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

Tags: ,

749 Responses to “Casualties Of This Era”

  1. mitch Says:

    anyone active on the 8.8 torrent from the other night? i got nada.

  2. mitch Says:

    btw if anyone cares, i can see my floor again. still half of my bed taken up but it’s coming along. feelin good.

  3. KWL Says:

    i have always loved the IT bowie. gonna have to put that one side by side with a couple from 10

  4. mitch Says:

    its not 1995 forever?

    Give me a word
    Give me a sign
    Show me where to look
    Tell me what will I find

    2010 is 1995. i time warped through gamehendge time factory. phish thoughts looks way diff in ’95.

  5. fat bastard Says:

    roll it like the other one. you’ve been holding on to it, and i sure would like a hit! don’t bogart that joint my friend! pass it over to me pass it over to me!

    Little Feat

  6. willowed Says:

    If I could wrap myself in this 11/22 Halley’s I would be a happtyman for the rest of my days.

    My wife and I have an agreement (no joke), If I ever get into an accident or something in which I’m in a coma and potential to be a veggie, I tolld her to play the Phish Destroys America mix for a week. This may sound like I’m joking but we’ve talked about it to the point that it will be in a will. I am not the kind of person that can be hooked to tubes and machines.

    If I don’t come too after the music, pull the plug.
    I lived a good life. I have seen a lot of things and loved a wonderful person and had beautiful children.

  7. phoammhead Says:


    as in kegorator

    i know i’m talkin’ in tongues – lol!

  8. willowed Says:

    not sure why I shared that. Sorry about being a downer but does anyone else feel like that?

    Somehow I feel music can spark a repsonse from someone who may be non-responsive?

  9. Bwana Says:

    @willowed. just saw your coma comment. sounds like a perfect idea actually. if there’s one thing that can bridge multiple dimensions it’s music. and the familiarity you have with Phish might resonate enough to bring you back… and if not, then you’ve made a mature decision ahead of time. i think all those conversations about death are worth having while we’re still here and can communicate with loved ones.

  10. garretc Says:

    Ok, ok ok. Stop what you’re doing. Yes, even you. This is more important:

    Step 1: Queue up any sick Phish jam.

    Step 2: Watch this video of Mark Madsen dancing (put it on mute of course).

    Wouldn’t surprise me if he actually goes to Phish shows… Most likely place to pick up moves like that?

  11. willowed Says:

    I am absolutely not trying to make light of these grave situations.

    I just feel (to me anyway) that music is such an emotional thing. It really moves me. If my wife or my childrens voice doesn’t pop a response (if something happens to me), play some jams, If that doesn’t work….nothing will.

  12. garretc Says:

    Of course, the video would be handy…

  13. willowed Says:

    I’m glad you understand Bwana

  14. mitch Says:

    link helps garret 😉

    willowed, good thinking. i’ll tell em to run it for a week or 2 just in case. once they think my body should have been chill enough to wake up. i’m an organ donor. dont want em jackin me too quick for my goods.

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    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…

    ^ I could do this Frankie…maybe a poscast every week? A new idea….what’s a “podcast?” Just a single mp3 track?

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    @fb i just deleted my post. so I deleted yours too.

  17. mitch Says:

    ^these were linked from that. good stuff too. looks like willowed.

  18. mitch Says:

    ^did he say niggas?

  19. ChefBradford Says:

    IT Bowie was blistering, IIRC

  20. willowed Says:

    Hey, hey Mitch

    I looked sort of almost like that guy but not really

  21. Bwana Says:

    yeah I understand willowed. i actually have a close friend whose sister just recently lost her husband. he was driving in Wyoming and hit black ice and spun out. he fell into a coma and even had he come out of it would have been a vegetable for the rest of his life. after a few days his family honored “his request” and took him off life support. apparently, they had a similar conversation that you are talking about years before the accident actually happened. incredibly sad to lose a loved one that way — but in some way having the conversation about what to do in that situation beforehand gives some closure for the family left behind.

  22. willowed Says:

    That’s why we should always live it to the fullest boys and girls.

    No regrets!!

  23. willowed Says:

    good night all

  24. mitch Says:

    miner, podcasts are something you host that can be subscribed to. theres a podcast creator on snow leopard server but thats a little more than you need. we should look into details but you could do a voiceover for a bit with some tracks in-between. or have callers call in like a radio show, ha.

  25. plord Says:

    Spotty participation on my part tonight, sorry, but there was cake you see…

    The NBA puts out a fine product but when was the last time a season wasn’t 90%+ chalk? The Warriors taking down the Mavs, yeah, that was cool, but they flamed out way before hoisting the trophy. Since then…remind me, I’m just not seeing it. Griffin being a complete beast isn’t going to lift the Clippers to a title anytime soon. Ditto Kevin Love and the Wolves. The only reason to watch Cleveland was Lebron, unless you like slow motion trainwreck footage in which case this season you lurve the Cavs. and so forth.

    College hoops can still bring legitimate surprises. Last year we had Northern Iowa, Cornell, AND St. Mary’s go further than Kansas. And Butler come within 4 inches of taking the whole damn shooting match.

    Yeah, the players are pros in everything but name and paycheck. and the NCAA governing body is the biggest bunch of self-service asshats on earth unless you think that title goes to the BCS. But the tournament is the shit.

    The NCAA, in spirit and in practice, are a bunch of whoremongering asshats topped in self-serving ignorance only by the members of the BCS.

Leave a Reply