The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted

As we head towards Fall Tour 2010, I thought of a piece I wrote during the first weeks of this site – in July of 2008 – that fits congruently with this time of the year. In the months before Phish’s return, I dreamed of fall tours past and their stark contrast to the amphitheatres of summer. This fall, as we move into even smaller venues than we’d ever imagined during this era of Phish, some of the ideas in this article resonate louder than ever. In addition, with the limited readership over the initial stages of the site, many may have never seen this at all. Either way – enjoy – fall tour is just around the corner!


11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

While being smack dab in mid-July with dreams of Phish on the mind and the ten-year anniversary of Summer 98 upon us, one can’t help but reminisce on the wistful days of summer tour. Arriving to the lot early on a sweltering day at Lakewood; meeting up with friends in the dirt lot across that little bridge on the back side of the venue; kicking it until show time. Chilling at a campground down the street from the Deer Creek, needing only to roll a few hundred yards to the show, knowing it would be a killer. Running into buddies at rest areas along I-95 in the wee hours of a humid night and swapping analogs for the next leg. Driving through the breathtaking wilderness of Washington state only to find that The Gorge is by far the most awe inspiring site on your journey – and Phish was about to play two nights there?! Sleeping nicely in your air conditioned hotel room while the 90 degree day passed by, awakening at four to start your day with a shower > show. A hearty evening (and morning) of partying, talking Phish, listening to tunes, joking about and discussing life typically followed. Summer Tour was everything people cracked it up to be and then some, but Fall Tour was so much better.

12.3.09 (W.Rogell)

“What!?” One might say? Yes, fall kicked summer’s ass – no question; every time. There are so many reasons to support this claim. First of all, there were simply way less people on tour, making your secret-agent Phish mission that much more clandestine. Fall brought outside responsibility to many, whether this meant either school or jobs, and they couldn’t sacrifice a month. The weekend warriors popped up across the country for Friday and Saturday shows, but the core of people that dropped everything for Phish decreased noticeably in the Autumn months. The big east coast shows always sold out, but those out-of-the-way shows took on a whole different intimacy; Boise ’99, Vegas ’97, Utah ’98, Las Cruces ‘99, to name a few. At many southern and western shows, regardless of the year, one could walk up to the front of the floor without crushing anyone’s vibe. These shows were different – they were playing to you and not New York City.

Fall tour possessed an unparalleled intensity. Four cement walls contained the almighty power of Phish – the power of the universe. The sheer amount of energy that bounced around the room made fall shows much more concentrated and more powerful than anything on the summer amphitheatre circuit. Even the lights were and richer – more majestic – and their beams reached everyone in any corner of the arena. Fall tour existed in the jaws of the Phish and no one could escape to the top corner of the lawn if things got too hectic.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Depending on the venue, space was scare, making finding that place needed to take it all in just a bit more challenging; another step in your covert operation. Suddenly the lights went off – it all began. Mike’s Modulus bass lines filled the room, and your brain, instead of drifting off into the warm summer evening. Trey wove tales of darkness and beauty in the most crystalline tone. The drumbeat pulsated instinctively at the heart of it, driving the four-piece symphony, while Page’s twisted melodies around the others. No cool breezes wafted from the sides of the pavilion if things got hot, and concrete and metal surrounded our existence. This was a darker atmosphere than your blissful summer night, and the band’s playing certainly followed.

Phish would never play a show like 12.28.98 – “Carini > Wolfman’s” – at Deer Creek. One could never imagine the 12.29.94 Providence “Bowie” popping up at Shoreline. The 11.23.97 Winston-Salem “Bathtub Gin” doesn’t happen at Vernon Downs,  and the madness of Orlando ’95’s “Stash > Manteca” extravaganza doesn’t happen at a Verizon Amphitheatre in any state across the nation. Hampton ’97 could not have occurred at Virginia Beach, and The Island Run didn’t carry the mellow vibe its moniker implied. Rather we were confined by two concrete super-structures while blessed with the four sacred nights of music. My point is, Phish played differently indoors. With more of an urgency and intensity; their music likened a deranged and boisterous dream state rather than those lucid nights of summer. As Phish jams followed the natural course of the seasons, their music adopted a different feeling when escaping the biting Northeast November air and stepping into Phish’s lair. Piling layers of clothing onto a seat, one prepared for the fire.

