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. roberto luongo Says:

    storage jam + Exile and WFC

    argument can be made phish is at it’s most experimental and progressive and roots based in their career at the same time in 3.0

    intent, intent, intent TOry

  2. phoammhead Says:

    ^good points, RL

    i agree 3.0 is nothing to scoff at . . . shit is good

  3. kayatosh Says:

    the national reserve recording is good. some talking in the mix. pedal steel and piano players are super skilled. check out tracks 6, 7, 8 from that recording mentioned above.

  4. ren Says:

    Well, this may be the flipside to all of Torys experimenting outside of phish. If we can all see that these attempts are clearly not as successful as his work with phish….he may likely see the same and realize that the best investment of his time is still the old tried and true.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    pedal steel player is remarkably good. looks like a young asian jerry. plays like jerry on the pedal steel.

    track 9 also a winner.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    love 3.0 phish from fall 2010 on.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    track 2 also a winner from the national reserve show.

  8. roberto luongo Says:

    I’ve been all in since Miami


    that’s when I knew we had a chance.

    BGCA night 3 through DIcks one of the best 4 night runs I’ve ever caught

  9. BNCB Says:

    RL, our guy Charlie D nails the reviews of leg 2 this time. He echoed my BGCA thoughts. Sounds like he got talked off the ledge after the night two fluff-fest as well.

    Long Beach, BGCA 3 and the 3 Dick’s shows are the best stretch I could imagine.

  10. Spasm Waiter Says:

    When 3.0 PH finds gold, it is some amazing shit. The textures, style and swagger they are using work really well for me. They may not find the gold as often as past eras but when they do, yum yum. I eat that shit up.

  11. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Kendrick kicking in House of Spaz today.

  12. joe Says:

    Jesus left Chicago from augusta had a good trey blues solo if i recall

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Brainstorming fun shirts for the MSG run

    your wookie looking jesus idea is already taken*, but I like where your head’s at.

    the shirt trey wore for NYE 2002 needs to come back.

    gotta think about your original question a bit though…

    *I own this shirt and it is spectacular and people love to comment on it.

  14. tela'smuff Says:

    i thought Charlie D hit it the nail on the head. i would give that BG Simple more love for sure. I really liked that jam. Most importantly, he nailed how much bullshit they laid in OKC. brutal payoff after that drive time.

  15. roberto luongo Says:

    BItch don’t kill my vibe gets stuck in my head and won’t go away

    regarding that Kendrick

  16. roberto luongo Says:

    me and miner talking stoney off the ledge post BGCA night 2 is one of my fav 3.0 moments

    dabbed to all shit laughing my ass off.

    consensus was “well we’re not goin home now so let’s at least wait till night 3 is done to freak the fuck out”

    and chances are all 3 of us would have if it wasn’t for that monster show

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice summary of NYE concert options around the country

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    dirsksen calls the second half of BGCA tweezer

    aimless WTF improv

    I dig that tweezer

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    Who watched the Barry Sanders thing last night? Best back in our lifetime, period!!!

  20. BNCB Says:

    These flashback reposts are either psychdelic as all get out, or a sign of that the #sitesgonetoshit

  21. kayatosh Says:

    time to cue up some 3.0.

  22. BNCB Says:

    G$$$, I watched it. Barry is my favorite. Here’s a little secret that never hits the air.

    The Lions hired Matt Millen as GM the spring before Barry retired. Barry told the organization he wanted some peace and quiet to decide his future. First thing Millen does is show up at Barrys’ home in Rochester Hills, dressed in fucking overalls, telling Barry they need an answer before the draft.

    I would have retired too if that fat no good fucknut showed up at my home. Barry knew what the lions were in store for.

    Tela, I liked it live, but on listen back, the BGCA ‘Simple’ is a complete snoozefest IMO. I like the BGCA Tweezer a bit more than CD, but he nails the rest.

    Not enough WOW’s for the Dicks’ run, but I’m the only one counting.

  23. roberto luongo Says:

    ya I shouldn’t read that cats shit

    seems like such a douche. doesn’t seem to have any music background either. just scene a bunch of shows.

    never met him though. seems like such a bitch in his writings.

  24. BNCB Says:

    RL, he practices law, and writes about Phish, even shows he didn’t see.

    Sounds like your type of cat!

  25. roberto luongo Says:

    and he’s a famous phishie

    look at me! look at me!

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