Twisted Tuesday

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

One of the songs that has taken a distinct step backwards in this era is “Twist.” Debuted in Summer ’97 along with a host of new songs, “Twist Around,” as it was known then, became an instant vehicle for improvisation. Phish crafted exploratory jams from the song immediately, both in Europe and in America during its first summer. The song continued to be a mainstay launch pad through the 2.0 era, producing such diverse masterpieces as the Island Run “Twist,”(4.2.98), Fukuoka’s Japanese space symphony (6.14.00), and SPAC’s heaping dose of psych-inspired robo-funk (6.20.04). “Twist” was always one of those songs whose dip into the unknown enhanced by the multitude of directions that the jam could take—and Phish often played contained versions as well. With no preset course, “Twist” developed into one of the band’s most diverse jams through the late ‘90s and the post-hiatus era.

Fukuoka, JP 6.14.00

But since Phish came back three years ago, they have reeled in the song considerably. In fact they played one of “Twist’s” most abstract modern excursions at Hampton’s comeback run, as the song sank into murky textures before segueing into “2001.” More often than not, however, the band has used “Twist” as a vehicle for contained, jazz-like improvisation. Essentially, we know what we are getting when “Twist” starts these days, and that is a drastic shift from the song’s former lives. Aside from Denver’s “Low Rider” jam, “Twist” has been a straightforward piece whose differences have lied only in tempo and licks rather than musical direction. Today, let’s dip back into a few lesser-known versions that highlight the intrigue the jam once contained.


7.5.97, Como, Italy

This was the fifth version of “Twist” ever played, and it took place at a free, one-set show in a gorgeous outdoor locale in Como, Italy. With their stage on the sand at the side of a lake with mountains in the background, Phish played a sunset set for anyone who cared to join. In this “Twist,” the band builds into thick, rhythmic interplay, gradually seeping from their own infectious funk into a jam on Deee Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”—a quality, lesser-circulated nugget from a game-changing tour of Europe.



7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

When Phish got back to the US, they continued to push the boundaries of “Twist” throughout its youth. This version—the next after Como—came one week into the US Summer Tour, and showcases boundary-pushing psychedelia. Using his raw tone and soloing style of the era, Trey locks with Mike to lead the band into a twisted, multi-tiered standout jam that is often left behind by listeners in favor of other, more established favorites. (Excuse the windy audience tape.)



7.4.00 II, Camden, NJ

Kevin Shapiro’s recent soundboard drop of this “Twist” from July 4, 2000, in Camden, allows us to hear the jam’s subtle intricacies unlike any audience tape ever did. The band gets far away from the song in this jam, entering a completely alternate milieu and finding a unique theme deep into the adventure. Dark and exploratory while remaining wholly cohesive, this jam is one of “Twist’s” shining moments. Resolving into “Slave,” this two-song combo punctuated a stellar set of holiday Phish.



7.18.03 II, East Troy, WI

When the band came back in 2003 and got into more abstract playing, “Twist,” occasionally transformed into a platform for increasingly dark encounters. In this version, plucked from deep in the second set at Alpine Valley, Phish spawned an extra-terrestrial spacescape that took more than a few concert-goers by surprise. Trey continued to solo over a blanket of dark ambiance, a gorgeous juxtaposition, as he joined his mates in maniacal sound sculpting. Switching to uncompressed growls with uncompromising fury, Red meshed with piece seamlessly as the band smoothly jammed back into the song’s groove.


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545 Responses to “Twisted Tuesday”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Gotta admit it, that bonnaroo lineup is sick.

  2. sumodie Says:

    first spin thru LP’s 11.07.91 II Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

    (filler on 4.26.96 New Orleans Relief)

    Set 2: Brother > Bouncing Around the Room, My Sweet One > Reba, Tube > Horn > David Bowie[2], Take the ‘A’ Train[2], Hold Your Head Up Jam[2] -> Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Possum[3]

    Encore: Fee, Rocky Top
    Encore 2: Lawn Boy, Fire

    Only up to the Bowie -such a dramatic contrast to all the 2.0 shows I’ve been spinning. Love the ferocious energy, even on tunes like Bouncing. Def need to spin more early phish like this

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    5-16-95 Reba … rips.

  4. garretc Says:


    Nice to see Bonnaroo will be getting a set from “Suen Kuti”… I smell photoshopped lineup!

  5. sumodie Says:

    If ya dig Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, I’d also recommend checking out these Latin bands (all 3 share some of the same musicians, based in Austin TX):

    Ocote Soul Sounds
    Grupo Fantasmo

    Martin Perna from Antibalas is involved with Octote Soul Sounds

    I haven’t spun any Grupo Fantasmo yet but Brownout’s album, Aguilas & Cobras, is excellent. Stream some tracks here:

  6. Mike in Austin Says:

    2-15-03 – Great soaring Reba. Wow. Loved it.

    Deer Creek ’95 Reba next.

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    That Bonnaroo lineup is just Jam Band porn.

  8. sumodie Says:

    maybe, garret, maybe. The Roo lineup seems to leak about a week before the official announcement. The supposedly always right Roo insiders pegged Phish, RHCP, and Radiohead weeks ago. Find out next week

  9. garretc Says:


    I’m basing that conclusion off of nothing but that typo, so I’m not exactly in the know… Just figured it was the kind of error the official list won’t have, knamean?

  10. sumodie Says:

    speaking of the Roo & Austin TX, I’m really hoping to catch White Denim in Boston on April 12

  11. sumodie Says:

    Coachella had to correct its official lineup poster recently due to a typo

    Stay tuned…

  12. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    yea i hafta say, last year i was all about how BRoo changed from a jam band festival to a pop festival… quite a step back in the right direction this year.

    but still cant pay 300 bucks for a ticket and then also travel to TN.

  13. Mike in Austin Says:

    Sumo, should be a good show. Seen them a few times here in Austin, and had a good time. Saw they were also on the Bonnaroo lineup too.

  14. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i worded that terribly. what i meant was, last years lineup was very poppy. this year is back towards jammy. good

  15. joe Says:

    anything else of note in the area in the coming weeks Sumo? I’m jonsing for some live music.

  16. voopa Says:

    Wate, thats knot houe ewe sppel “Suen”?

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    that looks like a great lineup. I’ve been to 4 Roo’s, 3 of them I splurged n the VIP package, and it was well worth it. Makes it a completely different festival. So, with that, I’m a huge fan of Bonnaroo, too bad I can’t make it this year.

  18. Selector J Says:

    @sumo Austin definitely does alright in the Latin funk department thanks to Martin Perna and Adrian Quesada. Grupo’s latest is solid by the way. I think I prefer Brownout’s stuff but Grupo is still really good. And they backed up Prince for a spell so… yea. They’re pretty good.
    “Good enough for the purple dude. Good enough for me,” as they say.

  19. phoammhead Says:

    evenin’ fellas 🙂

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Roll away the dew
    Troll away the dook

  21. El Duderino Says:

    I dig it phoammy 🙂

  22. phoammhead Says:

    hoyas up at half v cuse

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    wow, if that roo lineup holds up it has the makings of an all timer festy.

  24. RamblinMind Says:

    @sumo – any recs for checking out White Denim? I’ve never heard of them

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    White Denim- “D” is a the record i’ve heard the most. It’s good .

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