Thirteenth Throwdowns

On our trip down memory lane, today we honor December 13th: the final show of Fall ’97, a fiery stop along the road of December ’99, and the final night of rest during Fall ’95, before the last four shows. Today our focus shifts to centerpieces of Albany 97’s and Providence 99’s second sets — “Ghost > Mike’s > Llama” and “Sand,” respectively.


Ghost > Mike’s > Llama” 12.13.97 – “The Knick,” Albany, NY

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

Thirteen years ago today, Fall ’97 came to a close at Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York. Following an underrated and supremely exploratory show the previous night, Phish came out with all the crowd favorites in a scintillating final set of tour. At the heart of this celebratory last frame lied a combination of “Ghost and “Mikes” — two songs that had blown up all tour — that provided the fire for the finale. Most versions of “Ghost” played over the course of Fall ’97 transformed into dripping funk fiestas. The last incarnation, however, gradually migrated towards more aggressive textures and peaked far from the dinosaur-grooves that had became synonymous with the song. Moving through the requisite fall funk patterns, when Phish reached the core of this version, they were hardly immersed in over-sized rhythms. Following a gooey onset to the jam, the band cranked up the intensity and churned out a sequence that veered towards hard-edged rock and roll. Gathering a full head of steam, Phish converged in a scorching peak segment to the final “Ghost”of Fall ’97. As sonic residue of the song lingered in the air, Trey started up the now-famous “Bring In the Dude” version of “Mike’s Song.”

Pouring the show’s momentum into a song that had imploded more than a few venues over the previous weeks, one could slice the intensity in air with as Phish played blasted through the song’s composed verses with unbridled enthusiasm. When the jam dropped, shit went bonkers and the energy of the show immediately increased exponentially. Diving headfirst into a militant and crunchy groove, the band played with utmost urgency as Fishman began imploring Cactus to “Bring the DUDE!” Soon, the whole band cut out and Mike dropped a maddening bass solo which everyone rejoined with mind-blowing ferocity. Emceeing the jam like a maniac, Fishman then honored Trey’s two requests to “Bring the Dude,” and the band turned the “Mike’s” jam into an explosive showcase for their famed Fall ’97 stop/start jamming. Each member took their turn “Bringing the Dude,” and following Page’s solo, the band built the piece into a heavy plane that resembled the other side of ’97. The band broke down into soupy psychedleia out of the raucous explosion, then changed textures on a dime, heading right back into an increasingly psychotic movement, that minutes later transformed into “Llama.” Phish took of their most consistent funk staples of fall and created something wholly different for the tour’s final show; a move that illustrated the teeming creativity of a special tour.



Sand” 12.13.99 II – Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI

12.15.99 (Todd Wickersty)

As Phish worked their way through December ’99, “Sand” came out five times over a two week span. Sculpting soaring, psychedelic soundscapes amidst heavy grooves, these versions built on one another, as Phish honed in on different elements of their “millennial” sound each time. Often dissonant and always based in a thick, rhythmic foundation, these versions of “Sand” felt like they were building towards something monumental. And as time passed from one millennium to the next in The Everglades, deep into the night, Phish played us that “Sand” at the end of the rainbow. Though every version during December ’99 became a show highlight, some — like today’s featured version — still stand out over a decade later. Providence’s excursion provided the centerpiece of a groove-based, two-set smoker, and showcased the collaborative layering and textural jamming that defined the era. This “Sand” also illustrates the straightforward and repetitive rhythmic foundations on which these dense sound sculptures stood. In the latter half of the jam, Trey shifted to more narrative soloing that brought the jam to another level of intensity. His play coaxed divergent offerings from his band mates and catalyzed more dynamic interplay. Each time “Sand’s” bassline started December ’99, a rhythmic odyssey was sure to follow. Sit back and enjoy this version that celebrates its 11th birthday today.



Jams of the Day: 12.13.97

If Phish diverted from cowfunk for much of this show’s second set, they certainly laid down some grooves in these first set highlights.

Yamar” 12.13.97 I

Perhaps someone missed a cue as the band came around to the end of the song, but what resulted was another sublime excursion through the funk of fall.


Tube” 12.13.97 I

This version was the middle man between Dayton’s bust-out and MSG’s all-timer on 12.29.97.




10.7.90 Club Bene, Sayreville, New Jersey SBD

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Promotional Tour Poster - 1990

This one goes out to Lee, who has been looking for this show for quite some time. Here’s a soundboard copy to make the treasure trove extra special. Enjoy the 1990 show from Bon Jovi’s home town to start off another week of December.

I: The Divided Sky, Uncle Pen, Stash, The Landlady, Destiny Unbound, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, The Asse Festival, The Squirming Coil, Mike’s SongI Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Magilla, La Grange

II: Buried Alive, Bouncing Around the Room, Tweezer, My Sweet One, I Didn’t Know, The Lizards, Good Times Bad Times, Golgi Apparatus

E: Contact

Source: SBD

Tape Transfer Notes: This show as received had lots of flaws. There are missing sections between some songs I can’t do anything about. Lots of tracks were cut wrong and were merged with CoolEdit then re-cut with CDWave. There’s a major dropout in La Grange. The silent section is obviously the wrong length but I left that alone. There were various other smaller things that were done before running the whole thing through shntool to fix sector boundaries. I hope you enjoy the less than perfect results.

