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.”
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!”
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.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
8.26.1993 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR
Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links
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)Tags: Jams