11.2 12:47 am
Tonight was a good as anything since the return. So great…What a weekend! So much to say….
11.2 12:47 am
Tonight was a good as anything since the return. So great…What a weekend! So much to say….
10/30 1:29 am
As people continue to trickle into Festival 8, this site is shaping up to be quite the host for a weekend of Phish. Speckled with palm trees and carpeted with soft grass, the lush desert surroundings of California provide a completely different vibe than past Northeast weekends. The Empire Polo Grounds boasts a walk-ability that creates an atmosphere of over-sized intimacy very different from the endless airforce bases of lore. With campgrounds – all named, as expected, for eight remaining albums – within a 10-15 minute walk of the concert grounds, the entire festival feels a bit more within reach.
A relatively thorough search greeted everyone at the gate; but no harm no foul. Getting in and setting up, I was busy watching the Yankees tie the World Series while The Bunny broadcast Phish’s soundcheck. Through word of mouth, the band broke out a few new songs off Party Time, highlighted by a ten-minute jam of “Liquid Time.” Look forward for that one coming up this weekend! The evening was highlighted by video “From the Archives” show at The Overlook, the central part of Festival 8 with multiple bars, food stands, and tented areas. Featuring amazing Halloween footage from all of Phish’s past musical costumes, fans congregated, danced, smoked, and drank while watching the massive video screen. When the video mix broke into an unknown “Tube” followed by a “Tube Reprise” we soon realized we were seeing exclusive footage of 11.2.98. When the “Tube” jam ended, the video spliced into the beginning of Dark Side of the Moon, and proceeded to play highlights from the memorable performance. After the Utah portion ended, it had grown freakin’ cold and I headed back to the RV to listen to Shapiro’s archives show on The Bunny, which so far had unleashed two of my favorite jams ever in re-upped SBD quality – the Cypress “Split” and the Winston-Salem “Bathtub Gin!” That’s all for now, the festival calls.
10/30 11:13 am
Just wakin’ up to a gorgeous Indio day. The sun in shining bright and coffee tastes good as we prepare for day one of the weekend. California’ Dreamin…
Got the turntables set up, and have been enjoying a daytime Phish set spun by myself and various others. Highlights included the the “Rebas” from The Gorge in ’98 and Laguna Seca ’94, the Barcelona ’98 “Tweezer,” Lemonwheel’s “Ghost” and assorted other summer funk. The vibe here is beyond chill once you are through the gates, and the weather seems to be coming through perfectly. Got a chance to hear “Liquid Time;” definitely carries the sound of a new Trey song, and certainly has a wide open door to psychedelic improvisation. The band really took it out during soundcheck, and we are looking forward to what they will do come gametime. I would expect we’ll be hearing this song in a few hours from the stage. Still no real clue as to the Halloween album. Have given up thinking about it since we arrived and set up camp. Desert mountains, palm trees and Phish. Life is good.
6:01 am 10.31
A phenomenal start to the weekend. A deep-dive into a first-set “Stash” provided the improvisational moment of the set after an explosive beginning of “Party Time,” “Chalk Dust.” The second set offered a high powered festival-sized Phish sequence, highlighted by “Disease > Caspian > Wolfman’s.” The “Wolfman’s” had a distinct point when it moved from groove to Halloween music, summoning the spirits of the night before All-Hallowed’s Eve.
Exile! They are handing out Phishbills on site. With singer Sharon Jones – let’s see about this one.
We are T-minus 36 hours and counting from blast off. I, as I imagine many of you did, spent much of the last two days running around town getting last minute things for the biggest Phish party since the millennium. I have just put the final touches on things, packed the car, and am leaving in the morning. In fact, I’m probably on the road right now; gotta get down to SoCal before the World Series kicks off this evening. The waiting is over – the time is now!
Red Rocks and The Gorge are distant memories, and Phish is ready to put their next foot forward into the rest of their career. Phase one of the 3.0 era has ended, with nothing but continued musical evolution ahead. We are sure to hear new songs off Party Time, a release that has conveniently been pushed back beyond Halloween. And we are sure to catch a glimpse of where we might be headed. While all eyes fixate on Indio, fall tour will pop up soon after Festival 8’s final note. If the first half of this year was about getting their feet on the ground, it is now time again to see how high Phish can soar. It’s off to the races, and where we will wind up, nobody knows. But in the end, it’s all about the ride. Safe travels, folks. See you in Indio!
