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. ren Says:

    All my recent ’97 spins also have me fiending for that gooey full band funk…I need to work the kinks out of the aging bones with some serious dance grooves

  2. BNCB Says:

    For Doc P:

  3. kayatosh Says:

    hello, BB. 2nd the love for 12.6.96 just recently discovered that one.

    2001, DWD>Frankenstein; Mike’s>Simple>Hood>Week are my highlights.

    recording of the national reserve from boston up on bt.etree. haven’t heard the recording, but the band, from what i heard live in philly, is worth a spin.

  4. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Move into Twist is good. The Twist itself, not so much.

  5. ren Says:

    Recently got this bad boy to give post show relief to my barking dogs

    Highly recommend this piece of equipment

  6. roberto luongo Says:

    Page makes a hot JLC not TOry

    but like I said anyone that wants to make a TOry can play the blues argument must start by trying to listen to the entire BB King performance

    cat seems like he’s never heard a I,IV,V before

  7. MiA Says:

    Yeah, the ending of that Twist was recycled for Atlantic City.

    Always thought it was a soft landing gateway to the very good Piper.

  8. roberto luongo Says:

    fat man could play the fuckin blues though. cat had serious blues chops.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    Brainstorming fun shirts for the MSG run. Possible stay puft marshmallow man or slimer since we get ghost every NYE now. Or maybe a wookie lookin Jesus for the Holy Ghost.

    All ideas welcome. Will make extras for friends if anybody wants one. Bruce will be helping so they should be as good/better than bethel bitches if any of you have seen those.

  10. MiA Says:

    The BB King performance does blow in ’03 (I think he was trying to stay out of his way, and show respect) but then again he was also on the powders and a lot of those ’03 performances were questionable. Not top notch Trey. Far from it. Lots going on.

    You should go back and listen to some of those that you didn’t attend RL.

  11. bob dylan Says:

    Always wanted a mango Genius Bar themed shirt. “Genius anyway”


  12. ren Says:

    @mitch- I’m down with some t-shirt collabin’…..I think I might even have a few designs already saved on my laptop at home

  13. roberto luongo Says:

    could be I’d check it out. I always felt just cuz he came up derivative with Jimmy Page and Jimi vs studying the cats they studied he always had just the more rock style big bend blues than the tasty touch of the masters those cats studied.

    when I heard Tory drop the Carini solo at AC really impressed me

    like he finally figured out the more subtle feel and touch of a true blues player

    a lot of that comes with maturity and him just developing a bigger respect for roots music as he got older

    wtf do I know though.

  14. roberto luongo Says:

    I hate to say it but even his playin in Alaska shows me a big step up in his blues style

  15. [Not Tom] Says:

    first listen to Dick’s ’12 – this opening set Carini is the $hit

  16. Phlorida Phan Says:


  17. ren Says:

    All good points @RL….definitely been feeling more of bluesy, roots rock vibe from Tray lately…hence my desire to bring back more of that deep funk…heck I want some loops too!!!

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    I dig NEW Phish

    see BGCA Light > Sally

    can’t define that shit to any former era

    just synth led melodic morphing psychedelia and new school swank funk. not the slow cow funk of old.

  19. ren Says:


  20. roberto luongo Says:

    Alpine Valley GHost!

  21. roberto luongo Says:

    I’m startin to cave. lookin at flights. fuck.

  22. phoammhead Says:

    holy shit @NT . . . where the fuck have you been!

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    Get some @ntm … Those shows were fiery. I didn’t attend but energy obviously palpable via respin

  24. Gavinsdad Says:

    Let us not forget mikes bigness since Hershey ’10. He really adds to the newness. I was a languedoc fan but I love the new brown sound quite alot.

  25. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Thanks Rob. That’s where we got the camera. Such fun to discover all it can do even before looking to supplement

Leave a Reply