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. PigSong Says:

    Hey Bingos – how is 1Q84 compared to KotS? It’s queued up in the ereader, but I’ve heard it’s much slower and hard to get into. (Pretty sure you posted about 1Q84 – in which case I assume you’ve read KotS.)

  2. snow Says:

    That’s right. It’s weed liberation day.

    Gay Marriage has kind of been the bigger deal. There is still soo much uncertainty surrounding jah herb and it’s still not legal in public, so it’s not that exciting.

    That said… it’s just mind blowing. Never thought I would live to see the weed freed. Knowing that it is legal for now is awesome.

  3. snow Says:

    The freaky Part: I’m probably considered DUI every time I drive now.

    DUI: A level of 5 nanograms of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, in a driver’s blood becomes equivalent to a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level for driving under the influence.

    Not sure what it takes to get below 5 nanograms of THC but I figure any part of my body is at least 1% of THC.

  4. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, i read about that @snow . . . baby steps, i guess . . . still progress imo

  5. ren Says:

    and now for all the stuff that will suck about freed green.

    We need some comparative analysis of driving under alcohol -vs- THC….we all know its not the same….but apparently not everyone else

  6. snow Says:

    Seattle has been more liberal about it than other areas:

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Pigsong – I’ve read all of the Murakami books (love him) and I would say that 1Q84 was one of my least favorites while Kafka on the Shore was my most favorite. Not sure what that means, because of course it just comes down to taste – I did enjoy 1Q84 but it did not do it for me like KotS or some of the others. All worth a read, though.

    Oh, sorry I hijacked that question.

  8. Dorn76 Says:

    All I know is I am much better at the “Driving Stoned” video game than I am at the “Driving Drunk” version.

    A broken pelvis, a busted up heart valve (thanks 3M Dacron!) and a few dozen visits to the dentist can attest to that.

    That tree never had a chance.

  9. tzara's Says:

    Pot was “de-empahsized” as an infraction a couple of years ago I think. They weren’t really into trying to bust someone for holding a small amount. So unless you’re fond of carrying bags out in the open, then not too much has changed. Yet. It is supposed to take about a year before they can set up state-run stores to sell it and collect taxes. That will be a big change. Won’t have to wait to hook up with Leo on tour to score some caramels.

  10. voopa Says:

    Finally went to the Doc to see why digestive system’s been fighting me for the last month…they put me on a 1 month Prilosec regimen, but I still think it’s bacterial. Will know more after the tests, I guess. This has been brutal. Now to get my truck fixed…

    I hope they webcast this year. I need the bouncing MSG stage on my TV again.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    perspective: webcast for Stones’ 50th anny show is $40

  12. mr.palmer Says:

    Robear- Been spinning that LBC RnR a bunch myself lately. After a month of no Phish listening I am starting to crank it back up in anticipation of the New Years run.

    There will be a webcast, i’m sure.

  13. mr.palmer Says:

    Q-tip DJ set at Brooklyn Bowl tonight… DJ SHadow next week, if that’s your bag…

  14. tzara's Says:

    Have to admit, I did celebrate the new law last night, while Mrs Tzara’s was working until 2am giving out wedding licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The county office opened at midnight as a statement of support. Pretty cool. We are the future.

  15. snow Says:

    Oh, it’s progress. Especially for the 10,000 people that would be arrested this next year for possession of small quantities.
    It’s just not like it’s suddenly okay to openly be a stoner.

    Voopa- sucks man. Have you tried Probiotics?

  16. BingosBrother Says:

    Abandoned 1Q84 for Ready Player One. Dig the latter much more. Haven’t read KOTS, but willing to give it a chance. Maypick back up 1Q84, may not.

  17. snow Says:

    Mra Tarza was on the front lines! Awesome.
    I’ll be celebrating tonight. Couldn’t stay up that late last night.

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    legalization is meaningless for the most part

    to get arrested for herbs in Chicago you would have to run over an old lady while busting a u-turn on the sidewalk with 6 potted plants sitting in your back seat

    but my neighbors don’t like me puffin around their kids. and all the peeps at my work and I know from the financial industry aren’t to keen on heavy puffin.

    so basically I puff in my house or very discreetly pen style outside with really no risk.

    no the suburban peeps I feel for. but Chicago’s finest don’t like to get out of their car for anything less than rape or murder.

  19. voopa Says:

    Have not yet snow, was waiting for the Doc appt. to make my next move. Not sure if that will help or not at this point, we’ll see.

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Sounds like Toronto, AW

    MLT SBD loaded on the phone for way home. Been waiting forever for this.

  21. tzara's Says:

    Yeah @snow, she works for the county exec. He stayed all night signing licenses. I agree with you that is a much bigger deal than legalized puffing, which everyone does anyway. This is people’s lives. Both are pretty amazing outcomes if you think back 10 years. I probably have at least 3 weddings to go to soon as a result.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    my brother needs a 12/31 in the door if anyone can help

  23. Multibeast Says:

    When do they usually announce the webcasts for the New Years run? Have we past that date yet?

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    sick jam

  25. roberto luongo Says:


    and to think I thought ya’ll were all just those college grad book learned geniuses

    check out the linkage yo!

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