Side Effects

2.19.10 - Chicago (C.Smith)

Over the weekend, Trey finished up his three-week solo tour, a swing that drew critical acclaim and copious enthusiasm from all of the Phish community. Throughout his tour, Trey grew more and more comfortable, letting loose with his musical expression, aided by the pressure-less environment of TAB. The development of his chops in February bodes well for this summer, when Trey will rejoin his school of Phish. And just as Trey winds down, Mike is about to hit the road for a eight-date mini-tour of the eastern seaboard. Like Trey, Mike has spent a week in rehearsal for his upcoming dates, yesterday releasing a newly-created track called “Birth of the Universe,” giving us a glimpse into the band’s sessions. Let’s take a look at each of these solo tours, and what effect, if any, they will have on Phish come summertime.


Trey and Classic TAB

Trey is the unquestionable creative force behind Phish, hence his solo efforts always present more relevance for Phish’s future than other member’s side-projects. Many songs have migrated from TAB to Phish over the years, and this tour also left us with a series of potential crossovers. Often times, the songs he drops infrequently over a tour are the ones he is reserving for Phish to define. In this case, one obvious choice would be the new Anastasio / Marshall composition “Obstacle of Course.” Played only three times over the three week tour, the catchy song seems destined to be an addition to the Phish catalog come this summer. Additionally, the reworked “Love Is Freedom” from Shine, played only once at Connecticut’s Oakdale Theatre, seems like a perfect groove vehicle for Phish to adopt. Rife with the lyrical happiness that defines the band these days, don’t let the title fool you, this could be a serious improvisational springboard. Another song that could surface this summer is “Liquid Time.” Since Phish soundchecked the song twice last year, in Chicago and Indio, Trey, with the help of Don Hart, rearranged the piece to include TAB’s horn section, forming an alternate incarnation of the song that worked quite well. But with the piece’s genesis on Party Time as a Phish song, one would imagine it would jump back into the big pond come summertime. With one stellar version from Indio’s soundcheck already under their belt, one can only assume “Liquid Time” will become a larger launchpad for Phish in the future. The other song that I originally had slated for entry into the Phish universe,”Show of Life,” was played ad infinitum during Trey’s tour, making its transfer to Phish somewhat nebulous. Still boasting the sublime sound of Phish, this piece could fit quite well into a late-second set slot before a larger closing jam. Lyrically appropriate for the band’s current state, Phish has “found [them]selves right here” and “Show of Life” is a thematic piece focusing on redemption and the present moment, two prominent themes of Phish’s modern era. Only time will tell, but this could easily become a cathartic Phish anthem.

Obstacle of Course” 2.11.10 II


Love is Freedom > Simple Twist Up Dave” 2.13.10 II


Show of Life” 2.8.10 II



The Mike Gordon Band

While Trey’s side projects always have a direct influence on Phish’s catalog and musical direction, Mike’s band has provided him an opportunity to distance himself from Phish, a place where he feels he often plays second fiddle. Mixing his own originals, primarily from The Green Sparrow, with an eclectic array of covers, Mike’s band puts on a collaborative show that engages in more whole-band jamming than Trey’s. Mike, no doubt, leads the way with his rhythmic and melodic sensibilities, but opens the door to more free form jamming, inviting his bandmmates to join in the experiment more earnestly than in Trey’s groove machine. With the bass player as bandleader, and also the best musician on stage, a very divergent musical dynamic emerges in Mike’s band. Concentrated on bass-led improv within the context of a five piece, Mike’s shows divert from the Phish sound quite a bit. With a solid band surrounding him, Mike’s ideas often push the band into engaging places. Gordeaux posted a glimpse into his preparation for his tour on Facebook yesterday. His post is excerpted here (and his newly released track can be listened to below.)

“On the first day of practices, we decided to come to the studio and invite the muse to control us for a day. I led a guided meditation in which we imagined tapping into universal energy that connects from the spheres, through us, and into the center of the Earth, and then we imagined being on stage as the music played the band and the coolest sound we could fathom came out. Each band member then described his aural vision, directing the others to create it. And this little sampling is Craig Myers’ vision, entitled ‘Birth Of The Universe.’ He described ambience wallowing from nothingness, and then mouthed out a rhythm that Todd could then interpret, helping to kick the thing into rock-ass gear. Nice work, Craig.”

