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

Tags: , , ,

356 Responses to “A Portrait of an Era”

  1. RoosterPizza Says:

    For the record, boogie on reggie miller, tom gugliotta jaboo, spud wedge, and dekimbe magumbo still make laugh on a regular basis.

  2. RoosterPizza Says:

    Seeing I’m in the area, maybe I’ll go get a Fukuoka twist later on.


  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    kayabrah solid call on the 2nd Jam in the Lemonwheel soundcheck. Highly dank.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Those gals left a long time ago Rubby. Perhaps fresh discussions when terr starts will bring ’em back. Not likely though…

  5. jtran Says:


    3.0 soundcheck jams, yo

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    Gold! Wow! This is truly an amazing place.

    @PhamilyBezerker, keep the spirit alive. The living Myth. Mr Mystery. Joseph Campbell would be proud. Love your post.

    Sun Ra fav album list to follow.

    (Bingos’ shower is his Jeep)

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    RubbyBear- MSU- ’94… you must have been there..

    Sicko Splitzo… http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-11-18/split-open-and-melt

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Eh, I’ll pretty much rub one out anywhere.

  9. Jerome Garcia Says:

    That is THE quintessential 3.0 soundcheck jam jtran. Spot on.

    Nonphishthought related ? for you jtran are you hitting Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ Belly Up in Solana Beach on Fri? If so I’d like to say what’s in person.

  10. Stoney Case Says:

    yeah, only show I ever walked to, Palmer! Solid Tweezer and Lifeboi set 2. Short affair that night. Found out years later, they partied a little hard the night before in Dayton. They saw Phishm and Butter in the crowd together, first show, whispering lyrics in ears, passing pre-rolls. Figured they’d better bring IT.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    “For the record, boogie on reggie miller, tom gugliotta jaboo, spud wedge, and dekimbe magumbo still make laugh on a regular basis.”

    ^^^ there were a few other winners from this comedy vein. boogie on reggie miller is a classic.

  12. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ‘Do you want to play a jammier song?’
    ‘What song?’
    ‘A jammier song?’
    ‘Just play the sound on stage?’
    ‘I do.’
    ‘Do you want to play Waves b/c you want to…’

  13. dorn76 Says:

    I’d add laughter, and masturbation to PB’s list of elemental salves.

    Wanking All Night

    I Enjoy Myself

    Cracklin’ Rosie Palmer

    Hold Your Dick Up


  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    RCMH Hood is real purty like.

    definitely shower ‘personal time’ jam worthy

  15. ren Says:

    @JG and others

    I would totally be into a BB/Spasmo charter! Lets make it happen

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    kinda weird to hear trey talking about how lucky and thankful they are and wanting to “keep it going for as long as we can” only five months before they would announce the hiatus.

  17. vapebraham Says:

    10.15.98 wolfman’s — $$$. slow and dirty. psychedelic trance blues gold.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Bethel Waves soundcheck so totally worth every second of its 28:36. Hot damn that’s a great jam.

  19. jtran Says:


    show is sold out I believe, but we’ll be around so maybe will scour craigslist. you’ll be in SD? where you staying? regardless, would like to grab a beer.

  20. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Indeed it is jtran. Good luck pal. I may know of 1 extra…happy to inquire…

    Get in late on tmrw nt. Staying w/ my good buddy & his wife in Bird Rock. Other good buddy the drummer for SFSE lives in OB & we could be beach’n & BBQ’n it up there on Mem Day. Cruising out on Sat AM for Pioneertown for Pappy & Harriet’s Freak for the Festival II w/ CRB then doing some desert camping Sun & back in SD on Mon. Def would love to grab a brew. Feel free to hit me up at kmplonestar at the hotty mail.

  21. MiA Says:

    Dorn wins the BB today. Hilarious.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    Get out of shower, and shave. Keep listening. Problem solved.
    ^ was gonna do this for the jam, but it was too good to get out.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

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

    ^ is this somehow odd? I take showers before bed every night.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:


  25. Stoney Case Says:

    King sized water heater FTW! Or is it ‘on-demand’? Miner, thanks for posting again. In a world of YouTube phish chats, we need this more than ever.

Leave a Reply