Hey, Remaster This!

In 2001, during Phish’s first hiatus, the organization devised a long-overdue revenue stream by releasing entire remastered shows in 3-4 disc packages.  They would call the series “LIVE PHISH,” and it would highlight stellar shows from the band’s career.  While most of the shows chosen are certainly quality choices, I have often wondered why other gems were left out.  While it is difficult to argue against any of the choices (except 7.8.00 Alpine?), a strong case can be made for some other shows to be remastered and sold.  Here are a few.  (You can download each by clicking the link.)

12.6.97 The Palace, Auburn Hills, MI < LINK

Fall '97

Fall '97

To this day, I have no idea why this show has not been remastered and released.  Someone needs to call Phish headquarters and inform them that they missed the boat with this one.  Arguably the best start to finish show of Phish’s beloved Fall ’97 tour, this show is straight fire.  With some of the most adventurous and creative improv of the fall, this show vaulted into my top five Phish experiences ever before I had caught my breath after the show.  Both sets came correct on this night, with set two being one of the outright highlights of post-1996 Phish.

The first set seemed like it started in reverse, opening with the patented set closers, Golgi and Antelope.  As the Antelope dropped, the band entered into their Fall ’97 dance grooves, and the show was off and running.  A well improvised “Bathtub Gin” made way for a creative segue into “Foam,” a relative rarity at this point.  The end of the set brought a smoking “Maze” along with some non-jammed Phish classics.

Jamie Huntsman

photo: Jamie Huntsman

The second set was another story all together.  Opening with one of the best Tweezers ever played, the band sat in some dinosaur funk before Trey opened up the universe with one lick of his guitar.  (If you know this jam, you know that lick.)  The band progresses into some of the greatest playing you’ll ever hear, locked-in and launched for the spiritual realm.  After this psychedelic space travel wound down, the band transitioned into the furious groove-based jamming of “Izabella.”  Without stopping once, the band played the entire set weaving one song into the next.  When they were done, everyone in the building  knew that was IT.  This is a definitive piece of Phish history, and no soundboard has ever leaked.   I’m still waiting for this one to pop up in Pollack-covered silver case.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Run Like an Antelope, Train Song, Bathtub Gin > Foam, Sample in a Jar, Fee, Maze, Cavern

II: Tweezer > Izabella > Twist  > Piper  > Sleeping Monkey  > Tweezer Reprise

E: Rocky Top (single song downloads, Paul’s rmstr)

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6.30.98 Den Gra Hal, Christiana, Copenhagen < LINK

In a three-hour welcome to Europe’s Summer ’98 tour, this show kicked off the two week party in proper fashion.  Taking place in a small barn in Scandinavia under a purple night sky, Phish tore apart this venue for three nights straight.  This first show, however, had no slow points from the opening “Limb By Limb” to the closing “Mike’s Groove.”

Den Gra Hal, 6.30.98

Den Gra Hal, 6.30.98

This special show marked the debut of “Moma Dance,” “Roggae,” “Brain & Robert” and the reworked Ghost, and was infused with magnificent improv around every corner.  Opening with Limb, Ghost, the band wasted no time in jumping into some full-on improvisation.  (Coming off the Island Run, one can understand the band’s desire!)  Soon to follow was the first set combo of “Tube,” “Stash > Cities.”  Okay,  the band meant clearly business here!  Carrying on for considerably longer than usual, this initial frame also included a “Guyute,” “Funky Bitch,” and a closing Bowie.  The explosion of the first set had the crowd buzzing as they drifted outside into the cool Copenhagen summer night.

The second set continued in the pattern of the first- lots of big jams!  They came out with the debut of “Moma Dance,” reworked after the surreal 12.30.97 encore, complete with instructions on how to do the Moma “dance.”  After tearing through the third ever Birds, the band sat into a impressive segment of music that read,”Wolfman’s > Frankie Sez > Antelope.”  Combining divergent styles of  precise music, this portion flowed quite well, with standout versions as bookends.  After continuing with “Yamar,” “Ha Ha Ha,”  the band ripped into a club-grooving rendition of “Mike’s Song.”  A well-paced version that allowed all band members to shine in the musical space, this Mike’s provided a fierce highlight at the end of a superb evening. (Obviously the 7.1.98 “Tweezer >2001” would be the filler on this release!)

