First Nights of the Later Eras

Posted in Jams with the tags on December 2nd, 2014 by Mr.Miner

10.17.14, Eugene, OR (Eric Battuello)

Phish continued their unspoken tradition of dropping a chunk ofnheavy-hitting first night improv right on through the 2.0 and the modern era. Enjoy this long playlist of highlights, all plucked from the first nights of tours and chronologically ordered for your listening pleasure.

Bathtub Gin” / “Walls -> Carini” 2.14.03 II, Los Angeles, CA

After their shaky comeback run at MSG at Hampton, Phish announced their presence of authority with a feel-good and deeply grooving “Bathtub Gin” in the first set, and this menacing, wide open second set combo of “Walls -> Carini”  at the old LA Forum.

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Wolfman’s > Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.7.03 II, Phoenix, AZ

This second-set opening combination was like happening upon a treasure in the middle of a desert. As “Wolfman’s” grew darker and demented, Phish twisted into the debut of “Scents and Subtle Sounds” in one of their greatest new song unveilings of their career What first sounded like a fable soon transformed into a glorious jam, and Phish’s Summer Tour of 2003 was officially underway.

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46 Days” 6.17.04 II, Brooklyn, NY

Coney Island’s Keyspan Park was a perfect atmosphere in which to kick off a summer tour. This version of “46 Days” went deep, opening up the psychedelic vortex that would engulf the eternally underrated first leg of Summer ’04.

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46 Days” 11.18.09 I, Detroit, MI

This dark horse version of “46 Days” from Cobo’s opening set came out of nowhere and is pure filth. A total diamond in the rough, Phish was still getting their sea legs back and dropped this dripping piece of psych-funk on the first night of Fall ’09.

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Ghost” 6.11.10 II, Chicago, IL

This version of “Ghost” from 2010’s opening night at Toyota Park was gargantuan at the time. And even years later, it can still hold its own.

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Waves > Caspian > Crosseyed” 5.27.11 II, Bethel NY

A methodical deconstruction of “Boogie On’s” groove led into this powerful trifecta from opening night of 2011 at Bethel. Both “Waves” and “Crosseyed” pack a punch, though of a decidedly different musical nature.

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Rock and Roll -> Meatstick” 8.5.11 II, George, WA

Opening night at The Gorge in 2011 resulted not only in an all-tour jam, but an all-timer. This sequence is still among the elite of the modern era. A month after Super Ball’s Storage Jam, Phish integrated the dark and abstract style into this improvisational behemoth. And what a segue into “Meatstick,” also up there with the all-time greats.

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Carini” / “Ghost > Boogie On” 6.7.12 II, Worcester, MA

Throw opening night of summer tour indoors and one gets much darker results. Both “Carini” and “Ghost > Boogie On” highlighted the second set, the former with more abstract psych rock, and the latter with grooves aplenty.

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Rock and Roll  > Ghost” 8.15.12, II, Long Beach, CA

It was in Long Beach on the opening night of Leg Two during Summer 2012 that Phish truly rediscovered long form jamming for keeps. It seemed as though they had reeled in their jams a bit over Leg One to tighten things up, and over Leg Two they began to let things breathe again. This “Rock and Roll” is a loose exploration that is a stark contrast to the tighter, thematic style of jamming we’ve heard over most of 2013 and much of 2014.

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Carini” 10.18.13 II, Hampton, VA

In a Fall Tour littered with jams at every turn, Phish dropped one of tour’s elite excursions during the first night of the run at Hampton Coliseum. This jam needs no introduction at this point, as it garnered almost instantaneous fame in the community. No jam of 2013 contained more swagger than the Hampton “Carini.”

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Harry Hood” 7.1.14 II, Mansfield, MA

This all-time version of “Harry Hood” went down during this summer’s opening night at Great Woods, and it would be the best version of summer tour. This version inaugurated a year of wide open “Harry Hoods,” though I’m not sure this version has been topped.

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Twist > Crosseyed > Hood” 10.17.14 II, Eugene, OR

This three-song sequence from Eugene was packed to the gills with high-level and creative improvisation, setting the bar incredibly high for Fall 2014 on just the first night. “Crosseyed” provided the centerpiece of the set with a multi-tiered leviathan, but the bookends were incredibly inventive takes on their songs as well.

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