyze, and have fun with it all- but it’s those feelings that Phish is all about. I wouldn’t be writing this article and you wouldn’t be reading if it were not for those feelings that blossom inside us during Phish jams. And on this night, my enduring memory is the shot of psychedelic adrenaline that flooded my mind throughout the first “Tweezer” of Fall. And no recording, re-listen, or analysis can ever re-create that or take it away.  But, hey, it’s always fun to listen back – just click play.


Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Split > Catapult” 12.31.99 I


The clear highlight of the afternoon set, the Cypress “Split” should need no introduction.



8.14.96 Hershey Park, PA < Torrent

8.14.96 Hershey Park, PA < Megaupload

1996 Summer Tour T-Shirt (Pollock)

1996 Summer Tour T-Shirt (Pollock)

Here we have an underrated show from an underrated summer tour.  Squeezed between the higher key escapades of Deer Creek and The Clifford Ball, this Hershey show often gets glossed over as unworthy. I beg to differ. From the opening “Wilson” jam which morphed into “Disease,” through the dark-horse “Tweezer” deep in set two, this show has quite a bit to offer. Great times in Chocolate City!

I: Wilson > Down With Disease, Fee,  Poor Heart, Reba, The Mango Song, Gumbo, Stash, Hello My Baby

II: Runaway Jim, You Enjoy Myself, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Cars Trucks Buses, Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom, HYHU > Cracklin’ Rosie > HYHU, Sample In a Jar,  Tweezer Reprise

E: Julius

Source: Schoeps CMC6/mk4 > Sonosax > D10 Pro II > DAP1 (m)

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203 Responses to “Step Into The Freezer”

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  1. Baxter Says:

    I know what you mean about the feelings you have for the show making the music seem better than it was, that is why I had such a great time at Coventry. It was about a full-circle thing for me.

    Love reading your thoughts Mr. Miner. Peace Out.

  2. axillalot Says:

    great stuff as always miner. keeping w/ ’96, think you could throw up the 11/2/96 Coral Sky show? no current seeders on etree version right now. would really appreciate it, thanks!

  3. 20YearsLater Says:

    What a cool write-up. Thanks, Miner!

  4. HarryHood Says:

    Great write up as usual Miner!

  5. sarkodr Says:

    I feel like the main reason that Hershey ’96 show is underrated is due to the horrendous drive from Deer Creek to Hershey. For those of us on tour, we all had to leave are nice, corn filled, comfortable campground near Deer Creek immediately after the show. I remember turning the car around in the campground and the guy who ran the campground could not wrap his head around why we would be leaving in the middle of the night.

    Once we left Deer Creek we stopped only twice, once at my parents house in Columbus to sleep for 2-3 hours (that was pleasant wake up alarm…) and at my tour buddy’s mom’s house in Western PA for lunch. Then we hit the traffic for the show and it was awful. As the clock ticked closer to showtime we pulled off the road, up a grassy hill and into a field where other’s where parking. As we walked into the venue the show started. Needless to say, we were all exhausted and annoyed with the traffic and where far from the right state of mind to enjoy the show. I remember thinking when Tweezer started (as I was falling asleep while upright), “Oh no, don’t play something good!”.

    Well, I will enjoy re-listening to this show in a more awake state.

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    this two night run in Chi-town was soooo much fun. For me it contained a top 5 memory of Phishy happenings. Night one contained, to this day, a few standout versions for me.
    – the Down with Disease from night 1 is still one of the most underrated versions I can think of. It contained an absolute dance groove that only 2000 Phish could create.
    -in addition to the first Tweezer of tour this run, night 1 had the first Slave of the run, in middle of the first set! It equally raged much like the Tweezer, and the crowd knew that they were getting a treat. Still one of my favorite versions of Slave to this day.
    – the Meatalope! As Meatstick moved into Antelope the band and crowd continued to play with the Meatstick riff well into the drop into the jam. It was a wild spontaneous occurance of band-fan interaction.

    Night 2 was weird. Besides the Tweezer that Miner has described so well, how about a Let’s Go Downtown opener!! That was huge, and as fun as one would imagine. I also gained a new appreciation for Mule during this night. The lyrics “They said, “Here’s a place of elegance
    Here we shower ourselves in lightness” really hit me in a way only a Phish song could. As I knew this was the last show I would see for a while (1/2/03) it just seemed to sum up the world of Phish for me. So it was a huge moment.
    -I will say this show contained some uncomfortable elements. The Stash was cut off from what appeared to be the bands annoyance with glowsticks. When set 2 started, a girl next to me (we were front row page side) whipped a glowstick at Mike and nailed him in the ass. He didn’t seem amused and she was rightly admonished. It seemed during Piper the glowsticks hitting the band became excessive once again. So that was a bit distracting.

    Overall, these two show were top notch for an often overlooked Fall run, that wasn’t neccesarily packed with one epic show after another, but did contain some very very nice moments. The next night in MN was equally, if not more, impressive than Chicago!


  7. Danny B Says:

    “raging the Phish in a hyper-aware dream state”

    I think we’ve all been there!!!! That statement kind of says it all.

  8. ma Says:

    cold and rainy outside….scorchin’ hot inside


    holy guacamole!!

  9. ma Says:

    let’s not forget from the first set DISEASE, SLAVE, GIN, and YEM.

    eh, pretty good show.

  10. George Clinton Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Hershey is Chocolate Town, USA. Washington, D.C. is Chocolate City. Tear the roof on the sucka!

    Love the Melt > Catapult selection today….nice pull, Miner.