Let’s do this!
Jam of the Day: Festival Week
“Reba” 8.17.96 I
A blissful daytime excursion from The Clifford Ball.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
7.3.95 Sugarbush Summerstage, North Fayston, VT < Megaupload
Summer ’95’s finale centered around the colossal “Bowie” in the second set. Jams of this depth were par for the course during a stratospheric summer.
I: My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, Run Like an Antelope, Loving Cup, Sparkle, It’s Ice, If I Could, Maze, Strange Design, Free, Cavern
II: Timber Ho! > David Bowie > Johnny B. Goode > David Bowie > AC/DC Bag, The Lizards* > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, A Day in the Life, Possum, The Squirming Coil
E: Simple, Amazing Grace
When considering Phish’s darkest, most demonic improv, few eras – if any – can compare to Summer ’95. Waging psychedelic jihad nightly, Phish made no bones about jumping off the deep end many times per show, churning out some of the most engaging music of their career. When thinking of what type of Phish best fit the essence of Halloween, I didn’t have to think very long. Whether you are going to Indio or not, this “Halloween Music” will make for some haunted late-night listening over the holiday weekend. All selections are excerpts of much larger jams. Enjoy. I’m packing.
Lossless version < Link
Tweezer 6.8 > Bowie 6.13 > Mike’s 6.20 > Free 6.26 > Runaway Jim 6.16 > Bowie 6.29 > Bowie 7.3 > Tweezer 6.14 > Tweezer 6.28 > Tweezer 6.14 > Mike’s 6.9 > Bowie 6.24 > Mike’s 6.30
Phish Thoughts During Festival 8
Given the 24-hour nature of Phish festivals and the one of a kind atmosphere that we are about to encounter, my posts over the festival may be a bit more informal, and less than full-blown show reviews. I will definitely post something each day – possibly more than once a day if the wireless is legit – and will keep you abreast of the essentials. But I will most likely leave comprehensive show analysis for after Indio, as there is just too much to do at a Phish festival to be strapped to a computer for periods of time. Who knows what will happen, but disclaimer made. Thanks for understanding.
No Spoilers – Indio
“No Spoilers” is a go for this weekend! We will try to get the links up the night of, but given the festival atmosphere, they could go up that night or by the next afternoon. While we have a plan in place, and will try get them up asap, we may be depending on the first source posted and that’s out of our control. Worst case scenario we are looking at the following morning / early afternoon. In summary, No Spoilers – Indio is 100% go; but if its not up a few hours after the show, don’t stay up hitting refresh all night. Ya dig? Stay tuned to phishthoughts.com/nopoilers all weekend long – it’s the next best thing to being there!
Check out HeadCount’s “Reality Check” Game Show at Festival 8
If you are a maestro of Phish trivia, or an expert on current events, you’ll have a chance to prove it at Festival 8. Headcount, fresh off announcing superb stastisical results from last year’s voter registration campaign, will host the “Reality Check” music and political trivia game at Festival 8. The grand prize winner will walk away will receive an uncut sheet of four Pollock Halloween masks, available at the Water Wheel table throughout Festival 8. To make the prize one-of-a-kind, Jim is doing a special illustration on one uncut sheet – meaning the winner goes home with a true Pollock original.
“Reality Check” will pit you head-to-head with another competitor as a host quizzes you on Phish history, classic albums, the news and government. Plus, there will also be a Family Feud-style “Survey Says!” question. If you win three straight times, you can advance to the Tournament of Champions, held before Phish’s final set of the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 1.
Jam of the Day: Festival Week
The ballistic beginning to Lemonwheel’s final set.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
7.2.95 Sugarbush Summerstage, North Fayston, VT < Megaupload
My wife’s pick from the analog era, this end-of-tour party at Sugarbush represented the precursor to The Clifford Ball in 1996. Playing to a populated side of a ski slope at the end of a musically ludicrous, Phish inched ever closer to their first-ever full-blown festival. The second set jams “Runaway Jim” and “Tweezer” provided the improvisational meat of the second set, while “Reba” and “Slave” stood out as well.
I: Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, Gumbo, The Curtain > Julius, Camel Walk, Reba, I Didn’t Know, Rift, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
II: Runaway Jim > Makisupa Policeman, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer > Ha Ha Ha, Sleeping Monkey, Acoustic Army, Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Halley’s Comet > Tweezer Reprise
… why Festival 8 will be one of the greatest Phish experiences of all-time.
