Box Set Giveaway Results!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on December 5th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

First off, thanks to all eight people who entered the contest! I realize it took more effort to describe a jam in 500 words than to send me your email address, and for that you deserve a round of applause. To decide the two winners, I chose my favorite five entries, put their name in a hat, and allowed Mrs. Miner to determine the fate of the box sets. And the two winners of Phish Thoughts Hampton/Winston-Salem Box Set Giveaway are…

Devin Concannon – “The Hampton Halley’s”

Mike Aurzada – “The Hampton Hood”

Congratulations! Shoot me an email with your address and I’ll get the box sets out to you today or tomorrow!

Thanks to all eight contestants! In addition to the winners, they were, Matt Stevens, Joshua Dobczak, Matt Gedellwas, Scott Graham, Chasin Holden, and Bob Davis. Below are the final five entries:

*****

Devon Concannon – “The Hampton Halley’s”

It has been leaked online for some time, but the hype isn’t another case of “well circulated soundboard syndrome” – in 25 short minutes the band declared proudly that this was Fall  ’97 and this was going to be one of, if not the best tour of their career.

6.3.11 - Clarkston, MI (Michael Stein)

After a legendary night-one, fans wandered back into the Mothership wondering what Phish could possibly have left to offer. After a strong first set featuring a “Mike’s Groove > Hood” opener, the band took the stage amidst high anticipation. Mike’s “bachoo” got the place roaring and we were off! Halley’s Comet itself is a hilarious mix of Phish’s barbershop vocals and blues, with nonsensical lyrics of Phish lore (though, not actually written by Phish themselves!). Regardless, on this fall night in 1997, a backdrop of comedy was the perfect launching pad for a Phishy adventure into the abyss.

Trey felt something in the air. He yells to Mike – “Let’s stay on this!” Immediately they settle into a bouncing funk groove, locking down over thumping bass and cow funk guitar chops. They begin to tell a story with the music, as if to score a film – by the 8-minute mark the groove has morphed into a thematic melody with a sense of searching, driving, yearning. Trey’s effects and delivery create a sense of tip-toeing across Page and Mike’s fluid offerings. With suggestive lines he leaves us sitting on the edges of our seats, waiting to find out what’s next in this story. Trey found an opportunity to add a new texture to the mix, orchestrally slamming the relative major chord over Page and Mike’s flowing groove. With his wizardly-wave, the momentum shifted on a dime without ever dismantling the unity of the song. Fishman transformed from groove-oriented setwork to a more percussive approach, matching Trey’s ringing bursts.

Over the next few minutes Trey would built a patient gorgeous soundscape that tapped into his inner emotions. I jot down the words that come to mind in hopes I can describe it for the purposes of this essay but I can not. The words I jot down are “wonder, gaze, awe, vastness, curiosity”. With incredible note choice, like a poet of masterful diction, Trey formed an incredible story within what became a frame of Zappa’s “He Used to Cut the Grass”.

As the band began to paint spacey textures of underwater exploration, Trey poured his soul into a guitar confessional – an emotion epiphany shared by the audience. In a telepathic build, they achieve lift off – Trey soaring through the air with the massive, glowing, Fall ’97 tone. Chills. My jotting becomes incoherent scribbles as the universe is channeled through Trey’s nerdy little pasty fingers, guiding the band through a secretive, blissful outro and directly into Phishtory as we know it. Hampton “Halley’s” is Phish, and Phish Always Wins. It’s a science fact.

*****

Mike Aurzada – “The Hampton Hood”

A more traveled friend of mine, who was with me at many shows of  Summer and Fall ’97 tour summed it up for me by saying “Every set… every song placement … from opener to closer is a target rich environment for an epic jam.  It surely keeps you on your toes.  There are no piss breaks”

Bold words, that Phish could turn on anywhere and everywhere.  My instant cynic said that Phish struggled to pull off those introspective, subtle, victory lap ethereal jams like a great “Slave” or “Hood” in a first set.  Without it being the set closer.

11/22 and Phish seemingly started a Set III from the previous night. Like they never took an encore and came out for one more set. Sea legs and ready to go.  A monstrous funked out melodic “Mike’s”  out of the gate, and into a phenomenal “Weekapaug.” Definitely Second Set material.  Good time to expect a breather. “NICU,” etc.

The roar from the crowd makes me smile. Set two antics, and just over a half hour into set one. Hampton and “Hood” go together.

The patience of the first two minutes is fantastic. The band phenomenally tight before the first chants of “Harry, Harry, Where do you go when the lights go out!” you know that they are all just laughing and having a great time on stage. Unforced. Confident. Relaxed.  And flawless. Not a note missed in the composed section. Perfection.

The Gorge 2011 (Graham Lucas)

I won’t go into the note by notes of the “Hood” Jam. Everyone probably has a passage that grabs them. But for me, I turn this “Hood” up, close my eyes and am lifted.  Starting with patience and  leisure, you can sense the communication of Page and Trey listening to each other that lets you know, there is no forcing anything here. Each a melodic equal. Take your time. No curfew to worry about. Let the notes flow through you  All four members come together each taking their own piece and rolling the melody along. Is there another song as coordinate as this jam? My ears wander musically between Page, Trey, Mike and Jon, and find each one with a pertinent, great contribution to say. Quiet, yet refined. Building.

