TTFM: Groovin’

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 30th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

12.30.2010 (Graham Lucas)

2001 > Sand” 11.18.99 II, Hampton, VA

Phish kicked off the final set of their millennial primer tour in December ’99, with 40 minutes of hard dance grooves in The Mothership.

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Tweezer -> Cities” 12.31.98 II, NYC, NY

The centerpiece of the second set of New Year’s Eve in 1998.

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Reba” 7.16.98 I, George. WA

Chunky sunset grooves painted an unforgettable portrait at the Gorge.

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Wolfman’s -> Free” 8.8.97 II, Tinley Park, IL

Seldom to people mention this nugget from the World Theatre during Summer ’97.

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Ghost” 11.11.98 II, Grand Rapids, MI

The dark horse conclusion to one of the stronger sets of Fall ’98, in Grand Rapids, MI.

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Gumbo” 7.29.97 I, Phoenix. AZ

The first stretched out “Gumbo” of Summer ’97.

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Tube” 12.13.97 I, Albany, NY

This version came in the first set of Fall ’97’s finale.

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*****

LISTEN TO ALL—

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TTFF: The Grab Bag Continues…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 27th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

7.4.2010 (Wendy Rogell)

Stash” 8.15.1993, Louisville, KY

A profound improvisational escapade.

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Mike’s Song” 11.15.95 II, Tampa, FL

This “Mike’s” is a case study in Fall ’95’s arena rock intensity; a ferocious jam that dissolves into beauty.

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Simple” 7.10.98 II, Barcelona, ES

Along with a slew of sound issues, the final night of Europe ’98 also featured this sublime, near 25-minute jaunt out of “Simple.”

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Reba” 12.1.96 II, Los Angeles, CA

Most people are familiar with the monstrous “Tweezer” that opened this set at Pauly Pavilion at UCLA. The “Reba” that came later in the set, however, is a hidden gem.

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Bathtub Gin” 12.31.99 II, Big Cypress, FL

One of the Big Set’s lesser talked about jams is still absolutely magnificent.

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Ghost” 11.15.98 I, Mufreesboro, TN

Delivered as the second song of a mid-week stop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, this version is another that illustrated the omnipresence of “Ghost” during Fall ’98. Coming in all shapes and sizes, this rendition was anchored in uptempo rock before moving into outright groove, quite the way to get the party started in a bare-bones college gymnasium.

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Ramble On > Slave” 8.13.98 II, Vernon Downs, NY

A classic pairing from the end of Vernon Downs’ first set. When Trey hits the “Ramble On” line in the “Slave” peak—chills every time.

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Tweezer -> Makisupa -> Antelope” 11.30.95 II, Dayton, OH

Let’s finish the week with another thrilling Fall ’95 “Tweezer,” this one from Dayton’s Nutter Center, not to mention the entire three song combo.

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A Worcester Dream

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 26th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

6.18.10 - Raleigh, NC (John Crouch)

With two sets of masterful music, Phish jumped into our hearts again. After a lackluster Holiday Run, it felt like an eternity since we had last seen a full throttle performance from the band, but that all changed over the course the first night in Worcester, Massachusetts. In one of their defining shows of this era, Phish played a second set that was plucked from a dream, restoring the faith of anyone who doubted their intent to continue to thrill and challenge our minds. The long off-season ended in colossal fashion last night, as Phish stepped onstage and immediately pushed deeper into their emerging style of 2011, which can only mean good things to come. In short, it’s sure gonna’ be an exciting summer!

After a standout opening set, Phish erased any memory of such happenings with a profound second half that touched upon the very essence of their musical experiment. Focused on whole-group improv throughout the frame, the band pieced together a once of those sets where every piece turned golden and added up to far more than the sum of its parts. The result was a non-stop musical suite that will—unquestionably—stand the test of time, and provide a soundtrack for many drives this season and for the rest of our lives. With magic in air in one of the land’s Phishiest venues, Summer Tour 2012 began in the most compelling way possible.

