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. angryjoggerz Says:

    Same venue, GD – was at those shows too (and the 03 Phish) – and am looking at the venue as I type this – office view.

  2. gavinsdad Says:

    @janx – i’m not on FB anymore but check out the SOP (school of phish) group. they have a specific set of rules for a trade post (an internal document if i remember correctly) but lots of people hook up trades across that group. might be a little bit broader group than here and smaller than COT.

  3. voopa Says:

    The facility, originally named Rosemont Horizon, was intended to be the home of the WHA Chicago Cougars, but the franchise folded in 1975. The Village of Rosemont issued $19 million in bonds to finance the cost of the arena with exclusive contracts with Araserv, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and MFG International.

    On August 13, 1979, the uncompleted roof of the Rosemont Horizon collapsed, killing five construction workers and injuring 16 others. The collapse was featured in the “Engineering Disasters” episode of Modern Marvels, first broadcast by The History Channel on April 20, 2006.

    The Rosemont Horizon was featured in the 1985 music video “Big City Nights” by Scorpions.

    Insurance company Allstate signed a ten-year contract worth more than $10 million on June 9, 1999 to acquire naming rights to the arena and renovate it.

    You’re welcome for getting “Big City Nights” stuck in your head now.

  4. voopa Says:

    Belated close italic tag.

  5. MiA Says:

    If you’re gonna drop any psychedelics out in the woods that may require a rescue… I recommend having a girl to get naked for the 911 call to ensure promptness.

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Tobias Funke

  7. Leo Weaver Says:


  8. ElJefe Says:

    Rosemont 93 my only GD show shut out… Next show, worst Dead show I ever saw… And I saw some clunkers…

  9. marcoesq Says:

    Allstate Tweezer is some gritty, dark ass shred heaven. Seems like Tweezers were always getting dropped in Chi for first time of tour.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    make sure you listen to that -7, marco.
    you won’t be disappointed

  11. marcoesq Says:

    Shit usually gets real when any of the following are dropped in a 2nd set


  12. kenny powers Says:

    “Shit usually gets real when any of the following are dropped in a 2nd set


    This needs to be on a t-shirt or sticker.

  13. Snigglebeach Says:

    If anyone out west, that is hitting Dicks, I’d like to set up a download code trade.

    I’ll have extra code(s) for all 3 SPAC, would love to trade for those dicks shows. Anyone interested hit me up at my legit email snigglebeach@ yahoo. com.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    2nd Set Gins

    “When Shit Gets Real”

  15. marcoesq Says:

    Shit is currently getting real in Turkey. Wonder if anyone dropped a 2nd set Gin on them.

  16. marcoesq Says:

    Sniggle, I’m your man. I’ll email you

  17. Snigglebeach Says:

    Good deal

  18. marcoesq Says:

    That Taste is pretty legit, KP. Dark hose-a-riffic

  19. kenny powers Says:

    right marco?!? sick Taste amongst the dreck.

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    this first set Allstate 03 Simple is getting real.

  21. MiA Says:

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    stop talking near the goddamned tapers section!

    rule #1 “the elders” were supposed to tell you after “scalpers are scum”

    tapers section is hallowed ground. stealth tapers with mini mics clipped to their glasses? well, they gotta give you some indication that they are working that way you can blaze out everyone around them.

  23. voopa Says:

    This Dallas YEM ^^ is great…lots of wah early on, prepping us all for the cowfunk…and what’s with the crowd cheers at 5-6 min. in? Reminiscent of Big Ball Jams, because it’s clearly something visual. Anyone know?

  24. marcoesq Says:

    That Tweezer is so good. Power of Soul teases and all. Loved when it got dropped on SBD

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    strong choice, MiA.

    with the power
    of soul
    anything is

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