I find myself breathing slower in the jam. A zen like state. Somewhere about half way through, Trey is gonna slowly lift me up. Like a friend reaching a hand out for you to get up from a comfortable sublime position you’ve taken. And at the end of that hand up, is a warm hug.

This band communicates to us. And while there is tons of raging porno funk and melodic jamming layered everywhere over these three days. It’s a simple “Harry Hood” that turns me on. Maybe it’s the placement. Maybe it’s the patience. But if someone wanted to know why I love Phish. Hey, listen to this.

Fall ’97 And every set and song placement is a target rich environment. Ain’t that the truth.

*****

Matt Stevens – Hampton’s “Emotional Rescue”

My favorite jam of the Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97 run is the very first one of the three nights, the” Emotional Rescue” opener on 11/21. Is it the best jam from these shows? Maybe, maybe not; there are certainly no shortage of contenders—among them the 11/21 “AC/DC Bag,” the 11/22 “Mike’s” and “Halley’s,” the 11/23 “Bathtub Gin,” and both “Black-Eyed Katy’s”.  What sets the Emotional Rescue apart to me is what it signifies where Phish was at the time it happened. Phish, in Fall ’97, is the only band in the world that could open a show with a first time performance of the Rolling Stones’ 48th most well known song, one with bizarrely falsetto vocals Mike admirably committed to and pulled off in his own twisted way, a song that 90% of the attendees had likely never heard before that night, and absolutely crush it for 17 minutes. A moment like this could only happen as a result of the confidence, precision, and majesty that the band was playing with at the time.

6.18.11 (John Crouch)

Led by Mike’s thumping bass, Fish’s sharp drumming and Trey’s wah-pedal driven funk scratching, “Emotional Rescue” fits perfectly within the central tenets of the Fall ’97 sound. As the jam begins out of the closing chorus of the song, Trey patiently allows his band mates to shine. Mike continues to lead the charge as Trey starts setting a series of loops. Trey then begins soulfully strumming chords over his loops as Page becomes more prominent in the conversation on the piano.  At about 9 minutes Page moves to the synthesizer and starts creating sounds to match the spaciness of Trey’s loops. He returns to the piano after a minute and Trey’s playing gets a bit more aggressive as a really nice section stressing “the one” of each measure develops.  Trey starts an eager riff which Fish picks up on and the tempo of the jam begins to increase. It is here, at nearly thirteen minutes in that Trey begins to play what would typically be considered lead guitar for really the first time in the jam, which is not to say his previous playing was not impressive or compelling as it was certainly both, rather that it was this thoughtfully restrained playing that allowed this and countless other full-band improvisations to flourish that fall. As the jam works its way out of the “Emotional Rescue” groove and into a darker, spacier place, Page returns to the synth and layers a wash of sound over Mike’s ever deepening bass bottom. The tempo slows way down and Trey delicately plays a pattern of notes as the jam begins to resolve. Finally Fish starts “Split Open and Melt” and it’s clear that this is not just any show. Neither, as it turned out, would it be just any weekend.

*****

Scott Graham – “The Hampton Halley’s”

8

8.17.11 (Michael Stein)

Trying to decide what jam you like the most from three stellar nights of rock-n-roll of that late November weekend in Hampton, Virginia is tough. Each show has its own unique qualities that stand out from the next. Personally “Halley’s Comet” stands out to me as a once in a lifetime “Halley’s.” Over the crowd noise you can hear Mikes low voice start the beginning of “Halley’s!” The vocal portion of the song is flawless even with the crowds help and the energy builds.  Just under 4:30 into the song the band dives directly into a 70’s porn funk groove without missing a beat. Thick and crunchy all at the same time with a perfect blend from each of the members it’s an instant dance groove. Page and Fish lead the way as Trey and Mike sit back and build momentum. Trey and Page start to exchange ideas and immediately seem to be on the same page. Trey’s light patterns are filled with delicate notes from Page as the four members start to blend on a single idea. These are the jams I miss today. The band takes an early idea to another level as Trey grows increasingly confident with the direction the music is taking him. A patient build and Trey takes control of the entire audience. This is one of the musical adventures that we chase as fans.  Twelve minutes into this song we all have a pretty good idea where this adventure is heading and it’s fantastic. Fish Mike and Page are locked perfectly in a complemented beat as Trey in detail expresses his emotions over the top.  When the band decides to switch directions they do so with little effort.  Page stands up and goes “up top” and starts to drop that old school funk feel which Mike and Fish pick up on instantly and seamlessly. You can tell Trey and company are enjoying this as much as the crowd.

As the music slows to me is where Phish’s true “art work” is on display the most. The delicate textures that keep the adventure going is something that sets this band apart from other jam bands.  Instead of going into another song they decide to keep this story alive. The next seven minutes, to put it simply, is Phish at its finest. Pure art work directly from the minds of four musical magicians. Its masterful, beautiful, dark, simplistic, delicate, deliberate, and complicated all at the same time. This song is why I drive thousands of miles and spend hundreds of dollars each and every year to see this band play. It’s a once in a lifetime moment that will never be recreated on stage. The energy that is created when four minds are thinking as one and there music is the idea we hear as a result is something that is hard to explain with words. Locking eyes with a complete stranger sharing a smile during what can only be described as a “moment”…

Thank you Phish!

