Reader’s Picks: Ryan Ciriello

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on March 27th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.17.12 - Bill Graham(Graham Lucas)

8.17.12 – Bill Graham (Graham Lucas)

 All text and selections by Ryan Ciriello

Funky Bitch > Jam > Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” 11.22.94, Columbia, MO

An under-the-radar sequence of Fall 1994, this one spans the full spectrum of ’94 Phish. You can almost feel the energy in the room when the band reaches near silence at a few points during the “Jam.”

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Light” 10.19.10 II, Augusta, ME

Fall 2010 was full of stellar versions of “Light.” The highlight of a solid second set, this one gets my vote for tops of Fall 2010.

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Antelope -> 2001” 8.11.04 II, Mansfield, MA

This unfinished “Antelope” melts into an infectious “2001” and is one of the few highlights from the last run of 2004 that still has replay value today.

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Seven Below > Ghost”  11.28.09 II, Albany, NY

The jam many consider to be the unofficial re-birth of 3.0—over 50 minutes of pure Phish.

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Halley’s Comet” 12.7.99 II, Portland, ME

Pure December 1999 Phish. Too bad they don’t make “Halley’s” today like they used to.

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Rock and Roll” 6.7.11 II, Mansfield, MA

One of the only highlights of yet another underwhelming Great Woods visit, this “Rock and Roll” contains a full-band effort at some truly heartfelt music.

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Simple” 11.18.96 II, Memphis, TN

Speaking of heartfelt music, this “Simple” jam initially finds some tranquil space before Trey leads the troops into an emotional peak.

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Bathtub Gin 8.13.93 II, Indianapolis, IN

The Murat “Gin” doesn’t need too much of an introduction…this is August ’93 at its absolute finest.

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Tweezer” 11.23.94 II, St Louis, MO

While 1994 had its share of monster “Tweezers,” this one may be the most blissful of them all.

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Twist” 6.20.04 II, Saratoga Springs, NY

On a weekend full of top tier 2004 Phish, this “Twist” contains patience, communication, and whole-band offerings we can all enjoy.

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Reader’s Pick’s: Kaveh Rahimi

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on March 25th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
photo 3-1

7.4.2012, Jones Beach (George Estreich)

All selections and text by Kaveh Rahimi

Run Like An Antelope” 8.28.93 II, Berkeley, CA

After three nights of the Grateful Dead at Shoreline, the friendly, West Coast confines of the Greek, put the perfect cap on a wonderful four nights of music. It was the end of summer tour and the band was locked and loaded with their typical tight, robotic force of music. The “Antelope” from this night, after a good “2001-Rift” opener, took a really good show to another level. Not quite as overall powerful as the Red Rocks “Antelope” 9 days earlier, this version is still a shred-fest of 1993 proportions.

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Lizards” 6.10.94 I, Red Rocks, CO

(MYFE. Designs)

(MYFE. Designs)

I know we have all had this experience, where there has been a certain time a song has been played and you finally “understand” the song. “The Lizards” on this night was this type of experience for me. I had heard the song many a time, but it was during Trey’s floating solo, that I, half way up an unpacked Red Rocks, felt/understood the plight and struggle of the Lizard people. His solo translated that idea into music. I felt it and just understood it. One of those experiences.

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Slave to the Traffic Light” 11.26.94 II, Minneapolis, MN

The “Bowie” from this night took the band to many a new and far reaching place in the musical universe, and it is that same openness and patience, that translates to this “Slave,” the perfect set closer.

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Jesus Left Chicago” 10.31.95 III, Chicago, IL

After the monster (one of my favorite) “You Enjoy Myself” opened the third set, a perfect and killer version of this cover is one of the highlights of the night. With Dave Grippo joining the band, his infusion of alto sax on this song, takes it to another level. The band just let’s him give solo upon solo. I remember the crowd erupting after this solo and giving him a long, well deserved hand. Something about a straight up blues number in a city like Chicago that is hard to replicate anywhere else.

