One Crazy Summer

8.10.10 - Telluride, CO (G. Lucas)

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Phish will travel the long and winding road of Summer 2011. Totaling 30 shows right now, and with one more announcement on the horizon, this will be the largest tour the band has undertaken since their return. Granted their are breaks in between the four portions of shows, but when the band plays together this much within a short period of time, magic begins to happen in a different way. Regardless of how well Phish is playing at the time, there is only so far their jamming will go in the context of a 14 show tour like last fall. But when you combine nearly 35 shows within one season of playing, musical trends develop, improvisational themes emerge, and styles of play become crystallized as a portrait of a point in time.

Summer '93 (Pollock)

Think back to the longer tours of the mid-’90s when the band toured incessantly. The iconic months of August ’93, November ’94, and December ’95 didn’t pop out of nowhere, rather they were a direct result of extensive touring and constant improvising night after night after night. And while Summer 2011 can’t replicate the group dynamic that arose over a 54-show fall tour in 1995, the countless shows that comprised the winter, spring and summer of 1993, the number of shows does correlate much more with summer tours of the late ’90s.

Phish’s 1997 Summer Tour consisted of 38 shows (19 in Europe), Summer ’98 equaled 33 shows (9 in Europe), Summer ’99 clocked in 23 shows (3 in Japan), while the band’s Summer Tour of 2000 was comprised of 25 shows (7 in Japan). Add the 30 shows already on this summer’s slate with a few more around Labor Day, and Summer 2011 lands right in the same ball park as many well-loved summers of lore. Over the course of these previous summers, though less so in 2000, distinct jamming styles developed with such focused playing. Could we be looking an earnest stage of musical change this summer? With the tightness, creativity and momentum of Fall Tour and New Year’s Run in tow, alongside successful side-projects from Trey and Mike, the band could be on the brink of quite the memorable season.

7.4.10 - Alpharetta, GA (W.Rogell)

Starting in Bethel, slated through UIC in mid-August, and rumored to end in Colorado around Labor Day, any way you cut it, Summer 2011 is shaping up to be a monster. With that much time on stage together, things will happen that are unplanned, go unspoken, and will bring surprise to everyone, band included. This amount of playing, though broken up into four segments over three months, will still provide a certain density of improvisational minutes unseen by the band since their return. Might we witness some of their most impressive playing thus far in this era? In my opinion, the odds are high. Broken into legs of 18 shows, a three-show festival throwdown, and nine shows, where the treasures will arise is anyone’s guess. And legitimate theories could be posed as to why each of  the three scheduled segments will blow up. Whether it be classic East Coast venues and the most shows at once, a super-sized festival, or the inspiration of west coast nature, each part of summer seems to have its own perks and potential. Pick and choose where you must, but remember, it’s about the shows you hit, not the ones you miss! (Most of the time.)


Jam of the Day:

Twist -> Izabella” 7.31.98 II

A classic summer nugget from Polaris ’98.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



7.20.1998 Venura Co. Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA

FLAC Torrent (via etree)Megaupload < Links

Ventura 1998

Highlights of Ventura ’98 include the opening “Bathtub Gin” (Riverport’s little brother), “Drowned -> Makisupa,” a rare appearance of The Who’s “Sea and Sand,” and “Harry Hood.”

I: Bathtub Gin, Dirt, Poor Heart, Lawn Boy, My Sweet One, Birds of a Feather, Theme From the Bottom, Water in the Sky, The Moma Dance, Split Open and Melt

II: Drowned -> Makisupa Policeman > Maze, Sea and Sand, Prince Caspian > Harry Hood

E: Sexual Healing* > Hold Your Head Up, Halley’s Comet


Source:AKG c568eb (OTS, pointed at stacks) -> Aerco Pre-Amp -> Sony D-8 @ 48KHz


521 Responses to “One Crazy Summer”

  1. jdub Says:

    Well they both cook @ Sumo. I ran through the Caspian>St. Stephens>Eleven tonight as well and just can’t get enough of this run whenever I dive in.

