The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

12.31.09 (Wendy Rogell)

December – one of the Phishiest months of the year. We have once again returned to the last page on the calendar, and with each passing day, memories of epic Phish shows flood our memories. This month is especially significant as it represents the 15-year anniversary of December ’95, one of the most powerful months of music that Phish has ever produced. In addition, early December brings memories of Fall ’97’s home stretch from Philadelphia out to the Midwest and back to Albany. And of course, December goes hand in hand with New Year’s Runs – one of Phish’s greatest traditions. Many monumental moments have come over the four final days of the year, and as Phish returns to the same two venues that hosted their epic run 15 years ago, it will be (in the word of living-legend Yogi Berra) deja vu all over again. Over the next few weeks, we will look back at significant December moments in Phish history, especially at the band’s legacies at Worcester and Madison Square Garden. But today, on December 6, there are two significant segments of music that celebrate their birthday. Hailing from 1997 – the all-timer – “Tweezer > Izabella,” and from Phish’s ’96 Vegas extravaganza, a sizzling “Mike’s > Simple > Hood > Weekapaug.”


Tweezer > Izabella” 12.6.1997 – Auburn Hills, Michigan

Fall 1997

The “Tweezer” from The Palace at Auburn Hills, Michigan on December 6, 1997 needs no introduction. Amidst a well-loved and uber-creative tour filled with superb “Tweezers,” this version took the cake. Carving out, and then transcending, the gargantuan funk grooves that defined Fall ’97 versions, this one opened the door to another galaxy. Taking the jam on an inter-galactic ride Phish threw one of the defining “Tweezers” of the late-’90s thirteen years ago tonight. An unforgettable experience, when the set ended I knew that it would stand any test of time. And sure enough, over a decade later, here we are. A full-band journey into the center of the universe and back again, seldom do jams come together like this one did. Last week a friend posed the absurd question – “If you had one day to live and could only listen to one more “Tweezer,” which would it be?” Without hesitation I replied “12.6.97.” With no further ado, Happy Birthday to my favorite “Tweezer!”



Mike’s > Simple > Harry HoodWeekapaug” 12.6.1996 – Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

Vegas ’96 Pollock

Phish pulled into The Aladdin Theatre in Las Vegas for the last stop on their extensive fall tour of 1996. Though everybody remembers the absurd and extensive “Harpua” encore featuring many Elvis impersonators, Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde of Primus, yodelers, and various other stage antics that punctuated the affair, earlier in the night, Phish dropped an hour-long “Mike’s Groove” that provided the musical meat of tour’s finale. Starting with a ferocious “Mike’s Song,” the band crunched the darkness, straddling the slowed down rhythmic style of late-Fall ’96 and their fleeting arena rock paradigm. Blasting through an aggressive version on the heels of San Diego’s monster two day’s earlier, the band landed seamlessly in “Simple.” This extended version contained the most original improv of the sequence, as Phish passed through a tranquil pond into a web of snarling musical textures, and then onto a soaring transcendent plane. Descending into an explosive and heart-melting “Harry Hood,” the band pushed the delicate music with exquisite energy and urgency, sculpting a top-shelf rendition of lore. Trey’s guitar leads took on a narrative quality that lent an especially cathartic aura to this “Harry Hood,” and the entire band stamped the tour’s “farewell jam” with a dizzying peak. A smoking run through “Weekapaug” bookended this adventurous musical suite, and added one last sprint to the end of Fall 1996.



Jam of the Day:

Reba” 12.31.93 I

Here is the sublime version from the Worcester Centrum on New Year’s Eve 1993 to kick of the week.




8.26.1993 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Summer ’93 Pollock T-Shirt

A relic from August 1993, this show from Portland, Oregon smokes from beginning to end. A particularly burly “Split” highlights the first set, while “2001 > Bowie” opens up the second half with a bang. Enjoy this show from one of Phish’s golden months in history, going out via reader request to Chuck D.

I: Runaway Jim, Guelah Papyrus, Reba, Fee, Split Open and Melt, Esther, It’s Ice, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Lifeboy, Rift, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Lizards, Hold Your Head Up > Mice and Bats*> Hold Your Head Up, Chalk Dust Torture

E: Free Bird

* w/ Baby Gramps, who was also the opening act.

Source: (FOB) Neumann km140 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Sony D-10 II pro (@ 48 kHz)


524 Responses to “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

  1. bob dylan Says:

    Only 3 people out smoked him. One was Willie.

  2. PigSong Says:

    Is Bobby D on this Rock Center piece right now?

    Brian Williams just referenced Kendrick Lamar – isn’t that the über hip rapper that AW been pamping?