8.15.11 (Michael Stein)

Kicking off the second half with “Runaway Jim,” the set immediately took on a different feel with the lost jam vehicle returning to a place of prominence. As they guys passed through the song, the plinko-fied section was still in place from 2011, but once the jam hit, everything else was quite different. Instead of noodling around the song’s theme, Trey morphed the usual jam into a series of light grooves that still carried the chord progression of the song. As he laid back with rhythm licks, Mike seized the opportunity to step up and direct traffic. Adding a banging lead bass line that wrapped around Trey’s offerings, the band was, all of a sudden, creating from a song that has lied dormant all era. Trey moved out of these lighter licks and into co-leadership with Mike, and together, they began to push their mates away from these grooves and into a more abstract sound. As Fishman changed the beat, Mike came along with him, while Trey and Page continued to paint sound over a slowing and darkening pocket. Evolving into a grinding piece of psych rock, the jam was reminiscent of the style of ’95 with the sounds and maturity of 2012—quite the combination!

With Mike and Fish locked together in this sequence, Mike began teasing a rolling melody that sounded quite familiar. Fishman was right with him as Trey noticed the shift and glanced over at the two. Seeming to catch onto something, he slowly began integrating choppier licks into this framework. About thirty seconds later, Trey used a series of full band hits to precisely nail the opening chords to “Light!” All the pieces came together in a glorious transition that occurred over the course of a minute. The Centrum exploded with energy as the band had torn apart “Jim” and crafted one of the more fluid and dynamic segues in memory into a sure-to-be launch pad. Never had the band entered “Light” with such fluid grace—or really any at all—so when they pulled off this maneuver, it was all the more impressive.

As the guys exited the vocals of “Light,” Trey laid into a well-phrased, atonal solo that set the table for big things to come. As Red backed eventually backed off , the band, like a machine, snapped into a four-minded exchange in which Trey, Page and Mike played heartfelt melodies that seemed to complete each other. One of those moments where the band simply “clicked” onto the same page, the set took an even deeper dive with the onset of this jam. Anchored in cathartic melody for the first section, the jam took a turn when Page came in with a darker piano melody that Trey caught wind of and immediately echoed into a lead guitar line. Fish, following Trey, synced his beat with the axe man, and the band—as a whole—began to slowly descend into the netherworld.

10.23.10 (Ryan Gilbertie)

Flipping the course of “Light’s” uplifting jam, the four-headed monster reared its head as the music became less and less driven my melody and more about loops, layers and effects. Often times, with such overlapping textures, it was difficult to discern just who was making what sound. Mike thumped a descending bass line behind this madness that served as an adhesive to real world, while aliens invaded the venue. Kuroda seized the moment and blackened the room, leaving only several green “search light” beams moving throughout the room, in his most innovative display in a while. Amidst this beautiful cacophony, Page looped a pronounced synth lead as the jam followed an increasingly demented path. Then, out of nowhere, we began to hear the long, eerie tones of the Theremin amidst this primordial excursion!

And just as Page switched instruments and began to offer sounds that pushed the musical paradigm into another realm, Fishman subtly shifted into the beginning drumbeat of “My Left Toe.” For the first time since 1999 , Phish dusted off the Siket Disc track, and they chose the deepest of situations for its reemergence. If one wasn’t conscious of the abstract instrumental, they wouldn’t have thought the song had changed at all, as the band continued along the path they were traveling in seamless fashion.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Transforming into the no doubt centerpiece of the night, “My Left Toe” provided Phish the freedom—with just enough structure—to extended into the outer realms of the galaxy. Featuring original and spiritual interplay, this is one of those cases words can do no justice to the surreal nature of the astounding moment. The band engaged in unabashed soulful exchanges that sprang from the depths of their thirty-year musical and personal relationships. There seemed to be little thinking going on between the cosmic conduits as the sounds spilled graciously from their beings in a way we have seen only a handful of times in this era. Moving from amorphous and abstract beginnings to the most heart-tugging heights and just about every place along the way, his jam is Phish—no era qualifier necessary. Remaining completely cohesive throughout, “My Left Toe” was pure and uncut IT; the stuff all fans relish in regardless of age, number of shows, nation or creed. It was that good. I’ll let the music take it from here.

And when the guys descended from the mountain top via an ambient denouement, one had to think they would stop and relish the moment before selecting the next song. Well, it’s safe to say that my head wasn’t the only one that nearly exploded when Trey slowly trickled the “Tweezer” lick onto the abstract canvas! Not all at once, but a few bars at a time, while the whole band caught wind of his wonderfully outlandish idea. And just like that the band seeped into “Tweezer!” Was I dreaming?! I had to slap myself to make sure this was real. The band had started the set with “Runaway Jim” and had simply not stopped jamming. And with the outrageous roar of the indoor New England audience, off we went!

