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]

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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]

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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. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ LOL! @ Mr. C – juts when you think you’ve heard it all!!!

  2. Pence Says:

    someone told me that there is a “joshua tree” on one of the 8 tickets, can someone confirm?

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    I swear to God, Miner, my Eugene posse provides a neverending series of stories like that. It just never fucking ends with those guys, like a Choose Your Own Adventure written by Hunter S. Thompson. And they have that kind of crazy luck where no one ever ends up seriously hurt or busted.

    Goin down there on Friday actually 😮

  4. Leo Weaver Says:

    Afternoon guys…just FYI, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust on the local Palladia HD channel right now. Still calling that one for F8…

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I love being able to visit a scene like that without having to live it anymore

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^exactly 🙂

  7. albert walker Says:

    Ziggy’s got the big guitar rocker for Trey that Hunky Dory is lackin
    Suffragette City is just asking for the big rocker turn jam vehicle VU Rock n Roll style

    We were also discussing Byrne and Eno’s earlier work outside Talking Heads. Def check it out one of my fav records.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I could see Starman being a pretty sweet jam vehicle too. I always loved that tune.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    and the title track has that killer signature riff….

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    The thing about Ziggy is that almost every song is a fade out, leaving the door wide open for Phish to go to town…

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ …in the Bush of ghosts is def epic

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    there are some killer licks on this Television record

    Phish would kill “Elevation”

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Listening to Television always reminds me of this fantastic PBS documentary series done in Fall 1995 about the History of Rock-n-Roll. Ten one hour episodes starting with the roots in the blues/R&B tradition, going through Bubble Gum rock and all the way up to the rap and grunge of the early 90s (I think Lollapalooza is about at the end). I think I even still have the VHS tapes I recorded of it when it originally aired, but I know you can get it on DVD now (or somewhere on the internet, for sure).

    Anyway, there’s an entire episode about bands like Television, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, and more of the punk and not-quite-commercial bands of the 70s/80s…

    If you can find this, I recommend checking it out.

  14. whole tour! Says:

    i remember the jerry interview from that pbs series.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    I know literally nothing about Television except:
    1) this album is pretty great
    2) they’re very influential
    3) people say its punk related but I don’t hear it

    =========

    sooooo many great lyrics on Hunky Dory

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Listening to 4-15-89 Playing in the Band and I am struck by how “retro” this version sounds. Its probably the heavy wah (perhaps Mutron) that Jerry is using, but it gives it a ’74 era sound. Would have loved to have seen this one.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    i still have never listened to most of the midwest end of spring tour run…the omni kind of sucked and g-boro not that great either so it took the wind our of my sails

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    I know 3 less things about Television that Mr. C does

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    Bowie is a possibility. I always enjoyed Life On Mars. One of the better Page covers.

  20. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Earlier this year I downloaded and burned the entire Dead to the Core project (something like 600 disks) and they are, by and large, revelatory, particularly for eras that I have not previously given much shrift to. In every era, even up to ’94 and ’95 there are gems in there. I commented on that jam only because I had thrown the disk in and was kind of zoning out on some work and then I started paying attention and I could swear it was a ’74 jam, even though I knew it wasn’t. Always a pleasant surprise.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    this week can’t go fast enough – first time I’ve been stuck with substandard nugs since moving to the PNW – seems surreal actually…but the wait is almost over

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    I’m moving to Raleigh tomorrow, knowing no one there and I hear nugs are just a dream. I don’t feel sorry for you Mr. C.

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Mr. C –

    Thanks for the tip.
    I am a block from the Hippo, in fact I got married at the Hippo. I used to live at the Hippo (quite literally). It is a fantastic place. In any case, I will be there this weekend undoubtedly. I have no gig, and don’t work weekends.

    I’ve been meaning to check out Blk Jks since i have seen the various chatter about them. What better way to do it then live eh?

    Ziggy would be pretty epic.
    Fits Halloween Festival vibe pretty nicely.
    Not too much blatant drug abuse lyricism that is found in most of the albums they posted.
    Could be big contender.

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Miner and Mr. C –

    I recommend trying to find some live Television. I am sorry I can’t point you in any direction, but I have heard some and they are definitely prone to extended songs in the live setting. Very good stuff, will give you a better picture of them.

  25. MOONSHAKE Says:

    oh you want some aura well here’s some mor-a

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