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Reba” 11.17.97 I, Denver, CO

url-15We all love 4 to 5 song sets. This pure gem takes up slot 2, after the then rare, “Tweezer” opener. Something was in the air over these two night in the Mile High city; seemingly taking off in full with an absolute blissful Set II from the first night. You know you are in for a great “Reba,” when Page and Trey nail their game of cat and mouse, before the serious release of music happens. Worth noting that Fishman, as usual, holds down and adds the right amount of drive to this furious back and forth chasing. Now the meat….right from the outset, there is an open air to this “Reba” jam, with Trey in no hurry to add directive or control. Page and Trey with the always healthy backbone of Mike and Jon, continue their game of playing off each other with Gordo adding to the jam raising it to another level…the four headed beast in full control. The continued, classic Phish push, push of the music. The rest of the song, just floats away…as all great Reba’s do.

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David Bowie -> Catapult -> David Bowie” 2.16.03 L.Vegas, NV

Absolutely one of my favorite show openers. The band was in serious mode on night two in Vegas. The transitions into and back out of “Catapult” fit better than OJ’s glove. Tight. And driven. With the technically, aggressive nature of “Bowie” on full display, especially as the underlying beat for this “Catapult” that sneaks up on you in perfect silence. This “Bowie” is the perfect show opening sandwich. Tasty.

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Piper” 12.29.03 I, Miami, FL

Right out of the box and charging. I love this “Piper” as an opener. This version is locked and loaded with aggressive guitar work from Trey with that little extra, dirty 2003 guitar tone. After the initial outburst, the band settles into the galloping part of the song with Page adding tasteful piano over Trey’s, always wonderful, rhythm guitar work. Following a calmer, guitar build up that is driven by Fishman with his usual pushing fills, Trey slaughters his solo, bringing an already high energy building to a higher understanding. As the song builds itself to conclusion, it is very, very easy to forget that this is the start of the show. Jesus.

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Wolfman’s Brother” 10.30.09 II, Indio, CA

url-14An often overlooked, hidden gem from the Indio run. This version has the band chomping at the bit as soon as the lyrics end. With the groove already in place; the plinko-ish, Page piano jam gets things rolling. Mike is quick to add some liquid bass, thus bringing Trey to the foreground as the jam continues to ebb up and down but constantly move forward. Trey then drives the band, off into the outer realms of music. The song complete breaks down almost as quickly as it began. Finding itself in orbit of Pluto and the like, there is nothing earthly about this quite scary section; which is good. Pure, form-breaking music to the end.

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Down with Disease” 6.3.11, II, Pine Knob, MI

While this one that has been well documented and discussed, it is amazing music. After the “Waves” at Bethel, the throw down at historic Pine Knob on Mike’s birthday, continued to put the music of 2011 into the upper stratosphere. This “Disease” is pure magic. What gets me every time I listen to this version is the pure “push” that comes in two latter places in this song. Places where the form has been left and all there is, is music. It is music as it should be! Pure and new. When the band is firing on all cylinders and you are listening to music being created, there is really no other place to be.

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Chalk Dust Torture -> Emotional Rescue” 8.31.12 II, Denver, CO

Commerce City, CO (Stout)

Commerce City, CO (Stout)

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a “Chalk Dust Torture,” anytime and anywhere. This version is lodged in everyone’s memory quite well, so I’ll only add that this version is the “Chalk Dust” that I have been waiting for since hearing the IT version in 2003. There is something wonderful when this band takes a normal, straight forward rock and roll song and blows it’s doors wide open—the power of the musicians. Furthermore, it is rather fitting that the band chose to bust out “Emotional Rescue”, because, as of that point in the evening, I think we all where riding a great emotional wave and needed some “rescue” from the bliss.

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Thank you for all the reader’s picks submissions! It will take me a bit, but I will get to all of them. Cheers, Miner

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Readers Picks: Josh Finkenberg

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 20th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
12-28-12 (Graham Lucas)

12-28-12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

All selections and text by Josh Finkenberg (@JoshFink17)

“One and Done”

March is my favorite time of year. The Vernal Equinox. Hope springs eternal. Phish drops tour dates. Tour plans are put in motion. Emails with phriends putting said plans in-motion. Sun-dresses and halter-tops. Pools open in Vegas (alas no Phish again this year). Dog beach. Spring training. NCAA March Madness. Filling out your brackets (be it your basketball picks or favorite Phish jams of 3.0 or all-time), upsets possible almost in every game, excitement of the buzzer beaters, split screens, watching David (Bowies) go up against (dried up) Goliaths (and a weasel names Fee) and the win or go home nature of the tournament. One and done—a fate that has befallen many tournament teams and over 300 Phish songs‚— is the theme of my Readers Picks… songs that Phish has only played once.

