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. MiA Says:

    We do.

    I didn’t realize that he died like a year ago. Damn.

    I am drowning myself in this.


  2. MiA Says:

    Really. Just this


  3. MiA Says:

    Need 40-60 mins of bliss heavy jams, either a show segment or from different shows/eras

    Just need some pretty tunes for train home


  4. MiA Says:


    Works too.

  5. MiA Says:

    Wow, I can listen to Classixx “holding on’, and turn on the denille lo jiggle gif, and it syncs up perfectly.

    Well, good enough for me.

    I fucking love the internet.

  6. lumpyhead Says:


  7. lumpyhead Says:

    everybody ready to have some fun this weekend?

  8. bobby weird Says:

    sorry to hear @Jerome.

    might not hurt to ask if they can make the severance a little bit better, esp if the offer is less than industry standard, they impose an unusually ‘soon’ separation date, or other hardship to you as the basis for your request. usually you can still take the deal offered if (when?) the employer says no. depends on the dynamics. best of luck my friend.

  9. ren Says:

    I can picture MiA driving around LA in a Sciroco listening to Classixx

  10. Kaveh Says:

    everybody ready to have some fun this weekend?

    ^ 10-4; fun to the max. Is there another way to handle a holiday weekend?

  11. ren Says:

    everybody ready to have some fun this weekend?

    ^ This guy is!!!! Would be much better if there was a show involved though

  12. ren Says:

    In that vision MiA also has his hair pulled back into a small pony tail….pony tail obviously rainbow in color

  13. Kaveh Says:

    ^ I’m seeing the high pony tail style.

  14. lumpyhead Says:

    F yes brahs

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    booby 2 months severance is what they’re offering if I say no; probably work for another 2-3 wks past the drop dead date of EOD 5/28 but not sure.

  16. Dorn76 Says:

    Stoned, drunk and stupid is exactly the way to go through this long weekend, son.

  17. ren Says:

    Yes Kaveh! White loafers too.

    We all meet up later at his pad in Malibu to watch Asian girls jiggle while they fan us and add coals to our giant “tobacco” hookah

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    lol @ dorn

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    In that vision MiA also has his hair pulled back into a small pony tail….pony tail obviously rainbow in color

    I know it isn’t exactly what you were going for, ren, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of this

  20. bobby weird Says:

    pretty square deal, @ Jerome. unemployment during transition is nice if you say no to Big D. positive vibes.

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thanks bobby weird esq 😉 My thoughts as well. Almost certain gonna ink the deal next Wed. Prospects looking good.

  22. ren Says:

    AHaHaH!!! Totally T3.

    True Romance definitely up there on my fav list…so good

  23. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Phish OD random show 5/24/90 The Brewery Raleigh NC. Jumped straight to Hood.

  24. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^Reba next

  25. vapebraham Says:

    freddie hubbard (1970), Red Clay ($$$):


    tribe called quest sampled the bassline and hook from the first track.

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