Reader’s Picks: Jeff Walls

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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184 Responses to “Reader’s Picks: Jeff Walls”

  1. tzara's Says:

    Go Voopa!

  2. sumodie Says:

    Palmer, you & your uncle have the same eyes, uncanny resemblance in that book’s pics. Very cool

  3. ae Says:

    Crazy wook who works at adult video store covering Carini. Just watch.

  4. ae Says:

    Crazy wook who works at adult video store “covering” Carini. Just watch.

  5. ae Says:

    Oops. Pamping?

  6. Calpain Says:

    Fun descriptions and nice picks @Tela’s! More Splits of the Cincy quality would be enjoyable.

    Nice rec @Df, a great artist to add to the radar. Going to seek out that documentary once it is out.

    I got into podcasts while working abroad (analyze phish IS funny) and haven’t looked back. some podcasts I keep frequenting are Deadly Dragon (courtesy of Alf), Resident Advisor, Verboten Transmissions, Deep House Cat.

    Big ups Voopa!

  7. bObby weird Says:

    Tonight jeff green became a man.

  8. Sumodie Says:

    From today’s Chicago Tribune:

    “The concert pavilion at Northerly Island could expand this summer with a new lawn seating area that can hold up to 22,000 people.

    Under the proposal by the Chicago Park District, 5.9 acres of land by the Charter One Pavilion may be reconfigured to feature lawn-style seating and additional trees. Plans also include increasing the seasonal venue’s fixed seating from 8,000 to 8,600, according to an agenda for the city’s Plan Commission.

    The city’s Plan Commission plans to meet at 1 p.m. Thursday in City Hall to vote on the $3 million in renovations. If approved, the landscaping project, funded partially by the Live Nation entertainment company, would start sometime this spring, said Bob Foster, a senior project manager for the park district.

    The lawn-seating area would double as recreational space for park patrons and would only be used for two events this summer as park district officials experiment with the reconfigured space, Foster and O’Neill said.”

  9. BingosBrother Says:


    U da man sumo! so glad I requested GA only. fuckin phish and their lawn lottos.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    To do that though, they would need to flip the venue to the other side, where the stage would then face the city, because the only thing behind the seats now is the beach.

  11. another phish phan Says:

    Where do people stay for Dicks shows? down town? or where?

  12. Sumodie Says:

    Looks like Chicago could be a very easy ticket.

    I also wouldn’t request more chicago tix than one needs thru PTBM. Sounds like we might have capacity confirmation later this week…

  13. Sumodie Says:

    Phish phan, so many options around Denver. First year I camped onsite and loved it, last year stayed north of the city in Westminster in order to be somewhat closer to Boulder

    Several cheap hotels are near to the venue too (not really walking distance)

    And of course there’s central Denver. All depends on what you want to do during the day

    Also, Dick’s is only 15-20 minutes from the airport

  14. MiA Says:

    A.P.P., depends. Camping on-site. nice. There are good hotels by the airport. Little cheaper than downtown (sub $100) Downtown has restaurants, parks etc. more in the $120-$160 range. Custy cribs, etc.

  15. MiA Says:

    Sumo wins.

  16. MiA Says:

    Funny to look at the phish brackets from and recognize every date and jam.

    Don’t think Bozeman Tweezer is a #1 seed though

  17. another phish phan Says:

    thanks guys. i am hoping for 100 shows this 30th anniversary. my old ass may not be able to swing it. i hope though.

  18. Sumodie Says:

    MiA, I’m hesitant to ask, did you check out my fav Chilean space rockers or did you opt out? ;0>

    Not like I’m changing my mind about Thursday’s NYC show no matter what you say. Well, I could always catch Hardbody’s premiere instead, ha

  19. joe Says:

    still loyal to This American Life and RadioLab podcasts. Also Planet Money to keep the NPR theme going. All the ones that make AJ want to drive into oncoming traffic. Sportsguy, etc. Basically the “big” ones. The lady has been listening to Mark Maron (sp?) lately, pretty decent I guess. Our Sirius broke and we were both hardcore Howard listeners. Haven’t replaced it yet and suspended the service. podcasting a little bit more because of that lately. No jack in the car, so it’s cds and sports radio there, although I usually can only take about 5 minutes of fake arguments about the local teams before I have to turn it off. Music stations are non existent these days here, except one college station that I like but the playlist doesn’t change much on a daily basis.

  20. Sumodie Says:

    If you google for images using:

    “spencer tunick great went naked poster”

    The Great Went pic is third from the top left, and unfortunately blurry (not the original tho)

    And then scroll down for a far out feast of group nudes, dunno if they’re all Tunick’s, but the variety is stunning

  21. Sumodie Says:

    Joe, I feel your frustration about downloading videos onto a tablet (mine’s an ipad). It’s not so simple like on a full computer’s browser

    Doesn’t seem to be a single popular video downloader add-on, several to choose from and none with great reviews. Haven’t tried one yet

    Dunno if it’s easier with an android tablet

  22. joe Says:

    I couldn’t get the youtube plugin for Chrome to work. Seemed easy to figure out but I messed something up on it. I just gave up. One of these days I’m going to bite the bullet and actually pay for wifi at home but I’m a cheap bastard.

  23. MiA Says:

    Sumo, couldn’t get into Levitation at Hotel Vegas. Packed to the gills at 2 pm. My buddy went and sounds like the tea was in a thermos if you asked.

    He said they played 1 track for 37 minutes.

  24. Sumodie Says:

    37 minute track? That sounds too jammy, MiA

    Hardbody is def sounding better & better to me, esp since I like trucks

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    more coolness:

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