1. Holiday + Festival = Huge Phish
Combining one of the high-holy days of the Phish calendar, with their unparalleled festival tradition, the band has created an unparalleled atmosphere around Indio. The only other holiday festival was Big Cypress, and we all know how that turned out. The merging of two of Phish’s greatest rites has everyone on the edge of their seat, awaiting to see how the Halloween theme is infused throughout the vast playground of dreams. Phish festivals are among the greatest memories of all of our lives, and now, in 2009, we are about to create another weekend that will live with us eternally. No travelling or driving around necessary, no hassle or concern; all Phish, all the time, amidst a gargantuan psychedelic carnival. And the music – festival-sized Phish jams growling from speaker towers built to blow us away – all while having as much space as we’ve ever dreamt of for all of our friends to throw down; forget about it. There’s not a feeling in the world like it. And its about to happen again.
2. Three Days
Never has a Phish event lasted so long; not Big Cypress, not The Clifford Ball, and not Amy’s Farm. Three days and eight sets equals an unprecedented event in the band’s history. Whereas every festival but Big Cypress has occurred within a tour, Phish and their organization have had months to prepare, rehearse, and conceive of every imaginable detail for this week’s stand-alone event. Each Phish weekend of lore seemed like a flash – a psychedelic dream that ended too soon. But this time, tack on another day – then add the day before the music where everyone sets up camp – and we’ve got ourselves a four-day Phish freak scene! The ability to be in one place with your crew and relax all together, instead of jumping in separate cars and chasing highways all night long is priceless. This laid-back scenario will certainly create endless sessions of carefree chillage, where the only concern will be when the next set starts. For four days we will live a dream.
3. The Weather
And for those four days, the weather will be divine. While every other festival took place in the unpredictable weather of the northeastern summer, southern California in October couldn’t be more opposite. With day after day of cloudless sunshine, the Palm Springs area is the place people go to guarantee themselves a sunny vacation. This blissful detail cannot be underestimated when reflecting on the camp-wrecking downpour at The Great Went and the 100-degree temperatures at Oswego. With temperatures predicted to range between 90 and 50, and no foreseeable precipitation, both the days and nights in the desert will be delectable.
4. The Album Mystery
The band has hyped their Halloween mystery more than ever before, making everyone a musical detective over the past month with their own theories and reasoning. The mystery has drawn in the entire community, creating unparalleled excitement and anticipation, and a huge set-up for a prank if you ask me. Campground names have leaked, albums continue to be killed, and everyone is wrapped up in a guessing game – just how Phish wanted it. Known for toying with their fans in more ways than one, this time they have everyone, hook, line and sinker. It will be intriguing to discover how the answer unfolds; and to see if the band uses their first show as a platform for musical allusion and illusion. Instead of “Trick or Treat,” what ever happens in Indio will certainly be a “Trick and a Treat.” And I can’t freakin’ wait to get there!
5. The Acoustic Set
Breakfast with Phish; glazed eight-shaped donuts, coffee and a fresh California harvest will make this early affair one to remember. Whether up all night or arising for a morning serenade, Phish’s Sunday morning greeting promises to hold more than a few surprises. They have been working on and rehearsing the acoustic set, according to their own website, thus one can believe it will be more than a string of bluegrass songs. Having never done this before, this “full-length” acoustic set will represent new musical ground for the band. An intimate set on a grand scale; the juxtaposition should be interesting. If Phish is ever going to break out the Gamehendge saga again, this could be the time to do it.
Jam of the Day: Festival Week
A classic segment from The Great Went.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
While crafting the upcoming audio archive, I found this to be the only show from Fall ’97 not posted on this site. A tremendous first set and an out of the ordinary second set kicked off a memorable midwestern run during the second half of tour. Highlights include “Ghost,” “Jim > My Friend,” Stash,” “Julius,” and “Slave.”
I: Ghost > Wilson, Funky Bitch, Black-Eyed Katy, Sparkle, Runaway Jim > My Friend, My Friend, Ginseng Sullivan, Limb By Limb, Character Zero
II: Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Julius*> Slave to the Traffic Light* > The Lizards, Loving Cup, Chalk Dust Torture
E: Bold As Love
Source: Schoeps cmc621 > Sonosax > sv255
DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:
While we prepare for a seemingly ultimate Phish experience, with rumored hallucinatory art/tech installations like never seen before at a Phish fest – and a Halloween album mystery yet to be solved – everyone is also scampering for Fall tickets, which went on sale yesterday and today. This weekend, let’s take a look forward at two of the New York venues Phish will play this Fall by traveling back to stellar shows in these buildings. Featured this weekend are 12.13.97 – the tour-ending blowout at Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, NY, and 11.4.94 at Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse, NY – the only other show Phish has played there. With a whole lot of new music right around the corner, here are a few classics from the past.
