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

Tags: ,

790 Responses to “Upset City”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    thanks mitch!

    they are some of the sickest art i’ve seen in a while. They almost are flashback inducing and when they are framed, they seem to move and leap off the wall. I’ll probably never leave my room once i get that jerry print up…lol…i’ll be in there blasting music and staring at my walls… 😉

  2. flarrdogg Says:

    Mr C- Have you seen the video of that ruben and Cherise- apologize if you’re the person I snaked it from. Can’t remember where I got it:


  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    the funniest amusement park dead tour story was actually in Toronto on summer tour 87

    there was a big park right next to the venue. deadheads were totally bustin in over the walls and shit, using all their scamming skills to get in there, just for fun…but they didn’t realize that admission was free with your show ticket, and show tickets were plentiful

    so the staff just ignored all the hippies climbing over the walls and jumping turnstiles…

    caught the soundcheck from the ferris wheel, funny shit

    dropped enough weight of paper in that lot to keep every moose in the fucking country high for ten years, too. funded my whole second let ogg that day. also learned how border crossings are done the right way (in a beemer with collars and ties, watching the RV wooks get jacked and anal probed, they waved us through)

    what an epic win that day was

  4. Mitch Says:

    we need to get silly a big hammer.

    if you’re gonna drive the bus you need to learn how to toss a hammer high into the air and catch it. can you handle that?

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Flarr

    that’s the best one the Dead played, or maybe tied with my birthday version from Pine Knob, but the PK sbds are fucked (can’t hear Jerry’s lead) so hard to judge…Orlando is the go-to

    the widow won’t ever let a JGB version get officially released, so that ORL one is the best we’re likely to see

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    that and the Oregon State prison acoustic one

    can’t top that

    maybe the fall ’77 sbd masters will come out at some point but I’m not counting on it

  7. Worthless Swampy Fool Says:

    WT – Santos is near Ocala, VERY good trails, some really challenging stuff too. Check Boyette is my favorite, near Tampa We have some surprisingly good trials in FL if you know where to look.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, mitch.

    I’ll practice real hard.

    I’ll prove my heart and hustle.

  9. Foul_Domain Says:

    Heres a thought –

    What if everybody just gets their own neemsbane shirt locally? We could come up with a fairly standard design and just stick to it. Who cares if they differ slightly? This way, they can be a bit customized, but still get the point across.

    This would also bring the overall cost down by eliminating any shipping hassle, and a few more bucks can go to Miner.

  10. Mitch Says:

    funniest thing i read all day “dropped enough weight of paper in that lot to keep every moose in the fucking country high for ten years, too”

    well played.

    silly, how bout that hammer?

  11. Mitch Says:

    price goes up the less you make from my own experiences

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    I’m taking up hammer catching over spring break.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    there are probably some hosers who still have some of that shit in the freezer to this day

    or, well, just sitting out since the whole country is the freezer

  14. flarrdogg Says:

    5-5-82 So good. I love that show- my go to acoustic Garcia. There is youtube on that, but it is just a still photo of him and Kahn standing there with music playing.

  15. Mitch Says:

    so let me get this straight. i can go to prison, and still see concerts. im baffled. i thought you go to prison to get denied all cool things.

  16. flarrdogg Says:

    You guys are hilarious. This place is the bee’s knees.


  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have pretty much all the circulating jerry & john sbds

    there are a couple shows just about that good but none better

    later y’all, gotta go rock it with the inlaws

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    see ya, flarr and Mr. C.

  19. Mitch Says:

    oh yeah, conjugal visits too. i dont get it.

  20. whole tour! Says:

    @ swampy – i got to check those trails out! for sure!

  21. (Formally Known As) BrandonKayda Says:

    Paper = FINISHED

    Awesome. Now I can take it easy for the week.

    I find that finishing papers with the peak of Divided Sky playing in the background makes me feel like I did a whole lot more than I actually did. llfa

  22. Mitch Says:

    i gotta cut out too. catch you fools tomorrow.

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    later, Mitch (Silly tosses hammer and catches it)

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    Nice Job, BK

    wanna take my Property midterm for me?

  25. Foul_Domain Says:

    @ Mitch – True, cost goes up when volume goes down. I was just thinking logistics.

    It seems that neemor himself is in the t-shirt biz from what I gather.

    We need the man’s input on this one, especially since its his handle on the thing.

    neeeeeeeeeemooooooooor? You out there phriend?

Leave a Reply