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

“Tweezer’s” gooey funk odyssey provided a dance party release from the deeply spiritual playing that had defined the entire set. Splashing into the jam with utmost enthusiasm, Trey looked like a goofy teenager who cared nothing but annihilating the upcoming jam. As the audience roared with approval, the band dove into a section of lock-step plinko-funk that torched the arena with rhythmic fireworks. After an extended series of this modern styling, Phish morphed into a more retro-styled funk groove a la ’97 / ’98. Trey laid into a series of rhythm licks he rarely break’s out these days behind the larger-than-life offerings from Gordeaux, and it felt as though we pushed through a wormhole to some Worcester show in history. The band stuck to this gorilla-sized jungle funk for what seemed like an eternity before Fishman hit a groove on his ride cymbal that urged Trey and company into a more upbeat pace. Trey took this cue to substitute his traditional guitar solo with an original and congruently upbeat lead line that became the spontaneous theme of the jam. Triumphant and powerful music through and through, the band could do no wrong at this point, playing improvisational music as if it were composed.

8.14.10 (M.Stein)

As the band chugged along, Trey altered his lead line, note by note, until he had built the entire melody to “Simple.” Mike was on it immediately, and instead of starting from the very first note of the song, the band just jammed on the melody until they were ready to sing. Another move that illustrated the uncanny flow to the set, “Simple” provided an arena rock punctuation to an unforgettable and non-stop string of music. Carrying out his solo in usual form, the band backed Trey with mellow textures that suggested the summer breeze—even if it was taking place in a overheated arena. As the band broke form, they engaged in a soft ambient sequence that seemed like an incredibly appropriate way to end the set. But just as “Simple” was vanishing into nothing, Fish bled into the hi-hat intro to “David Bowie.” Signifying the end of a jaw-dropping set, the crowd met the transition with an roar of excitement. As the band precisely nailed the opening half of the song and moved into the jam, everyone in the venue dug deep one more time. Moving from usual “Bowie” vamping into a noodly jam, Trey coyly teased “Simple’s” melody within the darker music. This small move, however, led the band to reprise the blissed out ambient outro of “Simple’s” previous jam as they made a switch into a major key. Creating a uniquely soothing vibe, the band actually stuck with it for more than eight measures and expounded on the idea over an intricate, though urgent, rhythm section. Peaking this sequence with explosive, feel-good leads, Trey then turned around to his bandmates and they simultaneously swooped back into the dark “Bowie” jam. The vibe throughout the building was electric, as everyone understood it was a night for the ages. The band tore apart the gnarling final sequence and passionately careened towards the last note—undeniably united. As they put took a breath, put down their instruments, looked at each other and then out at us, a palpable sense amazement arose. A collective catharsis connected every person the building—a victory for the universe on a night that was pulled from the stars.

Was this heaven? No, it was Worcester.

I. Wolfman’s Brother, Reba, Tube, It’s Ice, Spock’s Brain, Funky Bitch, Stash, If I Could, Antelope -> Catapult -> Antelope

II. Runaway Jim -> Light -> My Left Toe* -> Tweezer -> Simple > David Bowie

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

* Page on Theremin

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Keepin’ the Jams Flowin’

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on April 24th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

PNC 2011 (Chris LaJaunie)

Wilson -> Antelope” 10.13.95 II, Ft. Worth, TX

Need a kick start to your hump day? Here you go.

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Ghost” 11.19.98 I, Winston-Salem, NC

“Ghost” and 1998 go together like bread and butter. Check out this late first-set version from Winston-Salem.

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Suzie Greenberg > Caspian” 11.13.96 II, Minneapolis, MN

A tremendous jam where the band lets loose on “Suzie.” Maybe they could do this more often?

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Tweezer” 11.3.96 II, Gainesville, FL

Phish kept Karl Perazzo on tour for the Florida shows after Halloween as they began the their transition into a groove machine.

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My Left Toe -> Velvet Sea > Bug” 7.7.99 II, Charlotte, NC

Early in Summer ’99, Phish began working “My Left Toe” into rotation. Here is the second version ever played from late in Charlotte’s second set—a smashing frame of Phish from start to finish.

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Runaway Jim -> Free” 7.18.99 II, Volney, NY

An afternoon delight in the sweltering heat of Oswego.

