Mid-Month Moments

Today’s stop on our tour of December’s past brings us to the 15th, and two high-profile east coast arena gigs at the tail ends of their respective tours. With the tour closers of Fall ’95 and Fall ’99 within sight, Phish channeled the musical momentum of their extensive runs in crafting the following, quintessential highlights.


2001 > David Bowie” 12.15.95 II – Philadelphia, PA

Fall 1995 (Unknown)

Today marks the 15-year anniversary of Phish’s first stop at The Spectrum in Philadelphia — their last show before Lake Placid’s two-night tour finale. Oozing with the energy and creativity that defined the legendary month of December ’95, the band dropped an adventurous second set that saw “Bathtub Gin” morph into a “Rotation Jam” — where the band members “seamlessly” switch instruments — and then into “Mallory,” a solo Fishman song on piano. But once this novelty act came to close, the band sat into the jam sequence of the show in “2001 > Bowie.” Typical of so many highlights from this month, as soon as “Bowie’s” jam commenced, Phish immersed themselves in creative, open jamming. Needing no buffer between composition and the cosmos, Phish dove directly into heavy rhythmic textures. Building out of this menacing section into a more spacious sea of improvisation, Fishman took off on a quickened beat that drove the entire piece into a fast and fluid conversation. Throughout “Bowie,” Phish showcased the lightening-quick and super-glued communication that had evolved over the previous 51 shows of fall tour. Transforming the music into a mind-numbing chase through an apocalyptic maze, the band simultaneously crept their way back towards “Bowie’s” structured build until they burst into the final peak with unparalleled cohesion. Another vintage slice of a vintage era; crank this one up to eleven for optimal enjoyment.



Free” 12.15.99 II – MCI Center, Washington, DC

12.15.99 - MCI Center (Todd Wickersty)

While plenty of fans had plenty to say about Trey’s mini-keyboard during Fall ’99, there were some times when this accoutrement directly enhanced the music. Offering a separate layer of sound in a millennial mixture strewn with them, the tactful use of his additional instrument added hypnotic and drone patterns to Phish’s bubbling brew. One of these instances came 11 years ago today in Washington, DC’s MCI Center during a mid-second set “Free.” Playing a keyboard line that added both rhythm and melody to the jam following Mike’s bass attack, Trey contributed to a unique musical fabric. Laying the foundation for a mechanical monster, his keyboard offerings helped set the ideal tempo for Phish’s percussive collaboration. Page stepped into extensive, layered interplay with Trey on keys, adding spacey, delay effects to the jam, while Mike and Fish assumed the roles of groove assassins. Many minutes into this successful experiment, Trey slung his guitar back over his shoulder and began to shred similarly infectious leads atop the music. This multi-faceted “Free” continued the band’s unstoppable momentum in December ’99, as they approached their last three shows before entering The Everglades.




Jams of the Day:

Here are some additional jams from today’s featured shows.

Harry Hood” 12.15.95 I



Reba” 12.15.99 II




12.2.1996 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona

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America West Arena - Phoenix, AZ

Phish made this seldom-discussed stop in Phoenix before capping their fall tour in San Diego and Las Vegas. This show comes at you as a reader request for Dr. B — just what the doctor ordered!

I: Rocky Top, AC/DC Bag, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, I Didn’t Know, Theme From the Bottom, Gumbo, Julius

II: Ya Mar, The Divided Sky, Wolfman’s Brother > Taste, Free, Scent of a Mule, Harry Hood, Sweet Adeline

E: Fire

Source: AKG 391’s (FOB) > Graham Patten DMIC-20 > Tascam DA-P1


450 Responses to “Mid-Month Moments”

  1. lastwaltzer Says:

    A few weeks ago someone posted a list of people nominated for the rnr hall of fame, I named my picks………..looks like they all got in:

    Tom Waits , Dr. John, Darlene Love and Neil Diamond

  2. lumpyhead Says:

    Nice. ain’t no ‘just’ about that.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:


    word, I was just hoping I could have got the 30th or the 1st being as though I’ll be fairly close but the shit just aint working out.

    I have this hunch that 1/1/11 is gonna be the show of the tour, so perhaps thats why I’m kicking myself.

  4. sumodie Says:

    Yesterday the blogger at onlinephishtour.com posted his highlights from Fall 1997. Also included were some simple fall ’97 tour stats:

    “Fall ’97 By the Numbers

    – On average, each show included 14.47 songs before the encore. (8.76 in the first set, 5.71 in the second)

    – 11 of the tour’s 42 sets had five songs or fewer; seven had 10 songs or more.

    – 31 different songs stretched past 15 minutes at least once. In all, there were 59 15-minute excursions. This includes 20 jams of 20+ minutes, 7 that went past 25, 3 that went past 30, and one (11/29 Jim) that surpassed 58 minutes.”


  5. sumodie Says:

    Amen! @T3

  6. Jtran Says:

    Trey whips some sick licks out at the end of that Free as well as nice key work.

    Spinning 12/12/95 DWD finally (for the first time in a good while).

    Hot, hot jam. Loving it

  7. Jtran Says:

    Kind of reminds me of the 12/9/95 YEM a bit in the beginning in some ways, and the 12/1 Mike’s as well.

  8. willowed Says:

    This made me hard:

    epic majesty of diseases that had stricken the following with mindfuckery unparalleled, comets that melted faces with abandon, the storied miracles of past visitations to The Shrine At Worcester, that wondrous beauty of one of the yem of yems, the simple tale of a timber gone ho, a tweezer that kunged, the healing power of the funk that had come to pass

  9. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Well played, Illness.

    Just throwing this out there – 10/30/2010 2001>Bowie is AT LEAST as good as 12/15/1995 2001>Bowie.

  10. willowed Says:

    Nice work TIII
    Now get back to work!

  11. KfL Says:

    confession: most of these 99 highlights don’t really do it for me

    just not my kind of phish sound i guess.

  12. lastwaltzer Says:


    thats because its four years after the pinnacle 😉

  13. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks @Sumodie…looks different from the Phish Destroys America compilation that has been out there of Fall 97.



  15. kayatosh Says:

    8.7.2010 theme from the bottom — wow! confident, soaring version. $$

  16. kayatosh Says:

    i like the hood too. this greek show is a $$$ 2010 gem.

  17. Jtran Says:

    This 95 Bowie is pretty hot. Like it better than that long version earlier in the month (forget the date)

  18. albert walker Says:

    no doubt Kaya

    those first couple notes of Trey’s solo on that Greek Theme are so great

    spun that set II myself the other day for the first time in months and was blown away

    pretty sure that Light is the slickest jam of 3.0. great stuff.

    killer hood. great suzy jam.

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    The greek hood is “majestic”. That solo is so delicate and well played. There is a riff he uses in the solo which seems new to his 3.0 arsenal, its also in the providence Paug but played much faster.

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    “set the gearshift for the side of this hole”

    that’s a dope antelope (mesa 94)

  21. Jtran Says:

    Spinning the 8/13/09 Drowned now then 8/16 Number Line

    8/13 Drowned – first big jam live for me

  22. kayatosh Says:

    on 8.7 suzy now. hot version.

    aw: gonna be any profit taking on this crazy mrkt?

  23. lastwaltzer Says:


    That #line is hot, really like the jam tacked on the end of it.

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    the word of the illness

  25. lastwaltzer Says:


    The Inhumane Prison Conditions of Bradley Manning’s Detention

    For those not aware Bradley Manning is the supposed leaker of the wikileaks documents, he has yet to be charged with anything and has been detained for almost six months, all of them in solitary confinement.

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