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. Andrew Says:

    Tops on my list of favorite chill summer evening albums is Dizzy G’s Sweet Soul, makes me feel like riding a longboard every time…definitely one of my deserted island picks.

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

    check out Juana Molina for a one girl band that will captivate your dancing feet
    just saw her at the fox theater finally!
    been into her since 04

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    He wrote that “Gate Crashers Suck” tune too correct?

    Thanks for the info Mr C – I’ll have to check some of the stuff from 99-00′ out – sounds interesting. I’m sure it’s all up on the archive somewhere

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    @stupendous, hedges is his #1 guy, he acknowledges leo too for sure. I’m much much much more of a leo fan than hedges, just a style thing

    ^^^ Manteca

    I put up Night in Tunisia too cause why not

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

    true C
    me 2

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

    check out Juana Molina!!!!

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    that Manteca is so good it had me laughing out loud and drawing puzzled wife looks earlier

  8. butter Says:

    Keller is a good addition to a festival

    good vibe, non offensive, approachable sound

    and he is a real Dead head at least

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    I think I misread your post @Mr C. Was his GD cover stuff in 99-00 or before? Thank you

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    i will if i can, @S

  11. butter Says:

    alright 16mb my bumkin connection can handle that

    sweet , i’ll get to hear tonite

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    I have not heard the 1998.10.30 Manteca either – I’m gonna have to check it out

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    he was still doing it some @bk

    I’m sure he still does and probably many more songs added over the years

    but the earlier stuff, like 96-98 is the music I have. A little thru 99-00 but then it got into looping and SCI crossovers.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    10-30-98 is a great show BK esp the second set

    very sick Antelope at that show too as I recall

    set 2 was released with the LP release of Halloween ’98

  15. butter Says:

    i’ve heard this before being played in New Orleans

    never really made the connection

    thanks C, i’m happy to have this

    just haven’t heard Manteca lately, come on Trey bring that one back

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

    10-30-98 is sick ass dopeness!
    great psychedelic antelope, non stop 2nd set!

  17. butter Says:

    your great C

    a little bed time jazz

    and you were quick , and it was the perfect file size for my bandwidth right now

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Cool @Mr C – I’ll check it out and let you know what I think

    1998.10.30 Antelope looks huge (17mins)

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

    the good ol days of 98

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    the 2010 version would be dropping it randomly as a standalone seven songs into a first set

  21. butter Says:

    problem is i can’t remember any of 10.30.98, cuz Wolfman’s the next night abolished any other short term memory space

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

    very true C
    out of context, not that cool

  23. phearlessphreaks Says:

    love a song i heard the ocean sing. i was wondering the same thing about it the other day. dont know why theyve pulled them out of rotation. id like to see pebbles and marbles get played too- not heavily – but i always thought that was a pretty good post-hiatus song. a song i heard the ocean sing dropped like a bomb in knoxville and i think were due for one. theyve been diggin deep and i think theyll keep it up. can’t wait.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s worth remembering

    fucking excellent string of segues in that thing

    was a go-to set for me for years, fuckerpants notwithstanding

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    butter I love being able to go ‘oh that song? [3 minutes later] here it is, check it out’

    instant gratification rules

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