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. Bapslap Says:

    ^ Nah, I’ve totally bought into the 100th album (the killer) will be played theory. It’s a great play on a “who dun it”.

  2. beepaphone Says:

    ^ my favorite theory….or Miner’s “its all just bullshit” theory

  3. albert walker Says:


    I found Bug to be heavilly influenced by VU

    but I think Trey’s bass and drum heavy trance thing started in 1999 and pushed the VU phase right out the door

  4. halcyon Says:

    Let it Bleed is a good thought…especially with other albums being killed off..

    Jamtopia made me think differently about Let it Bleed

    What the hell do I know though

  5. BTB Says:

    Lionel Richie BITCHES!


    he’s the murderer!

  6. msbjivein Says:

    Colonel, Your WSP post reminded me of something……..
    Last night during the Phillies vs Dodgers game last night. When TBS went to commercial they were playing Climb To Safety………..It wasn’t even a Braves game, wierd…..in a cool way……….

  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    The band is most certainly fucking with us….my wife, who has never seen a show, finds it cruel…

  8. BTB Says:

    Seriously though, I could see STEVIE WONDER as the murderer.

    Get it, he’s blind as a bat

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    if someone is killing off albums it could be Live/Dead

    as albert once said, dare to dream

    but I think they’re playing the 99 albums thing straight

    For me the main argument against Exile is that it is a double album. I think that might be a deal breaker. 80-90 minutes *before* adding jamming – which we want them to do – just adds up to too much IMO.

    Exile, like most double albums, make that almost all double albums, make that every studio recorded (non live) double album I can think of, would be better if it had about 1/4 to about 1/3 fewer songs on it. Still too many for a single LP, but I always feel like double LPs are stretched with filler.

  10. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yeah, I’m not even really a WSP fan, but I do think their songwriting is pretty solid from a lyrical creativity standpoint…..

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    shit, the band has been fucking with me for close to 20 years. every time I think I know what to expect they blow away anything I could have come up with. why stop now?

  12. msbjivein Says:

    Did I mentionit was Last Night……….LOL!

  13. ColonelJoy Says:

    Seems like they didn’t leave themselves a huge amount of rehearsal space..Gordo’s final show was 4 OCT…probably pulled him off stage into the barn or wherever they are practicing….seems like they would want 3 solid weeks….not just for the ween album, but to keep up what they had found on leg II….

  14. beepaphone Says:

    i’m sure they’ll have it dialed in…

    …and the catalog grows

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Pretzel Logic Off’ed

    @BTB nice work on the FB group.

    Anyone without plane tickets yet may also want to consider PHX. there is a rather large contingent moving west beginning Thursday AM and cinishing up by Friday at noon in time for the shows. PHX is a major hub for US Air and a secondary hub for Southworst. If you get here before 1 on Thursday and only have one small article, I am alway looking for a gasrider in the RV, so sleep space though. We will return Monday AM unless I am moved to drive home Post show on Sunday, highly unlikely.

    Plus to drive from PHX west on I-10 is scenic. I am kind hoping for a little traffic so I can enjoy the sunset at 1 mile and hour.

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    They probably started working the album during summer rehearsals even…they practiced The White Album for months….

  17. Neemor Says:

    search “thank you mr miner” and it should come up.
    ^ Not sure if that works.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    The whole progressive rock movement should have just halted once King Crimson hit their prime. Everything worth doing in that style is done best by them.

    OK that comes across as picking a fight, but seriously, I love this stuff and don’t really listen to anything else like it

  19. msbjivein Says:

    I hope what ever album it is they play that they use it as a way make them better. If that’s possible. But some of the past albums were used to influence their music and improvisation. This is what i hope happens w/ this costume. They come out of this experience a better, tighter band w/ a new groove to add to their already endless jamming style.

  20. beepaphone Says:

    ^ amen

  21. msbjivein Says:

    Maybe they’ll come out of this w/ a HORN Section!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t think we could ask for anything better IMO………..

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    agree that Larks Tongues is too sparse

  23. beepaphone Says:

    On the map theres an thing on the concert grounds that says “borealis” and the thing is f’in huge. Heres a theory.


    Still researching what the hell “Burble” is….

  24. beepaphone Says:


    What I’ve found on “Burble”
    also f’in sweet

  25. beepaphone Says:

    They are on a MISSION, people. to make you HAPPY.

    So much candy

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