Reader’s Picks: Mathias Loertscher

8.19.12, BGCA (Ken Scelfo)

8.19.12, BGCA (Ken Scelfo)

It is my pleasure to introduce the Reader’s Picks from one of the first reader-commenters on PhishThoughts back in 2008—@Matso! Welcome back buddy.

All selections and text by Mathias Loertscher aka @Matso

Maze” 12.9.95 I, Albany, NY

A ferocious set one opener. Listen carefully for the subtle, eerie industrial drone effect that Trey uses to set the scene. I would love to see the band take such a careful approach to show openers more often.



Yamar -> Runaway Jim” 8.2.03 II, Limestone, ME

A moment when it all came together: My first post-hiatus show and my younger brother’s first show; one of my favourite songs seguing into my favourite song; and a serious left turn into Type II, which moves through many different ideas deftly and assuredly, with some fantastic use of the uncompressed tone. I had tears in my eyes.



 Stash” 12.28.98 I, MSG, NY

1998 is the year when Phish arguably peaked in terms of popularity and intensity. The energy at MSG for the first night of the first four-night NYE run at MSG was therefore off the charts and, after a quick “Axilla” to get the blood pumping, Phish detonated the Garden with this “Stash.” Although musically I prefer the 1997 MSG version, the straight-forward, dark intensity here made for a more memorable experience. Listen to the audience roar at the end of it. Fierce.



Tweezer -> Have Mercy” 7.17.99 I, Volney, NY

Another one where I basically cried. Most of my crew were stuck in the traffic on the way in and it was during this stunning “Tweezer” that they found their way through the crowd and miraculously found me. This was also a summer when Phish’s music provided on-going comfort from some tough personal circumstances. So when they moved into “Have Mercy,” I got a bit emotional.



Down with Disease” 11.13.98 II, Cleveland, OH

Both sets this night in Cleveland started and finished off strong, but had some of the worst, most prolonged mid-set lulls I’ve experienced. Miner has highlighted the “Wolfman’s” from set one for its clear Mind Left Body jam a few times, but this “Disease” is worth hearing as well. Very tight Trey-shredding for a good while, which stays in the box but is otherwise unreproachable, followed by a wonderful section of chord-led jamming (sounding almost Dead-like at times), which leads back nicely to the “Disease” theme.



Farmhouse 8.5.11 II, George, WA

How do you follow up perhaps the greatest jam of 3.0? With not one, but two amazing segues. Then what do you do? You play this. Trey’s solos on Farmhouse throughout 3.0 have been a treat and this version is as good as any (check out Miami ’09 and Woosta ’10 too).



Ghost” 8.13.97 II, Burgettstown, PA

My second “Ghost” of the summer and first one state-side. The band’s sound was developing so fast this summer that this version didn’t sound anything like the first one I’d heard (7/1/97). This one gets so thick and funky that I thought the band had turned into robots at one point.



Makisupa -> Night Nurse -> Makisupa” 10.26.10 II, Manchester, NH

Not much to say about this one other than that the band NAILED the “Night Nurse.” One of my favourite moments of 3.0. More reggae please.



2001” 8.11.04 II, Mansfield, MA

A controversial version from the final, dark days of 2.0. Some vocal commentators think that Trey’s playing on this version lacks direction and drive, but I hear the jam section before the first “ASZ” theme as a moment of lucidity, with some fantastic slow, considered playing from Trey. Afterwards, he’s clearly out of ideas, but that first solo is very unusual for a “2001” and noteworthy.



David Bowie” 7.19.91 I, Somerville, MA

“Bowie” with horns. How the song was always meant to be played.