I: Limb by Limb, Ghost*, Water in the Sky*, Bouncing Around the Room, Tube, Stash  > Cities, Roggae**, Guyute, Beauty of my Dreams, Funky Bitch, Train Song, David Bowie

II: The Moma Dance**, Birds of a Feather, Wolfman’s Brother  > Frankie Says >  Run Like an Antelope, Lawn Boy, Ya Mar, Ha Ha Ha, Mike’s Song > Swept Away > Steep, Weekapaug Groove

E: Brian and Robert**

*rearranged  **debut

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12.7.95 Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY < LINK

From the storied month of December ’95, the only Live Phish release, excluding New Year’s, is Binghamton.  While the “Halley’s > NICU” jam highlights the show, with the support of the somewhat forced “Timber > Tweezer > Timber,” there are a slew of shows from this month that leave this one in the dust.  One such show, often overlooked due to its proximity to Albany’s 12.9 edition, is 12.7.95 at the Niagara Falls Convention Center.

1995-12-07gnWith top ten versions of “Split Open and Melt,” “Reba,” and “Mike’s Song,” this show is chock full of maniacally tight late ’95 jamming.  One of the best-ever Split Opens began the second half, and set the course of dizzying improv that would follow.  Needing a breather directly after the opener, a stop in “Strange Design” led into a developing version of “Taste (That Surrounds).”  The connected playing in the Split flowed right into this jam, providing one of the most inspiring 1995 renditions.  Tapped in and not letting up, the band took an upturn to bliss with a stirring and quickly-paced “Reba.”  Absolutely firing from note one, this jam plainly illustrates why December ’95 is such a revered month in Phish history.  And then a thirty-minute “Mike’s > Weekapaug” topped things off in perfect fashion.  The urgent and demonic textures of the twenty-minute Mike’s lifted the venue to an psychedelic peak.  Favoring the more improvisational second jam that was scrapped in later years, the band creatively sculpted a masterful Mike’s that outshines many of the more popular versions from this month.   Skipping any interlude and jamming directly into Weekapaug, the band delivered the audience a superbly executed surprise segue to end the night.

All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the first set.  The two pairings of “The Curtain > AC / DC Bag,” and “Demand > Rift” provided some alternative spice to the opening frame before they delved into a mid-set Slave and the then-rare “Guyute.”  Bursting with energy and chops throughout the night, this one is a deserving candidate for the treatment of Fred Kevorkian (the engineer who remasters these releases.)

I: The Old Home Place, The Curtain > AC/DC Bag, Demand, Rift, Slave to the Traffic Light, Guyute, Bouncing Around the Room, Possum, Hello My Baby

II: Split Open and Melt, Strange Design, Fog That Surrounds, Reba, Julius, Sleeping Monkey, Sparkle, Mike’s Song > Weekapaug Groove, Amazing Grace

E: Uncle Pen

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12.9.94 Mesa Amphitheatre, Mesa AZ < LINK

The Nights Before Mesa

The Nights Before Mesa

This is a show that needs to be released for three reasons, “Antelope,” “Tweezer,” and “YEM.”  The second to last show in a marathon Fall ’94 saw the band hitting on all cylinders on their 45th show.  While the entire night was strewn with typical late-’94 shredding, these three aforementioned versions stick out like an elephant in a strawberry patch.  Easily one of the most intense and definitive Antelope’s ever played, this fifteen minutes of fury closed the opening set on as high of a note as possible.

In a fall of redonkulous “Tweezer”s, only a week after the famous Salem Armory version that peaked with a “Norweigan Wood” jam, Phish set out to one up themselves.  Early in the this “Tweezer” jam, Trey initiated a barely coherent chant that when listened to closely repeats, “Let’s say good bye to Salem!”  He made no bones about recognizing the monstrosity of Salem’s version as well as the band’s desire to go even deeper this time around.  The result is a near half-hour epic exploration into the depths of Phish’s imagination, peaking with a “Slave jam.”  This version is Phishiness in its purest form, progressing through many divergent stages of improv to reach salvation.

