6.6.09 (D.Vann)

Song combinations and segues can make Phish sets infinitely more exciting, while opening up universes of improvisational possibility.  When an open ended jam finally arrives at a landing point which, itself, is another launch pad, things can get dirty.  We all go to Phish shows for different reasons, but if you’re into the psychedelic dance party aspect of things, there is no more lethal of a one-two punch than “Tweezer > 2001.”  Merging one of their most exploratory jams and a subsequent clinic in groove,  you’ve got yourself a chunky half hour of Phish.

This vigorous adventure has only been traveled three times in the band’s history- and interestingly, twice at Deer Creek.  However, the first-and mother- of all “Tweezer >2001s” hails from Christiania, Copenhagen, and was born on 7.1.98 in a dank stone barn called Den Gra Hal.  Aside from June’s Noblesville excursion- one of the mightiest segments of the tour- the only other time that Phish brought the two epics together was on the first night of three in the cornfields during the summer of ’03.  Read about, and listen to, all three below.


Den Gra Hal, Summer ’98

7.1.98 Christiana, Copenhagen

This forty-minute monster that dominated the show’s second set has always lived large in Phish lore.  Taking the intimate Scandinavian crowd on a journey like never before, Phish carefully crafted one of the quintessential highlights of the late ’90s.  Built in 1891 for the Danish military, and converted into a concert hall by hippies that created Christiania Freetown in the 1970s, Den Gra Hal made a surreal room for this trip.  To no more than a thousand fans, Phish masterfully played one of the definitive improvisational segments of 1998.  The band flowed through endless sections of collaborative rhythmic playing, as Trey switched back and forth from lead to rhythm and Page led the jam as much as anyone.  Mike and Fish owned the bottom end- Summer ’98 style.

Totally locked and shredding one of the hottest dance parties ever thrown, Phish took this “Tweezer” on an extensive ride through galaxies of groove, finally settling into a more mellow portion of music.  From here the band waded into minutes of beautifully murky and quieter music that built tremendous musical tension, only to be unleashed by Fishman’s snare hit.  Confined within a small room, this “2001″ took on a whole different character than its larger-than-life brethren.  Featuring far more notes with less space to travel, Trey, Mike and Page were cemented together, bouncing their funked-out musings off of each others’.  The interplay between Page and Trey was particularly sublime. Laid back, yet simultaneously driving, this version is certainly up there on any “best of” list.  Fishman just crushes the entire segment holding it down like only he can.  Honestly, this was one of my top Phish experiences ever.

LISTEN TO 7.1.98 “TWEEZER > 2001″ NOW!


7.21.03 Deer Creek, IN

Deer Creek ’03

For five years, the legend of “Tweezer > 2001″ grew with every spin of those DATs.  With so few people there having actually bore witness, it became almost a piece of Phish mythology.  Through the many tours the band played, never again did this combination pop up- until after their hiatus in 2003.  In Phish’s return to the summer circuit, they pulled into Deer Creek for a three-night stand in late July, and midway through the second set, crawling out of a dark “46 Days” jam twisted the opening lick of “Tweezer.”

This time around, the entire episode was far more succinct, as the combo was shorter than Christiania’s “Tweezer.”  Right out of the gates, Trey hopped on his horse, leading the band with some standard “Tweezer leads.  As he began to improvise, the rest of the band remained largely anchored to the song’s composed structure.  Finally, Fishman started up a percussive beat that shook things up, leading into several minutes of minimalist improv.  As the band methodically chugged away, bridging the music to a smaller place, the jam didn’t turn into anything terribly interesting.  Taking the band out of their meandering, Fishman rode his cymbal into the intro of “2001.”  With a version that was nothing more than lazy funk, I felt as though this “Tweezer > 2001″ should not have been able to be called “Tweezer > 2001″- it didn’t deserve to carry the title!  Nonetheless, this was the second-ever combination of the two songs, part of a relatively forgettable opening night of three.

