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. halcyon Says:

    Thanks Gdad….

    gettin out of work in a bit then getting ready to fly out before the crack of dawn tomorrow.

  2. butter Says:

    Good post Ybor, thanks for some world perspective from someone that knows these places that have been bombed by al queda, that really makes it seem more real

  3. mitch Says:

    my mom wouldnt let me get jncos. and she bought my clothes so i didnt really have a say. i tried.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sneak peak of Live in Utica. David Bowie

  5. Monsterpus Says:

    Too much time on my hands thought if the day: it’d be interesting if at least once a tour, they (the PH from VT) picked an old show, say from 90-94, and played it again. It’d be a cool gimmick and they could unite the old with the new by playing a classic set in a new style. Kinda like their own DSO. ‘Phish-recreating classic Phish shows in their entirety!’

  6. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I would pay cold hard dollars to see them play the Bomb Factory second set again, which I assume read:

    Loving Cup, Sparkle>Tweezer->??????????->Reprise?

  7. voopa Says:

    ‘Phish-recreating classic Phish shows in their entirety!’

    Fucking hilarious!

  8. phoammhead Says:

    blowing through this grass! 😉

  9. snowbank Says:

    It’s really slow in here today. What if OBL was using several handles here to communicate with Al-Qaeda?

    I kid, i Kid…

  10. phoammhead Says:

    sweet avatar snowbank . . . . hell yeah!

  11. Guyute711 Says:

    “Guyute – sorry to hear about the gig man. you don’t wanna live up there by Bhizzle?”

    I lived up there most of my life. I don’t feel like there is really anything up there for me at this point. Besides I heard their subs suck. 🙂

  12. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I’m outta here. Stay classy, folks.


  13. Selector J Says:

    re: reggae mixes
    @mitch Check the Volcano mixes out on this page:

    Gotta scroll down past the interview about the book (great interview, btw) and you’ll see the huge playlists for each of the 2 parts.

    They are a super pain in the ass to download (6 zip files total) but it is 4 hours of seriously awesome reggae from the early 80s. It’s all singles from the Volcano label which were recorded at Channel One studio with the Roots Radics backing and Junjo Lawes producing.

    Absolutely killer tracks from a guy that really knows his stuff (Jayman).
    Definitely way better than anything I’ve ever put together.
    I’ve got a couple mixes in my mediafire (my name links) in case you don’t believe me. :mrgreen:

  14. Monsterpus Says:

    Listening to the 7/1/97 Dublin show. This Cities is super slow-I like it! I remember seeing the Va Beach show that year and being so thrown off by the new sound

  15. mitch Says:

    getting em now. thanks dude.

  16. sumodie Says:

    !!!!Shakedown!!!! 12.31.84 San Francisco (from So Many Roads) -crank it up to 11 and buckle in for a psychedelic ride

    not to mention all of Road Trips vol. 1 thus far, which includes another sick Shakedown

    guess springtime is awakening my passion for Grateful Dead

    Bethel, hippie bitches!

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “guess springtime is awakening my passion for Grateful Dead”

    Funny you say this, i was thinking the same thing myself the other day. Spring is a very Grateful Dead season. They always had those great March runs all over the NE.

    When was the last Phish Spring tour?

  18. Monsterpus Says:

    The Dead do have a Springy-ness to them. Phish seems more like the extremes of Summer and New Years in the NE

  19. Selector J Says:

    ” It’s all singles from the Volcano label…”

    Wrong. (oops)
    Correction: It’s a mix of Volcano singles and live performances from the Volcano Hi-Power sound system hence the rougher sound quality on some tunes.

    Gotta love it, though. All of the tunes on the mix would have “debuted” on Volcano Hi-Power before they were in stores. Part of what makes all the music from Jamaica so damn good is that it has to pass the “dance test.” If the song sucked, the crowd would tell you right away. If they loved it, they’d let you know, too, so only the best tunes made it to the shelves.

  20. albert walker Says:

    that looks great Selector. still need to grab it.

    that new Pressure Sounds Scratch release is $$$$$ btw

    thanks for the heads up

  21. Monsterpus Says:

    Selector-Have you read ‘This is Reggae Music’ by Lloyd Bradley? It’s *very* thorough. Goes through all the social, economic, artistic & political elements of Jamaican culture and music. I’m about half way through. For me it’s a little academic and dry, but still great and I’d recommend it

  22. phoammhead Says:

    whew! grass mowed . . . smoked it! 🙂

  23. sumodie Says:

    O summer tour countdown clock where art thou?

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    @guyute – i’d like to say that you’d know it cause you met me for all of a few hours but i hope you know that my tongue is planted firmly in cheek or being sarcastic about half the time i’m on this board. sarcasm is hard to capture online. but yeah, in general i’m mildly breaking balls much of the time…kind of a Junior Varsity AW as it were.

    my sincerity is usually in direct ratio to the length of my posts. but you all knew that ;P

    -“the rambler”

    and in total sincerity….don’t know what your line of work is guyute but I know HarryHood’s company is hiring and Burlington aint a bad place for a new chapter (that is, unless you dont like winter, which means you only like Burlington for about 4 months of the year!)

  25. Selector J Says:

    That Scratch release is indeed a 5x$. PS outdid themselves. REally great stuff on that one.

    If you feel like you didn’t spend enough money on it, I just found out yesterday that you can order the limited edition silk screen cover from their website “only” 23 GBPs… The Scratch-enhanced cover is kinda worth it, though.

    They’ve got postcards and t-shirts, too. (Yes, Pressure Sounds custied my ass hard.)

    Haven’t checked that out yet. I’ve definitely seen it. Sounds right up my alley. The context of the music is at least as fascinating as the actual music to me.

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