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Reba” 12.7.95 II, Niagara Falls, NY

Phish’s performance on December 7, 1995, featured all-time versions of “Split,” “Mike’s Groove,” and this spectacular “Reba.”

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Mike’s Song” 10.29.96 II, Tallahassee, FL

With Karl Perazzo on stage for the show before Halloween, the band slips into a “Houses In Motion” jam in this big time “Mike’s Song.”

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Harry Hood” 8.10.97 I, Noblesville, IN

Ending the first set in Deer Creek, Phish played a gorgeous, emotional and divergent “Harry Hood.” If you have never heard this one, put your headphones on.

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Ten For Tuesday

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 23rd, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Bethel Woods (Michael Mesenbourg)

Mike’s Song -> Breathe Jam ” 10.25.95 II, St.Paul, MN

A relic from the day when “Mike’s Song” had jams. In this Fall ’95 incarnation, Trey annihilates the opening segment moving to his mini kit as the band moves further and further into experimental territory. Slipping into abstraction, they pass smoothly into an instrumental interpretation of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.”

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Simple > McGrupp” 10.26.96 II, Charlotte, NC

This is but one of many standout “Simples” along the road of Fall ’96, and served as the centerpiece of Charlotte’s Fall ’96 stop.

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Weekapaug -> Mango Song” 11.25.94 II, Chicago, IL

Concluding our patchwork “Mike’s Groove,” here is the unique segue and song pairing that followed “Harpua” at UIC in Fall ’94.

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My Left Toe -> Whipping Post” 7.25.99 II, Noblesville, IN

In a stunning piece of first-set improvisation, Phish built their abstract Summer ’99 vehicle into a legit take on the Allman’s classic. This jam came out of nowhere at the beginning of the show at Deer Creek, foreshadowing one of Summer ’99’s best outings.

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Tweezer -> Makisupa” 10.22.95 II, Champaign, IL

Another buck-wild, Fall ’95 throwdown to follow up yesterday’s “Tweezer” from the same tour.

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Stash” 12.5.97 II, Cleveland, OH

Behind the dance-party funk of Fall, “Stash” made a huge splash every time it dropped. Here is the second set opener of the consistently underrated show from Cleveland State. Though this version doesn’t stray too far from structure, it absolutely slays from start to finish.

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Music For Monday

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 23rd, 2012 by Mr.Miner

8.9.10 - Telluride, CO (Wendy Rogell)

Wolfman’s -> Lizards” 9.24.99 II, Austin, TX

A stellar jam from the band’s final show at South Park Meadows.

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Simple” 11.21.98, Hampton, VA II

The angelic side of Fall ’98’s ambient creations.

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Split Open and Melt”  8.26.93, Portland, OR I

A ferocious, mid-90s version from the Pacific Northwest. You guys never knew how good you had it up there!

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Curtain > Tweezer” 11.19.95 II

An under-the-radar, though standout “Tweezer” from Fall ’95

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Birds -> If I Only Had Brain” 7.8.99 II, VA. Beach, VA

An old favorite from the Summer of ’99.

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Reba” 11.27.98 I, Worcester, MA

This version caught me ear when it came on Sirius last week.

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Bathtub Gin -> Makisupa” 7.25.97 I, Dallas, TX

This Dallas show is an underrated monster of Summer ’97, and this “Gin” came towards the end of the first set.

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You Enjoy Myself” 7.31.97 I, Mountain View, CA

A big-time exclamation point to Shoreline’s first set in ’97.

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TTFF: Grab Bag II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 20th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Denver 2011 (Charles Bridwell)

Tweezer” 7.8.03 I, Chula Vista, CA

A scorching daylight version—the fourth song of the show.

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Reba > Walk Away” 10.29.98 II, Los Angeles, CA

During the first second set of Fall ’98, Phish illustrated the musical direction the tour would take with this jam.

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Split Open and Melt” 7.12.99 I, Mansfield, MA

A funked-out first setter amidst a gorgeous sunset at Great Woods.

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Mike’s > Keyboard Cavalry” 11.21.95 II Winston-Salem, NC

In a new Miner/Trey Is My Friend joint—Phish Loops—some hidden gems have been unearthed by a series of master “chefs.” This “Mike’s Song” is one of these gems, and its last few minutes are worth the price of admission on their own. Come check out the page!

