Step Inside

3.1.03 (Unknown)

3.1.03 (Unknown)

While daydreams of Indio’s idyllic pastures still dance in our heads, and we have barely digested the festival’s eight sets of music, next week Phish will take their show inside the cement confines of fall tour – the moment many have awaited since this comeback materialized. Summer shows are irreplaceable, but as days get shorter and nights grow longer and colder, Phish’s music has traditionally changed as well. Darkening with the season, Phish’s most cerebral and ominous music has sprung from these concrete battlefields of the mind. Thus far, aside from the Hampton comeback and the specialty shows in Asheville, Knoxville, and The F0x, Phish 3.o has been an outdoor affair. As we step inside this week, it will be quite interesting to see if the new joy-infused Phish will follow their old patterns of nature. My guess is that they most certainly will.

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

Throughout their career, the band has proven to be masters of infusing the vibe of their surrounding directly into their music. We have experienced this already in this era. Just recently at Festival 8, but also at Red Rocks and The Gorge. Wide open, slowed-down explorations defined the vast surroundings of these three venues. The band’s festival playing became more relaxed and bass driven, but perhaps the greatest modern illustration of this mood-matching phenomenon was the first show at The Gorge. The majesty of that evening’s music was summoned directly from the spirit of the Columbia River. But when Phish brings there show inside, another type of story will most likely be written.

Entering an arena is like entering the jaws of Phish – there is no escape. No running to the lawn to chill out if things get hectic, just concrete walls and and metal railings. When the almighty power of Phish’s is contained within four walls and a ceiling, things can get crazy. The sheer amount of energy bouncing around the room makes fall shows so much more concentrated and powerful than anything on the summer circuit. Richer in hue, even the lights seem more magical as they beams into every corner of the room rather, creating a more inclusive experience.

12.30.03 (Unknown)

12.30.03 (Unknown)

Space becomes more limited, making finding your happy place a bit more difficult; adding yet another step to your mission. Suddenly, mid-sentence the lights go off. And inside, it actually gets dark! The experience begins. Mike’s thumping bass lines envelop the room while swallowing your brain, as opposed to the summer, when they drift off into the evening air. Trey’s tales of darkness and beauty sound far more crystalline when captured indoors. Fish’s drumbeat pulsates at the heart of it all, instinctively driving the four-man symphony, while Page’s melodies and effects enrapture your ears. No cool breezes waft in from the side of the pavilion when things get hot – this atmosphere can turn more frightful than carefree summer nights – and Phish’s playing has always followed.

12.30.03 (Unknown)

12.30.03 (Unknown)

Phish would never play 12.28.98’s “Carini > Wolfman’s” at Deer Creek. One could not conceive of 12.29.94’s “Bowie” popping up on a sunny evening at Shoreline. The madness of 11.23.97’s “Bathtub Gin” doesn’t happen at Vernon Downs, and the Vegas ’98 “Wolfman’s” certainly could never make an appearance at any Verizon Amphitheatre in any state across the nation. Hampton ‘97 wouldn’t jive with The Gorge, and The Island Run didn’t carry the a tropical vibe; that mythical energy was born into two classic super-structures in Nassau and Providence. Needless to say, Phish has always played differently indoors. With more of an urgency and an intensity; their music has often approached a deranged underworld rather than the lucid dream states of summer tour. Following the course of nature, their music adopts a different feeling when escaping the biting Northeast November air and stepping into Phish’s lair; shedding layers of clothing into a big pile, preparing for the fire.

A proverbial sixth element, Phish’s music adheres to the earth’s rhythms. As each season has its place in the calendar, as does each style of Phish. As we careen towards our first New Years Run in six years, fall tour will provide the launching pad for Phish’s newest celestial excursions. By Charlottesville, we should have a much better sense of where the band is musically heading, as this tour will be the first with no pressure. Throughout 2009, Phish has returned to prominence and reached a comfort level unseen in ages. With these conditions in place and without any monkeys on their backs, their creativity is bound to blossom. These mysteries will begin to unfold in a matter of days, as fall tour has finally arrived. Step inside!


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Stash > Free” 11.30.97


A distinctly “fall tour” segment of improv from Worcester ’97.



11.7.96 Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY < Torrent

11.7.96 Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY < Megaupload

Fall 1996 (Unknown)

Fall 1996 (Unknown)

A quintessential show from Fall ’96, this Midwest run was the time the tour really began to heat up. With the momentum of their Halloween run with Karl Perazzo behind them, the band headed west to forge grooves on their own. The “Bathtub Gin” is one of the jams of the tour, and anchors the entire show. This one is a keeper!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Weigh, Rift,  Guelah Papyrus, Stash, Waste, Guyute, Free, Tela, Character Zero

II: Suzy Greenberg, Bathtub Gin > Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, You Enjoy Myself

E: Frankenstein

Source: Unknown

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330 Responses to “Step Inside”

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  1. Robear Says:


    Last indoor show: Vegas ’03

    Ready for the intensity of the house lights dropping.

