Reader’s Picks: Nathan Tobey

8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

All selections and text by Nathan Tobey

Free” 11.22.95 II, Landover, MD

After a terribly (and amusingly) botched “Rift,” the band comes out with a “Free” that is one of the best versions ever played. 33 minutes of dynamic improvisation that features an especially strong performance from Page. At about the 21 minute mark, the jam moves into a quiet, breathtaking sequence featuring Trey whistling that evokes memories of the 12/29/94 Bowie.



Down with Disease” 12.12.95 II, Providence, RI

Thrilling. This jam is an adventure comprable to some of the very best jams from this peak period of Phish. It may just be the most interesting “Disease” the band has played (no offense to 11/12/94 or 6/25/97).



Stash > Ghost” 6.19.97 II, Vienna, AT

Most of you know the Paradiso Wormtown “Stash”—meet its lesser-known little brother, the Vienna “Stash.” A great but straight ahead “Stash” seems to be winding up only to dissolve into a extended funk jam that will have you dancing by the time “Ghost” arrives.



Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

“Antelopes” that venture into true experimental improvisation are few and far between—and this is the best of a very short list. This Desert Sky “Antelope” goes far off the beaten path into a beautiful jam, before finding its way back to close things out.



YEM” 7.26.98 II, Dallas, TX

97-98 is known as the funk period, but Phish always had some funk — mainly in the form of YEM. So, what better vehicle for the cow funk treatment of the 97-98 period? This “YEM” got that treatment. At 29 minutes, the funk goes on (just about) forever—without a dull moment.



Ghost” 9.12.99 II, Portland, OR

I love ’99, but it’s true that the band could sometimes be sloppy or disconnected that year. This is not one of those times. 29 minutes of plugged in, focused playing that shows off 99 at its best—a combination of subtle textures, abstract soundscapes, and powerful grooves.



Down with Disease” 3.8.09 II, Hampton, VA

There a lot of reasons to love the reunion run, but the jams are not usually considered one of them. That’s true for the most part, but this is a huge exception. A 22 minute adventure with a gorgeous Trey-led segment that starts about mid-way through, followed a section of stunning Mike soloing, and wrapping up with a Fish/Trey race to the finish. This one flies under the radar. It shouldn’t.



Simple” 11.16.94 II, Ann Arbor, MI

A 34 min masterpiece that every fan should hear. Like most of the rambling 30+ minute jams of the era, it breaks down at points, but there are several sections of thrilling, jaw-dropping playing that could each have sustained an amazing jam out of “Simple” by themselves. The jam ends with delicate, gorgeous outro followed by a huge ovation. Perfect.



Twist” 7.18.03 II, East Troy, WI

This dark horse “Twist” comes out of nowhere late in the second set at Alpine to create a dark, swirling jam that reaches some menacing peaks before returning to the theme.



Bathtub Gin” 8.7.09 II, George, WA

Unquestionably the best “Gin” of 3.0—and one of the very best jams of 3.0, period. The creativity is pulsing in this jam as the band locks together for 18 minutes of adventurous improvisation that—like the very best of Phish jams—sounds almost composed. This is a jam that stays with you.



Piper” 7.8.12 II, SPAC

Any “Piper” played at SPAC would be overshadowed by the epic, essential 6/19/04 performance. But this “Piper” holds its own, and then some—it’s a stunning, tight powerhouse of a jam that features a thrilling peak from Trey. My favorite 3.0 version (though 10-30-09, 6-27-10, 6-15-12, 9-4-11 and 12-30-11 are all must hears).



Frankie Says” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

My nominee for best “Frankie Says” ever. A stunning jam that came out of nowhere in the first frame to set  the tone for an exploratory night of powerful Trey-led, Hendrix-inspired jamming.

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664 Responses to “Reader’s Picks: Nathan Tobey”

  1. tela'smuff Says:

    Hoptimum another 4 pack @dusty. Firestone also does a Double Jack 4 pack.

    early fall rumors already floating with a Cincy>Philly Halloween run being discussed. that would be perfect for me.

  2. kenny powers Says:

    thanks joe, and same to you! it looks like that FTA is also on The Spreadhseet, duh. Tits!

  3. makisupa Says:

    Thanks for the LivePhish Tsunami Relief CD heads-up, BB (JDub?)

    Congrats on the early escape, SillyWilly. You should be a writer! Call Vice and do a segment on their HBO show. i would watch.

    Thinking SF->LA. the stars seem to be aligning that way. ROAD TRIP! Meters in Tahoe will be a late night feast for the senses. Not ruling out Toronto show, welcome back to NHL relevancy GTA. Love to hang there, some good pholks.

    Is there rail connection from SF to LA?

    cheers BB. been getting hoppy out here now that the weather more closely matches summer

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    reigns of castamere…

  5. makisupa Says:

    My 8 yr old son went beer shopping with me – chose Lord of the Hops. names and labels sell 🙂

    summer tour time. how phantastic!

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Kanyes new record Yeezus will have 1000 golden tickets inside. A ticket gets you a free pair of his new shoes. Can’t stand that dude, but that is brilliant marketing on this new music business.

  7. dusty Says:

    There is amtrak between SF and LA but it involves a bus south of the grapevine I think. Skip it.

  8. voopa Says:

    Just take the High Speed Rail!

    Oh wait, this isn’t 2065.

  9. BNCB Says:

    down with 4-packs priced like 6’ers!!!

    elitist mf’ers. I’m with you dusty

  10. makisupa Says:

    thx dusty.

  11. voopa Says:

    Meters Tahoe? WHAT?

  12. makisupa Says:

    voopa, Obama promised! any boat options from SF -> LA?

  13. sumodie Says:

    Chicago floor re-re now

    Scored fri & sun. No sat when I tried

  14. voopa Says:

    You’d think there would be what with all the water we’re shipping down there.

  15. sumodie Says:

    Live nation app still trying to trick one into paying for $18 2-day shipping

    I caught it this time

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    so for all of those that took up Game of Thrones when I was pimpin it a while back…

    are you ok?

    was it worth it?

  17. makisupa Says:

    Meter Men. July thirty

    harrahslaketahoe dot com

  18. sumodie Says:

    Lycan, yes. Books were great fun, very glad I read them before show which is good but less so than books

    Havent read book 5 yet tho

  19. MiA Says:

    I really love the Quadrophonic Topplings during BC.

  20. MiA Says:

    There is a gawker post of about 6 minutes of response to GoT. Kinda funny.

  21. voopa Says:

    Thanks maki. Sounds familiar now.

  22. MiA Says:

  23. kayatosh Says:

    wonder if trey caught greensky at delfest?

    wife offered kids money to tidy up the house. never seen them move so fast and work so diligently.

    finishing up the last sixer of undercover shutdown ale. $$, but not in a hurry to buy again.

    last night has bluepoint’s hoptical illusion ($$, very drinkable IPA, NY), Bruery’s Mischief – belgian strong pale ale ($$, belgie hybrid, CA) and Avery Maharaja DIPA ($$+ bittersweet DIPA, CO)

  24. kayatosh Says:

    funny, mia. great show that GoT

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    So we just left the Madonna Inn with the Hitmen, ‘fixed’ our fuel leak with krazy glue and played a wedding at the Santa Barbara Zoo. I think I’m in a Pynchon novel.

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