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. Kaveh Says:


    Another ’94 Reba gem: http://phish.in/1994-07-08

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Lakewood Ghost sure does make for a great sun-is-shining-windows-down-volume-just-increases-speeding-away-from-work jam, doesn’t it?


  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Lakewood Ghost still my favorite jam ever. Don’t mind if I do.The ending is also perfect post climax music. I’d clean myself off to that all day long.

  4. snow Says:

    ::spins lakewood ghost cause Bingos is the man::

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    Me to ^

  6. [an unrelated] Wilson Says:

    holy crap. the lung bong is insane!

  7. jtran Says:


    anyone here know pierre?

  8. jtran Says:


    anyone here know pierre?

  9. jtran Says:

    “Pierre, a local Häagen-Dazs employee who the band met the day before, was repeatedly called-out by the band and was brought up on stage and serenaded during the encore.”

    NVM, looks like pierre is likely somewhere in france still.

  10. lumpyhead Says:

    MiA Says:
    May 21st, 2014 at 12:51 pm
    Has anyone heard from Mr. C lately?


  11. jtran Says:

    woahhhhhhh first ever PC/chrome double post.


  12. garretcorncob Says:

    I was thinking of a decidedly less elaborate smoking device known as the lung, one much more of a type with the gravity bong. Home made and what not.

    That glass thing is just excessive.

  13. butter Says:

    This post makes me smile

    Just reading some comments:

    Sumodie needs an on demand hot hot heater

    Stoney’s not allowed to shower at my house anymore 😉

  14. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Jeez, that Bethel Waves Sndck is truly a 3.0 beast. Had been a while. Why can Trey not be that nimble more frequently?

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    Lakewood Ghost was yum. Been awhile. Listened with attentive ears, following that up with the Grey Ghost for good measure.

    I think that should set me up nicely for the rest of the day. Headed to Santa Cruz. Two recording projects in the works and a bunch of shows this summer.

  16. BingosBrother Says:

    Mr. C is a Psychic Bodyguard.

  17. MiA Says:

    12/31/98 ghost for some contrast

  18. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Just rocked that exquisite Kaveh recommended Mansfield Reba 94. Wonderful stuff indeed.

  19. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Think perhaps my 2nd or 3rd ever spin of Lakewood Ghost…believe spun once or twice from The Daily Ghost. Spinning now: http://phish.in/1997-07-23/ghost

  20. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Just rocked that exquisite Kaveh recommended Mansfield Reba 94. Wonderful stuff indeed.

    ^Great Woods Reba yep she’s on the RLP

  21. jtran Says:

    good day of listening for me to go along with work tasks.

    highlight was 7/10/97. started it from Gin. great show front to back (assume the first 3 songs were good)

    Gin>llama>wading, lizards jam> olivia’s pool to end set 1.

    2001>julis>magilla>yamar>ghost>take me to the river set 2.

    $$$ show if you want a front to backer.

    then the pierre show from lyon that same tour. didn’t intend to listen to such an extended sit in, but it was $$.

    then christinana ghost > hampton carini to finish the day.

  22. jtran Says:

    and FTR hampton carini just “as good” as anything I listened to from 97 and 98.


    Thursday, 07/10/1997
    Espace Julien, Marseilles, France
    Set 1: Dogs Stole Things, Limb By Limb, Ginseng Sullivan, Bathtub Gin > Llama[1] -> Wading in the Velvet Sea, Jam[2], Olivia’s Pool
    Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Julius -> Magilla, Ya Mar[3] -> Ghost -> Take Me to the River[1] -> Jam
    Encore: Funky Bitch[4]
    [1] Unfinished.
    [2] Concluded with a theme akin to Lizards.
    [3] Various duets among the bandmembers; vampire children references.
    [4] Members of Son Seals Band.
    · The Lizards tease in Jam
    · Magilla and St. Thomas teases in Ya Mar
    · Take Me to the River and Bathtub Gin teases in Funky Bitch
    · Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque tease
    · Super Bad and The Star Spangled Banner teases in Also Sprach Zarathustra
    Notes: Llama was unfinished and featured a long, atypical jam that wove into Velvet Sea. The jam after Velvet Sea concluded with a theme akin to Lizards. Prior to the start of the second set, Trey said that in France they love Jimi Hendrix and Danny Bonnaduce, explaining “that’s why I’m here,” and that he started his career as the Partridge Family’s bass player. Trey subsequently teased Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque, remarked that the crowd was too young for that and that they didn’t see the Partridge Family, but that the crowd knew it when they played Hanson the other night (see 7/6/97). Prior to 2001, Trey said they called Fishman “The Orchestral Greasy Troll,” prompting some impromptu singing. Trey teased Super Bad and The Star Spangled Banner in 2001. Ya Mar featured various duets by the bandmembers, contained Magilla and St. Thomas teases, and lyrics referencing “vampire children.” Take Me to the River (first since November 21, 1995, or 126 shows) was unfinished. Funky Bitch featured a guest appearance by members of the Son Seals Band and teases of Take Me to the River and Bathtub Gin by the trumpet player.

  23. MiA Says:


  24. butter Says:

    Hampton Carini no doubt Jtran

    Not sure we were even ready for that on 1st night of fall

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Mon 7/14 @ Alamo Ritz on Dirty 6th. I’m in.

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