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. Calpain Says:

    thanks for the Worcester rec’s @TIII

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    but of course, calpain…
    I should be meeting up at least one night so it is in my best interest to have a desirable locale to head towards 😉

  3. kayatosh Says:

    yes, December phish rules. haven’t even read miner’s piece yet. hard to keep up with that man. peace yall

    spun 11.28.2009 ghost and cool it down now on jibboo — all $$$ and the set opening twist $$$. what a show.

  4. Lumpyhead Says:

    My school is going to the rose bowl while I’m going to Madison square garden…what a fun ass holiday

  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    Great way to start off a Monday Miner. Auburn Hills was truly excellent. I missed it by a day. Tomorrow is really the day for me though.

    I was in Dayton on Sunday visiting friends with a work meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon.

    After hearing about the Auburn setlist on r.m.p, I was pretty confident we would get a rather low key show in Dayton. We did, but it still a favorite show. Snow and all.

    I luckily ran into a taper friend in the lot who handed me copies of Denver, Hampton and Woosta to me before the show (Matt Z?). The groveling for shows was at a peak at that time. He played me Auburn on DAT, and we listened to it in his van before the show. Stunned.

    I guarded those 9 cassettes with my life that night. How times have changed.

  6. Kaveh Says:

    @LumpyHead: Go Badgers? Or are you the other side of that equation. I’m ready to roll some Wisco Red in MSG myself.

  7. Lumpyhead Says:

    go frogs

  8. Kaveh Says:

    Frogs….I’m sorry. 🙂

  9. Kaveh Says:

    Should be a good game; needless to say! Go luck.

  10. butter Says:

    great table setter Miner

    these will be some quality trips down memory lane, before we craft new ones for the ages in a few weeks!

    busy doin life, but a big shout out to the BB and all my homies…. we will soon be blowing out 2010 in style….can’t wait

  11. Litteringandd Says:

    Do you come back to Bend for the holidays? If so I have some friends playing a show at Marthas Midway Tavern on the 23rd. Just a fyi

  12. garretc Says:

    You know what’s awesome, guys?

    We’re all of us, right this exact second, traveling through time, hurtling into the future, a future that includes a kick ass Phish holiday run.

    How cool is that? You’re time traveling to see Phish!

  13. Spasm Waiter Says:

    T3- Both spots sound great. Sounds like you know Woostah. Any other bars or restaurants I should try to hit while I am in town?

    Django and fire morning in the House of Spaz.

  14. Steve P. Says:

    Happy B-day to 12/6/97….fav tweez for me, wish they all sounded like this one.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    some years I do, but not this year. phish in the hood and a seriously pregnant wife have the travel plans limited this year

    what you looking for food-wise? sumodie can shed better light than I on specific recommendations, but I have a few that I like and frequent.

  16. Robear Says:

    top of the mornin’ all!

    some serious groove dropped on us 2-day.

  17. dyda Says:

    the funk jam in izabella is sweet. (niceness). check out the youtube vid to see trey seriously get down.

    so excited for this upcoming run. going to be a blast. this will be my first time in manhattan for new years & 12.30 will be my first time in MSG! can’t hardly wait.

  18. Aquaman Says:

    Morning folks,

    In a response to AndrewRose I am posting the link to my Robert The Aqua playlist page in YouTube. On this playlist I have taken the video of silverhairs97’s VHS recording and reassembled in the proper order.

    Not great video quality but it has the entire set and makes for great earbud music while at work (provided YouTube is not blocked.’


    Let me know if it’s a URL paste Fail.

    All this said….Who doesn’t love this Tweezer?


  19. Calpain Says:

    very nice @TIII- hope to be putting a face to the handles in the near future.
    make sure to add your knowledge to the spreadsheet.

    back to work, have a good day everyone.

    Never heard this Tweezer before, thanks Miner

  20. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Thanks @Aqua
    I think I like the mix on yours a little better.

  21. sumodie Says:

    woosta food?

    here’s a google map with some useful Worcester places identified:

    (courtesy of someone on the greenieB)

  22. Aquaman Says:

    No problem Luther.

    Arms raised, eyes closed, at the 7:00 minute mark of the Tweezer Jam.

    Strange looks coming from the rest of the cube farm.


  23. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    You badgers out there, yesterday I met Barry Alvarez at a UW alumni event in NYC celebrating his getting elected into the College hall of fame.

    A great night. Took a picture with him and everything, right after he announced our Rose bowl berth and opponent. I didn’t realize though that the game is on at 5:30 on 1/1.

    Big problem. My ticketbastard ticket says 7:30 showtime, so I figure at least 8, 8:30 they’ll go on, but I’m still going to have a major timing problem.

    Of course, Rose Bowl > Phish show at MSG is the absolute best kind of problem one can ask for…

  24. Aquaman Says:

    OOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh the ambient growl prior to Izabella


  25. Aquaman Says:

    Stated – type fail.

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