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Mr. Completely7.15.03 II, Salt Lake City, Utah (Anastasio)

I love jams—strawberry, grape, Lebron during warm-ups, and of course Phish. This is the greatest one and done jam Phish has ever played. Storming the court, this nearly 45 minute deep and winding jam moves in and out of “Low Rider,” “BBFCFM,” “Buried Alive” and “Ha Ha Ha.” One of the best 2.0 jams period, and yet played only once by Phish.

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Garden Party12.31.12 I, New York, NY (Ricky Nelson)

Rick-Nelson-Garden-Party-304117

Garden Party

Speaking of basketball, a moment of silence for the Big (Ball Jam) East who after this season will look dramatically different. MSG has hosted the Big East Conference tournament since 1983, the same year Phish was formed. Coincidence? I think not.  MSG has seen some awesome basketball and some awesome Phish. Unlike almost every other song on this list, I don’t think Phish should ever play “Garden Party” again. This NYE opening number was the perfect song at the perfect time in the perfect place in Phishtory. I don’t need to say much about this one because Mr. Miner already had a perfect take on this moment.

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Terrapin Station”8.9.98 E, Virginia Beach, VA (Garcia/Hunter)

The roar from the crowd after Laettner’s last second shot vs UConn has nothing on the roar from the crowd as it processes what is about to go down on 8/9/98. I get goose bumps every time I hear that roar. Played as the encore on the anniversary of Jerry’s death, I have been at every Phish show on August 9th since and have selected “Terrapin Station” as my bust-out in our setlist game every time. I am 0 for 3 from behind the arc.

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The Rover 6.24.10 I, Camden, NJ (Led Zeppelin)

Physical Graffitti

Physical Graffitti

You know the drill: Phish announces a Halloween show (the selection committee announces the brackets), phans start guessing what album will serve as the musical costume (fans start filling out their brackets) and a lot of people are convinced that this is Zeppelin’s (Louisville’s) year. Phish seems to be aware of this as displayed in the 10/30/10 “Ha Ha Ha! Were Not Costuming Zeppelin Show.” While it will never be “No Quarter ” (a perfect Phish cover) I would love to hear Phish try “The Rover” again and produce a better version than this one. Amazing stat: Phish has played “The Rover” live in concert more times than Led Zeppelin did.

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Spanish Moon” 10.31.10 II, Atlantic City, NJ (Little Feat)

Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus

Waiting For Columbus

Speaking of musical costumes, the last Halloween costume Phish donned was Little Feat’s Waiting For ColumbusWaiting for Columbus is one of my favorite albums, so it was pretty special to see Phish absolutely nail it. It has been very surprising to me that for whatever reason Phish has yet to take a song from this Halloween show and turn it into a regular staple of their own a la “Drowned,” “Crosseyed and Painless,” and “Rock N Roll.” Trey indicates that this is one of their favorite songs and they crush this version like UNLV crushed Duke in 1990. Getting down at this show, I felt confident “Spanish Moon” was going to be added to the Phish cover repertoire. Alas, it’s been a Spanish New Moon (despite the “Skin it Back” head fake.)

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Them Changes” 11.30.97 E, Worcester, MA  (Buddy Miles)

Everyone (including this guy) wants Phish to bust-out “Izabella” again. Buddy Miles was Jimi’s drummer in Band of Gypsys—I would love to see another Jimi influenced song taken off the shelf.  Unlike “The Rover” cover, Page absolutely crushes the vocals on this one. Trey has a great solo and some shredding work throughout. The band is locked in with some speed rock in the end. Incredible cover…please skin it back.

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Layla” 11.29.98 I, Worcester, MA (Eric Clapton) 

Layla and Other Asst. Love Songs

Layla and Other Asst. Love Songs

Eric Clapton is a prolific singer-song writer, musician and performer. Thus it is quite surprising that Phish has covered one of his songs. This song features a very successful sit-in by Seth Yacovone from Burlington (whose bands first gig ever was at Nectar’s.) This is a great version—it’s fun to watch Trey and Seth rock back and forth just as you would imagine Clapton and Duane Allman doing back in the day followed by the Chairman of the (back)Boards flawlessly playing the piano coda written by Jim Gordon. While I doubt we will see the Phish from Vermont play “Layla” again due to its guitar and singing complexities, this was truly a special moment; The Kevin Durant of Phish one and dones.

