A Record of History

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 16th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Niagara Falls 12/7/95

Niagara Falls 12/7/95

With all of the hubbub surrounding Fall Tour, Phish’s release of their December ‘95 stop at Niagara Falls Convention Center flew way under my radar. I just recently listened to the discs for the first time and I must say, it’s another winner in a recent hot streak of Live Phish drops. This show—a classic even within a classic month—had been begging for the re-master treatment for years, and this shimmering two-setter has finally gotten its due. What a treat it is to get a Live Phish release from such a hallowed era in band history. Much like Hampton/Winston-Salem provided a glimpse into Fall ’97, and Ventura opened a portal to Summers ’97 and ’98, Niagara Falls brings us back in time to December ’95, the home stretch of legendary two-leg, 54-show fall tour on which the band truly realized all the skills they had been honing for years.

Having stretched the limits of abstraction over the courses of Fall ’94 and Summer ’95, Phish spent the fall of ’95 selecting the best elements of this growth spurt and tightening things up into a full-throttle, psychedelic arena rock show. In a matter of weeks following Niagara Falls, the band would play a career-defining show at Madison Square Garden, but on this night on the other side of New York State, Phish cemented another golden block in their yellow brick road of December.

imgresThough this show isn’t a masterpiece of set craftsmasnship, it contains elite, jaw-dropping versions of “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Split Open and Melt,” “Reba,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug.” Additionally the we hear an early incarnation of “Taste” in the second set, at this point called “Taste That Surrounds.” Phish showcased their free form creativity of the era throughout this show, as they dove deep into second-set versions of “Split,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” taking each jam far off course and forming tour highlights out all three. A “Reba” that sounds like it’s in fast-forward compared to recent versions highlights the middle of this second set, as Trey’s comically confident and exceptionally emotive soloing evokes the sound and intensity of days gone by—a true gem that is often overshadowed by Niagara’s copious highlights.

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

The first set features an out-of-nowhere version of “Slave” that sounds like it’s plucked from the end of a hugely dramatic frame of music. Unfurled in between “Rift” and “Guyute,” this standout version—which sits in an incredibly delicate space for quite some time—could anchor the opening half all by itself. However, a unique “Curtain > Bag,” a bust out of “Demand” and a full-throttle “Possum” provide solid support.

In short, this Niagara Falls release provides a stellar portrait of Phish’s sound and jamming in one of the most historic months of their career. The band brought all sorts of furious jams to Niagara Falls that December night, though they delivered them within a less-than-artistic setlist. But when Phish drops so many Grade-A excursions on a single audience, how they unfold becomes largely irrelevant. This one is a keeper.

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Niagara Falls CD Giveaway!

Hippie Santa

Hippie Santa

Just in time for Christmas, and thanks to the kind folks at Phish Inc., I have three copies of this release to give away! If you’d like to enter your name into the ring, please write a haiku that touches the essence of December ’95. I will pick my favorite 10 entries (and post them), put the names in a hat and draw the three winners. Please have your haikus in to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by 7:30 pm Tuesday (tomorrow) night! Thanks for playing and Happy Holidays from Phishthoughts.com!

 

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Phish For Japan

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 24th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

7.31.99 Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Cover

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that recently hit northeastern Japan, yesterday Phish announced the official release of 7.31.99‘s iconic performance from the Fuji Rock Festival’s Field of Heaven as a benefit for the Japanese people. The show will be remastered by Fred Kevorkian and released in both download and CD formats, with all proceeds going to Peace Winds America. All funds collected for disaster relief will go to support operations through their sister organization, Peace Winds Japan. Relief operations are currently underway in Miuyagi Prefecture, where Peace Winds is on the ground providing food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelter to survivors. With an inevitably abrupt transition, let’s now take a look back at the show selected for release.

Right after the their US Summer Tour concluded in Deer Creek on July 26,1999, Phish hopped across the Pacific Ocean to make their first appearance in Japan at the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata. And ever since the 40 minutes of “2001 > Bowie” traveled from the Field of Heaven back to America, this show has been one of legend. One of the finest “Bowie’s” of the late-’90s built into an intricate psychedelic beast in the intimate wooded setting of the Field of Heaven. And coupled with a smoking and extended ’99-style “2001,” this segment has lived in lore since it happened. But there are other treats in this show as well.