12.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Sure, there will always be counter examples to this trend – some, not-so-ironically, corresponding with severely inclement weather – Walnut Creek ‘97, Columbus ‘99 (“Ghost > Free > Birds”), Darien Lake ‘00 (“Drowned > Crosseyed”). Then there is every show from Summer ‘95, each characterized by terrorizing, abstract improvisation. But regardless of any of these aberrations, Phish dove the deepest during fall tour and the tapes will prove it.

Being a force of nature unto itself, a proverbial sixth element, Phish’s music often correlated with the forces of the natural world. As each season has its place in the year, each style of Phish had its place as well. Careening towards New Years, fall tour provided the celestial launching pad for Phish’s culminating journeys of the year before they capped it with a four-night fiesta.


From Phish.Net: The Phamily Poker Classic in Atlantic City

Take a Chance

“The Mockingbird Foundation is excited to announce THE PHAMILY POKER CLASSIC, a no-limit Texas Hold’em Tournament in Atlantic City to take place in the Tropicana’s poker room on the afternoons of October 30 (tournament) and 31 (final table). There will be both cash and non-cash prizes, and some of the $120 ticket price (the “buy-in”) will benefit the Foundation. This event is being graciously organized by Phish fan Kevin Young, with the assistance of others including Foundation volunteers, and none of us are benefiting financially from this event. For more details and to purchase tickets, please see the event’s website. If you play, you will not miss any Phish. So please, make a hand for Mockingbird, and don’t delay in purchasing tickets, as this event is expected to sell-out. It is unlikely that tickets (seats) will be sold at the door.”


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Kung > Tweezer” 12.8.95 II

Fuck it – we’re going for “Tweezers” all week here on the Jam of the Day. Monday and Tuesday came from Fall ’96, and today we dip into the iconic month of December 1995 – the 8th in Cleveland to be exact. The beginning of the second set started with “2001,” then dropped into this monstrous jaunt.




11.16.1995 West Palm Beach, FL < Torrent

11.16.1995 West Palm Beach, FL < Megaupload

11.23.96 (R.Gitzel)

The year before Phish played their famous Coral Sky show in the fall of 1996, the band visited the Auditorium in West Palm Beach for an indoor affair along their scorching road of Fall ’95. Two guests joined the band to close the night after a second set held up buy stellar versions of “Bowie” and “Hood.” Butch Trucks sat in on drums for “Possum,” while Margaritaville legend Jimmy Buffett joined the boys for Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl.”

I: Cars Trucks Buses, Runaway Jim, Jam*, Horn, Mound, Ya Mar, Simple > Timber, Guyute, Funky Bitch

II: A Day in the Life, David Bowie, Lifeboy, Uncle Pen, Ha Ha Ha > Harry Hood, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up, Amazing Grace, Possum**

E: Brown Eyed Girl ^

* A new band/audience chess match started at this show. The opening chess moves were made during a short jam that followed Runaway Jim and featured Trey on percussion.

** w/ Butch Trucks on drums / ^ debut, w/ Jimmy Buffett

Source: Unknown

Tags: ,

767 Responses to “The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted”

  1. halcyon Says:

    Anyone ever read The Sacred Canopy by Peter Berger. He provides some good reasons (some say reductionist) as to why people believe what they believe etc. In its simplest (reductionist) sense, it is social constructs to give meaning to the unknown – a sacred canopy.

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    listened to villa incognito on tape and it was great that way, lots of cool characters to voice in there..

    jesus ninja tuxedo – I like it.

    2010 disco biscuits are much more together and developed than 1999 disco biscuits, agreed. They no longer “sound like a garage band” as I said the other day. A couple bits in here I definitely am diggin on this tune Mirrors is pretty cool.

    I like to think of God as the universal consciousness that contains each one of us and the whole of everything that is and was and will be. I believe that when one dies, the spirit either returns to this consciousness or is ditched out of the cycle. I believe that hell is that concept of the self burning away as it is ditched. Heaven would be the feeling of ascending back into the universal consciousness, the Thing that is beyond time. So if you hold on to your life here, it feels like you are being torn away, and since those are your last moments “in time” that is eternal to the personal ego.

    The chiropractor in the movie Jacob’s Ladder does a decent job of explaining it in terms of Meister Eckhart.

    When music goes into IT the space time continuum is suspended momentarily and we are able to experience this realm free of space time for a period of time. The more focus and entrainment is achieved at this moment, the closer to “heaven” this moment becomes.