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Bathtub Gin” 9.29.00 I Las Vegas, NV

This bangin’ first set version was the highlight of Vegas’ entire two-night stand.

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Piper > Mist” Atlanta, GA 7.26.03 II

One of many outstanding “Pipers” from Summer ’03.

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Ghost” 9.8.00 I, Albany, NY

In the very first set of Fall ‘0o, the band threw down this, largely, under-the-radar jam.

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Run Like an Antelope” 5.16.94 II, Los Angeles, CA

Ever hear of this beast from The Wiltern?

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Summer Additions?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 17th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

When Phish splashes into an open jam, the adventure is on, regardless of what song the jam stemmed from. But in 2011, a tighter rotation of regular jam vehicles caused a tad of predictability to ooze into shows. Though the music could obviously go any which way, we all knew when jams were coming based on song selection—except in of a handful of surprise instances. With such a wide array of untapped material this era, the diversification of jam vehicles could instantly bolster the excitement of summer tour. In no way longing for the past, I believe the following five jams could be reinvented as platforms into the future.

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“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing”

With only two improvisational versions in this era—Deer Creek ’09 and Super Ball IX—it’s a wonder Phish hasn’t further tapped the vast potential of this sinister jam. Like many great Phish jams, this one starts out with structured improv centered on a monster guitar solo, but once this sequence ends, the flood gates of possibilities open. Not prone to one style of playing or another, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” could easily mold to whatever direction the band chooses this summer. At Super Ball, the band quickly integrated an ambient-storage style jam into the piece, and back at  SPAC ’04, they launched into a refined excursion in psych-rock. Thus, every time the opening of this song growls through the stacks, there is inherent mystery as to where it will go. Check out Super Ball’s version below.

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“Halley’s Comet”

Nothing screams summer Phish like “Halley’s Comet” jams. Making its improvisational name for itself from 1997 onward, “Halley’s” is always a welcome addition to any show in summer months. And when the band used it to craft one 2011’s defining jams out of the piece in Bethel, many fans thought its improvisational prowess had finally been resurrected. But it wasn’t to be, as the song returned to its compact form after its New York state adventure. Though doubtful, it would be invigorating to hear “Halley’s” grooves grace the summer air once again in 2012. Here’s Bethel’s version.

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“Scents and Subtle Sounds”

This song has been an enigma in this era after emerging as one of the band’s compelling vehicles the last time around. Played only three times in 3.0—primarily for bust-out purposes—Trey launched into a soaring and emotional solo in Denver that seemed to awaken the spirit of the song. If “Scents and Subtle Sounds” returns to regular rotation—whether used as an open or contained jam—a certain majesty will come right along with it, perfectly meshing with any summer evening. And if this ever does transpire, let’s hope the band brings the intro with it! The following is Super Ball’s version—with intro.

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“AC/DC Bag”

“AC/DC Bag” turned a corner in 1997, with so many other songs, and became a legitimate platform for improv. Though never a guaranteed jam, for the next four years, the band took the song in countless directions, from UIC ‘98s drone/ambient psychedelia to Virginia Beach ‘98’s summer funk to Boise ‘99’s all-time spiritual excursion. The Gamehendge favorite hasn’t broken form in this era, which isn’t all that surprising, but if the band ever decided to toss a few “Bag” jams into the second set, things could get spicy quickly! Check out Virginia Beach ’98 below.

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“Round Room”

Here’s a dark horse pick. Appearing only a handful of times in the post-hiatus era, the title track from Round Room could make an intriguing launch pad with the band members’ now-polished skill sets. Taken in layered, ambient directions back in ’03, this jam could benefit from the sound-sculpting acumen of Phish these days. I wonder, however, if “Round Room” is even still on their radar. Here’s the Gorge version from 2003.

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What song’s would you like to be seen focused on this summer? Respond via Twitter with the hashtag #minertalk, or on the Facebook page! Or just post in comments below, but let’s hear what you think!

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A Look at Leg Two

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on April 11th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Summer 2012

When Phish dropped their dates on Tuesday afternoon, I was immediately struck with mixed emotions. One part of me thought that fears of complacency might be realized with a 6-week schedule and no new material to push the band in any particular direction. But that viewpoint was hashed out yesterday—quite a bit. The other part of me became excited for the sheer oddity that these dates presented—five indoor shows, a night in a Zoo in Oklahoma City, a return to Oak Mountain in Birmingham—the site of two barn-burners in ’94 and ’99, a return to Dick’s in Colorado, and a three-night stand in the heart of San Francisco. For the past three years, Leg Two has been where the best jams of summer stem from, and one would think that trend would continue in 2012.