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Pigtail12.28.10 I, Worcester, MA (Anastasio/Marshall)

The third one and done from Worcester on my list. Fortunately Marcus Camby was not a one and done for UMass (also in Worcester) and led them to the Final Four in 1996. This song made its debut with Phish at the DCU Center but since then has only been seen with TAB (including six times in 2013 alone.) Although Trey’s voice is a bit shot in Phish’s version, I really like this catchy tune and think it would make a nice addition to live Phish.

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Rhymes06.07.11, Mansfield, MA (Al Green)

This song had been seen in a decent number of Cactus shows prior to making its debut in the first set in Mansfield. At the time we had no idea about the song but were really digging the groove and loved Gordon’s lyrical enthusiasm. “Rhymes” has some serious potential if Phish chooses to take it out for a spin again.

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Time11.2.98 II, West Valley UT (Pink Floyd)

Dark Side of the Moon

Dark Side of the Moon

They play this version straight ahead, albeit with the help of the CD being piped into the sound system for the clocks and alarms sounds in the beginning of the song. If only I could go travel back in “time” and go to this show. That magical night in Utah is the only “time” Phish has covered Pink Floyd (excluding “Bike” and a dozen or so versions of “The Great Gig in the Sky.”) It’s “time” for Phish to bring other Pink Floyd songs back into the mix. Phish has been playing for 30 years; I have been seeing them for 20. “Time” keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future (another one and done.) It’s a minute in “time” that we exist, we slowly make our way into the mist (not one and done.) We don’t know how many more “times” we will have the opportunity to see Phish and see shows with our loved ones. Enjoy life – it’s a great “time” of year.

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Reader’s Picks: Luke Falk

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 18th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.24.2012 (Ryan MacNeil)

8.24.2012, Pelham, AL (Ryan MacNeil)

All selections and text by Luke Falk

Split Open and Melt” 4.16.92 I, Santa Barbara, CA

This tight rager showcases Big Red’s chops back in 92. Listening back, I’m struck, not only, by how absolutely all over the fret board he is, but by how he barely used to use any effects at all (to great effect). A great version that is completely overlooked.

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YEM” 6.11.94 I, Morrison, CO

This first set of this Red Rocks show was broadcast on the radio, which is how I got a good quality copy that year. My vote for best ever “YEM” (possibly my favorite Phish jam ever), which somehow doesn’t get mentioned anymore with almost everyone’s attention falling on 12.9.95 and other versions.

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David Bowie” 10.30.90 II, Crested Butte, CO

Not exploratory, but tight and intense, this early “Bowie” reminds me of the band’s recent gesture toward shorter, more economical playing. They really get right down to business here.

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My Friend, My Friend” 2.26.97 I, Stuttgart, DE

The best version ever played.

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Down By the River” 10.3.98 Farm Aid, Chicago, IL

This Neil Young sit-in gets my vote for second-best guest performance ever; a nasty extended jam for the benefit of small farms. (For the record, everything with Karl Perrazo is the best guest performance.)

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Free” 6.17.04 I, Brooklyn, NY

This is the last good version of “Free.” And it is very good. The Trey and Mike jam ultimately inspired a horrible moment at Coventry, which, I speculate, is why they’ve never tried to jam it since.

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Stash” 7.2.97 II, Amsterdam, NL

A 30-minute abstract monster to kick off one of my favorite sets ever.

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Bathtub Gin” 2.28.03 I, Uniondale, NY

This multi-section, type II joyride foreshadowed what would come later in the show during “Tweezer.”

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Suzy Greenberg” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

This version features a super funk throwdown and then explodes into an growling catharsis featuring Trey’s uncompressed tone.

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AC/DC Bag” 8.9.8 Set II, Virginia Beach, VA

Just because it never gets old—of the top three or four versions ever, which kicks off the second set of a magical night in Virginia.

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Reader’s Picks: Jeff Walls

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 18th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

“Midwestern Meltdowns and an Assorted Few”

Selections and text by Jeff Walls aka @Tela’s_muff

Tweezer > Makisupa” 11.30.95 II, Dayton, OH

This masterpiece is in the middle of a run of what I consider to be the greatest string of “Tweezer’s” ever performed by the band. A monster exploration of rock groove that they band was owning on a nightly basis at this point. Trey and Page each shine on this one, and we even get hints of what sounds like an early “Birds” jam!  Frankly, it may be Fishman that deserves the MVP throughout. This is a fine example of peak Fall/Winter ’95 Phish—explosive, percussive, guitar heroics, it’s all there. Cherry on top with a nice segue into “Makisupa,” allowing Trey to hop on his mini-kit.