Birth of the Universe

9.25.09 (T.Hara)

9.25.09 - Chicago (T.Hara)

Throughout Phish 2009, Mike easily ran away with the player of the year award, commanding his instrument as if it were his fifth extremity. Building off two successful solo tours that clearly bolstered his confidence and musical assertiveness, he came back to Phish like a man possessed. His contributions to Phish jams often stood out as the defining facet of their musical adventure, and growing through the year, Mike absolutely owned Miami’s New Years’ Run with a display of unparalleled creativity. Therefore, while Mike’s solo music may not directly influence Phish’s catalog, his musical risk-taking and role as a band leader has led to an extremely prominent role in Phish’s virtuoso on-stage conversations, a factor that should continue to stand out into 2010. As Mike hits the road, I will be looking for people to write reader reviews of his shows since I won’t be out east next week. If this is something that interests you, please check out the reader review page for examples, and email your piece to!

The Mike Gordon Band dates are as follows:

3/05 – Revolution Hall, Troy, NY – SOLD OUT
3/06 – Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT
3/07 – Sherman Theatre, Stroudsburg, PA
3/09 – Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, MD
3/11 – Jefferson Theatre, Charlottesville, VA
3/12 – Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
3/13 – Pearl Street, Northampton, MA
3/14 – Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon, NH


Jam of the Day:

Run Like An Antelope” 8.6.97 I

This unique rendition of “Antelope” ended Riverport ’97 in divergent style. As this multi-faceted build comes to a head, the band doesn’t stop, drifting into an instrumental, theremin-laced “Makisupa” interlude before kicking into the final verse.




8.14.97 Darien Lake PAC, Darien Center, NY < Torrent

8.14.97 Darien Lake PAC, Darien Center, NY < Megaupload

This stellar show includes a strong song-based first set with exciting versions of “Free” and “Antelope,” while the second set contains a divine “Harry Hood” which features one of the jams of the summer extending out of the song’s peak. Finally dropping into “Colonel Forbin’s” and the well-known Kesey-led Bozo madness, this show was a certifiable classic before the encore even ended. This show holds not only musical significance, but strong cultural significance as well. Check out my piece about this show, from the early days of Phish Thoughts, which delves into these larger themes. In addition, this Download of the Day goes out via reader request to Jim D!

I: Ya Mar, Funky Bitch, Fluffhead, Limb By Limb, Free, Cars Trucks Buses, Tela, Train Song, Billy Breathes, Run Like an Antelope

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Love Me, Sparkle, Harry Hood > Jam > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Merry Pranksters Jam > Camel Walk, Taste

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

Source: B&K 4021 (modified hypers) > Beyer MV-100 > SBM-1 > D8

Tags: , , ,

571 Responses to “Side Effects”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    here’s a fun one for the night owls – an extremely clear and powerful FOB pull, throbbing with huge bulbous Mike grooves and gleaming along the edges with glistening neon millenial Trey tone – straight from his amp to your dome

    9-11-99 Gorge Ampitheater set 2 only (can’t find disk 1 right now oh well)

    FOB Schoeps Mk4s > vms > dap1 > dat/m > cdr/m

    **** I have the FLACS if anyone wants to host them – the largest file is over 100mb and won’t fit on Mediafire ****

    The two zip files have the second set but not the encore – so if you want the whole thing, grab those zips plus Circus Comes as a separate track.

    Wolfman’s Brother > 16:32
    Sand 18:25
    Meatstick 8:07
    Maze 14:54
    Prince Caspian 10:53
    Harry Hood 18:21
    When The Circus Comes to Town 5:51

    This outstanding, hyper-in-your-face FOB accurately captures the utterly immense sound down front at the Gorge on a good night. Trey and Mike especially are captured amazingly well. Mike sounds huge and all the wild nuances of Trey’s exceedingly, almost ludicrously sophisticated tone from this era are front and center.

    That combination of thundering bass and clear definition in the details of Trey’s amp sound pays off at the peak of show’s obvious highlight, the massive debut performance of Sand. The Trza goes millenial apeshit while Mike stays deep in the pocket…it was a great moment and holds up well I think.

