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. bearito Says:

    Well I hope your trips were memorable Mr. C. Maybe this years Jazz fest lineup will want to bring you back to the Big Easy. Usually announced in late december/early january.

  2. KWL Says:

    @bhizzle, sorry stepped out for a bit. I’m east of that, San Luis Valley. About 40 minutes from Alamosa in the Sangre de Cristos

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    Much love to you and yours Colonel!

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    I think Hunky Dory would be too mellow. I now think the campground names are a diversion as well…

  5. fat bastard Says:

    not me miner, im sure those are the 8

  6. voopa Says:

    Article about the change in SBD sound after first leg:


  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    Superfly is dead….can you guess what the final five records remaining will be?

    – Exile
    – Thriller

    will be there for sure…probably Kid A…maybe a zappa record, too and Bowie, of course

    surprised there isn’t a Stevie Wonder record on there…

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    damn….JOTD (dwd) is THICK. nice pick Miner.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    damn, the Sangre de Cristos are fucking beautiful – did a week up in there many moons ago – loved it

    @bearito, I loved it and would love to come back any year more or less regardless of lineup…most of hte best stuff I saw I had never heard of before, you know…I’m just in a not very mobile life phase, won’t last forever

  10. Robear Says:

    That ‘Cities’ from Polaris does rip. From about the 8 min. to 12 min. mark, it seems they’ve discovered ‘The lost city of Atlantis’ and are celebrating the occasion.

  11. albert walker Says:

    If we don’t get one of those rumored 8 killed soon Miner they are probably accurate

    I guess they could be manipulating the whole thing, but from a probability perspective the amount of albums left, compared to how many they take down a day, vs the outcome of 8 albums left make it highly unlikely we don’t see one of those 8 taken down soon.

    Unless like I said, Phish is manipulating the whole thing and they will be the last 8 of the remaining 16 before 8 are left if that makes sense

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    Fat B…how are you sure???

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    Superfly will never really die…
    ^^^ stoked!

    summary of SBD changes: from terrible to acceptably OK-ish

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    I think the whole thing could be a smokescreen for Thriller or Ziggy (crosses fingers). Now I have a topic for tomorrow!

  15. bearito Says:

    @ Mr. C – That’s the best attitude you can have when coming into NOLA. I feel ya on being in a non-mobile phase. It sucks but has to be done at times.

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    Campground names? I have not seen those…point me…

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    Colonel, the 8 campground names have been leaked….prob the final 8 albums….should i post em…i was gonna do a spolier alert in b4 my post tomorrow

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    I’ll email you Col.

  19. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Col. – I posted them at the end of yesterdays comments. Last page I believe.

  20. albert walker Says:

    I’ve been calling Exile from jump so I’m sticking too it
    From what they’ve played in the past, and where they are going it just made sense to me

    They are terrible at roots music, and they are about to change all that, proving me wrong once again

    Of all the rumored records it is the least Phishy and the one I see them having the most trouble with
    They are up for a challenge, and are shedding it out as we speak

  21. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    There was one mysterious campground called Alpha Omega, clearly there is no album on the list by that title, and a quick search on amazon on returned dub music. Any ideas on this?

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    regarding the people we know who don’t understand IT, the talk of obnoxious football fans reminded me that one of the better analogies I give to people is that a Phish show is a lot like going to a college football game. From my own experience, relating it to Notre Dame games works well:

    you have a lot scene where everyone hangs out talking about the “game” ahead, their favorite performances from the past, etc.
    everyone’s drinking, eating, and generally reveling as they get pumped up for the game.
    music is blaring, both good and bad.
    at a phish show you have people in tie dyes, tour shirts, patchwork pants, etc. at an ND game you have the “tour” t-shirts but instead of tie dyes, there are guys in plaid pants.
    there are scalpers.
    there are people looking for tickets.
    The port-o-potty lines suck.
    everyone’s in a great mood in anticipation of the “show” ahead.
    both are like a religion to those who follow the “team” around the country.
    every time it’s like a reunion as you see people you didn’t think would be there and make new friends along the way.
    During the “show” most people are intensely engrossed in what is happening on the “field” while there are always those just there for the party.
    Afterwards, everyone talks about the highlights, what they thought of the performance, etc.

    I think a lot of you can relate to what I’m getting at here.

  23. ThePigSong Says:

    My gut says they won’t play any of the albums on the list. I like the mindset that one album is killing the rest off, it just doesn’t seem like the band would give us this much information.

    we haven’t forgotten about floating California already, have we?

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    I think the 8 albums are pretty unphishy as a whole

  25. ThePigSong Says:

    also isn’t there one campground yet to be named?

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