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. Mr. Completely Says:

    I just like needling baseball fans. A lot of them take it real seriously. I have nothing against baseball really, as long as I never have to watch it on TV again.

    Going to games in person is a hoot.

    Also, we’re starting to see the real Heat now. Not convinced they can beat the Cs in a playoff series, but they’re waaaaaay better than Orlando and about on a par with Chicago I think. Should be interesting to watch it play out.

  2. garretc Says:


    Funny thing about that rotation:

    The Giants beat all of them in the playoffs last year…

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    the greatest thing that has ever happened in baseball is less intersting than a single high-low screen run in the fourth quarter of a blowout between two 5-20 NBA teams

    ^ i respectfully think this is garbage. Baseball >>>> any other sports by leaps and bounds.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    my favorite part about going to baseball games is betting where the ball will end up between innings.

  5. garretc Says:


    Is baseball the Phish of sports?

    (Note: not a serious question)

  6. Chuck D Says:

    stealing home is pretty sweet. its like saying “i think your incompetent; so… i’m gonna try and run real fast right through the area you are staring at.”

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    C – you got me hook, line, and sinker…but if there was ever a game that is boring as death to watch on TV, its football. 20 seconds of action every 2 minutes…plenty of time for wings and beer. Baseball is an intellectuals game. Football is a game for American mass culture with short attention spans and a love for violence.

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    if you use the 30 second skip button on a DVR’d football game, you can go from tackle to under center without any garbage

  9. Dublin97 Says:

    *PSHS – I’m freezing my butt off in Manchester right now. The Elm Street wind tunnel is the worst!!!

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    DVR is awesome for watching football for that reason Miner gives above. only a no huddle offense messes with that way of watching

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh Miner

    first of all I was joking


    all the “subtle nuances” people talk about when defending baseball exist in every team sport. so don’t go there.

    I grew up watching baseball and going, so it’s not that I don’t “get it” or can’t follow the details…

    but it’s like music or art or anything else

    just a personal preference like anything else

    but baseball really is unspeakably boring on TV to me…

    purely a YMMV thing

  12. Chuck D Says:

    the previous nights baseball games are regularly shown in their entirety in 30 minutes. your argument about comparing wasted time in football is… not a good one.

  13. Foul_Domain Says:

    Hockey takes the cake over them all.

    sorry, its a cold hard fact!

  14. garretc Says:

    @Mr. C

    So I understand the gist of it, but for the life of me can’t figure out what YMMV stands for… And I guess I could have googled it in less time than it took me to write this post, let alone you respond to it, but I only realized that after I started typing, and it seemed a waste to change tactics…

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah my interest in football has increased dramatically since the DVR + HDTV combo came around. huge improvement in watchability.

    “Baseball is an intellectuals game. Football is a game for American mass culture with short attention spans and a love for violence.”

    Ah the George Will argument. Having grown up with both I can tell you that football is exponentially more complex and intellectually challenging that football. At least 10x, possibly 100x more complex and interesting.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    You Mileage May Vary

  17. P.S.H.S. Says:

    I’m about 3/4 through puterbaugh’s bio, and i’m not really digging it at all. he’s taken a very pessimistic view on just about every topic. he praises 93-96, but doesn’t really give any reasons why he thinks that they are the best years. as if someone told him that they just weren’t a good band after the clifford ball. maybe he’s bias, maybe i am because i didn’t start listening to them until 96. oh well to each their own.
    i can’t wait for miner’s book, i shall read the fucking book.
    can that be its name? or does that cross the line?

  18. Foul_Domain Says:

    This 12.15.99 Free is awesome – The way Free is meant to be played imo.

    Free w/o a jam is like Halley’s w/o a jam. I like the song, but you feel a bit robbed after.

    I wonder why they boys havnt toyed w/ Free at all in 3.0….of all the songs to reel in…

  19. Dublin97 Says:

    Correction, C, I would say football is infinitely more complex and intellectually challenging than football.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    a big problem is that football is *so* complex that most people can’t follow it at all, and understandably so…unless you grow up actually playing the game or as a hardcore Madden kid, there’s such an incredibly steep learning curve it’s insane

  21. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^ llfa!

  22. garretc Says:

    “Phish: The Fucking Book”

    By Mr. Miner

    It’s got a ring, definitely…

    @Mr. C

    Ah, mileage… Didn’t see that one coming…

  23. Foul_Domain Says:

    (@ Dublin)

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow you just blew my fucking mind there @dublin

  25. garretc Says:

    @Mr. C

    It’s good to hear your regular mind is, however, still intact!

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