After playing 84 songs over six never-ending sets at Hampton’s last month, Phish still managed to leave a few classic pieces untouched. With only three shows, there was no doubt that some songs would have to be left off the guest list, with their finger in the air. But when sets turned into mini-shows, and the evenings stretched to four hours, it seemed that no stone would be left unturned. As the band tore into most of their classic old-school repertoire, it seemed that we would hear all of the significant snippets from Phish history. Yet upon further review, we missed a couple. And given the vibe of the weekend, it is hard to believe that these, somehow, missed the cut.
1. “The Lizards”
The gateway to Gamehendge, “Lizards” is a hallmark of early Phish composition. One of the most-loved non-improvisational pieces in the band’s catalog, “Lizards” embodies the Phishy spirit and was, similarly, the gateway to the world of Phish for many a fan. Its absence within the three-show weekend wasn’t noticeable at the time, yet unfathomable in retrospect. Trey’s composed “If I Were a Dog” solo in the second half of “Lizards” is one of the most sacred moments of Phish music, and one we will be sure to hear this summer.
One of the most popular set closers in the band’s history, “Cavern” could have also slid anywhere within those two-hour first sets. “Cavern” was one of the feel-good arrivals of a Phish show, and often the song that punctuated that special set. Its funky rhythms always gave you one last song to rage before the encore. Choosing many less prominent songs over this night-time mission, Phish left “Cavern” to close a set this summer- coming soon to an amphitheatre near you.
3. “The Mango Song”
In a weekend in which Phish showcased their compositional chops on their most unique pieces, “Mango” was curiously absent. Debuted in ’89, this happy genre-defying song was played consistently through the years if not often. Its relative rarity built it into a crowd favorite, and it would seem to have fit the bill for Hampton just right. Carrying a distinctly summertime vibe, perhaps they decided to save it for the warmer months, just like last Friday’s Phish Thoughts’ feature song, “Ya Mar.”
4. “Ya Mar”
A song that dates back to Phish’s days of college, this adopted cover was a staple of summer Phish. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it appear early in the first show at Jones Beach, welcoming the community back to the summer circuit. Its calypso rhythms and island vibe would fit nicely along the water at Wantaugh, NY for the first summer show since ’04.
In any three-day exploration of old-school Phish, one would expect to hear this short and fiery Gamehendge reference. Embodying the tightness and precision that band has vowed to reconnect with, “Llama” would have been musically congruent with the weekend’s goal. You would imagine that this one won’t stay in hiding for long, and when it does return, expect it to jump of the stage with a renewed gusto.
Sure, they could never have fit them all into three shows, but after brainstorming which songs were left off the list, these were the non-selections that stood out the most. All fixtures the Phish’s early catalog, each holds a distinct and special place in the band’s history. Applying only trivial significance into these omissions, it is interesting to think back at all those hours of Phish and realize that we never heard these five.
ADDENDUM: “Golgi” and “Fee”
After waking up this morning and reading through the comments, I realized somehow left out “Fee” and “Golgi”- two of the songs that should most definitely be on this list before “Mango” and “Yamar.” These omissions are directly related to the lack of sleep I got all weekend and the tired state in which I wrote this post. These classics of the Phish catalog were two of the more surprising omissions given their history and popularity amongst all levels of fans. (How could they not play “Golgi” after that ticket fiasco!?)
Other significant older pieces that were left outside of Hampton looking in were: “The Sloth,” “McGrupp,” “Lifeboy,” “Mound,” and “Julius.”
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
12.31.91 Worcester Memorial Auditorium, MA SBD < TORRENT LINK
Sticking with the old-school theme of the day, here is a SBD copy of the 1991 New Year’s Eve show. This would be the final New Year’s without some sort of additional spectacle. Just lots of crisp, old-school jamming. This one contains many a Phish classic.
I: Possum, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Lizards, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Esther > Llama, Golgi Apparatus
II: Brother, Bouncing Around the Room > Buried Alive > Auld Lang Syne, Runaway Jim, The Landlady, Reba, Cavern, My Sweet One, Run Like an Antelope
III: Wilson > The Squirming Coil, Tweezer > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove**
E: Lawn Boy, Rocky Top, Tweezer Reprise