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. Stoney Case Says:

    T3. A wise fan once told me, if you wanna know what’s up with Phish, don’t listen to Trey.

  2. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, set II rolls…


  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    oh, I know, stoney. he of the “fifteen minute breaks” and whatnot.

    but it just struck me considering the set and setting being the first show since BC (05-21-00) and how they clearly had fresh energy only to have it all come apart by the time Fall wound down. not looking to pick scabs on this but it is an interesting comment for him to make all things reconsidered.

  4. dorn76 Says:

    Fukuoka Me

    Fukuoka You

    Quite a link, @rooster.

    “Pubis Rejuvenation”. Yeah! Sign me up!

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    ‘Liquidity’ is a great Sun Ra starter album as it his groove record. 4 songs that all funk it down.
    Twin Stars of Thence http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w_KLSKSX2PM&feature=kp
    Has a glorious downtempo hip-hop beat with Ra space textures.

    ‘Monorails and Satellites’ is beautiful and a solo piano album.
    ‘jazz in silhouette’ is an example of his early career (late 50’s)’In’ big band work.

    But eventually you graduate to the real deal ones like ‘Nothing Is’, ‘the heliocentric worlds of sun ra’, ‘angels and demons at play’, and ‘it’s after the end of the World, don’t you know that yet!’

    His catalogue is so massive. Mid 60’s is my favorite of his stuff. Here is a fabulous (and I would consider must watch) documentary on him called ‘A Joyfull Noise’:
    A great place to start

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    jtran looks like that extra is goneski…but she’s double checking…will report back.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thanks lilum! Gonna spin some Sun Ra brah.

  8. Spasm Waiter Says:

    ” if you wanna know what’s up with Phish, don’t listen to Trey.”
    most enigmatic band ever. Fuckers can be so godamned frustrating. I think they do it on purpose.

  9. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Would love a BB charter. Montauk in the Fall is stellar. Check the vid on my site for some insane Fall striped bass action:

  10. ren Says:

    ^Would be a nice consolation prize for us snowcones that can’t make it west during Fall. That vid is awesome/$$$++

  11. ren Says:

    Just had a lunchbreak meet-up with JerseyJim.

    Non-wook status confirmed. Super nice guy.

    Thanks again for the books mang!

  12. phishm Says:

    Every time I dance in the shower to a 22 minute jam I’m left with bruising on my inner thighs.

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fly fishing makes me want to take a long Phish jam shower…

  14. dorn76 Says:

    Access Myself
    Army of One Hand
    My own Asse Festival
    You’ll go Crosseyed and Painless
    Pebbles and Marbles and Lube
    Light Up Or Leave Me Alone To Touch Myself
    Walking the Dog Log

  15. dorn76 Says:

    And I’m spent.

  16. phishm Says:

    You may want to pick up some gatorade there dorn.

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    Ye Jerome. Check that Twin Stars of Thence link and tell me that isn’t beautiful nasty music. I could listen to that bass line for an hour. Stylistically its in line with jams such as the fukuoka twist or the radio city ghost.

    Tranced out repetitive bass line over some syncopated drums with a back beat and crazy textures on top.

  18. vapebraham Says:

    while some of us talk of self love, rooster gets down to biz w/ some high end japanese “therapists.” mack daddy status confirmed.

  19. vapebraham Says:

    vapexhale dropped and broken beyond repair. vape bong shattered. fukoka!

  20. ren Says:

    Guess its time for a nap?

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Wacking in the Velvet Sea

    Poor Pud

    Get Back Down the Drain


    It Needs Ice

    Tomorrow’s Dong

  22. vapebraham Says:

    sad day in vapeland. there’s always the solo.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    Rolling papers.

    I still have one of those little red rollers in a box somewhere if you need to bring technology to the ancient art.

  24. phlorida phan Says:

    Vape vibes Vape……glass taste best, but oh so fragile. Figure it out science!

  25. garretcorncob Says:

    Using a roller is some amateur hour shit.

    You shouldn’t even need a surface to roll on. Can all be done in the hands.

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