Tails of the Weasel

Fee the Weasel

Fee the Weasel

Debuted in August of 1987, “Fee” is one of the oldest songs in Phish’s catalog. Played routinely since its inception, the murderous pop-saga of Fee, the Buddhist weasel, and Floyd, the chimpanzee, who vie for the affection a gospel singer, Millie Grace, fit right in with the zany vibe of early Phish. Hence, it led off the band’s first official album, Junta.  Since its beginning, “Fee” has been a fan favorite and one one of those more accessible songs – like Sample or Bouncin’ – that always drew fresh ears, ushering more than few fans into the Phish scene.

Throughout its 22 year history, the song has traditionally been played in the first set as a straight composition. But more than a couple times in their career, Phish tacked a musical tail on the end of the tale. The band seems to drop these “Fee” jams in shows that are quite memorable when the dust finally settles, with the seldom-used launchpad likening a confirmation from Phish that they feel adventurous. Often highlights as well as harbingers of bigger things ahead; below are some of these instances.


11.19.97 Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL I

Hampton - Fall '97 (Unk)

Hampton - Fall '97 (Unk)

During their inter-galactic excursions of Fall ’97, Phish extended any song at any time, but most often they dug into their trusty toolbox of funk to do so. When this “Fee” came out, the band had already played a sublime “Bathtub Gin > Llama” and a dynamic “Limb” -both without the ’97 funk -in what was shaping up to be a solid opening frame. The band whispered out of the end of  “Fee” with a delicate pattern on which Trey repeated the faster, pre-official-song era melody of “Meatstick” on guitar. All the while, the band painted an ethereal sonic backdrop. Finally adding faint “Meatstick” lyrics in the background, the band creatively built the jam into the intro to “Antelope,” closing out a smoking set. And the second set is history.

Fee > Meatstick > Antelope



7.5.98 Lucerna Theatre, Prague, CZ I

Prague Poster '98

Prague Poster '98

In the band’s first set in Prague during the summer of ’98, they dropped a incredibly engaging “Fee” that followed a rhythmic course rather than its more typical ambient path. Extending the song into a bass-led groove, Fish got on board, complementing Mike with a sparse and percussive beat. Trey soloed over the top of this canvas as Page added effects to round out the sound. Segueing into some quintessential wah-funk, Trey also remained anchored to his established melody.  Page hopped onto piano and into the spotlight, as the band hit a collective groove far from any semblance of “Fee.” This one is a gem and is oft overlooked since the second night in Prague annihilated the first.

Fee > Water In the Sky



7.8.99 Virginia Beach Amp, Va. Beach, VA I

1999-07-08moFollowing a show-opening “Julius,” Phish innocently began their old-school single. But when the time came for the ending to fade out, the band had a completely different idea. Latching onto Page’s piano patterns, they slid into a mellow outro that Trey entered with utmost care. Soon the band engaged in a gorgeous musical conversation that spawned gentle phrasing from all. But this piece wouldn’t stay in the mellow realms where it began. Instead Mike and Fish kicked up a groove and the band was off and running on a high-speed piece of transcendent improv – all while the sun still shone above.




6.7.2009 “E Centre” Camden, NJ I

6.7.09 - Camden (D.Vann)

6.7.09 - Camden (D.Vann)

In this second-song “Fee,” Phish didn’t miss a beat as they moved from its ending into a locked jam that oozed enchantment.  Getting into a spiritually ambient place with lightning quickness, the band seemed to have something in them we hadn’t seen during this summer’s first shows. As it turned out, this dreamy excursion was an early signpost pointing down the road of one of June’s hottest shows.



Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Runaway Jim” 8.11.98 II


This multi-themed, exploratory “Jim” opened the second set of Star Lake ’98. It doesn’t get a lot of hype, though it sure has quite a bit to offer.



10.5.2000 Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA < Torrent

10.5.2000 Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA < Megaupload

2000-10-05moNine years ago today, this Irvine show represented the last before Shoreline’s two-night finale. This is also was one of two Phish shows to which I’ve been late, this time due to a friend being detained at the Tijuana border on the way back from a senseless mission. Though missing the first set, we saw the heavily-improvised second frame highlighted by “Drowned,” “Bowie,” and “Piper.” After this show we didn’t look back as we drove the last drive of the Phish tour as we knew it.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guyute, Wolfman’s Brother > Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Limb By Limb, Come On Baby, Let’s Go Downtown, Beauty of My Dreams, Axilla, Horn, Possum

II: Drowned > NICU > David Bowie, Halley’s Comet > Walk Away, Piper > Character Zero

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Source: Scheops CMC6/mk41>SX-M2>AD1000  (Taper – Dave Flaschner)

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159 Responses to “Tails of the Weasel”

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  1. Yome NetSan Says:

    I love those improv.
    Fee has been the first song I heard from Phish.

