December Dark Horses

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.


Drowned > Caspian” 12.12.99 II – Hartford, CT

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

Miami '03 (M.Collins)

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)




Will be back tomorrow. Requests always welcome.


333 Responses to “December Dark Horses”

  1. Chuck D Says:

    “guys” by Chuck D, a new fragrance for wo0ks.

  2. neemor Says:

    If I hear of two NYE tickets (I may know of someone looking to flip one), I’ll let you know.

    I’d like to also post a bit of a special offer:
    With times becoming a bit tight here in CT, and my desire to drop Miner a solid contribution…

    I have two perfect autographs that I’m curious if there’s a market for here that I’d like to see kept in the family if possible and am curious if the collectors on the BB would be interested in.

    My father is a minister in Mass. and apparently in his flock are Page’s parents (or grandparents, I can’t recall). A few years back, for Christmas, my dad gave me a great black and white picture of the band sitting in what looks like the barn on a couch signed by every member.
    The picture and autographs are pristine and I’m curious if anyone would appreciate it enough to sell it.

    Also, from the night of the Carnegie Hall Trey show, I purchased a CD copy of TTE which was signed by The Bad Lieutenant and Don Hart, the Orchestral Director who collaborated with Trey to orchestrate the music for the evening (possibly all of Trey’s orchestra appearances).
    Again, pristine signatures and a CD that has never been played.

    My intent is not to create a bidding war, but to see if there’s a market on the Board and a way to keep the money in the Phish community by sending a large portion of any proceeds to our gracious host.

    Email me at tydyvision at sbc global dot net.

  3. Chuck D Says:

    or perhaps

    “guise” by Chuck D, a new fragrance for lipstick-wo0ks.

  4. neemor Says:

    I’ve found that for every song I absolutely love for one reason or another, there is always some dude who doesn’t feel it.
    Is what it is.
    I’ve not met a single person who claims to *hate* Light, though and wonder if that person can still have fun or is simply trying his best to be heady.
    You know, that attempt to prove how much you like Phish by claiming to hate something about the band more than anyone else does…

  5. Selector J Says:

    re: Light
    I’m not huge on the lyrics (or the way they’re sung for that matter) but Light still brings the ruckus. Much respect for the ruckus. It’s a lot like how I first felt about Twist. (The “woo!” was the biggest obstacle but now I just picture SOAM, or my idea of what SOAM looks like, twirling.)

    @Chuck D
    I’ve been compiling a SWE reggae mix (how original?) with you in mind. As one might expect, I have A LOT of entries. Now I’m just trying to whittle it down to a manageable 60-70 min.

    Looks like the DC position at UT is already filled. Sorry for getting that application to you guys so late. 😉

    Gotta jet, folks.
    Keep it December Phish (ice cold!) up in here.

  6. Chuck D Says:

    fuck yeah selector! i look forward to enjoying it some day. :mrgreen:

  7. neemor Says:

    If someone told me they hated Light, I’d probably nod and wait for the appropriate moment to trip them in the bar.
    That would be funny.

  8. neemor Says:

    See that?
    One of my favorite things about Light has become the lyrics.

  9. butter Says:

    Gorge Light pretty much bitch slapped anyone too cool for a “new” tune

  10. sumodie Says:

    I’ve checked all the fall Lights multiple times, nothing comes close to the Greek IMO

    Fall Tour Lights had more energy & intensity driving them than the Greek Light, which is laid back & delicate -both styles a product of their settings (indoor arenas vs. a cozy outdoor bowl)

    I’ll take every kind

    Light is the only repeat I’d wish for this December run

  11. sumodie Says:

    @neemor: you’re crazy to sell that signed photo of the band on the couch!

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    I honestly enjoy 90% of the new tunes. Light, Joy, Ocelot, 20 years Later.

    20 Years Later is the next new one to go real deep. Like 12.30, i’m thinking.

    Also KDF has been ripping.

    I’ve Been Around can suck it though! 🙂

  13. Chuck D Says:

    i can understand disliking the lyrics; they are a bit too literal. for me, its a direct reference to my favorite book of all time, so its a personal connection and i dont mind it.

    but, generally speaking, phans should not get hung up on lyrics and vocals when it goes into beautiful type II every time. most consistently top notch jam vehicle of 3.0 IMO.

    i’m out, swe and stuff~

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks @Bingos!

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    well the thing is with the Phish catalog, you have to talk about songs in two different ways.

    As a song Light isn’t that special, but as a Phish jam its the tops, so one gives big ups to it.

    However, some of the more type 1 songs such as Its Ice, My Friend, Halfway to the Moon, etc are much much more interesting as songs than Light.

    So when we talk about liking certain Phish songs its a thin line between liking the song, or the song’s jam potential.

  16. butter Says:

    Spun Augusta Light today

    Page is the MVP there, he seems to push the piece past other fall versions

  17. butter Says:

    The lyrics to Light contain the secret to an enlightened life

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    07/04/10 Jibboo makes me smile from ear to ear 🙂

  19. Jtran Says:

    I have no clue how I kept overlooking this Augusta Gin

    What the… 🙂

  20. neemor Says:

    I can see the light between me and my mind
    I can feel memories fall behind
    And the light is growing brighter now
    And the light is growing brighter now

    I see the future is less and less there
    And the past has vanished in the air
    And I’m left and I’m now with a wondrous glow
    I think I’m still me
    But how would you know?

    It takes a few moments of whirling around
    Before your feet finally leave the ground
    And fending off fears and hearing the call
    And finally waiting for nothing at all
    And the light is growing brighter now
    And the light is growing brighter now

    Obstacles are stepping-stones
    That guide us to our goals
    Fences are filters
    That purify our souls

    ^ wonderful
    sumo: I might be crazy, but I’m testing the waters…It’s a treasure but I’ve been watching it sit there, from one new apartment to another for years.
    Just figured I’d pass it on.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    the lyrics to light:

    while heady and transcendental are a bit too easy IMO

    thats what I got hung up on…

    but dont get me wrong, nothing but excitement when Light starts up

  22. neemor Says:

    Yesterday, the Ghost>Mike’s>Llama?
    When the band is bringing in the dude, what fun…
    Great stuff.
    Just catching up now.
    And that Ghost was one for the books.

  23. joe Says:

    think I went to about 80% of the december jams shows posted so far. upon listen back, it’s no coincidence that I love this band, even though my memory of said shows sucks. oh and less than two weeks till new phish?

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    i sense that thing again….we’re getting pumped up.

    what’s awesome is that i gave away all 4 of my 1/1s and now i may end up going that nite. At AC on 10/30 i tested myself: i gave away my 100 level 30 mins before the show to a friend and went in search of a floor outside the venue. got it and got in before first tune. i will do the same thing if i get to make 1/1 (someone send my wife some diamonds and say they’re from me). get up there a half hour before the show, park car, powder up, find a home behind stage, get sweaty. i personally think they have to save gas for 1/1 but that’s just me.

  25. Jtran Says:


    you nailed it earlier re: 3.0 Phish for us youngsters. For me personally, there’s something special about watching the 4 of them up there doing what they do and knowing they’re playing now because this is what they want at this point in their lives.

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