Casualties Of This Era

8.5.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Though Phish’s modern era has brought us new jam vehicles in “Light” and “Number Line,” it has also seen several fade away. Aside from the well-documented castration of “Mike’s Song,” three other crowd-favorites have completely lost their sense of adventure—”Halley’s Comet,” “Gumbo” and “Free.” The former two have returned to their pre-1997 form, while the latter has inexplicably shrunk into a Phish single. Because of its history, I think “Free” still has a chance to bust out, but, it feels like “Halley’s and “Gumbo” jams may be gone forever.

8.10.10 (G. Lucas)

Both “Halley’s Comet” and “Gumbo” improvisational jaunts were byproducts of the late-’90s era of groove and band’s post-hiatus “we’ll jam anything” policy. But when comparing current versions of these songs to the first decade plus of their lives, they look exactly the same. “Halley’s” was traditionally a four-minute launchpad into larger musical happenings, and “Gumbo,” until 1997, featured the same ragtime ending that closes the piece today. Thus, it seems that their improvisational gravestone will read “1997 – 2004.” But what a run it was. Both songs blossomed with The Cowfunk Revolution of ’97 and hosted stellar adventures for six years before appearing in 2009 as their retro selves. The only out-of-the-ordinary version of either song came in June ’09, at the anti-climactic Fox show, when Phish opened the second set with an extended, but straight-forward, “Halley’s Comet.”

“Free” is another case all together. There is really no logical explanation for its compact modern shape. Moving from Mike’s bass solo right into the closing chords of the former jam, the band has put nothing whatsoever into this song since they have come back. During the song’s early years of ’95 and ’96, Page took charge of its soupy psychedelia with strong piano leads while Trey often jumped to percussion. Though some versions of the song grew significant (see 6.26.95 as a prime example), more often than not, the jam didn’t reach highlight-reel territory. Nonetheless, there was always a jam.

10.12.10 - Broomfield (B.Perry)

And then in 1997, the year “Halley’s” and “Gumbo” sprang to life, the same rhythmic shift turned “Free” into a vehicle for thunderous funk throwdowns. Between the years of ’97 and ’04, the beginning of “Free” sparked wide-eyed anticipation from the audience as they waiting for Mike’s bass solo to dissolve into another world. Trey would swoop in with an idea and the band would take off amidst a thick joyride that always pumped a show full of energy. But since 2009, there has been no semblance of a jam. Refusing to let the song breathe at all, Trey has smothered the piece for no apparent reason. Sometimes used tactfully as a landing pad for deeper exploration, “Free’s” place in the setlist has also been obtrusive in this era, often appearing in the second set and breaking up the flow as a stand-alone rock song. On New Year’s Eve, Trey decided to vamp over the funk for approximately 12 seconds before taking a left turn back into the chorus. But just for that moment, it was clear that Phish could blow the roof off with the song at any minute, and the I believe that the version we’ve been waiting for is coming this year.

Hopefully I’m wrong about “Halley’s” and “Gumbo,” and 2011 will bring the return of all three of these former show stoppers, but if we get one out of three, it will be a success.


Jam of the Day:

Tube” 9.15.00 II

Though I doubt the band will ever reach the length of this Hershey version again, while we are on the topic of songs that could use some loving, how ’bout a longer “Tube?”




5.3.1991 Somerville Theatre, Somerville, Massachusetts SBD

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Sticking with the old-school theme, here is another soundboard from back in the day.

I: Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Chalk Dust Torture, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, The Divided Sky, Fee, Paul and Silas, Tweezer, The Lizards, Sweet Adeline

II: AC/DC Bag, The Curtain > Sloth, Landlady, Runaway Jim, Tela, You Enjoy Myself, Harpua, Tweezer Reprise

E: Take the ‘A’ Train > BBFCFM

Source: SBD

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749 Responses to “Casualties Of This Era”

  1. mitch Says:

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, this show is a favorite of mine, mitch. the harpua is a classic and along with the big C&P and Bowie in the 2nd there’s a whole lotta bust-out-y goodness flowing forth in the second set. it also happened to be the first show I caught after moving back east that year.

