Reader’s Picks: Nathan Tobey

8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

All selections and text by Nathan Tobey

Free” 11.22.95 II, Landover, MD

After a terribly (and amusingly) botched “Rift,” the band comes out with a “Free” that is one of the best versions ever played. 33 minutes of dynamic improvisation that features an especially strong performance from Page. At about the 21 minute mark, the jam moves into a quiet, breathtaking sequence featuring Trey whistling that evokes memories of the 12/29/94 Bowie.



Down with Disease” 12.12.95 II, Providence, RI

Thrilling. This jam is an adventure comprable to some of the very best jams from this peak period of Phish. It may just be the most interesting “Disease” the band has played (no offense to 11/12/94 or 6/25/97).



Stash > Ghost” 6.19.97 II, Vienna, AT

Most of you know the Paradiso Wormtown “Stash”—meet its lesser-known little brother, the Vienna “Stash.” A great but straight ahead “Stash” seems to be winding up only to dissolve into a extended funk jam that will have you dancing by the time “Ghost” arrives.



Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

“Antelopes” that venture into true experimental improvisation are few and far between—and this is the best of a very short list. This Desert Sky “Antelope” goes far off the beaten path into a beautiful jam, before finding its way back to close things out.



YEM” 7.26.98 II, Dallas, TX

97-98 is known as the funk period, but Phish always had some funk — mainly in the form of YEM. So, what better vehicle for the cow funk treatment of the 97-98 period? This “YEM” got that treatment. At 29 minutes, the funk goes on (just about) forever—without a dull moment.



Ghost” 9.12.99 II, Portland, OR

I love ’99, but it’s true that the band could sometimes be sloppy or disconnected that year. This is not one of those times. 29 minutes of plugged in, focused playing that shows off 99 at its best—a combination of subtle textures, abstract soundscapes, and powerful grooves.



Down with Disease” 3.8.09 II, Hampton, VA

There a lot of reasons to love the reunion run, but the jams are not usually considered one of them. That’s true for the most part, but this is a huge exception. A 22 minute adventure with a gorgeous Trey-led segment that starts about mid-way through, followed a section of stunning Mike soloing, and wrapping up with a Fish/Trey race to the finish. This one flies under the radar. It shouldn’t.



Simple” 11.16.94 II, Ann Arbor, MI

A 34 min masterpiece that every fan should hear. Like most of the rambling 30+ minute jams of the era, it breaks down at points, but there are several sections of thrilling, jaw-dropping playing that could each have sustained an amazing jam out of “Simple” by themselves. The jam ends with delicate, gorgeous outro followed by a huge ovation. Perfect.



Twist” 7.18.03 II, East Troy, WI

This dark horse “Twist” comes out of nowhere late in the second set at Alpine to create a dark, swirling jam that reaches some menacing peaks before returning to the theme.



Bathtub Gin” 8.7.09 II, George, WA

Unquestionably the best “Gin” of 3.0—and one of the very best jams of 3.0, period. The creativity is pulsing in this jam as the band locks together for 18 minutes of adventurous improvisation that—like the very best of Phish jams—sounds almost composed. This is a jam that stays with you.



Piper” 7.8.12 II, SPAC

Any “Piper” played at SPAC would be overshadowed by the epic, essential 6/19/04 performance. But this “Piper” holds its own, and then some—it’s a stunning, tight powerhouse of a jam that features a thrilling peak from Trey. My favorite 3.0 version (though 10-30-09, 6-27-10, 6-15-12, 9-4-11 and 12-30-11 are all must hears).



Frankie Says” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

My nominee for best “Frankie Says” ever. A stunning jam that came out of nowhere in the first frame to set  the tone for an exploratory night of powerful Trey-led, Hendrix-inspired jamming.

[audio:] Tags:

664 Responses to “Reader’s Picks: Nathan Tobey”

  1. sumodie Says:

    Before walking into Fenway Park I encountered the nitrous mafia & their acolytes and knew then and there that all was once again right in phish world

  2. marcoesq Says:

    ya, nitrous on yawkey way was interesting. class piece of americana

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    excellent picks today! should fill Friday afternoon.

  4. ren Says:

    Happy Friday BB bredren!

    Thanks for the tasty picks Nate!

    Here’s some ridiculous Friday fodder I happened on this morning


  5. kayatosh Says:

    greetings, BB. nice picks, Tobey. special props to 11.22.95 Free (in da haus) and 11.16.94 simple. dig that 7.18.2003 show too. twist is the gem. for 12.12.95 you might have tripled up w/ DWD>lizards>simple.
    spinning DWD now. hard groove jam.

    GSC, fresh ginger tupelo tea on deck and special coconut oil on the slow simmah.

  6. MiA Says:

    Free + Bonus Llama!

  7. kayatosh Says:

    6.24.73 Dark star – put it on your list. freedom jazz

  8. marcoesq Says:

    Love this Twist

  9. Kaveh Says:

    Great Piper from today’s list…never heard it before.

  10. btb Says:

    anyone here hiked Yosemite before? looking to do 70 miles or so on PCT/JMT. tx

  11. viola Says:

    hail fenway 5.31.09 what a great way to open tour in the city of champions

    would love to find the pollock shirt from that show. i sat in the baller EMC seats above homeplate outside the restaurant. great people great time

  12. marcoesq Says:

    Listen to the Light from that set too, Kaveh. Both of them get the Gorge Sally treatment

  13. Kaveh Says:

    I will…knee deep in the Alpine Twist.

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Alpine Piper from the next night gets pretty dark as well. Worth a spin

  15. Kaveh Says:

    Yep; those Alpine shows were good; first and only time I stayed at the lodge on site.

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    Boy howdy, that Portland Ghost…serious foreshawdowing of the Boise Bag.

    Happy Friday, Gents (and Ladies).

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    Damnit I love the Alpine lodge… gonna miss it this summer.

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sumo – I think Dicks, behind back Fish side speaker rack is THE place to bring English Country Dancing together with Phish. Please begin planning accordingly.

  19. viola Says:

    7.18.03 gin>mango is no slouch…. long been a favorita 03 gem

  20. BNCB Says:

    Top of the morn! Great picks and of course I’m on the edge of range and can’t stream.

    I have another track from that AA show on my rough draft list.

    This place rules. Hope you all are somewhere between surviving and thriving.

    Love the fact that no matter how early I pull a firstube, I’m still behind Kaya.


  21. marcoesq Says:

    Ann Arbor Stash is also very good

  22. kayatosh Says:

    time lag

    happy friday, indeed. waist deep in 73 GD.

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice picks!

    slowly it seems all of my selections would be presented prior to my list proper.

    Asi es!

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Now I’m stuck in an ’03 hole

  25. BooVT Says:

    Adjacent co-worker played Pandora’s 80’s Rock station, then left for lunch. Foreigner’s Juke Box Hero stuck in my head. I want to cut my head off to make it stop.

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