LISTEN TO 7.21.03 “TWEEZER > 2001″ NOW! (listen only)


6.19.09 Deer Creek, IN

6.19.09 Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Phish was done; the combo had only happened twice- and only once for real.  And then the whole unretirement happened.  Just as extra innings is often referred to as “free baseball,” we all of a sudden had “free Phish!” And so the story goes…

The band pulled back into Deer Creek this June, almost five years later, underneath a canopy of intense lightening.  Having thrown down a nasty first half of the set in “Oceans > Drowned > Twist,” the band ended “Let Me Lie” with a roar into “Tweezer!”  With Alpine infamous for hosting “Tweezers,” and so much improv having gone down already- by June ’09 standards- I never saw it coming.  But all of a sudden, a bomb exploded in the pavilion as the crowd was engulfed by the mid-set favorite.

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Entering the jam with some outright rhythm grooves, the band loosened their chops in preparation to devour the improv.  Carrying the momentum of their best set of tour, the band did not hold back, swimming into smooth, yet forceful, dance rhythms with precision.  You could feel the energy leap off the stage as the band crushed this spirited rendition, making their way beyond “Tweezer’s” conventions and into a blissful plane.  Settling into ambient textures, this wasn’t like the other ambient jams of tour- this had “2001″ written all over it.  Phish prepared to take launch.

Smashing into a series of late-set dance grooves, “2001′s” dynamic funk provided a stark contrast to the previous Noblesville incarnation, as it burst with energy and purpose.  It was a classic whiffle ball “do-over” for their lackluster performance in ’03, and completely surreal to be basking in the third ever “Tweezer > 2001,” this time in 2009!  Who would have thunk it?

No one knows if the band will ever choose to combine these two songs again, but between Chritiania’s sacred odyssey and Deer Creek’s jiggawatt-inspired throwdown, we now have two shining relics for the vault.

LISTEN TO 6.19.09 “TWEEZER > 2001″ NOW!

*Note: I totally forgot about Albany’ ’03s “Tweezer > 2001″- which says something about its quality. Regardless, sorry for the oversight!




It has been brought to my attention (Thanks Matso!) that today, July 9th, is the one year anniversary of Phish Thoughts!  Happy Birthday!! Thanks to all the readers and contributors who have turned this site into an incredible online community! Here is a link to my inaugural post!



6.20.09 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < TORRENT

6.20.09 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < MEGAUPLOAD

Official Alpine 6.20 Poster

Here we have the first show at Alpine Valley, and final show of our run through June’s initial leg of summer tour.  A distinctly old school first set got the audience revved up for a second set that fell a bit flat.  An enjoyable time nonetheless.

I: Punch You in the Eye, Runaway Jim, Stash, Ya Mar, Bathtub Gin, Kill Devil Falls, Train Song, Farmhouse, Sparkle, Run Like An Antelope

II: Waves > Sample In A Jar, Maze, Makisupa Policeman, Ghost > The Lizards, You Enjoy Myself > NICU, Prince Caspian > Waste, Fire

E: Character Zero

Source: Schoeps mk41

Song combinations and segues can make Phish sets infinitely more exciting, while opening up universes of improvisational possibility.  When an open ended jam finally arrives at a landing point which, itself, is another launch pad, things can get dirty.  We all go to Phish shows for different reasons, but if you’re into the psychedelic dance …

The History of Tweezer > 2001 Read More »

6.10.09 Knoxville, TN (D.Vann)

Whether introspective or communal; comical or transcendental, moments are the patchwork that compose the quilt of the Phish experience.  During shows, moments occur more quickly than normal life- one after another colliding with your reality, altering it time and time again.  On Monday we looked at a some of these timeless experiences from the northeast run, and today, we turn to the second part of June- the south.  Starting in Asheville, stopping in Knoxville, and playing two at Bonnaroo; this was a highly anticipated run of shows.  The following are a few parts of the week that standout in most everyone’s memory.


“Ghost” Asheville Civic Center, 6.9 II

The vibe of this show- and its entire day- was the by far the most laid back of tour.  The venue was as relaxed as Asheville itself, as people navigated the GA floor with ample room and they provided a smoking section that overlooked the mountains to puff as much as you wanted at setbreak.  A pleasant experience all around turned into a twisted psychedelic dream early in the second set when “Ghost” started.  Following a Jones Beach version that was a highlight of the northeast, this drop into this “Ghost” brought much anticipation.