*****

Bob Davis: “The Hampton AC/DC Bag” – A Haiku

AC/DC Bag
This is what it’s all about.
You had me at Ghost.

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Jam of the Day:

Harry Hood” 12.5.95 II Amherst, MA

A phenomenal Fall ’95 rendition from UMass from 16 years ago today. Trey playing through the haunting Leslie cabinet…

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***

Slave to the Traffic Light” 12.5.97 II, Cleveland, OH

A dark and exploratory “Slave?” Fourteen years ago tonight…

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The First “Four-Song Set” of Fall ’97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 13th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Fall '97 Advertisement

Fourteen years ago tonight, Phish stunned an undersized audience in West Valley, Utah, with their first four-song set of Fall ’97. Fans were left counting songs on one hand after the last notes of “Slave” crashed down, and what we had witnessed was the beginning of history. Phish went on to play several more four-song masterpieces that Fall and beyond, but with Utah’s second set—a frame that featured creative jamming on songs old and new, and the onset of several fall tour trends—the golden road of Fall ’97 was just getting started.

Following a truly stellar first set, the band came out to open the second with “Wolfman’s Brother.” The last we had heard from the song was the epic Great Went version and when the guys began taking this set-opener into uncharted waters, one couldn’t help but think back to the Limestone’s monster. Pushing far beyond the funk in consecutive renditions, this final stages of this jam sounded, momentarily, as if it might land in “Simple,” just as its predecessor, but the guys crafted a melodic bridge into “Piper” instead. This “Wolfman’s” jam was a significant signpost at the beginning of the road of Fall ’97, as its foray into a deeper, groove-based psychedelia began an evolution of “funk” jams from summer’s less refined pieces into the multi-faceted excursions that became a signature of the fall. Additionally, “Wolfman’s,” itself, would blossom into reliably exploratory vehicle by tour’s end.

The band had debuted “Piper” in Europe at the beginning of the summer and it quickly became a staple of setlists throughout the season. After the previous night’s “Mike’s Song” in Las Vegas sounded as though it might merge with the new school piece, Phish used it as the landing point of a more profound jam in “Wolfman’s Brother.” Still (most often) consisting of a drawn out intro and a raucous, though circular guitar peak, the band tore through a climactic version of greater magnitude than we had heard in the US that summer, and this proved to be the onset of another emerging beast. “Piper” dissolved into its kindred song, “Twist,” and it would be this jam in which Phish dove into the cosmos.

Fall '97 (C. Taylor Crothers)

Navigating the jam’s groovy textures and far beyond into original planes, Phish gradually worked their way into space.  As the band reached a wildly abstract soundscape, Trey tore into a soul-bearing guitar solo that spoke to a new stylistic paradigm—Fall ’97’s psychedelic spectrum was just beginning to develop. Staggering in both sound and scope, it felt as though the band had broke through a portal in space-time and Trey was offering universal information in a seething, six-string prophecy. Finding into a different dimension than many summer jams, this psychedelic abstraction foreshadowed a far more expansive style that would grace so many jams of fall. Dark though deeply spiritual, this version of “Twist” warmed the psyche of fans to centerpiece jams that would routinely transcend funk during Fall ‘97—a tour that gets too often pigeonholed as Dance Party-only.

Fall '97

And to resolve the creative madness that had ensued since Page’s opening notes of “Wolfman’s,” Phish dripped into a massive version of “Slave,” rounding out the four-song suite. More nuanced than the linear builds of many “Slaves,” this version concluded the set with exclamatory beauty and drama. Jams were huge on this night in Utah and fans were floored. It was only the second night of tour and it felt like Phish had elevated their game from an amazing summer with a deep and cohesive adventure into a parallel universe. The band’s four-song set in Salt Lake City— 14 years ago tonight—immediately raised the bar for Fall ‘97, and provided a starting point for so many of the tour’s iconic show to build from.

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Jam of the Day:

Twist > Slave” 11.14.97 II

The second half of Utah’s early-Fall explosion.

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The Mimi Fishman Foundation’s Online Charity Auction

The Mimi Fishman Foundation

The Mimi Fishman Foundation has launched a new charity auction that features many items including ticket packages to the end-of-year, sold-out Madison Square Garden shows. The online auction is currently live with the bidding period closing on Thursday, December 1st. Proceeds from this auction will benefit the Delta Gamma Center for Children With Visual Impairments, Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation, as well as the Vermont flood victims.

To view and/or bid on the auction, as well as read about the charities the auction supports, please visit the Mimi Fishman Foundation Auction Page.

In addition to the MSG ticket package, other items up for auction include:

  • Signed Summer Tour 2011 posters
  • Greek Theater Pollack Package: A numerically matching set of the three Pollock prints from the Greek Theater shows in 2010
  • A signed poster from the recent Phish Vermont benefit (9/14/11)

http://www.mimifishman.org/auctions/

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MSG Memoirs: The 12.29.97 “Tube”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 3rd, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.29.97

It was December 29, 1997, and Phish was back in The Garden for their first holiday show since New Year’s Eve ’95. Skipping the midtown Mecca in favor of Philadelphia and Boston in 1996, the band showed up at MSG in 1997 for a year ending three-pack and they meant business. As memories of their gargantuan New Year’s ’95 performance danced in fans’ heads before the show, Phish came out with a bold sense of adventure and ratcheted intensity on this night. Playing a show—specifically a second set— that could make a strong case for the best in Garden history, 12.29.97 has stood the test of time with a main event that remains one of the band’s strongest sets of the late ’90s.

