Readers Picks: Josh Finkenberg

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.


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.



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


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.



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.



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.



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.)



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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811 Responses to “Readers Picks: Josh Finkenberg”

  1. xpun Says:

    Grew up here. Partied /worked around JMU 96-02. Took some classes but didn’t graduate from there.

  2. roberto luongo Says:

    For me I love Fluff. Not as much divided sky.

    But both used to have massive Tory outro solos

    Not wanking or shred but bow down in respect style virtuso shit.

    These days its all composition so the lack of massive peak makes the songs sound flat live

    Bowie has just been neuteted as a jam but prob my fav of all of them as a complete piece. Bowie needs that mind Fuck treatment and troy needs to hit the outro trills. Song is kinda broke lately.

  3. roberto luongo Says:

    1/1 came real close to being a respectable divided

    Treys lack of tone control these days and less gain also causes this one to suffer also imo

  4. littleumbrellas Says:

    I hear that. Long solos in Major not really my thing, agreed that in order to be compelling it needs that “bow down Virtuoso shit.”
    But Fluff’s Travels, before the ‘jam’ (cough, cough..SOLO)… that’s the shit i do like.

  5. Dorn76 Says:

    Bowie is a broken down old joint at this point.

    Best 3.0 Bowie? Shadow of its former self, whichever one it is.

  6. Dorn76 Says:

    Wow, Jamie Dixon approaching, possibly exceeding Rick Barnes level of NCAA futility.

  7. MiA Says:

    Pine Knob.

  8. Dorn76 Says:

    I thanks ya. That one actually has legs.

  9. MiA Says:

    Screw Rick Barnes. So glad I hate Texas and Basketball. That clown makes like $2.4M a year too. He’s way out of his league.

  10. MiA Says:

    I’d totally dick punch him at the Airport and say “I can’t go for that…”

  11. littleumbrellas Says:

    this is kinda my point. You know the best jam will be at the 1st and or 2nd song in the second set, and when you get that Light, RnR, DwD, Tweez, etc then you will likely see some incredible improv in whichever style they happen to be present with.

    But Bowie, Yem, Soam, etc dont get that slot. They dont jam those ones at the same level as they used to cause it’s not where they’re at. Instead those songs come at the end of the set, (or if your lucky anywhere in the first). And they serve a beautiful perpose, solid compositions, songs with movements locked into your body and brain. If your sick of hearing the song art of Bowie then you really are jaded.
    Next time the play Divided at the end of the set, just be stoked it’s not Julius.

  12. littleumbrellas Says:

    Basically the same show structure/arc established by the Dead.
    1st set songs. 2nd set Take you to space and then bring you back.

  13. MiA Says:

    I like sets that end with Undermind. 8/31 I’m looking at you.

    Farmhouse in the II/II slot? Went from kicking in the dirt to fist pumping.

    That’s the shit I like.

  14. littleumbrellas Says:

    The decision to get comfortable throwing in huge jams out of any song would really blow minds. Seems like they can choose to when they want.

  15. Selector J Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if Rick Barnes actually finds himself on the hot seat this offseason. You never hear any “Fire Rick Barnes” talk around Austin. The local sports coverage is ‘All football, all the time.’ He’s got the best coaching job in America: huge recruiting pool and no one really cares if he wins or not. Of course, UT’s huge recruiting pool is leaky as all get out (see: Julius Randle).

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    I enjoyed the AC 10 Bowie.

  17. vegas wolfmans Says:

    For as deep and spectacular as that Mr. Completely jam is, I’m always surprised they haven’t busted it back out for another spin. Perhaps recognition on their part that the SLC version is so sick that they won’t be able to top it? They’ve already proven they can kill it if they want to, so why bother doing it again? Does TAB still play the tune? If not, Seattle 4/16/13 would be a great time to bring it back.

  18. littleumbrellas Says:

    Spinning BGCA Bowie 1 set closer. They fuck up the intro hit but the jam has teeth. Especially the middle section. Out, Dark and Heavy. Short but Dense.

  19. voopa Says:

    I loved that any song could show up anywhere in any set (and later, any song would potentially open up), and miss that these days. Now placement almost dictates how far out a jam will go (1st set Mike’s and Tweezers vs Gorge Gin, for example). Need that element of spontaneity back.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    Chitown to hold 30,000. Damn. Lotto whores are fucked.

  21. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Voopa and LU- True. When was the last time they really opened anything up (type II) in a first set aside from FYF show? The element of surprise is missing.

    Chicago to hold 30,000 as per HT:

  22. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Damn Bingo’s- Why you always gotta steal my thunder yo?

    Happy Birthday, Miner!

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    I’ll take the thunder, you take the rain.

  24. Selector J Says:

    I’m 100% with ya, @lilumb. I’ve always loved the dichotomy of the insanely technical compositions from the Fluffhead/Guyute/MyFriend’s and the wide open improvs stemming from the Tweezer/Ghost/Rock&Roll’s.

    Of course, I don’t want to notice flubs in compositions (they have to be pretty bad for me to catch them) and I want the jams to be dynamic face-melters but the extremes of Left brain vs. Right brain makes the shows all that more engaging to me.

    I fluff just about everything, though. I even like Fish’s vaccuum solos. What can I say? I’m a sucker for hijinks.

  25. MiA Says:

    Quoting Jackson Browne, That’s a paddlin

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