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

Tags: ,

330 Responses to “Step Inside”

  1. Fusco Says:

    Great write up. Love fall tour. It will be interesting to see if/how the happy vibe that the boys have been going with lately translates indoors. I, for one, would love for things to get a little more ominous.

    Miner – didn’t you have a write up on indoor/outdoor early on in this blog? I’ll have to check the archives…

  2. Neemor Says:

    “Lights off, Rage on.”
    Looking at that Kentucky show again, one thing that strikes me is how different the setlist looks compared with a 2009’er.
    There’s about 5 songs less in the first set that in ’07. Speaks to the concise, efficient playing of this year.
    As always, however, the standard of first set structure second set exploration is the same as always, so I guess it’s the same band we’ve come to know and love.
    I’m looking forward to the first indoor Axilla!

    Times Union Center, Albany NY 11/27/09
    Set I:
    Buried Alive, It’s Ice, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, My Friend, My Friend, Paul and Silas, Horn, Axilla>Saw It Again>Antelope.

  3. AbePhroman Says:

    That Stash>Free is where it’s at. Always been a fave of mine.

  4. Marshall Says:

    Phish indoors … it affects the band, which is why it affects us. When they play outdoors, they get the monitor sound. When they play indoors, they get reflections off the walls and it comes back; they are inside the sound rather than being just the source! They are much more immersed in the band/crowd communal meld than out of doors.

  5. BeantownBoy Says:

    Perfect post!

    While I loved my first show of Phish 3.0 at Fenway, my initial reaction from the right-field grandstand, was “Can’t they turn up the speakers any louder?”. Then a week later at Great Woods I had the same thoughts even with seats, down low, Page side.

    Then it hit me that these were outdoor shows and what I remember, crave, and yearn for the most are Phish’s indoor shows. From watching the roof blow off the Crown in Cincy in 98, to watching flowers dance around MSG during the first night of the NYE at MSG in ’98; to literally feeling Fishman’s drum kicks and Cactus’s bombs resonate through the soul…dear God, BRING ON FALL TOUR!

    These will be my first indoor shows since 1999 and I feel very fortunate to be hitting the two shows that are going to blow the ‘eff up: Philly & MSG.

    Quality post and thank you, Mr. Miner!

  6. JMelby Says:

    I find it funny that there are still tix available for some of these fall shows out east. I remember a lot of east coasters not going to Indio so they could do the fall tour instead and giving shit about low Indio tix sales. But Cobo, Cincy, Syracuse, and Philly still aren’t sold out. I know that if the Cobo show would be in Mn, it would have sold out long ago.

  7. gratefulcub Says:

    Nerd Alert: I got so excited about fall tour last night that I watched Bittersweet. I’m so ready to get my ears urinated in.

  8. jay Says:

    All the indoor shows this year (I have been blessed to attend each one) have been very high energy. Hampton goes without saying as that was the first, indoors, and The Mothership. Asheville was like old school family vibe. Very chill but the energy was palpable. Knoxville was outrageous. Huge, lot of first timers since their return, the energy was through the roof. All three of these shows are among my favorites this year.

  9. Marshall Says:

    @ Jay …. St. Louis?

  10. jay Says:

    If I had the means and was willing to be in the proverbial dog house I would be hitting Cobo, Syracuse, and CCCC. Maybe Charlottesville on my way home with tail between legs and a shit-eating grin on my face.

  11. gratefulcub Says:

    re: tix available

    I realize no one had actual information, but gut instinct, how much of the low ticket sales have to do with people like me. I can’t do 7 shows a tour, I am more likely to do 2. Most of my friends are the same way. We have jobs that we can’t leave for 3 weeks, or wives that we can’t leave for 3 weeks, of jobs, wives, and kids.

    Maybe the ‘fan base’ hasn’t shrunk, but the shows per head ratio is down.

  12. jay Says:

    @marshall – oops. Now how did I forget that one? 😉 Did not attend that show and glad I did not fork over the needed cash to get into that venue.

  13. Robear Says:

    So much anticipation and angst surrounding Cobo, for me. I was dreaming of being at a show last night. There was a skit on-stage with a bunch of people dressed as wooks, before the show. WTF?

