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””

  1. Mike in Austin Says:

    Alex, “What is Cleveland Steamer?”

    Seriously if I was on the show, I would pull one of those when I knew I had no idea. Y’know. You buzzed ’cause you thought you had to, but you really didn’t know the answer.

    For $1000, Places.

    Name his place that is well known for being the largest equestrian burial ground in North America.

    “Alex, what is Donkey Punch?”

  2. bob dylan Says:

    alex’s face looks something like this 😯 silence…. “PAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA”

    “just the way your mother likes it trebeck”

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice trading places ref. @mIa

  4. Mike in Austin Says:

    Wait, did I miss the episode of “The one where AW and the Goldman Sachs wanks go to see Kanye?”

  5. Mr palmer Says:

    Your in your seat for the show. Unless you get an aisle seat. I’m not sure even the small ring that is left will be worth your while. It will be crowded. More space if you stay in your seat.

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    cleveland steamer is basically my favorite term ever. the rhyming vowel sounds combined with the humor clinches it. If on Jeopardy, that would be a great answer!

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

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

    ^ explain. cant you walk out and back in?

  8. bob dylan Says:

    holy shit. i just went to wiki to see what they had to say about donkey punch.

    Non-sexual usage

    Donkey punch was also one of several slang names for trades conducted by Enron.
    In the scandal over Enron’s manipulation of the electricity market in California, fraudulent schemes designed by Enron traders were given “colorful names” including “Donkey Punch.”[4] U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, in a 2004 press release about the Enron hearings, identified the Donkey Punch as “a crude pornographic term”, one of many “lewd acts” that Enron employees used to describe their schemes. Cantwell asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take down the e-mails that were on its website due to the content.[5]

  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    Finally going home at a somewhat reasonable hour. Later guys.

  10. bob dylan Says:

    miner, i meant walking through the “ring” now was like walking through a crowded row. like you said, easier to go out and back in.

    on top of that the venue wasnt even finished, there was plaster shit all over the bathroom from the construction guys cleaning up. i read something recently that said they were doing more renovations next year to fix some more stuff.

  11. Mr palmer Says:

    This renovation is stage 1 of 2. Stage 2 will have a walkway across whole arena overlooking arena. Basically your looking down on stage and floor. At least that’s what they say they are doing.

  12. bob dylan Says:

    and who the hell has access to that palmer? for an extra 10 bucks you can walk across and look for 60 seconds.

    bitterness aside, imagine how fun that would be spun, or looking down at a knicks/rangers game.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    Billy Breathes
    Anything But Me

    ^^^^ these three are hands down my favorites and I would be stoked to see any of them. Sleep is an underrated gem of a song.

    I like All Of These Dreams too despite the plain fact that it is cheesy. It appeals to the deadhead in me.

    ummm…Roggae is slow…I’m gonna pretend its a ballad

    Show of Life is good if they don’t overplay it and don’t put it in a place where its out of its weight class

    Similarly, Page’s Army Of One…as long as the placement is right, I dig it, though as a sad, alienated song it seems out of place to me in 3.0

    I like Train Song…or is this just trey ballads?

    I have positive associations for many of the other ballad tunes because they were in lullaby rotation a lot when the boy was a baby…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to see them at a show

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    miner, i meant walking through the “ring” now was like walking through a crowded row. like you said, easier to go out and back in

    ^ i thought there was no longer a full ring behind the stage

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    “cleveland steamer is basically my favorite term ever. the rhyming vowel sounds combined with the humor clinches it”

    that, and having been in cleveland…

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    Army of One is Awesome!
    Page’s best ballad

    mist is another I’d add to that list if we’re allowed to have 5 if that’s ok with y’allz

  17. Mr palmer Says:

    Interesting political fact

    Obama has raised more money from Wall Street banks than all 8 republican hopefuls combined…


  18. phoammhead Says:

    the holidays are great! just went to a party with really good food and great red wine . . . what’s not to like?

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    wait until the repub primary is over Palmer and see what the numbers are.
    WS plays both sides, that’s their deal

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    Not gonna rehash the whole thing but

    You will go to your seat and stay there.

    Because I don’t want u in my truncated inner walkway ;-p

  21. phoammhead Says:

    cash or trade is the deally . . . got all my needs for face there. posted my request at least every other day and vvvwhalla! . . . happened before i knew what hit me.

    @MrM tried to tell you about a san fran trade yesterday from the day before but probably too late anyway

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    “cleveland steamer is basically my favorite term ever.”

    very good one. I am partial to Cincinatti Bowtie and Mexican Headlock(this one makes no sense but is brilliant in execution, must be seen to be believed.

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    No lower ring inside.

    Upper ring now two little inside walkway bet 2s and 3s.

    No upper inside walkway behind stage or all the way across facing stage.

    Pageside to fishside shuffle way slower you gotta go out down and around.

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Top 3 Ballads

    Show of Life

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    Corrina and Albu are not Phish tunes brah!

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