    Hearing Phil sing Prince Causepian is spooky as hell. He should take Chris Wood’s cue and just play bass. But I love him regardless.

  2. Guyute711 Says:

    8-7-93 Maze, I love this f’n show!!!!!

  3. jdub Says:

    Can’t go wrong with 8/7/93 @Guyute.

  4. jdub Says:

    Edit: can’t go wrong with August ’93

  5. Guyute711 Says:

    My first show and still way up there in the favorite shows category.

  6. kenny powers Says:

    this just in:

    on the new Japan SBD, the 15:00-16:15 breakdown section in Bowie sounds incredible on a really nice pair of headphones. Every Fishman cowbell, hi-hat, and tom hit rattles around the entire 360 degree sound field, and Trey’s freaky staccato notes dart everywhere.

    totally sonic immersion.

  7. thedayman Says:

    i know i’m tardy to the party, but i absolutely love the IT waves. really hoping for a superball waves…

  8. jdub Says:

    I haven’t immersed in the BB/Internet too much lately. I forgot for a while the crazy, instantaneous, interconnectedness of random freaks around the country/world. With that said, nice @KP. Isn’t technology grand.

  9. Corey Says:

    chillin in Ocracoke, outerbanks, nc.

    can’t go wrong with anything on 8.7.93, just saying…

    buddy is in beirut, the band…sad to miss him and phish out west.

    off to camp under the stars…

  10. jdub Says:

    It Waves is timeless. Superball ix will transcend and include all that Phish has been. No expectations of course. 😉

    sleep well freaks. To bed I go.

  11. RandomReader Says:

    Evening, folks. I’m here with a little hypothetical to pose to you all. Suppose a friend came to you and said, “Show me why you love Phish the way you do. Come over to my house for an afternoon and play me whatever you want.”

    What do you play for him/her?

  12. Monsterpus Says:

    @RR-The Island tour. If that doesn’t grab them, then the studio version of Bouncin

  13. joe Says:

    And don’t be afraid to spike their cocktail with something strong

  14. joe Says:

    I guess I’d play them 1/1/11 and say this is what’s going on right now…

  15. thedayman Says:

    i agree with the island run suggestion. i would say 12/31/95 up until recently, purely because i have fallen in love with the 98 sound.

  16. Monsterpus Says:

    In my experience, it’s hard to get people into PH/GD out of the blue. Most people unfamiliar with the music have a lot of preconceived notions about the band and fans (some of which are admittedly true), but the image stands in their way of hearing the music with an open mind.

  17. thedayman Says:

    yeah 1/1/11, great call, quality mix of jams and song selection in that one, not to mention the blissful simple

  18. RandomReader Says:

    Agreed monsterpus, but this isn’t something I’ve pushed – it was 100% her idea. Actually caught me by surprise.

  19. joe Says:

    …If you are trying to woo said friend, then I’d go with Farmhouse from Worcester this winter. It was makeout central in our section for that one.

  20. RandomReader Says:

    I’m leaning towards making a mix of choice cuts from 09/10 – in part because it represents the current sound (and i’m also trying to get this person to come to Camden in June), and in part because the thought of going through a whole bunch of years and putting together just a couple hours’ worth of gems sounds exhausting

  21. Monsterpus Says:

    Oh, then you’re golden. Good luck! 1/1/11 does seem to be a good choice. Can’t get any fresher

  22. RandomReader Says:

    interesting. never crossed my mind that Phish could be wooing music. baby-makin’ music, yes.

  23. RandomReader Says:

    not that i’m … ok, nevermind.

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hey BB

    What is up tonight?

  25. ChefBradford Says:

    I would do a mix of live stuff from as many eras as possible, along with choice studio cuts (there are a fair number, believe it or not)

Leave a Reply