Casualties Of This Era

8.5.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Though Phish’s modern era has brought us new jam vehicles in “Light” and “Number Line,” it has also seen several fade away. Aside from the well-documented castration of “Mike’s Song,” three other crowd-favorites have completely lost their sense of adventure—”Halley’s Comet,” “Gumbo” and “Free.” The former two have returned to their pre-1997 form, while the latter has inexplicably shrunk into a Phish single. Because of its history, I think “Free” still has a chance to bust out, but, it feels like “Halley’s and “Gumbo” jams may be gone forever.

8.10.10 (G. Lucas)

Both “Halley’s Comet” and “Gumbo” improvisational jaunts were byproducts of the late-’90s era of groove and band’s post-hiatus “we’ll jam anything” policy. But when comparing current versions of these songs to the first decade plus of their lives, they look exactly the same. “Halley’s” was traditionally a four-minute launchpad into larger musical happenings, and “Gumbo,” until 1997, featured the same ragtime ending that closes the piece today. Thus, it seems that their improvisational gravestone will read “1997 – 2004.” But what a run it was. Both songs blossomed with The Cowfunk Revolution of ’97 and hosted stellar adventures for six years before appearing in 2009 as their retro selves. The only out-of-the-ordinary version of either song came in June ’09, at the anti-climactic Fox show, when Phish opened the second set with an extended, but straight-forward, “Halley’s Comet.”

“Free” is another case all together. There is really no logical explanation for its compact modern shape. Moving from Mike’s bass solo right into the closing chords of the former jam, the band has put nothing whatsoever into this song since they have come back. During the song’s early years of ’95 and ’96, Page took charge of its soupy psychedelia with strong piano leads while Trey often jumped to percussion. Though some versions of the song grew significant (see 6.26.95 as a prime example), more often than not, the jam didn’t reach highlight-reel territory. Nonetheless, there was always a jam.

10.12.10 - Broomfield (B.Perry)

And then in 1997, the year “Halley’s” and “Gumbo” sprang to life, the same rhythmic shift turned “Free” into a vehicle for thunderous funk throwdowns. Between the years of ’97 and ’04, the beginning of “Free” sparked wide-eyed anticipation from the audience as they waiting for Mike’s bass solo to dissolve into another world. Trey would swoop in with an idea and the band would take off amidst a thick joyride that always pumped a show full of energy. But since 2009, there has been no semblance of a jam. Refusing to let the song breathe at all, Trey has smothered the piece for no apparent reason. Sometimes used tactfully as a landing pad for deeper exploration, “Free’s” place in the setlist has also been obtrusive in this era, often appearing in the second set and breaking up the flow as a stand-alone rock song. On New Year’s Eve, Trey decided to vamp over the funk for approximately 12 seconds before taking a left turn back into the chorus. But just for that moment, it was clear that Phish could blow the roof off with the song at any minute, and the I believe that the version we’ve been waiting for is coming this year.

Hopefully I’m wrong about “Halley’s” and “Gumbo,” and 2011 will bring the return of all three of these former show stoppers, but if we get one out of three, it will be a success.


Jam of the Day:

Tube” 9.15.00 II

Though I doubt the band will ever reach the length of this Hershey version again, while we are on the topic of songs that could use some loving, how ’bout a longer “Tube?”




5.3.1991 Somerville Theatre, Somerville, Massachusetts SBD

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Sticking with the old-school theme, here is another soundboard from back in the day.

I: Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Chalk Dust Torture, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, The Divided Sky, Fee, Paul and Silas, Tweezer, The Lizards, Sweet Adeline

II: AC/DC Bag, The Curtain > Sloth, Landlady, Runaway Jim, Tela, You Enjoy Myself, Harpua, Tweezer Reprise

E: Take the ‘A’ Train > BBFCFM

Source: SBD

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749 Responses to “Casualties Of This Era”

  1. garretc Says:

    Great Free. This here is a quality show!

  2. Mdawg Says:

    @ Guyute “Nothing about the people who play now excites me.”

    Derrick Rose says no

  3. butter Says:

    there was just enough special sauce after the Mike bass solo of MSG Free to let us know it’s a possibility

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    my kid found my alpine cu$ty badge from the dvd. Whats the deal with the milk bottle? I’m assuming it has something to do with Wisconsin and cheese and dairy in general? wtf?

  5. butter Says:

    don’t think its much deeper than that Palmer, they lead with their cheese and milk in WI

  6. Frankie Says:

    Been listening to this type II podcast and having fun hearing about their Best of 2010… They don’t play the whole jams though, which kinda sucks…

    Mr. Miner, I know we’ve talked about it before but I still think it would be really cool if you hosted your own podcast, ala the From The Archives shows…

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    This is the state of pop music today.

    I saw this headline earlier.

    ” Britney plans on singing live on her next tour!”

    how awful is that?

  8. phoammhead Says:

    that’s hilarious MrP – wtf!

  9. phoammhead Says:

    it’s almost time to rumble!!!

    unc v dook!

  10. phoammhead Says:

    who’s got a link to that jacque torrent deally

    phoamm at gmail

  11. fat bastard Says:

    ya gotta watch d rose for 5 games. then you’ll know.

  12. fat bastard Says:

    diggin this earl sixteen from selector. sometimes you hear stuff so good you can’t believe you never heard it before. money

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    no idea what that is @ phoam.

    D. Rose is nasty. great player. Probably MVP of the league right now. This coming form a knick fan.

    Hoyas/Cuse coming down to wire. Miner vs Guyute711

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    gtown with the win. they are hot. Cuse is not.

  15. Guyute711 Says:

    Fucking nice collapse from the vets on the team. They should have left the freshman in the game.

  16. fat bastard Says:

    i bet my friend 100 bucks on mvp ive got d rose he’s got LBJ.
    we also bet college player of the year i go ferdette he’s got sullinger.
    i think im wining both

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I think your looking good FB. Too early to call mvp in nba though.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sam Adams- “Lattitude 48 IPA” anyone try this brew before? Someone left a six pack of it here this weekend.

  19. Dunwoody Says:

    I’ve probably been gone too long for this to be a timely or relevant response, but to those who objected to my post on Page 1 (saying that Bowie is another casualty of the era), I stand by my original post. 2010 saw some high-energy Bowies, but nothing I would deem genuinely exploratory. True, some of them got the “2010 treatment” (as another poster called it), but none of them truly left the standard path. Like Mike’s, Bowie used to be something to get excited for. No longer, imo. I’m sure that will change though–Phish songs always go through cycles like that.

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Good home win for the Irish, even if it took until ot for them to take over. Gotta love having five seniors who can control the game when it matters

  21. fat bastard Says:

    bowie is like an old friend

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    nice win t3. ND and G town sem to be the 2 hottest teams in the BE right now.

    some truth there @ dunwoody. I thought Utica was pretty exploratory but i could be wrong. stupid memory. AC was tremendous, not sure if it left structure though.

    about to get some Bowie>Cities>Bowie action.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    Pretty sure I read a bunch of Syracuse love on here earlier….suckas 😉

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    7 straight

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    Congrats miner it was a good win for your boys. Cuse will be back, there is a lot of basketball still to be played.

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