[audio:] Tags:

949 Responses to “Reader’s Picks: Mathias Loertscher”

  1. little umbrellas Says:

    Dabbin for Diapers: father son Dab’s with the Poop fam’

  2. TheLongCon Says:

    Sorry MiA…I missed my cue.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Every morning, GREGGERY drives
    His little red Volkswagen to the ugly
    Part of town where they keep the Government Buildings.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    And what, might you ask, is a TREND MONGER?
    Well, a TREND MONGER is a person
    who dreams up a TREND
    (Like ‘The Twist’ — or ‘Flower Power’),
    And spreads it throughout the land,
    Using all the frightening little skills
    That Science has made available!

  5. TheLongCon Says:

    And congrats to the Shitty Troll.

  6. BNCB Says:

    Telas, I hit a new to me Thai spot last night. Went with 4 out of 5 spice level. Paybacks today. You’re not alone.

  7. Jtran Says:

    “Poppa Goblin. Read it on Twitter two days ago, and thought … I wonder if I should mention it here.

    quoted because that’s what I thought too

  8. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You know the dad passes the genetic disposition to addiction to his offspring.

    You’ll do fine once your co-dependency with the whole family kicks in and the narcissism fades.

    Kids are a trip. All you really want is a healthy baby. Hope K is doing well with it.

  9. MiA Says:

    Replica-mahogany desk,
    With the strategically-placed,
    Imported, very hip water pipe,
    And the latest edition of the

  10. voopa Says:

    Ventura ’97 – Redemption, 15 1/2 years later.

    A mini-essay by voop goblin

    Hearing shows you were at can be an intensely personal experience – if you remember being there. Listening to 7/30/97 all the way through brought back so many memories that it would be impossible to post them all (well it would be tl;dr for most at the very least).

    Obviously the big takeaway from this night is Bowie-Cities-Bowie, but it was a full Phish show, and there’s a lot in all of them (at least there was then), even the ones that don’t do it for you at the time. At the time though, I had Great Expectations and left the Ventura County Fairgrounds starting to wonder where my band had gone.

    At any rate, looking back, I wish this band played like this again. How could you not? Sure it’s not the manic powerhouse that I first saw in ’92, but it ain’t no 3.0 either. Oh well, we all get old, right?

    Nice NICU to open- set the stage well for the beautiful locale (even if it was in a dusty racetrack), then they got down to business quick with WB. Trey wastes no time getting into funk mode. It was about this time that I knew I would regretting not having a seat with a back, and decided that if I would return to this venue, I’d be on the top row next time (see my boring story about that from a few weeks ago).

    To be continued.

  11. MiA Says:

  12. voopa Says:

    Hi Mildred!
    Hello Gladys!

  13. voopa Says:

    So WB gets into the super-funk quick. This was something I was not used to yet from these guys, and I’m not sure I fully understood or heard it at the time. Now I long for those days. Ha! Funny, I think the first time I really “got Phish funk” was one year later during the Halley’s encore at the same spot.

    I now hear what would be become Back-Eyed Katy. We just didn’t know it then. Then Trey switches it up to a shuffle-beat. I remember thinking that was a lazy move at the time. Man, I was such a cynical asshole!

    Oh, he was starting a long setup into CDT. I get it now. Did I at the time? Not sure. I remember loving the CDT jam though. THERE’S MY BAND! AND MY SHREDDER!

    Bob Weir falsetto “Thank you” after CDT. Trey sure seemed a lot more gracious back then. WITS – meh, not a huge fan of ballads at shows in general. Another hang up of mine I guess.

    Trey: “Let’s play Stash”
    Us: “Thank you”

    More to come.

  14. voopa Says:

    One thing about these archival releases that I notice every time is how loud the keyboards are relative to at the show. While I’d like the mix to be close to the way it was live, it is nice to hear the colors Page adds, that typically get lost in big venues.

    Shortly into the Stash jam, Trey hits the Leslie and the crowd does apeshit. DO THAT MORE PLEASE. Great, great Stash. Worth a sesh.

    So Weigh starts up, and I notice that a lot of people cheer when the lyrics start. I hear this at shows all the time, not just Phish. Do people think an instrumental version of that song is coming, or do they just not know how songs go? Oh, they price we pay for being obsessive phans.

