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”

  1. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Yep – page 36. Here it is for easy reading

    # [Not Tom] Marshall Says:
    July 27th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I think we are WAAAAYYYYYY overdue for some S&SS and Waves action. Same goes for ASIHTOS.


    And with that, my unnecessary vanity posting ends.

  2. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    No shows before 1996? Wow. That’s like not having seen the original Star Wars (Ep. IV) but watching the rest of the Star Wars saga’s movies.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:


    Damn dude, sounds like you need to head over the archive and grab a bunch of 92-95, if you ask this guy……..thats the good shit.

  4. lastwaltzer Says:



  5. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    @ LW – I’ll be seeing you @ Deer Creek, right? I think you’ve been sending a bunch of the emails. (maybe I’m wrong – very hard to keep up with real names vs. screen names)

  6. jdub Says:

    @Brimley, LP #7 8/14/93 is a worthy Live Phish to dive into, no Tela though.

  7. lastwaltzer Says:

    I don’t know how many you kept up with shooting of Sean Bell (unarmed guy shot by the morning of his wedding day a year or two ago) but it looks like the city of New York is paying his family 7 million. ( )

    What really boggles my mind is how someone can sit and put a monetary value on a loss like that. Can’t even comprehend it.

  8. sumodie Says:

    Miner should sooo make an ASIHTOS sign -all spelled out & sparkly

    that would certainly put the “all request band” notion to the test too

  9. lastwaltzer Says:


    I will indeed be at close by. My real name is Matt…………..the cat has jumped the bag.

  10. lastwaltzer Says:


  11. Sneaking Allie Through the Alley Says:

    Good morning BB!
    I’m getting ready to quit my research which means I have to talk to one of my least favorite professors. Could be the best thing I’ve done in a while or the worst. Guess there’s only one way to find out.

  12. Brimley Says:

    I’m sure it does sound odd, but I came up in the late nineties and I fell in love with the Trey’s tone and the bands style from 98-00…I’m just getting into these older shows…

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    did you grab the whole lot of those DJ Kicks albums or did you cherry pick? curious what you’ve listened to thus far.

  14. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Here’s a thought … do you ever ask yourself in that crazy hypothetical, Inception-esque, way “what if I could go back in time and know what I know now?” Like Hurley on Lost writing the script to The Empire Strikes Back before George Lucas did, so he could make a few changes and send it to him.

    Well, what if you could go back to 1993 and meet up with Phish for 20 minutes. The kicker is you get to take along with you any show recordings from any year.

    What song from post 1993 would you like to “introduce” or “reveal” to Trey and company? Ghost? Backwards Down the Number Line? (gasp!) Coventry?

    Disregard the Butterfly Effect and any other paradoxical issues for said discussion.

  15. joe Says:


  16. gratefulcub Says:

    Completely different category, but just as shocking to me is the absence of Liquid Time.

    Personally, I am not a huge fan of ASIHTOS, probably because ambient psychedelic excursions are not my favorite phish moments, but I like the song. SSS on the other hand is a top 5 for me, and I miss it.

    But, I don’t ever let it enter my head. She’s like that ex girlfriend that you can’t actually get over. She f’ing hates you, and you know it, but you just LOVE her SOOOO much at 18. The only solution is to smoke yourself into oblivion and refuse to let her enter your headspace. So I obsess about my other girl, Ghostina, and never think about Scents at shows. Just to ward off depression, cuz I know the bitch ain’t showing up on my doorstep tonight asking for forgiveness.

  17. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:


  18. joe Says:

    (working, or more appropriately taking up space at a desk, “normal” hours the next 3 days!!)

  19. gratefulcub Says:

    Hampton 04, Set II

  20. joe Says:

    but Imagine a 3-way with them both, if you other girl was into it and the ex came a callin

  21. gratefulcub Says:

    joe, if I ever saw a Ghost>SSS, it would probably be my last show. Everything else would never measure up.

  22. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    @ Cub – is that the show where the band farked up and played the sets out of order?

  23. lastwaltzer Says:



    Its gonna be okay

  24. jdub Says:

    Tweezer DLOTD is so beautifully fluid and organic. Love it, love it, love it…

  25. jdub Says:

    I wouldn’t ask them to change a thing @marshall. Even in a hypothetical.

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