Big-Time Bustouts

6.25.10 - Camden (Graham Lucas)

Summer’s opening leg included something for all parts of Phish’s fan base. Combining just enough open jamming with revitalized structured improv, the band’s exploratory adventure returned in spurts throughout the month. Precise playing and non-stop energy produced a new-found sense of urgency, lighting a fire under Phish from the tour’s opening “Disease.” Then there were the covers; ten new songs from various artists and genres that added spice to many setlists. And finally, the last element comprising a catch-all Phish tour were the many bust-outs that dotted the run. Not only did the band kick down once-in-a-while songs like “Forbin’s > Mockingbird,” “Roses Are Free,” “Sanity,” “Harpua” and “McGrupp,” they added more elusive songs such as “Destiny Unbound,” “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” and “Saw It Again.” But all these rarities took a back seat to a showcase of songs Phish hadn’t played in well over a hundred shows, one dating all the way back to the ’80s. The following six selections represent the headline-grabbing bust-outs of the early summer.


1. “Fuck Your Face” 7.2 II – last believed to be played on 4.29.1987 (1,413 shows)

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

In the bust-out to end all bust-outs, Phish finally played Mike’s iconic piece of Zappa-esque humor, best known from its place on The White Tape. The Mockingbird Foundation believes the band played the song on April, 29, 1987, but that cannot be confirmed. Unless a rather eclectic old-school head found their way to Charlotte, this was the first time anyone had ever witnessed the song. Coming out of a ten-ton “Carini,” Trey began the guitar lick, sounding like something unique. As the band transitioned and Mike began singing, an incredibly small portion of the crowd actually knew they were witnessing history. “Carini > Fuck Your Face” sounds like something a student might scribble in the margin during lecture in a Phishy daydream. But lo and behold, it unfolded in a moment that will be remembered forever.



2. “Alumni Blues > A Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni” 6.25 I

“Alumni” last played 7.24.99 (222 shows), “Letter” last played 7.15.94 (587 shows)

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Phish came onstage the second night of Camden and didn’t hesitate, busting into the old-school classic “Alumni Blues.” The funky ditty became all-the-more interesting as the band bridged the halves of the song with Trey’s hard-rock homage, “Letter to Jimmy Page,” for the first time since 7.15.94. With most versions played in the ’80s and early ’90s, this resurfaced another piece of the band’;s legacy. Phish dug deep into their past this tour, and this segment – officially released by the band on video – exhumed another relic from the history books.



3. “Have Mercy” 7.1 II – last played 12.10.99 II  (189 shows)

One of Phish’s most precious covers, the band usually gives The Mighty Diamonds’ song special treatment by placing it after an exploratory mind-fuck; there are few more gentle landing pads in Phish’s repertoire. But when the band dropped the song after a sloppy “Fluffhead” in Raleigh, it hardly made sense. Always nice to hear, regardless of placement, Phish could have bumped this one up a few slots and made a gorgeous segment out of “Light > Have Mercy.” Unheard from since December ’99 in Philadelphia, this served as an out-of-context re-introduction to the song.



4. “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” 7.1 II – last played 12.30.99 I (181 shows)

Walnut Creek "Merit Badge"

Only the second time this song has been played since the ’80s, we last saw this Traffic cover during the opening, afternoon set of Big Cypress. When Phish let loose on the song late in Raleigh’s second set, it brought one of two improvisational highlights of the evening. Spearheaded by Trey’s shredding leads, the band destroyed an explosive groove-rock jaunt that contrasted to the laid-back version everyone heard in The Everglades. This bust-out carried more musical weight than any other of tour.



5. “Walfredo” 6.27 I – last played 9.30.00 (131 Shows)

Unseen since Vegas 2000, Phish opened the second night of Merriweather with “Walfredo,” their instrument-switching gimmick that includes the venue’s name in its lyrics. A clever move, this rather benign opener foreshadowed the second set theatrics that were to come. Though fun to see the guys in different spots to start the show, the set got started in earnest with another rarity that followed, Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood.” Nonetheless, if you were there, scratch “Walfredo” off your list.



6. “Time Loves A Hero” 7.1 I – last played 12.31.02 (127 shows)

Little Feat - Times Loves a Hero

Phish played this Little Feat cover for the third time since the ’80s, and 2010’s incarnation was the of three to stand alone. Coming out of a funky “Wolfman’s” at Star Lake ’98, and creatively morphing from “Runaway Jim” in one of the few highlights of Phish’s first comeback show in ’02, this is another song that deserves better improvisational context. And sandwiched between “Kill Devil Falls” and “Alaska” in the first set isn’t exactly the context I’m talking about. Nonetheless, the groovy song was played well, adding to the set.



Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 6.11 II

Hands down, the “Ghost” of 2010 thus far, and one of the most engaging jams of tour.




6.11.2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL < Torrent

6.11.2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL < Megaupload

Official Bridgeview Poster

In one of the most exciting tour-openers ever, Phish came out firing on a sweltering Chicago evening, playing two sets worth of stellar music. Improvisational highlights abound in both sets, with the second-half sequence “Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb” providing the show’s centerpiece. After tour ended, Chicago’s opening night still sits among the band’s top-shelf offerings of the month.

I: Down with Disease, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie

II: Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb By Limb, Prince Caspian > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope, Show of Life*

E: Cavern, Julius


Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v > KC5 > M222> NT222 > Oade m148 > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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985 Responses to “Big-Time Bustouts”

  1. Jtran Says:

    Garcia/Hunter songs are where it’s at.
    Phish jams are where it’s at.

    For me, at least. Except for the fact that I also love Phish songs, and Dead jams. Embarrassment of riches, really.

    Going down the song alley, any of you older guys ever listen to/see/etc Strangefolk (another VT band that toured heavily in the 90s for those that don’t know)? Some real great songwriting there IMO.

