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”

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  1. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    Holy hell, JOTD smokes for what feels like a magic carpet ride, and the Tweeprise video from 4.3.98 is just pure energy. Excited to hear the Charlottsville show also.

    I need to lay off the phish for the couple days leading up to 8. Maybe ration myself two jams a day or something…

  2. Matso Says:

    The photo from the Paradiso is actually from the second night (7.2.97). The first night everyone was dressed in all black except for Trey, who wore a white t-shirt.

  3. ColonelJoy Says:

    Miner…you are the shiznit, bro….seriously, greatest phan ever by a wide margin, IMO….


  4. m00nshake Says:

    I was at both Paradiso shows… I’ll have to take a look at the pictures I took to confirm what Matso said, though. I loved the private party at the Grey Area coffeshop, too. Take a look at picture number 2: http://www.greyarea.nl/gallery_celebs.html

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    thanks, Miner for the DOTD. This was a fun show, especially the extended encore. I was on the rail Fishman side. I seem to recall the music being played after the show was the theme from The Peanuts. Not sure why I remember that…

    Looking forward to digging in to some of these JOTDs as well

  6. HarryHood Says:

    What exactly was the “band-student miscommunication” referred to in the DOTD?

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the student managers for the arena prematurely signaled to end the set.


  8. Dbone Says:

    looking at the photos from moonshake’s link at the same time as Trey’s singing “it’s only the river” on one of the cities above, I was wondering if they have ever switched up the lyrics and sung “do I smell, I smell home cooking, it’s only the reefer, it’s only the reefer.” Does anyone know if/when this has been done or if I’m just making up memories for myself.

    Either way, I think a great lot shirt would be that phrase written as follows:

    Do I smell?

    I smell home cooking.

    It’s only the Reefer

    works on so many (ok 2) levels for all the non-showering wooks of our stereotypes.

  9. HarryHood Says:

    If I had been the student manager, I would have waited about 3 hours to signal the end of the set! lol Maybe longer.

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    “Cities“ 7.31.98 I Columbus, OH I – My favorite Cities. Period. The funk groove they get into is just flat out disgusting.

  11. Dbone Says:

    @ tela I’m right in the middle of listening to that one and the funk is soo thick. maybe a new favorite cities for me too (though I don’t know what my old favorite was)

  12. Dbone Says:

    ^^I always kind of liked the Great Went Cities – nice smooth segue and nice fishman sleeps lyrics.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    whoa. the segue from Bowie into Cities in that Ventura show is great. the one out? not so clean…

  14. jdub Says:

    hey all,

    I want to throw out an idea for a game we can play that would enable us folks not on tour to enjoy and for those on tour to engage in.

    Works like this…

    At festi 8 pt regulars make big, colorful, fun signs with phishy words of wisdom. Post those signs at your camp site or somewhere appropriate. Take pictures, pictures get posted here.

    The point is to get these signs to every show on tour documenting its journey with photos that get posted here. It’s up to pters to find a sign and bring it to the next stop.

    We get to follow tour from a different perspective and perhaps the signs will inspire thought….

    I’m only getting to the MSG run so… what do guys think

  15. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    Last night reprise – Type III, thanks for keeping me in mind on those portland tickets. Also big ups for the setlist. I love it, and can’t imagine how long it takes you to wade through nearly 700messages to build it.

    was yesterday a record posting day?

  16. Pencilneck Says:

    Still no confirmation email, so I called the customer service. I scored 2 tix each nite cincy. 12th row Friday, 4th row saturday! The best indoor tickets i’ve ever scored. whoo!

  17. BTB Says:

    Booked my Albany hotel. Looks like downtown is sold-out or just plain expensive. Decided to set up shop by SUNY Albany campus. There’s got to be a bus service to downtown (4 mi)

    The Cbus cities is pretty damn funky

  18. punkmug Says:

    Holy lord jebus! That Columbus Cities destroys. Never heard it till today. Thanks.

  19. fat bastard Says:

    pencil nck what sections in cincy?

  20. BTB Says:

    ^Congrats on the Cinci tix – I still need a friday, but not really worried about it at this point

  21. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    BTB – I may have two reservations at the Crown in downtown albany on 11/28 freeing up. Will let you know via the board, if/when I cancel them.

  22. Pencilneck Says:

    section 2. I’m gonna be trying for albany on friday aswell. I thinkt the ticket market will be easier to deal with this time around.

  23. Pencilneck Says:

    off to work. later cats.

  24. Robear Says:

    TOp of the mornin’, all. Just wanted to put a shout out to the stealth PT ladies. You are all welcome to find the “Oasis” at Indio. My GF will be there, and she would love to meet some more female phans. (RR this summer was her first shows) Living in the norcal mountains, she’s often surrounded by guys.

    Of all the JOTD’s, I did catch the ‘Target’ center show. There’s a bar attached to the venue that you can enter without a ticket. I was able to go in and out of the venue w/o a ticket using some un-locked (wtf) glass doors at the back of the bar that lead right into the venue. Just had to slip my skinny ass past some chairs and walk backwards, Jedi style. Phrickin’ intimate basketball arena. It felt really small and the sound filled every square inch of the place. Awesome, relaxed lot scene too. Big ups, land ‘o’ 10,000 lakes.

  25. BTB Says:

    @VT802 – I already booked my hotel. Thanks for the offer though. I think it was $115 all in for 2 nights. Can’t complain, although my girl will probably bitch no matter what right?

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