A Portrait of an Era

1091808964_1553For the past two weeks, I’ve been playing a game that has totally diversified my Phish listening. If you have the Phish On Demand app, and can get a speaker for your phone in your bathroom, you can play too! Before every shower, I hit the random show selector. No matter what show comes up, I choose one jam to listen to from that show for the duration of that shower. Several of these jams have been featured in my last couple playlists, but last night I hit the jackpot!

The random show selected was 8-14-98, Limestone, Maine. Your thought is correct, there was no show on that date. The app had pulled up the Lemonwheel soundcheck. I almost just hit the button again to select a real show, but staying true to the rules of my game—you can’t pass on a show—I decided to let it ride. I’ve never been one to listen to soundchecks all that much beyond The Bunny or live at a festival, and I had never heard any of this multi-tracked Lemonwheel affair. I selected the 20-minute jam and hopped in, not sure what to expect.

Lmnwhl Postcard (Pollock)

Lmnwhl Postcard (Pollock)

The tape cut in on a laidback bluesy, groove—nothing all too special. But after a couple minutes, the band dissolved into an ambient jam that clearly foreshadowed the late-night “Ring of Fire” jam in which they—essentially—debuted their next improvisational palette that would take them through the fall and beyond. This was a spectacular, and totally unexpected end-of-the-day soundtrack! And, boy, Phish sounded like they were at complete ease, clicking immediately into a gorgeous, emotive passage. But they weren’t just testing levels here, it was much more than that. This was the first time the band had stepped on stage at Limestone since The Great Went. They were re-acclimating themselves to the magical surroundings and reacquainting themselves with the spirits of the north woods. You can hear the guys’ awe and sense of majesty in their playing. They had reached the end of a long and winding summer tour that started six weeks earlier in Copenhagen, came stateside in Portland, Oregon, and wound its way to the northeast corner of America. The near-psychic connection the band had developed over this time is evident in the utter relaxation and collaborative nature of their jamming. And you wanna talk collaborative? Wait to hear what comes next.

1998-08-16moAfter coming to a natural pause, the band’s dripped into a quintessential, Summer ’98 funk groove that absolutely slays. At this point I’m dancing to some never-before heard ’98 Phish in my shower at 1:30 am—and fuckin’ loving it! This music transported me back in time instantly. They say that smells can evoke specific memories of a place in time, well so can chunky Phish grooves, because I felt like I was back at Limestone, 16 years ago. Comfortable and confident, the band sounded in their element, neck-deep in groove and playing to a wide open field.

This 22-minute jam truly represents a sonic portrait of 1998 Phish—a year when they had built on their raw funk of ’97, smoothed things out considerably and began to travel outwards via melodic, ambient-amoeba jamming. Two of the band’s signature sounds of the year are captured in this single soundcheck jam. And don’t let the word “soundcheck” throw you, this is the straight dope! Listen below.


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356 Responses to “A Portrait of an Era”

  1. vegas wolfmans Says:

    This soundcheck really and truly is the heat. Great stuff. #phish

  2. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers!

  3. phlorida phan Says:

    Sup Brahs’


    ^Maybe you’ve seen this, but if not, so worth it! To me, it brings the funny.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    T3 that Carefree is really cool. Thanks for the history lesson professor!

  5. Kaveh Says:

    It is going to be a LakeWood Ghost -> RCMH Ghost type of morning.

  6. tela's_muff Says:

    riding my bike on Tuesday with some Phish shuffle on. 555 came on, and i actually was digging it. look forward to seeing if they do anything big with it this summer. seems to have a pretty obvious Little Feat thing going on.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    every time I spin Carefree it gets stuck in my head for like a week. which I am totally fine with.

    it is a grower, not a shower, I think.

  8. marcoesq Says:

    Morning. Great rec miner, turning this on right now. Don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

    My shower listening lately has been the LB9 Mike’s groove from MPP ’99. Sweet emotives

  9. marcoesq Says:

    Kinda starts out with a ’97-ish Ghost funk groove

  10. dusty Says:

    Carly Meyers is pretty sick. I’ve only caught her with Mike Dillon but it was out of hand. I like late nights that go until the sun comes up.

    Speaking of bone, Fred, Bernie, George, Leo, Terrence Houston and Logic doing two nights at Cervantes.

  11. bob dylan Says:

    yo fools. almost weekend time! whats good in bb land?

  12. dorn76 Says:

    Speaking of bone was a big thing around her yesterday.

    Speaking of horns. All 3 Matadors gored, event cancelled.

    Bulls take a 3-0 lead. Go Bulls!


  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Beantown area BBers check out this festie in Woosta next wknd. Paulie’s New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival. Great great lineup next Sat. Funkify yo lyphe!

  14. Jerome Garcia Says:

    In other nonphish related news asked for some additional time to make decision about moving to Dallas; they gave me 10 business days to make a very serious life decision. Almost 100% sure they’re not giving me anymore. More awesome sauce please!

    Carry on.

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^anymore time rather. Sorry for the triplet.

  16. marcoesq Says:

    Where you do live now, JG? My office is based out of Ft Worth and they’ve proposed I move there from the east coast a couple of times now. Heading there next month for meetings and annual review, sure it might come up again.

  17. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I’m in Austin marco. Austin>>>>>>>>>>>>>DFW. Nothing against anyone who might live be from etc in DFW area. Whatever though. Just making the decision that much easier. Have to give my Final Answer by EOD next Wed. Probably continue to work through mid June but perhaps not. Offering some severance & qualify for unemployment due to it being a ‘position elimination’. Have several irons in the fire a few of which are promising. I’m sure it’ll all work out. I’ve got faith. Plus Austin is my jam yo!

    I mean do you have any promising leads?

    Leads yeah. I’ll just check with the boys down at the Crime Lab. They’ve assigned four more detectives to the case got us working in shifts.

  18. dorn76 Says:


    Little d is where it’s at.


  19. dorn76 Says:

    disregard that “f”.

    More coffee! STAT!

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    The Sound of Thought is Enlightenment
    The Magic Light of Tomorrow
    Backwards are those of Sadness
    Forward and Onward Are those of Gladness

    Enlightenment Is my Tomorrow
    It has no planes of Sorrow
    Hereby, my Invitation
    I do invite you be of my Space World

    Sun Ra – Enlightment (Nuits De La Fondation Maeght Vol 1)

  21. marcoesq Says:

    For sure, the D in DFW is the worst part IMO. Ft Worth kind of cool and off the beaten path but neither as cool as Austin. We had a few guys leave our company for a startup down there and they seem to be doing great

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Someone recommended the 7.8.94 Reba earlier, I kept with that 2nd set and it’s a doozy! Fun Ice>Stash>YEM


  23. marcoesq Says:

    And it’s a YEM>Frankenstein>YEM taboot

  24. little umbrellas Says:

    Thanks for the JF After Dark review link @JG. Bunch of video footage. Funny cause the photos I took of the fantastic four and the untouchables look almost exactly the same. I must have been right next to that guy.

  25. MiA Says:

    There are nice cool areas in Dallas, and Lumpy (and Reidicculus) can attest. But it’s not as young of a city as Austin, and the vibe is definitely very very different. Much more Neiman Marcus and BWM than Austin. Although Austin is importing that shit as fast as it can.

    I on the other hand have been listening to Beach Boys tracks, and dreaming about California. The last video/gif is maybe the best.



    I just saw Ellen’s house. Yeah. That is the shit.

    I hate Austin. I should be in LA in a fabulous home where everybody adores me smoking bowls by the pool. All “Entourage” like.

    I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

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