12.13.97 Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY < Torrent
12.13.97 Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY < MegaUpload
II: NICU, Punch You In the Eye, Ghost, Mike’s Song > Llama, When the Circus Comes, Weekapaug Groove > Catapult > Weekapaug Groove, Harry Hood
E: My Soul, The Squirming Coil
Source: Schoeps CMC641> Sonosax SX-M2> Tascam DA-P1 16/48
11.4.94 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, NY < Megaupload
I: Sample in a Jar, It’s Ice, Bouncing Around the Room, David Bowie, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > The Vibration of Life > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Scent of a Mule, Suzy Greenberg, Chalk Dust Torture
II. The Curtain > Mike’s Song > Simple > Mike’s Song > Tela > Weekapaug Groove*, Ya Mar, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Loving Cup, Rocky Top
*w/ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking jam”
Source: AKG 460B/ck61 > custom pre-amp > Teac DA-P20 (@ 48kHz)
Jam of the Weekend:
A quality slice of life at Great Woods ’99, before the sun went down.
Phish Thoughts Ticket Exchange – Fall ’09
The ticket exchange board has been revamped for Fall Tour and is up and running. Check it out, post your extras, find the trades you need! Please touch only your posts! Thanks.
VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND: Camden ’09
“The Wedge” I
WARNING! :: This post contains spoilers about the set-up of Festival 8!
As Indio is less than a week away, a leaked copy of an overall schematic for Festival 8 titled “Battle Plan” hit the internet this week, uncovering some potentially revealing details about The Halloween Set. In the festival site, there are eight campgrounds, each named after one of the potential musical costumes. Conventional wisdom would say that these campground names will be the final eight albums left alive. The campground names are:
Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones)
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Genesis)
Hunky Dory (David Bowie)
Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix)
Purple Rain (Prince)
Kid A (Radiohead)
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (King Crimson)
Oracular Spectacular (MGMT, Rumored, not visible on map)
Now there are multiple ways to interpret this information. The first, and most obvious, way to make sense of these campground names is that Phish will play one of these eight albums. In this scenario, all other albums should be “killed off” by the time we head into Indio. Maybe there will be a process of elimination at the festival to get down to the last album alive, maybe we’ll get “Phishbills” as we walk in on the 31st and maybe the band will just get on stage and begin one of these records – who knows?
The second going theory is that there is a secret 100th album that has been “murdering” all the other records in the gallery. In this hypothesis, the entire elimination process has been a decoy, and Phish will solve the “Who Dun It?” mystery by playing the “murdering” suspect – widely conjectured to be The Rolling Stones’ appropriately named “Let It Bleed.” This scenario would certainly fit Phish’s prankster spirit and provide the “Trick” in the holiday’s “Trick or Treat” tradition.
A third way of looking at the leak of these campground names is to call their bluff; this could be all bunk information to mislead us to the very end. Everyone will listen to these eight albums at their campsites to make sure they are familiar with them, and then Phish will come on stage and play “Thriller” or “Ziggy Stardust,” or something different altogether. I certainly wouldn’t put it past the band to have led us on a month-long wild-goose chase while they sat behind the scenes and laughed while rehearsing something else.
It’s hard to believe that the band will conclude this album elimination game without any twists or turns – this is Phish after all. With the spirit of Halloween trickery in the air, and with a band known to fuck with their fan base, the only thing to expect is the unexpected. I, personally, believe there is a missing piece that has yet to be revealed.
A bit about the potential Final 8. Noticeably absent from the campground titles is many fans’ favorite, “Ziggy Stardust.” Again, these name may have no predictive value whatsoever, but if they do, the band has opted for “Hunky Dory,” a more mellow, lyrically-based Bowie album that wouldn’t seem to fit for a Halloween blowout. “Larks ‘ Tongues” has awesome potential, though I suspect it would lose the interest of many fans not familiar with King Crimson. Radiohead? MGMT? They just don’t seem to fit, but could push the band in completely different directions. If this really is the final eight, it leads me to think they will play “Exile” “Electric Ladyland” or “Purple Rain.” But, again, who knows?! The questions and theories will continue to flow until the answer is revealed, and, in the meantime, all we can do is keep guessing!