I: Llama, Foam, Guyute, Sparkle > I Didn’t Know, It’s Ice > If I Could > Run Like an Antelope

II: Wilson > Poor Heart > Tweezer* > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Julius > Big Ball Jam, Cracklin’ Rosie, You Enjoy Myself > Suzy Greenberg

E: I’m Blue I’m Lonesome**, Foreplay**-> Long Time**, Tweezer Reprise

*With “Slave to the Traffic Light” jam. **Acoustic    (not the greatest source, but worth it!)\
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Honorable Mention

10.22.95 Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL

5.22.00 Radio City

5.22.00 Radio City

An outstanding Fall ’95 show that featured an incredibly fluid second set.  A true psychedelic journey.  Extended jam sessions came in “Possum > Catapult,” “Tweezer” > Makisupa, and a late set Slave.

I: AC/DC Bag, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, The Sloth, Runaway Jim, Weigh, NICU, Fast Enough for You, It’s Ice, Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, Stash

II: Golgi Apparatus, Possum > Catapult, The Curtain > Tweezer > Makisupa Policeman > Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Life on Mars?, Uncle Pen, Slave to the Traffic Light > Cavern

E: Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

11.15.96 Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO.

This was a classic along the path of Fall ’96.  The second set was “brought to you by the letter ‘M’ and the number 420,” Trey joked before the Weekapaug.  Set two would become known as “The M Set,” as every song featured a prominent M in the title, creating a Phishy twist on a quality night.  A surprise appearance by John Popper as “the dirty old man” in the debut of  “Mean Mr. Mustard,” and on harmonica for Weekapaug added some zest to the end of the night.  A great Melt and Mike’s highlight the set, as well as the cool opening combo of “Makisupa  > Maze.”

I: Wilson, The Divided Sky, Bouncing Around the Room, Character Zero, Punch You in the Eye, Prince Caspian, Ginseng Sullivan, Train Song, Chalk Dust Torture, Taste, Cavern

II: Makisupa Policeman > Maze, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Split Open and Melt, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, My Mind’s Got a Mind of it’s Own, Mike’s Song, Sleeping Monkey, Mean Mr. Mustard*, Weekapaug Groove#

E: Funky Bitch#

*First time played;Trey announced that the show was brought to you by the letter “M” and the number “420”.  #With John Popper on harmonica

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What shows do YOU think should be released on LIVE PHISH? Respond in Comments below!

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36 Responses to “Hey, Remaster This!”

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  1. Chris Says:

    so glad to see the love for the Mesa show. I was equally blown away, on the final outdoor show of the year. I’d love to know how many people where there, cuz it sure didn’t seem like much. It was a perfectly clear night, with temps in the low 70s. The first set If I Could and Foam are spectacular as well. Definitely a sleeper that I’d love to get a better version of

  2. Andrew Says:

    12.30.93, 12.11.95, 11.30.97… Any December ’95 or Fall ’97 would be fine by me. Great post, thanks for the Mesa link.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Mr.Miner,

    Other then the fact that they would all be 6 to 10 CD sets, why hasn’t live Phish relased any of the festivals? also what about 11/2/98?

    ~Slainte~!

  4. paul hannon Says:

    a whole NYE run would be cool as a release
    ex.Phish MSG
    12/28-12/31/98

  5. bhizzle Says:

    I thought I read a recent article that band members selected what shows would be released. In particular, Mike selecting Live Phish releases 17 – 20. Anyone remember seeing/reading this?

  6. Johnny Says:

    12/28/95 Worcester. Sick!

  7. Los Says:

    My vote is for hampton ’97…both nites…

  8. AbePhroman Says:

    Yeah I have a few of the releases, but sometimes I don’t feel like spending the cash and listen to AUDs. Overall, I like the digital .flac downloads. I don’t use cds much except for trading.

  9. Jacob Says:

    I like the NYE ‘ 98 run call. That would be cool.

    I love the livephish.com idea, and the fact that you can have tasty SBS in your hands in two days. Having said that, it puts awesome shows and decent shows kind of in the same league.

    I would love to see something done with the Miami ’03 New Years’ run. Those 4 shows are AMAZING.

  10. Jeff Says:

    I second 12/28/95 – also 7/25/99 would be nice

    The Letter M show was a blast! I will never understand why they released 7/08/00 – Alpine?? I was there, not bad, but as a livephish release? no way.

  11. Justombia Says:

    Anything from Dec. 95, I listened to 12/2 a few days ago and my god that Tweezer is stunning. Due to the previous not being a live release I doubt this will happen. I’d also love to see some late fall 96, Europe 97, and August 93.

  12. thephunk Says:

    July 3rd and Forth 1999!

