Pronouncing It In Several Ways

12.29.09 (Wendy Rogell)

Though Phish has many protean songs whose jams reach differing musical realms, few launchpads hold such diverse possibilities as “Twist” every time out. Since the song debuted in Dublin to kick off Summer ’97, “Twist” jams have never held a predestined path, while leading the band into many different musical pastures. Covering all ground, from groove to ambient soundscapes and rock and roll to avant-garde quasi-jazz escapades, “Twist” has always featured dips into the musical unknown. The versatility of the song is clearly illustrated when looking at some of the seminal (and obscure) versions.


Desert Sky Pavilion 7.29.97 II

This early version of the song, during the first week of the band’s US Summer Tour in ’97, immediately illustrated the jam’s propensity for psychedelia. Entering a dark and abstract jam amidst a summer best-known for funk music, this new song did’t always lead into chunky grooves.


Nassau Coliseum 4.2.98 II

Nassau ’98 (livephish)

One of the most iconic “Twists” ever played, this blissful escapade in melodic space-groove remains a defining relic of Spring ’98’s Island Run. No other versions touches the convergence of rhythm and catharsis that this one does, and the melding of the two elements created one of the driving, danceable, and smoothest versions ever played. On this night, “Twist” touched the divine.


Big Cypress, Florida 12.31.99

Big Cypress

As the band got a few songs into their midnight set at Big Cypress, “Twist” whispered into the Florida night. A gorgeous rendition that featured a hypnotic melody over a soft ambent backdrop, this “Twist” provided an introspective journey as we passed into 2000. Combining with “Caspian,” this version soothed the soul as we seeped deep into night.


Drum Logos, Fukuoka, JP  6.14.00 II

If the Island “Twist” represents one peak for the song, this jam from Fukuoka, on Japan’s southern island, is unquestionably the other. In a tiny club, Phish played the most cerebral and coherent ambient music of their career; a nuanced and delicate conversation that could have only happened within such intimate environs. This version likens a silk carpet on which the audience rode into outer space. Well known as part of LivePhish 4, this “Twist” is one of the band’s timeless jams that never gets old.


Tweeter Center, Camden, NJ 7.30.03 II


When Phish came back from for the second phase of their career, they continued to push “Twist” into new places. During an era when the band took musical risks like they were going out of style, “Twist” was often the beneficiary of such exploration. This churning and sprawling rendition represents the full-throttle, psychedelic experiments of Summer ’03 and one of the darkest jams of the tour.


Alpine Valley 7.18.03 II

Only weeks before the aforementioned Camden odyssey, Phish had a close encounter with extra terrestrial lifeforms while engaged in this space-aged, mind-control experiment.


The Spectrum 11.29.03 II


One of the few defining jams of an underwhelming Turkey Run, this “Twist” got quite melodic before gradually descending through a sequence of groove, into an uncompressed dungeon of guitar terror. A stellar snapshot of post-hiatus jamming, a growling and unexpected segue into “Simple” brought this menacing sequence back into the light.


SPAC 6.20.04 II

SPAC 2004

Part of Phish’s last burst of creativity the second time around, this “Twist” stood up with “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” and “Piper” as the brightest stars from an unforgettable weekend at SPAC. This multi-faceted version featured furious full-band, bass-led grooves, that saw Mike going beserk before the band brought it down and Trey’s delicate rhythm licks revved the second half of this summer highlight—a truly elite rendition.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 12:43 am and is filed under Uncategorized.
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