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. Beantownboy Says:

    When someone says bane, I say yeah let’s hit that kush hash combo.
    Just got back from celebrating the mrs. new job offer in Oregon.
    West cost bound again: 3rd time in the past 12 years, but this time to stay.
    Lots of logistics headed our way with this quick movr, but luckily it’s the fun kind.

  2. Aquaman Says:

    I know, MiA.

    Not making at least three shows makes me feel less manly, for certain…..but cash, energy and family dictate a two of four policy this run.


    -aqua- small ‘a’ for less manliness.

    P.S. This Slave rocks, huh? Its kinds just been here during the typing and man it’s good.

  3. mike in austin Says:

    Congrats! Ptownboy? Where in Oregon?

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    I practically float above the arena every time I’m @ a Phish show

  5. mike in austin Says:

    Great Slave. My work has worn me down. Been putting in 12 hour days lately if not more. I’m exhausted. Can’t wait for MSG.

  6. Aquaman Says:

    Congrats Ptownboy!


    @AJ – Patty Blago: “You don’t help them with that Cubs sh$t, either!” Classy lady. And now she has to prison for conjugal visits. Like in a trailer home or some other ‘supermax’ style accommodations. Funny….and to think I voted for him.


  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Totally. They are one classy couple.

  8. mike in austin Says:

    My dog started barking outside. Wife got up and opened the door pissed and yelled “what is your major malfunction private Pyle?!”

    The neighbor screamed back “get off my obstacle private Pyle. Get the fuck off my obstacle!”

    I need to go bring that dude a beer.

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bon Iver- I’ll give it a B on first two spins. can’t quite place what they remind me of. Definitely have a very familiar sound. Good chill/ bane music.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    almost as classy as this couple

  11. mike in austin Says:

    And shut my dog up.

  12. Aquaman Says:

    MiA I just LOL’d when reading that. Like snarf my drink LOL. Funny shit.

    @AJ, OK so I though maybe I was into Rubblebucket and Motopony as the newish bands I might flirt with when not listening to Phish….but I think I have found a new, new music obsession: Tune Yard. Cool stuff.

    Yes TIII, just that classy. Well…..almost.


  13. Aquaman Says:

    Typo Tune Yards

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Doing the 1st and 3rd night, 2 out of 4, Less manly thing myself AquaBro.

    We make what we can. Everyone knows that those will be the best nights anyway… right?

    Brooklyn Moma taking paint off the basement walls at the moment.. the moment ends…..

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    here’s his e-mail T3!

  16. mike in austin Says:

    Did you turn me on to this Mr. P?

    Funny stuff.

  17. Beantownboy Says:

    Thanks, guys.

    We’re headed back to rip city aka portland.
    But first there is a little thing at MSG that we ave to attend to.

    Also, Denver ’97 ghost rips I relearned last night.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    No Mia, wasn’t me. Looks right up my alley though. Thanks.

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    Bon Iver reminds me a bit of Sigur Ros. Speaking of Sigur Ros, that new live album is pretty tits.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    well, Bon Iver didn’t remind me of Sigur Ros because i’ve never heard him ( they) either. SOmething else to check out i guess.

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    Mr. P – if you’re just getting into Bon Iver, the first album is the best.

    and i agree AJ, that new live album from Sigur Ros is great. grabbed that based on a Halcyon rec.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sigur Ros is a band, from Iceland. I love them, they are awesome live, but they sing in Icelandic, so… not everyone’s thing.

  23. Esteban Says:

    @bd the term “Donkey Punch” and the use as it pertains to Enron is absolutely the most fitting thing analogy I’ve heard in some time. That is priceless.

  24. mike in austin Says:

    That tune yards thing was great. Thanks Aqua!

    Denver Ghost does rip. Things are true that I forget.

  25. mike in austin Says:

    I’ll take “Corporate Scams” for $500 Alex.

Leave a Reply