Moments In A Box: Magic

11.1.13, Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

11.1.13, Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

Woven into the fabric of Phish shows alongside compositions and jams are moments—those instances where time stands still, everything goes into slow motion and the world explodes. Fall tour had many of these indelible occurrences that everyone in attendance will always remember. Here are a few of such moments from Fall—presented chronologically—that still give me goosebumps to think about.

Piper -> Taking Care of Business“—10.20 II, Hampton, VA

Though there are several frozen moments from Hampton’s third show, none brought a more thunderous response than this one. As if an exuberant “Piper” to punctuate an outrageous jam sequence of “Tweezer > Golden Age” wasn’t enough, this impromptu move into “Taking Care of Business” was nothing short of genius. As soon as everyone in the crowd recognized the song they were playing, Hampton’s roof nearly blew off. People freaked out, and rightfully so, because Phish hadn’t only just executed a shrewd and seamless segue, they had laid down their mission statement for the next two weeks! They were as excited as we were to be on tour. If everyone didn’t already know that shit was on like donkey kong this fall, after this moment they certainly did.



Drowned‘s” “Sitting in Limbo” jam—10.26 II, Worcester, MA

This one still blows my mind. The band was neck deep in an uptempo groove of the likes of “Guy Forget” when they—collectively—stopped on a dime and converged on one of the most surreal segments of music of the entire tour. As if they had this change preconceived, the guys were immediately on the same page as they bled into the infinite. Mike dropped some enveloped filtered notes that provided an aural cushion for this ethereal music. The band sat into a delicate, to-die-for groove for a minute or or so before Page (I believe) hinted at the chords of “Sitting in Limbo.” Trey picked up on the Chairman’s idea—as he so often does—and he, himself, offered the chord progression of Jimmy Cliff’s reggae classic. Trey had played “Sitting in Limbo” with TAB once, and I was sure he was about to step to the mic to sing the first line. Apparently, (from someone who actually watches the show) he almost did, but deferred, keeping the poignant nod instrumental. But damn if that change and subsequent jam isn’t one of the most sublime moments of 2013.



Trey’s final solo in “Disease“—10.29 II, Reading PA

The 'Doc (Andrea Nusinov)

The ‘Doc (Andrea Nusinov)

There are moments and then there are moments. Ask anyone who was in the intimate Santander Arena on that Tuesday night about the end of Reading’s “Disease” and they may just turn away and blush. Yeah, it was like that. Following the meat of a solid, though unspectacular, “Disease” jam, Phish found their way into one of their now-classic, blues-like codas. This southern-laced jam was particularly significant on the brink of Halloween with all of the Allman Brothers talk in the air. The band actually worked their way into a jam around Eat a Peach‘s famed live track, “Mountain Jam,” and it was within this feel good context that Trey would make history. The guys had the room in the palm of their hands and were bringing the jam to a full-band peak when Trey reached back and unleashed the most spiritual, spine-tingling, and downright spectacular guitar solo of the past five years. Channelling his inner Duane Allman and harnessing every bit of his own soul, Trey opened his heart and out burst rainbows and Klondike gold. And this wasn’t just a short statement, he let it all hang out in a blissed out guitar solo for the ages. This is one we’ll be telling our grandkids about. (nb: I had continuous chills just recounting this tale without the music on.)



Twist” middle peak section—11.1 II, Atlantic City, NJ

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

One could sense during the first set of Halloween that Phish was more focused on the second. They had clearly practiced the Winsguit set and had a lot riding on the success of its songs. Thus, the first frame of Halloween didn’t amount to much, but with the pressure lifted in the third set, the band was clearly able to let loose and jam. Well, when they came back to Boardwalk Hall the next day after nailing their Halloween show, the guys were visibly looser and more comfortable on stage from the jump, tearing apart the show’s opening half. And that brings us to “Twist.” The band had played two versions thus far on tour, Hampton and Glens Falls—both bigger than any since Cincy 2012—and the second had built substantially from the first. Thus, when Phish opened the second set in Atlantic City with “Twist,” everyone knew we were in store for a treat. But midway through this jam, things got straight silly, and we stumbled upon another magical moment.

