MR. MINER'S PHISH THOUGHTS

12.31.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

Using no Flash video and little fanfare, Phish announced an unprecedented five-night New Years Run with a low-key addition to their website yesterday. Comprised of two nights at “The Centrum” in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a 3-night grand finale at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Phish will not only close 2010 in style, they will open 2011 with their first-ever January 1st show! Ever since Phish began their tradition of New Year’s Runs, their shows have taken place on the last four nights of the year: December 28, 29, 30, and 31st. The band will veer from this pattern this year, playing December 27 and 28 in Worcester and then taking a day off before rocking MSG on December 30, 31, and January – 1/1/11. New Year’s Eve will still consist of three sets to ring in 2011, but Phish will also kick start the calendar with two more sets the on the first day of the year.

MSG – photo: Peter Aaron

Left out of this New Year’s extravaganza, however, is one of the most sacred nights of the Phish calendar – December 29th. Career highlights on the 29th have become iconic in Phish lore – “The Providence Bowie” in’ 94, “The Real Gin” in ’95, a rotated “Bathtub Gin and an Oasis-laced “Harpua” in ’96, one of the defining shows of the late ’90s with a second set of “Disease >Bowie > Possum, Tube, YEM” in ’97, an immaculate MSG “YEM” in ’98, and flowing, jam-laden segue-fest in Miami highlighted by “Ghost > Free” in ’03. With this well-known and illustrious history, Phish continued their unspoken tradition last year by blowing out 12/29 in Miami with the most creative show of the run that was underlined by, perhaps, the jam of 2009 in a stunning “Tweezer.” But likely due to a desire to play on the binary date, 1/1/11, Phish will skip their magical December night this year. Despite this glaring omission, however, we’ve got five more shows on the horizon!

As the community had just about readied itself for Phish’s upcoming Fall Tour of mid-size venues, this New Year’s announcement confirmed of a rumor that had circulated for a couple of weeks. There was no surprise about New Year’s Eve at MSG, but the when the buzz began about a January 1st show, the rumor seemed hard to believe. With the new sober, family-based Phish, however, the band members likely won’t battle heavy hangovers as they retake the stage on the national holiday. So this year, the 1st is the new 29th…don’t miss it!

DCU Center – Worcester, MA

Continuing to saturate the Northeast with shows, the band won’t stray far from home during the holiday season, getting back to basics in two arenas that have seen many New Year’s Run epics. MSG has hosted 11 New Years Run shows and The Centrum has hosted three, and the two buildings have each housed a New Year’s Eve show to be reckoned with. Generally accepeted as the two best 12/31s (excluding Cypress), 1993 in Worcester and 1995 at MSG represent peak points in Phish’s developmental arc. So with plenty of history on their side, the band will take it back to the frigid winter of the Northeast in late-December, leaving the sunshine and beaches of Florida as distant memories.

Hitting fans’ wallets just before Fall Tour kicks off, ticket requests are open now until October 2, and then public onsales will go down on October 9th for MSG, and October 10th for Worcester – the day of the first show in Broomfield! With the announcement of the year’s final shows, Phish has 19 more before the year is up, and exactly one slated for 2011. There’s nothing quite like New Year’s Run at MSG and aside from 2002’s mediocre comeback show, it’s been 12 years since Phish made New York’s Midtown Mecca their lair for end-of-year excursions. But as 2010 continues to bring retro-trends into play, we are heading back to The Garden for New Year’s, shifting another piece back into place again in the universe of the Phish.

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8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

Type II Trivia Update: As of 12 am pacific time, I’ve received 12 entries for yesterday’s ‘type II’ identification contest. Though everyone has until 7 pm tonight, they will have a hard team taking down the leader who has 26 out of 30 possible points! Pretty… pretty… pretty… impressive! Get your entries to prove your Jedi-level Phish mastery. The winner and the answers will be posted as part of “Weekend Nuggets” tomorrow.

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 11.23.94 II

A heart and face-melting version from St. Louis’ Fox Theatre during November ’94 winds up our week full of “Tweezers.” This classic nugget was recently upgraded in everyone’s collection to SBD as part of archivist, Kevin Shapiro’s radio show at Bonnaroo.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

4.13.1994 The Beacon Theatre, NYC, NY < Torrent

4.13.1994 The Beacon Theatre, NYC, NY < Megaupload

The Beacon Theatre – NYC

This show at New York’s famed Beacon Thatre was part of the first month of Phish’s Spring/Summer tour that would run through mid-July.

