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. sumodie Says:

    Rubbybear FTW!

  2. sumodie Says:

    have you heard 5.01.14 Soule Monde w/ Trey?

    check l’orange for alac & mp3 versions

    other choice morsels inside too, esp MMW+C alacs

  3. tela's_muff Says:

    so the point here is Miner takes 22 min showers at 1AM?

    i need to go listen to this jam.

    RubbyCase. hilarious.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    This jams long enough to rub one off. In the shower.

    ^my initial thoughts as well RubbyBear. But I didn’t want to be the person who said it. Ha!

  5. vapebraham Says:

    sumo: thanks, man for the 8.14.98 link. seems to be d/ling. FLACtastic

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Best soundcheck jams ever? Go.

    ^where’s Arty?

  7. Snigglebeach Says:

    22 minute showers at 1:30am.

    Only time I’m showering that late is after a show, trying to get the lingering smell of Wookie off.

  8. dorn76 Says:

    That soundcheck compilation bit the dust due to mediafire being Big Brother.

  9. verno329 Says:

    And check out the Grateful Dead version of the awesome Phish On Demand app while you’re at it. Really well done. Can’t recommend it highly enough

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    well, shoot. didn’t even notice it was mediafire there, dorn. my bad.

    there’s also this one though it too has mediafire links. I can’t MF at work anymore so I didn’t even check to see if the links are valid.

    as recompense, check out this .net thread which has some vid links for some of the more notable soundchecks and other stuff.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    yo, listen to the second jam in that sc, track 4. also quite tasty.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    shit, showered, shaved, AND rubbed one off. Jam still playing.

    Soundcheck was pretty cute, thanks miner. Now spin this, and let the Phish deliver you to the pearly gates:


    ’98. Rest my Stoney Case

  13. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Hey gang-

    All good out here on Long Island. Been so beautiful if a little cold. Been managing to get some fishing charters in. Feels good to make $, finally. Pussy arm has not resurfaced, which is nice.

    Enjoying the Scents soundcheck from 03. Perfect sound as well.

    Great link @T3. Cool shit in there.

    Gotta go paint today. Working outside on a beautiful day could be worse. Phish jams sure help.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    correction stoney, spin 8.1.98 2001>magilla>2001>tweezer

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    this is a real website:


  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you might as well spin the Ramble On>Mike’s->Esther>Paug section too

  17. sumodie Says:

    Hard to top the Rub Island Tweezer for those special bathing moments*

    *schedule & hot water permitting

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I definitely remember 14 years ago today roaming the streets around RCMH getting super excited for the 1st Phish show since Big Cypress.. There was an unmistakable excitement in the air of where the band would take us next… Tickets were nearly impossible… toughest Phish ticket in a while until the 2002 NYE show…

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ph- special shower moment songs…

    WeekaTug Groove

    Down with Hairy Palm Disease

    The Squirming Soap

    Tug by Tug……

    First Lube

    This could go oon all day

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    moved right onto the Ghost from Deer Creek, next night. Can’t get stuck in this ’98 wormhole!!!!! Too much work to do today! Still want to enjoy shows this summer!!! AHHHHHHHH! help me

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I want to fish w/ Spasmo! Seriously dude can you typically run a charter in mid March? Already scheming for post NCAAs @ MSG in Mar ’16.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^I’m a little OCD in case you haven’t figured that out yet

  23. Kaveh Says:

    It is amazing the power of good music…and in our case, more often than not, Phish is that music.

    I came to work a sauce pot full of onions…needless to say, I put on the soundcheck and over the last 30 min, I’ve got a new attitude.

    So, I had a mental rub out, I guess. 🙂

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    as the last three lady-lurkers head for the exits….

  25. RoosterPizza Says:

    Twist never made me think “ouch” before.

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