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. Kenny Powers Says:

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

    Mr. C, which source are you referring to? I admit I’m just starting to collect and get into Dead shows, I have been one of those pseudo-fans whose collections has been limited for years to Hundred Year Hall, Without a Net, a couple Dick’s Picks, Barton Hall matrix etc.

    Anyway I’ve found that most of the pre ’90s AUDs i’ve sampled from etree sound super distant…tinny…overbearing crowd noise. i guess i just always seem to prefer a SBD/AUD matrix (i find the vocals too loud and upfront in alot of the SBDs i’ve heard).

    again i’ve only just started collecting Dead shows (been too preoccupied w/ Phish and wasn’t of show going age when the Dead were still playing well), so i’m probably unaware of a HUGE segment of tasty AUD sources.

    anyway i’m always grateful for any suggestions on super danks AUDs from 1974.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    My son directly asked me not to go, Miner. No can do after that. Possible my sweetie would have been OK with it – she finally grasped the level of extreme generosity that has been offered by the kind peeps on this board, meaning my expenses would be utterly minimal. Really she has more Phish seniority than I do by a long way, so if anyone was going to go solo it should be her. But I think she was getting close to saying I should go…she’s like that…when the chips are down she is just a very cool person and very generous

    But Halloween is the third part of the Kids High Holy Day Trinity (along with xmas and birthdays) and he was obviously really not OK with me not being around for it

    so unless he spontaneously changes his mind in the next 2-3 days, I think the door is finally officially closed

    bummer, but he comes first, period

  3. Robear Says:

    ^Colonel, pulling one for you, and tugging hard at the universe to sling your family safely through the dr. visit, then straight to the polo fields.

    Sign finding Phishthoughts tour challenge of quotes by Mr. C

    “The right flow of nOObs is important….”

    “Growers and chemists….modern day robin hoods”
    endless, priceless

  4. Robear Says:

    ^big thumbs up to you, papa.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Kenny –

    I am an AUD snob and IMO there are practically no early AUD sources really worth your time on their own. The earliest straight AUD I listen to is an amazing Oade Brothers Schoeps pull from the Greek in ’85. Before that you can arguably nominate a few FOBs going back to about ’79.

    Before that, the mikes just didn’t have enough range, period. Phil is tiny, the kicks have no punch, etc.

    Jerry Moore was the first truly great taper. Some of his onstage and FOB small venue recordings from the era are very worthy. But even his best GD pulls of the era don’t do it for me.

    The matrixes are another story. A lot of people think matrixing late-70s Betty Boards is pointless, and maybe they’re right. But Wall of Sound SBDs tend to be rather flat. So they matrix well with a good clear FOB aud.

    What I’m listening to right now is a SBD+Jerry Moore FOB aud matrix of 6-22-74 Miami, an underrated show that lives in the shadow of the following night (for which there is also a similar matrix in circ). The two sources complement each other perfectly and I hear no phasing at all. A+ listening IMO.

    So summary: most of the time you’re better off with the boards. But some of the matrixes are great. I think this one is great even if you are a matrix skeptic.

  6. Neemor Says:

    Responsibility is so heroic.
    You guys make me feel empowered.
    Now that we’re on FB, I will literally lose my job.
    It’s over.
    My boss is lining up the pink slip.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    thx R!

  8. ColonelJoy Says:

    Mr. C,

    Luckily, at 2, Pedro can’t form the complete sentence….Don’t go to….

  9. ColonelJoy Says:

    Neemor, I need to see you in my office

  10. Kenny Powers Says:

    oh gotcha Mr, C

    “amateur fan-made mix of two analog recordings”

    i made an incorrect assumption that you meant two AUDs mixed together. Yeah I’m with you on the straight AUDs. After my ears have been adjusted to Phish AUDs it’s tough listening to older Dead ones.

    I really like alot of the Hunter Seamons mtx’s I’ve sampled thus far. I just like having that slightly “airy” and open sound you get with a mtx vs. a stright board. you can feel the size and shape of the room almost.

    For Phish i’d take a good aud over a board or matrix anytime, provided the nearby talkers aren’t supremely obnoxious (like a couple sources I’ve heard from this summer’s shows).

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    a fair amount is lost in the compression to MP3 so I highly recommend tracking down the FLAC fileset, which is currently being seeded (by me and many others) on bt.etree.org as part of the “Grateful Dead 1974 Project” – but here:
    Playin’, Eyes, China > Rider are all highlights
    Dark Star > Spanish jam > US Blues is the obvious highlight

  12. ColonelJoy Says:

    I’m kind of a noob…only 71 shows

  13. Kenny Powers Says:

    thanks for the links Mr. C. although i think i may have already grabbed those…I downloaded all the matrices from the first 5 or 6 parts of the 1974 projects…i think those make it through June. I think I’m through July so far.

    I am lossless all the way, as much as I can control.

  14. beepaphone Says:

    on that note, I seriously might be the biggest noob here

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    Stick with the 1974 project through the wrap-up shows in Philly and Jersey. All epic. The september Euro shows are still good but there’s a big dropoff IMO.

    Fall 1973 -> Summer 1974 = the best of the best IMO; their highest peak.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    @beepster, we have at least a couple who have yet to make a show, and some whose first were this summer…

  17. Mugician Says:

    Man, that Borealis stuff looks totally awesome. I was wondering what it was on the map…

    Beep, biggest noob? How so?

  18. beepaphone Says:

    really? nice…fuckin’ n00bs….

    j/k. They wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t surrendered to the flow

  19. beepaphone Says:

    fan for <10 years, <20 shows

  20. Robear Says:

    Colonel, first night at Feight will be my 75th. (i’m pretty damn sure)

  21. Mugician Says:

    Beep, I’ve been waiting patiently to see the boys live for five years. Finally got to at Red Rocks this summer.

    Anyone heard of or met a guy named Ian Feder?

  22. Kenny Powers Says:

    my first show goes back pretty far but my show total is not too impressive.

    i should have caught waaay more over the years. all except deer creek and star lake ’97 were shows within a 5-hour drive from Boston. i just never had the money, ability to take enough time off school/work, or creative ambition to do whole tours or other parts of the country.

    wish i had got to see some shows at smaller venues, or big ones that were half empty like many on the fall ’99 tour. even when i started out in ’94 they were packing massive venues all over the northeast. it think the smallest phish show i’ve seen is Providence, which is like 12,000. Looks like I’ll beat that with Portland in November! How ironic!

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    there are plenty of tools who have been to 100 shows and still don’t know what’s actually going on underwater – still bobbing on the surface as the shadow glides below

    and plenty of noobs who can see through the lines their first night – just burst into song and unwind

    some rise, some fall


  24. beepaphone Says:

    Hell yeah Mugician
    Didn’t make Red Rocks…will next year.
    Love me my hoodstream DVD’s though.

  25. Mugician Says:

    Mr. C: well said.

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