  2. Baxter Says:

    Can’t wait for the GA floor at the CCCC in Portland. It will be unreal, with ck5 exploding.

  3. Marshall Says:

    Been waiting for Miner’s thoughts on indoor v. outdoor since I started checking this site As usual, you captured it perfectly. Thank you, Mr. Miner.

    Room reflections … make all the difference. I can’t believe I’m not hitting any fall tour (at least not at the moment).

  4. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I can’t wait for fall tour. Its looking more and more like I’m going to make it up to Cobo. So, that will make an even 10 shows for me this year. Not bad with this being the first Phish shows of Me 3.0 (post-divorce fatherhood). Throw in MMW at the Vogue next Thursday and you have the makings of a sick 4 night sandwich. Then that launches me into a weeks vacation with the little girl which will be lovely as well. Going to have to live the rest of the tour vicariously, thank god for No Spoilers, for Phish, and as always, Thank You Mr. Miner.

  5. Wilson8or Says:

    Good observations: Fall shows ARE different. I can’t wait for my first, long overdue venture into MSG. I got hosed when they came back in 02, and didn’t get to go. Now, though, it will be better than then, as they are playing very well and have tours under their belts. The mood is always “bubbly” at indoor shows: the bluegrass songs offer comedic relief, and the jam vehicles rev up at full throttle. I also love the sounds chasing each other as they bounce off the walls, and the feeling of Mike’s bass taking over one’s dance space. These are the types of shows that you absolutely have to listen to when you get home, because you can go whole sets not hearing certain band members (usually Page) based on where you sit. Ahh, Phall Phish! Bring it on!

    PS: Please play Tela…it’s WAY overdue..last version was from 98 I believe

  6. st8 of mind Says:

    Still $7 tickets on Stub Hub for COBO, Detroit. Just want you all to know that this show is gonna rage. Please show up.

    Nice write up again Miner!

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    Great thoughts – love this paragraph, you really capture the essence here:

    “Entering an arena is like entering the jaws of Phish – there is no escape. No running to the lawn to chill out if things get hectic, just concrete walls and and metal railings. When the almighty power of Phish’s is contained within four walls and a ceiling, things can get crazy. The sheer amount of energy bouncing around the room makes fall shows so much more concentrated and powerful than anything on the summer circuit.”

    The physiological part of what happens at phish — the sensory overload of strobing lights and chaotic sounds much louder than the human body was ever meant to endure, the giant crowds, all of this is greatly amplified in the indoor setting.

    Another thing interesting about indoor shows is the sense of privacy. We can really take over an indoor arena in a way that rarely happens at outdoor summer sheds. Maybe it’s just the nature of the corporate structure on the sheds, compared to the relatively less successful small arena scene, but it seems a regular phenomenon.

    And the darkness is more complete and in the middle of those floors, well anything goes really. The cops just sit by the entrance tunnels with a partially terrified, partially bemused look on their face as uncontrolled debauchery and revelry occurs all around them. mmm can’t wait!

  8. Little Buddy Says:

    Amen, Miner! Nothing like taking it indoors. The energy will be insane since most folks probably didn’t make it to Hampton. The band will be ready to let loose, feeling so much more comfortable than they did back at the last indoor shows at Hampton. There is indeed no place to hide indoors. My favorite part about being indoors though – the music is so much louder that I can’t hear any of the d’bag talkers yapping it up. This summer the yapping drove me nuts. Aw yeah – indoor Phish!

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Miner, nice choice on the JOTD. Using Free is lyrically very apropos to your post…

    My first two shows were outdoor affairs (one by a memorial fountain at a college and the other opening for Santana) but once I saw the Boys indoors I knew this was IT for me. I love me a good outdoor summertime show (or a Fall festival in CA 😉 ) but the power, energy, and density that is Indoor Phish is unparalleled. I am looking forward to hearing and seeing what happens to the “Happy Joy” era of Phish once next week comes.

  10. whole tour! Says:

    nice pics in todays post miner! I was at ALL of those indoor shows and they ALL kicked serious ass. Nothing beats indoor phish shows, except the occasional summer tour outdoor throwdown.

    Indoor phish is like being inside the phishbowl. I cannot f-ing wait till Cobo next week…then 4 nights of debauchery in miami.

  11. danno Says:

    Fall tour is definitely where it’s at. Most of my shows have been inside in the Northeast and feel blessed for it. Here’s a little anthropological tidbit for the interested reader.