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    ok ok ok….barging in here after an extremely blissful ride back from philly.

    PLEASE tell me who was hiding the

    Theme>dog log 2000 and the Piper>guy forget 2000

    please tell me BK mentioned those like 50 times in the past 2 years because they are both SICK. tail end of that theme needs weed and headphones. get it on. more props for the KP sbd edit. i just run into such sick stuff. that shoreline piper that Robear likes is sweet, but that Desert sky is just madness. who was there? Palmer?? Pham B? Voopa?

  4. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I think all those archival shows that came out on cd were done by Kevorkian: 2/28/03, 7/15/03, and 7/29/03, 12/7/97, New Years ’97, 10/21/95, 11/14/95, 12/1/95, 5/8/93, etc… Island Tour, Slip Stitch, and Colorado ’88 also. And all the LP releases. Basically, if it existed on cd, he multitracked them down for release.

    I still have all mine and they sound fantastic.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    the funny thing about the theme > dog log from MPP is that the actual sequence is Rock and Roll > Theme > Dog Log….and the Rock and Roll jam is BY FAR the best part of the sequence…no idea why k shaps cut that out…in fact…there’s the possible jam of the day tomorrow.

    piper > guy forget in the desetrt was bomb…one of the last great jams of 1.0

  6. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Y’all are swimming in the deep waters today: Phil & Phriends, Piper>Guy Forget, SPAC ’95, Cleveland Dark Star.

    Dig it.

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    all those tunes were well executed and unique. that DL put my 99 hampton dog log to shame. both transitions are seamless…i’d like to see more of that in 2011. quality stuff.

    will look for that RNR too @miner. thx have a good nite.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    getting a podcast going would probably be a good thing in advance of your book. you might be able to leverage that into some choice interviews what with the dual cred of the book and a real journalist-y type thing like a regular podcast (not to discount the value of the site itself, of course).

  9. phoammhead Says:


    dook over unc – fack!

  10. sumodie Says:

    @gdad: don’t forget kp’s Bonus Comp -lesser sound quality but still chock a block with sickness

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    there’s some fantastic stuff in the “lesser” comp @sumo. lesser in recording quality only. are you still possibly hitting the HOB?

  12. sumodie Says:

    @T3: dunno ’bout HOB -sold my tix to the nutty yet beloved kp/willowed duo, but still have my albany tix in hand. With G’s Dad passing, not sure what’s in store that weekend…

    word on the ‘lesser’ comp -still working my way thru it too

  13. mitch Says:

    sumo, thats the first i’ve heard. really sorry for g-man. hope you’re both holding up ok.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yes, well, family first, of course. best wishes to you and G.

  15. sumodie Says:

    @mitch: thanks for the kind words -G’s Dad was 85 and ill for a few months so the family was sorta prepared. Things are moving forward rather well

    January has been tough on several fronts -thank god for ipods & live phish!

  16. mitch Says:

    well then he had a good run. january has been suckfest for us out east. bring on spring and fresh phish!

  17. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Strapping in for 4/16/1999 St. Stephen->The Eleven->Unbroken

    Wish me luck.

  18. mitch Says:

    im up for that duke. queueing it up

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    podcast…lets do it…who know how?

  20. mitch Says:

    miner, we can discuss a simple recording setup in garage band.

  21. brother Says:

    @plord….everthing in that college bball hoops post you wrote i pretty much agree with 100%….but i think this NBA season has potential to really bring some surprises. and really even if the Heat dominate and win the title, that would be a little bit of a surprise given their start. March is March. It really is the best event in sports. But for the finest quality basketball ever with the best athletes in any era, it’s in the NBA right now.

  22. Bwana Says:

    Speaking of Bowie today, I’m re-living 10-21-95 tonight. That was the bonus of college in Colorado, I caught a couple great Nebraska shows, 11-16-96 too.

  23. kenny powers Says:

    Haha I get to post near the end of the night for like the first time, since I just landed at LAX and am all jet-lagged and shit

  24. bigjig Says:

    last. fact

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