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.

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

  1. kayatosh Says:

    went back to the DS comp.

    track 10 is the winner.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really love the Quadrophonic Topplings during BC

    AlphaUber, man. Had to go with the Sand>Topplings over numerous other options. Always loved that track and then they do that with it? Pfft.

  3. MiA Says:

    Should it be in AlphaÜber or not?
    Can I mow the yard to this?

    Yes. Yes I can.

  4. P.S.H.S Says:

    GoT was awesome last night. I didn’t read the books, which I think makes an episode like last nights all that much better, IMO. I had been saying to wifey for a few weeks, “shit is gonna go down, I just don’t know what”. I hope the season finale has some more surprises. It’s pretty interesting that the elder Starks were killed, and Bran might have just become the most powerful man alive, the professor x of westeros

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    It is also great for the following:
    -late night empty highway driving
    -aimlessly walking through an airport unrushed observing
    -by the bonfire with the spliffs a-passing
    -knee deep trying to finish lease negotiating (personal experience on this one)
    -introspective headspace cleansing
    – [insert more gerundive activities here]

  6. MiA Says:

    Droppin’ GoT spoilers. Can we talk about AD yet?

    Job kills everyone in a magic trick… I mean illusion.

  7. MiA Says:

    Good for gerunding

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    If you haven’t had GoT spoil’d yet today you haven’t been on the internet. I might watch it again tonight or reread that part of the book if the nhl/nba tilts don’t pan out as exciting

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    -cooking dinner
    -late night vacation dance parties
    -early morning vacation wake ups
    -any vacation activity

    Get Lucky is a great cover call. Mike would crush that bass line and that song is beggong to be extended.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Well that’s one way to quiet the crowd from the start

  11. jtran Says:

    anyone have nba streaming link?

  12. joe Says:

    tnt online has the awful behind the backboard cameras and sideline shots.

  13. joe Says:

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really don’t want to spoil this game if anyone is dvr’ing or behind but… holy crap

  15. joe Says:

    I’m listening online and then watching later. hard for me to avoid texts/twitter feeds, etc. when I’m already bored to death at work. actually going to try to switch over to hoop game and watch rest of bruins on dvr when I get home

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    This game is nuts

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    The overhead view is of me in a maze. Glue got us into the AAA tow zone. We surrender.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    floyd’s gonna lose that 5.9 mil.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @silly, did you get my text?!

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    potentially shooting a potential album cover tomorrow on a $30,000 camera. ahhh

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    You gave it a good fight lu.

  22. MiA Says:

    PIT can’t skate and pass. BOS can. Great stick handling.

  23. joe Says:

    do they have the feed up in Canada? still no shot for bruins this series? goaltending doesn’t matter?

  24. lumpyhead Says:

    atta way DF!

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    Tow truck driver saw me check my phone and asked if I wanted to put on “any of my music?”. Don’t think he had this 97 Phoenix Antelope in mind.
    Think i got the the Bill Withers greatest hits on here…

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