    Anthropologists, I believe started by Tyler, look to the concept of a “liminal space” when speaking of rituals of passage. In many cultures, during these rituals the individual is separated from the group, whereby they go through a trans-formative process, and then return to the group. During the trans-formative phase, though the individual is still on the earth, they supposedly aren’t really, and then return. The term “betwixt and between” is often used to describe this process.

    Entering an indoor venue, then is a recreation of this liminal space. We are definitely somewhere on the earth, but once those lights go down and the show starts, we aren’t quite really there. We have been transported to the phish realm, a space betwixt and between normally functioning reality. I know I am transformed during a phish show – I would hope you all are, as well. Then, the music ends and the house lights come up – we are returned to normal society.

    So yeah, its all about magic and I cant wait!

  12. bl68300 Says:

    your description of the boys indoor is phantastic!!! I especially enjoyed how you managed to capture a sound and an idea and articulate those into a great thought! these will be my first MSG shows since New Years…wow sooo incredibly excited! see yall startin the 24th!

  13. whole tour! Says:

    also, at indoor gigs…there is no waiting for the sun to go down before the lights take full effect. From the moment the music starts, the lights rage at indoor shows. This makes them seem longer than outdoor gigs where you have to wait untill the 5 or 6th song to full see the lights.

  14. Southbound Says:

    First shows were indoors for me. Very first was 12.07.1997. Great time.

    MSG!! Locked and loaded!!

  15. Danny B Says:

    No cobo for me, first fall show I’ll be hitting will be MSG thursday, which will be my first indoor Phish show since 2/25/03 which contained an excellent Theme and a great P&M.

  16. Phish...Yup Says:

    Man this write-up somehow got me more pumped for my 4 upcoming shows. Well done Miner.

    “Indoor phish is like being inside the phishbowl.” Hit the nail on the head whole tour!

  17. ohhphee Says:

    @ Danno. I know that transformative experience all too well, and I look forward to that feeling every time I go to a Phish show, whether it is in the dark confines of concrete and steel, or out in the comforting breeze of a summer night. There is definitely a distinct difference between an arena show and an amphitheater show, and I am bursting at the seams to get to Cincy and bask in the dark and light interplay that only the more intimate surroundings of an indoor arena can bring. Let the fall tour begin!

  18. jdub Says:

    Some very excited folks this morning. Way to set the tone for fall tour Miner. My last memory/experience was Nassau 03, a great indoor experience that Miner generalized so eloquently. I hope Cobo gets the serious heat and gets a lot of heads wishing they were there. This should be a memorable tour.

  19. gratefulcub Says:

    Perfect post.

    LEXINGTON 96, My first show!!! I had no idea what I was doing there, and I didn’t know what I was stepping into, I didn’t even know who phish was, but I left a changed man. Only years later did I realize what a show I had seen.

    One more point about endo phish. Personally, I am a social butterfly. Summer shows are great. Nice breeze at Deer Creek or fighting the hill at Alpine. I usually have 20 – 50 friends in our crew, and I spend time with at least half of them during the show. It gives me that warm fuzzy feeling to hook up with everyone in our happy place.

    BUT….. move me indoors, plant my feet in my little area, and I get to connect with nothing but the boys. Outdoor shows are for socializing and soaking up the happy. Indoors are for deep dark ponderous musical moments.

    Cincinnati’s Crown loses it’s roof in 178 hours. Bring it!

    Can I be the first to go out on a wishing limb and call for a Cincinnati opener in Cincinnati? Is that too much to ask?

  20. jdub Says:

    Drop it gratefulcub

  21. Neemor Says:

    Interesting point about those of us who didn’t make it to The Mothership this year, I haven’t seen Phish indoors since 12/1/03! Twentieth Anniversary run with Jeff Holdsworth!
    Holy crap.
    I always felt like my roots to this band were indoors because that’s where it all began and the madness of the condensed Phish bouncing off the cement walls just fit there.
    This is going to be effin awesome.

  22. Neemor Says:

    Cinci opener:
    Just saying.

  23. jdub Says:

    PYITE is a safe bet this year, how about a 2001 with a slow funky/ambient buildup starting from nothing.

  24. gratefulcub Says:


    My best memory from the 03 crown shows was my buddy next to me. They came out blazing Wilson>Frankenstein>DWD (18 min). We hadn’t spoken since the lights went down, and he turned to me deadpan and said, “Well, Hell-fuckin-o to you too!”

    Sure, it was much better to me that it is to you guys, but that was the perfect statement about indoor phish. No waiting for the sun to go down. Lights off, Rage on.

  25. ThePigSong Says:

    Wow Miner, You’re write up might have be grasping beyond my means to hit up a few of these. I really wish tour started exactly one week later, cause I’d be all over some of these.

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