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. voopa Says:

    Happy Birthday Leon!

  2. MiA Says: First time I’ve heard this version of Power of Soul too…

  3. MiA Says:

    I’m not falling for that Voopa. I have your number.

  4. gavinsdad Says:

    live streaming the new BOC here:

  5. BNCB Says:

    Lol Df. That was great.

  6. MiA Says:

    MIA – you make that run?

    No. Regrettably. That is a damn great couple weeks in Phishtory though.


  7. SillyWilly Says:

    So, I’m 26 years old. Retired.

    And cashing out my deferred compensation fund for tour.

    Phish Tour, Fuck the Rest.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Play it Cleo!

  9. voopa Says:


    Today at work I’ve been reviewing Brake Pressure Modulator Valve replacement articles in our database…seems that our OCR software circa ’01-’02 was correcting “TORX” to “TORY.” Funny.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Goddamn right silly. I wish I had half the balls you got.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    mine are hard to see, bingos.

    so I’m less vulnerable.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    damn. threw on the Leaked SBDs comp (thanks Kenny P, as always) since that Fox Tweez is a part of it and the next tune to pop up on random was Fixin’ to Die (IU soundcheck).

    of course, this was notably played during the epic run of fall 94 shows gdad mentioned above.

  13. gavinsdad Says:

    i constantly cross reference sbds against KPs original 2 groupings. so much goodness in there.

  14. kenny powers Says:

    glad you guys have enjoyed them! i’ve been so out of the loop the past couple years with any possible leaks, checking the green board for links, etc etc. Other than the official SBD fillers like Beunaventura, have i missed any new leaks?

  15. kenny powers Says:

    or Live Baits…i know there’s been at least one since late 2011. If there’s been more than that, I should really make revised versions. One of these days.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    KP, there was also the FTA double show for SPAC last year.

  17. MiA Says:

    Kinda surprised the Bozeman Tweezer has never been released on SBD. Other than the ALO snippet.

  18. MiA Says:

    I could go for a new Live Bait around now…

  19. kenny powers Says:

    They did a FTA for the SPAC shows last year?? that’s random. I’ll have to look around. I def never saw any pre-FMs pop up on

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Yeah. It is a doozy too. Quad C Halley’s kicks it off in a big way

  21. kenny powers Says:


  22. MiA Says:

    CCCC Halley’s is a 24 minute orgasm. There. I said it.

  23. dusty Says:

    I’ve been kinda pissed over the past few years with the influx of 4 pack IPAs. 4pack imperial stouts or barleywine…sure. Even four pack imperial IPAs, but fuck dogfish for exporting its 4 pack 90min west and then fuck green flash for running with it.

    For those enjoying IPAs…get a proper glass. Makes a difference. Dogfish and Sierra designed one. Get it from Sierra. Sculpin into Hoptimum tonight.

  24. joe Says:

    phishows has them all, KP. Good to “see” you here, hope you are doing well.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’m an acolyte in the service of the Quad C Halley’s
    My role is to promote it to any who will hear IT

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