First Nights of the Later Eras

10.17.14, Eugene, OR (Eric Battuello)

Phish continued their unspoken tradition of dropping a chunk ofnheavy-hitting first night improv right on through the 2.0 and the modern era. Enjoy this long playlist of highlights, all plucked from the first nights of tours and chronologically ordered for your listening pleasure.

Bathtub Gin” / “Walls -> Carini” 2.14.03 II, Los Angeles, CA

After their shaky comeback run at MSG at Hampton, Phish announced their presence of authority with a feel-good and deeply grooving “Bathtub Gin” in the first set, and this menacing, wide open second set combo of “Walls -> Carini”  at the old LA Forum.

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Wolfman’s > Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.7.03 II, Phoenix, AZ

This second-set opening combination was like happening upon a treasure in the middle of a desert. As “Wolfman’s” grew darker and demented, Phish twisted into the debut of “Scents and Subtle Sounds” in one of their greatest new song unveilings of their career What first sounded like a fable soon transformed into a glorious jam, and Phish’s Summer Tour of 2003 was officially underway.



46 Days” 6.17.04 II, Brooklyn, NY

Coney Island’s Keyspan Park was a perfect atmosphere in which to kick off a summer tour. This version of “46 Days” went deep, opening up the psychedelic vortex that would engulf the eternally underrated first leg of Summer ’04.



46 Days” 11.18.09 I, Detroit, MI

This dark horse version of “46 Days” from Cobo’s opening set came out of nowhere and is pure filth. A total diamond in the rough, Phish was still getting their sea legs back and dropped this dripping piece of psych-funk on the first night of Fall ’09.



Ghost” 6.11.10 II, Chicago, IL

This version of “Ghost” from 2010’s opening night at Toyota Park was gargantuan at the time. And even years later, it can still hold its own.



Waves > Caspian > Crosseyed” 5.27.11 II, Bethel NY

A methodical deconstruction of “Boogie On’s” groove led into this powerful trifecta from opening night of 2011 at Bethel. Both “Waves” and “Crosseyed” pack a punch, though of a decidedly different musical nature.



Rock and Roll -> Meatstick” 8.5.11 II, George, WA

Opening night at The Gorge in 2011 resulted not only in an all-tour jam, but an all-timer. This sequence is still among the elite of the modern era. A month after Super Ball’s Storage Jam, Phish integrated the dark and abstract style into this improvisational behemoth. And what a segue into “Meatstick,” also up there with the all-time greats.



Carini” / “Ghost > Boogie On” 6.7.12 II, Worcester, MA

Throw opening night of summer tour indoors and one gets much darker results. Both “Carini” and “Ghost > Boogie On” highlighted the second set, the former with more abstract psych rock, and the latter with grooves aplenty.

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Rock and Roll  > Ghost” 8.15.12, II, Long Beach, CA

It was in Long Beach on the opening night of Leg Two during Summer 2012 that Phish truly rediscovered long form jamming for keeps. It seemed as though they had reeled in their jams a bit over Leg One to tighten things up, and over Leg Two they began to let things breathe again. This “Rock and Roll” is a loose exploration that is a stark contrast to the tighter, thematic style of jamming we’ve heard over most of 2013 and much of 2014.



Carini” 10.18.13 II, Hampton, VA

In a Fall Tour littered with jams at every turn, Phish dropped one of tour’s elite excursions during the first night of the run at Hampton Coliseum. This jam needs no introduction at this point, as it garnered almost instantaneous fame in the community. No jam of 2013 contained more swagger than the Hampton “Carini.”



Harry Hood” 7.1.14 II, Mansfield, MA

This all-time version of “Harry Hood” went down during this summer’s opening night at Great Woods, and it would be the best version of summer tour. This version inaugurated a year of wide open “Harry Hoods,” though I’m not sure this version has been topped.



Twist > Crosseyed > Hood” 10.17.14 II, Eugene, OR

This three-song sequence from Eugene was packed to the gills with high-level and creative improvisation, setting the bar incredibly high for Fall 2014 on just the first night. “Crosseyed” provided the centerpiece of the set with a multi-tiered leviathan, but the bookends were incredibly inventive takes on their songs as well.

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13,510 Responses to “First Nights of the Later Eras”

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  1. phishm Says:


  2. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Awesome piece & playlist Miner. Some serious gems. Christmas came early this yr.

    Pulled a total dorn & T3 & tripost’d to Miner’s Df’s pretty Forum pics post. D’oh! Would’ve beaten phishm to first bunch too. Damnit.

