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. Marshall Says:

    Is there a cannonical order to TMWSIY? Would it be the “album” version (the bootleg of his thesis)? Live performances of Gamehendge haven’t necessarily followed that exact order, so I guess the answer to my question is “no, not exactly.”

  2. MakisupaSecurity Says:


    You nailed it Mr. Miner Man. I”ve always been a sucker for indoor shows. I’m a sucker for the visual aspect, I love the lights and I love watching them play. I know a lot of you don’t care to watch them but I love reading their expressions while they play.
    Considering getting a pavillion seat was near impossible this year I never quite felt like a “part” of the show, just an observer from afar.
    I’m going to both Albany shows and this will finally feel like the return of Phish for me.

  3. Marshall Says:

    Question: when did Phish arrive? This question has no actual answer as its always one’s opinion. What I’m really asking is when, in your opinion, did Phish’s actual playing (performance) reach a level that set them apart from other bands around at that particular time. Set aside things like quirkiness, stage antics, etc. that set them apart. I’m talking about live musical performance. When did they go from being just a band to IT?

  4. BTB Says:

    PH is way more intense indoors. And like Miner wrote up, there’s no escape. To me, the outdoor shows are a lot of fun and have a great vibe, but indoors is a different animal. There is no escape if it gets to be too much!

    It becomes very loud and hot. Both things make me boogie like a crazy mon’. The visuals from the lights are much better than outdoors as well.

    I’m betting my ladyfriend, who’s only seen 2 shows to date, will have a better understanding of it all after Cobo and Albany. We’ll see. I’m stoked!

  5. Marshall Says:

    I’m listening to 10/13/1991 right now (a gamehendge show). I’d never heard of Phish at that time (not until late 1992 before I did hear of them).

    Hypothetically speaking, if I had somehow walked into that 10/13/91 show with no foreknowledge, I would have come out totally blown away. So, in my opinion, they had already arrived by October 1991. But how much earlier? Is 1989 the first really of real IT Phish?

  6. Marshall Says:

    Excuse me. Is 1989 the first year of real “IT” phish?

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Marshall, I knew you were jes foolin’, I just don’t like PJ so I rag on him whenever I get the chance

  8. Mitch Says:

    Awesome post Miner. Getting me even more amped for whats to come. Philly feels like a warmup for me since we have MSG the week after. I can’t ignore the sleeper factor on Philly tho. Gotta go in and rage it in the new venue. Anyone been there yet?

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Marshall, for me in 1990-92 Phish were no better than the Aquarium Rescue Unit and only a little ahead of the Flecktones

    in fact I preferred ARU by quite a bit at the time

    IMO they really got it going in ’92 and became the full blown Phish beast in summer of ’93 – I would mark that tour as the true arrival

    just my $0.02, probably a minority opinion

  10. bhizzle Says:

    pix of someone’s Joy Box (please keep mind’s out of gutter):

    I still have yet to get a tracking email…just one for my albanys

  11. Robear Says:

    JOTD ‘Stash’:

    Around the 12-13 minute mark, it sounds like a ‘Timber Jerry’ jam a little bit.

    Smooth, definitely sounds like an indoor show.

  12. butter Says:

    @Mr C – Played the TMWSIY for my daughter and she loved it. Kids do great with illustrated story telling. She asked questions i didn’t have answers for. I told her it takes a while to absorb all of the gamehendge characters and story. There are some scary parts, which sometimes make kids stories that much more intriguing. Its on her favorites playlist and she asks for it all the time, and says that she wants to hear the whole story live in concert….join the club

  13. Robear Says:

    Or is it ‘Timber Ho’?

    Summer ’93 was the tour of my arrival, for Phish and the GD.