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Maze” 12.28.96 II, Philadelphia, PA

If nothing else, know that 1996 was the year of “Maze” (and “Simple”), and when it takes the second slot of Set two on the  NYE run, hold on. This was the last version of the year, and it gets the full treatment. Both Page and Trey both crush this version, with Trey getting the edge, giving it an extra helping of tension, and a little dash of evil with the last couple of minutes reaching terrifying levels. They don’t play “Maze” like this anymore.

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Caravan” 12.29.96 II, Philadelphia, PA

This slid under the radar then, and it still does now.  The last “Caravan” played by Phish, and it’s a murky, swank little run through the jazz classic they had performed so well in their club days. It carries over amazingly well in the cavernous Spectrum.

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Ghost -> She Caught the Katy” 7.21.98 II, Phoenix, AZ

Having missed all of ’97 and all of ’98 up to this point, and having been completely out of the tape trading circle, I hadn’t heard Phish funk, although I had read reviews on the internet. The last live show I had seen was 12-31-1996, so, needless to say, this show was a revelation to my ears. This isn’t the best “Ghost” ever, but to me it holds a special place. It has some funk, then Trey kicks it into overdrive, building and directing, and the jam absolutely soars, eventually landing into a huge “She Caught the Katy” bustout, complete with heavy fog machine usage. I was front row this night, and still haven’t gotten over this jam sequence.

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

This is easily my favorite first set ever, and this may be my favorite sequence of Phish ever performed. It may be one of those “had to be there” moments, but the cosmos aligned in the cornfields that night. After the fun “Meat” opener, and a heavy “MFMF,” “My Left Toe’s” ambiance enveloped the masses (who were baking in 99 degree heat that day. I consider this to be the finest version of “My Left Toe,” and the drop into Whipping Post could not have been more unpredictable, and perfect for that time, on that day.

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Twist” 12.31.99 II, Big Cypress, FL

This is my personal favorite “Twist.” It’s the first song that comes to mind when I think of that night in Florida. I think it’s the best example of Phish excelling at ambient music. It’s mesmerizing, and beautiful, almost like a bedtime lullaby, but instead performed for 80K people swaying in unison, as the band calms us down for the long night ahead.

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Drowned > Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” 7.11.00 II, Noblesville, IN

This show had a lot to like, mostly antics and creative setlist construction, but the unequaled highlight is “Drowned -> CDT Reprise.”  A blistering jam erupts out of The Who classic, with Trey all over his loops. Eventually he lays back and allows the band to settle into an infectious funk groove, complete with a brief start-stop jam. I can’t think of many jams where I had as much fun dancing as I did during these 5 minutes. When the hilarity ensued with “CDT Reprise,” the bliss and humor of Phish reached it’s zenith.

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Bathtub Gin” 2.22.03 II, Cincinatti, OH

A must hear, top tier version of “Gin.”  May or may not have been inspired after Trey pegged a kid in the face with a glowstick. Either way, this is a beast that can be separated into two parts. Part 1 – “The Mr. Completely Jam,” containing all that dirt and growl from Trey that I love from 2003. Part 2 – The insane Trey/Page weirdo “Gin” funk breakdown (listen for what I think sounds like playing with “FoTM”). In between all that is straight up dirty rock and roll.

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Tube” 6.24.04 II, Noblesville, IN

Those were dark days for all of us, and the Deer Creek >Alpine Valley run in 2004 did little to shake the stain of sadness. Yet this “Tube” gave me one last time to dance in the moat at Deer Creek, and dance I did. The last jammed out “Tube” provides a good work out for Page, Mike, and Fish, while Trey adds some effects and other tones throughout. A bit harsh for “Tube,” but overall still above average rock groove.

