Phish Ventura

 

The site of the Ventura County Fairgrounds shows was a general admission dirt racetrack between the Pacific Coast Highway and Surfers Point Park; with palm trees and mountains behind the stage and a view of the Pacific Ocean from the bleachers.

July 30, 1997 was Phish’s first Ventura stop since Trey learned to surf nearby in 1993, and both the 1997 and 1998 Ventura Fairgrounds setlists were laced with coastal themes referencing the scenic locale. Ventura ‘97 featured a number of must-hear performances including a bass-driven, syncopated Wolfman’s Brother > Chalk Dust Torture, a deep and spacey Stash and a gnarly Character Zero in set I. Peak improvisation of the highest order defined set II with a Free > David Bowie > Cities > David Bowie combination that dominated the show’s second half with some of the summer’s biggest jams. Add in Weigh (played just twice that summer), the first West Coast Piper and a blazing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire and the result was a steaming cauldron of patient funk and cacophonous shredding that defined summer 1997 Phish.

On July 20, 1998 Phish again encountered Ventura’s breezy oceanside. Ventura ’98 was characterized by some new songs, some bustouts and some wicked jams played with a democratic group-mind that conjured a stellar Bathtub Gin opener, a new arrangement of Water In The Sky, the swinging funk of The Moma Dance and a hairy Split Open And Melt set I closer. Set II exploded with a crucial bass-and-drums-fueled Drowned > Makisupa Policeman pairing that utilized Page’s synth stylings to seamlessly blend rock and reggae. A concentrated Maze led to a perfectly placed, self-referential Sea And Sand - played for the first time since 12/31/95 and only the third time ever. An inspired Prince Caspian carved the way into the Harry Hood set II closer. The encore was the Phish debut of Sexual Healing as Trey played drums and Fish, to the crowd’s delight, sang Marvin Gaye’s tale of capsizing in rising waves of love. A funky, experimental Halley’s Comet capped the show as the band left the stage one-by-one to waves of digital delay that swept the beachside fairgrounds.

The Ventura box set captures the feel of two magical nights of Phish - recorded by Paul Languedoc to multitrack tape, mixed by Jon Altschiller and mastered by Fred Kevorkian. Jams from the soundchecks were included at the end of both shows for a glimpse behind the scenes. This collection is a summer soundtrack that just gets better with every listen.

Enjoy! --ks

PHISH: Feb. 1993 The Roxy, Atlanta, GA

The Roxy - Feb. 1993

 

February of 1993 was a heady time for Phish and their career was on the steady climb in terms of musicality, popularity and ambition.  They had just released their fourth major-label album Rift on February 2nd – based on a dream concept with some of the most challenging music the band had ever written or performed.

The band had been touring nationally for the better part of four years since their Colorado '88 excursion.  They had played dozens of multiple-night stands over the years, had toured with a 3-piece horn section, headlined the HORDE Tour and opened some high profile gigs in Europe and Stateside for the Violent Femmes and Santana.  Corresponding with Rift's release were some technical changes too.  Page changed his instrumentation to include a Yamaha C7 Baby Grand Piano (prompting, among other things, the band's inspiring cover of The Rolling Stones' "Loving Cup").  In addition to the keyboards upgrade, bass sub-woofers were now standard across the front row giving a lot more kick to the kick drum and bass guitar.  Despite regularly sold out headline shows at clubs, colleges and theaters, Phish had not headlined more than two consecutive nights at any venue since 1990.  Their three-show run at The Roxy Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia ended that streak and set the stage for many classic tripartite celebrations to follow.  The Roxy Theatre is located Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood and was named after a famous downtown Atlanta movie-house closed in the seventies.  The Spanish Baroque building was built in 1927 and opened in 1930 as the Buckhead Theater.  It continued as the Capri Theatre and went through several name changes before it began to be used as concert hall in the 1980's.  The intimate room was laid out perfectly for live Phish with an capacity of 1,250 with a long sloping floor, balcony at the back and two smaller Loge sections on either side of the main balcony for extra dancing room.

When tickets for this three-night stand were put on sale, Phish had played the State of Georgia fourteen times – seven in Atlanta, and had become friends with local heroes Widespread Panic and Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, sharing bills nationwide over the course of the past few years.  Their last show in Atlanta had flooded out due to a problem with the plumbing at the historic Variety Playhouse Theatre the previous spring, during which they promised their growing local fan base that they would make it up to them.  That show, on March 28, 1992 was historic for a number of reasons including the flood that eventually ended it soon after the first set ended.  It was the band's largest Atlanta show.  It took place at ARU's main haunt in the hip Little Five Points neighborhood.  It featured some fiery playing as well as Phish's only public performance of Gershwin's Lullaby of Birdland and, after it became apparent that the show could not go on as an electric concert, the intrepid band members managed to pull off a four-song encore acapella with no microphones or stage power (it had been shut off to avoid electrocution).  "We'll make it up to you" was the mantra from a band unwilling to cut their show short for much of anything, especially a plumbing problem.  While soundboard tapes did not survive the Variety Playhouse show, the legend did and excitement peaked when tickets went on sale for three nights in a row less than a year later.

