Dark In the Daytime

Merriweather 8.15 (K.Pusey)

Merriweather 8.15 (K.Pusey)

During the transformative year of 1997, Phish didn’t only make a seismic shift in musical style, they also revamped their song rotation, favoring vehicles for heavy grooves. Songs like “Free,” “Gumbo,” and “Wolfman’s” took on completely new musical contours, while the band also added pieces to their repertoire that catered to their new rhythmic style. “Ghost,” and “Twist” provided, open-ended jams, and “Black-Eyed Katy” provided a vehicle for straight funk improv. In addition to these originals, the band also revived two ancient covers –  “Sneakin Sally” and, more significantly, “Cities.” Upon its inclusion in Europe’s setlists during Summer ’97, “Cities” immediately became a fitting musical springboard with its slowed-down, bass-led grooves. Boasting significant versions all summer long and in the years to come, “Cities” represented one of the greatest song developments during the era of groove.

Phish featured The Talking Heads’ cover in the summer of 1988 somewhat frequently, but shelved the song before the year ended. “Cities” didn’t see the stage lights again until Summer 1994 when the band, completely out of nowhere, broke it out in Ottawa, Ontario for a four-minute stint, never to be seen again until 1997. But when the song re-emerged, it remained in the band’s loose rotation for the late ’90s, providing more than a few outrageous dance parties and diverse escapades. Here, in chronological order, are some of the most significant versions of “Cities” ever played.


Bathtub Gin > Cities7.1.97 Amsterdam, NL

Paradiso - 7.1.97 (M.Welsh)

Paradiso - 7.1.97 (M.Welsh)

Phish began 1997’s summer tour in Europe, exploring the molasses-funk they had discovered just months before. “Cities” proved to be a perfect vehicle to explore these new overtly rhythmic textures. Appearing four times over their three-week tour, “Cities” nudged its way into rotation with its dripping grooves. This version from Paradiso was the last rendition before the band returned stateside. In its combination with “Bathtub Gin,” the song showcased Phish’s excessively slow-paced jamming that typified their ground-breaking European vacation. After reaching a segment of distorted guitar-led jamming, the band settled into “Gin’s” structure for a few measures before moving into a slow funk jam that, minutes later, morphed into “Cities.” As slow as they come, and moving beyond mere groove, this version is quintessesntial Europe ’97.



Bowie > Cities > Bowie 7.30.97 II Ventura, CA

1997-07-30moWhile “Cities” popped out across the pond, its US comeback came in the middle of one of Summer ’97’s eternal highlights – “Bowie > Cities > Bowie,”  from Ventura, CA. Emerging out of “Bowie” and sliding right back into the larger song, Phish made the transitions in and out of “Cities” patiently and masterfully. 17 minutes into a dynamic “Bowie,” the band broke down their chaotic communication into a rhythmic realm that seemed to suggest a new segment of the jam. But as Trey began scratching his guitar, the band took notice, setting up a sparser pattern through which Trey led them into a series of crack-like Phish grooves, eventually blending into a surprise appearance of “Cities.” Moving more briskly than any European rendition, the band played a more authentically paced version of the cover. Transforming the jam’s ending into an intricate pattern, the band rejoined “Bowie,” forming the talking point of the west coast swing. This jam made ripples through the scene all summer long, and when listening back, one can hear why.



Cities > Good Times, Bad Times 8.1097 I Noblesville, IN

Deer Creek (Unknown)

Deer Creek (Unknown)

The very next time Phish broke out the song after its US debut, it opened the second set of Deer Creek in style. As soon as the song dropped, its medium tempo foreshadowed great things on the horizon – and were they ever! Stretching out “Cities” into its longest-ever exploration, Mike and Trey led the band through a section of furious funk that stood out as among the absolute cream of the Summer 97’s crop. The band locked in and let loose, creating an enduring memory that built through several stages of thematic improv before splashing into a sublime melodic ending, resolving the disgusting grooves. In my opinion, this represents Phish at their finest during an exciting tour.



Cities 7.31.98 I Columbus, OH I

This standalone version, in the first set of Polaris ’98, blew the roof off the pavilion. Innocently creeping out of the gates with chunky Summer ’98 funk textures, Trey led off with a repetitive riff over the band’s swanky pattern, transforming the music into some ridiculously slammin’ grooves! As Trey finally broke his line, the band began to climb alongside his guitar licks, building momentum behind the crack-like, whole-band groove. Eventually the band found their way out of their straight rhythmic playing into a soaring peak; providing all the funk and a whole lot more!



Cities > Free9.24.00 II Minneapolis, MN


Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Fast forwarding two years, this version of “Cities” finds us in Minneapolis during Fall 2000. When Phish opened the second set of the beloved Target Center’s 1.0 finale with “Cities,” conventional wisdom said we were in for a lengthy groove-fest, but Phish had other plans. After a brief run through some song-based rhythms, the band took a left turn into one of the lushest ambient soundscapes of tour. Delving into eerie-space and layered psychedelia, this version delivered something completely different altogether. Phish had veered from raw funk by this point in time, incorporating ambient playing as a prominent feature in their music, and this “Cities” couldn’t be a better example.


Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Down With Disease > Lizards” 12.12.95 II Providence, RI


Another blowout “Disease” before the band reined in the song’s improv to fast-paced, type-I territory throughout 1996.



