The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted

As we head towards Fall Tour 2010, I thought of a piece I wrote during the first weeks of this site – in July of 2008 – that fits congruently with this time of the year. In the months before Phish’s return, I dreamed of fall tours past and their stark contrast to the amphitheatres of summer. This fall, as we move into even smaller venues than we’d ever imagined during this era of Phish, some of the ideas in this article resonate louder than ever. In addition, with the limited readership over the initial stages of the site, many may have never seen this at all. Either way – enjoy – fall tour is just around the corner!


11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

While being smack dab in mid-July with dreams of Phish on the mind and the ten-year anniversary of Summer 98 upon us, one can’t help but reminisce on the wistful days of summer tour. Arriving to the lot early on a sweltering day at Lakewood; meeting up with friends in the dirt lot across that little bridge on the back side of the venue; kicking it until show time. Chilling at a campground down the street from the Deer Creek, needing only to roll a few hundred yards to the show, knowing it would be a killer. Running into buddies at rest areas along I-95 in the wee hours of a humid night and swapping analogs for the next leg. Driving through the breathtaking wilderness of Washington state only to find that The Gorge is by far the most awe inspiring site on your journey – and Phish was about to play two nights there?! Sleeping nicely in your air conditioned hotel room while the 90 degree day passed by, awakening at four to start your day with a shower > show. A hearty evening (and morning) of partying, talking Phish, listening to tunes, joking about and discussing life typically followed. Summer Tour was everything people cracked it up to be and then some, but Fall Tour was so much better.

12.3.09 (W.Rogell)

“What!?” One might say? Yes, fall kicked summer’s ass – no question; every time. There are so many reasons to support this claim. First of all, there were simply way less people on tour, making your secret-agent Phish mission that much more clandestine. Fall brought outside responsibility to many, whether this meant either school or jobs, and they couldn’t sacrifice a month. The weekend warriors popped up across the country for Friday and Saturday shows, but the core of people that dropped everything for Phish decreased noticeably in the Autumn months. The big east coast shows always sold out, but those out-of-the-way shows took on a whole different intimacy; Boise ’99, Vegas ’97, Utah ’98, Las Cruces ‘99, to name a few. At many southern and western shows, regardless of the year, one could walk up to the front of the floor without crushing anyone’s vibe. These shows were different – they were playing to you and not New York City.

Fall tour possessed an unparalleled intensity. Four cement walls contained the almighty power of Phish – the power of the universe. The sheer amount of energy that bounced around the room made fall shows much more concentrated and more powerful than anything on the summer amphitheatre circuit. Even the lights were and richer – more majestic – and their beams reached everyone in any corner of the arena. Fall tour existed in the jaws of the Phish and no one could escape to the top corner of the lawn if things got too hectic.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Depending on the venue, space was scare, making finding that place needed to take it all in just a bit more challenging; another step in your covert operation. Suddenly the lights went off – it all began. Mike’s Modulus bass lines filled the room, and your brain, instead of drifting off into the warm summer evening. Trey wove tales of darkness and beauty in the most crystalline tone. The drumbeat pulsated instinctively at the heart of it, driving the four-piece symphony, while Page’s twisted melodies around the others. No cool breezes wafted from the sides of the pavilion if things got hot, and concrete and metal surrounded our existence. This was a darker atmosphere than your blissful summer night, and the band’s playing certainly followed.

Phish would never play a show like 12.28.98 – “Carini > Wolfman’s” – at Deer Creek. One could never imagine the 12.29.94 Providence “Bowie” popping up at Shoreline. The 11.23.97 Winston-Salem “Bathtub Gin” doesn’t happen at Vernon Downs,  and the madness of Orlando ’95’s “Stash > Manteca” extravaganza doesn’t happen at a Verizon Amphitheatre in any state across the nation. Hampton ’97 could not have occurred at Virginia Beach, and The Island Run didn’t carry the mellow vibe its moniker implied. Rather we were confined by two concrete super-structures while blessed with the four sacred nights of music. My point is, Phish played differently indoors. With more of an urgency and intensity; their music likened a deranged and boisterous dream state rather than those lucid nights of summer. As Phish jams followed the natural course of the seasons, their music adopted a different feeling when escaping the biting Northeast November air and stepping into Phish’s lair. Piling layers of clothing onto a seat, one prepared for the fire.

12.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Sure, there will always be counter examples to this trend – some, not-so-ironically, corresponding with severely inclement weather – Walnut Creek ‘97, Columbus ‘99 (“Ghost > Free > Birds”), Darien Lake ‘00 (“Drowned > Crosseyed”). Then there is every show from Summer ‘95, each characterized by terrorizing, abstract improvisation. But regardless of any of these aberrations, Phish dove the deepest during fall tour and the tapes will prove it.

Being a force of nature unto itself, a proverbial sixth element, Phish’s music often correlated with the forces of the natural world. As each season has its place in the year, each style of Phish had its place as well. Careening towards New Years, fall tour provided the celestial launching pad for Phish’s culminating journeys of the year before they capped it with a four-night fiesta.