8.1.99 - Japan (phish.com)

First and foremost, late in the second set Phish played one of the greatest versions of “Prince Caspian” of their career. The usually uplifting song reached a whole ‘nother level on this night, and the result was nothing short of astounding. Carrying a far slower pace than usual—a characteristic that defined all of Phish’s playing at open-air Field of Heaven—the band patiently built one “Caspian’s” most cathartic versions. With searing guitar licks amidst a laid-back groove, Trey screamed from his soul through the entirety of this majestic highlight. Mike and Page joined in the climactic jamming while Fishman framed the piece with an unusually slow and dramatic beat.

Following this all-time “Caspian,” Phish stepped right into “Fluffhead,” maintaining the triumphant feel of the latter part of the night. One last explosive peak on this signature set gave way to a “Squirming Coil” denouement. And even the encore included something special. Before any song started, Tibetan monk Nawang Khechog came on stage to discuss human rights in Tibet. When he was done, Khechog performed a meditative piece with on a traditional horn with Fishman on vacuum, and then joined the band on wooden flute for “Brain and Robert.” The show finished with an experimental jaunt though “Simple” as Trey built his solo into furious sheets of sound over the band’s mellow textures. Morphing into to a searing-turned-ambient-turned-rocking jam, the band never stopped bringing IT until the show’s final cymbal crash. The first set is no slouch either, highlighted by a gorgeous “Limb by Limb,” a tar-thick “Free” and a particularly snarling version of “Character Zero. Needless to say, the band was on all night—and all weekend—at Fuji Rock.

Pollock '99

It’s great to see Phish using their music for a good cause, but it seems like a odd move to choose a show that widely circulates in soundboard fashion to generate donations. (Some believe it to be a pristine audience recording.) While I am sure Kevorkian’s treatment will juice up the recording and provide a considerable upgrade, why not drop something completely new from Phish’s Japanese exploits—specifically Summer 2000? Aside from the already-released gem from Drum Logos in Fukuoka (6.14.00), the band played several other monster shows during that tour—an awesome run that represented their last full-on gasp of creativity before slowly winding down over the rest of summer and fall towards Shoreline. Why not drop the Tokyo “Tweezer” and the On Air East show (6.9.00) or the Zepp-Osaka tour-closer (6.16.00) and its next-level “Runaway Jim?” And there are also stellar options in between, such as Zepp-Tokyo (6.10.00) and The Big Cat in Osaka (6.15.00). Despite all these choices however, the organization definitely chose a stellar show for remastering; a gorgeous portrait of Summer ’99. I just hope, for charity’s sake, that as many people buy the upgrade as would a brand new show.

The expected release date of the download at LivePhish will be April 15th. The expected ship date of the CD from Phish Dry Goods will be May 10th, though pre-orders are being taken now through both sites.

In the past, charitable downloads at LivePhish.com have raised over $100,000 for four non-profits: the Harbor House of New Jersey (The Headphones Jam), the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fund (Katrina Relief) and the American Red Cross (Haiti Relief). Additionally, the Mockingbird Foundation receives funding on an on-going basis from the proceeds at LivePhish.com.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Golgi Apparatus, Back on the Train, Limb By Limb, Free, Roggae, Sparkle, Character Zero

II: 2001 > David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea > Prince Caspian, Fluffhead, The Squirming Coil

E: Jam* > Brian and Robert**, Simple

* w/ Nawang Khechog on horn, ** w/ Nawang Khechog on wooden flute

*****

“Prince Caspian” 7.31.99 II

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Jam of the Day:

2001 > David Bowie” 7.31.99 II

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

3.22.2011 MGB @ Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

3.22.11 (C.LaJaunie)

I: Idea, The Walls of Time, Sugar Shack, Cities, Can’t Stand Still, Heavy Metal > The Spiritual Jam, Crumblin’ Bones, Black Tambourine, Hap-Nappy

II: Horizon Line, The Void*, Cruel World, Got Away, Middle of the Road, Suskind Hotel > La La La > Suskind Hotel

E: Meat

* w/ dance contest

Source: AKG se300b/ck91 > Edirol UA-5 (bm2p+) > iRiver h120

Idea

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*****

3.22.11 - Brooklyn Bowl (C.LaJaunie)

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While They’re At It…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on February 8th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

8.7.2010 Re-master

Phish has been remastering recent shows at a torrid pace, seemingly holding onto their goldmine of archival releases for later down the road. The recent remasters have provided lush upgrades of three standout shows from last summer in Merriweather and the  two final two nights of The Greek. Audio engineer, Fred Kevorkian, has also given his treatment to three shows that wouldn’t have been close to the top of my list in the Alpharetta stand and Deer Creek’s second night—well played shows with significant peaks and valleys. With no idea if the band has further plans to remaster modern era shows, here are three can’t-miss nights from 2009 (in chronological order) that certainly deserve Kevorkian’s aural enhancement.

