The Mystery of Two Songs

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

As Phish steps into Leg II of summer tour, they will undoubtedly bust out more songs, both old and new, digging deeper into their never-ending catalog. Beginning this process over the early summer, the band exhumed some of their oldest pieces, while also breaking out more elusive, contemporary songs. Between “Fuck Your Face,” “The Connection,” “Alumni Blues” and “Nothing,” Phish touched on their earliest days through their post-hiatus era. But despite the copious bust-outs over Leg I, Phish inexplicably continued to leave two shining gems of their post-hiatus years on the sidelines – “Scents and Subtle Sounds” and ” A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.”

6.27.10 (B.Colligan)

These two songs, one moving towards the light and one moving toward darkness, provided defining jams of ’03 and ’04, and why Phish consistently ignores them has become baffling. Last year, the band played two versions of “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” – both in the first leg of summer. In Knoxville, the band didn’t jam the song, drifting thematically into “Waves,” while Deer Creek was a different story. After a 90-minute lightening-induced setbreak, Phish dropped the song as a heavy opener amidst the storm. Moving into a brief ambient section, the piece showcased one of 3.0’s first creative excursions, and was certainly a step in the right direction. Though it seemed to be gaining momentum, this song hasn’t been heard from again. Phish dropped only one version of “Scents and Subtle Sounds” in 2009, a succinct kick-down to lead off their last set at MSG.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

In the first show of Summer 2003, Phish introduced a new blissful jam out of the depths of “Wolfman’s Brother,” and before anyone knew it, “Scents and Subtle Sounds” made a splash on the scene. Working its way into regular rotation and and providing the springboard for two of the tour’s most impressive jams,”Scents” wasted no time becoming a staple of Summer ’03. Opening the third night of Deer Creek with a 20-plus minute jaunt, Phish broke the song wide open. However, the band one-upped themselves a week later in Camden, New Jersey, playing a first-set version that reached into very essence of Phish exploration. Organically building out of the theme, the band built a quintessential post-hiatus masterpiece that still stands the test of time. Segueing in and out of “Scents” in a prominent third-set slot during ’03’s end-of-summer festival, IT, Phish confirmed their passion for their new song.

One year later, on the brink of Coventry, Phish closed their last conventional show in Camden with another adventure into the void. Favoring darker, ambient textures that reflected the tone of the time, Phish crafted an abstract sonic mural as their last amphitheatre work of art, and their final truly sublime excursion of their “career.”

Undermind (2004)

After a album-version debut of “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” debuted during 2004’s opening set at Coney Island, Phish came back two shows later and redefined the song forever. Opening SPAC’s second set on June 19, Phish wove a stunning tale of psychedelia that reached more than one soul-caressing passage. With a jam so perfect that it sounded pre-written, Phish hit the nail directly on the head in their second voyage into darkness deep. In one of SPAC’s crowning moments, Phish threw down the only epic version of the “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” before signing off later that summer.

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

So that brings us to today. Phish has reached far and wide into their song repertoire, and barely touched upon these two pieces that drip all sorts of potential. Some fans posit theories that these songs bring unwelcome memories of a dark era in Trey’s history. Really? Phish has brought “Undermind” into the mix, and routinely play “Seven Below,” “and “46 Days” from that era, while occasionally reverencing Undermind (the album), so I don’t buy the “bad memory theory.” If this was the case, then why did they bring them back at all? Though I have no logical way to explain their absence, there must be something more going on here. No?

The mystery remains why Phish allows two of their most profound jam vehicles to sit in the wings as they continue to bring out every other piece in their songbook. The return of one or both of these pieces to improvisational prominence tops any list of pipe dreams I could write as we inch closer to The Greek. Likely? No, but at this point anything is possible. Maybe I should bring a sign.


Jam of the Day: Leg II Venue History Week

Tweezer > Fluffhead” 8.1.98 II

A recent SBD leak of the staggering “Tweezer” from Alpine ’98.




Telluride ’88 < Torrent / Telluride ’88 < Megaupload

Colorado '88

Dipping into the archives, today we have a catch-all SBD download of the band’s first visit to Telluride, Colorado in 1988. In this one file set, not only is there the classic 8.6.88 show from The Roma, but also partial recordings from three shows earlier shows in the week, as Phish between The Roma and Fly Me To the Moon Saloon due to a booking oversight. Check the setlists below.

7.29.88 The Roma – Partial

Colonel Forbin’s > Mockingbird, I Didn’t Know, Good Times, Bad Times, Rocky Top, Light Up or Leave Me Alone, Contact, Whipping Post, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Take the ‘A’ Train, McGrupp, Bold As Love

7.30.88 III The Roma

Harpua, Fluffhead, Anarchy, Dear Mrs. Reagan, Terrapin, Antelope E: Fire

8.3.88 III Fly Me To the Moon Saloon

?: Freebird, II: I Know A Little, YEM, Jesus Left Chicago III: Peaches En Regalia, Mike’s > Hydrogen > Fluffhead, Happy Birthday, Harry Hood, Satin Doll, Funky Bitch, Walk Away

8.6.88 The Roma

I: La Grange, YEM > Cities, Take the ‘A’ Train, Funky Bitch, Dinner and a Movie*, Fire

II: Golgi, AC/DC Bag, Satin Doll, BBFCFM, Slave to the Traffic Light*

*track cuts off

All sources are SBD

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1,469 Responses to “The Mystery of Two Songs”

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  1. BrandonKayda Says:

    Cool post Miner

    I’d love to Scents get its proper treatment at The Greek – and ASIHTOS get its treatment at Deer Creek.