Phish Thoughts Ticket Exchange
The ticket exchange board has been revamped for Fall Tour and ready to facilitate trades. Check it out, post your extras, find the trades you need!
Jam of the Day:
The stellar end to a monumental show in Niagara Falls during December ’95.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
10.28.94 Galliard Auditorium, Charleston, SC < Megaupload
Back in 1994, the band was on the road leading up to Halloween, and this night this night in South Carolina marked their second-to-last show before they debuted The White Album. Along the path of a momentum-building tour, this show was no exception. The second set sequence of “2001 > Bowie > Manteca > Bowie” highlights a well-played show. PS : The Audio Archive is well on its way!
I: I Didn’t Know, Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Scent of a Mule, Stash, Glide, Axilla (Part II), All Things Reconsidered, Sample in a Jar, Carolina
II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie -> Manteca -> David Bowie, The Lizards, Peaches en Regalia, Rift, Lifeboy, Chalk Dust Torture, The Old Home Place*, Nellie Kane*, Foreplay/Long Time
E: Fee, Highway to Hell
During the transformative year of 1997, Phish didn’t only make a seismic shift in musical style, they also revamped their song rotation, favoring vehicles for heavy grooves. Songs like “Free,” “Gumbo,” and “Wolfman’s” took on completely new musical contours, while the band also added pieces to their repertoire that catered to their new rhythmic style. “Ghost,” and “Twist” provided, open-ended jams, and “Black-Eyed Katy” provided a vehicle for straight funk improv. In addition to these originals, the band also revived two ancient covers – “Sneakin Sally” and, more significantly, “Cities.” Upon its inclusion in Europe’s setlists during Summer ’97, “Cities” immediately became a fitting musical springboard with its slowed-down, bass-led grooves. Boasting significant versions all summer long and in the years to come, “Cities” represented one of the greatest song developments during the era of groove.
Phish featured The Talking Heads’ cover in the summer of 1988 somewhat frequently, but shelved the song before the year ended. “Cities” didn’t see the stage lights again until Summer 1994 when the band, completely out of nowhere, broke it out in Ottawa, Ontario for a four-minute stint, never to be seen again until 1997. But when the song re-emerged, it remained in the band’s loose rotation for the late ’90s, providing more than a few outrageous dance parties and diverse escapades. Here, in chronological order, are some of the most significant versions of “Cities” ever played.
Phish began 1997’s summer tour in Europe, exploring the molasses-funk they had discovered just months before. “Cities” proved to be a perfect vehicle to explore these new overtly rhythmic textures. Appearing four times over their three-week tour, “Cities” nudged its way into rotation with its dripping grooves. This version from Paradiso was the last rendition before the band returned stateside. In its combination with “Bathtub Gin,” the song showcased Phish’s excessively slow-paced jamming that typified their ground-breaking European vacation. After reaching a segment of distorted guitar-led jamming, the band settled into “Gin’s” structure for a few measures before moving into a slow funk jam that, minutes later, morphed into “Cities.” As slow as they come, and moving beyond mere groove, this version is quintessesntial Europe ’97.
While “Cities” popped out across the pond, its US comeback came in the middle of one of Summer ’97’s eternal highlights – “Bowie > Cities > Bowie,” from Ventura, CA. Emerging out of “Bowie” and sliding right back into the larger song, Phish made the transitions in and out of “Cities” patiently and masterfully. 17 minutes into a dynamic “Bowie,” the band broke down their chaotic communication into a rhythmic realm that seemed to suggest a new segment of the jam. But as Trey began scratching his guitar, the band took notice, setting up a sparser pattern through which Trey led them into a series of crack-like Phish grooves, eventually blending into a surprise appearance of “Cities.” Moving more briskly than any European rendition, the band played a more authentically paced version of the cover. Transforming the jam’s ending into an intricate pattern, the band rejoined “Bowie,” forming the talking point of the west coast swing. This jam made ripples through the scene all summer long, and when listening back, one can hear why.
