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. flarrdogg Says:

    Quint Davis is “outside the box” enough to try bringing Phish back to Jazzfest. Didn’t work out real well in ’96. They weren’t ready for us. Not really anybodys fault.

  2. msbjivein Says:

    At dragons den 2 yrs ago during Jazz there was a Nitros Bar in the court yard in back!! Totally cool laid back Nitros Bar!! They had a HUGE tank behind the Cantina in the Court yard. Literally a Nitros Bar!! CRAZY SHIT only happening in NOLA!!

  3. halcyon Says:

    Here is the list from Type 3’s link

    Agency names 35 artists, songs used on U.S. military terror suspects
    A Freedom of Information Act request filed on Thursday names 35
    musicians or songs that it said were used against detainees at U.S. military
    detention centers, including the one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    The National Security Archive — the Washington-based independent
    research institute that filed the request — said the documents it is seeking
    “contain explicit references to the following bands or songs”:
    — AC/DC
    — Aerosmith
    — Barney theme song (By Bob Singleton)
    — The Bee Gees
    — Britney Spears
    — Bruce Springsteen
    — Christina Aguilera
    — David Gray
    — Deicide
    — Don McClean
    — Dope
    — Dr. Dre
    — Drowning Pool
    — Eminem
    — Hed P.E.
    — James Taylor
    — Limp Bizkit
    — Marilyn Manson
    — Matchbox Twenty
    — Meatloaf
    — Meow mix jingle
    — Metallica
    — Neil Diamond
    — Nine Inch Nails
    — Pink
    — Prince
    — Queen
    — Rage against the Machine
    — Red Hot Chili Peppers
    — Redman
    — Saliva
    — Sesame street theme music (By Christopher Cerf)
    — Stanley Brothers
    — The Star Spangled Banner
    — Tupac Shakur

  4. Weekapaug Says:

    Le Bon Temps Roule is another great bar in New Orleans. Uptown little ditty that i saw many great bands play at. Members of Galactic would play there every week. Good Enough for Good Times is one Galactic side project that booked a show there every week.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    thats had my vote for the past month…
    Mardi seems like it would be too much mindless belligerence…which is fine, but my policy isn’t to travel too far for it

  6. msbjivein Says:

    NOLA could use the influx of HEADS now for sure!!! Bring IT to NOLA!!

  7. Chuck D Says:

    Whoa, James Taylor used as torture. I bet he never saw that coming…

  8. bearito Says:

    Mardi Gras is a blast when done correctly. If not it can get ugly real fast. Lots of music after the parades (if your still standing) and it goes all damn night so it’s imperative to pace oneself. Good fun though.

  9. Weekapaug Says:

    Yeah, Phish is too big for our favorite little race track in NOLA. I’d love to see them at Burning Man 🙂 but that’s another issue

  10. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I went to NOLA for New Years this past year and had a blast, the annoying ‘Bama fans not withstanding. Just another tip for you all, when you are listening to a great, intimate jazz set, nobody wants to hear you yell “Roll Tide” Jeez, what an obnoxious group of folks. I didn’t care about the game, but I was glad to see them lose. One of the highlights from the trip was definitely seeing Dirty Dozen on makeshift stage in front of Jackson square, and then seeing an obviously innebriated Ray Nagen come out and tell everybody to drink up!

  11. flarrdogg Says:

    To anyone who is considering a venture to the easy…Jazz Fest. Kinda like Christmas. Screw Mardi Gras.

  12. beepaphone Says:

    or…brace yourself….burning man at a phish show

  13. Weekapaug Says:

    Did I forget to mention –
    Forget to mention Memphis.
    Home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks.
    Do I smell – I smell home cooking.
    It’s only the river – it’s only the river

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    Jazz Fest > Mardi Gras unless ur a local and in on the “real” mardi gras, not the tourist thing which seems like a big frat party now

  15. bearito Says:

    It’s always the A’hole football fans getting rowdy at the wrong times. I have buddies who in the past used to do that shit. I would just walk away most of the time or end up apologizing to the people obviously getting annoyed. The worst would be a show that happened to be after say… an LSU game. Everyone would be so faced that when a band would be btwn songs they just start yelling shit like “Tiger Bait” or “LSU”. It’s embarrassing to witness. I’m still a tiger fan but jeebus! Does this stuff happen elsewhere to any of you?

  16. bearito Says:

    Exactly Mr. C – You will however receive mixed reviews from the locals on what the “Real” Mardi Gras is.

  17. Stir it with a Ladle Says:

    Facebook, Daniel Post, Chicago Il.

  18. Weekapaug Says:

    It’s Social Clubs that create awesome floats and Parade their streets. Then private parties at the club houses.

  19. flarrdogg Says:

    People believe they have more latitude to do and say as they please in NOLA. Definitely part of what makes it unique, but obviously there is the flip side to that (drunken football fans at intimate shows). I used to watch these people fall out all around me and *usually* by later on in the evening, when the band was getting heated up, they were all down for the count and I was straight gittin’ down.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    like I said bearito, my n’awlins experience is way out of date. I did mardi gras once and jazz fest twice, long ago

  21. fat bastard Says:

    i work with 3 guys who have no idea about phish and they think im a total freak for flying out to cali for a concert, but…they are totally into the 99 albums. every mornings its, “lets see who got killed!” 3 guys, 3 different predictions, “thriller,” “the wall” “zep 1” and thats been their albums from the start. and they love the whole, “where’s molly” thing. they ask me if im bringing her with me or if we just meet up at the show. funny fuckers.

  22. flarrdogg Says:

    Mardi Gras can be done right if you tap in with people that are ‘lifers’- real locals- usually uptown.

  23. Jahvolunteer Says:


    I’ve been to BMan for the last three years. As you know it is where ITs at.

  24. Little Buddy Says:

    Much love, Colonel. Best wishes and positive vibes coming your way!!!

  25. beepaphone Says:

    i’d love to go to BM eventually…it’ll probably be years before it happens though

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