Archive for the ‘Phish’ Category

Stream every Phish show available online dating back to 1983

phishtracks website

Even if you’re not a fan of the band, you have to admit @jefflang did a fine job with this site that’s dedicated to the foursome from Vermont. It’s clean and makes it very simple to find what you are looking for, which for most Phish fans is finding the gems you either faintly remember seeing oh so many years ago or perhaps a gem you missed but recently heard has the best version of Bathtub Gin.

I’ve been having fun quickly jumping around to most of the shows I’ve seen in past years. A gem I picked out was from the Hersey show in 2000, the Tube -> Jam is very tasty and well worth the 20 minutes. Listen to this jam now.

Go now to and as @ohkeepahblog proclaimed, have yourself a “most unproductive day in months”.

Phish releases live DVD from Summer 98 – Star Lake

phish star lake amp 98 dvd

This was my first long tour with Phish. At this point I had seen my first show back in 96 and a few shows during fall 97 (Philly and Penn State). I had missed all of 97 summer tour, including the Went, which I had tickets for but due to a last minute change of heart from the parents, I was denied the chance to drive with my neighbor up from Philly to Limestone.

So this was truly my first real tour experience and it is a key point in my life where I fully solidified what I would be doing for the years to come – listening, dissecting and obsessing over Phish.

This show is a bit overshadowed by what took place the night before where Phish dipped their toes into the Grateful Dead song book by playing “Terrapin Station” as a tribute to Jerry Garcia since it was the anniversary of his passing away. After years and years of trying to shake the Dead comparisons, of which there are very little musically, they dropped this in the encore at Virginia Beach, getting the fans all up in arms and buzzing about the bust out.

“Down With Disease” – Star Lake 98 DVD from Phish on Vimeo.

But this was a summer of covers even being officially deemed the “Summer of Covers” by fans as the band played a new cover every night. At Burgesstown they played more then one bust out cover, perhaps knowing they had a lot to live up to from the prior night. A big bust out for the old heads in the crowd was Little Feet’s “Time Loves a Hero” (1,000 show gap). But it was the opening that got the crowd grooving, Bob Marley’s “Trench Town Rock”. I have to admit as I usually do when it comes to Phish singing songs by artists who, well, can actually sing – the song kind of fell flat. But it’s often the novelty of your favorite band playing another one of your favorite bands songs that makes the whole experience worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Phish’s singing when the song fits their tones, such is the case for covers of The Rolling Stones or Talking Heads.

As for the show as a whole, I mostly remember it for the epic “Runaway Jim” that starts out the second set. This monster clocks in at 35 minutes and meanders in many different experimental and ethereal directions, including a theatrical nod to West Side Story with a tease of “Maria” from Trey. Other highlights include a knock-your-socks-off “Maze” and a sublime “Reba”.

The DVD will be released on December 11th but you can pre-order right now and if you do, you’ll also receive a CD of other Star Lake gems that were hand picked by the archivist himself, Kevin Shapiro.

Page McConnell and The Metermen open up new Harvard Square venue

There’s a new musical playground called The Sinclair that is going into downtown Harvard Square. This is pretty awesome news since you can never have too many music venue options. Based on the list of bands they have lined up for the first go around it looks like it’s going to have a similar vibe to the former Harper’s Ferry (funk, soul, jam, underground hip hop, etc.).

I couldn’t find any examples of this specific lineup playing together but if I had to guess, it’ll probably sound something like this…

And we can only hope it sounds as close to this…


Phish 2012 Summer Tour Highlight | Light -> Ghost

phish alpine light 2012

What makes this a highlight is not due to a funk dance party, high energy notes from Trey or bass bombs from Gordon. No, instead this is a highlight for the full band conversation that takes place in this “Light” jam. I’ve already lost count as to how many times I’ve included “Light” in my highlight reels but each one is unique and this is by far the most unique version so far this tour. The “Ghost”, while not smoking or as experimental as say Worcester, adds a nice caper as they culminate towards the end reciting the “Crosseyed & Painless” chorus. The segue into “Back on the Train” is also worthy of a listen as is most of this show, however, once “Farmhouse” kicks in after GBOTT the air gets a bit deflated.

Video Quality Note: Who ever did these shots had some shaky hands but the sound quality is top notch

In the “Light” jam, besides the “Frankie Says” quotes, listen for Gordon as he gets close to teasing the Simpsons’s theme song and also Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening” bass line.

We have just a few more highlights from the first leg to post and as promised, hoping to get them all up before leg 2 starts in four days.

