TTFF: First Set Fire

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

This Friday’s installment of Ten Tunes was inspired by Twitter banter between fans and fellow Phish bloggers throughout the week about the band’s most devastating first set jams. Though I didn’t want to repeat songs, I did bookend the playlist with “Bathtub Gin” (and a couple more could have easily made it as well). This list is hardly comprehensive as its comprised of only ten jams, but these are some of my favorite first setters in history. May these tunes assist you in your ticket-finding missions today and tomorrow! (And join the conversations—follow me @mrminer on Twitter!)


Bathtub Gin” 7.29.98

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

The Riverport “Gin” gets my vote for the best opener in history.



Ghost” 11.17.97

And Denver’s “Ghost” from ’97 gets my vote for best first set jam in history; and can be in any sort of discussion about elite performances.



Tweezer” 6.24.00

10.31.10 II (G.Lucas)

10.31.10 II (G.Lucas)

Lakewood’s “Tweezer” from 2000 isn’t far behind; a top-shelf version through and through.



Gumbo” 8.13.97

My favorite “Gumbo;” gooey summer funk followed by a melodic release in a “Franklin’s Tower”-esque jam.



Tube > Slave” 12.7.97

3.09 (J.Volckhausen)

Dayton’s set-ending combo needs no introduction.



Ya Mar” 8.2.03 IT

Phish often dove deep early in the show in 2003, and this “Ya Mar” from IT is but one example.



Down With Disease” 12.11.97

12.30.2010 (G. Lucas)

A classic jam from Rochester ’97; hard rock into dripping brain candy.



Mike’s Song” 11.22.97

The opener from Hampton’s iconic show on 11.22.97.



Weekapaug” 4.3.98

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

And The Island Run’s “Crosseyed” and “Mozambique”-laced “Weekapaug;” arguably its most impressive outing of all-time.



Bathtub Gin” 6.28.00

This shredfest from Summer 2000 at PNC is too fierce to leave off this list.



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1,801 Responses to “TTFF: First Set Fire”

  1. mitch Says:

    wow. cant believe they banned pitbulls. that drops them a hefty peg in my book. funny after the topic last night about getting a pitbull. i’m thinking full size schnauzer so jackson has a twin when i get out of the city tho.

  2. Foul_Domain Says:

    correction: Sec 301 Darien

  3. KWL Says:

    as i said last night, spike lee’s 5 year follow up to when the levees broke, called if god is willing and da creek don’t rise, highly rec’d. also 4 hrs long. currently on the nerd & out on video last week.

  4. Foul_Domain Says:

    there is no problem with pitbulls (the breed that is). The problems that arise are caused by the assholes that mistreat them and/or buy them for the wrong reasons

  5. KWL Says:

    morning folks. thanks for the tunes miner. my favorite opener might be the denver 97 tweezer. could also be my favorite first set

  6. Foul_Domain Says:

    Hey KWL

    I might agree with you on that Tweez, but that Riverport Gin is pretty sick. But maybe Im now biased because I just finished listening to it…

    Nice tunes today Miner!

  7. bouncin fan Says:

    Pit bulls are being banned cuz bored racist house wives are scared of all things ghetto

  8. ma Says:


    @win butler,

    cold brewing coffee…been doing this going on 16 years now.
    you need a toddy system….go to toddy products dot com

    fill with a lb of your finest, add water, let soak for 24 hours, and drain.
    this is your concentrate. empty into a gallon pitcher and fill with water.


  9. ma Says:


    actually its toddy cafe dot com

  10. KWL Says:

    just to make sure, today is LA at 10PT/1EST and tahoe at noon PT/3EST

  11. win butler Says:

    Totally trying that. Tho it’ll take just as long. D’oh

  12. ma Says:

    yeah but you don’t have to brew every day….only once every 7- 10 days depending on how much you consume

  13. nonoyolker Says:

    Stay gold Riverport Gin, stay gold.

    A real bute up in Boston today – first real nice day all year. 72 and sunny, everyone has a little zippidee-doo-dah in their step. I did a Dreben heel click on my walk to work, despite the mild hangover. Whole attitude of the city changes this time of year – pretty awesome.

    Phish fast has begun in prep for summer – no more than 1 hr of phish a day, to be weened down as Bethel approaches. Painful, but necessary

  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    I agree with Miner a ton here. The riverport Gin was a stunner opener, musically. MSG 2002 … as the first notes of Piper hit … Explosive. Absolutely explosive.

    Fall ’97 was the tour of awesome first sets.

    I love the Dayton It’s ice -> Steep -> Swept Away -> It’s ice almost as much as the Tube bustout. Almost.

    Any list with two Gins in it is a good list.

  15. MisterChristian Says:

    nonoyolker called it. I’m south of Boston right now and the air is delish. This is a treat after the sidways rain of yesterday. I’m not forgetting those poor souls in tornado alley though 🙁

    Soooo I just got accepted for the Super Ball Work Exchange Team. Is anyone else on board with this? Anyone work with WET before and have any suggestions or heads up on what to expect?

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    The opening notes of Denver’s Tweez says “Strap in” for sure.

  17. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Hey Gang- Great tunes here today Miner. Killer-diller.

    Hitting the water today to go look for bass. 2 MRIs in this week and no answers on my headaches. “Abnormality in front right part of brain” Freaking me the fuck out. Fishing will distract as will these righteous jams.

    Got GREAT news on another front. We have got a healthy 13 wk old growing in Mrs. Spaz belly. Can’t believe it. We have struggled in this regard and this is the best we have done so far.

    Good luck on tix folks. We will be getting the fuck down before we know it.

    Peace and happiness on a beautiful Friday folks. Live IT.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Camden ’03 Scents is an incredible 1st set jam as well, but i understand not including it. Its been talked about a lot.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Spaz- congrats on the great news.

    I had headache issues 5 years ago. Most intense pain i’ve felt in my life for a month straight. In the back of my head. Literally debilitating . Had a slew of tests, MRi, Cat scans, fucking spinal taps, nothing.

    Finally sent me to an orthopedic who determined it was some nerve damage in neck from an old sports injury. Prescribed me a bunch of daizapam ( valium) . Headaches went away. Still flareup from time to time though.

  20. BTB Says:

    Congrats, SWaiter

    Congrats to this GIN as well. Face melted even before I had my coffee.

  21. KWL Says:

    congrats spaz! and good luck

  22. nonoyolker Says:

    @ MisterChristian – true, thoughts go out to those poor people in tornado country. Just unbelievable.

    Never worked the exchange, but you get in free correct? Sweet deal if you are on a budget.

    Good vibes to you Spasm. I recently did a few studies with chronic migraines in adults and adolescents (chronic is 15 or > migraine days a month for at least 4 hrs per day). Feel for you man, sounds like an incredibly unbearable and life altering condition. Still not a lot know as far as why, unless its a situation like Mr P with a sports injury. Good vibes and congrats on the bundle of joy

  23. nate Says:

    when I think of hot show openers the first thing that comes to mind is the Miami 03 piper!

  24. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Thanks for the positive thoughts boys. Getting results on 2nd MRI today. Fingers crossed.

  25. BeantownBoy Says:

    Gotta agree with nono and mC that the weather in boston, today, is incredible. I drove to work with the sunroof open and pumping Providence’s R&R! Great way to start the Friday for what should be an epic blowout weekend of debauchery with celebrations planned throughout with my on Sunday.

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