From Phish.Net: The Phamily Poker Classic in Atlantic City

Take a Chance

“The Mockingbird Foundation is excited to announce THE PHAMILY POKER CLASSIC, a no-limit Texas Hold’em Tournament in Atlantic City to take place in the Tropicana’s poker room on the afternoons of October 30 (tournament) and 31 (final table). There will be both cash and non-cash prizes, and some of the $120 ticket price (the “buy-in”) will benefit the Foundation. This event is being graciously organized by Phish fan Kevin Young, with the assistance of others including Foundation volunteers, and none of us are benefiting financially from this event. For more details and to purchase tickets, please see the event’s website. If you play, you will not miss any Phish. So please, make a hand for Mockingbird, and don’t delay in purchasing tickets, as this event is expected to sell-out. It is unlikely that tickets (seats) will be sold at the door.”


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Kung > Tweezer” 12.8.95 II

Fuck it – we’re going for “Tweezers” all week here on the Jam of the Day. Monday and Tuesday came from Fall ’96, and today we dip into the iconic month of December 1995 – the 8th in Cleveland to be exact. The beginning of the second set started with “2001,” then dropped into this monstrous jaunt.




11.16.1995 West Palm Beach, FL < Torrent

11.16.1995 West Palm Beach, FL < Megaupload

11.23.96 (R.Gitzel)

The year before Phish played their famous Coral Sky show in the fall of 1996, the band visited the Auditorium in West Palm Beach for an indoor affair along their scorching road of Fall ’95. Two guests joined the band to close the night after a second set held up buy stellar versions of “Bowie” and “Hood.” Butch Trucks sat in on drums for “Possum,” while Margaritaville legend Jimmy Buffett joined the boys for Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl.”

I: Cars Trucks Buses, Runaway Jim, Jam*, Horn, Mound, Ya Mar, Simple > Timber, Guyute, Funky Bitch

II: A Day in the Life, David Bowie, Lifeboy, Uncle Pen, Ha Ha Ha > Harry Hood, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up, Amazing Grace, Possum**

E: Brown Eyed Girl ^

* A new band/audience chess match started at this show. The opening chess moves were made during a short jam that followed Runaway Jim and featured Trey on percussion.

** w/ Butch Trucks on drums / ^ debut, w/ Jimmy Buffett

Source: Unknown

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767 Responses to “The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    i snagged it @yematt

    will bump it with miners Biscuitville platter tomorrow

  2. yematt Says:

    word @ Mr.C

    especially good for the morning. i made it with intentions to be my alarm on my ipod.

  3. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Aaaaaand pulling, @yematt. Hello, soundtrack to my morning commute tomorrow.

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I wish my moring commute was more than 10 minutes sop I could go Type II more often.

    Oh wait, no I don’t. I wish I could telecommute with the option of an office the abscond to with real work when I cannot do my job in the comfort and privacy of my own home.

    Nice moon out tonight.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    check out Jupiter, yo

    just days past closest approach in 12 years

    crazy huge

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    working from home just about drove me insane

    I’d prefer to do 50/50 ideally but I don’t want to be isolated all the time

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    course I was rippin an eighter of pure north korean shabu-shabu every morning so that might have had something to do with it

  8. bdognamedwilson Says:

    This 11.06.96 Mike’s is to die for.

    Where is this going? I just can’t tell. Gut says I end up in the Groove. I feeeeeeellll the feeling I forgot.


  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    shabu-shabu will get you if you don’t watch it closely.

    I am totally a stargazer but that is largely due to me not being from here and I am constantly looking for my ride home.

    The next gerbil my oldest gets will be named Muad’Dib.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    the expanding fractal rays of a rising Jupiter can form your portal, my friend

    safe journeys to you

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Prophecy and prescience- How can they be put to the test in the face of the unanswered questions? Consider: How much is actual prediction of the ‘wave form’ and how much is the prophet shaping the future to fit the prophecy? What of the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy? Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?”
    – Irulan

  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    North Korean shabu-shabu? I feel like I’ve eaten that, not blazed it

  13. Calpain Says:

    yummm hot pot!!

    Can one blaze a hot pot?

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Hallucinogen over by 5am on NYE?

    I’ve learned that many a NYC club says it closes at 5am but in reality often stays open till 9-10am or later

    ^ yeah, but hammerstein isnt a club. These guys are playing this custy tour in theatres…obv making muich more money that trance parties. But Hallucinogen in a place with a balcony with seats (warfield, hammerstein) just makes no sense…i bet its over by 5 since its at a “venue” that has union workers…if i remember from biscuits nyes there in the past, when its over, its over

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ even backstage…like once the clock strikes a certain time, passes and laminates are just pieces of paper

  16. Gavinsdad Says:

    Hey Miner – I saw Chem Bros 2nd US tour at Hammerstein and also caught Bisco there (and Tab too) and that floor gets pretty bumpin. It’s pretty darn big too. I hate the idea of seats myself for an act like Hallu but it should be a damn good time for the peeps on the floor. The Chem Bros show (I actually saw them there twice) slayed.

  17. jw Says:

    This was the show i got to go up on stage and make a chess move for my birthday(thanks Justin!), which was especilly cool for a die-hard phish freak like me.Seeing the crowd from the bands vatage for even a moment was mind blowing and then getting to go right in front was sweet.Still living in ettersburg and making the trek as often as i can, which ,with kids no longer consists of thirty shows a tour. oh yeah, they don’t do tours that long anymore.sigh….we finished the band off on nye that year at msg for 1-1 chess record.if it hadn’t been for that spun wookie on halloween we’d have been 2–0! see ya’ll at Atlantic City!!!!

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