  14. ohhphee Says:

    My very first show was an indoor show at U of I in Champagne, IL. Now, I wasn’t new to Phish’s music – but I WAS new to PHISH. I was seated behind the stage for this show, right above the tunnel where they came out on stage. They had this ongoing chess game they played with the phans, and I had no idea what that shit was all about, but I just got floored, man! What an introduction! The reason I bring that up is that I’m sitting right behind the stage at Cincy Sat. night and look forward to seeing a show from that perspective again. Woo Hoo! Round-a-back circle…

  15. albert walker Says:

    still looking for any Cinci extras
    floor or decent 100 level
    looking for both nights, pairs preferred

  16. beepaphone Says:

    @ Mr. C – Early 90’s I was still just learning about the Dead, and hadn’t even heard of Phish yet, but on listening back, ’93 and later are the only shows that really suck me in…I probably have 10-15 shows from before then, but they get more of a novelty spin (e.g. Colorado ’88) than me trying to immerse myself.

    I wasn’t there, so I can’t pinpoint their arrival, but I’d have to agree that something huge happened going from ’92-’93.

  17. KWL Says:

    arrival of phish: August 1993.

    But I was 11 then and not following the band. Or listening to them. So really I have no idea when they arrived. Aren’t you glad you wasted your time reading these words?

  18. cottle Says:

    just checking in during my lunchbreak…

    Miner: that first paragraph just about sums up the magic of fall tour, great wordplay! LOVE IT!

    Can’t wait ’til C-Ville. Wish I had the funds for NYE. Still keeping fingers crossed for those rumored last-minute Hampton dates before NYE.

  19. Robear Says:

    Listening to ’92 and ’93 tapes, I think they really ‘tightened’ up their playing in ’93, which greatly intensified their sound, with tension and release, and completely unexpected starts, stops and changes.

  20. KWL Says:

    the madness has begun for me. Hitting 6 shows this fall, a nice run, yet the calculator is out to try & figure out how many more I can get to. Flights, car rentals, hotels, routes….

  21. flarrdogg Says:

    Great write uo, Miner- you nailed that one. Indoor Phish- not better or worse, but definitely a different animal altogether.

  22. JerryTimber Says:

    The DOTD was my 4th show. The “Bathtub Gin” gets all the hype and rightfully so, one of the Top 3 Gins of all time. I remember looking around the crowd during that jam and literally seeing mouths agape. The Rupp was getting hosed and everyone knew it. Then after a fun “Bike” they launch into a FANTASTIC YEM! The Talking Heads influence oozes from this YEM, with stellar work from Page. I feel fortunate to have been there for this one!
    Calling a Weekapaug opener in COBO, bring on Cincy!
    Thanks Miner!

  23. Robear Says:

    KWL 8/11/93. I could go back to that parking lot in Grand Rapids and scrape the rest of my face off the ground. I literally rolled around on the pavement after that show, LLFA!

  24. BTB Says:

    An evil/dark Timber is always appreciated. Another song that goes well indoors is Birds of a Feather for me. Tighest version I’ve ever heard is below (I like the 15 min + ones too though). The GIN below is epic as well.

    Speaking of indoor PH…

    02/28/2003 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

    Set 1: Birds of a Feather, Destiny Unbound, Horn > Bathtub Gin, Sleep, Back on the Train, Bouncing Around the Room, Walls of the Cave

    Set 2: Tweezer > Soul Shakedown Party -> David Bowie, Round Room > Harry Hood

    Encore: Contact, Mexican Cousin, Tweezer Reprise

  25. Birddog Says:

    I first saw Phish in October 1991 in Portland OR. I grew up in the Bay Area seeing Dead shows so I had the appreciation for the whole improv thing. Phish really knocked my socks off and I pretty much immediately started collecting tapes. That said it wasnt entirely clear (to me at least) where they were headed at that point.

    I saw them a couple more times after that but it wasnt until I caught the Spring 93 west coast tour that it seemed like had really arrived. The first night at the Warfield convinced me that they were going to be superstars. They knew they were hot shit and just destroyed that place. Somthing had definately changed between then and that first show I saw in 91. Not sure what moment it was at, but for me at least I was over the Dead at that point and totally on board with these guys. The Dead were probably the same for my parents’ generation, but its great to have witnessed the rise (and fall) of this amazing band and feel like it was part of “my generation”

Leave a Reply