First Nights of the Later Eras

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.”



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.



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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13,510 Responses to “First Nights of the Later Eras”

  1. gavinsdad Says:

    Phishthought: Katy’s sharks. Solid camp. Done right. Missy set length needed to get Katy into her full length. Loved the Pepsi sponsorship and then MJ hair on fire nod when she was shooting sparks from that star whilst hovering above the crowd.

    We had 3 families over for ham and sweet and sour meatballs. Wonder if years down the line the two eight year old girls will remember crying over a Seahawks loss, a team they knew nothing about a week before? 12 yo son said the fight at the end was the best part of the Super Bowl, should i be concerned?

    Car thought: is fixing a teeny crack on my windshield smaller than a quarter with safe lite auto resin before I turn it in for a new lease cheating?

  2. Darth Vaper Says:

    FWIW, I don’t think saying “congratulations” to Booby when he came in here hip thrusting and to telling everyone to suck it, would have done anything to his deameanor.

    It was a “I’m sorry man” to all the Seahawks fan moment rather than a “Because of Tom Brady we won that game! Moment”

    .01 seconds before that assanine call, Tom Brady was head down, wondering how his defense let another team march 80 yards down the field and have that much time and 3 plays.

    The play happens and he looks up “What happened? We won!?”

    Fans start screaming “Tom Brady is why we won!!!!!”

    Just my perspective. I won money. So it was the anti-moose job of betting. I was very conflicted.

  3. Darth Vaper Says:

    But yeah I’d rather talk about Sumo’s kick ass photoshopped image.

    I loved the Sharks. Definitely would make that costume for Halloween.

  4. Darth Vaper Says:

    A “moose job” in betting is when you think the money is in the bank but something miraculous happens and you end up losing.

    Eg. Your team is up by 6 points. They are 12 yards away with 30 seconds on the clock and go to kick a chip shot FG which bounced off the goal post and into a linebackers hand who runs it back for a TD.

    It feels like a “love connection” with a moose

  5. Darth Vaper Says:

    Mark Sanchez was the super moose. Lost too much money on him with amazing comebacks. He is the Dirty Sanchez of moose jobs.

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    Watching the Pats haters melt down almost as satisfying as that victory. Peak football fan experience last night.

    Bobby Weird: one reason I’m a closet Brady/Pats fan.
    Raiders fan and the tuck rule game: the other reason

  7. Stoney Case Says:

    Oh BTW! Not referring to the classy Hawks fans here. My brothers Snow, and Tzara and VW. I’m revelling in the non-Hawk fan, pats haters like Mook and Mook. Where’s Palmers take? He had a lot to say pre and during game.

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Best Part! I got blocked on Twitter by douchie band wagon fan ZZYZX! #WINNING

  9. vapebraham Says:

    Y’all are gaga over katy Perry? Ugh. She is not hot – tree trunk legs. Kim kardash also not hot with her distorted, stubby body. As for the game, put my feet up and fell asleep. Missed the drama.

  10. Stoney Case Says:

    New post!>>>

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