Jamming With The Aquarium

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

If you have been reading this site for a while, you’ve probably come to know how I feel about guests stepping onstage with Phish- more often than not it doesn’t really work.  Most of the time the improv is diluted by the band trying to cater to their guest by laying back musically; and other times they just don’t gel.  Yet there have been those special times when guests have not only fit in with Phish, but have pushed them and made the music better.  On this date sixteen years ago at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY, long-time friends and touring cohorts, The Aquarium Rescue Unit, stepped on stage with Phish during “You Enjoy Myself,” resulting in the craziest, and one of the best, guest sit-ins of Phish’s career.

Aquarium Rescue Unit

The Aquarium Rescue Unit

A large part of the reason that these two bands gelled so well on stage, tapping into the same wacky psychedelic energy, was that they had a close friendship.  In the early ’90s, as both bands were trying to extend their fanbase into each other’s region of the country, Phish would open for ARU in the South, while they would return the favor and invite ARU to open for them in the Northeast.  As the two bands shared bills around the country, they developed a friendship and an affinity for each other, sharing an eccentric sense of humor.  In addition, the two bands were founding members of the H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992, an acronym for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere.  Inspired by Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza the year before, they sought to put a foot forward for the second wave of the “jam” scene.

Oteil Burbridge

Oteil Burbridge

Another reason why this guest spot worked out so well was the sheer musicianship of Col. Bruce Hampton’s crew.  Combine Phish with Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, and Jeff Sipe, and you had some serious chops on stage.  Subtract sixteen years from today, and you had a youthful, zany energy behind the collaboration, driving it at a breakneck pace in very exploratory directions.  This is the Phish of old, with like-minded friends, absolutely tearing shit apart.


May 1993 (A.Dines)

With several added layers to the jam, members of both bands took liberty to improvise vocally, as well as musically, lending a bizarre psychedelia to much of the jam.  All the musicians onstage, while having a blast, were simultaneously taking their improvisation incredibly seriously, creating some insane music.  Page absolutely slaughtered it as the lone piano player on stage, leading some of the early parts of the jam.  Gordon and Oteil, two of the best bass players on the planet, were crushing it, while there was incredibly dynamic interplay between Trey and Jimmy Herring.  Jeff Sipe added some tight percussive tabla rhythms to Fish’s beat, and took over the drums as Fish moved to vacuum for a bit.  Following the Electrolux-centric section, the groove resurfaced as a quasi-ska beat, but almost immediately moved out of it as Fish hopped back onto the kit and Trey began to get loose.  If the madness of all these virtuoso musicians wasn’t enough, this jam also featured The Dude of Life carrying on with his antics and “singing” some nonsensical lyrics.

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

Before coming to an end, the improv turned the way of jazzy textures with some straight up scatting over top.  Touching on so many different musical feels, all with incredible coherency, this was one guest spot that certainly did not disappoint, and goes down in history as one of the most outrageous “YEMs” ever played.


LISTEN to the 5.5.93 “YEM” NOW! ^ LINK (Roll over, click play)




5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < TORRENT LINK

The Palace, Albany, NY

The Palace, Albany, NY

Although this is a repost from months ago, I figured it would be appropriate given today’s sixteen year anniversary of the show.  Beyond the absurd “YEM,” this show is filled with oddities, including “My Friend > Manteca > My Friend,” and “Cavern > Take the ‘A’ Train > Cavern.”  If you didn’t grab it last time it was posted, grab this SBD recording of a great show.

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*25 min jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

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120 Responses to “Jamming With The Aquarium”

  1. Uberchef Says:

    Yo, listening to 5-5-93 now…what a funny version of Yamar! Trey introduces the song as going out to his girlfriend Sue, then he steps up and does the big calypso scream usually handled by Mike. Trey’s scream is hilarious and unintelligable…pretty lame…instead of coming in to rescue him, Mike and Fish leave him up there to sweat it out. The silence post scream is palpable. Check it 🙂

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @ wanderin and anyone else interested – email me at tyler23rh at comcast dot net

    I’m basically cleaning up my own listening mixes which are organized by era: 76-78, 73-74, 1968, 1969, etc.

