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.

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590 Responses to “The Rebirth of “Tube””

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    hey folks, with all this ticket talk,. does anyone have 2 29th in the building they could spare? Don’t care where they are. hit me up if you can help.

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    125 is not very much over face. what like $45?

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    bottom paged:


    hey folks, with all this ticket talk,. does anyone have 2 29th in the building they could spare? Don’t care where they are. hit me up if you can help.

  4. Mike in Austin Says:

    Miner, I’m still working a trade. If it doesn’t work out soon, I’ll let you know ASAP.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    11.12.2011 TAB — $, Love, and change. worth a spin or two. pocket found; trey locks in.

  6. Selector J Says:

    If I had to narrow it down to 3.5:
    – Strange Design
    – All Of These Dreams
    – Swept Away>Steep

    I like these, too. (Properly placed, of course.)
    – Horse->Silent
    – Train Song
    – Bouncing (Yes, I’m a bouncing fan.)
    – Mist
    – FEFY
    – Billy Breathes
    – Taste

    Probably others. Those come to mind right now.

    ::tires peel out::

  7. Selector J Says:

    ^Oh yea. Dirt and Driver, too.

  8. Dr Pronoia Says:

    I guess that’s true miner. Maybe it’s the three figures that feels so wrong

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    thanks Mike…your box set was sent on Monday.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    best ballads?

    for me…

    if i could
    fast enough
    anything but me

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    face is gonna be 3 figures soon enough!

  12. Mr palmer Says:

    Stub hub says that phish is the most 2nd most searched event on their site, right behind BCS Championship.

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    If I Could is great. Forgot about that.

    Billy Breathes

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Prices are only going to go down for the next 1.5-2 weeks. There are still 1700 (!) tickets left on StubHub, and there are only three weeks left until the shows. Factor in all of the failed 12/30-for-12/31 trades, and that’s a lot of supply at a price that won’t stick.

  15. DukeOfLizards Says:

    ^may be totally misguided. Just how I see it.

  16. sumodie Says:

    125 is not very much over face. what like $45?

    $50 over face, you’re in the building, & no more ticket drama

    sounds like a deal to me (assuming you’ve met a trustworthy seller)

    If I Could & Anything But Me -great call!

  17. sumodie Says:

    ^assuming you’re willing to deal with the ‘crappy seats’ and/or roam the arena for a better spot

  18. Tom Says:

    1 Strange design
    2 Mountains in the Mist
    3 FEFY

  19. bob dylan Says:

    i’m anxious to see how easy it is to get around without the ring @sumo. seemed more like nassau where you gotta go in the right zone.

    “face is gonna be 3 figures soon enough!”

    ^*shudders* guess there’s always water wheel…

  20. bob dylan Says:

    jeopardy is in my wheelhouse right now

    lingo, urban dictionary, itunes

    itunes is a freaking category???

  21. bob dylan Says:

    sorry, i meant those are the categories right now

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    I agree with Duke.

    OK, MSG ticket prices have have been dropping all month.

    So everybody’s waiting for them to hit rock bottom so they can buy cheap.

    The people with MSG tickets are thinking, “Hey, we’re losing all our money and Christmas is coming.

    I won’t be able to buy my son the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip. And my wife won’t make love to me cos I ain’t got no money.

    They’re panicking, screaming, “Sell, sell” They don’t want to lose all their money.

    They are panicking right now. I can feel it. Look at them.

  23. bob dylan Says:

    And my wife won’t make love to me cos I ain’t got no money.

    ^now i aint sayin shes a gold digga, but she aint messin with no broke niggas

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    i hear getting around the garden isn’t easy. if you wanna hang out in the non-ring b/w 200s and 300s you need to choose a side, then if you wanna switch, go out into the corridor and walk around. IN a venue with traditionally mad room if you knew where to go, I have a feeling this ain’t gonna be pretty. I wish you could buy space like people buy seats…

  25. bob dylan Says:

    miner, i didnt even try walking around when at furthur. looked like trying to cut across a crowded pavilion. “not cool, kyle”

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