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.


Download link

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356 Responses to “A Portrait of an Era”

  1. vapebraham Says:

    ^^^ w/ lenny white, ron carter, herbie H, and joe henderson

    ^^^ the A team

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    ^My style is kinda fat reminiscent of the whale.

  3. little umbrellas Says:


  4. MiA Says:

    Nice Lumpy on that Classixx. Great call too. Weekend is gonna be AWESOME!

    I do love the Sirocco. Also love the Ferrari 330 GTS.


    I like my girls in pony tails.

    or without.


  5. vapebraham Says:

    word, lu. that’s the shit.

  6. vapebraham Says:

    yall know red clay right? if not, get some. if so, get some again.

  7. lumpyhead Says:

    You know it is MiA!

    I’m headed here:


  8. MiA Says:

    Looks great.

    PS. Fuck not being able to get incandescent bulbs.

    I wanna kick someone square in the nuts about that.

  9. ae Says:

    Nice to see some regular posts! Thanks miner. Summer is a-comin!

  10. dorn76 Says:

    Know what you mean, MiA. Can’t get my hands on some good old fashioned asbestos mitts anymore either, doggone it.


  11. phishm Says:

    This weekend is shaping up to be a good one. Looking forward to TAB Saturday night after tasting all the good food and beer that Cincinnati has to offer at the taste of Cincinnati. Sure I’ll be in the bathroom for most of the show as Cincinnati food isn’t the best, but it will be fun all the same.

  12. Snigglebeach Says:

    Just be sure never to mix:
    WeekaTug Groove
    Down with Hairy Palm Disease

    With asbestos oven mitts.

  13. MiA Says:

    Fuck GE and their lobbyists selling a bullshit bill of goods on people to increase profits.

  14. ren Says:

    Pro tip: Always bring Pepto chewable tablets on your travels. Even the slightest inkling of something being a little off with my digestion before a show and I pop 2

  15. ren Says:

    That LIB does look pretty sweet…lots of good eye candy. Lumpy better have a nice slideshow link for us next week.

    Interns: There’s your site for Festival X. Now get to work!!!

  16. jerseyjim Says:

    off tomorrow – 4 day weekend underway with the Rangers game. Personal Goal: pump up the tires and get out for the first long bike ride of the season.

    I’ve started a listentothedead project of 1982 in order. So far, so good, A transition year. Great Brent tunes. Considering a Phish listening project of early ’90s. Will advise, on what year is chosen.

    phishm: Best Food in Cincy…is in Columbus, no? Gotta bring a sign for Trey to open with Mexican Cousin 🙂

  17. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Re. Kinks recs: such a big catalog of which I am only partially familiar. That said, Sleepwalker from 77 has some gems. Title track, jukebox music, Life on the road are all pretty great. Those guys could pretty much pull off any style they chose.

  18. Spasm Waiter Says:


  19. Ulysses S. Wingsuit Says:

    R-12 is getting hard to find too. #termingout

  20. Jerome Garcia Says:

    On the plane to SAN. Cliff Bar. No cold green tea. CRB Cali Road Show here I come.

  21. voopa Says:

    Whoops, silly phone (and user).

  22. MiA Says:

    Safe travels JG.

  23. ren Says:

    Taking advantage of Phish.In’s random song puller for Tweezer.

    I think I have a new favorite listening toy

  24. MiA Says:

    Everybody’s got something to hide, DwD. lizards, Tweezer …

    Great way to start a first set.

    Go Habs.

  25. MiA Says:

    9/25/00 Tweezer. Mike is killing it.

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