The very next time Phish broke out the song after its US debut, it opened the second set of Deer Creek in style. As soon as the song dropped, its medium tempo foreshadowed great things on the horizon – and were they ever! Stretching out “Cities” into its longest-ever exploration, Mike and Trey led the band through a section of furious funk that stood out as among the absolute cream of the Summer 97’s crop. The band locked in and let loose, creating an enduring memory that built through several stages of thematic improv before splashing into a sublime melodic ending, resolving the disgusting grooves. In my opinion, this represents Phish at their finest during an exciting tour.
“Cities“ 7.31.98 I Columbus, OH I
This standalone version, in the first set of Polaris ’98, blew the roof off the pavilion. Innocently creeping out of the gates with chunky Summer ’98 funk textures, Trey led off with a repetitive riff over the band’s swanky pattern, transforming the music into some ridiculously slammin’ grooves! As Trey finally broke his line, the band began to climb alongside his guitar licks, building momentum behind the crack-like, whole-band groove. Eventually the band found their way out of their straight rhythmic playing into a soaring peak; providing all the funk and a whole lot more!
Fast forwarding two years, this version of “Cities” finds us in Minneapolis during Fall 2000. When Phish opened the second set of the beloved Target Center’s 1.0 finale with “Cities,” conventional wisdom said we were in for a lengthy groove-fest, but Phish had other plans. After a brief run through some song-based rhythms, the band took a left turn into one of the lushest ambient soundscapes of tour. Delving into eerie-space and layered psychedelia, this version delivered something completely different altogether. Phish had veered from raw funk by this point in time, incorporating ambient playing as a prominent feature in their music, and this “Cities” couldn’t be a better example.
Jam of the Day:
Another blowout “Disease” before the band reined in the song’s improv to fast-paced, type-I territory throughout 1996.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
10.27.94 University Hall, UVA, Charlottesville, VA < Megaupload
As Phish prepares for a fall finale in Charlottesville, VA, let’s take a look back at the last time they played at The University of Virginia. A scintillating setlist was punctuated by an extended encore after a band-student miscommunication ended the second set prematurely. The band came back with one of their most legendary encores ever. The first set includes the Phishy combo of “Forbin’s > Vibration of Life > Mockingbird.”
I: Wilson, Sparkle, Maze, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > The Vibration of Life > Fly Famous Mockingbird, The Divided Sky, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Poor Heart, Cavern
II: Julius, Ya Mar, Tweezer, Contact, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Down with Disease, Sweet Adeline
E: Slave to the Traffic Light > Icculus, Tweezer Reprise
Source: AKG 460B (in X-Y pattern) > Shure PreAmp > DAP-20
I’ve really been enjoying the audio posts as of late, and after four-hour baseball games, there’s nothing like unwinding with some Phish to the dome as the evening moves on. Sticking with a theme, this time I focused on “Ghost,” a song that has launched jams of all shapes and sizes. “Ghost’s” improv has been diverse and consistent since its debut (see below), but for this mix, I focused more on the groove side of things, speckled with doses of fast-paced psychedelia. Pulling several classics off the shelves I’ve crafted a small musical stanza of “Ghost Stories.” With Halloween around the corner, some spooky tales should serve the season right. With most of us leaving one week from today – it’s about to be on – Indio awaits!
Lossless Version < Link
Van Andel 11/11/98 > Hampton 11/21/97 > Vancouver 9/9/99 > Albany 12/13/97 > Lakewood 7/23/97 > Radio City 5/22/00 > Denver 11/17/97 > Philly 12/5/97
Jam of the Day:
This late-second set segment from Dublin’s first show of Summer ’97 included the debuts of “Ghost” and “Oblivious Fool.”
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
12.18.99 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA < Torrent
12.18.99 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA < MegaUpload
The last night of a monster year of ’99 before we met up in the swamps of Big Cypress. Phish finished their December tour with a bang, opening with a goregous “Harry Hood,” and highlighting the massive second-set “2001 > Sand” and “Mike’s Goove” finale. A smoking two sets of Phish.
I. Harry Hood, Back at the Chicken Shack, Dog Log, Tube, Heavy Things, Back on the Train, First Tube, The Inlaw Josie Wales, You Enjoy Myself
II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Sand, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Possum, Mike’s Song > Simple, Weekapaug Groove > Buffalo Bill > Weekapaug Groove
E: Ya Mar, Sleeping Monkey
Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4 > kc5 > cmc6 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Sony D100 (@ 48kHz)
With the wild-goose chase Phish’s created around their musical costume for Halloween, and the buzz around Sunday’s acoustic set, we continue to forget that the heart of Indio’s throwdown will be six sets of full-on, festival-sized Phish. We left the band at a point of massive creativity, evolving through the second leg of summer tour. The most significant mystery of the upcoming Holiday weekend may not, in fact, be what album the band chooses to cover for Halloween, but what direction the other six sets will take – where will Phish’s music move next?
