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. phoammhead Says:

    I believe ND already going to ACC

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    You’re probably right, Phoamm. Honestly, I can’t keep track of it anymore. I knew Cuse and and Louisvillle were going

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you are correct, pho. everything but football, though they will eventually play five games a year against acc teams in that too.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice link, palms. just be sure to check the fine print…

    AN YOU SHIP TO ALL STATES? is able to ship to 83% of the country — 37 of the 50 states! We’re not able to ship to the following states: AK, AR, AZ, DE, HI, KY, MD, MA, MS, MT, OK, UT, WI

    A few states have strict in-state shipping laws, so in certain cases, you may not be able to order beer from a brewer inside your own state. Also, due to brewer distribution, there are certain zipcodes that are blocked for certain beers. These cases are rare. Simply choose your beer and if we can’t ship, we’ll let you know.

    no ordering for me 😡

  5. SillyWilly Says:

    just settling into my night

    realized I am, in fact, going to NYE

    felt that old excitement

    now just watching the Star Lake videos on vimeo

    maybe I start tucking my shirt in Mike-style?

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    wisconsin trying to protect the in-state brewers probably

    bocks, lagers, and pilsners here

    gotta keep it german, I guess.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Silly, this is also your first time in NYC, correct?

    You’re gonna have a blast. Anything in particular that you have on a “must do while in NYC” list?

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. P

    Yes. First time.

    Honestly, I haven’t had any time to think about what I should do.

    I was kinda thinking maybe I’d do minimal research and just see where the weekend takes me.

    I’m staying with Milwaukee friends who ended up only getting tix for the 30th, so we’ll have separate agendas.

    I figured I’d keep myself free so I can hop in with everyone.

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    My buddy, from Marble is the only one with multiple beers among the GABF winners.. They are also the least expensive from the list.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Trey stream, jerseyjeff

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Thus far

    Set 1:
    Back On The Train
    Let Me Lie
    Wolfmans Brother
    Theme From The Bottom
    Water In The Sky
    Sample In a Jar
    Brian & Robert
    Chalkdust Torture

  12. BingosBrother Says:


    Jesus christ I’m pathetic. No NYE run has me desperate for anything phish.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    7/29/03 set II is the Phish set on JamOn this evening ( starts in a few minutes) if you are into that thing. Little shout out to our host as well…little birdie told me so… 😉

  14. MmmHmm Says:

    @Silly, best thing you can do for yourself in NYC is do some restaurant research. There are so many options and out of those a few are really worth checking out. If anyone else has a routine like mine over those four days, you really only have time for one or maybe 2 big meals for the day and they should be good bases for your nightly consumption. Usually due to sleeping in from the night before until 11, heading out into the city (being with a group makes this more laborious), eating, getting back to your home base or bar pre-show and then getting ready for the show and going in… makes for a really weird schedule. Throws me all off after the run is over.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    love that show, palmer. bustouts galore, a top notch C&P, hot bowie, referential Harpua, big first set Fee->Timber, and more.

  16. MmmHmm Says:

    7/29/03 was my 22nd birthday show. what a good treat it was before heading to IT!

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Also a top notch Brother ( words probably never uttered before). Mr.C used to pimp the Brother from that show if memory serves.

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks, mmmHmmm

    food is a huge part of my life.

    I thought maybe I’d look into pizza places in the neighborhood I’m staying in and find a couple places to hit.

    For me on this run, it’s going to be more about chilling. Seeing you guys. And just having nothing to worry about for a few days.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, that is in the “and more”. didn’t want to call out the whole setlist!

    Brothers I’ve enjoyed:
    –Clifford Ball (with Ben and Jerry)
    –Star Lake 03 (as mentioned above)
    –Fiddler’s Green 00 (Trey really goes for it in the ending)
    –Island Tour one (seek it out, it’s worth it)
    I’m sure there’s others, but those are the ones off the top of my head

  20. MmmHmm Says:

    @SW & Mia…found a killer pizza place last year in lower east side called Pala Pizza, has amazing gourmet style pies and gluten free options too that my sister (a celiac) was super impressed with. Very tasty and the extras were great post show snacks in the room

  21. MmmHmm Says:

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    awesome, MmmHmm

    Thanks a lot!

  23. bob dylan Says:

    Snoop did AMA on reddit. You guys see that?

    Fav strain is OG Kush. Said most his weed is free. Smokes 81 blunts a day.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    81 blunts a day! Ha. There is this guy in the city that has his little stand where he sells books. The book he is selling is ” How to roll blunts for Dummies”..

    Thunderhead- Forgot about this tune. Never really liked it. It’s been a no-show in 3.0 , right?

  25. MmmHmm Says:

    If i knew Snoop and was a grower, Id toss him free trees too. Esp if I had a particular strain I had made or was super proud of grow results for. Its good marketing for your farm

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