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. Mugician Says:

    Woohoo! I got my ride all lined up. Damn I’m excited.

  2. Mugician Says:

    How is it I always manage to make the last comment on each page? Seems like it happens all the time.

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @Señor C – funny I was wondering where my shoes went. 😉

  4. Robear Says:

    lmao @ the setlist, Mr. C. Will there be trick or treating at Feight?

    My ex will have my 9 year old daughter. I have given in to the fact that the ex really wants to do Halloween every year. This time, it’s in my favor. I will be bringing my son. You all will dig him.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    whatever you do…

    they’re nice, though the fish tank in the platform heel is a bit over the top

  6. Neemor Says:

    Miner, that’s good, good news.
    If you live blog to FB and have NS up next day, I’m damn near at the Polo Grounds.
    You are the man, but you know that.
    I wonder how you keep your ego in check.
    I would be slappin’ bitches and stealin’ cars if I got as much props as you do all day long, my head would be so big!
    I guess I’m saying that I would be a major asshole to women and break laws if I had a huge ego….
    ….not sure where I was going with this.
    Thanks again and I for sure will be checking in.

  7. Jon Says:

    Robear – kudos to the ex; it’s the most important holiday we celebrate — the only pagan holiday we have left!

  8. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ flarrdogg

    i’m not sure which “shitty aud” you have, but i did a comparsion of the available sources on etree (most if not all sources for that show i would think?), and the Neumann u89i FOB is the bomb. I think that’s the one Miner had up here, as well as the one chosen for the “Project Midnight to Sunrise” DVDs.

    One word of caution/advice – that u89i source is biased waaaay to the left channel, like almost totally left. Not such a huge deal if you’re listening on a home stereo and can just slide the balance knob far enough right to where it’s more balanced. but trying to listen to it on headohones is brutal, i couldn’t handle it all in one ear and my portable doesn’t have balance control.

    i found a workaround that was tedious and labor-intensive, but i now have what i consider to be the best option – i used Nero Wave Editor to re-balance every single track to where it’s almost perfectly centered. Gives it kind of a mono feel, but it’s soooo much more enjoyable now, especially on headphones.

    At any rate here’s the link to the torrent page on etree


    currently 4 seeders, 1 leecher. if you are not a bit-torrent guy i’d be glad to burn all 10 discs for you of you want to send me B&P.

  9. halcyon Says:

    kenny powers

    check out grateful dead audio listening guide

    they try to navigate you to some good shows, and good sounding shows as well.


  10. Marshall Says:

    In the restroom at the bar I’m eating at and Shine was playing. First time Ive ever heard it but I knew it was Trey.

  11. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Marshall – where are you staying in Indy?

  12. Mugician Says:

    Marshall, at a coffee shop in Boulder I’ve been hanging out at, a killer Maze was playing on the stereo. Guy sitting next to me was grooving and asking who it was 😀

  13. Marshall Says:

    Reply – Holiday Inn by the pyramids. Drinking with some new founds at Rock Bottom. But hey, Trey was playing in the loo.

  14. flarrdogg Says:

    Kenny- Thanks bro. I’ll try to leech it. I switched to mac a few months ago and I love it- except for file sharing. Am I right in using utorrent- I think that’s what it was called on my pc?

  15. beepaphone Says:

    @ marshall…GP and I went to high school at brebeuf right by where you’re at.

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @marshall – you are around the corner from where beep and I went to high school. There is a great little Indian joint at the corner of 86th and Michigan. If you are feeling a little adventurous, there is a Russian restaurant down the road around Township line rd. and 86th. If you want to pick up a girl for the evening, the biggest meat market in town is at Keystone and 86th street, called Lulu’s. There is a cheesy 80’s cover band playing there tonight taboot, don’t ask me how I know this.

  17. beepaphone Says:

    haha…meat market…guys let me know if you want to grab a happy hour drink tomorrow

  18. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ halcyon, thanks for the link, i’ll mos def check that out.

    @ flarr, i use utorrent, works for me. supposedly it’s one of the better bittorrent clients.

  19. Marshall Says:

    I have zero plans for tmrw night so beers with peeps from Indy sound good.

  20. beepaphone Says:

    @ marshall hit me up
    rblack at greenwaysupply dot net

  21. joe Says:

    will a yankee collapse be a blessing in disguise for Miner? if they choke the series away, at least you won’t have to pay attention to the World Series while at the festival.

  22. flarrdogg Says:

    Kenny P- I may take ya up on that B&P offer. If so, I’ll shoot you a message on facebook via our spankin’ new Thank You Mr. Miner group. Gotta love it

  23. joe Says:

    I’ve resisted the temptation to do facebook for a variety of reasons, but this new phishbook group may be the straw that breaks my cherry. My girlfriend will never let me hear the end of it if I do join so I can see the group.

  24. jdub Says:

    I kind of have watched from afar as this group of people got to know each other over the last year. It is quite amazing what doors modern technology can open. I’m not going to Festi 8 but I you people will have a blast getting to know each other….

    Pretty neat

  25. Marshall Says:

    Lulu’s it is then. Shopping center scene?? Oh well. Dive in.

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