    Both of those are very underrated tunes

  2. rick Says:

    Yes, these two songs are amazing; I can’t wait to hear them again

  3. McGGGGG Says:

    Sad we haven’t heard more of those two but if it means I’ll never hear Walls of the Cave again then I’m fine with it. Not that one has anything to do with the other but I’m just saying…. too much coffee… what ever.

  4. Luther Justice Says:

    A properly placed ASIHTOS is a set, if not show changer. Its use at DC last year was the text book example of properly placed. That’s how you kick off a 2nd set after a set of mother nature! Nobody plays in adverse weather conditions like Phish. Nobody.

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    “Maybe I should bring a sign.” – cheeky bastard!

    Total agreement. The absense of these songs is mind bottling (uh, like when something is so unbelievable, it’s like your mind is in a bottle…). I don’t buy the “let’s not bring up dark days” arguement either. Not for a track as uplifting as S&SS. Hoping they dust off these gems at the Greek and take them DEEP.

    Have a good one all!

  6. willowed Says:

    That would be one big ass sign! Make sure you have a big crew with you!

  7. BlackEyedKaty Says:

    yeah, i have a strong connection with “scents and subtle sounds.” it is a very emotional song for me. either of these songs would be great to hear. the 2004.08.12 version of “scents” is amazing. hope they bust it out soon…..the countdown continues!!!

  8. danno Says:

    I will also add the complete absence of Walls of the Cave into the mix. I feel, however, that in the box canyon that is Telluride, it will come out.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all

    interesting topic for the day. definitely a few songs from that era that I’d love to see make strong re-appearances. SS&S, ASIHTOS, and WOTC are all ones that seem to be MIA. Waves has been played but I want more of it. These songs are too good to be left on the bench night after night with the DNP.

    looks like the other band whose lyrics speak the truth is working on stirring the pot as they are akin to do.

  10. Litteringandd Says:

    The JOTD is from the show that I consider to be the best I have ever witnessed.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    twas a good one wasn’t it, litteringand? this tweezer is in the realm of “beautiful” which is a nice departure from the “norm”.

  12. T.R. Donoghue Says:

    Agreed. And where is Pebbles and Marbles? Just one last year, and no jam at all.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ^ that makes it sound like I don’t appreciate the “norm” that is tweezer. not so by any means. just saying the 8.1.98 one isn’t the typical funk psychedelia of the song and follows a much more melodic path into the darkness.

  14. Kenny Powers Says:

    Lther Justice – word up, and not only was that one well placed but it was a sweet little rock jam followed by a nice cool-down section.

    S&SS….man, i have to be honest and say i long for the original structure with the long and slow intro with verses. Those summer ’03 versions (most notably Camden) were awesome, and although I was psyched to get it at MSG last fall, i can’t stand the way it starts now….it’s like they jump right into the middle of the song without the building payoff into that section.

  15. lifeboyo Says:

    I have been curious as to why WOTC hasn’t been dropped either. I am also curious why Miner doesn’t mention it in the article as being conspicously missing. It is also an amazing jam vehicle, frequently topping out at over 20 minutes many times it’s played. Listen to the silent trees….surrounded by the amazing beauty of Telluride?

  16. lastwaltzer Says:


    Thanks for the great links the yesterday and today!

  17. projmersch Says:

    I also would love to hear both Scents and ASIHTOS. Hopefully when we hear them next they will be in a place in the set where they can open the jam up and let it get interesting. Those songs seem to be perfect vehicles for exploration- ASIHTOS in particular. Scents could be a great set closer if they are patient with the jam and let it build from quiet to raging.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’m just here to share the scary and sublime with the crowd. real life is generally much stranger than fiction.

    and here’s a reposted link to the DJ Kicks Series stuff I uploaded to mediafire, if really well done dj mixes are your thing.

  19. jdub Says:

    G’ Morning folks.

    I like that they have kept a few gems in their back pocket. Will make their reapperance all the more exciting. Waves, S&SS, ASIHTOS, Pebbles & Marbles, and Walls of the Cave are so prime for a some refreshing adventures.

    I will have to dive into this Tweezer starting in 3…2…1…..

  20. willowed Says:

    I agree KP. Bring back the slow intro. That is some gooey stuff. It actually makes me feel dirty each time I hear it. In a good way.

  21. willowed Says:

    I don’t miss Walls that much. Don’t get me worng, I wouldn’t mind it but the other two are so much higher in the “I need to hear that” category

  22. Litteringandd Says:

    If not for the way this first leg ended up going I would have never made this statement “Spock’s Brain will get played this August”. That is crazy but I know there are plenty of you rubbing your Gamehenge lamp for T-ride.

  23. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    I wish I could take credit for spurring Miner’s article today, as I mentioned both songs late yesterday (see ) … but alas, I am well aware of Senor Miner’s deep love for both of these songs and his never-ending search for both to appear again and more often. Still, maybe my post nudged him a little bit.

    Morning all.

  24. Brimley Says:

    Laugh if you will, but I have no 88-96 shows in my catalog (Actually I just remembered that I do have NYE 95)… Out of all the options from the Live Phish catalog, which would be “THE” show to download… I’m really looking for a top notch Tela also… Please help friends

  25. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Well, that link didn’t work right. My comment was on page 35 or 36, mid-way down.

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