The Starting Nine

sp_phish_gambleWith October upon us, and the baseball postseason underway, fans across the nation – from New York to Colorado to Los Angeles – begin to hang on every pitch of every inning. For the next month, right through Indio, the playoffs will be a passionate subplot to many of our days and nights. People have often likened Phish and baseball fans, two statistically-obsessed subcultures within our society. When the game or show is on, everything else is off, as we seek a unique feeling only attained when our heroes really work collectively. Accessing very different parts of our selves, being a fan of baseball and a fan of Phish, can be incredibly compulsive and complementary habits, eating up significant chunks of time. But few things engage me more than these two pastimes. Combining them for just a day, I present to you Phish’s starting post-season lineup.  You can download the nine selections below.

1. Tube

A lead-off hitter needs to get going quickly and have speed to get around the bases. Not placed here for power, “Tube” gets on base early and often. Known to steal bases and use its funk to kick start the team’s offense, “Tube” plays the role of a lead-off hitter perfectly. A short shot of groove sets the table for the bigger jams, “Tube’s” crack-like dance rhythms reach base almost every time. Chula Vista’s first set version from ’99 works quite nicely as an illustration.

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2. Bathtub Gin

4198_1152308280374_1007653377_30464754_3849393_n-2Batting second, “Bathtub Gin,” a solid hitter who specializes in lacing doubles in the gap. Boasting both power and speed, “Gin” fits well in the second position. Rarely coming up empty, and sometimes going huge, “Gin” has the type of steady mid-range jamming that embodies the qualities of a great number-two hitter. Here is an overlooked version from The Palace in ’97 that segues into “Foam.”

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3. Ghost

The three slot usually goes to the best hitter on the team, and since its ’97 debut, there has been no more consistent jam vehicle than “Ghost.” Evolving stylistically with the band,”Ghost” has proven to also be one of the most versatile pieces in their repertoire. A true five-tool player, “Ghost” can go anywhere at anytime, capable of groove, spacescapes, gnarling rock, ambient, and melodic textures. If translated to baseball stats, we are talking .300, 30, and 100 year in and year out. And “Ghost” will get plenty of pitches to hit because look who’s hitting next. This dark-horse version from Portland Meadows in ’99 illustrates the song’s versatility.

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4. Tweezer

The ultimate cleanup hitter, “Tweezer” is the Babe Ruth of Phish songs, swatting jams out of the park with a 42 ounce bat like it’s a toothpick. If there are ducks on the pond, “Tweezer” will clean the base paths almost every time.  Protecting “Ghost” with its intimidating psychedelia, no opposing pitcher wants to face “Tweezer” with the lead on the line. Having been groomed for this position since i’s youth, “Tweezer” ascended to its rightful spot in the order a long time ago and doesn’t seem to have signs of giving it up. These days, when I think “Tweezer,” I think Red Rocks.

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5. Down With Disease

phish20baseball-400-x-585-1Giving opposing pitchers no rest, “Down With Disease” holds down the coveted five spot. Reserved for a powerhouse that rarely strikes out, “Disease” fits the description perfectly. One of Phish’s favorite vehicles, when that fuzzy bass intro emerges, it sounds like a hanging curveball just waiting to be clobbered. “Disease” is a crafty veteran who can get the job done in more ways than one, but most often its with diverse and creative improv. Not necessarily a 40 home run hitter, “Disease” has made the All-Star team every year since 1996. Here is the incredibly cathartic version from 12.30.03 in Miami.

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6. David Bowie

This aging veteran has lost a step in its old age, but “Bowie” can still close sets with the best of them. No longer the psychedelic monstrosity of ’94 and ’95, the song still possesses power and legacy. I’m an AL fan, so “Bowie” will fill our designated hitter slot. Sometimes a defensive liability in the outfield due to older legs and aching knees, “Bowie” still has the potential to come through in the clutch every time it steps to the plate. Here is one from the glory days – 6.18.94′s Mind Left Bowie.

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7. Stash

Another versatile player, “Stash” slides into the seven hole, illustrating the top to bottom consistency of Phish’s line-up. “Stash” boasted an explosive summer of 2009, and goes into the playoffs as hot as any song.  After stellar nights in Colorado, Washington, and Connecticut, “Stash’s” confidence is peaking. Providing spark in the bottom third of the lineup, “Stash” is a versatile hitter who can spray the ball to all fields, slapping 10-minute singles or 20-minute home runs. Here is the foreboding version from Hartford this summer that hasn’t gotten enough props.

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phishfenway18. Split Open and Melt

As we get towards the bottom of the lineup, “Split” boasts an ominous presence for any pitcher. Just when they think there might be a gap in the offense, this scary hitter steps to the plate. Drawing a lot of walks due to its intimidation, “Split” has the highest on-base percentage of any number eight hitter in the league. Capable of legging it out via groove, more often than not “Split’s” outward psychedelia is it’s biggest offensive weapon. Here is an all-time favorite from Niagara Falls ’95.

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9. Run Like An Antelope

Rounding out the staring lineup, and acting as the “second lead-off” hitter is “Antelope.” With the quickest speed on the team, its ability to reach base on infield singles, and to reach third on routine doubles, astounds all opposing teams. If “Antelope” gets to first, it might as well be on third, boasting the highest single-season stolen base total since Rickey Henderson. And don’t be surprised to see some power in his bat, “Antelope” has made a living by popping dingers at the end of any given set. Here is a scorcher from La Mesa ’94.