Phish had just concluded 54 minutes of to-die for jamming in the form of “Disease -> Bowie -> Possum,” and it seemed as if it might be time for a breather. Thus when the band dropped into “Tube” deep in the second set, brains splattered across the arena walls. And ten minutes later when the dust finally settled, this funk fiesta was—and still is—the best “Tube” ever played. The elusive song had been resurrected in Dayton’s Nutter Center weeks earlier, and it was given the full Fall ’97 funked-up treatment for which it had been salivating. A song made for the Cowfunk Revolution finally got its chance to shine. Phish followed up “Tube’s” breakout with a first-set rendition in Albany on the last show of Fall tour, and two appearances over the course of the year hardly guaranteed a spot in the New Year’s Run. But when the first-ever asteroid crashed in Madison Square Garden, things got straight filthy.

Fall 1997 (Unknown)

“Swamp funk” was a term that was tossed around during Fall ’97 to describe the thick, molasses-like grooves that ate up audiences across the nation. And come the year-end party, this “Tube” was a crowning dosage of immortal swamp funk—a hearty helping of Grade-A Phish crack. The collective groove session carried the perfect tempo and represented a culmination of the collaborative rhythmic playing the band had first realized during “Wolfman’s Brother” in Hamburg, Germany, and honed in on throughout the year. Band members filled in the empty spaces left by each other with marksman-like precision, creating one holistic groove throughout the jam while spurning one of the legendary dance sessions in Madison Square Garden history.

Page took the piece out with infectious clav patterns until Trey stepped into the mix with a series of swanky rhythm licks. As the band hit their stride, the music oozed an effortless quality as the audience pulsated as one, gyrating to the buttery excursion. Without missing a beat, the guys paused for three Fall ’97 stop/start segments, allowing Trey, Mike, and Page the spotlight for solos. And each time the band hit one of these breaks, they came back with increased musical momentum, pumping the crowd up more and more with each splash back into the funk. Locked on the same page and riding the wave of a colossal show, Phish nailed this “Tube” like never before or since. The pace, the licks, and the guys’ cooperation all contributed to this jam being far more than the sum of its parts— another unforgettable MSG memory.

Over the next few years, the band brought “Tube” into loose rotation, extending the former three-minute song into lengthy funk extravaganzas. And though they dropped many outstanding renditions throughout this era, none carried the absolute coherence and one-minded groove as MSG’s masterpiece. The Garden brings out the best in Phish, and this “Tube”—not to mention the entire show—is but another perfect example.

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Jam of the Day:

Tube” 12.29.97 II

Glorious grooves galore.

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Ten Tunes For Friday: Summer ’97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 25th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

 

Summer 1997 (S.Nissman)

With summer on our minds this week with the announcement of Summer 20011 Leg I, this Friday we focus on Summer tour from fourteen years ago—1997. Phish had just returned from Europe, where they funked out every song imaginable, beginning to hone their new playing style. When the pulled into Virginia Beach on July 21 to kick off their US tour, they were a well-oiled groove machine that was ready for business. Here are some of my favorites selections from a transformative summer tour that criss-crossed the nation.

***

Down with Disease > Mike’s > Simple” 7.22

One of the most adventurous jam sequences of the summer from Walnut Creek, with, arguably, the best segue ever executed in band history.

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***

Run Like An Antelope” 7.29 II

A fierce rendition from Desert Sky in Phoenix.

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***

Cities > GTBT”  8.10 II

The Cornfields

My favorite jam of the summer when tour ended, and still right up there with the best of the best of Summer ’97.

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***

Gumbo” 8.13 I

This is, perhaps, the most liquid “Gumbo” ever played, including some of the danciest music of the summer and a legitimate nod to “Franklin’s Tower” towards the end of the jam. My personal favorite, I don’t think any version even approaches this one.

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***

Harry Hood > jam” 8.14 II

Darien Lake

This version from Darien Lake gets my vote for the “Hood” of Summer ’97—and there were more than a few gems. And that is not even considering the sublime jam that oozed from the song’s peak; some of the most intricate interplay you’ll ever hear.

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***

Wolfman’s > Simple 8.16 II

One of the defining jam sequences of the Great Went.

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***

Tweezer” 8.17 I

One of only two “Tweezers” in a massive US tour (the other came at The Gorge), this version dropped on the final day of tour in the Great Went’s afternoon set.

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Ten Tunes For Friday: Fall ’97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on February 11th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

7.31.09 (Graham Lucas)

Continuing our Friday focus on one era in particular, today we turn to Fall ’97. I tried to assemble a playlist without going for many of the big guns, but some slipped through the cracks. Happy Friday!

***

Stash” 11.13.97 II

The opener of the second set of tour in Las Vegas, and a piece that illustrates that Fall ’97 contained far more that funk grooves.

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11.19.09 (J.Tortorice)

Antelope” 12.6.97 I

And then on the other hand, Phish could throw funk jams into just about any song at any time, as illustrated by this “Antelope” from Auburn Hills.

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***

Twist > Slave” 11.14.97

This is the second half of Phish’s first four-song set of Fall.

