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.”

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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!”

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph97-12-06d2t1.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph97-12-06d2t2.mp3]

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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.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph96-12-06d2t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph96-12-06d2t04.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph96-12-06d2t05.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph96-12-06d2t06.mp3]

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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.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/PH1993-12-31D1T05.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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)

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524 Responses to “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

  1. BingosBrother Says:

    Love Tyson, hate ufc. Was actually quoted in SI talking shit about ufc and dana white talking smack about me. Life highlight.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Wait what? Got a link Bingos?

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Boxing used to be a great sport in the 80s. Now it is garbage.

    Tyson was the best. No one could touch him in his prime. Animal!

    Denver ’97 Tweezer on the shuffle. Great after work , train jam. Top notch.

  4. MiA Says:

    Good rec Palmer. Commencing Denver ’97.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    I’ll look it up t3. Was last year. Ironically, I ate breakfast next to Clay Guida after St. Louis. Big phish fan.

  6. MiA Says:

    “Boxing used to be a great sport in the 80s. Now it is garbage.”

    The whole Billy Collins Jr. thing is terrible. Someone should hunt down Panama Lewis and hang him from a tree.

    The saddest documentary I’ve ever seen is “Assault in the Ring”

    http://www.hbo.com/sports/assault-in-the-ring/index.html#/sports/assault-in-the-ring/synopsis.html

  7. MiA Says:

    I’m with ya Snow. I could barely watch the doc’s trailer. Toughest movie I’ve ever watched in my life. Don’t watch it.

  8. sumodie Says:

    No worries, Phish will webcast MSG

  9. sumodie Says:

    Watch out, the psychs are adding “Internet Use Disorder” to the latest edition of the DSM-5 (the bible of psych disorders)

    but for now it’s only being listed as a condition warranting further study

  10. sumodie Says:

    So if I haven’t pre-ordered Star Lake ’98 by the 19th email, do ya think the 20th email notice will sway me?

    Srsly, Phish Inc is going nutz nowadays with schwag reminders

  11. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Taper tix make smuggling shit in easy. They look at a mic and say o ahead. Fun to put a water bottle on too to let them feel like hey did their job.

  12. jdub Says:

    Denver Ghost makes my time capsule Phish mix. A cd that covers the essentials. So tasty.

    Hope y’all are doing well. Starting to get just a wee bit excited about MSG and the holiday season.

  13. jdub Says:

    Clay Guida gives Phish the thumbs up

    http://instagram.com/p/HR0Yk7uiGW/

  14. halcyon Says:

    I love December Phish.

    Hope the BB is well.

  15. jdub Says:

    So is IUD the next ADD or is it just an evolutionary offshoot?

  16. BingosBrother Says:

    Sweet pic of clay. Thats at the il state wrestling tourney in Champaign. The Midwest Mothership.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @voopa, that’s just wireless transferring from the card, as opposed to wi-fi capabilities of the camera (eg. wireless shutter release, changing settings, etc)

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Attn Kaya and other Beer lovers.

    This may be old news to many, but…

    I asked my friend who is the brewmaster at Marble Brewery in New Mexico how to get some of his beer in NJ. You can order through this website.

    http://www.beerjobber.com/

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ^^ not cheap however. Not a bad gift idea though. Gift card action for the beer lover on your holiday gift list.

  20. voopa Says:

    You are correct Df. Damn specifics.

  21. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Watch out, the psychs are adding “Internet Use Disorder” to the latest edition of the DSM-5 (the bible of psych disorders) – Sumo

    If anyone wants to get a sweet insurance fraud scheme going, I’m happy to sign off. Wouldn’t even need to lie… 😉

  22. jdub Says:

    @Palmer, I’m pretty bummed about Louisville getting the ACC nod over UConn. All there is to do is get schools like St. John, Villanova and Providence to rise up and create a basketball centric league. Beat ’em at there own game. Fuck those money hungry whores.

  23. tela's_muff Says:

    Nice website Palmer. I’ll get some use out of that.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Agreed Jdub:

    STJ, Uconn, Nova, Georgetown, Marquette, Depaul, Temple, St. Joe’s, Providence….and then try and grab a couple more.. ND also, i guess.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Yeah Tela’s.. I may request a few gift cards for myself. 😉

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