A Portrait of an Era

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on May 20th, 2014 by Mr.Miner

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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Download link

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The Final Night

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 5th, 2014 by Mr.Miner

“Oh Kee Pah > Yem” Part 1

“YEM” Part 2

“YEM” Part 3

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“Cavern”

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Up to Providence

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 4th, 2014 by Mr.Miner

“Birds of a Feather” Part 1

“Birds” Part 2

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“2001″ Part 1

“2001″ Part 2

“Brother” Part 1

“Brother” Part 2

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Roses are Free

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 3rd, 2014 by Mr.Miner

“Roses Are Free”

Can’t find the complete “Piper”

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Island Memories—Night 1

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on April 2nd, 2014 by Mr.Miner

“Twist Part 1″

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“Twist Part 2″

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“Stash”

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“Tube”

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Ventura: A Glimpse Into the Glory Years—Pt. II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on June 10th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Ventura County Fairgrounds

Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA

Today we take a closer look at the Ventura shows from ’97 and ’98.

7/30/97: I: NICU > Wolfman’s Brother > Chalk Dust Torture, Water in the Sky, Stash, Weigh, Piper, Cars Trucks Buses, Character Zero

II: Punch You In the Eye, Free > David Bowie -> Cities -> David Bowie, Bouncing Around the Room, Uncle Pen, Prince Caspian > Fire

E: My Soul

First a little context. Ventura’s ’97 edition unfolded in the first half of the band’s US Summer Tour in about a week’s proximity to their experimental funk tour of Europe. The band was loose and honing in on a new sound they had developed since the previous Halloween. Eager to stretch almost any song into a syncopated groove session, the band had been throwing down spectacular shows in their first week stateside. Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Lakewood, Dallas, Austin, and Phoenix—all monster shows in their own right. And now it was onto Ventura.

7.30.97This Ventura show—an incredible portrait of Phish in the Summer of ‘97—has never circulated in great quality due to the coastal winds that swirled around the venue, thus this remastered soundboard comes as nothing short of a revelation. The first disc of the set brings us back to an era when first sets meant something. Right away in the second song “Wolfman’s” we hear the loose wah-funk that the band had been exploring all season. After Trey takes a solo over the bands extremely slowed patterns, the band locks into each other’s ideas in a thick dance jam that has nothing to do with the song, foreshadowing the methodical wah-grooves that would come to define the summer. The band surfs this wave without finishing the song with a brief jam on “Take Me to the River” that leads them directly into a “Chalk Dust” that grabbed me on first listen. The utter intensity and creative mini-tangents throughout this jam illustrate Phish taking no prisoners in their live show—even during a first set in Southern California.

The “Stash” that follows contains glorious jamming that smoothly moves in and out of a major key , providing a beautiful middle section to an intense tale. The band closed out the set with a four pack of songs, including a short, old-school “Piper” and a wah-infused “Cars, Trucks, Busses.” Despite the on point playing throughout the first set, this show has—rightfully—always been synonymous with the meat of the second.

Ventura Sleeve Art

Ventura Sleeve Art

Simply put, 7/30’s “Bowie -> Cities -> Bowie” is one of Phish’s finest jams from one of their finest improvisational years. Having warmed up for a month in Europe, the band hit US turf running, dropping monstrous jam after monstrous jam. But this one was special. Phish hadn’t played “Cities” in the United States since 1989, and the way the band builds into the song is nothing short of masterful. Blending their new-found groove with their intricate, prog-psychedelic roots, the guys dropped a piece of music that set the Phish world afire. Confident, daring, and without hesitation, they collectively tear apart the “David Bowie” jam as a band possessed, each contributing stunning pieces to the puzzle. But deep into the jam, the guys break down the seething music into something far more percussive. On comes Trey’s wah-pedal, and the band begins to migrate from darkness into quickened groove. The following few minutes are the most engaging of the jam as the band dives head first into some very unique funk patterns with Gordon going ape shit. The band is in destruction mode here as the music seems to be playing them as much as they are playing the music. Trey begins working in the rhythm licks of “Cities” and a James Brown concert breaks out! Straight Krush Groove here as the guys liken superhuman robots oozing with soul. “Cities” stays at its original pace throughout, far from the exaggeratedly slow versions that would follow. As the lyrics end, the band takes little time to seamlessly mesh back with “Bowie” in what seemed like an aural hallucination. And the band doesn’t just rush to finish the song, they dive back into the jam for seven minutes—longer than most current “Bowies” altogether—and annihilate the peak of the jam. Just as this sequence stole the show that summer night sixteen years ago, so does it steal the spotlight on this release, despite its mp3 soundboard having surfaced a few years ago. This sounds superior in every way.

