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”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    fun fact 🙂 :
    other uses for thujone, aka wormwood extract, include rat poison and insect repellant.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    Maximum thujone levels in the EU are:
    0.5 mg/kg in food not prepared with sage and non alcoholic beverages.
    5 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages with 25% or less ABV.
    10 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages with more than 25% ABV. 25 mg/kg in food prepared with sage.
    35 mg/kg in alcohol labeled as bitters

  3. beepaphone Says:

    i love me some bitters….put it in my sprite…good stuff

  4. voopa Says:

    Poster of last night’s Mike show

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have never understood why Marquee Moon is considered a punk ancestor

    what’s punk about it?

    VU, sure. MC5, sure. This is one of the other albums always listed as “proto-punk” but it…well it doesn’t really sound like anything else

  6. voopa Says:

    Oh, and Page sat in on Sugar Shack:

    Mike Gordon Band
    October 4, 2009
    Higher Ground
    S. Burlington, VT

    Set 1: Andelmans’ Yard, What Things Seem, Sugar Shack*, The Field, Swamp Music, Crumblin’ Bones, Dig Further Down

    Set 2: Can’t Stand Still > Time (The Revelator), Soul Food Man > La La La > 15 Step, River Niger > Traveled Too Far
    Encore: Things That Make You Go Hmm

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    @Mr. C. : “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…”
    Best string of words I’ve read in a while. Great stuff.

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    Marquee Moon is fantastic whether its “punk” or not. I don’t really see callin it punk, its far more rock and roll than punk. In any case its a really fantastic record.

    Funny though, my wife is who introduced me to them, and she was extremely into punk/garage rock at the time, so maybe there is some substance to it after all.

    Absenthe is indeed a crazy kinda drunk. Don’t think of it as a hallucinogen, but if you ever heard of people being so drunk they saw elephants, I would imagine this would be what did it.

    Its an extremely loopy drunk without the sluggish dizziness of most drunks. At least that is how it went for me. The hangover is a beast though. Seriously a fucking beast.

  9. whole tour! Says:

    i had an absinthe hangover once……once.
    after that i said never again.
    everyone should have one good absinthe hangover.
    serious life lesson….lol

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    was that a johnny dangerously reference there?

    “ya shouldn’ta shot me, Johnny…my mutha shot me once…once.”

  11. guyforget Says:

    does anyone remember the fight in the parking lot / will call line at this irvine show during soundcheck?? very weird situation…

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Neemor, your thought fits very well with how this discussion (and most on here) progressed so far. If it were a setlist it’d be something like this:

    Crowd Noise
    Triple Nipple>
    Euro Tour>
    Who’s Got My Fall Tour?>
    Mike’s Show*>

    *with Fee teases

    I’m probably missing a few “teases” but you get the point.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeah my friend and i made the mistake of drinking a bottle between us on a Saturday night before we had to be up Sunday morning and working at 8 AM to cook Sunday Brunch at the fine dining restaurant we worked at.

    I at least was wise enough to drink a bunch of water that morning. My friend, perhaps still feeling the effects from the night before, slammed far too much sweet tea. Lets say the results weren’t pretty. Also, none of our pancakes or eggs were that pretty either.


    lesson learned

  14. whole tour! Says:

    you are correct mr.c!
    johnny dangerously indeed!

  15. Chuck D Says:

    I got completely slammed on some absynth last year at WSP at Red Rocks… basically consisted of me trying to find a ticket to the show and failing. Since we had seen the show the night before, we decided to not sit up on the hill behind… so we meandered our way towards Bandameer Speedway where we snuck in to a motocross race in progress. All the hicks and rednecks were surpised to see a group of drunk as shit hippy kids at their event. All of them were asking if we were alright, to which we replied in a slurred “yup, perfect.” I hate motor sports and it will likely be my only one… but motocross bikes never sounded so wierd to me. The coupling of the doppler effect across a string of bikes clearing 50ft jumps is crazyness for sure. Had my head spun for sure. Shit smelled horible too. On the way out I got stuck in some bushes outside RR. I was in this weird hyper-drunk state where I could talk and comprehend, but I could not walk to save my life at that point. We then got followed home by the police and I passed out on someone’s couch… only to find a beautiful breakfast place across the street in the morning. Awww show memories… 8)

  16. HarryHood Says:

    lol at Type III

    First time that I’ve seen our daily blog progression put into setlist form. Well done! And surprisingly, it flows quite nicely. Does Set II start at 4:30?

  17. Neemor Says:

    Good stuff, Type III.
    Funny how often now I think of real life activities in Phish world terms.
    Like you did there.
    Lots of segues, pretty hot set.
    We even think about sets being able to flow due to inter-band communication.
    And our communication allows the blog to flow like a setlist.
    I’m calling ‘Any Fall Dates Reprise’ to start set II.

  18. Neemor Says:

    Any Fall Dates Reprise>
    Summer ’98 Memories>
    Time Loves a Hero,
    T-Shirt Ideas>

    # Miner inserts comment
    @ Llamalee joins us for the first time today to mention Fee and add the ‘Funniest Comment of the Day’.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    best lot shirt i saw:

    UNDERMIND w/a pic of underdog.
    back said: relocated not retired

  20. Marshall Says:

    hey all – stopping by after a couple weeks’ absence. What is new?

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really liked the Ocelot shirt I saw at Red Rocks: green t-shirt with the puma sneakers logo and Ocelot inserted as the text. Clean, neat, straight forward. Kind of like the Icculus adidas shirt. same idea basically.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    type III FTW

    epic post

  23. albert walker Says:

    After being engrossed in my possible halloween albums this weekend I was again reminded of something I had always known

    David Bowie, what a genius
    Phish should play one of his records because it should be against the law to not be fans of these records

    I tend to have trouble finding more than one album by an artist I really like. I tend to feel all their best ideas and energy go into one set of songs per band and they they are basically chasing that album. Sometimes it is the first but sometimes not.

    Bowie is one of the few I can put 3 or 4 records all in my favs of all time.
    Although I was hoping for Man Who Sold the World either of their selections will work great
    Had not listened to Hunky Dory in a while and was just blown away. Better than I even remembered

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    I tend to have trouble finding more than one album by an artist I really like. I tend to feel all their best ideas and energy go into one set of songs per band and they they are basically chasing that album. Sometimes it is the first but sometimes not.

    Again albert puts into words something I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to articulate for a long time

    The two artists who have gotten the biggest boost in my listening from this Halloween thing are Eno and Bowie for sure

  25. Comrade Says:

    is it only me or is anyone else having problems getting the FEE>Meatstick>Antelope to play?

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