With nothing but Hampton on my mind, its has been hard to focus from moment to moment over the past twenty-four hours. For today’s post, I figured I’d put together a little five-hour compilation to serve as an audio companion on your travels to southeastern Virginia.  Five hours should cover any domestic flight heading to Norfolk or Newport News, and should cover most people’s drives.  Enjoy the older jams, because soon there will be a lot of new material to focus on!  Below are the tracks with a little blurb about each, and make sure to check out the goings on down at the coliseum below!

For those not going to Hampton, sit tight and enjoy the tunes.  The No Spoilers Downloads are set up, and I’ll have a recap posted each morning.  The summer is right around the corner- remember “we’re all in this together.”


“The Curtain > YEM” 11.27.97, Worcester, MA SBD

I had to kick off the compilation with this slammin’ Worcester opener from ’97, largely because it’s been a popular call to kick off this weekend!  This ’97 incarnation also started a three-night stand of lore, and the “YEM” is pure heat with a distinct “Crosseyed” jam that follows up the initial grooves.

“Stash” 11.13.97, Thomas & Mack, Las Vegas, NV

This was the first big jam of Fall ’97 and it gets lost due to the many all-time greats that were strewn throughout this tour.  Opening the second set, this psychedelic trek spanned the spectrum of Phish from evil and ambient to blissful and melodic.  This is a true monster that reaches the depths uncharted.

“Reba” 12.11.95, Cumberland Co. Civic Center, Portland ME

This first set version carries a quick pace through the composed section and then plunges into the sparkling lagoon that is the “Reba” jam.  Trey and Mike worked symbiotically throughout this section of improv, as Phish sported their polished armor of December ’95.

“Bathtub Gin” 7.8.98, Zeleste, Barcelona SBD

The “Gin” was the second song of the Barcelona stand during Europe ’98.  Amidst a fortnight of standout Phish, this “Gin” brought the fans on tour to a cathartic peak with its cascading melodies and extended improv.  This is one of the more triumphant renditions out there as the whole band was fully engaged, embarking on their final European stand.

“Runaway Jim > Free” 7.18.99 Oswego, NY

Taking the road less traveled, this “Jim” careened off into a funk escapade that fit the summer afternoon just right.  Following the long passage of dance grooves, Phish segued perfectly into a thick, festival-sized “Free.”  This was one of the certain highlights of the weekend.

“Tweezer” 6.14.95, Mud Island Amp, Memphis, TN

In the middle of the Summer ’95, the most psychedelic and out-there music Phish ever played, they were dropping massive, dark, abstract jams nightly; this “Tweezer” was one of them.  Clocking in at fifty minutes, this is one of the most experimental “Tweezers” ever played, and in my opinion, one of best. The band works through an entire jam, and then essentially restarts the improv with the original melody.  If you’re driving to Hampton locally, this “Tweezer” is all you’ll need!

“Slave to the Traffic Light” 10.6.95 , The Orpheum, Vancouver, BC

This early-Fall ’95 “Slave” builds amazingly patiently, oozing the spirit of the great northwest.  Fishman gets quite creative behind the kit as he backs the mid-tempo flow of his mates, giving this “Slave” a unique feel and pushing the band’s further.  Trey finally takes center stage and brings this set closer to the top.

“Down With Disease” 6.15.00, Big Cat, Osaka, JP


A dark-horse selection due to all the great music than came from the Far East in 2000, this “Disease” has always been a personal favorite.  The jam moves through the “Disease” section, a “Crosseyed-esque” section, into some demented and very different territory.  A cross between Phish-tronica and an eerie theme to a spooky nightmare, this jam reached places that the band had never gotten to before.

“Antelope” 8.12.1996, Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN

Deer Creek and “Antelopes” just go together.  Maybe it’s a play off the venue’s name, or maybe it’s not, but the band always seems to drop heavy “Antelopes” in the cornfields.  This 1996 version was a centerpiece of the second set on this first night of two.  The band communicated proficiently throughout this jam, building on each other’s musical phrases and ideas.  This blistering version was one of the highlights of the summer, let alone the weekend.