After “Punch” kicks off the second set Free” gets the treatment in a version that serves as a signpost for the jam. The band had recently ditched the piano led direction and changed motifs with “Free,” transforming into the bass and guitar driven juggernaut of the late ‘90s. In this Ventura version, we hear the band acclimating to the new milieu, but without really building anything of significance. This would start to change over the summer and more earnestly in the Fall when the song truly started to expand. After such monumental jamming in the middle of the set, the band rode into the sunset with a quartet of diverse, well-played songs that end the show.

7/20/98: I: Bathtub Gin, Dirt, Poor Heart, Lawn Boy, My Sweet One, Birds of a Feather, Theme From the Bottom, Water in the Sky, The Moma Dance, Split Open and Melt

II: Drowned -> Makisupa Policeman > Maze, Sea and Sand, Prince Caspian >Harry Hood

E: Sexual Healing > Hold Your Head Up, Halley’s Comet

Ventura '98 Promo

Ventura ’98 Promo

While Ventura ’97 stood out amidst its tour, Ventura ’98 most definitely did not. It was a solid show, but coming right after Europe, Portland, the Gorge and Shoreline, the SoCal Monday nighter felt like the West Coast afterthought before it started. But when the band greeted the crowd with a colossal “Bathtub Gin” to open the show, the possibilities opened wide. The Riverport “Gin” that came nine days later is often hailed as the top version of all time. This Ventura “Gin,” placed in a similar show-opening slot, paved the road for the all-timer with a jam that progresses through many similar stages. Check ‘em out back to back. Interestingly, this show all but excludes the chunky, rhythmic style of Summer ‘98, and the “Drowned” opener of set two illustrates this alternate path. Taking the arena rock cover in a direction that The Who might have if they jammed, this excursion was underlined by white-hot rock and roll. Loud, fast and boisterous, this jam is a musical depiction of a hyena going for the jugular of its prey. Once he has conquered and killed, the music shifts to a more down tempo feel as the hyena salivates over his family’s still-warm dinner. As he begins to drag it back to his clan, Trey hits his wah grooves and the music becomes decidedly chilled out in a gorgeous, sinister final few minutes.

Aside from these two prime-time jams, however, this show features unbelievable intensity throughout, allowing the performance to come off totally fine. The second set features the classic pairing of a hearty “Makisupa” and a full-throttle “Maze,” and a big-time bust out in “Sea and Sand” (the set’s second Quadrophenia track about water) paying homage to Ventura’s surroundings. Closing with strong versions of “Caspian” and “Hood,” this show set is carried by the band’s type I creativity and is a very smooth listen the entire way through. A quality “Split” punctuates the first set, while a looped-out “Halley’s Comet” provides the second selection of a double encore (after Fish had debuted “Sexual Healing) and sees the band exit the stage one by one leaving a series of delay loops behind them. The “Bathtub Gin” is the only lasting jam of significance from this night, but the strength of this show illustrates how effective Phish was at doing everything in their repertoire in the summer of ’98—not just open jamming.

Ventura Liner Notes

Ventura Liner Art

The final details to add about this Ventura release are the two soundcheck jams. Each feature extended, instrumental takes on “Makisupa,” with ’97 ‘s carrying a bit more musical depth. The ’98 soundcheck features” jokingly layered lyics from “Venus,” (“I’m your “Venus, I’m your fire…”). Though both are fun listens a couple times through, these aren’t like those crack soundcheck jams we get every now and then—just Phish having fun.