After a concise and straight-forward June, Phish opened up their music significantly during their second leg of summer. Over the course of August, Phish rediscovered themselves and their improvisational chops, crafting music that evoked memories of their finest days. Their creativity returned, taking their jams in many more directions than June’s predominately structured improv. The excitement returned; no one knew what would happen next, bringing the unknown back into play. Using organic jamming, Phish found themselves arriving at stunning musical planes, instead of forcing themselves into mediocrity – in short – their flow returned. The Red Rocks and The Gorge jams sound just as fresh as they did two months ago – music with staying power – the hallmark of quality. The east coast jams still shine as well, though with less of a majesty. But don’t tell that to Darien’s “Drowned,” Merriweather’s “46 Days,” or the “Number Lines” from SPAC and Chicago – you might have a fight on your hands. But what’s next? Where are we headed now?
While Phish jams came to life this summer, no distinct musical direction developed – it was still too early. But as we move into Indio, and then Fall Tour, the band’s comfort level will only increase and we are sure to see new sonic elements and directions emerge. Looking for clues in the band’s new material, both “Number Line” and “Light” have proven to be legitimate springboards for diverse jamming. With “Number Line” taking the torch from “Disease” as 3.0’s feel-good anthem that can go anywhere, some of the most exploratory jams of the fall will ironically stem from the “Joy’s” first radio single. Played much less frequently this summer, the versions of “Light” at Bonnaroo and, especially, The Gorge illustrated the song’s propensity for open-ended, original destinations. Boasting one of the moments of the summer with its calypso jam at The Gorge, we have only begun to see where “Light” will take us.
And now that it is Fall, it’s time to open up “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.” Whether it happens at Indio or, more likely, indoors, this song will blow up. Its searing blues-rock psychedelia has been begging to be stretched since its debut at Jones Beach. The fact that Phish has left this one alone for so long makes me think its jam will explode somewhere along the course of Fall Tour – time will tell. While “Ocelot” has been a source of structured improv, it could easily break its mold into playful funk with uncharted courses at any time. I continue to await the 20-minute “Ocelot” second-set opener. The “Kill Devil Falls” jam has proven worthy – entering both upbeat and abstract realms at Bonnaroo and Red Rocks, a pattern that will likely continue. The other song off Joy that could meander into ambient spaces is “Twenty Years Later.” Played only once on each leg of summer, its future still remains hazy. With a few unknowns on Party Time, as well as the funk-laden title track, we could be in for some treats.
Another potential source of a musical influence is the album they have chosen to cover. We all know how Remain In Light influenced the band, and their current choice could have a style that is genuinely new to Phish. Such costumes include Hitler’s nightmare, MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, Radiohead’s Kid A, or The Clash’s London Calling. But assuming Phish sticks to the classic rock genre, which most believe they will, it’s doubtful that they will pave their path of 2010 during their Halloween set. More illustrative of their potential direction will be the other six sets that contain far more unknowns than any other part of the weekend.
My gut tells me the band will progress to some form of patient, layered jamming with an undertone of groove; moving with a purpose through music we’ve never heard. With their skills and experience, if the band stays happy and healthy, I see no reason why this era won’t develop into one of the most engaging in the band’s history. If August was any indication, we are well on our way, as the band combined a mid-’90s determination with an evolved skill set, resulting in sublime jams. And we were just getting started. With Indio fast approaching, and Fall piggy-backing off Festival 8, we are about to enter a serious age of musical discovery and development. Hop on for the ride!
Jam of the Day:
The punctuating statement on the first set in Gainesville, VA, and, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire show.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
6.13.95 Riverport Amp, Maryland Heights, MO < Megaupload
A stop along Phish’s space camp of Summer ’95, this show in St. Louis boasted a second set that centered on the colossal “Bowie” opener. “Hood,” “Reba,” and “Stash” also standout in this lesser-known Summer ’95 gem.
I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Strange Design, Taste, Reba, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture
II: David Bowie, The Lizards, Axilla (Part II) > Theme From the Bottom, Acoustic Army, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus
E: Sweet Adeline, Julius
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