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**

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Torrent

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Megaupload

1. “Tube” 9.18.99 Chula Vista, CA

2. “Bathtub Gin > Foam” 12.6.97 Auburn Hills, MI

3. “Ghost” 9.12.99 Portland, OR

4. “Tweezer” 7.31.09 Morrison, CO

5. “Down With Disease” 12.30.03 Miami, FL

6. “David Bowie” 6.18.94 Chicago, IL

7. “Stash” 8.14.09 Hartford, CT

8. “Split” 12.7.95 Niagara Falls, NY

9. “Antelope” 12.9.94 La Mesa, AZ

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Torrent

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Megaupload

phish-summertour-91Here is a return to the Summer of ’91 and Phish’s standout run with The Giant Country Horns. This second-to-last show of the Horns’ run showcases a well-practiced band whose communication transformed Phish’s music into a a sort of prog-rock fusion for a fortnight. The Aquarium Rescue Unit opened this show as the band co-billed their run though the South, switching headlining slots.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Reba, My Sweet One, Foam, Suzy Greenberg, Cavern, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Buried Alive, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Golgi Apparatus

II: Stash, Dinner and a Movie, You Enjoy Myself, Flat Fee, Funky Bitch, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards* > Tweezer Reprise

E: Lawn Boy, Frankenstein, Split Open and Melt

w/ The Giant Country Horns

* Happy Birthday dedication to Chris Kuroda

Source: Shure 57 > Casio D7 > SPDIF

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283 Responses to “The Starting Nine”

  1. SOAM Says:

    what if the costume they donned was their old selves?-They come out and rip a second set from worcester 98-as was..bet no one thought of that -Amy’s farm or even better-the costume is their first show from 83′

  2. BTB Says:

    Acoustic set:

    Fishman stuffs mouth with donuts, Trey plays Simpsons language, “Doh!”

  3. Little Buddy Says:

    BTB: Little Bruce is awesome. He’s almost two. He’s really getting into football this year. He just walks around the house yelling “foo-ball” all day. I don’t have the heart to tell him he’ll probably never play since he’s genetically predisposed to be a miniature human like mom and me (of course he wouldn’t understand anyway, but…). He’s totally in love with Sugar Shack and Ocelot too. He points to the stereo and if I put any music on other than Sugar Shack he cries. It’s kind of scary to me that he seems to “get” Mike more than other band members…

  4. SOAM Says:

    How can they rehearse for the Haloween set and an acoustic gig-I ‘m betting the acouty could be rough.

  5. SOAM Says:

    That;s great that he like’s Mike-just keep him away from camera’s

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    @SOAM I’m with you – right off the bat I called them coming as their former selves, doing like Junta or something…

    However my wife floated the hilarious idea the other night that the “Costume” could be ANOTHER band coming on dressed as Phish and playing a Phish album…people would riot, but it’d be funny as hell for a minute or two

  7. Little Buddy Says:

    Mr. C – the worst part was that she “accidentally” bought 4 of those $350 tix. I looked at the computer and was like “Why does it say $1400?” She’s like, “Oh, it’s Canadien.” Nice try. She used my debit card, no less. She was fortunate to find three friends willing to pay hat amount of $ to see Madonna…

    It’s a good line though. No doubt.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    They’ve had months, man. No worries on the rehearsal. I bet they both smoke.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    OH ITS CANADIAN!!!

    hahaha thats amazing

  10. whole tour! Says:

    whenever trey wore “pepe le peu” it was an epic show…

    EX: 7-23-97

  11. BTB Says:

    “Oh, it’s Canadian” LOL b/c it happened to you – deep state of rage and depression if it shit ever happened to me!

  12. KWL Says:

    I think I might tell my lady I ‘accidentally’ entered the lottery for every show of tour instead of the 3 I told her I would go to.

  13. KWL Says:

    though luckily she knows the deal anyway, & I always go to more than I say I will months ahead of time

  14. Robear Says:

    ‘Joy’ in the acoustic set, like on the album. Just spun the record ‘Joy’ for the first time. It’s nice making out the lyrics. Much easier than deciphering them live. Also, I have even more appreciation for the ‘Light’ played at the Gorge. They really nailed the entire beginning of the song and injected a life force in there like no other.

  15. voopa Says:

    “Oh, it’s Canadian.”

    Wow, just wow.

  16. SOAM Says:

    is it time to call the pastor-I don’t know I ask her..

  17. bhizzle Says:

    Speaking of the Joy album, anyone get word on Box delivery?

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    wives who are Phish fans know they are irreplaceable – worth their weight in vintage missile silo fluff – so they can get away with almost anything and usually know it

  19. Jay Says:

    “It’s Canadian”

    Thats like 300 US right?

    Hilarious

  20. BTB Says:

    “Canadian” – Bush league psych-out stuff…laughable…ah ha!

  21. Jay Says:

    today’s setlist will be hilarious

    Front Row Madonna -> It’s Canadian

    classic.

  22. Chuck D Says:

    great band name: It’s Canadian

  23. Chuck D Says:

    … reminds me of “Of Montreal”

  24. Robear Says:

    Didn’t they learn ‘The White Album’ in a matter of days, on the bus, in 1994? Fast learners, I reckon…

    Shaping up to be an epic harvest in California this year. Warm, dry, sunny fall means lots of well developed fruits, flowers and vegetables, with subtle nuances, colors and flavors. Should bode well for the menu at Indio.

  25. KWL Says:

    It’s Canadian with their first hit single, ‘Accidental Madonna’

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