In the waning days of December ’95, Phish kicked off their final four shows with a stop in Binghamton, New York in show that has grown immortal with its LivePhish release. December ’99 took a day off on the 14th, before revving up their final, pre-Cypress, run through the south. Since most people are familiar with Binghamton ’95 and there isn’t any other action on this day in December history, let’s circle back around to Sunday, and two exploratory December 12 jams that never got their proper due.
Providing an intense chunk of ’99 jamming, Hartford’s set opener kicked off the second half and then kept on going. Rolling from one experimental texture into the next, this piece formed an exploratory tapestry while giving the tour a psychedelic shot in the arm — even within the crazed context of December ’99. Band members took turns guiding the core of this piece while the others painted its periphery. Bringing the audience on a field trip to percussive space camp, the band underlined the latter half of this jam with extraordinary communication and “millennial” sound-sculpting. This dark horse December ’99 monstrosity sprawled in various directions, including a gorgeous, yet urgent, ambient section, while Trey played drone patterns on his mini-keyboard. Hartford’s “Drowned” is a superb piece of late-’99 sonic exploration that hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it should over the years. Then Trey unleashes a solo for the ages in a surreal comedown of “Prince Caspian.” Take a half-hour out of your day to enjoy this joyride into the universe from 11 years ago.
“Down With Disease” 12.12.95 II – Providence, RI
Before “Down With Disease” turned into a type-I anthem in 1996, Phish pushed the song through some hearty explorations in the song’s adolesence. And none were more explosive and downright exploratory than this half-hour epic from Providence ’95. Jumping into a type-II gold mine, the band began carving original pathways as soon as the jam dropped. Getting into a heavy groove early on, the band continued to build on this direction, careening into quintessntial December ’95 power rhythms before deconstructing the piece into a quieter canvas for sparser splatter painting. Building the jam back into completely original music, Phish took liberty over the next twenty minutes, coming together in a four-piece stunner. At a time when Phish cranked out new music on a nightly basis, this was one of their more innovative jaunts of a notorious month. Eating more famous December ’95 jams for lunch and spitting them out, Providence’s “Disease” is something to behold. Trying to narrate such a sublime tale of musical theatrics would be an excersize in futility, so take another half-hour out of your day and tune out to one of the greatest Phish jams you may never have heard. (Complete with money-back guarantee)
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Will be back tomorrow. Requests always welcome.Tags: Jams