    Wolfman’s starts slow, gets good, starts to get a little weird, backs off, busts a groove, then slowly gets really weird…The Sand itself is amazingly slow in comparison to modern versions but very deep. Meatstick is what it is, I thought it was funny at the time so I still enjoy it. I haven’t relistened to the Maze tonight but I remember it as being hot, and how can you go wrong with a Hood from the Gorge?

    Not a peak show from the year overall, but an amazingly lifelike recording with a couple of truly great moments.

  2. garretc Says:

    Nice Mr. C! New music! Always a good thing! Guess I’m gonna pull this tonight! And listen to it whenever I end my temporary self-imposed Phish exile… I need to diversify!

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    I really hope someone can host the FLACs. A recording this nuanced should be heard in lossless. No way even a max bitrate mp3 isn’t losing something off the top and bottom ends of this bad boy.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    do it LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD if you can

    if not, do it that way soon

    that’s what this recording is all about

  5. garretc Says:

    Oh… Just set II… Again, I rue my OCD-ness when it comes to full albums! Maybe if I find set I from another source I can bring myself to do it!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    that’s pretty ocd all right! but we all got our ways

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    I could use about a half-helping of ocd myself, if I was a little more that way I’d be able to find disk 1

  8. garretc Says:

    Crisis averted though, I DL’d set I, so now I’ll be able to spin that set II download!

    Thanks again Mr. C! Or, I guess, thanks for the first time… So thoughtless of me… Haha

  9. garretc Says:

    If I could give you half of mine I probably would…

  10. Henry Says:

    Wow Mr. C, thanks that looks awesome!

  11. Henry Says:

    Also, garretc, I have the same ocd style. I only listen to full shows too.

  12. garretc Says:

    Yeah, and for me it’s not just shows, it’s any album! I think the only songs I have that aren’t parts of full albums is AW’s vinyl sampler #3…

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    I am your opposite

    I love single songs and think of albums as a flawed concept for the most part, most of them are at least part filler and only worth hearing once at most

    same thing with sets and shows

    a lot of them I only listen to all the way through once ever, and mark and keep the outstanding or unique song performances to go into the general rotation

    my version of OCD is when I am trying to pick favorite versions of songs for a mix

    it is not unusual for me to listen to 6 to 10 versions of the same song from the same era to compare the nuances. With a good song, I find it fascinating. Love it. Once I’ve done that I feel like I really know a song.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    the indivisible unit of music is the song

    albums sets and shows are arbitrary groupings – interesting and sometimes meaningful, but inessential


  15. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    Mr C im the same exact way… i listen to full shows or playlists (miners picks or something) and i pick out all the best things and drag them over into my main playlist. every once in a while ill go back and listen to full shows. like today i had a hampton 97 full-run day. but most of the time its not.

    although there is a seperate pleasure in hearing a complete show, definitely.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure not like it never happens

    as many phish fans do, I have been revisiting the Island Tour shows this week, always fun

    the other fun thing about taking songs by themselves is that it opens the possibility of juxtaposition, which I love

    I had a shuffle the other day that went 2001, Sex Love and Money (Mos Def), Shakedown Street, Honky Tonk (Miles Davis), Split Open and Melt, The Other One, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (live)

    so fun, I never would have thought of that but it was great

    of course I might have been high


  17. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i have one main playlist that consists of all my phish songs in rotation, which is somewhere around 350 right now, and it’s basically on at all times, and then basically my ‘everything else’ playlist, for when i need a break from phish, which is only maybe 15-20 minutes a week haha.

  18. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    and actually its funny you say that, i was just thinking earlier today that i should go back and relisten to island tour, it’s been a while since i have, and the Theme from 4/5 came on in my phish playlist today and gave me chills

  19. garretc Says:

    Hmm, that is an interesting point about the song being the indivisible unit of music… I’d never really thought of it that way…

    I don’t think that’s enough to change my opinion though, as I think my need for full albums comes from the fact that I want to listen to long stretches of music and I don’t have the time or desire to make good enough playlists…

  20. garretc Says:

    I will admit that the occasional shuffle session happens, but that’s a rare occurence, especially these days with all the Phish shows I need to catch up on!

  21. sumodie Says:

    thanks for the evocative flashbacks, mr.c.
    nothin like a lil gorge headiness to raise spirits. will def take that FOB for a spin.

Leave a Reply