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***

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Tweezer” 12.12.97 I

The final “Tweezer” of tour from Albany, New York.

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Bathtub Gin > Llama” 11.19.97 I

A dark-horse fall highlight from Champaign, Illinois.

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2001” 11.19.97 II

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

My personal favorite version from 1997.

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Mike’s Song” 12.2.97 II

A monster version from that kicked of the second set at The Spectrum, (but still no second jam due to “Simple”.)

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YEM” 11.28.97 I

12.30.19 (G.Lucas)

A classic, “Crosseyed”-laced version, that never gets old.

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Another December Holiday

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 11th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Continuing our run through Decembers of legend, today I am re-posting an article originally published on December 11, 2008, called “Two Anniversaries.” Discussed are the insane shows of 12.11.97 in Rochester and 12.11.99 in Philadelphia. Had I more time, the article might as well have been called “Three Anniversaries” and included the Phish’s top-shelf stop at Portland, Maine’s Cumberland County Civic Center on the same day in 1995. Audio highlights from all three standout 12.11’s are included below in “Saturday Jams.” (Click show dates for direct download, torrent and grab a 12.11 remaster below the setlists.)

***

“Two Anniversaries”

Today we find ourselves on the anniversary of a couple very Phishy shows. In addition to the Cumberland County ’95 show, this date brought two monsters in 1997 and in 1999. These two nights in Rochester and Philly were both instant fan favorites of their respective tours, and both are vibrant illustrations of where the band stood at that time. Happy 12.11!

12.11.97 War Memorial Auditorium, Rochester, New York (SBD)

First, let’s circle back to a cold and dreary winter day December 1997. Phish was on the brink of finishing their now legendary fall tour. On the heels of a monumental Midwestern weekend and a stop at State College, Phish pulled into the Rochester’s War Memorial Auditorium, a room that hosted the Grateful Dead on several occasions. The show proved to fall right in line with Fall ’97’s colossal outings featuring one of the best second sets of the month.

11.24.09 (C.Garber)

The night opened up with the energetic three-song combo of “Punch, Disease > Maze.” “Punch,” one of the great openers in the band’s catalog, set the table on this night for a phenomenal “Down With Disease.” Within this upper-echelon excursion, Phish tore apart the song’s thematic jam for ten minutes before slowing down into syrupy rhythms that quickly brought the music to a far deeper place. From this juncture forwards, it grew quite apparent that Phish was tapped into greater energies on this evening. As the piece developed, Trey began to solo with a menacing musical scowl while the band dropped into a dripping groove around him. This now-famous “Disease” became a significant tour highlight mere minutes into the first set. Phish flicked the switch on early in the night, and it remained locked in position for the duration of the evening.

Phish brought “Disease’s” delicate dance patterns to a slow and winding close, as they seamlessly morphed into “Maze.” Bringing maniacal madness into the mix, Phish took the energy already in the room, and channeled it directly into their harrowing improv, creating a forty-minute set-opening segment that jumped off the stage and directly down the throats of the audience. Allowing little time for warm up, the band reserved their mellower moments for the end of the set, decelerating with “Dirt, “Limb by Limb” and “Loving Cup” before closing with an out of place “Rocky Top.”

This mind-bending improvisation continued throughout the standout second set. Phish quickly upped the ante with a twenty-minute “Drowned” opener that immediately sat among the heaviest, most creative, and darkest slices of psychedelia dropped during the tour. After jump-starting the show in shredding fashion, the band put the pedal back to the metal as soon as set two began. About halfway through “Drowned,” the band gradually moved away from the song structure into original improv. Moving from uptempo ferocity into slow and murky textures, this jaunt, all of a sudden, became a lot more interesting. For the duration of the piece, the band explored eerie musical planes with the patience and precision of a surgeon, methodically juxtaposing the two halves of the jam. As Trey layered infectious licks over a thickening groove, this jam soon tramsformed into an ambient affair with loops and effects galore.

Bittersweet Motel DVD

In a now-famous moment, this standout jam wove its way into the debut of Ween’s “Roses Are Free,” a performance made famous by the documentary, Bittersweet Motel. While few were familiar with the song on this evening, all would come to know it as sacred ground come Nassau merely four months from this debut. The ending riff to the song proved a perfect launching point for the rare “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” The lights went dark with white strobes, and the band dove into the quirky Phish-metal.  Trey ran laps around the stage amidst the maddening music, lending a deranged and tone to the already standout show. A version that lasted eight minutes, full of dissonant build and distorted climax, this was not your average “BBFCFM!” As if the band had gone temporarily insane, the asylum’s soundtrack morphed into an excessively slow and heavy groove, not unlike the ending of “Axilla.” Painting a sinister musical backdrop, Phish reveled in pushing the crowd to the brink. After a two-minute ending of beatless distortion, the band dropped into a perfectly placed funk-relief in “Ghost.”

Giving the crowd exactly what they needed, this “Ghost” leaped onto the top shelf of all-star versions in a standout year for the song. Providing the show with a much needed release of flowing Phish grooves, the band took liberty in precisely ripping the only “Fall ’97 funk jam” of the night – another factor that made Rochester so unique. A seamless “Disease Reprise” emerged out of this multi-dimensional odyssey, artistically closing the musical ideas sparked at the beginning of the show, and bringing the evening full circle.