Download (Source: The Spreadsheet):

“Back on the Train”

Phish Summer 2012 Highlights | DWD -> Sand @ Deer Creek

phish at deer creek in 2012

A song known for it’s jams, “Down With Disease” makes its first appearance in my highlight reel. This was one hot weekend out in Indiana, or so I heard since I was not there. My only trip out to the Creek was back in the summer of 2000 (Chalkdust Reprise and Moby Dick memories) and from what I remember there were a ton of corn fields surrounding the venue. The venue is surrounded by a grass field where everyone parks and camps out (unless you opt to camp on someone’s farm land where cops are not as prevalent). But it sounds like those corn fields are getting replaced with strip malls, which is sad to hear.

Thankfully the site of strip malls, an eye sour to most locals, hasn’t changed the way Phish treats their fans that make the trek to Knoblesville. While the first night was well played, including some great bust outs in “The Birdwatcher”, a new Marshall / Anastasio that had only been played once before in 2010, and “The Old Home Place”. The fan favorite “Tela” made an appearance and a “McGrupp” that found itself stuck in a Mike’s Groove was jammed out to it’s breaking point. But when it comes to jam highlights that stretch the outer boundaries, the first night was lacking. This one two punch in the second set of night two makes up for any lack of exploration in night one. A combined twenty five minutes (30 if you include Twist), if the fans were sweating from the weather, they sure were after Phish dropped yet another memorable Deer Creek jam. Keep an eye out for the Weekapaug teases from Trey in Sand and also the odd key changes towards the end that tees them up for a segue into “Twist”.

Download (Source: The Spreadsheet):


Phish 2012 Summer Tour Highlights – Crosseyed -> Slave -> Light @ Bader Field

There was a lot of talk about the “Birds of a Feather” from the first night second set opener but in my opinion this trio takes the cake as the highlight jam reel of the Bader Field weekend. The overall jam out of “Crosseyed” is nothing to write home about but nonetheless it came out with blazing Trey licks and gets the energy level cranking. As the Crosseyed jam hit cool down mode and we entered into A-major bliss, there were a few hints to the “Slave to the Traffic Light” lurking around the corner. A song typically reserved as a set closer, Slave is a fan favorite both for its old school appeal (one of their oldest songs in their arsenal) and the shear beauty of the jam so it’s presence only two songs in is a rare but much appreciated treat.

One great aspect about placing Slave in an early slot is that instead of running out of steam at the end of a show, they are just getting going and it allowed the gang to throw some extra sauce at this Slave jam. And as the song peaks and comes to a close, they turn on a dime and start up “Light”. A song that at first I did not care for but it has grown on me, especially with some of the jams it’s produced recently. It has clearly turned into one of their favorite launch pads and is unquestionably one of the MVPs so far of 2012. Where Crosseyed and Slave may have been relatively standard versions albeit played with great energy and key ingredients to this 2012 highlight, “Light” is the clear improvisational winner.

Their confidence in stepping out of the box, letting songs and jams breathe is on full display in this “Light”. Not too long after pulling into the jam Trey sparks up the beginning melody to the Dizzy Gillespie cover, “Manteca”, and as soon as Fishman picks up on Trey’s recommendation the jazz jam ensues. For a short while we get the full on groove and lyrics from this classic cover but it quickly dissolves back into an energetic run setting the stage and crowd abuzz with anticipation. Our first real transition away from this jazzy section is a series of funky licks that feature Trey and Page grooving off of one another with nasty chord progressions that take us to funky town. They then pull back into a dissonant jam filled mostly with staccato notes from Trey and great comp action from Page while Fishman’s drum pace keeps the dancing vibe alive. All along Gordon hitting a lot of high registered bass notes, mimicking Trey at times with his frantic pace. Next comes they layer the Crosseyed chorus, “Still Waiting”, over top of the “Light” chorus bringing this trio full circle and adding in one final peak essentially put the crowd into the palm of their hand for the rest of the evening.

Phish 2012 Summer Tour Highlights – Twist @ Riverbend Music Center

For whatever reason, when Phish heads to the midwest these days they always seem to turn up the heat and this show from Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati to get the 2012 midwest stint off and running sure lives up to hype. Helped on by one giant bustout in the first set with “Shaggy Dog”, the second set had some extra special energy stemming from the crowd, even if it the music itself started out a little suspect with an awkwardly placed “Guelah Papyrus” out of the DWD jam.

When the boys swayed into “Twist” after an exceptionally rocking “Kill Devil Falls” it seemed like things were heading in the right direction. Turns out the direction they were feeling was dark and mysterious. With humpback whale calls galore and demonic bass drops from Gordon, this “Twist” is one for the jam record books. Even the opening gives you chills. This, among many other notable jams we’ll be highlighting later on, is another strong statement that Phish owns the Midwest.

