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. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    what are the latest rumors?
    Ive been out of the loop for a bit…

  2. KWL Says:

    ya longmont isn’t the greatest. fort collins isn’t bad… boulder has some good points, some bad points… not really my thing, a little too trust fund. good beer though.

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    not silent films!

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    No need to read article headline nails it…

  5. DukeOfLizards Says:


    I don’t know if I’m way off base here, but if NYE is indeed at MSG, and they do any sort of NE fall run, wouldn’t the Coliseum make TOTAL sense?

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    This Weekapaug just went like quadruple time on me after Wipeout – how the hell do they play/sing that fast? 😀

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow @pham

    just wow

  8. KWL Says:

    PB is my go-to BBer when i need a nice link

    i’ll take the island tour paug

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    See, I knew you were going to mention silent film, but that is essentially a thing of the distant past, relatively speaking.

  10. sumodie Says:

    @Stupendous: just wait 5 minutes and the rumors change

  11. Jtran Says:

    Evening BB

    @BK and anyone else interested, once you finish up that set I’d be interested in listening to something if you’re gonna be around. Your choice tonight.

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    So I guess they weren’t finished yet, huh? Wasn’t expecting the drop back into the jam.

    This is going a bit nuts llfa. Loops/effects all over the place. Dig it

  13. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:


  14. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Ya BK
    thats where its at IMO

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    let’s create some custom rumors now as a community project. two routes you could go, that I can think of:

    – comedy route, parody of rumors

    – most plausible possible rumors, drawing on years of experience debunking rumors


  16. butter Says:

    Stup – as of today:

    1. Vegas October 14-16 ( Caesar’s Colosseum is the rumor, but it holds under 5000 people, so doubtful, probably Thomas & Mack)

    2. Holiday run – 3 nights Philly before Christmas, 5 nights after MSG

    3. Halloween – Atlantic City 3 shows

    *the eight show holiday run tests the legitimacy of this rumor, i must believe

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    This is dark…sounds more like a deep Piper jam than Weekapaug.

  18. Mr.Palmer Says:

    4 nights at the Enormodome.

    3 Nights at the Alamo

    2 nights in gdad’s basement.

    NYE in Seattle (for zz )

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    hey there’s some timeless silent films out there

  20. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    its the bomb aint it

    weird rumors….hope theyre false

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    Also, though I haven’t re-watched Inception YET, I tend to think that it, like every one of Nolan’s other movies, will reward multiple viewings

    And I’m done.

  22. BrandonKayda Says:


    Sounds good, I’ll think of something once this show ends in about 20mins

  23. butter Says:

    now the MGM Grand Arena in Vegas holds 17,000 and would be perfect for Phish…. it’s sorta like AAA in Miami. I saw the Stones there and it raged hard and is a great venue. It’s located in the MGM Grand Hotel.

  24. ChefBradford Says:

    re: silent films

    I didn’t say there weren’t; I just meant that in today’s cinema, they are generally not done, haven’t been hugely popular in almost a century, that’s all

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Packing tonight. All kinds of down for a spin. Don’t care what. Whatever’s clever.

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