I: Buried Alive > Poor Heart, Stash, The Lizards, Julius, Ginseng Sullivan, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus

II: Faht, The Curtain, Sample in a Jar, Reba, Big Ball Jam, Fee, Take the ‘A’ Train, David Bowie, Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, AC/DC Bag

E: Sweet Adeline, Good Times Bad Times

Source: (FOB) Schoeps CMC5/Mk4 (ORTF)-> Sonosax SX-M2-> Apogee AD-500E-> Sony D-10 @ 48KHz; Row 9

Using no Flash video and little fanfare, Phish announced an unprecedented five-night New Years Run with a low-key addition to their website yesterday. Comprised of two nights at “The Centrum” in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a 3-night grand finale at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Phish will not only close 2010 in style, they …

New Year’s Run 2010 > 2011! Read More »

When Phish plotted their return in 2009, Mike Gordon said he wanted to leave time for his solo project within the framework of his larger band. Well – he wasn’t kidding. This week, Mike announced a 17-show club and theatre tour in November that stretches from coast to coast; a nationwide path that resembles the road many fans wish Phish would undertake. Moving from Los Angeles up the coast to Seattle and back down through Missoula, Montana, Utah and Colorado, The Mike Gordon Band will play seven shows out west before taking on the heartland of America. Tallying seven more gigs in the Midwest from Omaha to Cleveland, Mike is really spreading the love across the land. Concluding with only three east coast dates that end in Portland, Maine and Boston on November 26 and 27, Mike’s tour finales wipe out the rumor of a Phish Thanksgiving run in Hampton. Covering many miles this fall, specifically the markets Phish won’t be hitting, Mike will hop off Phish tour and right onto his own – a bass assassin on a never-ending mission.

In conjunction with his national tour, Mike will also release his third solo album entitled Moss. Available now for pre-order, many of Moss’ songs were played during Mike’s last tour and according to his website, “half of its songs stem from the same 50-song burst of creativity that seeded [The Green Sparrow].” Likely carrying a similar bass-led and melodic vibe as his last album, some of the deeper cuts morph into more experimental music. Another quote from Gordon’s press release reads:

A four-song sequence, comprising “Flashback,” “The Void,” “Got Away” and “Spiral,” goes places no songs have gone before. You might suppose these soundscapes are musical evocations of particularly fanciful sights and sounds experienced while on hallucinogenic vision quests. Songs like “Spiral” and “The Void” detour into evocatively abstract, meterless areas of sound with a mysterious, textural richness.

While “Spiral” was a psychedelic centerpiece of several shows last tour, I am not familiar with the other three other three engaging titles. But by their ornate descriptions and knowing Mike’s eclectic tastes, they will provide some outstanding launchpads come November. Phish debuted the final track of Mike’s album, “Idea,” in Portsmouth, Virginia’s second set on June 15, bringing the debut out of a murky “46 Days” with infectious grooves and two springboards for improvisation. (Listen here.)

Unlike many solo projects where the sole spotlight shines on the front man, full-band improvisation is the focus of The Mike Gordon Band. With Mike serving as both band-leader and bassist, he infuses an engaging dynamic in the music, often anchoring the rhythm of jams while, simultaneously, providing melodic leads. Featuring Scott Murawski on guitar, Todd Isler on drums, Tom Clearly on keyboard and Craig Myers on percussion, Mike’s band gets into legitimate sonic experiments and takes musical risks. Also playing an array of diverse covers in their live show, the reports from Mike’s last tour were glowing across the board. With a year and half of Phish under his belt, things can only get better this time around.

Ironically, it was Mike’s work with this solo project that brought him back to Phish far more polished and prepared than his band mates in 2009. And since their comeback, Phish has sculpted their new sound around the creative lead-presence of their all-world bassist. Trey has taken a step back, happily willing to co-lead jams with his partner in a move that has dramatically increased the diversity of Phish jams this year. And while Trey, Page, and Fish take a break this season, Mike will be right back out there honing his skills for what is sure to be a stellar December.Aat the end of the day, Mike Gordon simply loves to innovate with his bass. And for two straight months this fall, that is exactly what he will do.

11/6 Troubador, West Hollywood, CA
11/7 The Independent, San Francisco, CA
11/8 Alladin Theater, Portland, OR
11/10 Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA
11/11 The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT
11/12 The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT
11/13 Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
11/14 The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
11/16 Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
11/17 Barrymore Theatre, Madison, WI
11/18 Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
11/19 Bluebird, Bloomington, IN
11/20 Madison Theater, Covington, KY
11/22 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
11/23 The Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY
11/26 Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME
11/27 Royale Nightclub, Boston, MA

Pre-Order tickets now until Thursday September 16 at 5pm EST. It’s fun, you actually get them!

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Jam of the Day:

Piper > 2001” 8.15.10 II

One of Alpine Valley’s many standout segments.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.18.1995 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Torrent

11.18.1995 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Megaupload

This is the first of two shows ever played at North Charleston Coliseum. With a quick-starting first set with stong versions of “Reba” and “Slave,” Phish offered a balanced meal on this evening. The second set featured a soupy-’95 style “Free”, a show-stopping “You Enjoy Myself,” and some Phishy antics switching between “Acoustic Army” and “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” The show ended in classic fashion with Dr. Jack McConnell dancing The Charleston and singing his famed guest spot, “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?”