    If you are already a Dead collector you probably have half this material at least, but if you don’t have much or are having trouble sorting through the huge catalog available, these might help you get started. If nothing else they should give you a pretty accurate picture of what the different eras sound like compared to each other.

  3. guyforget Says:

    ^Uber, that show is great. My favorite part of the show is the Poor Heart souncheck…

  4. SOAM Says:

    Forget-I meant 6-9-91 Richfield-the night witht Tom Thumb’s and the best ever So many Roads-6-6-92 was a decent first set

  5. hairy pood Says:

    dude of life section after vacuum heavy section is great.

    “busy catchin suntans from our microwaves”

    “spikes…. got spikes on my tires so i get better traction, mad as a hatter but i’m ready for action”

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    @SOAM try again, 6.9.91 was my birthday @ they played a nice long Reuben and Cerise that night – unfortunately the boards of that show lack JG in the mix, kind of a fatal flaw

    you mean 9.6? or being european, dates wise?

    I don’t see a So Many Roads on that 9.6 setlist – if you figure out which one you mean let me know – I love that song and am looking for more great versions

  7. whole tour! Says:

    10.01.94 boston……best ever ‘so many roads’

    to HEAL my soul…

  8. SOAM Says:

    09-06-91 Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Oh. (Fri)
    1: Stranger, Bertha, Wang Dang Doodle, Peggy-O, Tom Thumb Blues, All Over Now, Bird Song
    2: Victim> Crazy Fingers> Playin> Terrapin> Drumz> Dark Star Jam> Watchtower> Stella Blue> Around E: Heaven’s Door

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    its funny to me how this YEM and the Flecktones one have a kind of similar berserk feel to them, or at least I think so – just a gonzo attack that somehow is coherent when it should fly into bits

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    still not seeing SMR ;o) sweet setlist tho

  11. SOAM Says:

    08-92 Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Oh. (Mon)
    1: Stranger, Loser, Rooster, So Many Roads, Tom Thumb Blues, B. T. Wind, Don’t Ease
    2: China Cat> I Know You Rider> Crazy Fingers> Corinna> Mind Left Body Jam> Drumz> Dark Star> Last Time> Stella Blue> Sugar Magnolia E: U. S. Blues
    last “Mind Left Body Jam”: 03-24-90 [171] – “Dark Star” is first verse only

    This is the show-sorry for the confusion

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    Look on JamBase… someone brought a goat to the Dead show last night in Chicago. There is a picture of it! No shit a goat!

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    @El Dude – that’s Bobby, yo – but with the beard its understandable mistake

  14. EL Duderino Says:


  15. SOAM Says:

    What is the best way to beat a urine test for THC?


  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    @SOAM how soon?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I love the fact that the guy with the goat is wearing a shirt with a picture of the goat on it

    it’s all about the goat – we get it, dude

  18. snigglebeach Says:

    The guy with the goat looks like leader of the Sons of Anarchy

  19. SOAM Says:

    Probably 2 weeks or so-chronic smoker here

  20. guyforget Says:

    ^^ stop smoking grass!!! since that’s not a viable option, i’ll have to say you’re going to have to get creative! lots of water and something from GNC, golden seal i believe is the name..

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    if you can’t stop smoking weed the only viable option is to fake someone else’s pee in thru one of those fake johnsons or whatever. I’ve never heard of a heavy smoker beating a test straight up without a little detox…?

    But 2 weeks of no toking + heavy water + golden seal and you may be fine, from what I hear? 3 weeks is supposed to be better.

  22. Mr. Icculus Says:

    buy the urinenater its a fake coke with a reserve you fill with real clean piss and it keeps it heated to your body temp also.

  23. SOAM Says:

    going on 3 days but want to do all I can-There is a large industry-many products want to know which is best-thanks

  24. guyforget Says:

    ask the dudes at gnc or vitamin shoppe. they usually know and hear the question alot!

  25. guyforget Says:

    they don’t let you bring a coke can in with you!!!!!!

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