  14. bhizzle Says:

    re: tix sales

    Phish NYE email announcement states ‘Cuse being sold out. Also, I have been visiting ticketmaster’s website daily, hoping for any re-releases for that date and it’s always the same…no dice sucka.

    @ Neemor…if that setlist is accurate I better figure out some way to get my Sat. tix for Albany

  15. bhizzle Says:

    wait just looked at my calender again…saturday’s not 27th…I should still get tix tho right?

  16. Little Buddy Says:

    Syracuse has been sold out since the day they went on sale. Only holds 8,000 and right in the Phish heartland of central NY. Bhizzle and I were in line together and were lucky to get any tickets. They sold out in less than an hour.

  17. Marshall Says:

    I’ve been reading a few things from post-hiatus (2003 mainly). It’s safe to say that the general feeling back then (“post-hiatus”) is not that much different than now (“post-breakup”).

    Here’s an excerpt from an interview with CK5 from summer 2003:

    CK5: “I think that musically this past tour… not including the New Year’s run [2002/03], ’cause that was kind of, I mean those shows were good, but that was just getting our feet wet again. I felt this tour musically was the best they have played in many, many, many years.

    Interviewer: I agree, this new batch of songs is some of the best I have heard, maybe ever. Maybe!

    back to Marshall: “new batch of songs … best … ever” …. REALLY? Really?

    I can’t call anything from RR “best ever” but that’s me, I guess

    Here’s the interview link, in case you’re interested has been piqued.|-CHRIS-KURODA

  18. Little Buddy Says:


    That dream is hilarious! I love the weird Phish dreams!

  19. marcoesq Says:

    Man this write up is getting me pumped, thanks miner! My first 2 shows were outdoors, merriweather and va beach ’98 and while terrapin station was dropped at the latter just a few days after my 17th bday, things didn’t really “click” until the hampton shows later that year in November.

    The 2 are really incomparable, while summer phish can appeal to all of the sensory systems, fall/winter indoor phishing is strictly audio/visual. (Unless you count stale cigarette/spliff smoke and hot dogs)

    The fact that tickets are still available for EVERY fall show still through brokers for insanely cheap is bizarre, while it helps out some of us who didn’t receive 100% of their lottery wishlist, it makes you wonder how the majority of these tickets can be picked up by scalpers. I guess it goes with the territory now that 3.0’s fan base has started to filter through almost every genre of music fan out there, even if to simply see the phish “experience” firsthand at least once.

  20. Neemor Says:

    Yup, that’s the Friday night show.
    The Saturday show, 11/28 is more historical based on set II.
    Times Union Center, Albany, NY 11/28/09
    Set II:
    Runaway Jim>Mango Song>Split Open and Melt, Lifeboy>Rift>David Bowie>Split Open and Melt (Reprsise)>Sloth, You Enjoy Myself

    E: Liquid Time>Manteca>H2>Halley’s Comet

  21. butter Says:

    Miner – your post today has me salivating of Fall Tour. Thanks a lot. I fly to Maui on the 21st with the family for a week. Was up late last night looking at flights back and forth from Detroit, figured i would just pick a ticket up off the ground. Not looking forward to missing the first 9 shows of Fall. Haven’t misssed a show since Alpine, but its inevitable now. I’ll see you all at MSG……rock this thing out!!!

  22. butter Says:

    really looking forward to reading your reviews Miner, with morning Kona coffee and and the warm Pacific Ocean before golf each day!!!

  23. AintNoTele Says:

    Benevento Russo Duo absolutely killed it last night, do not miss them if they come to your town!

  24. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Indoor phish is great because it harnesses the US in a more focused fashion, I believe.

    Man, I haven’t paid single digits for a ticket in nearly decades. A lot of folks have had mixed emotions about tour opening shows. Still I say, wtf it’s a phish show stfu, enjoy the show.

    Had a super cool parenting moment this morning. The missus had gone hiking with another trophy wife from our hood. Reading the paper with the acoustic set in the background, girls finishing their breakfast and I asked them what they thought of this flavor of phish. My youngest drops the “this sort of sounds like grateful dead music, dad.” SEG
    I gave her a high five.

  25. Marshall Says:

    BUTTER – golf every day? How do you manage that? I want your secret.

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