I’m not exactly sure just what transpired during this segment, but it was one of those instances where the energy of the moment continued building upon itself and informing the actual music onstage. Page and Trey had locked into an exchange that the other guys quickly latched onto, collectively forming a sort of anthemic vamp. This drew in the audience’s energies and this sequence gained series momentum before the band broke from this vamp into a high-speed, cathartic peak. Then, this moment truly crystalized as they continued switching between these two feels, creating a monumentally triumphant passage, both musically and energetically. This was one of those bigger-than-music metaphysical explosions that happen from time to time at Phish shows, and quite honestly, this was the most collective, in-show peak since Tahoe.

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296 Responses to “Moments In A Box: Magic”

  1. MiA Says:

    Did Austin, Dallas, Alpine, DC and Went in Summer ’97.

    Skipped over Star Lake and Darien Lake. Was paranoid about the long drive and wanted to be there early and refreshed.

    After ’97 I vowed I wouldn’t miss Alpine or DC again.

  2. phishm Says:

    I’d love to hear his perspective MiA. I honestly just started listening to them about a week ago. I’m looking forward to see how it translates in person.

  3. Rob Ford Says:

    nice lumpy, will do

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Need some under-rated jams from 2013.. Miner points out Pnc Light from summer.

    Just spun it.. Pretty dope.. Any other obscure suggestions?

  5. Stoney Case Says:


    tahoe Jiboo

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    comments, hilarious. read em’

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Good one Stoney.. I like this.. Love me some Jibboo.. The fact that it isn’t overplayed anymore helps a ton. Once a tour is perfect.

    When they played it every other night in ’99-’00, it was a bit much.

  8. phishm Says:

    I have a foot long spicy Italian in the fridge with all the fixins. I don’t want to eat as it will reduce my chance of getting the buzz I want from IPA’s. I do want to eat as I’m also sitting here smoking non stop kind. A true test of will power. Let’s see how this plays out. The minute I down the sub it’s couch and kind. Until then it’s Phish, IPA’s and kind. Good thing this is the toughest decision I’ve had to make all day. Life is good.

  9. sumodie Says:

    Try the 7.14.13 MPP Scent of a Mule with that crazy marimba lumina Fishman solo

    Easily sandwiched b/t the Stash and It’s Ice

  10. sumodie Says:

    Or does Chicago1 have the crazier marimba lumina Mule jam…?

  11. phishm Says:

    AW knows his Tweezers. This one is always a go to. Love it.

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks Sumo.. On it.. Scent into It’s Ice. I remember the Ice having a little jam tacked on..

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I don’t have sbds of any Merriweather or Chicago shows…slacker.

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Listened to some Chicago yesterday. The harpua set. Pre harpua tunes are played quite well. Hadn’t listend since seeing the show itself webcast in a local phila bar.

    The first stomach virus of “winter” has attacked my daughter. Waiting for the boys to wake up puking. Gotta say, the older they are the easier this virus maintenance is.

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Palmer – check the JB Bowie out.

  16. RoosterPizza Says:


    Reading Disease

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Got that in cue Gdad..

    Never heard of it, Rooster. They played Disease in Reading?

  18. phishm Says:

    I hear the 20 years later sandwiched between the Taste and Piper is pretty good too.

  19. phishm Says:

    I’m fairly sure this video is out there in abundance, but for the Mike’s fans out there, this one is killer. 2nd song of course and 2nd jam for the ages.

  20. phishm Says:

    Not sure what’s up with Trey’s hair however. Roll out of bed type of night I would imagine. I was at the show the night before at the Nutter Center. Talk about Tweezers.

  21. tela's_muff Says:

    Corncob – I’d advise that you go ahead and quit that mortgage job while you’re ahead.

    Rob Ford – you making your best of 2014 list yet? Non-phish related.

  22. Rob Ford Says:

    not yet, tela, working on 2013 first

  23. tela's_muff Says:

    Ha. Shit. 2013. The year of new music started off great but the end of the year releases have dropped off so overall the year has been just $$-

  24. Rob Ford Says:

    i thought fall has been pretty sick with albums – darkside, the field, oneohtrix, arcade fire, tim hacker, chvrches, basia bulat, blood orange, danny brown, janelle monae…

  25. tela's_muff Says:

    Yeah. I’m making a poor joke in relation to jam judging. The Field, Darkside and AF for sure. Haven’t heard any of the rest.

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