    I believe we are headed towards an evolution in consciousness that will allow us to more consistently see past these time barriers. This likely will take a really long time, longer than 2012 or whenever and long past when each of us have passed the ball along. But everything we do is integral to this evolutionary process and the more spontaneous creativity inspired, the closer we get.

  3. plord Says:

    I have read the Berger in the context of a grad seminar on the problem of evil. In that sense his reductionist view makes some sense, that is, society constructs embodied divine concepts of good and evil as a way of explaining the existence of evil within the creation of a supposedly benevolent creator. Good read.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure, that’s just the standard functionalist view, but with a cool name. functionalism is reductionism, no doubt about it.

    I use ‘reductionist’ in a way that could be contrued as derogatory sometimes but that’s not really how I mean it. Reductionism has been a triumphantly successful approach to the hard sciences, and will continue to be, though it’s approaching its experimental limits in some areas, at least temporarily.

    sometimes reductionist approaches are just applied outside of their appropriate area, I think

    of course all such meaning could be just socially constructed…or it could be that people around the world are trying to interpret universal things that are quite real but extremely subtle and hard to perceive accurately, and each person or group of people naturally interprets things according to their own cultural views…

    or it could be a combination of the two…or…

  5. garretc Says:

    Phew, just finished the two hour process of labeling and organizing the Dec. ’95 super torrent!

    Hours of listening pleasure await!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    oooohhhh @c0wfunk goes deep

    well said sir

    I think that is a pretty nice view of things you have right there

    respect to that

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    way to go cowfunk

    now if you could only grasp the universal truth that SCI just isn’t that good…

    i kid i kid

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    I can’t really find a single word in that post I don’t agree with except the part about villa incognito, which I haven’t read 😮

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    lol I learned over half of that in the SCI moshpit of love 😉

  10. voopa Says:

    Wow @ Jacob’s Ladder….trippy fucking movie that I forgot about.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh Jacob’s Ladder is super intense. Very well done movie IMO

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    ok ok cowfunk..


  13. c0wfunk Says:

    was one of my favs in my “trippy movie phase” in the late 90s

    nod to the altered states mention earlier, that was another late night blockbuster grab back in the day. Such a cool movie that turns into a weird generic sci fi at the end when the monkey man bursts out of the deprevation tank (spoiler alert)

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    dammit Cowfunk

    Spoiler Alert is supposed to come before the spoiler.

    I still haven’t seen that movie.


  15. c0wfunk Says:

    hah crap
    yeah I”m bad w/ spoilers

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    still worth a watch, that moment is not the point at all really, just more of a Wha?? kind of thing.

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    Jacob’s Ladder is intense

  18. Selector J Says:

    @ Miner:
    I’ll see if anyone I know needs a 3-day. There are a couple of people I know that might but no worries if you find another buyer. Worse comes to worst, you’ll have no problem getting rid of them on the Austin craigslist.
    Speaking of ACL:
    I’m taking my friend, the guy with that great blog with interviews of Darondo, Sharon Jones, Kool Keith, etc. that I’ve pimped here a few times, to ACL and he’s thinking about writing a piece about accompanying me for the weekly free paper.

    He’s never got into Phish and probably never will but he finds my phannerdom pretty entertaining and is curious about what all the fuss is about. I really don’t think he’ll be an instant convert but it’ll be fun either way to play shaman for the night.

  19. Chuck D Says:

    later, you die. (spoiler alert)

  20. oldskool Says:

    @Cowfunk, have you read the Traveler trilogy by John Twelve Hawkes? Some of it gets a little cliche/Matrixy but some of it is pretty interesting and deals with some of the concepts you discuss of traveling through what he calls the realms.

  21. plord Says:

    @C put Villa Incognito on your list. It’s no _Fierce Invalids_ but still, slightly less than top shelf Tom Robbins is still a great read.

    Plus, Tanuki is a major character. So you can expect dozens of gleefully worded expressions supporting a sexually liberal worldview, among other lengthy and unexpected digressions and proclamations.

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    oldskool, no I haven’t but I will add it to the goodreads list now thanks for the tip

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Miner:
    I’ll see if anyone I know needs a 3-day. There are a couple of people I know that might but no worries if you find another buyer. Worse comes to worst, you’ll have no problem getting rid of them on the Austin craigslist.

    @ selector ^ been trying many inquiries but no purchasers. I got em of stubhub for 300 each, I’ll let em go for 250…seems to be market price..

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    hallucinogen party goes til 5 am in nyc…looks like this will work quite well 🙂

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    Jacobs Ladder is awesome

Leave a Reply