10.27.94 University Hall, UVA, Charlottesville, VA < Torrent

10.27.94 University Hall, UVA, Charlottesville, VA < Megaupload

dAs Phish prepares for a fall finale in Charlottesville, VA, let’s take a look back at the last time they played at The University of Virginia. A scintillating setlist was punctuated by an extended encore after a band-student miscommunication ended the second set prematurely. The band came back with one of their most legendary encores ever. The first set includes the Phishy combo of “Forbin’s > Vibration of Life > Mockingbird.”

I: Wilson, Sparkle, Maze, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > The Vibration of Life > Fly Famous Mockingbird, The Divided Sky, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Poor Heart, Cavern

II: Julius, Ya Mar, Tweezer, Contact, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Down with Disease, Sweet Adeline

E: Slave to the Traffic Light > Icculus, Tweezer Reprise

Source: AKG 460B (in X-Y pattern) > Shure PreAmp > DAP-20

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521 Responses to “Dark In the Daytime”

  1. Ocelot42 Says:

    I missed how it started, but whoever made our Facebook group is a genius. My name should link to it. If I did it right.

  2. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Marshall – it is easy pickings in there for sure.

  3. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ flarrdogg, yeah you can do that or email me at digs5446 at gmail. i just hope this source i really like isn’t the one you’ve had and aren’t happy with. after all, one man’s trash is another man’s…wait, how does that go?

  4. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Marshall – btw, I never said that Lulus was a cool bar, just a place to meet girls. Don’t want you to be thinking that I am endorsing that place…

  5. Marshall Says:

    My Indy folk – it’s all good. 🙂

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Marshall – have fun. There is some live music at Local’s Only tonight. A friend of mine puts that on. No cover either. 56th & keystone, on the east side of keystone on 56th street

  7. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    BTW, jamtopia has video of Burble and Borealis, holy crap, cool, cool stuff. Check it out folks.

  8. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Seriously, if that stuff is rolling all night, you folks in the hotels will be sorely missing out.

  9. joe Says:

    ok, no yankee choke job imminent. Hopefully, the games and sets don’t conflict to the point where it’s a distraction for fans of both band and teams.

  10. halcyon Says:


    Epic 7th inning. Lets close this out!

  11. joe Says:

    I don’t think Rivera’s deal with the Devil expires till after next year, so you should be ok.

  12. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    I’ve been watching Kobe and Ron Artest, totally forgot this game was tonight. Go Yanks. Two runs and finish strong…

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    hey beep…just checked out your website…cool stuff. Wifey and I want to use some of the sun tunnels when we renovate the house (whenever that is)

  14. halcyon Says:

    Damm yankees…

    what a crazy 7th & 8th.

  15. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    Yeah, this is depressing….

    The posters on Jamtopia look awesome…


  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    alrighty then. another strong day today. two very long sets. I have to say, I watched the Burble and Borealis videos and I cannot wait to see those in person. I know I will spend a good amount of time there “jamming” witht the lights. Here’s your setlist…

    Thick Funk>
    21st Reprise*>
    Different Cities>
    Queen City Plans**>
    A Good Idea***>
    Pull the Trigger****>
    Passing the Torch>
    Many Moved On
    All Things in Moderation>
    Live to Do/Do to Live>
    Pulling Back the Veil^^>

    NOLA (Positive Vibes version)>
    Burning Man>
    Leaked Map (Final Eight?)>
    The Killer Theory>
    Tricks for Treats>
    Eye Candy
    The Colonel (Good Will)^^^^^>
    New Fan Reprise
    Priorities (interpolating Dead Sourcing)>
    Mr. C’s Live Blog>
    Marshalling (Indy)

    E: Another Game Saturday

    Social Media teases and quotes throughout show.
    * Many Moved On teases
    ** Cool Grandma tease
    *** Parental Involvement Jam
    **** Stripper Flakes tease
    *****Plasma Financing Jam
    ^ Hunky Dory teases
    ^^ Bad Idea tease
    ^^^ Guantanamo tease
    ^^^^ Analogy Jam
    ^^^^^ full Promised Land quote
    +Shoulda Coulda Woulda Jam

  17. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    from Jamtopia comment thread:

    hoosiermama from Indiana || Oct. 22, 2009 at 08:57 PM | #
    Why in the world would they tell us the album? They wouldn’t. They never have before. Wake up people…they are fucking with you. They win. You have now listened to lots of albums—many you have never heard of before. Expect the unexpected. That is one thing I have definitely learned over the years following Phish. There are always millions of rumors…usually none of them pan out. That’s what make reading these boards so much fun. The anticipation, the theories, the speculation, the ludicrous amount of time we all waste compiling ideas and statistics on everything (number of songs on an album, years they were released, how many members are alive). We have all been schooled—-literally and figuratively by PHiSH. And yes, they could urinate in our ears…and we would love it. This is just another chess game they are playing with us. They will win. They always do….

  18. beepaphone Says:

    @ leo
    nice…love the sun tunnels. let me know when you do your renovation…even if you’re out of our geographical range, i’d be happy to give you (or anyone here) a basic consult or anything like that.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    on the house, of course…or….for your cobo

  20. lot rat Says:

    i like the rumor that the last album is killing off all the other ones. They are fuckin with us, im hoping for a tasty blindside…

    1 week. Friday night is gonna be a throw down….big mikes groove in the second set…along with timber, gumbo, and mound

  21. beepaphone Says:

    I just had a revelation that Glide will be played acoustic.

    goodnight all

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