8.15.10 (M. Stein)

Hitting a series smaller markets that the band has bypassed this era, Leg Two of 2012 will not see the elusive 3.0 west coast run that many thought might develop. Despite the lack of western dates, Leg Two will kick off in Snoop Dogg’s home town of Long Beach, California—indoors—before moving north to San Francisco, and the notoriously poor sounding Bill Graham Civic Center. With Another Planet booking the shows, it was either The Greek or Bill Graham Civic, and while The Greek poses the better acoustic option, Bill Graham will be far less of a hassle. Though with a capacity of 7000, look for this show to be the hardest ticket of the summer.

Phish will hop off the coast and fly to heartland following their visit to the Bay, and this is where tour becomes quite unorthodox. Needing several flights and long drives to get from one place to another, the routing of this segment is quite bizarre. The band will start a series of one-off shows in Kansas City, Missouri’s Starlight Theatre before heading to Lakewood in Atlanta (instead of Alpharetta), stopping in Charlotte, playing an indoor affair on campus at The University of St. Louis’s Chaifetz Arena, and, finally, performing in one of the seven states they have yet to play with a show at the Oklahoma City Zoo! Yeah—not exactly your traditional circuit. With the success Phish has had with multi-night stands this era, this stretch will be interesting to see if the band can maintain consistency for a week straight while traveling almost every day. I have a gut feeling that their return to Oak Mountain the band’s visit to Oklahoma City will stand out when the whirlwind week is done.

9.2.11 (G. Lucas / webcast)

After this hectic stretch of commuting, Phish will settle in at everyone’s favorite soccer stadium in Commerce City, Colorado, to close the summer with three more nights at Dick’s. Many knew this was happening last year during the Labor Day shows, as it was leaked that a multi-year contract had been inked. And after a phenomenal three nights of easy navigation around the spacious stadium, the community will happily descend upon the Rockies to end summer once again.

The venues are definitely set up for two quality legs of tour, but what will transpire is anyone’s guess. Assuming that MSG was an aberration, however, the band’s overall trajectory has been one of progress in this era, albeit with spotty consistency. The foundation of 2009 and 2010 birthed a very creative 2011, and, hopefully, 2012 will continue this trend. Will Page still bring out the Theremin? Will they go deeper into the style of which they scratched the surface last summer? Will a new improvisational direction emerge? Or will the band just play shows and let whatever happens happen? Well, that is the fun of it all, and only time will tell. With their personal lives busier than ever these days, let’s hope that when the guys get back together, they feel inspired to push forward again. If so, the possibilities are very exciting!

8/15 – Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA

8/17-19 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

8/22 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO

8/24 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Birmingham, AL

8/25 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA

8/26 – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC

8/28 – Chaifetz Arena, St Louis, MO

8/29 – Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK

8/31 – 9/02 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Denver, CO

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The Philler w/ Jim Pollock:

From Robert Champion:

Our latest cloudcast is all about Junta, Jim Pollock and the album’s re-release on Record Store Day. I sat down and talked with Jim in the first part of this cloudcast to discuss his ongoing process, as he opened up and shared details about his work. We also threw in a “Wedge” because Jim loves the song. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for part two of my interview with Mr. Pollock, and don’t forget to check out his website! This episode also includes my good friend Mr. Miner and his top pick for one of the most monumental versions of “David Bowie” played by the band during the sure fire era of the mid-Nineties. Don’t forget to call the hotline @ 630-317-7033 and leave a message. Send a shout out or any other outrageous blurb and we will use it on the show! Enjoy.

The Philler – Episode Nine – The Jim Pollock Interview by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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A Reaction to the Fine Print

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 10th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

The Gorge 2011 (G. Lucas)

When Phish dropped their second leg dates yesterday, I was immediately struck with mixed emotions. On one hand, the announcement of any Phish dates is a cause for immediate celebration, but something about these dates—and the fine print that followed—screamed “stagnancy” to me. If you didn’t catch the afterword, “No additional Phish dates will be announced for Summer or Fall of 2012,” leaving the band with exactly six weeks of the year to play together. One might say that Phish semi-formally announced that 2012 would be “light year” of touring, but in fact, the schedule is exactly same as last year minus a festival. And I would bet that 2013’s touring docket will look eerily similar— a month long tour in June, two weeks in August, and a Holiday Run at MSG. One might also say, look at all the new venues that they booked—it will be an exciting tour. My response to would be, “ I don’t care where Phish shows happen, I only care what they sound like.” And when the band takes such massive chunks of time off from playing together, they don’t always come back together so gracefully (see MSG 2011). While I still hold high hopes for what the guys will do this summer, that hope is tempered by a bit of wonderment about the current intent behind the Phish from Vermont.