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    stella blue>NFA from ’79 mmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    “Let your life proceed by its own design”

    Probably my fav song lyric ever. When I lived in China I taught it to my students on their last day of class. So heady.

  4. El Duderino Says:

    @ Poop

    30 GD shows from ’89 – ’95

    2 JGB shows ’89 and ’91

    In hind sight I caught some pretty good shows. Soldiers ’91 and first night ’92 Good Morning LSG.

    ’95 Memphis was great too but more of the overall event I guess.

    But the best was the ’89 Poplar Creek JGB show!

  5. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Of course the song writing and lyrics are going to be vastly different. Jerry Garcia, from all accounts, had a very rough and traumatic childhood. Whereas Trey and Tom were brought up on the mean streets of Princeton , NJ.

    Not saying one is better than the other, but these songs and lyrics are coming from very different places.

    Poop- i agree 100%. Our paths are quite similar. I saw approx 25 Dead shows between ’92-95 myself and hold those closer than the Phish shows i’ve seen over the course of 17 years.

  6. Leo Weaver Says:

    With Phish, especially earlier Phish, the lyrics were simply the vehicle for another instrument…another layer, another texture, another brush to paint the aural landscape. IMO. Now they’re actually writing lyrics to tell a story with meaning.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    but yeah if i want to listen to music for lyrics i’ll head over to bob dylan, or neutral milk hotel….

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    might not be the deepest lyrical content, but as a Zappa fan you should appreciate the homage there. don’t make me bust out my zircon-encrusted tweezers on you!

  9. Jtran Says:

    Speaking of Neutral Milk Hotel, listened to Aeroplane int he Sea or wahtever it’s called album yesterday, great music.

  10. Jtran Says:

    Just reached the “jam” segment of the Alpine 99 Fluff. Yeaaaa

  11. zzyzx Says:

    “With Phish, especially earlier Phish, the lyrics were simply the vehicle for another instrument…another layer, another texture, another brush to paint the aural landscape.”

    IMO that hasn’t been true really since 1992.

    81 GD shows from 88 to 95. For a late period deadhead, I got very lucky that I started going to shows right at the last peak, but i SHOULD have gone to 6/30-7/1/85

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    it’s wild that a man’s delivery of a song could carry so much gravitas and weight (Garsh)….heft…when the GD switched it on it was so hefty. i feel like the texture Leo just spoke about with Phish is something i’ve been keeping my eye on since last fall….the thickness i’ve called it…miner sez density…but it’s a maturing, forceful band. they’ll never have the cultural genesis touchpoints of the GD but they are certainly LARGE now in their approach….now, large deep stratospheric jams….perhaps leg 2. (camden cdt was scratching this surface nicely).

  13. David Bowie Says:

    Semi unrelated, but on the topic of segues has anyone hear heard the stunning rendition of Other One > Me and My Uncle from Hollywood Palladium 1971-08-06? Hands down my favorite piece of GD jamming to this day. I’d love to hear a Playing > UJB that is as smooth as this if anyone can point me in the right direction, or any other unusual and interesting segues for that matter.

  14. Mr.Palmer Says:

    @ jtran- saw Strangefolk a few times back in the day at the old Wetlands. They are still playing gigs i think, but with a different lineup.

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Hey ZYX, just curious and no need to answer if you don’t want to, but how old are you? In my mind we are close to the same age (36 next month), but seems you were doing GD shows much earlier than I. Good on ya.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lol, which homage are you referring to TIII?

  17. nonoyolker Says:

    @ AJ – that’s cool man. easily my favorite lyric as well.

    Its seems obvious to me that people would hold the dead shows they attended closer to their hearts than seeing the boys because they can never experience that again. You caught something at a moment in time that will never happen again. Really makes you appreciate having the boys back and healthy/sober.

  18. gavinsdad Says:

    @jtran – you mean “strange matthews”.


  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    oh tweezer? yeah, no lol, i don’t see any homage to zappa there

  20. El Duderino Says:

    “Poop- i agree 100%. Our paths are quite similar. I saw approx 25 Dead shows between ’92-95 myself and hold those closer than the Phish shows i’ve seen over the course of 17 years.”

    The GD shows/event carried much more weight. GD was always first up through Summer ’95 for me, and that’s because we all knew the end could come at any time. This was in the forefront of my mind.

  21. poop goblin Says:

    you going to orchestre tonight AJ?

    hope the weather clears up

    very stoked

  22. Jtran Says:

    @Mr. P

    Yea they are. Lead singer has since left (in 02 I believe) and started Assembly of Dust, who are also great and sound more like old Folk then Strangefolk themselves do these days.

    One of my sweetest music memories is seeing Strangefolk in about 2006 open for themselves with a set of Zeppelin, then come back on and rock out for two sets. Real cool.

    Did AOD on New Years a couple years back at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH (LP vol. 19, I think). Can’t believe Phish used to play places like that.

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I caught Strangefolk’s sets at Strangecreek this memorial day weekend (great little festival, btw). they completely surprised me. I thought I had that band pegged and thought they were “done” after Reid left. I was glad to be wrong.

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    “But the best was the ’89 Poplar Creek JGB show!”

    fucking outstanding JGB show El D…i was there….cats, let’s spend the nite together, i shall be released…dirty fucking show. (i hit alpine the nite before too for my first Mission in the Rain)

  25. poop goblin Says:

    I was def a Phish tour guy but we’d fill in with GD whenever possible

    I did Oakland, salt lake, and Memphis in Spring. a few more in summer.

    95 was my freshman year in college so I had time to jump back and forth

    we knew we were seeing a peak band and a band on their last leg at the same time

    weird dynmaic no doubt

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