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. whole tour! Says:

    i remember “mexican cousin” from that atlanta 2003 show being a keeper.
    Really cool little mex cuz jam.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    also i remember the taste from atlanta 2003 being exceptional.
    all around great show.
    Second set gets perhaps the deepest jams of the tour besides it.

  3. Robear Says:

    wt, you’ve really got me wanting to catch the last four shows of leg 1.

    Will it be a hot, humid, scorch fest? (weather, not the music)

    Does the south have a better mound 2 meatstick ratio than other shows?

  4. albert walker Says:

    you lookin for mound Robear you need to go on DMB tour

  5. whole tour! Says:

    @ robear – i highly highly highly advise not missing that 4 pack of shows. They always seem to explode in the south…NC and atlanta in particular are hot spots for this band.

    It will be very hot and humid…but believe me…once the music starts…it all fades away.

    Atlanta especially is going to be absolutely nuts.

  6. voopa Says:

    Heh, Japanese lyrics were a given after the Japan 2000 tour…think they did some of that after Japan ’99 too, but not sure…

    I remember cracking up at the “*with Japanese lyrics” footnote throughout 2000 setlists because it was a regular part of the song at that point…

    Note: Phish has only played Meatstick 3 times since the first hiatus.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    good evening, people! too much time away from the BB lately for me. there’s got to be at least one dangling participle in that previous sentence. anyway, hope you are all bearing the waiting as well as can be expected.

    a week or so ago there was a conversation about cut chemist. i’ve got some of his stuff up on my mediafire if anyone is interested. probably best served with ‘bane.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    The south is well over due for some mound….both the song and the hump.

  9. albert walker Says:

    I may do those Atlanta shows

    have not been there since 10/31/96

    come down to SPAC or Atlanta
    gonna flight out ot one or the other

  10. whole tour! Says:

    phish holidays are the best.
    Atlanta is going be the shows of the tour hands down. They will be firing on all cylinders by that point.

    I have a feeling every show is gonna be awesome.

  11. albert walker Says:

    those Shadow and Cut Chemist from the late 90’s are pretty nice

    pretty ground breaking stuff when it came out

    some pretty rare 45’s on those tracks

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I put up Brainfreeze and Product Placement which are both with DJ Shadow and then his solo Rare Equations double album. I found this stuff when I was starting to branch out from being singularly phish in musical scope for a long time.

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    @robear…ya gotta come on out. You’ll be taken care of down here! And the boys will properly break in the new Atl venue I’m sure. Throw in some BBers all around and it’ll be a great time.

    @WT…info on Charlotte coming up momentarily…I’ll post it a couple more times between now and tour. Hope to see you!

  14. whole tour! Says:

    thanks leo!

    Mark it!
    i’ll be there!!!

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @cushion – Pronoia was a very big concept for my friends and I in the mid/late 90s, psychedelic warriors that we were…we were discussing it here one night and Dr. P took a liking to it

    if you are on the good side of your karma, pronoia is a statement of fact at shows, not an abstract concept – people are absolutely conspiring on your behalf

    @Henry I keep meaning to buy that book, did you like it?

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    Corey I’d roll with #2 or 3 especially since it’s the start of the leg

  17. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    @ Corey…first show at the Greek will be rife with anticipation, a month off, first show back at the GREEK(!!!), etc. etc. Not quite like Hampton I last year, but it’s gonna be a really exciting day leading up to that show. Second show the band will probably dig in their heels, take a minute to look around and hopefully spread everything out a little. And as for the third…well, who knows by that point. If I’ve learned anything about this band, it’s no never go into any show with any expectations because you’ll be let down a good part of the time. But if you treat each show as an opportunity to blow off some steam and enjoy yourself, it won’t matter if you’re at Greek night 2 or NYE

  18. KWL Says:

    hm, my job ends July 1.

    maybe i’ll celebrate by hopping in the car and heading south.

    the ATL>southern CO drive wouldn’t be very hot in July, would it?

  19. cal Says:

    Lycan–I enjoyed some of 2.26, but not nearly as much as 3.4.

    I liked the way your guitarist played with the “Sand” riff, and it was a nice soothing jam. Really enjoyed “National Anthem”, even with no horns. But the highlight is the “Fame” jam–wasn’t expecting that, outstanding work there. But I don’t think you guys were nearly as fluid or creative that night as on 3.4.

    Have not gotten to the 10.24 show yet. I’ve been bogged down with other shit and I don’t wanna half-assed listen. Hopefully this week I’ll have a chance.