  2. Baxter Says:

    “With this tiny piece of paper I will make you slip” Gotta love FEE! Thanx for the jams.

  3. butter Says:

    Good Ole Fee Miner, i don’t know the last Fee i heard live. Can’t wait to hear it again. Hopefully *8*

  4. butter Says:

    that Champaign 97 jam is ridiculous, the transition into Antelope is magical. i was at this show and haven’t listened back in years , wow

  5. Fred Says:

    Does anybody have the setlist from Mike Gordon’s show on 10/3 in Buffalo? An aud link would be sweet too!


  6. MOONSHAKE Says:

    can’t remember the last time I heard Fee, either… possibly that VA beach show. I think they only played it once this entire summer tour. trey needs to break out the megaphone a bit more often…

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    aybody know when the last “Triple Nipple” was?

  8. Adam S Says:

    It’s odd to see 7/5/98 revered. That was by far the weakest show of Europe 98, and nearly everyone there hated the show. Trey was sloppy – maybe too drunk? – the show never got the right groove. Most of us thought the reason 7/6 was so good was that they were trying so hard to make up for the crapfest performance from the night before.

    I’m going to give 7/5/98 Fee a listen with an open mind, but my memory of the actual show is that it was super-weak.

  9. Comrade Says:

    @Adam S

    I disagree. My friend and I were there for both nights of Prague- we had a great time and it seemed that the entire crowd loved both nights. We made a lot of friends during the first night and everyone we hung out with after the first night liked the show. So i don’t think “nearly everyone there hated the show” is anyway near correct.

    Lucerna is probably the the smallest, in terms of fans, venue that I’ve ever seen Phish at. Not as raging as the 2nd night – but IMO, still a solid show.

  10. Kizzle Says:

    “That was by far the weakest show of Europe 98, and nearly everyone there hated the show. ” – weakest show of 8 or 9 bangers. A “crapfest”, really?

  11. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    Another Fee worth checking out is from Star Lake 7/29/03… Nice harmonic-based jam on the end that slides into a fairly raging Timber.

  12. whole tour! Says:

    one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – RE 07/05/98

    It’s easy to forget that the band Phish is HUMAN. People make mistakes. Weather it be the wook who passes out face first in the men’s room or the guitar player onstage having a few too many drinks and lines of blow. To imagine that Phish never has off nights like any other band is just insane. Give trey a break. Europe Trips are VACATIONS for the band and crowd. Cut the guy some slack. Who cares if he was drunk? I’m sure there are many people who took something away from 7/5/98…be it a memory or a song snippet or an experience. I’d take a phish show like 7/5/98 over the 99.9% of the crap out there being pushed down our throats by the powers that be in the media everyday.

    A bad phish show is better than a day at work…i can tell you that with 100% certainty.

  13. Jay Says:

    what are the 3 songs where nipple slicing is mentioned?

  14. Kenny Powers Says:

    Punch You (held a piece of paper to my tender nip)
    Sloth (take this piece of paper, slice your nipple)

  15. Kenny Powers Says:

    oh, and Fee of course

  16. Jay Says:

    ahhh right, PYITE has a nipple slicing reference. I wonder if one of the band members had a nipple slicing accident as a painful memory?

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the FAQFile on phish.net also includes Sanity and Oh Kee Pa, but I don’t really think those are nipple songs:


  18. henrietta Says:


  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Actually, now that I read the Oh Kee Pa entry, maybe it does reference it:


    I never really knew about the Native American ritualistic background of the O-Kee-Pa torture test. Brutal.

  20. Kenny Powers Says:

    wait, Sanity? what’s the line?

  21. bearito Says:


  22. bearito Says:

    No nip reference in Sanity.

  23. Tim Says:

    My first Fee was at my first show. 12/28/95… with megaphone!

  24. Adam S Says:

    @whole tour!

    I definitely cut them a break. I’m just saying, of the shows I’ve seen, 7/5/98 was one of the three weakest. It was mainly in comparison to the other shows of Europe 98 when I say it was the weakest, and I’m judging them as someone who was AT all of them. Lucerne was the largest of the venues of that summer and the nicest by far. My memory of the 7/5 show is that the band just wasn’t gelling. This isn’t a teardown: obviously, some nights are better than others.

  25. henrietta Says:

    Sanity “You can slice my nipple” on Junta.

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