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. Gavinsdad Says:

    Gotcha Bingos.

  2. sumodie Says:

    with its triumphant return, legendary festivals, and media acceptability in the 3.0 era, Phish will easily get into the RnRHoF

    and having quality box sets like H-W/S to send to voting members can’t hurt either

    pretty sure Phish will be eligible in 2013

  3. mike in austin Says:

    If it wasn’t for urban dictionary most older fuckers like me wouldn’t know how to get drugs on the lot…

    Origami Mustard

    1) Band Name
    2) sexual act
    3) street name for drugs
    4) all of the above

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Introducing myself to Bon Iver for the first time. Thoughts to come…

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    stteam > vanishing act > als > golden age > jam??

  6. phoammhead Says:

    w-s has it.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    e) new hip bar in Soho

  8. joe Says:

    I still haven’t read the debate about the box set as I’ve yet to get through it all but Mike’s groove, hood to start the show? seems like a good argument. haven’t listened to the rest of this show yet or Miner’s night yet (in the box set format, with my newly bb-trained critical ear)

  9. joe Says:

    f) the pentagon’s newest weapon of mass destruction

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I like that call Miner… 😉

  11. mike in austin Says:

    y’know those wires they suspend above the arenas that have cameras on them? I would pay big $$$ to be suspended like that over MSG NYE. Do it for charity of the Mimi Fishman foundation. MiA’s starting bid: $3,000.


  12. EL Duderino Says:

    this Sandusky thing get’s creepier and creepier by the day

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’ve been pushing the ALS>Golden Age for months… I love the Steam Vanishing act before the gag. Seems like a nice fit.

    Of course none of it will be correct, but it works, that’s for sure

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    I think the New Years prank is going to be centered around the Ghost and Guy Forget. Just my .02

  15. DryIceFactory Says:

    Weird that they ended their summer tour by telling us the ghost is really guy forget. #soundsplanned

  16. DryIceFactory Says:

    then again, most of you know to take everything i say with a grain of salt. In my defense, I’d consider myself one of the more likable trolls though.

  17. DryIceFactory Says:

    The real reason I came on, has anyone heard about PTBM ticks being shipped? Both my 12.30 and 12.31 ticks were Craigslist finds so I’m hoping they come out sooner than later.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Forgot how much I love college hoops. Florida/Arizona in a battle on espn

  19. joe Says:

    I’m pretty certain they’ll do meatstick again. that’s why I’m only going the first 2 nights (hopefully)

  20. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, i like pure unadulterated phish. i don’t care for gimmics, bullshit or readiculloussnesses.

  21. mike in austin Says:

    Yeah, I retract my “float above the arena” for $3000. Dumb idea.

    See how quickly, rationality should work. So why again did Phish play meatstick for 18 minutes in dozens of languages and stereotypical costumes from a musical feed?

    I understand my problem. I was high as fuck when I came up with my “idea”

    But they probably weren’t when coming up with that idea.

  22. phoammhead Says:

    yeah mia, i side on the side of the side that phish rulzzzz.

  23. garretc Says:

    “Yeah, I retract my “float above the arena” for $3000. Dumb idea.”

    Only because the price is too high…

  24. joe Says:

    for the record, I think that any kind of gag/stunt/special appearance to celebrate new year’s is great. and the 3rd set is icing on an already delicious cake. Just the thought of doing the same exact thing one year later was the joke on my part….

  25. DryIceFactory Says:

    My call for set 3.

    Tweezer->Twenty Years Later, Mike’s Song->Simple->Mound->Weekapaug E: Show of Life, Frankenstein

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