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.

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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

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t02.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t03.mp3]

***

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

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-05-Fee-_.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-06-Water-In-The-Sky.mp3]

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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.

Fee

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-02-Fee.mp3]

***

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.

Fee

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/090607_S1_02_Fee.mp3]

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Runaway Jim” 8.11.98 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph98-08-11d2t3.mp3]

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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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”

  1. henrietta Says:

    I’m just sayin’. Take for what it is…

    05/09/10 Dusseldorf, Germany. Burg-Wachter Castello

    05/10/10 Munich, Germany. Zenith

    05/12/10 Bern, Switzerland. Post Finance Arena

    05/13/10 Milan, Italy. Milan Auditorium

    05/15/10 Barcelona, Spain. The Palau de la Musica Catalana

    05/17/10 Paris, France. Elysee Montmartre

    05/18/10 Amsterdam, Netherlands. Vondelpark

    05/19/10 Amsterdam, Netherlands. Vondelpark

    05/21/10 London, United Kingdom. O2 Arena

    05/22/10 London, United Kingdom. O2 Arena

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ getting ahead of ourselves here 🙂 we still need fall dates for next month…seems odd at this point…

  3. henrietta Says:

    Remember Island Tour? Dates announced, tixs sold, and the shows were over all in a month.

  4. henrietta Says:

    Expect an announcement the week of the 15th!! Fall tour is on.

  5. Neemor Says:

    This conversation got me to listen to the Sanity from Lemonwheel again.
    That was fun times.
    I love Loring AFB.
    Today got me thinking that this blog is basically infinite.
    As in, there are infinite possibilities of things to talk about.
    Today’s technology allows us to not only discuss the songs ad nauseum, it also allows us to throw up the actual versions, sided-by-side so they can be compared instantly.
    This is pretty ridiculous in what it’s doing to my already over-the-top Phish investigations and how much time I can now spend on being a ‘groupie’. ( Even though I hate that word-I really am!) It also brings together some of the greatest and most thoughtful musical minds I’ve met ever. You guys add so much to this blog, or, rather, I take a lot away from your guys’ posts.
    And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Keep it coming, Miner. What you’ve given us here is special.
    Eventually I will give back and get my hood when my paychecks catch up to my bills. (A week or two.)

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Would love to see Fee again at the festival. Acoustic?

    It has been a while.

    On topic: The first release of Lawnboy, not the Elektra release, had Fee tacked on the end. It rounded out the album.

  7. Little Buddy Says:

    @bhizzle

    If you’re out there… It was great finally meeting you at the Mike show on Saturday. Good times. I had some crazy ass adventures after that show too. Hope you made it home safe. Peace.

  8. bhizzle Says:

    @ Little Buddy…found my new favorite band Saturday night. There was no song that I didn’t like, except for the singing part of Taking It to the Streets. I wasn’t expecting the show I got treated to, but damn it was hot! I was very curious how Murawski would sound in that environment and he blew me out of the water. I don’t think it was the 7 & 7’s either. Re: your crazy adventures…I figured you were having a good time. I check my phone the next day and you text was from 5 am. lol.

  9. whole tour! Says:

    fwiw….7.5.98 was the night the band got drunk on absinthe.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    well, that would do it

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^fact

  12. whole tour! Says:

    i’d rather drink anti freeze. tastes better than ‘green fairy’.
    i want to hurl just thinking about that nasty taste.

  13. whole tour! Says:

    absinthe hangover is gnarly.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Remember Island Tour? Dates announced, tixs sold, and the shows were over all in a month.

    ^^ that was b/c the band just decided to play those shows. These seem to have been planned for months…I think its happening. Just very weird.

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    absinthe ges you in a psychedelic / drunk state….like nothing else

  16. Little Buddy Says:

    @bhizzle

    Yep. Pretty crazy. Got into a car with some folks who were going to take me and my buddy to another bar. We were stopped at a light and another car just drove right across the intersection and the car we were in. My buddy and I said good bye to our new friends and left the scene before the cops arrived (they were fine with us bolting)- I was not in a good state to be giving a statement to the police : ) Anyway – we rambled around, had a couple interesting bar stops – and somehow made it home to the hotel.

    Murawski totally blew me away too. The Meat was total sickness!

  17. whole tour! Says:

    only real absinthe. not the fake stuff.
    lots of fake knockoff brands.
    i’m sure czech absinthe is real.

  18. whole tour! Says:

    not only does it need to be real…with wormwood extract,
    but must be prepared properly.
    set on fire with sugar, strained over ice.

    people cut their ears off on real absinthe 😉

  19. beepaphone Says:

    Good to hear they’re still out there ripping Meat. Def a highlight when they played in Indy.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah I forget exactly when it was (for obvious reasons) but at some point late 90s or early 00s, making their own real absinthe became a big thing among a group of my bay area friends…I think it came down to the fact that A) these are burning man people who like making things themselves, and B) they had tried every buzz in the book and wanted to add another to the “life list” – sort of came at the tail end of the obscure designer drug phase of that era

    it reminded me a little – and maybe it should be more, but this is another area where memories are vague, which is in itself a similarity – of a week spent at the beach smoking opium and drinking tequila – a very high level of semi paralyzed derangement, where the mind conjures up one debauched idea after another but the coordination’s not there to put many of them into effect…

  21. whole tour! Says:

    they played a ‘heavy metal’ meat here a few weeks ago.
    not your typical meat jam.
    it was sick!

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    lots of, you know, finding two people half naked asleep in a pile, passing out right after getting the bra off kind of thing

  23. beepaphone Says:

    I don’t really buy the powers of Absinthe. Had it plenty of times…authentic european shit with wormwood and all. No trip or anything like that…just more of a lucid kind of drunk i guess. Nothing more acute than the silliness I get from wine or the craziness I get from tequila.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    I wouldn’t call it a psychedelic, it seemed more narcotic to me

  25. beepaphone Says:

    ^ fair enough. Your mention of opium (albeit in small amounts) sounds just about right.

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