    Oh yeah, “swimming pool”, that’s why they played this. Not because of water being alluded to in the lyrics, but because this was the closest they’d get to LA this tour, and this song is a clear nod to Zappa, and not just that lyric. At least that’s how I read way too much into it.

    Page, clavin’ for dollars in Weigh! Nice!

    Listen to how tenderly Trey sings the end of this ridiculous song…it just flows out of him, music playing the band. And we all know this song. But now that we’re comfortable, Phish is going to turn the tables yet again and play a brand new one.

    And not just any song, it’s a song that will screw with your sense of space and time: Piper. I remember being bowled over by this ditty at the time. “How are they doing that? It’s like the song folds in on itself.” And there wasn’t even a jam – it was “only” 5 minutes long, but I’ll remember it forever (thank you recordings).

  15. BNCB Says:

    Greenskybluegrass stream from T’Ride. Expect a Tweez/Boogie Ouch

  16. Jtran Says:

    when do they start bncb?

  17. voopa Says:

    CTB is funky as hell too. Thank you Phish for teaching me how to embrace da funk. I was merely white before.

    Forgot they played Zero – I must not like that song or something, but there’s some Fire in there too.


    What is Trey singing before PYITE starts? The next night he teased Sweet Home Alabama before set II. Music being piped in backstage from a local rock station? (Ironically, they encored Cinnamon Girl that next night – they are so silly).

    This band SWINGS! PYITE is an instant dance party. Who gives a crap if the only reason Trey selected it is because of the tropical lyrics in the final verse, this is Hot Fun in the Summertime music. Funny because PYITE can be just as perfect in a dank arena too. Maybe that’s not why that song was selected after all.

    Free is swinging like mad before the jam even starts.

    Fuck I need shows – how financially and locationally prohibitive is Bangor again?

  18. DavidSilver Says:

    Most people do not know songs until the lyrics start, hence the small minority screaming at the beginning of a bustout and the majority screaming when the words come.

  19. voopa Says:

    That just confounds me.

  20. xpun Says:

    phishtracks should add a play counter to the tracks and let you sort songs by most played.

  21. BNCB Says:

    Tran, soon I think.

  22. RoosterPizza Says:

    Congrats poop lion

    This is the only study I know of on the topic:

  23. bouncin fan Says:

    I just bought files from i-tunes

    hah I feel dirty. need to sit in the corner of the shower crying.

    but it’s fuckin Gangster GIbbs yo. this shit is really great.

    cleanse me from my yeezus spins.

  24. bouncin fan Says:


    I lost a contact in the dirty at that show and was spun as fuck

    I remember every fuckin note from that bowie > Cities > Bowie cuz me and my crew usually just yapped through the entire show except the jam segments and that is a fav of mine

    but that Weigh I remember like it was yesterday. weird. pretty rare song from all eras and they just crushed the essence of that Mike classic.

    that’s a phish song I like. vintage Mike at it’s finest.

  25. voopa Says:

    Indeed bf, classic Phishiness.

    Ventura Bowie – A “what song is this” moment before the song proper even starts – vacuum, nice!

    Was this my last “signal” show? Think so. D’oh!

    And Tray clams the ascending chords before the Bowie jam. But so what? The intent is sure there. Man I was such a hypercritical little bitch back then. Or I didn’t fully understand intent.

    All is forgiven Trey, as long as you continue to jam like you did in Cali last year.

    Reggae Bowie jam? I was out in the smoking section at the time. Figured I could grab a beer and a quick smoke before the Bowie jam. The only problem is so did everyone else. Brilliant move voop.

    Loops, wah, Manteca- this Bowie rules! Well duh. At the show I thought Cities was a Remain in Light tune. Such a know-it-all no-nothing. And the end of Bowie is fucking fantastic too. But we all know this.

    BATR – Just like at the show, I skipped it. Had to pee after that huge Bowie, you know.

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