  11. albert walker Says:

    Creek to Hershey 96

    Like someone else mentioned worst over night drive ever
    Something like 12 hours with show the next day
    Remember getting in around 3 and napping in the car until show time
    Wish they could have played there more, great venue with some great Dead history

    Have not heard it since I was there and not much memory, but set list looks great
    Been listening to a lot of this summer tour lately and have been impressed by most
    Can’t wait to listen
    Real fun to listen to shows for the first time 13 years later
    One of the few remainders I need to check out from my last full summer tour

  12. bhizzle Says:

    @ tela’s: nice addendum to Miner’s writings. I’m going to have to see if I have that show somewhere in the hard drive and give it a listen. I’d like to hear the Meat-alope.

    Also, I was only able to make it to two shows this past summer and don’t remember seeing that many glowsticks. Was it only me or has the glowstick fad ended/weened?

  13. Jay Says:

    My Friends and I were feeling the same way about “My Friend, My Friend” during the second leg of summer tour. We kept on saying it will be this show. Show after show we waited. We never got it in the shows we saw but if we were fully on tour, we would have been ecstatic in Darien.

    So, I know the feeling.

  14. RobAins Says:

    The Chicago > Minneapolis shows were great! The Meatalope is definitly what sticks out in my mind. And the glowsticks, they really pissed me off then, and still do.

    Bhizzle, I only noticed a lot of Glowsticks at SPAC. But that was the only show out of the 4 that I had Lawn seats. I heard there were a lot at Camden during the Wedge.

  15. HarryHood Says:

    Glowsticks were aplenty at Darien.

  16. Kenny Powers Says:

    at MPP the crowd was trying to get glo-wars going at the most random times, like during TTE. seriously? i dunno, i think the late ’90s saw the heydey of glo-wars in terms of proper timing and enthusiasm.

    Plus, whatever happened to the efforts to use glow-rings instead of sticks? That was working pretty well during 2.0 and i know the band made that push to begin with. funny how short peeps’ memory is.

  17. Mdawg Says:


    Toyota Park was full of glowsticks that made their way towards to the stage for Carini. must be something about chi-town and pelting the band with glowsticks.

  18. Chalkdustin Says:

    Miner, thank you for this post. The Chicago show was one of my first, and a hometown show. I was 15. I remember my parents dropping me off nearby to meet some other people. There were a ton of shady wooks hanging around, obviously making a heady trade for something, and when they asked me what what going on, I made up some story about a bake sale. Seriously. My mom believed me….then again, my mom “claims” she bought a bong back in the day thinking it was a vase, and brought it home only to have her dad immediately confiscate it. She’s a bit naive at times.

  19. Neemor Says:

    Danny, I picked up that line, too. Good stuff.
    This is some good. old-fashioned transportative writing, Miner…pretty.

    The 9/8,9/9/00 Albany shows were one of my few tour openers, I remember these shows like they were yesterday. And I hate cliches. I live in Connecticut, drove up to New York’s Capital for the first show and got to see what this “Phamily” thing was all about.

    I stayed in this bad-ass brownstone in downtown Albany that is run by this old hippy couple that I guess moved there when the Dead were still dozin’ at the Knick, and they opened their home up to this select group of long-time Phish phans every year when The Phish came calling to Albany.
    I barely knew these people, I was invited by my then friend who is a girl (as opposed to girlfriend) but they embraced me as one of their own. It’s a whole different world having drinks in the backyard of a brownstone in the middle of a city, getting ready for a show (glitter and all) and walking to the venue only two blocks or so. It was incredible. After the show, walking back to the house for late-night debauchery and all that entails. I was twenty-three, these phans must have meen mid to late thirties, but we all had Phish in common.

    These guys showed me how to party, be kind and have a blast at a show.
    Fairy wings, glitter, psychedelics, hugs, laughter…it was everything I’d envisioned a Phish show to be and this tour I was really able to see it full tilt.

    Mellow Mood opener. I remember a great Possum and one of the Darkest My Friend, My Friend’s ever. When Miner talks about indoor shows, bouncing off the walls, ominous vibrations…I get a clear picture of that when I think of the Pepsi Arena, The Knick, in downtown Albany. Here’s hoping they include that storied arena this Fall!

  20. Neemor Says:

    I also have not listened to that Melt>Catapult since being in the swamp.
    Hot Damn!
    This was the Phish that we chased to the ends of the Earth.

    Curious, is it always Trey that calls out Catapult?
    This one sounded like Mike and Trey…but I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure the Hartford Catapult was just Trey…now I’m caught thinking….


  21. SOAM Says:

    I think summer 96 is the shit-never gets talked about but they were tight

  22. SOAM Says:

    Ah…. fairy wings and glitter-two musts

  23. bhizzle Says:

    @Neemor..hearing Mike’s bass drop the lines it seems as if he called it out subconsciensly (sp?), maybe so or maybe not?

    re:glowsticks…I was at Darien, but got lucky to get the re-release of pavs so maybe they were behind me. If so I never got hit nor seen them approach stage.

    re:Darien….seemed like a Rift show. I’m glad I got the My Friend, My Friend. Sorry about your luck Jay

  24. SOAM Says:

    Having a great time at Coventry was an accomplishment…what a mess onstage and off-imo anyways-there was an albany show in 2000 where trey was assaulting his nose through a late set Stash-then ended it abruptly and left….I think a grandparent passed away an he mentioned it later-i don’t now-all a blur…..

    Miner-“our phish careers”-too funny

  25. halcyon Says:

    Morning everyone….just a random question … what are some recommended external hard drives? I have an external 500gb western digital, and have been hearing numerous stories about them crashing and burning. I also heard that about Seagate. Any thoughts, recommendations?

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