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246 Responses to “Thirteenth Throwdowns”

  1. sumodie Says:

    @mrC: your most recent GD recs have been dumped into my word doc -thanks! Pretty soon I’ll have your complete commentary saved, then I can just cut n paste it back to the BB at will, lol.

    Too bad you didn’t already have a 3-5 page document written out, it’d save you the typing -we seem to return again n again to GD recs (but I’m not complaining….. 8)

  2. sumodie Says:

    funny how we all interpret CDirksen’s review differently -thank god I’m not a blogger / phish reviewer, what a thankless (unpaid) task, ha

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    I like Beauty of a Broken Heart as a song better than Light.

    I like Light as a jam vehicle no doubt..

    yielded the best jams of 3.0

    but as a song I think Beauty of a Broken Heart is much better

    and then Halfway to the Moon tops both IMO.

    I think CD’s review was fair and mostly on point. He just uses a different and more dry language than Miner. I prefer Miner’s reviews to his because for one, Miner is a better writer than CD, and also, they are more in my wheelhouse when it comes to opinions and viewpoints about the shows.

    Some of CD’s assessments I didn’t agree with (i.e. – Augusta Gin not getting more praise than it did), but nothing really jumped out at me as just WRONG.

  4. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Maybe i’ve had my head in the clouds but i’ve never heard of this Dirksen guy until recently. Just from reading a little of his review i get the impression that he is one of these cats that over-glorifies the early years because that is when he discovered them. Almost like nothing today can ever come close. Comes off a bit close-minded in that regard. But, like i said, i’m not too familiar with his reviews.

    Furthur announces Spring tour dates. Playing Radio City on my birthday. Unless Phish is playing elsewhere, i may have to go. I love that venue more than any other.

    Getting ready for some football, listening to 12.12.97. Funky Bitch> 2001 to open ! come on man!

  5. joe Says:

    posting the highlights from the snowbowl game Patriots vs. Raiders yesterday led me to this later day dead show from the same venue. a favorite “set-list” show for me.

  6. jdub Says:

    Opions are like a-holes, we all have one. I do give a lot of credit to those that share theirs in a very public forum. Ultimately reality lies in the eye of the beholder so it is kind of pointless to get bent out of shape over someone elses reality. Which is why I come here for my Phish news. I like Miner’s and BBer’s perception of reality when it comes to Phish over others.

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Get well soon Levon Helm! Hospitalized over the weekend….

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    someone got a link to the aforementioned Fall 97 torrent?

  9. yematt Says:

    sooo many NYE tickets on stubhub… makes me sick

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    lycan – kwl posted it yesterday, a few pages back.

  11. jdub Says:

    Beauty of a Broken Heart is a great song, probably better than Tweezer, Ghost, Bathtub Gin, and Light as a pure song. But there are two types of songs in the Phish world right? And my point was that CD made it clear he was looking for type 2 as a determinant of Phish greatness. Kind of contradictory to sone extent.

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    i’ll do the digging for ya, 🙂

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    true true @jdub

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks Mr. P


  15. albert walker Says:

    He didn’t dig AC cities or Augusta Gin lycan

    I found that odd

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sumo, that’s actually part of the point of the change in focus on my uploading project

    if I keep it up for a year or so, at some point I’ll just be able to say “click here” when that question is asked

  17. Mr.Palmer Says:

    decent crowd at Ford Field it looks like. I guess so when they give away the tickets for free. Big game. No Favre. I kinds wish, as a Giant fan, that he was playing….

  18. albert walker Says:

    I’m all for phish discussion but for me constantly comparing 3.0 to the mid 90s top 20 benchmarks seems like a pointless exercise

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh as i said there were parts i definitely didn’t agree with.

    but i also didn’t see anything that was just outright wrong with the article..

    it was one man’s opinion.

    he chooses to judge current Phish against the entire Phish paradigm and catalog. In that context, he makes some fair points.

    Myself, on the other hand, doesn’t like to constantly compare the current Phish with old Phish, in fact I find myself listening to more 3.0 Phish than the holy grails of 1.0 Phish.

    That’s not to say that I like one over the other, but I am all about the present Phish, the Phish that is being made now.

    I have heard a lot of the old “no-brainer” jams ad nauseum.

    I see no real satisfaction in searching for the past in the present. It will set you up for disappointment every time.


    CD does come to a lot of the same conclusions about Fall Tour as I do, albeit in differing approach as myself.

  20. albert walker Says:

    Never heard of the cat til 3.0

    I guess he’s a famous phishie

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ^^ Me too AW.

  22. Mr.Palmer Says:

    .. not hearing of the guy, not the famous phishie part.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    spun 12.6.97 tweezer>Izabella>twist>piper. $$$

    also spun 12.12.97 2001>camelwalk — $$$
    got the 12.12 tweezer rolling now. love this 97 style funktweezer. similar treatment as 12.6. $$$

    but alas, kiddie bathtime.

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    nice kaya, believe it or not, i’m listening to that exact Tweezer at the moment.

    12.12.97 set II looks very nice. up next ….

  25. kayatosh Says:

    correction: 12.6.97 tweezer $$$ ($)
    12.12.97 — $$. merely great, especially whne compared to 12.6.

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