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. Mr.Miner Says:

    “but I think they’re playing the 99 albums thing straight”
    ^ they so rarely play anything straight though

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    This is a vintage Miner day for me…just like back in Iraq…I like it..

  3. ColonelJoy Says:

    Seems like they are fucking with us for sure…

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ nice Colonel!

  5. ColonelJoy Says:

    Pats have a bi-week during Indio…maybe Bellicheck will show up…wearing a Wilson Hoodie…

  6. voopa Says:

    Less than 8 days and 8 hours until the first 8 set! w00t!

  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    While my honey is in the hospital, I’m stuck in a small hotel room with my son (behind me sleeping in the crib) and a sweet Golden Retreiver named Sandy….nothing better to do than waste my time here! I should be in the states today!!

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Damn Colonel, I thought you were back. That sucks. I hope you make back soon. I can’t imagine the anxiety you’re feeling right now. hang in there.

  9. halcyon Says:

    We hope you make it to Indio Col. Our toughts, prayers, and good vibes are headed your way.

  10. Ocelot42 Says:

    The Col. has to go to Indio. I know the universe can be cruel, but missing F8 would be sadistic.

    Also, love the Facebook group. It’s probably the only site I’m on more than here. (Counting a hockey message board where I’m a moderator!)

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    excellent linkage @beepster

  12. Boris Says:

    if they wanted to use the halloween costume to expand their playing style…i would think Kid A would be the best choice personally…that album would challenge them…

    the above comments in no way endorse them playing Kid A

  13. msbjivein Says:

    Colonel This one’s for you buddy!!!!
    Here’s to making it to the Promised land!

    “I left my home in Norfolk Virginia, California on my mind.
    Straddled that Greyhound, it rode me past Raleigh, and on across Caroline.

    Stopped in Charlotte and bypassed Rock Hill, and we never was a minute late.
    We was ninety miles out of Atlanta by sundown, rollin’ ‘cross the Georgia state.

    Had motor trouble it turned into a struggle, half way ‘cross Alabam,
    the ‘hound broke down left us all stranded in downtown Birmingham.

    Straight off bought me a through train ticket, right across Mississippi clean
    And I was on the midnight flyer out of Birmingham
    Smoking into New Orleans.

    Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
    Just help me get to Houston town.
    People are there who care a little ’bout me
    And they won’t let the poor boy down.

    Sure as she bore me, she bought me a silk suit, put luggage in my hands,
    And I woke up high over Albuquerque
    On a jet to the promised land.

    Workin’ on a T-bone steak a la carte,
    Flying over to the Golden State;
    When the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
    We’d be headin’ in the terminal gate.

    Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy
    Taxi to the terminal zone;
    Cut your engines, cool your wings,
    And let me make it to the telephone.

    Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia,
    Tidewater four ten on nine
    Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin’
    And the poor boy’s on the line.”


  14. punkmug Says:

    Boris. Totally agree.

  15. joe Says:

    way too many posts to read through so this is kind of a new fan reprise. I actually noticed a good amount of new fans at the last show in Saratoga. I only hit the first show at Fenway and the last at SPAC and it seemed as though there was a good amount of momentum built up in that regards (also ticket demand on site was 180 degree difference). With the relatively small number of shows, it will probably take awhile to build up but it was good to see that there might be new life injected into the scene (instead of all us old farts on a quasi-nostalgia trip). One key demographic for the scene is college kids (or that age anyway, students or not) and a whole cycle of students came and went in the time between 2.0 and 3.0.

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    Thanks for the love!! My attitude is much better today. The Doc is making an assessment tomorrow….lets hope it’s a good one!!

    man….taps just rang out from the belltower on base…love me some taps!!

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    Can someone point me to the facebook group? I am on FB Matthew Joy…easy to find

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ col

    search for “Thank You Mr. Miner”

    or look me up: Adam Kelly (hattiesburg, ms)

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    The right flow of n00bs is important if the scene’s not gonna stagnate. Too many and we get overwhelmed, can’t absorb and properly acculturate (train) them, like happened on Dead tour in ’87 and again in mid 90s – a bad situation. Too few and we lose the youthful energy and the scene will inevitably degenerate into boring notalgia trip.

    since no one has control over any of that all we can do is hope for the best

  20. Chuck D Says:

    Man, 130 CK5 Palm Trees + Man Made Borealis + Burple = best visuals ever

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    hahaha wow just cracked another insane Wall Of Sound era matrix mix for first spin – sounds like I am right fucking there – unbelievable

    kind of ridiculous that this amateur fan-made mix of two analog recordings made in 1974 utterly pwns even the improved 2nd leg LivePhish mix

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    word, Chuck – everyone bring the hi def cameras plz

  23. ColonelJoy Says:

    Found it Lycan…as soon as I joined the group my cock grew several inches…crazy

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    Mr. C, you gotta get your ass to Indio somehow..even for one night…eh?

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    needs explanation, por favor.

    Gotta go suck down a pitcher of beer before my next conference call. Hooray for the wireless headset!

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