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:

    my out of the loop ass had seen couple hundred goin into 3.0 and had never even heard that cat’s name

    so proud I stayed away from him and cape boy and all those other OG cunts

  2. Guyute711 Says:

    Barry broke ankles. It was very interesting to listen to him talk about the end of his career. He knew that the team was going to shit. I was sure he wanted out to play for another team and they wouldn’t let him. I guess that wasn’t the case. Humble guy. His dad was a trip.

  3. marcoesq Says:

    Not seeing any shows around DFW or Austin next week…oh well. If I can pop down south that Friday night, I’ll let y’all know. My buddy coworker I’m traveling with has never been to Austin so it might happen.

  4. RoosterPizza Says:

    Coming up to Burlington soon?

  5. marcoesq Says:

    Just spun yesterday’s Tweezer and Reba for the first time, loving both. This Tweez is the sheeeet…coda that end shit

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Maybe, Rooster. Hopefully January. UVM is one of my smaller schools so I don’t get up there as much as I’d like. Maybe twice a year.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    OG cunts — mean but hilarious

    8.26.2012 (Charlotte) Gin spinning now. love 3.0.

  8. thedayman Says:

    Just had an info session from our faculty about boards in the spring.. just an awful way to start the day..

  9. kayatosh Says:

    love that ^^^ Gin. concise. thrilling peak. old school flavoring. $$$.

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Where do you go again, dayman?

  11. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah BNCB, i could have used some more WOW’s on the Dicks commentary. ha.

    I think that Simple has that total The Wheel slow Dead jam going on. it works for me. That LB RnR is the underrated jam of the big 5 shows leg II.

  12. kayatosh Says:

    commence Dick’s Jim.

  13. roberto luongo Says:

    I Love that Simple too Telas

    but I’m going on spunion show memories. may have to respin before commenting

  14. ren Says:

    Whats the most interesting thing anyone has snuck into a show???

    Here’s a few of mine

    -@ Lemonwheel- a giant sized carnival stuffed animal got carried in on our shoulders… was stuffed full with bottles of brew

    -bottle of champagne and a bong (plastic-18″) for NYE ’97

    -JB 2010- a balloon on a string….n02

  15. Jtran Says:

    morning comrades

    spinning 12/6/96

    Just was blown away by this:

    Bitter Funeral Beer Band, live in Nurnberg 84. No clue what I just listened ot, but it was awesome. Thanks @aj

  16. kayatosh Says:

    smellin/sippin ballast pt. big eye. $$+. reminiscent of the sculpin and the ruination. tasty up front and on the back end. lacks flavor in the middle. aroma is $$$

    Q: Whats the most interesting thing anyone has snuck into a show???
    A: my entire body. Hershey 2010. had a ticket too.

  17. roberto luongo Says:

    I snuck a hot chick into Vegas halloween

    told her not to worry about and just look like you had a ticket. was kinda fuckin around but one by one we got passed each check point. when we finally got to the last ticket check some wook stormed the gates and gave us an opening with the massive distraction. she just rolled in. thought I was a jedi or some shit. still remember the look on her face.

    only other good story

    oswego they don’t usually pat down but my mountain smith was bustin out so he asked me what was in it


    ‘bull shit’

    open up hip sack to show hip around 15K in cash cuz we had dropped a few thousand pressies and worked em all during that first day.

    ‘fine, go in’

    then my bro walks right behind me with the other 15K

    cat just starts laughin.

  18. ren Says:


    HA! I knew I’d get at least one good chuckle out of this

  19. phoammhead Says:

    two bottles of champagne panic new years 2005 . . . regular size not minis . . . easier to carry two than one . . . for balance

  20. marcoesq Says:

    I had no idea this DIck’s Farmhouse had a jam attached to it, must’ve missed that day on here.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    RL ftw!. sneaks a greenroll into the show.

  22. Spasm Waiter Says:

    It is 3 weeks until MSG. Shouldn’t tickets start shipping today?

  23. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Guard: Hold on a second son… what do ya got there?
    AW: $15K and a hottie
    Guard: Sorry. Go ahead.

  24. kayatosh Says:

    sad to miss the upcoming run. looking fwd. to the next one. catching phish while there’s still some catching to be done.

  25. marcoesq Says:

    Oh, right…the “almost” 2001

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