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. Leo Weaver Says:

    @corey…I’d call it 2>3>1

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    Mr. C,

    posting this on a whim, and because all the advice people have given me on the board has been great.

    having some anxiety issues here.

    I remember talking with you back before Christmas about some meditation practices. Im facing some issues that are out of my control at the moment and it seems the only thing for me to do is to quiet my mind.

    im struggling with just sitting still. do you know any tricks?

  3. (Formally Known As) BrandonKayda Says:

    Goodnight BB

  4. Dr. Pronoia Says:

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

    ^ neither can I Mr. C. Not only is it helpful when trying to tolerate others influence on your mind (at a show, tripping, etc – I’m guessing), but when trying consciously to foster a shared mind space in therapy, it helps ease the heavy karmic/psychic stuff in the room…ie, we’re both in this together, give me access but let’s trust each other, etc. It’s a crazy amount of responsibility if I think about it too hard.

  5. Corey Says:

    Thanks Leo,

    Most difficult decision since choosing for, or against the gnocchi in Cortona. If #2 or 3 is anywhere close to that gnocchi, we’re in for a real treat at the Greek.

  6. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    @ Silly – Madison has amazing resources in the community for finding like-minded people who want to meditate. It’s easier in a group, with guidance.

    Also, [shameless plug time], use the counseling center. Wisco’s got a great one. Can’t recommend anyone in particular, but I interviewed there for an internship years ago and was really impressed. They can get you connected, and a lot of them are plugged into the cutting edge research that’s done at UW re: mindfulness and mental health.

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    Glad you enjoyed @Corey! My wife and I were talking about that place this weekend…good memories. I hope I make it back some day! And FWIW, I did MSG 1 and 2 and feel like I got the best 2 of 3 😉

  8. Henry Says:

    @Mr. C

    Yes I loved it. But I can only comment from the perspective of a 17 year old kid pretty removed from that world. If you ever do read it, I’d be curious to know how someone who actually lived similar things to those described in the book likes it.

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    You’re right, Dr. Pro.

    I need to take advantage of the great resources here.

    Might be time for a little mental spring cleaning.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Henry I do plan on picking it up soon, looks like he was just a little behind me, we did a ton of the same shows, I’m as curious about the author pic as anything, see if I knew the guy…

  11. Henry Says:

    There are some pics of him on this site.

  12. ChefBradford Says:

    Mr C- I’m going to rereading Illuminatus! Again soon, and I was wondering if there are any similar nutso books I could check in to?

  13. ChefBradford Says:

    ^going to be

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Silly, sitting meditation is hard, very hard to just jump right into if you are looking for something to help you through a stressful time

    to be clear that’s what you need right? some way to calm your mind while you deal with stress you can’t make go away?

    if so I would much more recommend things like yoga or tai chi for you now, with a physical component. The focus on directed, mindful physical action forces the mind to become calm indirectly. basically you can’t do yoga and tai chi right if your mind is distracted – the process envelops you, and brings you to calm focus – it also physically releases stress that your body stores up

    that’s where I’d start

  15. albert walker Says:

    I fixed those Death and Ike and Tina albums
    if anyone is interested

    def worth a listen


  16. SillyWilly Says:

    word, thanks, Mr. C.

    sounds like the same idea as working out when youre stressed, but perhaps with more of a mental purpose.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    hahaha I totally recognize his bus from tour, absolutely

    the guy himself not so much, looks familiar like every other head from that era…the later pictures of him seem more familiar which makes no sense since I wasn’t really on tour that much in the later 90s, but whatever

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s multi level exercise, absolutely

    basically doing it forces you into single pointed focus where your whole body/mind is a single entity so you literally can’t be thinking about something else and doing it at the same time

  19. albert walker Says:

    I was in a scientology based rehab (narcon for 5 months in 2004)

    they used to make you sit in a chair facing another person with your eyes closed for an hour

    then face the same person with your eyes open for an hour

    teaching you to be in the hear and now comfortably

    when I started practicing sitting meditation the cat was pretty impressed with my ability first time to sit for an hour

    told him it was a form of turture at a rehab in Battle Creek Michigan

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    the stress relief aspect works on many much deeper levels than simple exercise as well

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow you went into the belly of the Scientology beast and escaped, I am very impressed albert

    but like so much else with those guys, that’s based on some fairly good practice

  22. Henry Says:

    That’s really cool you recognize the bus. It’s definitely an enjoyable read. In my opinion it was a good mix of history of the band, his personal experiences going to shows, and general descriptions of his youth.

  23. albert walker Says:

    C I have some stories

    it was a collection of the worst addicts in the country

    most programs are not that long and are all 12 step based

    cats show up there that have failed 12 steps at least a handful of times

    when you turn to L. Ron shit has got to be whacked

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    as for sitting meditation itself there are a lot of different kinds

    for me the root practice is witnessing meditation

    the idea is that you are watching the actions of your own mind, at some point the loop kind of closes in on itself, since eventually the action you are watching is the action of watching…when that happens it’s kind of a mental singularity, everything kind of dilates…there are no words for after that. Or just annoying jargony sanskrit and tibetan ones.

  25. albert walker Says:

    when we were done staring at each other for an hour

    we would then practicing yelling commands like “Stand Up” and
    “Sit Down” to ash trays.

    I believe when you are a theton 4 like Chick Corea or Tom Cruise the ash trays start listening to you

Leave a Reply