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”

  1. Marshall Says:

    El Dude … I’m interested in your feelings re: 24/96. Obviously more bits and a higher sampling rate is a good thing. What are you listening to these files through? Your computer? What sort of speaker set-up? I’m honestly very curious. The most important element of music listening is the speakers; without good ones, nothing else matters. Ultimately, listening to the 24/96 files through a really good audio system, with really good speakers that have good off-axis frequency response (almost every speaker has good on-axis response; its those that have good off-axis response that “sound” better), in a “warm” room, would be the ultimate.

  2. Neemor Says:

    Marshall, nice quote…I liked it too.

    JW: Being so intimately involved in the musical process, how would you characterize the band’s current improvisation style compared to other eras? There is certainly a direct correlation to what you’re doing.CK: I think the only way to answer that question is that it’s just so fantastic that we’re back. They’re playing so well. They’re making some mistakes like everybody is, but who cares? This is bonus. You know what I mean? I heard some people complaining the other day about the show in St. Louis and I just thought to myself, ‘Hey, c’mon. At least they’re here. Gimme a break.’ Complaining. Last year or two or three years ago, this was finished. Over. Done. So, here we are again. It’s just so special. I think the band’s feeling it. They just seem happier than I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s just so happy. It’s unbelievable. I just think it’s great. I think they have their stellar nights and they have their normal nights, just like any human beings. They’re trying their best every night. It’s just great that they’re up there trying. I love it.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    Last indoor show: Vegas ‘03

    yup me too

  4. halcyon Says:

    Marshall….thanks for posting that quote. There is often honest critical discourse which occurs (especially here) which does not diminish the love of the band and their music.

    There is complaining (which I haven’t read here so much) and it seems to me that people either lost sight of the fact that they are back, human, or that they are just projecting their own personal frustrations in life out at the bands performance on a given night.

  5. Aquaman Says:

    Last indoor for me was the madness of night two Cinci 2003.

    Crazy sick Bathtub Gin. Piper > ‘Paug. Too good.

    Hope we get some darkness like that at COBO in five freakin’ days!



  6. AintNoTele Says:

    PigSong: go see em, but get there late. they didn’t come on till 11ish. Talented guys that duo…make sure to scream cars trucks busses at least twice, or lengthwise or foam. they’ll tease it for ya

  7. Marshall Says:

    Last indoor show for me: Asheville ’09. Last indoor show before that Hampton ’09.

    Last indoor show before that 11/1998 … 9 and half years earlier.

    The layoff makes the payoff even better!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. gus Says:

    off topic, but what have people here heard of a spring europe tour? cause I remember hearing it mentioned a while ago, and I’m just wondering if anyones heard anything further.

  9. Robear Says:

    Nothing compares to the buzz when the house lights first go down.

    Mr. C, we probably bumped shoulders a few times at West Coast shows.

  10. HarryHood Says:

    I’m loving the comments about telling Phish stories to kids.

    You see children, there was this guy named Mr. Palmer……. King Wilson had it out for him and decided to lop his head off with a mechanical device called an AC/DC Bag. No, close your eyes and sleep well, the Famous Mockingbird with protect you…….

  11. Marshall Says:

    @ gus – Miner mentioned it a couple months back. How many times has he been wrong? His batting avg is pretty high when it comes to these things. I just hope the dollar v. euro is better in a few months.

    Europe during the day; Phish at night. Mmm. Mmm. Good.

  12. Marshall Says:

    Peter Jackson, Director of “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday.” Coming Soon to a Theater near you, with the music of Phish.

  13. gus Says:

    I also saw that trey might be touring in February. either TAB, or orchestral shows, or both. not sure if this is legit, but there was a post on

    TAB in February?
    A website for booking “developing artists” lists Trey Anastasio as available February 15-20 in the Midwest, and February 21-28 in the Northeast – at a going rate half that commanded by Jim Gaffigan, and double that of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    gonna play a Gamehenge set for my boy sometime soon and see if he tries to really follow it….he is pretty down with Phish of course.

    not a lot to love for me on the Party Time disk. Lots of good things, not so much with the great.

    Title track is mostly the intro part of the song, which is the less awesome part. I like Alaska and Windy City (except the “lai lai lai” vocal part).
    Misty Glade is very very bad.
    Gone has potential I guess but this version is just a pop song.
    Only A Dream is good, I like it better than Sugar Shack. Rockin’. Put this one in rotation.
    Birdwatcher is funny, they only needed to sing it once, but it’s well done.
    Let Me Lie is my least favorite current tune so I did not need another version.
    If I Told You is the most annoying thing I’ve heard in quite some time. If Mike came in with a thumping groove after a minute, it could be dope, but just synth loops on repeat? really?
    Splinters of Hail is nice. Like it.
    Can’t Come Back is interesting. This is the one peeps were referencing Saw It Again about right? Bears some repeat listens.
    Shrine I barely remember…oh right the pseudo reggae thing. I like the lyric.
    Liquid Time is, again, interesting and worth checking out, but nothing epic.

    No haterism here, it doesn’t suck or anything. I think they did the right thing releasing this the way they did, and some of these songs will take on new life and added dimensions in performance. I think Windy City is better than the Page tune on Joy, so they should have swapped those….

  15. Marshall Says:

    Love me some Jim Gaffigan (“he’s weird; he makes me uncomfortable”)

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    Peter Jackson, Director of “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday.” Coming Soon to a Theater near you, with the music of Phish.

    My personal nightmare. The movie would be 4 and a half hours long and have a completely different and much less meaningful ending. Peter Jackson needs to get AC/DC Bagged imo. Set the Sloth after that bastard.

  17. whole tour! Says:

    i just found out there is a free dave ‘shouldn’t of took more than you gave’ mason show here tonight!

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Last Indoor shows for me… 12/28 – 12/31/03 Miami.

  19. Robear Says:

    IMO, if they had put ‘Liquid Time’ on Joy and ‘TTE’ on the bonus disc, they would have an awesome album, in Joy.

  20. Marshall Says:

    If Phish is ever not touring and CK5 could light a Yes show, I might have a cardiac arrest.

  21. Marshall Says:

    Mr. C – insert director of choice. I just thought he did a good job of bringing LOTR to life. YMMV of course.

    In reality, a TMWSIY movie would be a terrible idea, and it will never happen. I was typing out of my arse again. I’ll step back from the podium now.

  22. beepaphone Says:

    TMWSIY=James Cameron material

  23. bhizzle Says:

    and I like meatballs so you better get ready!

  24. Neemor Says:

    Mr. C, I feel pretty much the same about Party Time.
    But I’ve never loved Phish albums, so no big deal.
    I was trying to figure out how some of the songs would translate to stage and I really don’t see much besides the ones that have already been played live.
    I did pick up on the Can’t Come Back/Saw it Again, and I’m not usually good at placing those things, so it’s pretty obvious.
    I like some of the grooves on the album, we’ll talk more in the future about that, I’m sure, but like some parts of TTE, and the Silent Trees part of WOTC, I’d like to see the boys “lift” some of those grooves to insert into jams or re-work them into other places.
    However, I also remember distinctly people hating on Hoist and pretty much every album that Phish has put out along the way (with the possible exception of Rift).
    Maybe it’ll just take time.
    But Fish’s vocals on Misty Glade or pretty friggin atrocious.

  25. Neemor Says:

    I would love the Gamehendge saga to come to the silver screen.
    Just saying.
    They’d get my ten bucks.

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