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Split Open & Melt” 11.21.09 I, Cincinatti, OH

My pick for the best “Melt” of 3.0. 2009 has left little for highlights, but the Cincy shows that Fall were well played, and this “Melt” showed signs of a band still able to send kids fleeing for the doors. I tend to think that all 3.0 “Melt’s” are formulaic to a certain degree, but the level to which they commit to the truly demented is what make “Split’s” work for me.  This version left everybody in attendance motionless, I imagine having internal discussions with their sanity. I think what makes this work is Fishman finding something to do while Trey sets up his loops. It’s a devilish few minutes at the end of the jam, and one of the more challenging improvised pieces the band has dropped in 3.0. And yes, they’re able to seamlessly work back into wrapping up the song.

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TTFF: Reader’s Picks—Alexander Papadonis

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 15th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
7.4.2012 Jones Beach (George Estreich)

7.4.2012 Jones Beach (George Estreich)

All selections and text by Alexander Papadonis, aka @DryIceFactory

Bathtub Gin” 6.28.00 II, Holmdel, NJ

From a consistency standpoint, 2000 might just be the best year for “Bathtub Gin.” Here’s my pick for the best one of the summer. Straight fire all throughout.

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Cities” 7.31.98 II, Columbus, OH

What would a @DryIceFactory playlist be without – what I would consider – the best version of “Cities” ever played? Bumping summer groove session gives way to supersonic Trey-shred. Must hear Phish from top to bottom.

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Sand” 6.11.11 I, Columbia, MD

Everyone loves to talk about the Portsmouth “Sand,” but does anyone else remember the Merriwether 1st setter that took place a week before? Trey absolutely attacks the Ocedoc in this version, masterfully creates some fierce tension and brings the jam to a head before moving into the ending. The highlight of a banging 1st set in an otherwise disappointing weekend in the Mid-Atlantic.

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Tweezer” 8.1.98 II, East Troy, WI

Musical perfection, a must-hear highlight from Alpine ’98.

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David Bowie” 11.26.94 II, Minneapolis, MN

The Minneapolis “Bowie” absolutely, 100% set the blueprint for what took place in Providence one month later. You won’t convince me otherwise.

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Light” 10.26.10 II, Manchester, NH

Sometimes I feel like the only people who appreciate this show were the ones who were there. Phish absolutely clobbered a rather rowdy week-night crowd at Verizon Wireless Arena on a Tuesday in New Hampshire. This “Light” (complete with an Alumni Reprise jam) really hit the spot, and might not even be the highlight of the show for many.

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Twist” 2.24.03 II

“Twist” is a jam that can go, literally, anywhere. This one takes a slow and steady course to Saturn.

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Piper -> What’s The Use?” 9.11.00 II

Why not pair a scary “Twist,” with a scary Piper? The highlight of a great show at Great Woods.

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Harry Hood” 9.11.99 II, George, WA

Phish slams the door shut on yet another fantastic set at The Gorge. The crowd roars in approval from the composed section all the way to the final peak. This “Hood” is a personal favorite and is underrated, must-hear Phish.

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YEM -> Manteca -> YEM” 12.31.10 II, MSG, NYC

What’s better than a “YEM” paired with “Manteca” antics?

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Summer Musings

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 12th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
PhishSummer2013Header

Summer Tour 2013

There’s nothing like a fresh set of dates. Despite the accuracy of the rumors you had the previous week, once he band posts their schedule, the time between now and then is posted on a virtual countdown timer that we all carry with us to some degree. Whether you are planning on hitting every show or just a few, downloading every show or hearing them when you do, the infusion of new Phish music douses our collective consciousness with vitality and life force. When dates drop, all of this gets brought to the surface again and everything gets jacked up for a few minutes or a few hours, depending who we are, in anticipation of what is to come. And this year the band has changed it up.

Instead of splitting up their summer into a two-pronged attack, Phish’s first tour of their 30th year is a month-long stretch spanning both coasts and evoking the feel of a late ‘90s summer circuit. Starting in Maine and finishing in Los Angeles, the band will play 22 shows with a 3-day encore in Colorado over Labor Day Weekend. I’d go over all the venues one by one, but Hidden Track has got that covered. What immediately stands out to me upon looking at the docket is the plentitude of multi-night runs and the long-overdue, west coast love. Making things easy for travelers, all but five shows are in the context of multi-night runs. And with all due respect to the east coast, 3.0 mainstays such as Jones Beach, Merriweather and Alpharetta, the golden stretch of this summer runs down the left coast for a change.

