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. joe Says:

    one thing from the much discussed review from yesterday that I’ve been touting to a silent audience. the Jesus Left Chicago from Augusta was excellent.

  2. Mr.Palmer Says:

    “and now i may end up going that nite.”

    ^^ there was never a doubt….

  3. neemor Says:

    Nice gdad, we know you can get in (no doubt) and I look forward to hopefully raging alongside you and the board.
    1/1/11 is the ONE I’m looking forward to the most.

    sumo: I can breathe a sigh of relief, seems no emails of interest yet.

  4. neemor Says:

    JJLC is one that I was patiently awaiting the return of for a while.
    Gives the band, Page especially, a real chance to showcase chops.
    Great imagery, taboot.

    Providence was awesome, btw.
    In case anyone forgot.

  5. joe Says:

    oh, and by saying I enjoyed the older days doesn’t mean that I don’t think that what they’re doing now isn’t great. Youngsters need not worry about what you missed out on only need to worry about catching as many upcoming shows as you can handle. (and finding a good hustle to finance a tour or two. how much are sodas on lot these days?)

  6. butter Says:

    This could really work out……usually they have the three set gig at the end of a run, might freshen things up to get the three setter in the books

  7. neemor Says:

    I plan on financing the NYE run and possibly summer 2011 by doing prison tattoos on the lot.
    Clean needles are for wussies.

  8. neemor Says:

    I was surprised to see lots of different artists selling their own home-made posters on lot.
    There seemed to be at least three different artists out there pushing posters to at least ten different shows.
    I like that.
    Some were better than others, but all very unique in style and design.

    I like the patches but never see them, and I did see one cat in particular (at Hershey) selling pins.
    Very cool.

    There seems to be a bit of a Rennaissance on lot of new unique ways to get from town to town.

  9. neemor Says:

    To me, besides posters, the coolest thing DryGoods is selling nowadays are the ticket magnets.
    In the event that I get a TicketBastard version of the ticket for a show, getting the magnet is a nice way to remember the show with a bit of flair.

  10. SillyWilly 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.”

    This is almost exactly what I was thinking.

    It’s like we KNOW that they’re playing for us, now. It’s like the fact that we 3.0-ers exist redeems their decision to come back.

    they’re still doing it after all these many, many years.

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah @Silly.

    27 – going on 28 years….WOW.

    They have been playing almost 2 times as long as I have been alive, and still going at it. That’s incredible

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    They’re sustainable now, too, BK!

    Some say sober. I say sustainable.

  13. neemor Says:

    If it ever loses focus in your mind how special it is to have Phish back playing for us in 3.0, re-focus.
    The hiatus’ seem like such a long-forgotten dream now-it’s almost as if they never left. Or maybe more realistically, it’s as if those were points that the band needed for both their mental and physical health which they used to repair the wagon and get back on the road.
    There’s no going back, only forward.
    I think sometimes that this is an idea lost because of the fact that almost all of their old material is so available for us to pour over.

    But this is not a half-hearted Phish in 3.0. There is nothing lacking and some might argue that as this new era unfolds, with the abilities that they’ve developed and brought with them into 3.0, that we’re seeing the ultimate level of a live band.
    Enjoy the ride!

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ butter, left the “return to reality” Lizards off the track since the jam is already 31 mins 😉

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    that dwd is some amazing jamming…on par with ANYTHING from the month imo

  16. sneven Says:

    waiting to post a vip at the top of the next page… c’mon folks!!!

  17. sneven Says:

    vip = vid… something in the water here 😉

  18. MikeThong Says:

    probably been mentioned but download of today’s disease is not correct. has a ’94 date on it and is only about 4 minutes long. Excerpt from correct show but mislabeled? Incomplete whatever it is. Stream is fine so far.

  19. kayatosh Says:

    spinnin 12.12.97 piper now. holy shit! intensity!

    re. gada getting in to MSG — i have no doubt he can get er done. the man can walk between porta potties.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    that should be gdad.

  21. sneven Says:

    okay, let’s go with to go bottom paage:

  22. KfL Says:

    just want to make sure i got this straight. gdad gave away his ticket to AC2, not exactly an easy score, 30 minutes before the show, and still managed to get a floor and be in by note one? the dude is unstoppable. i might be employing his services in the near future, day laborer stylee. (perhaps he accepts payment in fake diamonds.)

  23. KfL Says:

    some nice stuff in this 7-1-99 set I (that i’m finally getting to). more enjoyable than i anticipated.

  24. kayatosh Says:

    miner: you should highlight this 12.12.97 piper, if you’re still continuing w/ the december retrospective. $$$. 19 min. +

    hits white hot peak early in jam>goes soft and delicate (ambient)>return to intense machine gun style jam>ambient>machine gun

  25. fatbunch Says:

    @Mr Miner – much respect and gratitude for all the awesome December jams of late! I am trying to take ’em with me for the holidays so today on a sick day I’ve been filling in any gaps via downloads. Maybe it’s operator error (?) but I ran into the following problems with a few tracks, just FYI:
    Today’s DWD – the file I get is a 4 minute version and not apparently the odyssey that folks have been diggin on all day?
    From Another Dec Holiday – the Curtain>Bowie both net html docs with “File does not exist”
    From Exploting on the 8th – the Dog Faced Boy nets “File does not exist”
    From And on the 7th Day – Weekapaug nets html “Please specify file name for download”

    Was able to grab all the other files and thanks again!!!

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