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. jdub Says:

    @Voopa, what is I visited the website but have no clue. I am computer illiterate in case you folks haven’t figured out.

    My three year old is already cruising around the net like a pro and he can’t read, I just clunk along and pick up what I can here and there. Give me a piece of wood and I’ll turn it into furniture though.

  2. garretc Says:

    Huh… Of course when I bring up my problem it then fixes itself… Weird how that always seems to happen…

  3. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Hey Garret- any Fall tour for you?

  4. Henry Says:

    Damn the Timber from 8/18 really is the definition of musical density. I know its old news, but it just gets me every time

  5. garretc Says:

    Nah Mr. P, I thought about it really hard for a couple days, then decided that ~$700 was too much to pay for three shows, so I’m instead saving my money for, hopefully, NYE at MSG…

  6. garretc Says:

    I wish I was hitting some shows though!

  7. sumodie Says:

    I think internet providers watch shit like Hawks.

    very good article regarding isp’s and their responsibility regarding piracy, music biz, et. al in the new Rolling Stone by U2′s manager. good stuff.

    As the RS article says, internet providers LOVE downloading, all forms, legal or not

    The more we download, the more $$$$ they make, simple as that

  8. vegas wolfmans Says:

    jdub- I feel your pain and had to be walked through step by step myself. Let me try to help, although I am probably the wrong man for the job.

    Once your torrent has downloaded, you now have a grip of flac files. From here you have two choices: 1) downlaod COG or another FLAC player and listen that way or 2) you need to convert your FLACs into either WAV or AIFF files to play in itunes.

    This is accomplished by use of another program. I use XACT (mac) and can be downloaded for free.

    Once you’ve dloaded and opened xACT, you can select the “decode” option and add your FLAC files. It should ask if you want WAV or AIFF. I use AIFF for no particular reason, but I think WAVs are more universal. Also, it will ask you to select a destination folder- I usually create one on my desktop. Lastly, once convereted from FLAC, add to your itunes library like you would anything else. Play and enjoy sweet lossless quality.

  9. sumodie Says:

    @garret: sounds like a smart choice to hold out for the NYE run, but that’s just me

  10. garretc Says:


    Yeah, it’ the smart choice until I realize that I spent all my money seeing local shows… Haha

    It has been nice seeing so much music lately though… Pavement, Furthur, Cowboy Junkies next week, Mike in November…

  11. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Hey all – quick Q – anyone have a source for the 1999-12-31 Discuits show that was being pimped the other day?

  12. garretc Says:


    I think people may have been listening to it on the Archive, but I wasn’t one of those folks, so I could be wrong…

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Duke- i streamed them from LMA.

    Garett- makes sense to me. Hope you make it for NYE. Should be a fun run. 1st time in NYC for you?

  14. garretc Says:

    @Mr. P

    Yup, never been to New York… City at least. Drove through the state, on my first trip to the east coast, which ended up being a terrible terrible trip… Haha. The drive was nice though!

    Went for college visits, heard back from the schools on the second day of the trip, got in to one school out of 6 on the east coast… Buzzkill!

    Luckily my last trip to the east coast PHared a bit better…

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Listening to Neil Young’s new album for the second time. 1st impression was that it was damn good. Not a Neil expert by any stretch FWIW. Seemed to get back to basics with this one. Stripped down Neil. Ham and a guitar for the most part.

  16. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Him and a guitar ^^^

  17. garretc Says:

    Mmmmmm, ham….

  18. quazi motto Says:

    damn i love old phish. what a sound they created….. this written from listening in the middle of tweezer>kung

  19. vegas wolfmans Says:

    ham and guitar go together like ham and guitar.

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

    like cocaine and waffles!

  21. garretc Says:

    Oh yeah, @vw, sorry to see you didn’t have a great time at Furthur up in Seattle…

    My friends and I had an awesome time, despite the setlist, it’s too bad that brought you down!

  22. sumodie Says:

    Scratch my request for 4 Mile tix -just found out my buddy is getting comped by that band, you know, the one we all love to….

  23. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Garrett- You in Oregon? I just saw Furthur in Seattle and am seeing the Cowboy Junkies up here in Bellingham next week. We win- despite no west coast phish. Come to think of it…no. We lose with no west coast phish.

    phish-win. west coast-lose.

  24. garretc Says:


    Yup, I’m in Portland nowsadays, but I hit up Furthur in Seattle with some friends at U of Puget Sound… Wish I coulda hit the Eugene shows too though! Those had some niiiiiicccceeee looking setlists! I’m seeing Cowboy Junkies down here in Portland, so I’ll be sure to report how it is! (Unless they’re coming down the coast, in which case you’ll be the one with reporting responsibilities…)

    But yeah, some west coast Phish would be chillin… Like the Warfield maybe, sometime after 12/16, so I’ll be home from school!

  25. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Garrett- Compared to “The Dead” suckfest at the Gorge last summer, I was actually quite impressed with what I saw. High energy/ Saturday night/ rocking kind of a show. Definitely more focused than last summer. I credit Russo for much of that. I’d see them again if they came to town. My only real complaint was So Many Roads. That tune probably shouldn’t be in the rotation. Just my 2 cents. Glad y’all had fun.

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