Upset City

11.2.1998 - E Center (T.Wickersty)

11.2.1998 - E Center (T.Wickersty)

The first two rounds of this past weekend’s NCAA tournament were defined upsets, those improbable scenarios that actually come true. These occasions, when the unexpected unfolds, provide moments of real-life drama, and not without parallels to Phish’s forays into musical adventure without knowing what lies around the corner. The excitement of both live experiences are united by the unknown, and the essence of each connected moment. Nobody knows how things are going to turn out, and that is precisely why people flock to both events. Just as people live and die by that buzzer-beater or the dramatic overtime win, so do others quest for glory in crunchy Phish grooves and full-throttle improv. If one were to stretch this analogy a bit and ascribe “upsets” to Phish shows, they would be discussing those special nights in history when down-low venues blew up in shows that were far more than the sum of their parts. Today, let’s look back at three significant upsets in Phish history. (Click on orange dates to download each show.)


11.2.1998 – E Center, West Valley, Utah

Dark Side of the Moon

After the high-key Las Vegas Halloween shows, most people dispersed home across the country, while Phish moved on to a half-filled arena outside of Salt Lake City. Equivalent to a 15 seed beating a 2 in the first round, Phish played virtually an entire show before dropping into “Harpua” and beginning their trip to the Dark Side of the Moon. No one could believe what they saw, much like that little guy on Northern Iowa pulling up for a game-clinching, three-point dagger, falling the invincible Goliath of Kansas. Immediately making waves in the community before the next day, this Dark Side show will go down as one of the most memorable “upsets” in Phish history. (Regardless of your opinion on how it holds up on tape.)


9.14.999 –  BSU Pavilion, Boise, ID

9.14.99 - Boise, ID

After the Northwest run of Vancouver > Gorge > Portland at the beginning of Fall 1999, Phish headed inland to Boise, Idaho, before returning to the coast for a couple nights at Shoreline. A long and completely out-of-the-way trip, many fans opted for a personal day, and drove directly down I-5. But for those who made the trek across Orgeon and into Idaho were rewarded with one of the most outstanding shows of the year. In a sparsely filled gymnasium where anyone could walk right to the front of the stage, Phish threw down the gauntlet in the form of “Peaches > Bag > Gumbo.” “AC/DC Bag” provided one of the most  soul-touching moments of the entire year, peaking with surreal, layered melody and harmony, before galloping into the sunset in a “Crosseyed-esque” groove. Coupled with “Gumbo” in the now-famous combo, laced with a thick and extensive quote of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” this show became an instant classic, despite a relatively forgettable first half.


6.26.1994 – Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, WV

Amidst a particularly smoking run during June 1994, Phish found themselves playing West Virginia for the first time in their career, and they decided to commemorate the occasion. Known simply as the “GameHoist” show, this night would be remembered forever – but not for any jams. Instead, Phish opened the first set with “Kung” and went directly into a full-blown Gamehendge set, complete with narrations between the songs. And after closing the set with a blistering run-through of the lizard’s sacred chant, “Divided Sky,” the band decided to turn their show upside down. Having released “Hoist” three months earlier, Phish came out and played their album, top to bottom, as close to the original recording as possible. The band even included a “Split” jam after the album’s final track, “Demand,” which was spliced into the album from a 1993 recording. Phish concluded the set, as they did the album, with “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.” This unsuspecting outing in West Virginia turned into one of the most unique shows in Phish lore history.

These are but three of countless “upsets” throughout Phish’s career. Share your own “upset”stories in the comment thread below.


Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 7.3.97 II

A little-known beast from Nuremberg, Germany that a friend brought to my attention this weekend. Check it out!




7.10.94 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY < Torrent

7.10.94 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY < Megaupload

SPAC - Saratoga Springs, NY

Continuing our look at big time summer Phish from upcoming venues, here we have SPAC’s 1994 installment.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Horn, Peaches en Regalia, Rift, Stash, If I Could, My Friend, My Friend, Julius, Cavern

II: Sample in a Jar, David Bowie, Glide, Ya Mar, Mike’s Song > Low Rider > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Bouncing Around the Room, The Squirming Coil, Crimes of the Mind*

E: Golgi Apparatus, Rocky Top

* w/ Dude of Life on vocals

Source: Set I: (FOB) Schoeps MK4/CMC5 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Apogee AD500E > D10 (through Rift, Apogee battery died) Stash to end of Set I : OTS AT- 4053; Set II: (FOB) Schoeps MK4/CMC5 > Sonosax SX-M2 > D10

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790 Responses to “Upset City”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks for the thoughts, guys.

    Im callin’ it a night.

    have a good one.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    “a thetan creates by postulating”

    we collect scientology tracts at work, keep em in the lunchroom

    interesting stuff to say the least

  3. albert walker Says:


    which is a bad ass fuckin “film” as us cool cats say

    opens with Baby Huey Hard Times in a kick ass action sequence

    Jean Claude is the fuckin man

    anyone that has not seen this must


    with those vinyl fixes

    I added Royal Trux- Thank You

    this record came out in 1995 when all that other music sucked

    one of the few David Briggs recorded albums other than Neil

    very cool record
    one of their most listenable.
    should be up there an a half hour or so
    great album first to last song very original

  4. Robear Says:

    nice bit o’ history AW. glad I tuned back in.

    grabbed ‘Death’. have to go back and check for ‘Ike and Tina’. wasn’t up last time.

    is season 4 of ‘Lost’ a short season? Just got the box set and it only shows like 14 episodes.

    Silly, I’m going to try to do the last 4 of leg 1. Depends heavily on the ex. and the kiddo’s. It would be great if you made it. You’re going to love Matty, from the WW. He’s looking forward to you jumping on.

  5. Robear Says:

    still don’t see ‘Ike and Tina’ on the mediafire @ AW.

  6. ChefBradford Says:

    Robear- I’m definitely doing ATL, but if I can, I’m hitting Raleigh and Charlotesville. Hope to meet you (and other BBers) at any/all of these shows!

  7. albert walker Says:

    I don’t see it either man

    gonna put it up right after this trux

    be up in a half hour or so

  8. Robear Says:

    chef, I’ve wanted to see Phish in Atlanta ever since I got the Roxy ’93 shows on Maxell XLII…

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    i wanna see that JCVD “film”

  10. ChefBradford Says:

    I’ve been curious about JCVD ever since I saw it at Blockbuster. I’ll have to check it out

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    Ok, JCVD is now in my Netflix queue

  12. albert walker Says:

    it’s up now Robear

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    u like that JB album Hell, @aw?

    realized I’ve never heard the whole thing

    same era as the payback

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    is season 4 of ‘Lost’ a short season? Just got the box set and it only shows like 14 episodes.

    ^ Hollywood writers strike.

  15. jibboowho Says:

    I’m not 100% positive, but i do believe the 7-3-97 ghost Miner put up is part of the set Kuroda talks about in The Biography Phish where they “smoked an incredible amount for about 30 minutes off the side of the stage” and attempted to play after. Maybe explains its loosey goosey composition. Anyone confirm or deny this?

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