  13. Matso Says:

    I would prefer some live releases like A Live One, 12/31/95 and 3/1/97 Slip Stich and Pass which are properly mixed live recordings. I’m not a huge fan of the canned SBD sound, as clear as it is, and never bothered to get a lot of the Live Phish that I already had in a decent daud. I just prefer having a bit of the room in the recording. The Live Phish recordings could breathe a bit more.

    In this manner, any of the following: Amsterdam Summer 97, Hampton 97 (although those mixes you had up a few weeks ago are pretty stellar and I doubt there’s much to gain on them), 7/2/95, 2/26 or 2/28/03 (yes, I know the SBDs are great, but again, I feel like that Ghost as well as the Tweezer could use a little more atmosphere).

    I’ve been thinking recently that the band should release all of Big Cypress for Christmas next year (10 year anniversary), with booklet, cool packaging, etc. Now that’s a box set I’d happily part with a fair chunk of change for.

  14. Nonoyolker Says:

    Clifford Ball would make a heck of a release. Also, 6/17/94 in WI (Run OJ!!!), 7/1/95 (Hood/SOAM!), 7/13/99 (Halley’s/Reba), 11/19/97 (Bathtub/2001) and NYE ’98 (Mike’s!/Ghost). Just one dude’s opinion.
    Anyone know of any future dvd releases in the pipeline? Walnut Creek has been in the player for months now. Need a re-up.
    Good call out on the Tweezer from New Haven ’95. I listened to that the other day and had to sit down for a bit.
    Big ups to the site, THANK YOU MR. MINER!
    Happy 25th to the boys, let’s get v3.0 under way!

  15. gills Says:

    hell yes Jacob my vote goes to the Miami new years run too. thoses dates are some of the best post hiatus phish ever. if they can bring it like that in 09 tickets will be far and few between.. Think those are available from livephish.com though….. maybe
    MIAMI 03 check it out Miami + Phish = Heaven on earth

  16. George Says:

    Maybe you had to be there, but the 7.8.00 Alpine show was a highlight for me. From the very opening of “Punch”, you new it was going to be an great night. Maybe it was just an ordinary set list with no surprises, and there were no long exploratory jams, but the boys were _on_ that night. Their playing was solid, and you could really feel the energy flowing back and forth between the band and the crowd.

    I was glad that show was included in the first round of the Live Phish series, and I still love listening to it to this day.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ oh, i was there. It was fine, but if you’re gonna remaster and release 20 Phish shows from their career, this is not in the top 300.

  18. Brad Says:

    NYE Run 1992

    Also I agree with Jeff 7.25.99 was a sick show.

  19. Al Says:

    Next LIVEPHISH releases should be: 12/06/97 Auburn, 12/09/97 Bryce, 11/22/97 Hampton, 12/28/97 Landover, 12/30/97 MSG, 10/18/96 Pittsburgh, 11/06/96 Knoxville, 11/09/96 Auburn, 11/19/96 Kansas, 11/11/95 Fox, NYE 97 and NYE 98, 07/23/97 Atlanta, 07/21/97 Virginia, 12/09/95 Albany, Cypress. But as someone said above. The LIVEPHISH Soundboards need a little more air to breathe – give more audience mics to the mix to feel the venue vibe!!

  20. 007 Says:

    Without question Atlanta The Fox 11-11-1995 !
    Phish energy at its very very best !

  21. Los Says:

    disagree, please no crowd sounds! keeo them crisp…

  22. Mathew Says:

    I would like them to do a lot more videos on livephish.com. everyone has a bunch of shows but the a lot of bootleg dvds are not good quality give me more shows like wallnut creek.

  23. TC Says:

    12.6.97 2nd Set = Best set of all time. I would sign a petition vowing never to buy another Livephish release until they let this gem go. I do understand why they would not want to do so as it would ruin ever other Twist released to date.

  24. Cory Says:

    Weird coincidence.. today livephish.com announced the release of 12.30.97

    Definitely a good choice

  25. Mitch Says:

    Alpine release isnt getting much love here but I’ll just say it was my first Live Phish release purchase and I still dig it today. Like you all said, it’s not their best but it’s a great show all the way through.

    That being said, I’m a SBD snob (grew up on AUDs, so I get the whole crowd noise aspect) but I prefer crispy SBD. just my 2 cents.

    I vote for a full festy release soon. Give me a 6-10 disc box set.

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