12.28.98 Graham Lucas)

With no fall tour planned, this summer will be another standalone tour in which any real chance of musical progression feels inherently limited. Let’s look at 2011. The band built towards a new style of abstract / soundscape / “storage” jamming in the first half of the summer, infused it into some shows during leg two with mastery, and then all but dropped it come the holidays—the run where Phish traditionally showcases their accomplishments of the year. With no Fall 2011, the guys weren’t able to capitalize on their musical momentum and innovation they realized over the summer, resulting in a significant step backwards over the New Year’s Run. But let’s just give the band a pass for MSG. My concern is with such sporadic scheduling—six weeks of dates in a year covering the nation once—that this is pattern bound to repeat itself.

12.29.2011 Graham Lucas)

Three years into this era, Phish has played plenty of great shows and thrown down many jams that stand up to any era, but where are they “going” musically? Are they “going” anywhere? Can you remember the last time Phish played for three straight years without establishing a signature sound or improvisational focus of the era? Probably not, because it has never happened. Just as it felt like the band was finally on the brink of something with the Gorge’s “Rock and Roll,” Tahoe’s “Light,” and UIC’s Elements Set, they played three great shows in Denver—none, specifically, delving into this style—and took the rest of the year off. Something tells me that when the band gets back on stage in Worcester come June, they won’t exactly pick up where they left off nearly ten months ago in Denver. Perhaps I’m wrong—and I certainly hope so—but if I’m right, the band may spend another summer unearthing a compelling musical direction only to split come fall for Trey tour, Mike tour, and whatever else the band wants to do these days. It just doesn’t feel like Phish is of the utmost importance to the band members anymore, rather, the band seems more like a summer camp where they can get their jollies out before returning to more focused endeavors—orchestral, familial or otherwise. And while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, Phish has never been a casual affair.

12.28.11 (G.Lucas)

Another glaring absence as we move towards another summer of shows is the lack of new material. The band’s newest jam vehicles are still “Light” and “Number Line” from 2009’s Joy, and Trey is currently working on a new solo album. While I realize new material isn’t essential to the touring year, there is a certain creative process that goes into making an album that brings the band together in a way that a few weeks on the road cannot. And it enhances the group dynamic and overall flow of the band. The last time Phish did this was before they stepped on stage at Hampton. Where’s the dedication to pushing Phish forward that has been a hallmark of the band since their inception, and that we heard them speak of upon their return? You get my drift? It seems to me that we, the fans, care far more about Phish music than the band does these days. It never used to be that way. It simply feels odd. With leg two hitting a series of spread out small markets and small venues, tickets will sell out and regional fans will be excited regardless of how coherent the jams sound. Will these conditions breed the potential for complacency? One can only wonder.

The band has been back in action for three full years now, and the feeling of “we’re lucky to have them back” has worn off. While I am eternally grateful that the Phish is playing again, at this point in 2012, I feel like huddling them up like an overzealous football coach, urging them onto the same page, and chanting—as a team—“1…2…3…Let’s do this!”

A unified musical intent would be invaluable in Phish’s current landscape, but with Trey so often on his own musical trip, the single-mindedness that defined the band’s greatest eras has often been missing, and I’m not sure this sporadic scheduling will help the cause. As rock bands get older, so many tend to mellow out and play the hits for one tour a year to keep the wheels spinning. I never thought this is what Phish would become, and I am still holding out that they won’t, but this summer seems to be a critical time in determining the future of the band. What will happen? Well, that is the fun of it all. Come this summer, we shall see.

8/15 – Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA

8/17-19 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

8/22 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO

8/24 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Birmingham, AL

8/25 – Aaron’s Amphitheathre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA

8/26 – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC

8/28 – Chaifetz Arena, St Louis, MO

8/29 – Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK

8/31 – 9/02 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Denver, CO

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