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. tela's_muff Says:

    that’s a great show Vape. was spinnin that yesterday. great Mike’s. both those DC shows are great.

    i’m working on my Split Project, something i’ve been meaning to get to forever. hard to stay sober as i move through the ’89 versions.

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    Fare Thee Well gonna smoke. Trey Bruce and Phil gonna connect early and often. Hope they can drown out Weir when he wants to change songs. I wouldn’t miss it if I were y’all.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Speaking of ’99, where the heck is Jiboo been?

  4. phishm Says:

    I got the non refundable thing going on too. I’m going no matter what. Getting in is another story. I have little doubt it will happen however. Finger in the air style.

  5. dorn76 Says:

    Gdad the locust a lurker.

  6. Bwana Says:

    On the fence for heading into Denver tonight for Kevin Kinsella and Euforquestra at Cervantes. Met Kevin many times when I lived in Ithaca and other members of John’s Brown Body. If it was JBB, I’d be going no doubt…

    @Ghostdog. No shit… I graduated in May 2001. Tom Fleischner was my advisor. I took several AE courses, mostly river-related. I’m sure we’ve probably crossed paths. Where are you at now?

  7. Calpain Says:

    Philly JRAD forming like voltron.
    Look into tix @vape. Even though it’s at the TLA, no smoking indoors so no need for a pinched nose.

    Post library session w/ Dan Dan noodles, enjoy by, duchesse, nugget nectar. Spicy!

  8. Bwana Says:

    Just found out I’m on the guest list. That should make the decision easier… But really a wingsuit instead of an hour+ drive would’ve sealed the deal.

  9. phishm Says:

    I give you credit. No way I’m driving an hour anywhere right now. Just going to sit back and get down to some tunes. My brother came over today and we tore it up on the NHL game. It was fun. Of course he was told to get home and along he went. I wonder if he’s happy? Not like he would ever tell me.

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    I thought the Great Pledge Drive Flame War was a dead giveaway but I guess it’s too plausible a concept

    some people believed the Chapel Hill Melon Rolling Festival story the first time I told it too

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    Just started reading William Gibson’s most recent, The Peripheral. Very fun so far. Interesting to see him fully extrapolate a future that’s far enough to be really different but close enough to be recognizable. First time he’s done that in a long time, since the Sprawl books.

  12. phishm Says:

    What sucks is I don’t know how he could be. He ultimately came over to borrow money. He’s broke, married to a moron and up to his ears in kids. Working 2nd shift just to make ends meet. I’m glad I’m not him. I still wonder if he’s happy. He seems to be sometimes. It’s like nothing gets to him. It just bounces off. I don’t know how he does it. I notice everything. And it normally pisses me off.

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    Read Neuromancer C. Finished it, but not easily. Kind of foreign to me, but computers and that type of stuff was never my thing. Good writer, just hard for me to follow the story arc along. Kind of like Pynchons tougher books for me. Crazy how old that book actually is. Had to remind myself it wasn’t a current work.

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    yeah, I’d definitely throw in on a pledge drive bashing so, I was on the fence with that comment.

    Heady B! Thanks for giving my buddy the shout out. Probably for the best they passed on that one! Break him in slowly with some forest hikes first.

  15. butter Says:

    Yea I was in a tram headed up to 9k, ipa’d and penned skimming the bb and ready to belieb

  16. tela's_muff Says:

    “Due to overwhelming demand we’ve decided to move these Southern shows to where we played our last gig, at the Fillmore in Denver, and Trey Anastasio is filling in for Gener.”

    ^Dean Ween posted this on Facebook 18 mins ago… it’s clearly a joke, but a funny one nonetheless.

  17. dorn76 Says:

    Skimming the BB is the hip new accessory.

  18. dorn76 Says:

    And things are only hip now if less than 7 people are doing it, so, perfect.

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Chilling in the room, cool to have a little space to chill first. Then I can relax, and read up on all ya’all.

    Stoked to hear that about the new Gibson. Sprawl trilogy def has some abstract and sudden shifts in perspective to roll along with. Love that style though, not overly didactic story telling, but very much paints a picture and sets a mood.

  20. dorn76 Says:

    Wait, if people in CT are doing it, it is already SO OVER.


  21. voopa Says:

    Well the only NPR Forum is the radio show with that name on KQED.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    WooO! Slap happy sprinklings of spicy good times. Thank you Mendo.

  23. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^& Mendo thanks Motown’s version of Spinal Tap for taking it to 11 last night!

    dorn you’re right…can’t be hip if it’s being done in Connecty-cut.

    I vividly remember the Great Pledge Drive Flame War of the early aughts…Carl Kasell is still bitter as hell.

    Snowy sunrise hike on the docket. DP13 in the phones as my soundtrack. Stoked to walkabout & spin.

    Morning phunions. Happy Super Sunday. Can’t hardly wait for Katy Perry & Missy Elliot halftime face meltage. Make it a good one.

  24. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Add Treyvon to the list. Ha! More TotD gold.

    “Billy knows it’s Trey, but he’s got it in his head that Trey is short for Tremendous.”

    “What is it short for?”


  25. guitarpicker420! Says:

    @vape – don’t sleep on August ’98. There are some great shows there. 8-8 funked out cavern, 8-9 terrapin, 8-12 just everything, such a fantastic show, and then the Wheel.

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