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. Mr. Completely Says:

    if you don’t like futurama you can bite my shiny metal ass.

  2. sanchothehutt Says:

    LOL,C, pretty sure my brother will at least name him threepi or Artoo.

    No Boba.

    Girl’s name up for grabs 😉

  3. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Does it strike anyone else as weird that The Rhythm Devils are doing all Dead songs like Friend of the Devil, Cumberland Blues, Don’t Ease Me In and Ripple? I mean, Billy and Mickey are the only two former Dead members, and it seems like the drummers would have the least interest in repeating laid back folksy tunes from 40 years ago, none of which they wrote or sang. So they just really want to be behind the kit with someone who is playing Friend of the Devil in front of them? And did Keller Williams and the other guys just sign on to basically be a cover band?

    Granted, I haven’t seen or heard how they play the songs and I might be rushing to judgment when they are in fact doing very creative things, but I’m curious what others think.

  4. Robear Says:

    just skimmed back. what a day. glad i dropped the iraq/afghanistan comment then scattered.

    you cats r good. dr. p, wow. palmer, sheesh.

    and unclesancho.

    won’t be at the midwest blowouts. gonna’ catch the warm-ups out west.

  5. Robear Says:

    ramblin, @zzyzx posted a little video he took at Hornings of said band doing ‘Birdsong’. you must have missed it. ask him to repost tomorrow.

  6. butter Says:

    Keller is the new Fake Jer …..sweet

    if he just plumps up and buys some Hanes T’s he’s got this

    always new it was a fit

  7. sanchothehutt Says:

    Ah, so Sancho’s Huggie Bear hug must wait until at least fall…

    Something to look forward to. PLeanty of peeps gonna be at Alpine

  8. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    ah, found the vid @Robear. I”ll take a look.

    And I see that they’re doing some new stuff with Hunter. Interesting.

  9. sanchothehutt Says:

    BTW, R0bear, you’ll be catching much more than warmups. I can feel it. Something tells me they[re practicing and are going to give you guys the ride of your life over therel

  10. butter Says:

    shit, you guys are talkin about practice, practisss, really practiss

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

    congrats Sancho!!!

    I ve been hanging out with my friends daughter(3) playing the role of the silly uncle…. its def a blast!

    Jdub you got mail!

    westcoast peeps still going strong?

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

    I have a feeling that the Rhythm Devils are just jealous of not being involved with Furthur and are trying to compete….. Lame…
    I havnt heard anything yet…. had the chance to go see em in denver but passed due to my financial situation, then the next night Halcy informed me
    they were playing a free show, but it was 3.5 hrs away….meh…. had to pass also…. might be tempted to check out furthur at red rocks…. seems like a good excuse to finally check out that venue!

  13. Robear Says:

    man, had to look up some of C’s words in a dictionary to realize he was ragging on me!

  14. butter Says:

    i wouldn’t say strong, but lurking, and talkin a bit of smack

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol K-dubs playin in the big leagues now?

    always knew that boy would make good one day. I knew him back before Emily made him stop singin’ Garnish

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


  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I was?

  18. sanchothehutt Says:

    In the vein of Willowd, love you guys and can’t wait to share with the morning crew. Oh yeah, I will still be psyched!!!!!!!!

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

    Can K dub nail jerry licks??? hmmm

  20. butter Says:

    need a little good Fake Jer talk to complete the day

    if you can’t laugh at the concept of Fake Jer………

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    only if he’s started playing leads in the eight years since I saw him

    he always said it was not his thing

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    So what’s going on late night BB?

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

    ya keller is just a good rhythm guitarist… acoustic tho..

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    apparently I used some language to dis robear earlier that was so abstract I didn’t even realize I was doing it

    quite the feat

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

    cute avatar C!

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