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

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3Torrent, Megaupload, < Links

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. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice assessment @butter

    The game count is a big thing for me, though I do enjoy baseball.

    I get the intellectual thing w/ baseball. Theres a lot of dynamics there with player/pitcher matchups, etc.

    Same can be said for football though.

    Also, football is interesting to me because every decision that every player on the field is important to the play. Not necessarily true with baseball.

    A matter of preference, no doubt

    Hockey still beats them all for pure entertainment value.


  2. butterflyeffect Says:

    all sports played at a high level with a well-developed set of rules are awesome IMHO

    the NFL has got the parity thing down pretty well though, MLB is kind of rough at the moment, although we all know this

    i can’t hit out of the sand to save my fuckin life. just epic, epic fail every time. i know the whole scoop the dollar thing, and follow through, and swing full, but it eats me alive

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    well said butter

    I do like being at baseball games in person

    it’s fun having an NFL fan wife huh @b? almost as rare as a phish fan wife.

    making the season longer is the worst idea in ages.

    certainly the preference between the two sports is a personal one

    but analytically speaking it isn’t open to debate which one is more complex strategically. football has vastly more possible permutations of decision and outcome. the fact that at most 4 players on offense are taking action is one factor that leads to this; also, the possible actions available to each player except the pitcher are vastly fewer. And when you compare the possible choices a pitcher has to that of a QB, well…

    complexity in a game is approximately equal to the number of possible situations times the number of possible actions available in those situations

    literally orders of magnitude different

    I’m not saying that makes it better in any objective way – though that’s part of what makes it better for me

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    “the fact that at most 4 players on offense are taking action”

    ^^^ in baseball, obv

    and 3 of them only have a binary decision, advance or don’t advance

  5. Foul_Domain Says:

    @aw – I went to my first cubs game in Chicago last year.

    It was fuckin awesome. That place just drips baseball history, and you could really feel that Wrigley Field was a special place. The history there is almost palpable.

    Great, great experience for sure.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’ll stop with the game theory nerd stuff

    I almost pursued a career as a game designer at one point so I get pretty into that kind of analysis, which interests almost no one else

  7. butter Says:

    a bunker is a bunker

    Dustin Johnson was juiced with adrenaline and lost track of where he was

    (didn’t help that those fans were standing in it)

    yes, golf has rules you need to follow, but you call the penalty on yourself….kinda the opposite of “flopping” in basketball

    it is true now with the crazy media era we are in, that fans watching golf, call in to narc out rules violations, that they watched

    the rules officials do review after the narcing and have applied penalties. The player was supposed to have called that penalty on themselves, though. Its still really nothing that’s up for debate, the rules are quite clear.

  8. butterflyeffect Says:

    @C the complexity in baseball, outside of managerial decisions a la lineups, defensive positioning, bullpen management, etc., is all about hitting IMO. it is so fucking hard to hit a baseball. so many things have to go right. obviously this is in no way as complex an operation at a team level as a simple off tackle run, but on an individual level, on the development of hand-eye coordination, i find it very complex and stimulating.

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    Baseball is boring as hell and has outstayed it’s welcome. Football is just ridiculously more entertaining. When baseball first started kids also had fun kicking cans down the street. I’ll take football and a psp thank you very much.

  10. Foul_Domain Says:

    It hasnt stopped snowing here (north of Toronto) for 2 days.

    Im starting to wonder what would happen if it just kept going….

    There was a state of emergency about 4 hours west because it snowed so hard and for so long that the snow plows had to give up on the highways.

    over 300 drivers were stranded on the side of the road – some for as long as 2 days. A lot of them ran out of gas and had to be rescued by the mighty Canadian military helicopters (yes, all 3 of them)

    what a nightmare!

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    hitting a professionally pitched baseball is one of the most difficult athletic tasks in the world for sure, absolutely no doubt about that

    it’s not strategically complex, though there are obviously some tactics involved. it’s a magnificent athletic feat, but not a strategic operation.

    all of the other things you mention as complexity have analogs in all other team sports

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    oh, hear me, sages of the blackboard, and provide advice on a most perilous lament!

    I have a 120GB portable HD which houses my day-to-day music needs (amongst other things – including some personal docs I don’t want on my work computer). Today I went to plug it into my laptop and found that the connection for the usb on the hard drive side has snapped off and now rattles devilishly inside the encasement.

    am I shit outta luck with this drive or do you think I can get the data salvaged by a “pro”? I have had drives transferred before where the thing stopped working, but haven’t tried with one where the connection is gone.

    it’s not the value of the thing but the documents (and music) lost if this is in fact dead.

    Help my BBers, you’re my primary hope!

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    Hitting a baseball is a hard thing to do but not very entertaining to me. I also recognize that NASCAR drivers have a hard job but that doesn’t mean it’s interesting to watch.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    tactics being such things as whether to bunt, if you try to pull it or swinging defensively etc

    the equivalents being e.g. a hot-read made by a QB in the heat of the play – not a strategic decision, a tactical one

    sorry, more game theory nerd stuff, I’ll stop for real now

  15. Dublin97 Says:

    On the complexity of the game, baseball is sport much more dependent on psychology. Players are always battling statistics and averages, going through slumps, or on streaks. Then you have the stress in key moments of the game. For the most part, I find it a very boring sport to watch, but when things are intense, the slow pace actually adds to the game.

    Football is so fast-paced (when they are not huddling up – ugh, boring) that there is little time for that suspense to build.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    @t3, that should be doable by a data recovery pro I bet

    having a broken I/O widget is much less serious than a real drive failure. the data is probaby uncorrupted

    I bet you’re fine

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    gonna have a busy afternoon

    been fun BSing with you guys

    I just finished today’s Free – wow, yeah, that’s epic

  18. butterflyeffect Says:

    yes you are Completely right about strategy vs. tactics in football vs. baseball C

    certainly could never argue that there is more strategy in baseball than in football, most of it comes down to, as i said, hittin that ball

    the “complexity” of the operation (tactic), of the time investment to get to a place where one can make hitting that 91 mph cutter on the inside corner out of the park look simplistic, is what gets me, and is what i was driving at

    not to mention that the relatively static nature of baseball allows for much more in depth statistical analysis, which gets wonderfully complex and i love.

  19. Chuck D Says:

    i’ve always wanted to tweek baseball just a bit (sorry purists) to make it more interesting. for instance

    1. move first base up 5 feet (or just making it 6 feet long, in the direction towards home.) i unscientifically estimate that 20% more people will get on base. how many people get out by a half step? a lot. speedy ground ball hitters will see improved success in this anti-steroid era.

    2. foul balls fill up the count. fouls fill balls first to 3, then strikes to 2… would speed up the game by just a handful of pitches, gets hitters into a full count sooner. full count = tension = excitement.

  20. butterflyeffect Says:

    but yes enough hogging the BB with this BS

  21. Jtran Says:

    Does 6/25/97 fly under the radar or is it just me?

    This set II is so $$$

  22. garretc Says:

    LLFA, speaking of kicking cans, @Guyute, the Colonel Forbin’s Narration from 3/25/93 just came on and, shockingly enough, it contains references to kicking cans!

  23. Mr.Palmer Says:

    butterfly- you got mail…..

  24. albert walker Says:

    anyone looking for an under the radar summer 97 show I attended that one of Miner’s post got me into

    check out 7/29/97 Desert Sky Pavilion

    unique set list with several great open jams

    laterz kids
    back to the grind

  25. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ^^ besides hitting Vegas a few times, my only other west coast Phish show.

    I will confirm it’s creativity.

Leave a Reply