In summation, the Ventura box set is a fantastic release, easily the strongest since Hampton / Winston Salem. (Though 12/6/97 was in there too!) As time moves forward into this Golden Age of Phish, more and more re-mastered releases from their glory years continue to hit the shelves—a welcome trend that is sure to continue. Providing us crisp memories of magical nights gone by, sometimes all we need in a moment and a CD to take us back. And Ventura certainly does that.

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Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Bowie -> Cities -> Bowie 7.30.97 II, Ventura

Here is the mp3 SBD that has been out. This is NOT the release.

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VENTURA GIVEAWAY!

The Ventura Box Set

The Ventura Box Set

I have three Ventura Box Sets to give away for free! If you’d like to be eligible for this contest, please write two haikus—one that captures the essence of eachshow. Email these haikus to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by Wednesday at 8pm Pacific and I will post the three winning entries on Thursday or Friday! Make sure you adhere to proper haiku format or your entry will be disqualified. UPDATE: I’ m getting some really good entries and it will be tough to choose the three winners! Get yours in!

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Ventura: An Glimpse Into the Glory Years—Pt. I

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on June 9th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
The Ventura Box Set

The Ventura Box Set

Since about 1999 or 2000, I’ve been a jams-only listener. The immense amount of full-shows I’d spun previous to that combined with the transition from analog tapes to CD-R’s (and eventually digital files) resulted in me excerpting shows’ highlights more and more for my listening pleasure. Through these mix tapes and simply pressing skip the in the car, my habits of listening to Phish gradually changed. I no longer needed to spin entire shows time and time again. Most often I had been there and witnessed the start-to-finish flow, but even if I hadn’t, I no longer needed to hear the straight compositions. When spinning shows, I wanted to hear the meat, the tracks with significant jamming. When I got my advance copy of the upcoming Ventura release, however, I decided to listen to both shows start to finish, and in doing so, I was able to put a finger on the central difference between the Phish of then and now—non-stop intensity no matter what. Within the Ventura shows of 1997 and 1998, the band is focused and fully dedicated to each and every song, not just the highlights, and it makes all the difference.

Many people who only know my Internet persona think that I exclusively value Phish’s type II jams, and that I—for all intents and purposes—sit down and twiddle my thumbs for the rest of the show until they happen. Though such improvisation is unquestionably my favorite part of Phish—especially modern Phish—while listening to both Ventura shows, I realized why my take on 3.0 Phish can, at times, sound so type II centric—the band’s type I vigor is gone. Listening to Ventura ‘97’s “Chalk Dust,” I was blown away by the intensity and creativity contained in this piece of music that was bursting at the seams. Listening to Ventura ‘98’s “Makisupa,” I remembered that the song once had immense musical value beyond it’s current use as comic relief. The band is knee deep in dub grooves while Trey paints gorgeous melodies atop the irie textures. Listening to ‘98’s “Prince Caspian,” I was taken by how Trey annihilated his solo like it was a matter of life or death. And as I continued to listen to the type I jamming that dominates the ’98 show, I realized how glaringly the modern incarnation of Phish is missing this type of playing from their arsenal, causing shows—and particularly first sets—to drag when they aren’t engaged in type II jamming.

Ventura Liner Notes

Ventura Liner Notes

Phish can still weave freeform (type II) adventures as well as ever. They are master improvisers of the highest degree and have honed their craft over the course of 30 years. Anyone who doubts their improvisational acumen is fooling himself and needn’t look any further than the jams of Dick’s and MSG for proof. I fully see the band’s virtuoso jamming of the second half of 2012, to continue on an upward curve in 2013, but will the band pick up the slack from rest of their show? With members pushing 50 years old now, Phish reminds me of the crafty NBA veteran, think Kobe Bryant, who can play an awesome game at 75 percent and then go balls out in the fourth quarter and win the game. Phish now plays their contained (type I) jams with precision, but with very little intensity and creativity. Then they beast out in their open improv to save the show. To illustrate this type I fall off, think of songs like “Stash,” “Bathtub Gin,” “David Bowie,” “Reba,” “Mike’s,” “Weekapaug,” “YEM,” “Wolfman’s” and “Antelope”—ya’ know, the (former) goods! In the landscape of modern Phish, these songs are mere placeholders, reminding us of what used to be. No longer does the band even play quasi-memorable versions of any of these songs—only once in a blue moon. But with their improvisational skills at an all-time high, they drop pieces that steal the show and completely legitimize it. Think 12/28’s “Tweezer,” BGCA’s “Crosseyed > Light > Sally,” or 9/1’s “Golden > Caspian > Light,” or 9/2’s “Sand > Ghost > Piper.” Other than these segments, these shows, (with a 12/28 “Wolfman’s” exception) are pretty straightforward with little replay value. And this is why I most often focus on their creative jamming in my show reviews.

