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. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Hi, tela’s, what’s up? Were talking about Tahoe housing earlier, do you have a line on anything? Still a spot for me? Not driving from the Gorge anymore, it was almost as cheap to fly to la then reno, so it would be fiscally irresponsible to miss hollywood bowl.

  2. tela'smuff Says:

    tzara – me and leo are working on the housing situation. he was going to try to see how many people would be in. I was going to throw down the deposit but was waiting until we had some confirmations from people if they were in or not. either that or i still have a room booked at the casino. you can email me and i’ll get you in on the email list. funkybch @ gmail

  3. monsterpus Says:

    Walk Away as 1st set showstopper-YES! I caught it 4 times last year, every one was great, but at Hartford it had super human tractor beaming powers that sucked me right into that show

  4. jdub Says:

    Couldn’t agre more monsterpus. That Hartford Walk Away was a first set treat.

    As far as 3.0 1st set favorites I’ll take MSG3 09’s First Tube to close out the set. I also loved Hartford ’09s Forbin’s>Mockingbird. May not have been perfect but set the tone for an old school style night of Phish.

  5. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @tela’s–e-mail sent

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    First time with the Dales @Tela – I was asking the guy at the store about them and he kept insisting that it was the same folks that make Hopslam.

    what a foooo.

    (unless of course Oskars also has a hopslam, then I’m the douche)

  7. ThePigSong Says:

    I feel really grateful the wife and I decided the day before to make the haul up to MSG, if only for that first tube!

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah pig. i think that’s Bell’s.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    This journalist pretty much nails the crux of the issue:

  10. ThePigSong Says:

    word miner. Saw that article earlier, happy to see via fbook that most of my peeps feel the same way.

    buenos noches amigos – four pale ales make this guy sleepy.

  11. mitch Says:

    thats good at pointing out the celebrating is wrong. but i do think ending it by killing him was better than drawing it out for a long time and putting him in Guantanamo and having a whole media spectacle surrounding it only leading to more attacks.

    this whole war has been long enough and crappy enough. at least in this regard, that part is over.

  12. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Totally true, mitch. I don’t think the outcome has been argued too much, and I definitely don’t think the raid could have ended up with his capture. The issue comes with the flag-waving, chest-bumping ugliness that’s more at home at an NFL game. And it separates this emotion, from someone’s like Mr. Palmer’s, which is an honest and intense emotional reaction to a difficult memory. I like how she turned the tables too. Definitely was making a specific point there I think.

    Well written I think, and to the point.

  13. Selector J Says:

    so… what you’re saying is that my celebratory attire is inappropriate?

  14. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    In other words, it was a nasty business that needed done. We did it, let’s move on to the next tasks. Which may very well be getting out of the middle east as much as possible.

  15. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @selector, yes, very inappropriate. Those horizontal stripes will accentuate your waistline. So unless your sporting a six-pack…

  16. mitch Says:

    i dont think the turning the tables was very effective only because they showed people in other countries cheering after 9/11 on the news. the “stop and think what it feels like” seemed moot since it had actually happened.

  17. Selector J Says:

    Good point @TzG.
    the cut on the pants makes it look like I’ve got a boner anyway…
    well, chalk that up as another ‘W’ for Mrs. Selector. (Boo.)

  18. mitch Says:

    anyway, revisiting rock and roll from the gorge. gonna check out the reggae. think its all done now.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    Ice sportin some pretty sweet Zubaz there.

  20. Selector J Says:

    In all seriousness, I do respect the fact that Obama and Co. gave the s.o.b. a proper Muslim funeral. It’s not like extremists are going to call off they’re jihads because of it but the moderates will respect that, I think.

    Was it motivated by PR alone?
    Who cares. It was the right thing to do.

    I hope you dig those mixes, @mitch. Some cool stuff on there.
    Very worth the hassle, imo.

  21. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @mitch, True enough, there’s unseemly behavior in all meridians. That was equally distasteful. But that’s about the limit of my opinion on the matter. I try and stay like Phish, and the Dead, and stick to the art side.

    I will say, it’s easy for me to talk, being so far away from NY. I’m just dealing in theoreticals. You’re from New York, so I in NO way can fully understand what you all went through from that event.

  22. Selector J Says:

    Seems like this is a popular sentiment. Most viewed story on NPR’s website:

    (For those scoring at home, that’s 2 NPR references for me today.)

  23. Undermind Says:

    Here’s a Coral Sky Video Playlist!

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    Miner, or one of you guys, settle something for my friends and I. Which is a more fierce shredfest…

    6/28/00 Gin or 7/6/98 Ghost…


  25. DryIceFactory Says:

    I’m on 1 side, they are on the other.

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