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. halcyon Says:

    Robear those MSG shows were just incredible. I remember hitting the train back to my folks wondering to myself “why did I move out west?” and “what the hell just happened to me in there?”

    Great times.

  2. Neemor Says:

    Nice list, BirdDog…I’m going to re-listen to some of those classics today (and get NOTHING done at work yet again!)
    “whitebred funk”-Good stuff

  3. Neemor Says:

    I’m pretty sure that 12.7.97 is my favorite show ever.

  4. T. Leo Says:

    Actually, the sound quality for Rupp Arena is a little bit better on Phishshows or from the Spreadsheet, (I don’t remember where I found my copy). Sorry Miner, thanks for posting it anyway, it gives me a great excuse to relive a great show.

  5. butter Says:

    long time poster , first time lurker

  6. BTB Says:


    I remember a review for the Denver 03 show in which this lady from the Denver Post ripped PH a-new-one in her review b/c the band was “all soloing at the same time” and saying how it was a disaster and on and on.

    I laughed my ass off at that. I think she was expecting an Eric Clapton-ish or Pearl Jam type show. I’ll try and find the review. It was some classic PH hate.

  7. Neemor Says:

    I want my name to be orange.

  8. Marshall Says:

    Just a friendly reminder … Phish will play Bringing Down the House at Cobo. It’s a lock.

  9. Marshall Says:

    Phuck. That’s supposed to be Burning Down the House. But hell, maybe they’ll play a song called “Bringing down…” as well.

  10. T. Leo Says:

    Neemor, 12.7.97 was an awesome show too, I was in College at Dayton at the time, so it was the first time I was able to see a show without having to travel somewhere. Out of all the shows I saw within that year, that one stands out the most.

  11. m00nshake Says:

    i got really excited after reading Miner’s post. I love indoor shows, and 3x MSG is gonna be massive! boya!!!

  12. ThePigSong Says:

    I’ve been listening to that Phish Destroys America mix all morning/afternoon. I was going to mention the highlights, but…errr….ahhh. How ’bout all of it!
    I’m just finishing up the Disease>Bowie>Cities>Bowie F’n nasty.

  13. Mitch Says:

    I need links for phish destorys and mr c’s funkasauraus rex mix. bueller?

  14. llamalee Says:

    thanks a lot birddog, im gonna download all of those right when i got off work.

    saw benevento russo duo last night, great great show. dont get how they make such a full sound between the two. they moved into elite musical status after last night to me. steve kimock tonight, if anyone from sc i’ll see you there at pour house. everyone enjoy the weekend

  15. Mitch Says:

    nevermind, the destorys mix. just mr c’s funk mix i heard so much about.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    2-18-3 was one of my last concerts in Denver before I moved out to New England. The other was a phenomenal two night stand of Leftover Salmon with Sam Bush Band at the Gothic. Three great shows to see before leaving that chapter of life behind!

  17. Robear Says:

    @ Mitch

    ‘what it is’

  18. jay Says:

    They definitely had IT in ’91. They seriously improved their gear between ’91 and ’93 making they sound bigger and more polished.

  19. Neemor Says:

    Mitch, mOOn and Pig, my three ticket angels….all in a row!
    How cool.
    How are my tivkets looking, boys?
    Pig, did you get back to Miner?

  20. Robear Says:

    Diamonds are so yesterday. Click my name for great Christmas shopping ideas. Why wait till Black Friday? PhishThoughts 1.0 t-shirts go off-line 12/31/09.

  21. Marshall Says:

    Re: Alaska from Party Time and the allegation and rejection that it was recorded in Asheville on 6/9/09, no one considered that they could have recorded it during soundcheck via the board.

  22. KWL Says:

    llfa @Robear. Love the sales pitches. Not only did I buy a PT shirt, but your slick pitch (‘that’s the drummer’) sold me on a waterwheel shirt at 8.

  23. KWL Says:

    after 9 years with the lady, marriage is closing in. Maybe I’ll tell her that diamonds are so yesterday, Rob says so. Wouldn’t you like this beautiful shirt instead?

    I can hear her response now… ‘who the f*** is Rob?’

  24. Robear Says:

    I love little ‘grenade’ jokes. thx for the support.

  25. Neemor Says:

    Clever thinking, Marshall.
    Can’t seem to find that soundcheck anywhere besides the possibility that Funky Bitch was played, but that’s a pretty common soundcheck song.

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