Ventura '98 Promo

Ventura ’98 Promo

If they played a “Chalk Dust” like Ventura ’97, I’d write about it! If they played a “Halley’s” like Ventura ’98 (which was run of the mill at the time), I’d write about it! Shit, if they played a “Cars, Trucks, Busses” with the zest of Ventura ‘97s, I’d write about it! But they don’t. Rarely is anything from a show worth chronicling other than type II jams and bustouts. As I’ve mentioned before, set crafting has gone the way of the wind, and without type I action, what else is there? To be clear, I absolutely believe Phish’s sublime improvisational passages make their shows worthy in full, but how great would it be if they could carry the rest of the show too?

To further my point, aside from the monstrous “Bathtub Gin” that opened the ’98 show and a “Drowned” jam that opened the second set, this show is dominated by type I jamming the whole way through—and it’s a great show! The band can’t pull that off any more (see 12/29/12). Their sustained intensity and type I creativity just isn’t there anymore (and setlists cannot carry shows no matter how outlandish). Worth mentioning, in a summer when laid-back funk ruled the scene, Ventura ’98 is a show that skirts the style all together—a complete and utter anomaly in a groove-dominated tour. “Gin” gets into a wee bit of danceable jamming, but after that, there is no funk, barely any open jamming’—and it’s a great show because Phish is utterly relentless, killing every single moment. They don’t cool down, they don’t lay back, they attack each piece as if it was the last they’d play, and the difference is as clear as night and day.

Quite obviously, my biggest take away from listening to these Ventura shows is their start-to-finish intensity; they pose such a stark juxtaposition to modern performances. Fans get so worked up about the amount of jamming that Phish does nowadays, many citing that they’d like to see more. Except in extreme cases, however, I don’t think that’s the main factor bringing some shows down. Unless we are comparing the band to the jammiest periods in their history, they are improvising at about the same rate as ever. But it’s what they are not doing in the rest of the show that cause modern Phish performances drag at times and make fans jones for the oncoming adventure. Maybe this summer, the year of their 30th anniversary, the guys will put it all together and play complete shows like the ones gracing their new box set? Their jamming will certainly be there, but what about everything else?

Tune in tomorrow for some more specific thoughts about the Ventura shows, themselves!

Ventura Liner Art

Ventura Liner Art

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Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin” 7.20.98 I, Ventura, CA SBD

Here is a sneak preview of the release! This “Gin” paved the way for Riverport’s classic a week later, as the jam morphs through many of the same stages.

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VENTURA GIVEAWAY!

The Ventura Box Set

The Ventura Box Set

I have three Ventura Box Sets to give away for free! If you’d like to be eligible for this contest, please write two haikus—one that captures the essence of each show. Email these haikus to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by Wednesday at 8pm Pacific and I will post the three winning entries on Thursday or Friday! Make sure you adhere to proper haiku format or your entry will be disqualified.

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MYFE. & Miner Present: The Island Run

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 15th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

4.3.98 – Nassau (livephish)

The Island Run needs no introduction. Four shows that were spontaneously announced in the spring of ’98, because the band was teeming with creativity have become legend in the Phish community. Following the well-loved tours of Fall and New Years ’97, the band had a European jaunt planned for June—but they couldn’t wait that long. They wanted to play now. And the rest is history. As they began to blend a spacey ambiance into their funk stylings of ’97, Phish dropped, arguably, the greatest four-night run of their career in Nassau and Providence, resulting in timeless jams that sit amongst best of all-time.

