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. BNCB Says:

    LB RnR: 14 min mark. welcome

  2. ren Says:

    $15k was a good one for sure….did not anticipate that response.

    NYE ’96- Someone brought in a remote controlled helium balloon/saucer with blinking lights??? Hovered about 5 feet above the crowd… definitely had me scratching my head

  3. kayatosh Says:

    hot GD show alert: 4.28.71. plus a $$$ recording.

    go for disc 3 w/ Tom C on keyboards. superb dead

  4. BNCB Says:

    what a jam. wow. LB RnR is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    totally remember that saucer thing, ren. I was off my gourd on the floor that night but I definitely recall that.

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Dick’s 1 is so flippin ridic. Mid-Carini right now

  7. Jtran Says:

    no webcast announcement for the MEHSG run yet

    Not that anyone really cares

  8. Jtran Says:

    did not expect a mid set 1 YEM in this 12/6/96. No spoilersing it.

    $$$ 2001 > Llama

  9. ren Says:

    I remember being so disappointed at that show initially because I couldn’t find my L….but that quickly faded once we got into it. Lots of vivid memories from that show, likely for that reason. Bitter cold that night….most packed T car I’ve ever encountered….maybe even some crowd surfing on the T

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Surprised Phish doesn’t go and release every NYE run on SBD like their Halloween archival releases. That would make them some $$$$$

  11. joe Says:

    At coventry we took a big cooler of beer into the show. Dude frisked us and didn’t notice of care about the cooler we were dragging through the mud behind us (clearly stated No coolers at concert site). Came in handy for trading beers for a few things and for sitting at set break since the whole place was mud/cow shit. People were dying for our beer in there

  12. BNCB Says:

    Long. Beach. Ghost.

  13. marcoesq Says:

    Yeah Robear, it’s the shiz. And that dirty little ending to it is just wow

  14. Jtran Says:

  15. marcoesq Says:

    Haven’t pimped this in a while but make sure to check out Pelham RnR while you kids are getting round today. Gets better with each spin

  16. thedayman Says:

    @marco – i go to CCOM-Midwestern University. any killer advice for me for boards?

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    jtran, you still looking for that 12/30??

  18. Jtran Says:

    just the 12/30 webcast df

  19. marcoesq Says:

    Yeah for sure Dayman, do I have your email? Looks like we had about 80 students from your school use us last year. Around 60 so far this year. So I’m sure kids are pretty familiar with DIT. I can give you some good info.

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    No webcast this year. Therefore, the shows will suck.

  21. Jtran Says:

    I think so too

  22. ren Says:

    Don’t see why they wouldn’t webcast at this point…prob just late with an annoucement

  23. snow Says:

    What’s up BB?

    I have been lurking without anything to say and started to feel dirty.

    This video and homeboys others provide tasty treats:

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    what say you from the front lines of legal weed, snow?

  25. BNCB Says:

    that LB ‘Hood’ is a good one. It’s about 2-3 more spool ups from being great. IMO

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