The Roxy shows were the makeup gigs that set the stage for a rich legacy of mind-bending Atlanta performances – 26 in all over the years.  This southern cultural mecca, birthplace of Coca Cola and Piedmont Park and an aquarium for the ages became something of a home away from home for Phish.  The Roxy hosted three inspiring nights of tube-screaming, piano-pounding, organ swirling, tribal-gone-jazz-and-back drumming and deep sub-sonic bass that tore the roof off the place and helped secure a hallowed status for Phish whenever they visited.

PHISH: At The Roxy captures a magical moment for the band and their audience during a period of peak experimentation, risk and discovery.  The playfulness of the early years was still apparent but it was mixing more and more with drop-dead serious jamming that was becoming as dark, heavy and scary as it was whimsical.  At the same time, the quartet was experimenting with their acoustic, bluegrass side that peaked over the next several years and which provided a perfect baffle to the intense, psychedelic rock of Rift-era Phish. At The Roxy showcases the heart of it with three complete two-set shows – seventy-eight unique songs with only one repeat - spread over eight compact discs featuring all that was great about the band at the time.

February 19th was a perfect first night, from the opening pairing of Rolling Stones cover "Loving Cup" and title track "Rift" to the bent jams of "Split Open and Melt" and "Maze".  There was an early nod to Gamehendge with "Colonel Forbin's Ascent" > "Fly Famous Mockingbird" with a special flood story about circling backwards through time and space to the last Atlanta show and even an unusual blending of "David Bowie/Moby " to celebrate drummer Jon Fishman's 28th birthday.  After a blazing "Runaway Jim" opener, high-octane bluegrass of "Paul and Silas" and a rare and raucous pairing of "You Enjoy Myself" > "Ya Mar", Jimmy Herring from local visionary outfit Aquarium Rescue Unit sat in for four songs playing Trey's spare Languedoc guitar.  A gift presentation to Fish before his vacuum solo in "Love You", dedications to Page's parents of "Lawn Boy" and an acapella "Amazing Grace" and friends met on tour ("AC/DC Bag" encore) capped a beautifully-played, diverse show on the eve of the Big Bang of February 20th.

The legend of the middle Roxy show mushroomed with the intentional quick circulation of a soundboard recording passed along with fervor reserved for only a handful of other treasured recordings.  Excellent renditions of older songs like "Foam", Gamehendge-era material such as "The Sloth" and "Possum" and the pairing of "Weigh" and "All Things Reconsidered" in their native order from Rift got the show off to a good start.  Textbook performances of Phish masterpieces "The Divided Sky" and "Fluffhead" sealed a memorable first set.  Even from that height set two was magic of the highest order, anchored by a non-stop, interconnected Tweezer-inflected tour de force of a set that merged set opener "Wilson" with a soaring "Reba" that hinted at a string of songs, including "Stash" and "The Lizards" which popped up two days later), Joe Walsh's James Gang hit "Walk Away", "Glide", an extended "Mike's Groove" infused with the "Vibration of Life" and ritual chant "Kung", The Mighty Diamonds' "Have Mercy" and the obscure experimental "NO2" – followed by an impromptu guest appearance by a fan convincingly dressed as KISS legend Gene Simmons!  This set of Phish demonstrates in many ways why Phish's impact on their fans and on the fabric of modern music is undeniable.  This set was continuously experimental and playful, rocking and steeped in history but inter-dimensionally fresh at the same time.  No other band plays like this and that was as clear then as it is today.  The outrageous second set spills onto a third CD with a sublime "Fast Enough For You", audience collaboration piece "Big Ball Jam", superb "Harry Hood", obligatory "Tweezer Reprise" and encore "Sleeping Monkey" securing a top position among the cream of Phish History.  This set is ironically both entry-level and hyper-advanced.  Despite a complexity, intensity and general weirdness, this set is anything but beginner's Phish, however the unique setlist and sound quality make it a seminal live recording. 