I: Punch You in the Eye > Down With Disease > Maze, Dirt, Limb By Limb, Loving Cup, Rocky Top

II: Drowned  > Roses Are Free* > Big Black Furry Creature From Mars > Ghost > Down With Disease (Reprise) > Johnny B. Goode

E: Waste

*Ween cover, first time played

FLAC Torrent (SBD/AUD Matrix) < Link

****

12.11.99 The Spectrum Philadelphia, PA

The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

When Phish came back to The Spectrum for the second consecutive night in December ’99, they had a little redeeming to do. After a botched transition from “Have Mercy” back into “David Bowie” the night before, the band bailed on the idea in full and awkwardly moved into a Fishman interlude of “Cracklin’ Rosie,” all but killing the momentum of the set. The band stumbled to the finish line with low-energy versions of “Twist” and “Waste,” but what a difference a night can make!

1999’s version of December 11 presented, arguably, Phish’s strongest outing of their climactic December 1999 tour. Opening with “Harry Hood” for the first time in almost ten years (1.20.90), the twenty-minute version let everyone know they we were in for a treat! Expecting a breather to follow the intense “Hood,” Phish brought “Mike’s Groove” – ya’ gotta’ love it! Giving the “Groove” full treatment, the band migrated from the evil soup into “Simple” then “Hydrogen” before closing the segment with a smoking “Weekapaug.” After a reflective moment in “When the Circus Come to Town,” Phish leapt into Gordon’s rarity, “Scent of a Mule”- all in the first set! The Spectrum buzzed loudly during setbreak with the feeling that set two would be extraordinary. And it was.

In one of the tightest sets of 1999, Phish destroyed their classic Philly haunt with a frame of celebratory segues and pure dance madness. If you liked to move at Phish shows, then “Sally > Ghost > 2001 > Disease” provided the perfect soundtrack. Packed to the hilt with dense Phish grooves and a complex ambient build before “2001,” this sequence stood on par with any music that reared its head in ’99. “Ghost” and “2001” were both top-notch versions, and the latter space odyssey spun The Spectrum with the ease of Medowlark Lemons, Spaldings and “Sweet Georgia Brown.” The entire segment totaled 55 minutes of pure Phish crack; one of those unquestionably special sets that everyone agreed upon when it ended.

An incredibly well played show comprised of almost all improvisation, December 11, 1999 was an unforgettable night. One can hear the crowd roaring on the tapes, responding to the full-on Phish carpet bombing all night long. A night of beauty in a the City of Brotherly Love, December 11 brought, perhaps, Phish’s greatest performance in The Spectrum (with 12.15.95 as the only contender).

I: Harry Hood, Mike’s Song > Simple > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, When the Circus Comes, Scent of a Mule, Cavern

II: Boogie On Reggae Woman , Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Ghost > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Down with Disease

E: Possum

DOWNLOAD 12.11. REMASTER! < Link

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Saturday Jams: December 11th Highlights

Drowned > Roses Are Free” 12.11. 97 II

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Sally > Ghost > 2001” 12.11.99 II

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Reba” 12.11.95 I

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The Curtain > Bowie” 12.11.95 II

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Weekend Nuggets: Two Nights In Europe

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 19th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Europe '97 Summer Tour T-Shirt

Europe '97 Summer Tour T-Shirt

This weekend, I am featuring two shows from the game-changing tour of Europe Summer ’97.  Fully realizing their transformation to groove, Phish explored slow, funky realms throughout the beginning of summer. Warming up to the point of sizzling over the course of a 19 show European tour, Phish then turned their attention stateside for one of the most beloved summer runs.  Starting in Virgina Beach and ending in Limestone, Summer ’97 was a special era of Phish.  But the excellence we witnessed throughout the U.S. had its foundation in Phish’s European vacations in winter and summer.  These two nights represent explorations of the new style, with funk galore and a whole lot more.  These Europe ’97 shows are very underexposed, in general, containing many a night glossed over.  These are two of those nights.

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6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria < Torrent

6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria < Megaupload

1997-06-19gnI: Limb By Limb, Dogs Stole Things, Theme From the Bottom* > Punch You in the Eye, Water in the Sky, Maze, Waste, Vultures, Runaway Jim

II: Stash > Ghost > I Saw It Again, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Piper, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Prince Caspian

E: Beauty of My Dreams, Character Zero, Hello My Baby#

*With “The Landlady” tease (including dance by Trey and Mike).  #No mic

Source: Schoeps CMC 64

***

7.3.97 Serenadenhof, Nuremburg, Germany < Torrent

7.3.97 Serenadenhof, Nuremburg, Germany < Megaupload

I: Piper, My Soul, The Divided Sky, Beauty of My Dreams, Taste, Train Song, Theme From the Bottom, Rocky Top

II: Ghost*, Cars Trucks Buses, Billy Breathes, Sparkle, Harry Hood, Cavern

E: Character Zero

*Included themes from the 07-02-97 Set II Jam, and more “Back of the Worm” vocals.

Source: AKG C1000 > DA-P1

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Weekend:

Stash > Ghost > I Saw It Again” 6.19.97 II

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A essential chunk of Europe ’97 from Vienna; a segment of one of the downloads above.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“The Tower Jam” Montage, IT 8.2.03 – From Festival 8 The8tre (SICK!!)