In the modern era of Phish, beginning at Hampton’s comeback in ‘09, fan-created, jewel-quality, cloisonné pins have emerged as collector’s items of choice. From Gamehendge characters to song representations and from original art to classic logo-rip offs, pins are everywhere on the scene today, taking almost all focus away from lot t-shirts while reducing the hype about posters. Fans rock these pins on hats, shirts, bags and any number of other places. Additionally, collectors have pin boards on which they display their collection. More easily viewable than twenty five posters that are still in tubes in the closet, and retailing for less money, Phish pins have become all the rage in 3.0

4.3.98 – Nassau Coliseum

After I published my book last winter, I decided to think up some pins. Though people had created pins to represent all things Phishy, I decided to take the idea a step further and develop pins that creatively represented historic jams in Phish history. And what better place to start with than The Island Run? Within days I had four designs in mind, but I also had a problem— I didn’t know the first thing about how to make a pin! As fate would have it, in reaching out to the pin community, a kind soul connected me with one of the original and most respected pin making teams in the scene, MYFE. Designs.

Just before the Hampton 2009 reunion, MYFE. Designs was part of the team that launched the first pin of the 3.0 era; the pin that ‘started it all.’ Since then, MYFE. has grown into one of, if not the most, respected pin companies in the scene. Anchored by a two-man team of Tanner Council and Mike “Monk” Cavagnino, MYFE. is known for their thoughtful creative process that has produced some of the highest quality and most sought after pins in the scene today.

Thus, it is with great pride that I announce the first MYFE./Miner collaboration—a four-piece limited edition collectors set representing my favorite jams from each night of The Island Run. Each set of pins comes fixed in it’s own custom-built collector’s case—a free-standing, crystal-clear, plexi-glass tower—that perfectly displays the artwork and detail on both the front and back of these pins. No expense was spared in getting these pieces up to showcase status for your collection. Below you can read about why I chose each jam, and the design process that went into each pin. These collector sets are available for purchase for $80 from MYFE.’s site, and go on sale very soon—as in later today!

The Backstamps

(Note: Photos do not accurately reflect the color and detail of the pins.)

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Twist” 4.2.98 II, Nassau Coliseum

4.2.98 – “Twist”

Coming late in the second set of The Island Run’s opening show, this “Twist” jam elevated in full, giving us the first true sense that something greater was at work. What started as an outrageous Phish concert had turned into a completely sublime experience. Fusing groove and melody in way never truly done before or since, this version of “Twist” grew a life of its own, enveloping the minds of the unsuspecting Nassau audience. Part and parcel of this unforgettable jam, was Chris Kuroda’s one-of-a-kind lighting display. As “Twist” reached a higher plane, Kuroda blanketed the venue with moving, narrow white beams of light, creating an overwhelmingly, extra-terrestrial feel. As the futuristic music with this alien lighting display, a powerfully cathartic moment crystallized; a moment so surreal that if you were there, you’ll never forget the Nassau “Twist.”

Design: When thinking of a design to represent this “Twist,” Kuroda’s indelible lighting display immediately came to mind. I wanted to convey the way the beams took over our visual field while we danced to this divine music. Initially, I sketched this design from memory, but then, on a call with MYFE., we decided to look at the actual YouTube clip from the show. Instead of going with my original sketch, we paused the video at the exact moment that I had attempted to draw. Capturing a screen shot of the lights, precisely as they were during the jam, MYFE.—vectored a proof directly from the image, assuring an accurate reproduction of the scene. After considering different materials and accouterments to accentuate the lights on the actual pin, we decided that sticking true to the white beams, lined with simple black nickel, would be the classiest call. Complete with seven “cut-outs,” 4.2.98’s “Twist” is the first pin in the commemorative series.

