All selections and text by @HeadyBrosevelt
Picking ten Phish songs for other folks to listen to is a difficult task. The easiest and most fun method, I found, was to pick selections from shows that I attended (with the exception of “It’s Ice,” explanation below.) While picking from “my” shows, I omitted classics that constantly get played and/or discussed (obvious picks from Fall ’97 and Summer ’98 were left off.) While there may be a few classics below, I don’t always hear them getting hyped. Some selections may not deserve any hype, but they all hold a special place in my mind, body, and soul.
“It’s Ice” 4.8.94 I, State College, PA
While I didn’t attend this show, “It’s Ice” is the song that turned me on to Phish. I remember hearing it in my buddy’s car and thinking to myself, “I need to go see these guys.” I loved the imagery. There was no looking back from that moment on. This version from Penn State is wonderful. Cool digi loop jam.
This was my first Phish show and it took place two days after seeing the fat man for the last time at the Knick. I drove the twenty minutes from my parent’s house over to the Mann and got my mind fucking blown. The “2001” and “Halley’s” are integral to the flow of this three pack, but the “Bowie” is where we blast off into the psychedelic stratosphere. A good version of “Bowie” from Phish’s most psychedelic summer.
“Gumbo” 8.13.97 I, Burgettstown, PA
Summertime “Gumbo” at it’s finest. This is a stellar version of a song that may be the epitome of outdoor Phish.
“Drowned” 12.11.97 II, Rochester, NY
Fall 1997 was the first time I went on the road with Phish. I caught Philly through Albany. While most nights consisted of funky throw-downs, this “Drowned” was a helpful reminder that Phish could still scare with psychedelic wizardry.
An absolutely rad version of “Prince Caspian.” In my opinion, this is a must hear. The jam is a brilliant mixture of machine gun assault and heavenly patience.
“Down with Disease” 12.29.97 II, NYC, NY
I felt like I had to add something from the holiday run that hasn’t already been discussed. MSG ’97 was an incredible holiday run filled with multiple highlights. This “Disease” flies under the radar because of the stupendous playing throughout the run. Spacey and weird, but eventually finds it’s stride—this “Disease” is worth a listen.
Gorge ’98 was one of the best Phish experiences of my life (despite the raging heat.) I had just finished working in YNP for the summer and was following Phish tour home. The Gorge started my mini tour back to the east. This “Reba” is not one of the best “Reba’s” of all time, but it was a majestic complement to the sunset on the Columbia River. Phish was playing to the sunset and as went dark they segued into “FEFY.” That sunset moment is etched very clearly into my memory.
Originally, I was only going to post the “Birds,” however, after listening back, this is a triumvirate (as Miner would say) that needs to be listened together. The front half of a great set.
“Ghost” 10.9.99 I, Albany, NY
“Ghost” is my favorite Phish song. I admit it, I have a slight infatuation with it, thus I am placing a second “Ghost” on this list. This is a unique “Ghost” that reaches the nether regions. Phish takes a lot of risks in this version and they are successful in every aspect.
“Mr. Completely” 7.15.03 II, West Valley, Utah
I only saw two shows in 2.0 and this Utah show was one of them. I saw this show by accident. I was driving from Colorado to Washington to climb. and I stopped in Little Cottonwood Canyon to boulder. Some hippies saw my Colorado plates and long hair/beard and asked if I was going to the show. I inquired who was playing and they told me Phish. I hopped in my car, scored a ticket at a gas station for $15.00, and saw this “Mr. Completely.” I left the show so stoked that I made it into Idaho that night. I have had a mild obsession with 2.0 Phish ever since.
Tags: Reader's Picks