    Jerome Garcia Says:
    December 2nd, 2014 at 2:18 am
    Morning phreaks. Day late & a dollar short as per my usual but just fired up 12/1/95 Her-shae in the phones. Damn do I love a Buried Alive opener. This Disease is just pure fire from note one. They attack! Looking fwd to the rest of this legendary show of which this my 1st top to bottom spin. #n00b’d

    Brother snow & fam on the mind & in the heart again this AM. Much love.

    Make it a good one.

    Jerome Garcia Says:
    December 2nd, 2014 at 2:30 am
    Non jammed Disease taboot. Ha! Sneaky phuckers.

    Jerome Garcia Says:
    December 2nd, 2014 at 2:39 am
    Good golly Miss Molly Goblin this Dust is break neck. Fish most assuredly had his extra appendages strapped on this night 18 yrs & 364 days ago.

  3. stapes Says:

    Tweezer was the following night in Brooklyn, not the 17th.

    Nice list. Don’t miss opening night?

  4. MiA Says:

    Phish is gonna destroy Opening Night of Miami. 4 song second set.

    People will be packing up their yurts and scrambling to Miami. I feel it.

  5. btb Says:

    Jams? You brought jams?!

    Morning y’all

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    happy birthday, phish. may the next 31 years be as fruitful in whatever fashion you choose as the prior have been for all of us. I feel so lucky to have been able to have shared in more than 20 of those years myself.

    no phishtory from me today as miner’s post does more than enough to sate the need with some top shelf stuff from across the years but there are some very notable and high quality shows to seek out from 12.02s gone by if you are so inclined.

  7. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    cool list, miner. there is nothing from fall 2010. what would be considered the tour opener, austin or broomfield? i don’t think i have ever caught an opening night of tour, unless you count broomfield 2010. i don’t think there was anything to write home about from the first night at broomfield.

  8. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Wouldn’t the Broomfield highlight be jamming with Kang at that relief show?

  9. btb Says:

    Hey bingo – our Cobo 46 Days made a list

  10. btb Says:


  11. marcoesq Says:

    Fuckin Phish, love it. Great list of jams here Miner.

    Oh, and I still love the BG Ghost. Maybe more than ever before. Once they start to reach that peak it’s just a slow-mo-fist-pumping 70’s rocker

  12. dorn76 Says:


  13. marcoesq Says:

    Who’s around Hotlanta tonight? Let’s get ripped

  14. dorn76 Says:

    What a horrible football game not lost by Miami last night!!

    I was more entertained watching Steve Young explain the various ways the Dolphins stink in the postgame.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    here ya go, dorn

  16. jtran Says:

    31 years ago pic:

  17. dorn76 Says:

    Pretty funny and dead on interview w/Chris Rock on Ferguson and such.

    “I would cover anything. I mean, I’d be in Ferguson right now, and it would be in-depth, and it would be funny.”

    “So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

  18. dorn76 Says:

    They jammed back then.

    (wistful sigh)

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    We made it BtB! My only fall show of 3.0. Fun trip. First time I ever met a BBer was BtB in the parking lot with punk mug and worthlessswampyfool. All because I saw the Great Lakes Beer case. Good times.

    And Miner validating the Toyota Ghost! Fuck yes. That place was breathing.

    Happy birthday Phish. I love you gawz. For true.

  20. btb Says:

    Werd homie.

    Like that AZ Scents…like it when Trey jams with chords.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    started my day by listening to the Scarlet>Fire from that first show.

    now moving through the other notables from this date before hitting miner’s awesome stuff.

    gosh dang it, this 12.02 date delivers. I don’t think I could pick just one to highlight if I had to here.

    ::resist all the urges that make you want to go out and write overly long synopses of shows gone by::

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “Tweezer was the following night in Brooklyn, not the 17th.”- Stapes

    Beat me to the punch… Night two was also the Jay-Z sit in… That was a weird night..In a stupor leaving the show I left my back pack in the venue…Nothing important in there besides some work clothes and phone ( work)… Anyway, still partying hours later back in Hoboken I get a phone call from my father. They found my phone in the bag and called the first number they found in it.. Woke my old man up at 2 am… He was not too pleased with his 30 year old nitwit son at the time.

    2 days later made the trek back to Coney Island to retrieve my belongings..Coney Island isn’t a very nice place, outside of the amusement park ..

    Agree with Miner, great spot for Phish though.. In an AC kind of way.

  23. btb Says:

    6/11/10 Ghost indeed holds up.

    So ghosty

  24. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

  25. MiA Says:

    “Coney Island isn’t a very nice place, outside of the amusement park”

    Warriors…. come out to playyyyayyyyyayyyy

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