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Roses Are Free > Piper” 4.3.98 II

4.3.98 – “Roses > Piper”

Hailed by many fans—including myself—as their favorite jam of all time, “Roses -> Piper” is a household term in any Phishy abode. Covering the gamut from seductive grooves to deep-space, sound sculptures and everywhere in between, “Roses -> Piper” has come to define the astounding capabilities of Phish for an entire generation. Kicking off the second set, this timeless pairing covered 45 minutes of the greatest improv you’ll ever hear. April 3, 1998—a night that will always live in infamy—is eternally synonymous with this unparalleled jam. Read more about this “Roses -> Piper” here.

Design: This was the first pin I designed when sitting down last winter. I wanted to create something that would aesthetically do justice to my favorite sequence of Phish music. The first image that came to mind was a worm (“Piper, Piper the red, red worm) slithering through roses, conveying the interconnectedness of this life-changing sequence. But there needed to be a sense of place, so I printed and traced an image of Nassau Coliseum and laid it behind the first piece of paper with the worm and roses. I then traced my entire design onto a single piece of paper. When I got together with MYFE., we all agreed that there was nothing that needed to be changed with this design. With some slight cleaning up of the leaves and roses, and some re-angling of the worm’s curves, this pin represents the original, hand-drawn design.

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Birds of A Feather > 2001” 4.4.98 II

4.4.98 – “Birds > 2001″

Phish debuted “Birds of a Feather” during The Island Run’s first show at Nassau. But when they opened Saturday night’s second set with “Birds” in Providence, only two days later, the jam exploded into one of the highlights of the four shows. Blending spacier textures —sounds that would come to define 1998—into the rock jam, Phish pushed the envelope in this hybrid experiment. To say the interplay within this “Birds” is airtight would be a gross understatement. Carving a ferocious and forward-looking jam out of the brand new song, it felt as though the band was looking to top themselves for a third straight night. Finally returning to the last verse after a profound journey, Trey hit the final chord of the song with a delay effect that immediately morphed into the beginning of “2001.”

Crafting an alien-like ambiance before liftoff, with Fish’s snare hit, Phish spun into one of the elite versions of “2001” ever played. Carrying a white-hot intensity, a break-neck pace, and layered with droves of loops and effects, this version launched into the stratosphere, setting a new standard of what was possible from the one-time, three-minute funk cover. If you love Trey solos over “2001,” this is the version you’ve been looking for you’re whole life. If you’re a groove junkie like me, this version never fails to provide that magical fix. This is one of the best. Interestingly, the band never passed through the second theme of the “2001,” instead, breaking the groove down into a percussive vocal jam before starting “Brother.” Clocking in at over half hour of infectious improv, the pairing of “Birds > 2001” is but another timeless paring of Island Run lore.

Design: This pin underwent the most change from original sketch to final product. Before I was in touch with MYFE., I had a simplistic drawing of birds flying through space, but after a long call one night, we decided to incorporate the iconography of Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” where the music originated. After re-watching “2001” the next night, I loved our idea of birds flocking around the Monolith—the mysterious, extra-terrestrial object that brought higher consciousness to the apes at “The Dawn of Man,” and to species throughout the universe. When confronted with the Monolith, apes, men, and other species—literally—flocked around the object, providing the ideal image for the birds in the pin. At the end another call, we randomly pulled up an old movie poster for “2001” that only portrayed the astronaut helmet used by the main character, Dave. We quickly thought of putting the entire scene within the visor of the space helmet—as if the astronaut was viewing the birds and the Monolith. This was the answer. And it came out perfect.

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Oh Kee Pah > YEM” 4.5.98 II

4.5.98 – “Oh Kee Pah > YEM”

Despite the fun of the deep funk jam that brought “Possum” into “Cavern” at the end of this show, the most impressive music of the Island Run’s final night came right at the beginning. Rolling with the momentum of the past few nights, Phish came out and played one of my favorite versions of “You Enjoy Myself” in history. Taken entirely by surprise, the audience erupted as the band dropped into “YEM” out of “The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony” for the only time in their career! This move signified a rabid band ready to tear apart the Civic Center once again, and what a way to get the party started! Moving into a totally original jam, laced with sinful whole-band groove, Phish needed no time to warm up on this night. Playing incredibly expressive leads, Trey sounded as if he was narrating a story rather than playing a guitar solo. An original collaboration of rhythmic acrobatics, there is no other version out there that sounds like The Island “YEM.”