****

7.31.09 Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado

7.31.09 (Graham Lucas)

In one of the first, truly great performances of this era, Phish had one leg and one show under their belt, and came out swinging at Red Rocks on night two. Though the band opened the show with a potent “Jim,” “Chalk Dust,” “Bathtub” triumvirate and punctuated the first set with a terrorizing “Split” amidst an oncoming monsoon, the everlasting story of this evening came in the second. Served up in three musical suites, Phish annihilated their best set to that point in 3.o. Featuring a flawless segue (“Drowned > Crosseyed”), exploratory jamming that found gold (“Crosseyed”), liquid dance grooves (“Tweezer”), copious risk taking (such as transitioning out of the “Fluffhead’s” peak into “Piper”), and a classy cover to close the set that had debuted at Red Rocks in 1995 (“A Day in the Life), this show had it all. A top shelf effort through and through, and a hallmark show on Phish’s return to greatness.

I: Runaway Jim, Chalkdust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Time Turns Elastic, Lawn Boy, Water in the Sky, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Split Open and Melt

II: Drowned > Crosseyed and Painless > Joy, Tweezer > Backwards Down The Number Line, Fluffhead > Piper > A Day in the Life

E: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer Reprise

****

8.7.09 – The Gorge, George, Washington

8.7.09 The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

You want jams? This show has got ‘em. On their first night back in the Columbia River Gorge in six years, Phish dropped an instant classic. The improvisational peaks of this night have become household jams of this era—the intergalactic “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Light”-turned-calypso, and the monstrous show-closing combo of “Bathtub Gin > Harry Hood.” Throw in a dynamic first set “Stash” and solid daytime versions of “Disease” and “Ocelot,” and you’ve got quite the improvisational smorgasbord. But far more impressive than the quantity of jams (which in this day and age is scare), was the quality of the band’s interplay. On his night Phish was nothing short of majestic. Weaving patient, open-ended tales that could only have sprung from The Gorge’s inspirational surroundings, Phish had their cosmic portal functioning in full force all night long. This show’s delicate jamming would greatly benefit from Kevorkian’s love.

I: Down With Disease, Ocelot, Pebbles and Marbles, Possum, Sleep, Destiny Unbound, Stash, Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Cavern

II: The Moma Dance, Light > Taste, Fluffhead, Joy, Bathtub Gin > Harry Hood

E: Slave to the Traffic Light

****

12.29.09 – American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Phish turned a corner in Miami over last year’s New Year’s Run, and despite any backers of 12.30’s follow up, this is—unquestionably—the show that deserves enhancement. The first set contained a red-hot “Maze,” extended groove-sessions in “Wolfman’s” and “Reba,” a couple bust-outs in “The Connection” and “Access Me,” and a spirited “Divided Sky.” The main plot line of this night, however, would come after setbreak. After the greatest modern-era “Tweezer” bled into a regal “Caspian,” the rest of the set was pure gravy; but Phish never stopped. The playful sequence of “Jibboo > Wilson > Jiboo” went directly into “Heavy Things” before Phish capped the night with the can’t-miss combo of “2001 > Slave.” If the band is pumping out modern remasters, this Florida adventure should certainly be high on the waiting list.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Driver, The Connection, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Reba, Access Me, The Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer > Prince Caspian, Gotta Jibboo > Wilson > Jibboo > Heavy Things, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 8.7.98 I

A smoking Summer ’98 “Ghost” from Raleigh, North Carolina just after the rain cleared—in SBD.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

2.23.1990 Haverford College Dining Center, Haverford, PA

Haverford College, Pennsylvania

This SBD relic from nearly twenty years ago in a college dining hall comes at you as a reader request for Mitch in New York City.