The Gorge '09 (W.Rogell)

The Gorge ’09 (Wendy Rogell)

To cap their month of touring, Phish will fly from Chicago to Washington State for 13th and 14th shows at The Gorge, and their the fifth and sixth of the modern era. Since 1997, every time the band has ventured into the Columbia River Gorge they have reaped some of their most creative exploits of their respective tours. There’s nothing quite like seeing Phish at The Gorge, and who knows how many more times they will go back? Taking two days off the band will hit up Lake Tahoe for a mid-week twin bill. Although the venue at Harvey’s amounts to a parking lot, being in the mountains for the other 20 hours of the day will provide quite the worthy tour stop. The band’s 8/9/11 show at Harvey’s remains one of the universally underrated shows of this era. The band will head back to the Bay and back to Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a late summer three-pack that looks to be quite the end-of-tour blowout. With a standout show under their belt in the building, the band returns almost a year to 8/19/12 for three more shows that are in prime position. Instead of playing the intimate arena at the beginning of a tour, the band should come in a well-oiled machine—see Dick’s last year. Phish will hop down to LA and close their tour with one show at Hollywood Bowl. Marking their second show under the visually electric shell, the band will play a one-off show in the glitzy surroundings of the music industry’s epicenter.

As an encore to the tour, the band will play their annual, end-of-summer date at everyone’s favorite soccer stadium in Commerce City, Colorado—a stand-alone, three-night run at Dick’s over Labor Day Weekend. The band’s first two stands at Dick’s have provided some of the strongest music of their respective summers, and I see no reason why that trend would stop now. With a month to go deep, the band will showcase what they found over the course of the season in the Rockies of Denver. The thinner summer schedule suggests the fall tour that everybody assumes is right around the corner, but one thing at a time here.

8.19.2012 - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (Ken Scelfo)

8.19.2012 – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (Ken Scelfo)

Two other runs that jump out at me are the opening weekend and Chicago. The the obscure tour-opener on July 3 in Bangor, Maine is a no-brainer must-see show. Nothing else needs to be said about that. With one day off, the band will back that up with a three pack at SPAC over the holiday weekend. This run has throwback written all over it, and Bangor’s date is reminiscent of The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach, ME on July 3, 1994. The second attention-grabbing destination shows are in Chicago over the second weekend of July. Taking place at Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island looking back at the city, this venue will be a first for Phish, but I’ve only heard great things.

Additionally, Phish will dip into Canada right after SPAC to good ‘ol Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, the site of two shows in ’99 and ’00, for the first time since 2000. It is good to see them return to the over-sized GA floor at Alpharetta and leave Lakewood a fixture of the ‘90s. This month-long jaunt is rounded out with routine tour stops at PNC, Jones Beach and two nights at Merriweather.

Tickets requests are available now for just under two weeks. More on the tour as things get closer. Good luck in the lottery and take the brief Summer Tour Poll below.

7/3 Bangor Waterfront Pavilion – Bangor, Maine
7/5-7/7 Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, New York
7/9 Molson Amphitheatre – Toronto, Ontario
7/10 PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, New Jersey
7/12 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, New York
7/13-14 Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, Maryland
7/16-17 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – Alpharetta, Georgia
7/19-21 Northerly Island – Chicago, Illinois
7/26-27 Gorge Amphitheatre – George, Washington
7/30-31 Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys – Stateline, Nevada
8/2-4 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco, California
8/5 Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, California
8/30-9/1 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, Colorado

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Reader’s Picks: Garret Conour

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 11th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
12.28.12 (Graham Lucas)

12.28.12 (Graham Lucas)

I’m running with a new concept today–the reader playlist. Phish Thoughts reader Garret Conour (@garretc) proposed the idea and today has provided the inaugural installment of “Reader’s Picks.” Garret devised the playlist and wrote the words you see below, I just assembled the post. Please email mrminer@phishthoughts.com if you’d like to put one of these 10-packs together. Thanks, Garret! Enjoy!

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Given that I tend towards the darker underbelly of Phish jamming styles, it didn’t take much conscious effort to put together these particular ten jams, but upon completion I decided it would fit in nicely with the annual pre-dates aggression and despondency that always permeates the comments section around this time. Spring is starting to peek around the corner, but this is probably better suited for those of you still stuck indoors.

Simple” 12.9.97 II, State College, PA

From a fall ’97 show on campus at Penn State, this Simple forgoes the year’s trademark cowfunk jam for a steady progression from standard “Simple” jam out into uncharted ambient seas before a “Bowie” head-fake on the way to “Timber.”

