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. sneven Says:

    I’ll take this bottom page…

  2. kayatosh Says:

    re. July 99: top month for phish. I’ve accumulated quite a bit from this month.

  3. sneven Says:

    please please watch this

  4. garretc Says:


    I’m afraid diamonds don’t fit in the budget, but what if I sent the missus a nice handwritten letter asking her to let you go to 1/1?

    Close enough?

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    “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”sumo

    I agree, I just think the Greek Light may be the best thing they’ve laid down in 3.0. which for me places it above the fall ones, obviously this is all subjective.

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    @garretc: a letter from you might be the only thing that can melt the icy anti-NYE run heart of Ms. Gdad. you were a very clean and courteous houseguest, and didn’t bane in front of the children. i think she’d enjoy hearing from you. a reflection on your first semester at Reed, and a bit about the local flora and fauna might do the trick.

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    ps…@Neems…if you actually do tattoos on the lot I’ll get one. we can start with a BB shaped tear under my eye.

  8. joe Says:

    how bout an impromtu monday night trip to worcester instead gdad?

  9. joe Says:

    bait and switch, which I think is exactly what I got done to me at the phone store today. girlfriend and salesguy in cahoots to trick me.

  10. joe Says:

    still don’t think I can stream phish tunes on my phone, so what good is it if it can’t do that.

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    tell you what @joe…it’s not like i hadn’t thought of getting a taste of Woosta (GD in ’88 spring was my last worcester show if you can belee dat). i’ve been over the different quickie roadtrip permutations a few times. thing is, my folks are in town thru the 30th so i just can’t bail on them. my wife on 1/1 is a slightly different story. sorry for hogging the board with this bullsh…i just like pumping myself up for what might be a cool last second way to ring in the new year.

  12. garretc Says:


    Well then I just might do that! You have my email yeah? If you shoot me an address I can get it sent by the end of the week!

    Oh, and I feel terrible about this, but I forgot her name, so if you could throw that in the email as well…

  13. neemor Says:

    1.1.11: Gdad in attendance.
    Let me put it at you thusly:
    If you get there and can’t get a ticket, I will forego the experience and give you mine.
    I mean that.
    Also: I have you down for the tatt.
    How will The Backpack missus take to that? Perhaps another letter from garret?

  14. kayatosh Says:

    I’ve got my sights on that 1.1.2011 show too, gdad. the HT trey interview from 2002 got me fired up. This is what he said (at the time they were on indefinite hiatus) that got me jazzed: “If we find ourselves on stage standing next to each other again, it’ll be because we can’t stand not doing it.”

  15. butter Says:

    1.1.11 – one for the kids

  16. butter Says:

    Gd – you def make use of your location on the east coast

    Love the sneak attacks

    Taking the kids trick or treating before the 10.31 was a super classy move

    Well done sir

    Glad your going to make it too Kaya

  17. neemor Says:

    Alright, off to check out a movie called ‘Restrepo’.
    Night, blackboard…

  18. kayatosh Says:

    nice, butter. i like how you have me counted in already. it will be a stretch. i got the frown from the mrs., as well.

  19. Jtran Says:

    Just started “The Pacific” tonight on DVD. Pretty cool show so far for those that are interested.

    Can someone drop that link for the 2002 Trey interview again?

    And can someone also sell me a 12/30 ticket 🙂

  20. kayatosh Says:


  21. Jtran Says:

    Thanks kaya

  22. KfL Says:

    i’m feelin the BB love right now, you folks are great. if i had a glass of pinot i might get all willowed up in here…

  23. kayatosh Says:

    thank, sumo. he found that gem.

  24. garretc Says:


    That seems like an emotionally stunted point of view… You don’t need to be drunk to show emotion! You don’t need to be a robot whilst sober!

    Let ’em flow old boy!

  25. kayatosh Says:

    sweet dreams. peace.

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