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. jdub Says:

    Late night check in. BB still going strong. I had the inclination to do a setlist, even started one but the daughter woke up and my time is running short this evening.

    @Stup, hope your enjoying the scenery out in Boulder. My sister lives there and as an east coast transplant loves the change of scenery. drop me an email.

    joshuawinkley at mac dot com

  2. Aquaman Says:

    Aight guys….enough lurking for me this evening.

    Next stop = ‘Bane > PTI on Tivo > Bed.

    C’yall tomorrow.


    P.S. New discussion Get Aquaman to
    (skip Monday)>
    Tue:MMJ in Chicago

    WITHOUT getting him divorced.


  3. Aquaman Says:

    Woot. Top O the page!

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    just buy her flowers aqua

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Between ACL and Vegas Phish play on Ye Old London Bridge which is, of course, located in Bullhead City, AZ.

  6. alumni blues Says:

    Yeah Chef, Memento and Following are great.

  7. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about my inclination to hear songs from other bands and wonder how Phish would play an awesome cover version. Happening right now with Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove.” Only Mike could do the vocals though. Otherwise, forget it.

  8. butter Says:

    just got off the phone with bigjig

    he says: “you couldn’t pay me enough to go to Atlantic City, The New York version of Las Vegas, hell no”

  9. KWL Says:

    there are a lot of places you couldn’t pay me to go to

    except there’s this one thing…

  10. flarrdogg Says:

    Marshall Ferret Beret Reprise?

    ‘It Still Moves’ is clearly MMJ’s masterpiece IMO- far superior to Evil Urges or Z. Scary good. If you don’t own this record, do yourself a favor…

  11. KWL Says:

    take it easy y’all

    looking forward to tomorrow evening, should be able to relax for the night

    busy & stressful week

    peace kidz

  12. Jtran Says:


    I’m actually gonna just put something on and go to bed, I think I actually have a semi big day in store tomorrow.

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Tinyurl not included:

    Nice graphic though

  14. BrandonKayda Says:


    Alright that’s cool, no problem.

  15. DukeOfLizards Says:


    I have the same thoughts every time I hear Roundabout by Yes.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah for me it’s We Built This City

    I know, obvious choice

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’ll check that out soon @flarr

  18. Luther Justice Says:

    Just saw Dinner for Scmucks. I say its $$$.

  19. AintNoTele Says:

    I had to run earlier but wanted to say that the discussion was top shelf, pretty good crew we gots here…

    I’m off to study for my big drug test tomorrow. I managed 7 shows so far this tour bane free and am about to pass the ol piss test in the AM and follow it up with my 1st baning in months. Pretty excited over here.

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    nice tele. nothing like baning after going a while without

  21. sumodie Says:

    @aintnotele: uuhhh…good luck with the studying -guess you don’t need flash cards

    piss test is always better than the hair test!

  22. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    We Built this City only conjures images of Homer Simpson and an alligator for me.

    Also, “Jefferson Airplane paved the way for Jefferson Starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons Project…”

  23. butter Says:

    could there still be a Festival looming at the end of leg 2

    maybe an announcement tomorrow?

  24. AintNoTele Says:

    ew, hair test…no beuno. Its been almost 2 months since my last puff. Since new years Ive been job hunting to Ive prob bane’d 5 times total since…but we did have a bachelors party last weekend and I was in a room full of dudes puffin down. I took a practice test and passed though, gotta be prepared.

    Long story short, I got a job, got my womans sister’s wedding saturday, my bday tues, and telluride after…and i can bane!!!

    Lovin life

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    i heard a rumor there will be an announcement of new festival rumors tomorrow

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