This Friday, we’ll take a break from MSG memories and look at what Phish has done on Veterans Day, November 11th, throughout their career. Since 1990, the band has only played three times on 11.11—in 1995 at The Fox in Atlanta, 1996 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and again at Van Andel in 1998! And lo and behold, these three nights have plenty of meat to compose a Friday playlist. The Fox show was the third of a three-night stand that kicked off the second half of a marathon (54 show) fall tour. Taking a week off after Halloween in Chicago, Phish reemerged in Atlanta and would wind their way over six plus weeks up to Albany. I’ve always thought of 11.11.95 as the strongest of the trifecta. The following year, Phish was on their Midwestern leg of Fall tour on the 11th of November, and they were at the very beginning of a metamorphosis. The band had just stunned their audience with their interpretation of Remain In Light for Halloween, and from then on, their slow transformation to groove-based playing was underway. In 1998, Phish had just crushed three nights at UIC Pavilion amidst a standout fall tour when they landed back at Van Andel, in a case of cosmic routing, on the same date they had played there in ’96. This show continued the band’s hot streak and featured one of the best second sets of tour. Let’s reminisce…
“Mike’s Song” 11.11.95 I
This raucous jam kicked off the show in the ornate Fox Theatre after a short “Cars, Trucks, Busses” opener.
“Ghost” 11.11.98 II
This rarely talked about “Ghost” came as the second set closer at Van Andel, and is one of the most impressive versions of the tour.
“Tweezer” 11.11.96 II
A jam that was ahead of its time with sections that sound like they could be plucked from Fall ’97.
This ferocious “Bowie” vividly illustrates the band’s creative psychedelia of Fall ’95, as they rode with a missile on their back towards December.
One of the greatest “Halley’s Comets” of the song’s late-90’s renaissance that moves from rock to groove into lunacy…and then into “Simple.”
“Gumbo” 11.11..98 I
This slow and methodical standout often hides out of sight, tucked in the beginning of the the first set of Van Andel ’98.
“Stash” 11.11.95 I
The dark and overpowering Phish of Fall ’95. Trey goes on quite the rampage in this version.
“Slave to the Traffic Light” 11.11.96 II
The melodic endpoint of a relatively dark second set.
Tags: 1995, 1996, 1998, Jams, TTFF