All picks and text by Nathan Colblentz
Here’s my ten. I’ve tried to include personal favorites that I haven’t heard much mention of from other fans.
“Divided Sky” 11.19.92 I, Colchester, VT
Never has a TV theme sounded so heartwarming – Trey’s ‘Those Were The Days’ moment just before the ‘lullaby’ segment puts this “Divided” in ‘best ever’ territory, right up there with 6-18-94 and the like.
“You Enjoy Myself” 8.28.1993 II, Berkeley, CA
This might just be the perfect underdog of a “YEM.” Oh to be on Page Side / Rage Side during this full-blown “Oye Como Va” tease. There are hundreds of rediculous “YEMs” from those early years, but this one just hits me just the right way. 14:40-15:10 sounds like the sky is falling. Everyone has their favorite “YEM,” this one is mine.
On the heels of Phish’s game changing Europe tour, this might just be the funkiest tour opening set ever, and the drop into “Magilla” is uber-smooth and a surprise for everyone. The only other appearance of “Magilla” in 97 was in France just a few days earlier, one of many phish standards to be reinterpreted for Phish’s new sound. While the French reading oozes like molasses, this one chugs along at a “Wolfman’s” tempo with some snazzy jazz comping from Page and Trey. As far as I know there hasn’t been another “Magilla” quite like this one, before or since.
This is my absolute favorite “Tube” and easily makes my top 5 list. The overpowering, raging psychedelia of the second “Tube” jam carries perfectly into “Drowned,” making this easily the musical highlight of a show that also happens to contain the famed Dark Side set.
“Down with Disease” 7.7.99 II, Charlotte, NC
While I’d be less likely to remember this performance if this wasn’t my first show and my first time hearing this song, this succint, 11 minute scorcher of a “Disease” takes no prisoners. Trey is a god here. “The My Left Toe” cool down that follows is nice too.
While we’re on the subject of toes, this is the biggest and probably the best one. Fire this up and enjoy a full-service audio brain massage. About 12 minutes in it morphs into something entirely different – a billsful, watery I > IV jam over the same 6/8 Left Toe groove, which then drops beautifully into “Caspian.”
“Stash” 12.31.03 II, Miami, FL
One of the more original “Stash” jams you’ll hear, this version has everything. Words don’t quite do it justice so I won’t try. Just don’t forget to bring a towel and a pair of quality headphones.
“Boogie On Reggae Woman” 8.2.09 II, Morrison, CO
Clocking in at 18 minutes—nearly unheard of for this era—this “Boogie On” deserves another listen. Nearing the 10:30 mark, it starts to lose its bouncy “Boogie” flavor and takes on more of a ‘Oye-Ghost-Va’ feel. It is all too easy for Phish to fall into grooves like this, but coming from “Boogie On” it sounds pretty damn cool. An easy highlight from a time when Phish was just starting to find their groove again.
“Backwards Down the Number Line” 6.12.11 II, Columbia, MD
Trey seems much more stoked to be playing this song than the “Harry Hood” that precedes it. This song has its haters, but they really should hear this one.
“Run Like an Antelope” 6.24.94 II, Indianapolis, IN
This “Antelope” is indispensable to any list of “Antelopes” worth their salt. The massive “Disease” jam sandwiched in the middle of this already scorching jam is what puts this one over the top.
Tags: Reader's Picks