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

I: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, You Enjoy Myself, Possum, Foam, Carolina, Rocky Top, Dinner and a Movie, Ya Mar, Walk Away, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope

II: Golgi Apparatus, Reba, Bathtub Gin, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Tela, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg*, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Highway to Hell

E: Contact, I Didn’t Know, Good Times Bad Times

*w / “Low Rider” jam

Source: SBD

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Monday Morning Minutes

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 17th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.4.09 (Wendy Rogell)

Though it is early in the Phish off-season, some noteworthy pieces of news have already made a splash in early 2011.

*****

# 1 - Last week, Phish made a buzz in the audiophile sector of the fan community by announcing the re-mastering and upcoming release of three shows from the first leg of 2010’s Summer Tour. The shows selected for audio collaborator, Fred Kevorkian’s treatment were Merriweather’s “I Saw It Again” escapade from 6.27, and the Alpharetta stand from July 3rd and 4th. These shows will be available on iTunes beginning tomorrow, January 18, and a limited number of CD versions of these re-masters will be sold in stores and online. When hearing three shows from Leg I were selected, I immediately thought it was an odd decision, since there were so many great shows after July 4th last year. But soon after I had that thought, Hidden Track uncovered the nugget of information I was waiting to hear. On Allmusic.com, Phish’s discography is now completed by releases from 8.6, 8.7, and 8.13.2010 — the second two shows from The Greek Theatre, and Deer Creek’s second show. Giving The Greek its proper due, the next round of remasters will juice up, arguably, the two most creative shows of summer and Phish’s twentieth-ever show from the cornfields. Unsure when this next round will hit the streets, they are, evidently, in the works.

Merriweather Post - 6.26.2010 - (Graham Lucas)

This news continues the trend of Phish releasing remastered audio and video footage of their recent performances. Why, one might ask, would Phish bother selling such recent material? Well, the simple reason is that fans will buy it now. People want mementos, and in this case the ability to re-listen to, their treasured experiences. It’s the same reason behind marketing downloads, posters, magnets, and other merchandise — there is an immediate market for the product. Why not archival releases, one might ask — relics from their heyday? I have no question the classics will come, but that is, likely, the band’s long term plan–especially after retirement. Phish knows that they are sitting on a goldmine of archival material, and when the end of the road does finally come, there will be plenty of golden-oldies to drop on the us. They know that any well-chosen release from 1993-1999 will sell like hotcakes in the fan community, so there is no real incentive to push them out now. We’ll ultimately get more remasters from the wheelhouse of Phish’s first era, but not likely any time soon.

Hampton '09 - ( J.DiGiuseppe)

# 2 – The second buzz-worthy piece of news is the rabid rumor that Phish will return to Hampton Coliseum for a three-night run over Memorial Day weekend, perhaps to kick off Summer Tour. The rumor has leaked from all the reliable sources and Hampton is booked solid for May 27-29. Since getting wind of the rumor, themselves, many hotels have ixnayed their cancellation policies as well as jacked prices considerably. And when rumors develop to this an extent, they most often come to fruition. If so, this will mark Phish’s first visit to The Mothership since their comeback in March of ’09, and they would return as a different band then the tentative quartet of yesteryear. Throw this rumor together with the looser buzz of a July 4th festival in Watkins Glen, New York, and Phish could, perhaps, have a marathon, five-week summer tour. But that sounds totally out of place for this day and age, so your guess is as good as mine. Hampton, however, seems to have to some real weight behind it, so hopefully we’ll be meeting at The Mothership in May.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper” 9.27.2000 II

An impressive rendition of “Piper” from Englewood, Colorado during Phish’s final swing of Fall 2000.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.18.1994 MSU Ausitorium, East Lansing, MI

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

MSU 11.18.94

This show goes out via reader request for Jeff T. who “honestly can’t remember it that well,” but remembers “a smoking “It’s ice” jam and of course the bluegrass section was killer, too.” Enjoy the trip down memory lane, Jeff, hopefully the recording can fill in the missing spaces! (Note: Look out for the fierce second set “Tweezer.)

I: Rift, AC/DC Bag, Julius, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, It’s Ice, Tela, Split Open and Melt, Little Tiny Butter Biscuits*^ , The Old Home Place*, My Long Journey Home*

II: Llama, Bathtub Gin, Lifeboy, Poor Heart, Tweezer > Contact, Possum

E: Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms^, Runaway Jim**

*acoustic with the “Reverend” Jeff Mosier, w/ Reverand on banjo, ^debut

Source: Unknown

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