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Halley’s Comet”  11.11.98 II, Grand Rapids, MI

The Van Andel “Halley’s” is like so many of the best Phish jams: akin to a floating, swirling orb of musical energy that the band manipulates with ease. Just don’t go in expecting smooth ’98 ambiance, because that’s not what you’re gonna get.

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Down With Disease” 12.12.95 II, Providence, RI

Centerpiece jam of the Providence stop in the legendary final month of 1995, this “Disease” sounds, well, like 1995 Phish, with all the percussive mind-fuckery that would lead you to believe.

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 “Chalk Dust Torture” 8.3.03 I, Limestone, ME

With not one but two jammed out “Chalk Dusts” this year, might as well give a listen to one of the, if not the only, non-Camden noteworthy “CDTs,” from set one of IT day two.

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Tweezer” 12.30.94 II, MSG, NY

After yet another stellar MSG “Tweezer” during this past new years run, this here is a gem from Phish’s first trip to the round room. Make sure your chair can be hid under, because Troy is trying to break you.

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Rock & Roll” 8.5.11 II, George, WA

This should need no introduction, you’ve all been paying attention lately. The best jam I’ve ever been in the building for (Yeah, yeah, 3.0 kid and all that), this is also unarguably the most fully realized storage-style jam the band has kicked down outside of the box that lent its name to the style. Aliens visiting the eastern Washington desert.

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David Bowie” 6.29.95 II, Wantagh, NY

A fierce “Bowie” from a summer full of ’em, this particular “David” starts with an extended soundscape intro (remember those?) before getting into everybody’s favorite dark, shreddy, heavy ’95 style.

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Gotta Jibboo” 7.4.00 II, Camden, NJ

Don’t worry, Mike changes the bass line after, oh… 15 minutes. But yeah, an extended trip out into spacey ’00 loop jams anchored by Gordo’s “Variations on the Theme from Jibboo” personal dance party. Happy birthday, America.

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 “You Enjoy Myself” 5.5.93 II, Albany, NY

Not your grandpappy’s “YEM,” the vocal jamming starts early, before the instrument jamming stops, as high speed ’93 turbo jazz-rock alternately dissolves and peaks through the course of the 33 minute run time. And there’s no proper vocal jam, so it’s safe for haters of that.

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A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” 6.19.04, Saratoga Springs, NY

Phish waging sonic warfare with the Norse gods at their (second) last stand. Bring back the “ASIHTOS” jamming, preferably at the Gorge. Or whatever other shows I’m at this summer.

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TTFF: 1996—The Transitional Year

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 8th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.4.96 Red Rocks

8.4.96 Red Rocks

Inspired by some recent banter in the Twittersphere…

Wilson > Disease” 8.14 I, Hershey, PA

Right off the bat in Hershey, the band dropped this opening sequence

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Mike’s > Lifeboy” 8.13 II, Noblesville, IN

An adventurous mid-’90s “Mike’s” in the yet-to-be developed Cornfields of Deer Creek.

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Tweezer” 8.14 II, Hershey, PA

Legend has always said it that this Herhsey show before The Clifford Ball wasn’t so hot. I never understood that assessment. Here’s another reason why.

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Mike’s Song” 10.29 II, Tallahassee, FL

A percussion-drenched “Houses in Motion” jam laces the latter part of this jam in the final show before their seminal “Remain In Light” Halloween set.

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The Great Curve” 10.31 II, Atlanta, GA

Speaking of “Remain in Light,” I saw this Tweet yesterday and I immediately agreed.

If you’re not familiar…

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Crosseyed > Antelope” 11.2 II, West Palm Beach, FL

The band began to shape-shift on the first night after Halloween as Karl Perazzo stayed on tour for a few.

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Tweezer” 11.11 II Grand Rapids, MI

A post-Halloween signpost on the long road to Cow Funk.

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2001 > Llama” 12.6 I, Las Vegas, NV

One of the early, jammed-out versions from the final night of tour.

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Tweezer” 12.1 II, Los Angeles, CA

Three “Tweezers” on Friday? I dig it. This is a monster from the tail end of Fall Tour.

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Slave to the Traffic Light” 8.17 II, Plattsburgh, NY

An all-time classic.

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