  3. bob dylan Says:

    Epic. Kid pulled his balls out for a class photo and graduated. Now the school found out. They wanna punish him but he’s already out. Classic.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    I’m not watching that but ya kendrick is one if the new rappers that AW has been pushing. Also check action Bronson. He can spout more but I don’t dig the chi-town rappers he pushes as much. Danny brown is another who’s taking the scene who he turned me onto I really like.

  5. MmmHmm Says:

    @Bob where did you hear about this kid?

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    T3- Damn straight on the Bowie. Pretty smoking.

    How about these Knicks? Big 4th Quarter. Heat will get this game tight again…I’m sure.

  7. bob dylan Says:

    Palmer, what are they saying about miner on jam on?

  8. bob dylan Says:

    Mmmhmm, aw and dudes at work. I don’t have my finger on the rap pulse so I gotta ask those around me. He’s dre’s little protege right now it seems. He’s def getting more polished. Section 80 seemed more raw but new album has nice beats.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    My customers and I have been talking about him too. He keeps popping up around me. Buddy came into work with headphones on and I heard him say “faded” as he walked by. He looked at me “drank”

  10. bob dylan Says:

    Ooohhhh… Other kid. My bad.

  11. bob dylan Says:

    Shoulda linked. Googling kids balls wouldn’t turn out well.

  12. roberto luongo Says:

    Bobby d

    Check the new roc marciano – reloaded

    Last Freddie Gibbs is on non stop here too

  13. bob dylan Says:

    Will get em tomorrow. Fly in early for PHiSH and we’ll catch Bronson on the 26th. Can’t get enough of those funk samples.

  14. PigSong Says:

    Hah! For the 420th ep of Planet Money:

    Great podcast for money noobs like myself btw.

  15. MiA Says:

    12/7/97 Tube.

    Getting on on the anniversary action early tonight.

  16. sumodie Says:

    Guess Neil said NO to Troy sharing the stage tonight

    Not surprised. No, not because of acoustic Troy, just because Neil doesn’t want to share the Horse with anyone

    I still would’ve lapped up acoustic Troy just to experience the sonic thunder of Neil &CR again

    And yes, Neil played almost the same exact setlist again

  17. xpun Says:

    that yearbook photo is too funny. high school legend for sure. crazy canadians

    fall 97 is almost too good to be true, same with all of 98. impossible not to go head over heels for in that moment.

    2012 hits the same highs imo, and 13 will be the payoff of that shift. mark it.

    nice bonus $ coming early 13 = xpun’s summer 13 funds, festi X, dicks, halloween no doubters, fill in the gaps as desired

  18. xpun Says:

    last minute shopping for christmas lights to quiet the wife, plus devoting a chunk of saturday for decorating, not cool



  19. sumodie Says:

    I got Dayton Tubed earlier. Great preceding Theme too

    Then I felt like a good TTE’ing so I spun the last one from MSG09 (def enjoyable as a random replay)

    LP app’d

  20. xpun Says:

    “I felt like a good TTE’ing” – those words have never been spoken before. I missed the TTE boat, didn’t jump back in til AC 10, but have listened to all of 3.0 and just became a skip tune. ties let me lie foe dumbest lyrics, liked a few sections and came around in the end but just ate up too much setlist list time.

    I’m not a dsky fan for same reason, live i never seem to mind, pause is fun, end jams, danceable as fuck, but in listening….skip

    same argument many have against YEM lately, why spend almost 20 min on such predictable music when we could be type IIing it elsewhere

  21. sumodie Says:

    Big difference between randomly deciding to spin TTE (that’s why I love the LP app) and experiencing it live.

    I don’t dislike the song but it’s undeniable how it altered the show vibe. Wished the band had figured out a way to make it work, or maybe TTE is simply not appropriate for live Phish

    Someday I hope to catch it on symphonic trey tour

    Meanwhile Phil Lesh’s Q is onstage at Terrapin Crossroads. Tonight thru Sunday, $7 webcasts. Maybe I’ll tune in tomorrow

  22. headybrosevelt Says:

    “fall 97 is almost too good to be true, same with all of 98. impossible not to go head over heels for in that moment.
    2012 hits the same highs imo…”

    i agree with this. i have been on a huge ’97 kick recently. 2012 hits wonderful highs, epic, beautiful music. I feel, however, ’97 is just way more consistent. without a doubt one of my favorite tours of all time- my kind of phish.

  23. headybrosevelt Says:

    ^ after saying that

    i believe the three night 2012 dick’s stand holds up against any three night run of any era… peace.

  24. sumodie Says:

    I’ve spun mostly 2012 Phish this year. Still have A LOT of older Phish I’ve never replayed or heard, but there’s something extra special about spinning fresh Phish (esp as each 3.0 year has improved over the previous year)

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