    Gotta sign off, running on fumes at this point. G’night, BB!

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    For those of you who are early planners, here’s some info about Charlotte, etc…long post

    Charlotte’s Verizon Wireless Amp is in the northern ‘burbs, located just off of I-85 and I-485. It’s right in the middle of Anywhere, USA…plenty of sprawling neighborhoods, office parks, and strip center retail around. Because it’s the ‘burbs and close to interstates, all of the usual national chain suspects are nearby for lodging and food. Most of the hotels are clustered around the racetrack (Charlotte Motor Speedway, a couple of miles north of the venue) or around UNCC (a couple of miles south of the venue in ‘University City’), with the venue situated in the middle. The racetrack is 140k capacity and hosts 3 races per year, so most of the roads in the area (north of I-485) can handle high traffic loads for easy in easy out and there are plenty of accommodations in the area. There are no hotels within walking distance that I know of…however, there are many within hiking distance. See link for starters (hope this works):,-80.724106&sspn=0.071271,0.181103&split=1&rq=1&ev=zi&hq=hotels&hnear=&ll=35.32591,-80.738869&spn=0.071288,0.181103&t=h&z=13

    I don’t really know much about bars or nightlife around the venue as I don’t get up that area of town much. Maybe verno329 has a little more info; I think it’s his area of town. But UNCC, with its 20k+ students, is located in the area so I’m sure there’s plenty to do before and after the show.

    For those of you who like to actually see and enjoy the cities and towns on tour rather than just breeze through the outskirts, I’d suggest staying in any of the hotels in downtown Charlotte…you’ll find the full gamut of hotel choices, from the Ritz –Carlton for you super high rollers right on down to a Days Inn and everything in between. See link for starters:,0,8409202333112023129&ei=zzumS-H_MsKVtgeM0oSDCg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQnwIwAA

    The drive from Raleigh is about 2.5 hours, all interstate…easy drive day or night. I’ll be driving back to Charlotte after the Raleigh show.

    A few words about downtown Charlotte (this is my personal note, I’m not getting paid by the Chamber of Commerce)…it’s a great little city to explore for a day or night. It’s clean, compact, and relatively easy to get around (if you stay close to center city). There are lots of bars and good restaurants as well as a few music venues to cover pre and post show activities. And there are a couple of nice museums in town. I’ll provide more detailed information closer to tour time. If you stay downtown, it’s a relatively easy (all interstate) 10-15 minute drive to/from the venue (assuming traffic is moving…it’s usually not too bad). I’m sure some of the hotels will or can provide transportation to and from. And a cab probably wouldn’t be too much. If we round up enough BBers who’ll be staying around downtown and can pitch in on costs, I’d be willing to look into renting a party bus to get everyone from here to there and back…maybe even try to put something together for pregame. It sounds like we may already have a pretty good little crew in the making.

    Sorry for the long post. I’ll post it a couple more times between now and tour, along with a little more info.

  21. SillyWilly Says:


    if you make it to Atlanta, I’ll have to come to show you all the hard work I’ve put in during spring training.

    and I’ll need some Jedi training in the ways of the WW

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    pronoia concept started among NorCal uber-psychedelic rave + O.G. Burning Man crowd of the mid-90s – the ecstasy and DMT scene, lots of McKenna acolytes, I hated their music but those kids knew how to roll for sure

    I partied a lot with those guys in like 97-98 and got familiar with the idea, since I am very interested in the groupmind concept/experience at shows it struck a chord with me – if you introduce spun people to the pronoia concept it becomes a lot easier to deal with those super weird moments when it feels like ten thousand other people are inside your mind…after all if they’re there to help, maybe there’s no reason to freak out and put up the shields, withdraw inwards etc…

    proved to be a useful stepping stone for several young jedi of my acquaintance

  23. whole tour! Says:

    thanks for the info leo!
    very helpful!

  24. Corey Says:

    @cal, @Mr. Completely, @Uncle Ebeneezer

    Thank you for your thoughts…
    Leaning towards #2 or 3. I like seeing shows from different spots back to back, even if there are a couple days in between. I’m also having a hard time skipping Deer Creek, but a little vacation, within the vacation will be good…Especially in the west. Managed Shoreline>Gorge>Chicago>Darien last year so…Greek>Telluride>Alpine>Boston should be fine, just fine.

    I shall now mull it over and over and over.
    Door number 1? Number too? Free?
    Oh, decisions…

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    for a working psych professional with a psychedelic background, I can’t imagine a better framing concept

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