I: Dinner and a Movie, Bouncing Around the Room, Reba, Lawn Boy, Punch You In the Eye, Slave to the Traffic Light, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome^, Sample in a Jar

II: AC/DC Bag, Sparkle, Free, I’m So Tired, You Enjoy Myself*, Contact, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars > Acoustic Army > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Cavern

E: Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?**

^ acoustic, * w/ “Brickhouse” jam,**w/ Page’s Dad

Source: Unknown

When Phish plotted their return in 2009, Mike Gordon said he wanted to leave time for his solo project within the framework of his larger band. Well – he wasn’t kidding. This week, Mike announced a 17-show club and theatre tour in November that stretches from coast to coast; a nationwide path that resembles the …

This Is Mike’s Song Too Read More »

10.30.98 – Indio, CA (Wendy Rogell)

Today we have a game show on Phish Thoughts – the place where the fun never ends. Phish’s jamming has often been described in layman’s terms as ‘type I’ ( contained jamming that adheres to song structures and chord progressions) and ‘type II’ (open jamming that leaves any semblance of the song it came from). Today’s game centers on Phish’s open jamming. Below are ten audio clips – each a few minutes long, and here is the task. You can gain 3 points per audio clip – 1 for identifying the year, 1 for identifying the song, and 1 for identifying the date – for a total of 30 possible points. The winner will win their choice of a “TAB and the Tabernacle” CD or Mike Gordon’s “Moss,” to be delivered in the near future. Please email your entries with ten numbered lines, one for each guess. All entries must be emailed to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by 7 pm pacific on Friday (tomorrow) night. If multiple entries nail a perfect score, the earlier entry will take the prize. Without further ado, here are the audio clips. Good Luck!

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12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 11.13.94 II

“Tweezer” week continues with this blast from Fall ’94 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Notice the more full-on, aggressive playing that defined November ’94

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

Great Woods – Mansfield,

The less exploratory and more anthem-based second night of a solid Great Woods stand at the beginning of Fall 2000.

I: Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, My Soul, Ginseng Sullivan, First Tube, The Divided Sky, Wilson

II: Down with Disease, Heavy Things, Split Open and Melt, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

E: The Squirming Coil

Source: Matrix – FM-ALD SBD / B & K 4011

Today we have a game show on Phish Thoughts – the place where the fun never ends. Phish’s jamming has often been described in layman’s terms as ‘type I’ ( contained jamming that adheres to song structures and chord progressions) and ‘type II’ (open jamming that leaves any semblance of the song it came from). …

Type II Trivia Test Read More »

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!

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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

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 …

The Rhythms of Nature – Revisted Read More »

The Gorge ’09 (Graham Lucas)

With another project in full-swing, I might have a few days off over the next couple weeks. Whether music or a video, however, there will always be something on the site worth checking out each and every day.

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 11.11.96 II

Fast-forwarding one week from yesterday’s Gainesville “Tweezer,” here is groove fiesta from Grand Rapids, Michigan. In only eight days, one can hear a significant progression from the Perazzo-assisted rhythms to intentional and slowed-down  Phish funk. Parts of this jam sound like they could be plucked from a 1997 show as the band’s new direction progressed each night of November ’96.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

2.21.1997 Tenax, Florence, Italy < Torrent

2.21.1997 Tenax, Florence, Italy < Megaupload

Tenax – 2.21.1997

Winter ’97 in Europe was the final step in discovering the pocket that Phish would explore for the next few years. This show in Florence came ten days before the band’s breakthrough in Hamburg, Germany on March 1, chronicled on Slip Stitch, and Pass. This second set featured dynamic and unfinished versions of “Antelope” and “Reba,” while the first half consisted of only six songs.

I: My Soul, Foam, Down with Disease, The Lizards, Crosseyed and Painless, You Enjoy Myself*

II: Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope** > Wilson > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag,  Billy Breathes, Reba** > Waste, Prince Caspian

E: Character Zero

*During the “Wash Uffize Drive Me to Firenze” section of YEM, Fish exclaimed “This is a dream come true!”

** unfinished

Source: Neumann KM-140 > Beyerdynamic MV-100 > Sony SBM

With another project in full-swing, I might have a few days off over the next couple weeks. Whether music or a video, however, there will always be something on the site worth checking out each and every day. ==== Jam of the Day: “Tweezer” 11.11.96 II Fast-forwarding one week from yesterday’s Gainesville “Tweezer,” here is …

A Day Off Read More »

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