All Sorts of Encores

Merriweather ’09 (K.Pusey)

Phish shows are made up of two sets…and an encore. Often an afterthought, or a buffer zone between the Phish world and outside reality, encores provide the come-down of any show. As the band plays different types of shows nightly, it only follows that they also hold a spectrum of encores; various flavored cherries to top off their unique musical sundaes. Below are a general categories of Phish’s encores, and some examples of each.


Jones Beach 6.4 (W.Rogell)

Standard Buffer Zones: These encores neither add to a show nor take away. They are often the meaningless, missing pieces of many a late-night, hotel room, setlist re-creation. Sometimes these encores are exactly what one needs to gather their wits and personal belongings before exiting the vehicle. These encores can pop up after any two sets of music, standard or superb, representing the requisite 5 to 8 minutes that the crowd has come to expect, in essence, mere formalities and definitive farewells until the next show.

Examples: “Julius,” “Suzie,” “Frankenstein,” “Character Zero,” “Loving Cup,” “Squirming Coil”


Signature Encores: After particularly stellar shows, Phish often comes out with one signature piece that leaves an indelible stamp on the evening. These encores not only bring the show to another peak, they are played to celebrate the mastery that has just ensued. Like putting the finishing brush strokes on a masterpiece, these encores are Phish’s musical autographs on unforgettable shows.

Examples: “You Enjoy Myself,” “Slave,” “Harry Hood,” “Harpua”


12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

The Rocking Encore: Often following high-energy sets, Phish will come out with a ballad into a rocking finale, or simply a rocker alone. Meant to leave everyone geeked-out and drooling for more, these encores, often taking the form of covers, generally leave everybody smiling.

Examples: “First Tube,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” ” Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise,” “Rock and Roll,” “Fire,”Chalk Dust Torture”


The Token Encore: Falling within the conceptual framework of the “Standard Buffer Zone,” these encores are even less significant. Providing time to spark a final joint, or do whatever it is you need to do, these encores are going nowhere from the get-go, and that is their point. Often squeezed into shows running late, or tacked onto sets in which the band wanted to get off stage, these encores represent the minimal required effort for the band.

Examples: “Bouncin,” “Rocky Top,” “Waste,” “Sample,” “Contact,” “Golgi,” “Cavern”


12.30.09 (S.WIlliams)

Wild Cards: Occasionally Phish will come out and play a encore so disjointed from the show, one wonders where they came up with the idea at all. These are not necessarily poor encores, just final statements that come directly out of left field. The one you never saw coming, and nobody in the place predicted. Odd song placement to end a show can end an evening with a strange vibe, not spoiling anything – just plain odd. The following encores, with dates, provide some concrete examples of some of these bizarre phenomena.

Examples: “Axilla, Taste” – 9.18.00, Blossom, “Reba, Bold As Love” – 9.21.99, Tucson, “Rocky Top, Hydrogen, Julius” – 10.7.99, Nassau


Multi-Song Finales: Sometimes Phish will kick down two or three songs at the end of the show, exciting some more than others on a routine basis. Perhaps stringing together a couple “Token” encores, or featuring one larger song amidst some slower ones, these encores come in all shapes and sizes. I’ll choose one long encore over couple shorties any day of the week, but to each their own. These final couplets can feature bust-outs in their run of songs as well.

The Classic Example: “Glide, Camel Walk, Alumni Blues, Tweezer Reprise” – 7.24.99, Alpine


Jam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin” 7.5.94 II

This scorching and creative Summer ’94 “Gin” morphed into the second set’s improvisational highlight in Ottawa, Canada.



5.2.92  Cabaret Metro, Chicago, IL < Torrent

5.2.92 Cabaret Metro, Chicago, IL < Megaupload

Hitting their stride in Spring ’92.

I: Runaway Jim, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Icculus > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Sparkle, Reba, Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, The Squirming Coil, Llama

II: Glide, David Bowie > Band/Crew Football Theme Song > David Bowie, Tela, Foam, You Enjoy Myself, Chalk Dust Torture, Cold as Ice > Cracklin’ Rosie > Cold as Ice, Cavern

Encore: Sleeping Monkey, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

Notes: Both Forbin and Stash referenced the Los Angeles riots that ensued after the Rodney King verdict was announced.

Source: (FOB) Neumann RSM191A-S > Neumann MTX191A > Panasonic SV255(@48K)

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