Phish 2012 Summer Tour Highlights – Birds of a Feather @ Bader Field

Phish – 6/15/12 “Birds Of A Feather > Back On The Train > Heavy Things” from Phish on Vimeo.

On (the fan based site for Phish) at the very end of the Song History section for “Birds of a Feather” after highlighting the best jammed out versions that have existed over the years since its debut in 1998, it reads:

Resurfacing occasionally for Phish 3.0, “Birds” hasn’t quite hit those heights again, but the version from the generally outstanding Hartford show from 8/14/09 was pretty terrific.

I think it’s safe to say that this statement can now be adjusted with this version from Bader Field. Rearing it’s head out for the first time of the 2012 Summer Tour, BoF got the second set of the first night at Bader Field in Atlantic City going strong as it usually does. But I’m sure most of the traveling fans in the crowd were thinking, “alright, lets get through this Trey freak out and move into something that has more promise”. But of course up till this point we had only seen Phish’s new jam legs stretched at Worcester since Bannaroo left much to desire on the jam front. If this was more mid-tour, I’m sure expectations would have been higher. But thankfully all in attendance got a nice little surprise as the boys took this one beyond it’s borders and then some.

At around the ten minute mark the locked in jamming that is on display is something any music fan should appreciate. The comping, riffs being laid down and rhythms are all fluid and cohesive, building a framework for a style of jamming that has now become synonymous with Summer 2012. It’s an extension of the Storage Jam that came about during Super Ball IX during last years Summer tour. But they have clearly extended on this style and have added more groove and melody to the mix. The key is how all members, especially Mike (bass) and Page (keys), have been contributing to the direction of the jams. It’s well documented that Trey (lead guitar) is the leader of the group. And while this may still be the case and I’m sure the band wouldn’t argue, when it comes to the live show, they’re all in it together. On the heels of a New Years Eve run that left many fans wondering whether the band had lost their jamming wings, the musical growth of all members is hitting a peak this tour and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The ‘Birds jam finally comes to a head at the fifteen minute mark but that doesn’t mean the music and dancing have to stop as it segues fluidly into “Back Onto The Train”. The segues, a common theme among Phish shows and jam bands in general, have been strong this tour and pulled off for the most part without a hitch, which is key for a show being dawned as a dud or stud. So far, we have mostly studs this tour.

Phish 2012 Summer Tour Highlights – Mike’s -> Simple -> Light -> ‘Paug @ Burgettstown

The Mike’s -> Simple transition is as classic as it gets. Many “best of” versions of the Mike’s Groove sequence have included this transition. Some of the more notables are from their ’94 tour such as 6/22/94 (Simple, Icculus, Catapult, H2, etc.) or 11/16/94 has one of the more impressive “Simples” who’s jam stands strong just on it’s let alone being sandwiched between Mike’s and Weekapaug. But probably one of the more memorable versions is the Vegas ’96, which for those that enjoyed the Blister SPAC teases will respect the Blister tease that pops up during this Simple jam. [Download the Phish Vegas 96 from]

Here at Burgesstown we have yet another best of version and hands down a top ten if not top five jam sequence of leg one. The Mike’s is pretty straightforward but has a ton of energy and makes for one rocking experience. What’s great about “Simple” instead of “Hydrogen” is it keeps the energy level up slightly as you enter into a new realm of music. When “Hydrogen” is played, while albeit great to hear, especially if it’s after a rapid fire “Mike’s Song” where a cool down is needed, it can deflate the energy. Unfortunately in this era where they aren’t stretching Mike’s into those dark, fast paced depths as much as they use to so carrying the energy on into the next song is important in keeping the fans on their feet.

Things really start getting interesting about half way through the “Simple” jam when their ambient side takes a hold of the evening. Seguing beautifully into the jam vehicle, “Light”, they craft yet another amazing version of this song, and you haven’t seen the last of it when it comes to these here highlight posts. This version may not top the energy of the Bader Field version but it has heavier grooves that include plinko style jamming layered all over the place. Trey also has some really sweet melodies that he sprinkles on top of the groove making for a very playful sound that I can only imagine got the masses in the crowd going bonkers. With Kuroda’s light show in full effect, it is quite a mesmerizing performance.

As they set their sites on bringing this sequence to a close, entering into the “Weekapaug Groove”, they carry over the plinko grooves from “Light” and make this a ‘paug that is a must here. If you have to listen to any song in this sequence it’s this ‘paug. It sums up a lot of what they accomplished in this 40+ minutes of music exploration. It has energy, it has groove, it has moments of simplicity and creativity and you will be hard pressed to find a better version of this song anywhere in the Phish 3.0 era.

This show in general is a must hear, as just confirmed with their Leg 1 breakdown putting this second set as the 2nd best set of the tour thus far. Check out the rest of their list.