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. MrCompletely Says:

    oh I was assuming we meant phish original ballads

    Corinna Corinna absolutely on my list if covers are in the mix

    back before everyone knew about Urban Dictionary etc a friend of mine named his sports fantasy league teams the Cleveland Steamers and got a lot of lulz out of it

  2. Gavinsdad Says:

    Sneak perch: 400 level walkway behind stage. Spot check for sound clarity/quality during your piss break song on nite 1 or if u get frustrated.

    People who like seats don’t get frustrated. Im in the clear minority. Whatevs.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, urban dictionary basically ruined a lot of inside jokes we had bitd. too difficult to pull the wool over when people know they can go find out what something means.

  4. phoammhead Says:

    i’m going to be a go wherever i can kinda peep this year . . . not tied to any single situation.

  5. Tom Says:

    Anyone seen this new Rick Perry?

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah even my mother in law now reflexive googles anything she’s interested in and doesn’t know. on the one hand, good for her, on the other, it was kind of fun being one of the few who knew how to instantly find out almost anything

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    So many extreme lulz when I first got sent that list in 99. Donkey punch for its extreme wrongness. So wrong it’s hysterically wrong.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    My fantasy baseball team name is Cincinati Bowties. One of my ff teams is Golden Taint. The other is Professor Dickweed.

    “Corrina and Albu are not Phish tunes brah!”

    I do what I want.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    This is who I’m voting for!

    No it’s not B.O. or N.G.

  10. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, i find myself telling stories about how i googled’d. . d. . . it . . . 😯

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    who had December 2011 in the Higgs Boson discovery pool?

    don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.


  12. phoammhead Says:

    so seriously, is there any chance phish doesn’t make RnRHoF?

  13. Gavinsdad Says:

    Bingos – u comin east?

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    In the words of Steve Winwood, Bingo’s…

    “Do What You Like”

  15. phoammhead Says:

    i like the way phish dot net keeps track of your shows . . . hard work taken care of!

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    My father built/worked on Fermilab’s Accelerator ring in 1982

  17. phoammhead Says:

    i think the problem with RnR is that the lines got blurred with pop. and, that ain’t how i see it . . at all.

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Dupage Co. Cement Mason’s local #803 REPRESNT

  19. sumodie Says:

    thoughtful essay on NPR about the ‘Word of the Year’: Occupy

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    Thats cool LD. My Dad did the insulation.

    “Bingos – u comin east?”

    Barring a miracle, no. If I Could I Would, but I’m broke as fuck. 😉 I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.

  21. Robear Says:

    @bob Dylan

    I did the software update. Now none of the apps will open. Just those that came on the device. Can’t even send u a text! Tried power on/off.

    When I click on an app, the screen does a half blink, then nothing.

  22. phoammhead Says:

    w-s show is the best but that ’97 fall run is the real deal.

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    Villa v Man u

  24. Jtran Says:

    Dayton 97 set 1 $$$

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    For those who haven’t seen this. The other stories on there are ridiculously funny. Dude has been tellin stories on PT for years and I guess he finally got them all in one place. Great writer imo.

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