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When The Funk Came Home

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on July 22nd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Summer 1997

Summer 1997 (S.Nissman)

The day had finally come.  We hadn’t seen the band for six months- six months that had changed everything- and we had finally made it.  We were in Virginia Beach, and it was July 21st!  It was here.  After waiting over half a year that seemed more like an eternity, we would finally see what this new funk was all about!  Unless you were lucky enough to make it to Europe earlier in 1997, you were in the same boat- fiending for Phish and more curious than ever.

phish-amsterdam-97-subwayAfter finishing off 1996 with a smoking New Years Run, peaking at the Fleet Center amidst unreasonably cold temperatures in Boston, the band disappeared from the American scene.  Only two months later they were off on their first of two European tours before we’d have a chance to see them in the states again*.  Their twelve-show winter run continued the transformation to groove-based playing that had begun during the second half of Fall ’96.  And once we got a hold of that 2.17 Amsterdam tape, we knew something special was going on.   That “Disease” slowed down into some thick music we’d never heard before- and then segued into a dark, new song called “Lucy Had A Lumpy Head”- who was this band?!  This was different music than we heard in Boston- that was for sure- and it was very engaging!  Phish went on to play their infamous Markthalle show captured on Slip, Stitch, and Pass, but at the time, that Amsterdam tape was all anyone could talk about. *(Phish did play a small benefit in Burlington on 3.17)

6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria

6.19.97 Vienna, Austria

We got some of the other winter tapes as well, and then we waited.  The band took off across the pond once again in June- this time armed with an array of new songs that spilled out quickly over their first two nights in Dublin.  “Ghost,” “Twist,” “Limb By Limb,” “Dogs Stole Things,” “Piper,” “I Saw It Again,” “Oblivious Fool,” “Vultures,” “Velvet Sea,” “Water In the Sky”- and come Virginia Beach, most of us had never heard them!  These were not the days of instant uploads and digital Phish; the tapers were all in Europe.  With only ten days separating the last European show and Virginia Beach, most of us didn’t have time for a blanks and postage deal.

(R. Bleckman)

(R. Bleckman)

But while we weren’t getting Phish music instantly online, it was around this time that Phish internet space- and the internet in general- began to catch fire.  On message boards and over email, we heard stories about twenty-minute funk jams played really, really slow; about this new song called “Ghost” that was all the rage; about bass led grooves coming from everywhere!  But they were just stories.  With each passing day and setlist, excitement amongst fans grew exponentially.  After six and a half months of no Phish coupled with tales of legendary jams, our imaginations were about to burst- we couldn’t wait any longer.  And we didn’t have to, because the day had arrived.

The Gorge '97 (J.Schwartz)

The Gorge '97 (J.Schwartz)

When we got into the amphitheatre, the energy was palpable as the entire crowd seemed to be on the verge of explosion.  How long would we have to wait before we heard all these new songs?  As a rainbow appeared over the lawn, breaking the day’s inclement weather, Phish stepped on stage with the first stateside drop into “Ghost.”  The music felt immediately addictive- its deep bass and slow grooves coursing through your veins.  It was a new high you’d never felt before- and Wow!- it felt good.  You had to dance, no matter how awkward it might have looked; this shit was funky!  And as the band entered the jam, we experienced the first gooey excursion of what would be a stellar summer tour.

Ghost —————————————

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1997-07-21gnFollowing up with “Dogs,” “Piper,” and “Dirt,” the band was as eager to introduce their new material as we were to hear it.  When listening to just the abbreviated version of “Piper,” you could feel the magic in that song from day one.  And finally, to welcome everyone to their US Summer Tour, Phish ripped apart a funktatstic “Bathtub Gin” that saw Trey jokingly chant “USA! USA! USA!” at the end.  Spirits were soaring; the band was as ecstatic to start a long US tour as we were, and a new era had truly begun.

Bathtub Gin ———————————–

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7.21.97 Virgina Beach, VA – 12 Years Ago Today

I: Ghost, Dogs Stole Things, Piper, Dirt, Ginseng Sullivan, Bathtub Gin*, Character Zero

II: Wolfman’s Brother > Magilla, David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Theme From the Bottom* > Funky Bitch*, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Loving Cup

*w/ Leroi Moore

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

You Enjoy Myself” 11.28.97 Worcester SBD

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Perhaps the greatest version of “You Enjoy Myself” from Fall ’97, this one will get anyone’s head bobbing.  Coming in a show opening combo of “Curtain > YEM” to begin Worcester’s three-night stand, Phish got the party started right.  While not necessarily a dark-horse, a run through the SBD of this impeccable jam brightens any day.  With a fierce and funk-laced “Crosseyed” segment, this one is a keeper.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

3.20.92 Broome Co. Forum, Binghamton, NY SBD < TORRENT

3.20.92 Broome Co. Forum, Binghamton, NY  SBD < MEGAUPLOAD

Spring '92 (phish.com)

Spring '92 (phish.com)

Keeping with the early-era soundboard trend of yesterday, here we have one of the greatest shows from the hallowed Spring of ’92.  This Binghamton show was an analog staple back in the day, with a SBD source that circulated early on.  In a show strewn with highlights, the “Antelope” stands out as one of the greatest early-90’s versions.  The first set is absolutely flawless, and set two isn’t far behind.  Enjoy this gem!

