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. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^Stop Making Sense

  2. lumpyhead Says:

    that’ll be a party!

  3. BooVT Says:

    Travelling solo for business so the BB is my dinner companion.

    Dorn killing it: I Enjoy Myself, You’ll Go Crosseyed and Painless.

    Getting drunk on Green Flash Road Warrior at the Bier Barron Tavern in DC.

    Gotta go back to the hotie and listen to these concert recs, or take a shower…

    I LOVED my gravity bong back in the day…

  4. BooVT Says:

    They’re all out of Bells Two Hearted and Victory Hop Devil. Nuts.

  5. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Scoop! Cannonball down to The Cap may be in order. Nels w/ Phil next Thurs & Fri.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sumo already bought tickets to that one…. I’m going to buy one right now..

    Sco, Cline, Phil, Russo, Medeski…..maybe they tell fake jerry to beat it?

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Sco, Cline, Phil, Russo, Medeski…..maybe they tell fake jerry to beat it?

    ^ha! That’d be sweet. But 3 axemen is a developing trend in current PL&F incarnations.

  8. sumodie Says:

    Awesome news about Cline! Already have my floor tix for Thurs 5/29

    Fake Jerry is probably the best singer of that bunch, doubt he’ll get booted

  9. sumodie Says:

    new Phish portrait pic from FB today:


  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    See you guys there Sumo..Cleared for work.. Can’t wait

  11. MiA Says:

    Love the photo. Mike needs a jacket 1 size larger though. He’s not a 40 anymore.

  12. MiA Says:

    Go old guys! (read: Spurs)

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Still Dorky After All These Years. Love it! Lookin good boys.

  14. Dorn76 Says:

    Drinking my 2nd Flower Child IPA from Berkshire Brewing in my neighbor to the North… Kinda a cheap knockoff name that calls to mind Ithaca Flower Power. The brew is no cheap knockoff. More grassy, floral up front than the FlowPow, and in cans, will make it a go-to summer IPA.

    Couch time with dogs and wife aids relaxation. Not to the level of a good flogging of the dolphin, but pretty effective.

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    hoedown Says:
    May 21st, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    …The Wheel soundcheck has been a go-to for me for years. It is literally my most played “album” in my iTunes. The funk jam is one of my all time favorites…

    ^it really is great. Spun Miner’s linked Jam 4x today & giving the whole Wheel check a spin. Great great stuff.

  16. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Stoney, I also walked to the 11/18/94 Sparty show. First show for me. How/why I didn’t hit the previous show in AA is beyond me. Just rocked Lakewood Ghost. Wowza. I guess we all love Dicks…and showers.

  17. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Does Mike bring Scott on tour this summer? Can they be apart that long? Does Scott shop for Mike?

  18. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Trips. Crazy hail today. My car isn’t happy.

  19. garretcorncob Says:

    Weird. First time I’ve come across a “Google Trusted Store” while shopping online. In exchange for the company giving Google your information (unspecified amount), Google will help work with you and the company to resolve any issues you may have with your order.

    That strikes me as bizarre, on some level. Makes sense business-wise for all parties, ostensibly, but still just… odd.

    Google trading their reputation for consumer information.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Cactus and mr.m.s are both getting another set of guitars

  21. jerseyjim Says:

    Good NYC BB meet-up today with Ren. Always cool to catch up.

    Via Con DogLog, for your vacation.

    MIA – Orange Sunshine book is en route…enjoy.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    fall rumors

    10/17-18 WaMu Theatre, Seattle
    10/19 Memorial Coliseum, Portland
    10/21 Taco Bell Arena, Boise
    10/22 Lawler Event Center, Reno
    10/24-26 BCGA, SF
    10/28-29 LA Forum or Greek (I’ve also heard only 1 LA show)
    10/31-11/2 MGM Grand (or T & M, but I’m hearing MGM)

    Pretttty saweeeeet

    *hat tip to Butter for these deets.

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Idaho and Reno? That is awesome… Would love to catch those.

  24. Jerome Garcia Says:

    New jerb may afford me enough new vacation to hit BGCA. Dear tiny Jebus in your gold-fleece diapers w/ your tiny little fat balled up fists pawing at the air…get me to The City for Phish.

  25. phishm Says:

    Seeing TAB this Saturday. Taste of Cincinnati going on at the same time. Reds also playing at home that night. Parking should be a challenge for anyone coming in for the show. Come early if possible and check out the festival. Lot’s of good food and drink to be had with local bands playing all around. Looking forward to it.

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