Design: The original sketch of this pin had a trampoline over Rhode Island with the letters of “O-h K-e-e P-a-h” bouncing off surface of the tramp. But when MYFE. completed the first rounds of the proofs, such an obvious image didn’t hold up to our other three designs. One night I had an idea: instead of spelling out “Oh Kee Pah”—both literally and figuratively—we’d include images of all the elements that comprised the band’s infamous, collegiate rites of passage. We’ll let you do the detective work from here. With a star marking Providence on the state of Rhode Island, this pin balances the sense of place present in 4.3’s “Roses > Piper” pin.

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The Island Tower

 

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TTFF: Summer ’98

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 25th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Summer '98 Promo Poster

Phish crushed so hard in the summer of ’98, that I could fill an entire week of playlists with highlights from this tour alone. Between their fortnight in Europe and month in America, the band churned out amazing jams at a ludicrous pace, while remaining on point for the entire season. Here are a handful of jams from what has to be considered the greatest summer tour of the late-90′s.

Curtain > Free” 7.31.98 II, Columbus, OH

The laid back funk of Summer ’98.

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Tweezer” 7.9.98 I, Barcelona, ES

In a small and sweltering club, Phish dropped these filthy grooves.

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Reba > Fast Enough” 7.16.98 II, Quincy, WA

Quintessential summer Phish with an uncharacteristic rhythmic take by Trey.

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Ghost > Lifeboy” 8.2.98 II, Noblesville, IN

One of countless standout “Ghosts” of Summer ’98—the peak tour for the song.

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Wolfman’s -> 2001” 7.24.98 II, Houston, TX

One of the lesser known highlights from this summer, and a soundboard, taboot.

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Bathtub Gin” 7.29.98 I, Maryland Heights, MO

The Riverport “Gin” needs no introduction; my favorite version ever played.

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Ya Mar” 7.25.98 I, Austin, TX

One of the most exploratory “Ya Mars” in history—a jam that is so cohesive that it sounds composed.

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Tube” 7.16.98 II, Quincy, WA

A personal favorite featuring the open-air, chunky grooves of the Gorge.

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Drowned -> Makisupa” 7.20.98 II, Ventura, CA

A dark horse combo from the begininning of Ventura’s second set that features a silky-smooth segue.

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YEM” 7.26.98 II, Dallas, TX

A mid-second set explosion of swanky summer grooves in which Gordeaux thumps prominent “The Way I Feel” bass lines—a late-90′s trend that started a week earlier in Shoreline’s standout version.

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TTFF: Relics of ’98

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 20th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Denver 2011

This Friday’s playlist is composed of jams from a different era. All of the songs featured today have taken a back seat during the modern era of Phish, but were once central jam vehicles. I decided to pluck stellar versions from 1998 to add cohesion to the selections. Enjoy the tunes today and through the weekend!

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2001” 7.17.98 II

One of the all-time classic versions that never gets old.

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Tube” 7.16.98 II

The wide-open funk of the Gorge.

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Mike’s Song” 11.7.98 I

A somewhat glossed-over version that came as the second song of UIC ’98.

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Halley’s Comet > I Didn’t Know” 8.3.98 I

The opening jam of Deer Creek ’98. Might we be returning this summer?

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Free” 11.9.98 I

A crunchy first-set beast from UIC ’98; an instant classic.

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Cities” 7.31.98 II

Another quintessential piece of Summer ’98 from Polaris.

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Wolfman’s Brother -> Lizards” 11.18.98 II

One of the lesser discussed shows of Fall ’98—Greenville, South Carolina—had plenty to talk about.

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AC/DC Bag” 8.9.98 II

A smoking summertime version from Virginia Beach; the centerpiece jam from the night they covered “Terrapin Station.”

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You Enjoy Myself” 12.29.98 II

YEMSG ’98.

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