I: Wilson, Reba, Brother, Glide, Rift, Fluffhead, Maze, Lizards, Mound, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sanity, The Sloth, The Mango Song, Cavern, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Terrapin*, Possum

E: Lawn Boy, Fire

* Trey explains “Secret Language” before “Possum”

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Weekend Nuggets: Summer Relics ’97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 30th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

97_summer_tour_pollock_backHere we have a couple of classics from the Summer of ’97 to tide you over ’till Sunday night’s No Spoilers action!  These need no introduction- Alpine and Star Lake ’97.  “Reba,” “Mike’s,” “Slave,” “Gumbo,” “Crosseyed,” “Ghost”- you know where they go.  Nothing like a little trip down memory lane before busting into the future.  FYI, Phish has been practicing at The Centrum in Worcester for a couple of days, getting ready to tear Fenway apart- new songs are being rehearsed.  Enjoy the downloads, I’ll be speaking to you Monday from the other side.  A great show and weekend to all!

***

8.9.97 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < TORRENT LINK

I: Theme From The Bottom, Punch You in the Eye, Ghost > Taste, Dogs Stole Things, Reba, Lawn Boy, Crossroads

II: Wilson > Foam, Mike’s Song > Ain’t Love Funny > Simple > Swept Away > Steep > Scent of a Mule, Slave to the Traffic Light, Weekapaug Groove

E: When the Circus Comes, Rocky Top

Source: (FOB) Neumann km140 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Tascam DA-P1 (@ 44.1 kHz)

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8.13.97 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < TORRENT LINK

I: Amoreena*, Poor Heart, Stash, Water in the Sky, Gumbo > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Beauty of My Dreams, Crosseyed and Painless, Wilson > Little Drummer Boy, Sweet Adeline

II: Runaway Jim, Ghost > Izabella, Sleeping Monkey, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Sample in a Jar, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Frankenstein

E: Theme From the Bottom

*Elton John cover (first time played)

Source: Schoeps CMXY-4V > EAA PSP-2 > Tascam DA-P1 (48 khz) > 44.1 khz

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND

“Tube” 3.8.09 Hampton

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Monday Mix – Fenway, Star Lake or Knoxville!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

108_08051The weather was so gorgeous in the Bay Area this weekend, that combined with the NBA playoffs on Sunday, I haven’t been in front of a computer much this weekend to write an extensive post.  Sunday afternoon, however, in between playoff games, I jumped behind the wheels of steel to create another Fall ’97 Mix-up contest! I thought about using other tours, but I figured we’d keep it simple and stick with the beloved and well-circulated tour, thus eliminating all the jams from the last mix from contention.  And who can get enough Fall, 97?

So, in honor of sunshine, the playoffs heating up, and Phish Tour in TWO WEEKS, we have another Fall ’97 Mix-up contest to kill some of your time during this penultimate week of waiting.  This round, however, we are upping the ante to encourage more participation.  For this contest, the winner will have their choice of a Sec 23-135 Row KK ticket to the tour opener at Fenway, a lawn ticket to Phish’s much-anticipated return to Star Lake, or a Sec 119 seat for Knoxville’s sleeper show.  Yup- admit one to the winner- for free!  The ticket will be shipped to the winner at the end of this week.  The runner-up will able to choose three “Downloads of the Day” next week, with short, accompanying write-ups.  So put off that task, procrastinate doing your work, and get checkout the newest mix.  Here’s the details on the contest:

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DOWNLOAD / LISTEN to FALL ’97 MIX-UP Pt. 2 < LINK                                — (Roll over, click play to listen, or right click, save as to download)

  • Identify the 14 jams from Fall & NYRun 1997 in order
  • Get your entries in by this Thursday, May 21st by 10 pm eastern / 7 pacific to mrminer@phishthoughts.com
  • One entry per person (with subject line “Fall ’97 Mix Up Part 2”)
  • The winner will be the entry with the most correct jams identified.
  • No hints will be given.
  • 1st Prize = Choice of 1 Sec 23-135 Fenway ticket, 1 Star lake lawn ticket, or 1 Sec 119 Knoxville ticket

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.4.98 McNichols Arena, Denver, CO < LINK

11.4.98 McNichols Arena, Denver, CO < TORRENT LINK

phish-denver-98This is the show directly following Utah’s Dark Side show which gets understandably overlooked by many who weren’t there.  While not sharing the level of fireworks as Utah, this follow up to Denver ’97 was no slouch.  With a first set that centered on the “Bathtub Gin > Yamar” combo, it was book-ended by “Buried Alive” and “Bowie,” creating an high energy first set; and the second set didn’t slow down at all.  The meat of the set came in the “Moma, Piper > 2001, Chalk Dust,” with the “Piper > 2001” being the gem of the show.  A psychedelic roller coaster into the cosmos, the transition into “2001” is sublime.  A dark horse offering amidst all the fire of Fall ’98.

I: Buried Alive, Character Zero, Guyute, Bathtub Gin > Ya Mar, Birds of a Feather, Brian and Robert, Frankie Says  > David Bowie

II: Runaway Jim, The Moma Dance, Piper  > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Chalk Dust Torture, Loving Cup

E: The Squirming Coil

Source : B&K 4011 > Lunatec V2 > Apogee AD1000

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