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

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767 Responses to “The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted”

  1. BingosBrother Says:

    Kangfirmed Miner.

    @Vegas : thats the one that got us on Tom Robbins for some crazy reason.

    I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin’ lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I’m in the front row and I’m hammered drunk!

  2. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Bingos- Will have to read back. Were we able to keep it civil? I hope not. 8)

    joe mama- Thanks. Yesterday I was being redirected to Etree (capital e), which was trying to sell me stuff and today it just hangs is limbo when I type in the addy. Concerned that I had contracted a redirect virus.

  3. Oldskool Says:

    @Mr.C, the Traveler series has some interesting notions. As I said some is a bit cliche, but overall pretty cool. They are a fun and quick read. The author is an interesting guy who lives off the grid. A substantial theme of the books are also government and technology controlling information and the people.

  4. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Miner- Roadside was the first novel that was published. Some stuff written before that time (I think) included in Wild Ducks Flying Backwards.

  5. vegas wolfmans Says:


  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    i cant believe i am the only rep-ing Jitterbug Perfume as Robbins epic.

    Granted it doesn’t push the boundaries quite as much as some of his others, but as far as the full treatment of the human question.. well there just is not contest.

  7. joemeg Says:

    I was getting redirected to the same Etree yesterday, and was also worried it might be a virus. I wouldn’t worry, but I guess I would be a little bummed that it hadn’t come back yet. Soon I would think

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    @C : Furthur played Morning Dew for your homeboy last night. 😉

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    etree is fine over here in Comcast land.

    from the Department of Super Obvious Statements:

    10-21-95 ain’t bad.

    whoo doggy!

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    @Lycan : will have to re read. can’t really go wrong with Robbins and everybody has their favorite for different reasons. only one I didn’t connect with was Villa Incognito. Just not my bag baby.

    I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    @oldskool, yeah I read up on them after your mention. Seems like a good read, even with the simple manichean worldview.

  12. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Lycan- I love Jitterbug also.

    joe – Thanks for the insight. Will practice patience.

    Miner- This is a beautifully written, thought-provoking post you dropped today. I hopped on around Hampton and hadn’t read this piece previously. Thanks.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    @bingos, does tuxedo-shirt jesus have a mullet too? cause they go together like cases of Bud Light Ice and domenstic violence charges.

  14. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i havent read back much, dont know what all the “our images of jesus” talk is about

    but by coincidence i was thinking today about developing a script for one of my film classes about the second coming of jesus…

    but it would be a comedy about how no one really takes him seriously and the fact that he believes he’s the messiah ends up getting him landed in a mental institution

    i saw a brief mention of msg nye being streamed? is this true or did i misinterpret the comment?

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    if this 10-21-95 bowie were much sicker, it would die.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    I thought the streaming comment was re: ACL fest

  17. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Mr C- My recurring Phish dream has me sitting in with the boys on guitar (never played a lick in my life) for the back half of that Good Times Bad Times bridge into Tweeprise. (10/21/95). That shit is downright silly. Not to mention the Bowie, YEM, and Hood. In a word: Fierce.

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    The only beer worse for fighting than BudLight Ice is Ice House.

    aptly dubbed by my best friend, Tom, as: “Fight House.”

    You start drinking it, and you look at it in your hand and just get pissed, “Im drinking THIS.”

    then punches start flying.

  19. Mr.Miner Says:


    I agree with you with Jitterbug Perfume. Woodpecker was the first I read, and it straight blew my mind.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    Fierce is right. I’m in another off-and-on 95 kick. love the way they just bring the heat and thunder. when I have enough energy for it, it’s a crazy rush.

  21. Robear Says:

    lots of ‘Conversational Density’ today.

    lol @ Rivertrance

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol @ silly

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    I had a dream where Jesus was a dirty old bum, and I was about to sock him in the face because, well he’s a dirty old bum, but then I thought, there’s something special about him…

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    i picture jesus sweating as he works on trying to forgive all his followers.

    you can do it, jesus

  25. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Jesus doesn’t sweat. He glows.

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