The Rebirth of “Tube”

Fall 1997 (Unknown)

Fourteen years ago tonight, Phish pulled into Dayton’s Nutter Center on a Sunday night following, perhaps, their best performance of Fall ’97 in Auburn Hills. The band had visited the intimate arena once before on 11.30.95 and a played a great show anchored by the second set sequence “Tweezer -> Makisupa -> Antelope.” But two years later, on December 7th, Phish was neck deep in funk grooves and there was still one song they hadn’t played all summer or fall. Because of my love for the ’95 Nutter show, when Cleveland hit on 12/5, I made the call to the people I was riding with—”Tube” in Dayton. It just felt right. The Nutter Center and “Tube” would go well together, at least in theory, and as it turned out the combination wasn’t so bad in reality either!

The last time the band had played “Tube” was in Stuttgart, Germany on 2.26.97, where they hinted at their forthcoming funk in a first-set rendition. But this version stayed true to the form, anchored by Page the entire time as he moved from piano to organ and then back to piano while the rest of the band sat aside comping him. The song has always been a short, infectious, sought after bust out, but with the developments of Summer and Fall ’97, the potential collision of an asteroid and Phish on a James Brown-esque rampage across the country had all sorts of potential. Thus when the band actually did play “Tube” towards the end of the first set at the Nutter Center—I can still remember the moment it dropped—the intimate venue felt like it might explode.

Sliding into Page’s clav solo with precision, the band immediately carried a synced-tempo of champions. They hit a strong collaborative groove behind Page, as he went off on his clav then switched to organ. As the band hit a break, where in the past they might have ended the song, they came back in with a collaborative funk groove of the Fall ’97 variety. The Nutter center shook as the band reinvented the song in front of our eyes. Hitting another break, Trey scratched out a guitar pattern and the band dove headfirst back into the funk for another section of grooves before bridging to the end of the song. All of a sudden, it felt like this funk treatment was what the song had been made for. Phish had done more than impressed everyone in the audience—they had impressed themselves!

After winding up the particularly tight groove, the band liked what they had done so much, that instead of starting a new song, they went right back into the rhythmic workout. Elaborating on the funk theme by adding layers of effects and melody, the band took this section into more earnest improvisational realms. Transforming into one of the eternal highlights of the fall, this jam transformed into a delicate melody-infused hyper-groove; this was music that felt as good as it sounded. Several minutes in, Trey gradually blended in hints of “Slave,” and the band eventually made the move into a magnificent set-closing rendition.

Though Dayton ’97 will always be remembered for many aspects of its show, the most revolutionary was the first truly improvised and funkified “Tube.” After transforming the song into a jam vehicle on this night, Phish kept the song in loose rotation through the end of 2000, appearing in many shapes and sizes. And it was always an adrenaline-inducing dance party. Finishing a gargantuan Midwestern weekend in Dayton and with their reborn song in tow, the band headed for the home stretch of their hallowed tour with a bullseye on Albany one week later. All those “Tubes” we know and love throughout the late ’90s can be traced directly back to the grandfather of all “Tube” jams from Dayton on this 14 years ago.


Jam of the Day:

Tube > Slave” 12.7.97 I

A classic.

[audio:,] Tags: , ,

590 Responses to “The Rebirth of “Tube””

« Previous12345678...2324Next »
  1. Willowed Says:

    I like all this funk talk

  2. Mr palmer Says:

    So stupendous …

  3. Guyute711 Says:

    Still so very happy I was able to see this one and tell Mike in person while in Rochester how much I enjoyed it. I believe my exact words were, “Tube ruled in Dayton Mike.” A real wordsmith I was.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    Good Morning, Kids!

    Fun thinking about Guyute coming back to the hobbit hole at 101 Woodland after this Tube dropped

    (Maybe you hit the road for more of tour after this, Guyute?]

    I’ve always had a sentimental connection to this jam as dayton is the home to many great memories for me

    Hope everyone is having a good day

  5. st8 of mind Says:

    Very nice write up Miner. Thanks again.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    “Hope everyone is having a good day”

    Its 10 til 7.


  7. Guyute711 Says:

    Ha ha, I was out of Woodland at that point I think. I did continue on to Rochester and the 2 Albany shows that year. Man 14 years ago, that kills me. Those were the days of lore. Alas the days of lore continue. Sure wish I was going to NYE. On that note, one of my best friends is heading there and looking for tix to NYE. He has tix to the 30th. I told him to check out the book signing. Anybody have extra room in their accomodations?

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    Good morning, bbeople.

    2 days until I fly around the world again, but it is my last time this year, so I can celebrate that! I come back and, bam, its the most wonderful time of the year. Got a shit ton of new music for the car today, stoked.

  9. bhizzle Says:

    Where in ROC did you catch up to Gordon? Despite the (lack of) depth of your vocabulary I’m sure he still appreciated it.

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    He came walking into Oxford’s bhizzle. He went on to invite us down to Woody’s to meet the rest of the band. Turned out to just be Trey. What a bummer. 🙂

  11. bhizzle Says:

    Yeah, not sure I could muster any words to say to any of the band if I had the oppurtunity besides “Wicked awesome show”. They surely do know how to breed wordsmiths in western NY. I don’t think I’d want to be that giddy little school girl drooling all over them, but I’d be pretty close to it.

  12. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Remember, should they return to the Nutt House, I know someone who owns a motel 10 mins away. He said he would reserve the whole place for us.

    Come back Phish. Come back to the Nutter Center.

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    Yeah, my friends who weren’t really fans of the band did all the talking while my friend and I who were big fans just kinda looked on in awe. I think I would do a lot better these days but back then it was like sensory overload.

  14. BTB Says:

    Epic Post is Epic

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    If they play in Dayton

    After show party at Tim’s.

    Hopefully they forgot when they banned me for puffing in the bar.

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    I was at this show, and missed Auburn, cause I was to lazy to do the drive. Learned me.

    Jamming in the dark was new to me. But awesome stuff. Hard to believe that was 14 years ago.

    Silly, I hear you met my friend. Nice.

    Have a crazy day today. Gotta keep my head down. If I’m on here, give me shit.

    Have a great day y’all

  17. willowed Says:

    Get off the board MIA

    Keep your head down!

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Sure did, Mike

    really nice kid. glad I got to meet him.

    hoping I can help him enjoy Madison.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    fall 97: the gift that keeps on giving. this was my last show prior to the NYE Run. Great way to cap off the Fall for me, with the three pack of the Cleve, The Palace, and The Nutt.

    This Tube has ruined the song for many people. kinda like our friend the Hampton Halley’s.

  20. BTB Says:

    7/1/98 Moma Dance is no joke

    (Grey Hall – Freetown Christiana, Copenhagen, Denmark)

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    bunnies be freaky, yo

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    So, in the criminal defense world, one of the new big ideas coming from brain science is how for males the brain doesn’t come to maturity until about 30 and for females about 26

    Anyway, they say that the habits you develop when you’re in your early
    20s might be the ones that define you for the rest of your life.

    I’m 24.

    My response is:

    Fall ’97 to the Dome.

    Headier kid, now. Headier kid, later.

  23. bhizzle Says:

    Did I see Bernie Fine in one of those pictures? Regardless, they’re all disturbing!

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    buzzfeed is killing it with the end of year lists.

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    i just envisioned those bunnies as finals and me as the little kid

    fuckers are coming for me.

« Previous12345678...2324Next »

Leave a Reply