6.9.09 Asheville (D.Vann)

The intimate crowd drew silent (despite the copious beverage stations on the floor) as the Phish crept into the jam, sensing something was at hand.  Coming out with a non-conventional rhythm, Fish directed the course of this improv from the get go, taking it directions divergent from the song’s usual groove-fest.  His abstract beat drew eclectic bass lines and unique phrasings by Trey and Page, providing the anchor of a unique initial canvas.  The band did catch a groove after all, carving a unique path of improvisation along the way.  Transforming the music into a soaring piece that fused engaging melodies with crafty beats, Phish gradually and extensively peaked the jam with an entire section of improv.  The whole band was on point as Trey let loose with some of his most sublime playing of tour, cascading surreal melodies as effortlessly as a spring waterfall.  As the band descended from the mountain top, they oozed into into a perfectly placed pool of “Fast Enough For You.”  This was a peak experience for everyone in that tiny venue- just ask them.



“Kill Devil Falls” 6.12, Bonnaroo Late-Night

In a tour whose jams had remained largely inside the box, it was quite ironic that Phish’s most straight-forward new song provided one of the most thrilling rides of the month.  It was debated how Phish would present themselves to the over-sized Bonnaroo audience, and after “Stash” went into “listener-unfriendly” territory, things were looking up.  But they just kept playing song after song, and all this seemed like was another rock and roll addition to the set.

Bonnaroo (D.Vann)

When the composition turned the corner into the jam, everyone bobbed along with the timeless Chuck Berry-esque sound.  As Trey began his solo over a standard groove, nobody knew where this was heading.  Taking the rock and roll path out the back door, Trey started to extend his notes into drawn out sheets of sound, giving the band enough of a hint to hop on and follow his lead.  In one of those disorienting “What song is this?” moments, it didn’t take long before we were far away from the blues-rock launch pad and into some purely Phishy territory.  Halfway through their late-night Bonnaroo set, the band took one of the first and only trips to their outer improvisational realms without morphing into an ambient jam.  This was Phish taking things back to the source using some fierce interplay that grew innocently and organically from a newbie.  Multiple parallels have been drawn between this jam and the famous Camden Chalk Dust from ’99- and rightfully so.  Both stem from similar springboards and carry a certain driving energy into a high-speed, spirited peak.  We all needed an old-school Scooby-Doo double-take when all was done, as we couldn’t believe the most psychedelic jam of the show came out of “Kill Devil Falls.”



“Harry Hood” Knoxville, TN 6.10 II

6.10.09 (D.Vann)

After one of tour’s strongest shows had- by all rights- ended three times already with “Hello My Baby,” “Julius,” and “Cavern,” the band shocked everyone by dropping into the opening reggae rhythms of “Harry Hood.”  Getting that shot of adrenaline, my mind instantly refocused after having already moved on to the encore.  As much an experiential moment as a musical one, this “Hood” capped a huge night in Tennessee, and a smoking second set.  Typical of the focused and triumphant “Hoods” of June, this one did not disappoint.  Featuring active interaction by all band members, the improv was highlighted by the incredibly dynamic conversation by Trey and Mike.

While this version wasn’t as drawn out or exploratory as some of the others of tour, it provided an emotional exclamation point to a standout show when everyone least expected it. Moments don’t always have to come from the depths of a show, and this succinct, yet poignant, “Hood” that came out of left field will back me on that one.





I’m sure you’ve noticed the new format for “Listen Nows,” featured in today’s and yesterday’s posts.  Instead of having that ugly ad-laced audio player, we’ve now got a sharp little Flash player for all the tracks.  But wait- there’s more!

Let’s say you finish listening to a jam and think, “Wow!  Miner’s onto something here- I’ve gotta have that track!  All you need to do is click the orange song link in the title line of the “Listen Now” and you will download it right to your computer.  No need to “right click and save as”- just click the link and accept the file.  I hope you enjoy this new feature of the site, and much props to Alexander K. for the technological work.  (I will be replacing old links with this new feature as well.)



We were going to finish out June’s tour with Alpine’s 6.20 show today, but after technological mishaps continued into the night, I figured it wasn’t meant to be.  I’ll get that final show up tomorrow.  Cheers.

Whether introspective or communal; comical or transcendental, moments are the patchwork that compose the quilt of the Phish experience.  During shows, moments occur more quickly than normal life- one after another colliding with your reality, altering it time and time again.  On Monday we looked at a some of these timeless experiences from the northeast …

Moments In A Box: The South Read More »

Get the Book!

Island Run Pins

Recent Posts


Phish News

Miner's Picks


All Right Reserved |

- 2023