“Harry Hood > Suzy Greenberg” 11.16.96, Omaha, NE

The Omaha “Hood.”  One of the most intense pieces of music that emerged from Fall ’96, this version came in the middle of a bizarre second set following “Kung” w/ The Vibration  of Life > “Catapult” >  a darker than usual “Axilla.”  This is an insane “Hood” where the band is glued together, moving at a mile a minute, when Trey hits a note and holds it- for three straight minutes!- and the band completely annihilates the jam beneath him.  Some of the most dramatic Phish in history, this one is a keeper.  The energy crashes into the ever-playful “Suzy Greenberg.”

“Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug” 11.22.97, Hampton, VA

No compilation made for Hampton would be complete without a little music from the Phish mecca.  This colossal opening “Mike’s Groove” opened the defining night of the venue’s history.  Boasting a thick funk jam, with foreshadows of “Black-Eyed Katy”, this Mike’s took a rhythmic journey before descending into the fiery pits.  The Weekapaug jam is just as creative, and when all was said and done, this was only the beginning.

“2001” 8.16.98, The Lemonwheel, Limestone, ME

This massive version brought down the proverbial house as the improvisational focus of an otherwise thin last set to the ‘Wheel.  This twenty-minute jaunt showcased the chunky, bass-heavy grooves that dominated Summer ’98.  Following up the Great Went’s monster, this version illustrated how tight the band had grown in just one year.





Mini-Mothership in the Making 3.3.09

Forgive the tabloid nature of this report, but things are happening down at Hampton.  Not only has the band been sighted, but the band’s artistic director, Russ Bennett, who was integral in the design and layout of all their festivals, is on the scene.   It seems that the band is adding some extra flair to their comeback weekend, creating a mini art installation of The Mothership in front of the venue, as well as some other pieces!  Bennett, and those ubiquitous red trucks, were spotted at Lowe’s yesterday, before a mini-coliseum began to take shape in the afternoon.  One report from Phish Thoughts reader, Clay, cited a worker who said it be a part of a “holding area” to prevent gate crashing, while people enter the venue a certain number at a time.  Who knows what else might sprout up, as the band seems to be going out of their way to make this weekend more than your normal Phish experience!  Hampton Festival ’09, anyone?  The weather is supposed to range from the mid to upper 60’s.  Two more days!! Photos thanks to bailedwiththehay

Mini-Mothership in the Making 3.3.09
Russ Bennett @ Lowe’s (3.3)



If you’re not holding out for the No Spoilers thing, which you obviously should, follow “mrminer” on Twitter for instant setlist updates throughout the weekend!!  One way or another, Phish Thoughts has you covered!  Thanks to Cason Gaither for the help! You can also follow all Phish related Tweets- find out how here!



10.2.99 Target Center, Minneapolis, MN < LINK

10.2.99 Target Center, Minneapolis, MN <  TORRENT LINK

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

This one comes as an “instant reader request,” as it was only asked for yesterday.  Ask, and ye shall receive. (And if I forget, ask again!) This is one of the standout shows of Fall ’99, boasting a second set of pure improvisation.  The “Tweezer” and the “Piper” are particularly good.  The first set carried some favorites as well, as “Quinn the Eskimo” popped up as well as a “Split” and a “Wolfman’s,” following the always-welcomed “Llama” opener.

I:  Llama, Wolfman’s Brother, Punch You in the Eye, Quinn the Eskimo, Poor Heart, Roggae, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil > Loving Cup

II: Tweezer > On Your Way Down, Piper, You Enjoy Myself > Frankenstein, Waste

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Tweezer Reprise

Source: unknown

With nothing but Hampton on my mind, its has been hard to focus from moment to moment over the past twenty-four hours. For today’s post, I figured I’d put together a little five-hour compilation to serve as an audio companion on your travels to southeastern Virginia.  Five hours should cover any domestic flight heading to …

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