Not to be outdone, the third show on February 21st continued the magic, starting with the 1,2,3 opening combination of "Suzy Greenberg" (with an unusual vocal introduction and teases of Tweezer as a nod to the previous show) > "Buried Alive" > "Punch You In The Eye".  The band touched on Rift again with "Horn" which segued into a fiery "Chalk Dust Torture" followed by classics "Esther", "Dinner And A Movie" and a blazing "Run Like an Antelope".  For the final set of the run, the band abandoned the new album, tearing open with "Axilla", followed by a scintillating grouping of "The Curtain" > "Stash" > "Manteca" > "Stash" > "The Lizards", which landed the audience back in Gamehendge where their journey began days before.  "Bathtub Gin" segued musically into "Hold Your Head Up" to signal Fish's third lead vocal performance in as many days.  By the time he finished his cymbal-accompanied interpretation of Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie", Trey openly lamented leaving the Roxy.  The set wrapped up with "The Squirming Coil" which featured Page on his new piano, followed by tongue-in-cheek punk rocker "Big Black Furry Creature From Mars" and capped by a 3-song bluegrass exploration with Aquarium Rescue Unit alumnus The Reverend Jeff Mosier, including an impromptu bluegrass version of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" and the band's debut of "Pig In A Pen", conclusively proving that Phish cannot be effectively categorized.  Over three jam-packed nights, Phish repeated only one song – "Paul and Silas", played the second time with The Rev. Mosier.  As you experience this epic run of shows from acapella to heavy metal and progressive rock to bluegrass, one thing is for sure.  The only thing better than one night of Phish at their peak is three shows in a row and, as three-night stands go, Roxy Theatre simply must be heard.

Drawn from luthier and soundman Paul Languedoc's master 2-track soundboard DAT's (many of which were unheard until this release) and with un-mic'd A capella songs missing from the console recordings blended in from fan audience tapes, these recordings mastered with Fred Kevorkian's sonic touch have never sounded better or more powerful.  As the first complete multiple-show release since Hampton Comes Alive and the magical Island Tour of 1998, this almost eight-and-a-half-hour excursion from late Winter 1993 will take you to High Places and back again and, like future runs of shows sure to follow, will trace the development of new discoveries with each and every listen.

To hear this epic collection, pick up At The Roxy – on JEMP Records CD's at Phish Dry Goods and other retailers along with FLAC or MP3 downloads at phish.com, livephish.com and iTunes. 

Enjoy!

 

--ks

Phish 8/11/98 Star Lake

PHISH: 8/11/98 Star Lake Amphiethatre, Burgettstown, PA

On August 11, 1998 Phish played at Star Lake Amphitheatre in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.  This was their second visit to Star Lake of seven to-date starting in 1997 including 2003, 2009 and 2012 shows previously released at LivePhish.com.

The Star Lake 98 show was the 20th of summer to showcase the loose, experimental vibe of a tour that began in Europe and jumped to the United States enroute to the summer’s ending Lemonwheel festival.  The introduction of a never-before-played cover most nights earned the tour the nickname “summer of covers” from fans and Star Lake’s contribution was a Trench Town Rock opener.  This was Phish’s first and only cover of the Bob Marley classic in the city where he last performed live.  Star Lake also saw the return of Time Loves A Hero which was a huge bustout - played for the first time in a decade and segued out of a sultry Wolfman’s Brother.  Julius, an extended percussive Fee outro, a deep Maze and soaring Reba set the stage for set II.  The second set featured a supersized and super-swinging, ethereal Runaway Jim opener and a neat pairing of Meat > Limb By Limb.  Local flavor of the Commonwealth was provided by Bittersweet Motel (the title of the Phish documentary recorded during Europe ’98 dates) and Wilson, King of Prussia.

Star Lake 98 is the only full show available as switched multi-cam video from summer 1998.  The 2-DVD set was created from archival VHS videotapes of the 3-camera lawn screen feed.  The audio was recorded multi-track by Paul Languedoc and mixed by Jon Altschiller in stereo PCM and 5.1 surround.  It will be released December 11 on JEMP Records.

PHISH: 12/6/97 The Palace at Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

PHISH: 12/6/97 The Palace at Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

This latest archival offering picks up where LivePhish11 (11/17/97 Denver), 12/7/97 Dayton and Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97 leave off in fall ’97 – a perennial fan favorite tour for its wide open jamming, experimentation with new instruments/techniques and funky treatment of Phish classics and covers alike.

Phish’s third show at The Palace on December 6, 1997 was yet another defining fall ’97 gig, with an under-recognized set I and a renowned set II that must be heard in one sitting, preferably with headphones.  Set I highlights include an intense second-song Run Like An Antelope, alien landscapes of Train Song and seamless pairings of Bathtub Gin > Foam and Fee > Maze.  Set II was a unified, non-stop affair: Tweezer > Izabella > Twist > Piper > Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise is just the sort of raging, psychedelic-funk that Phish dreams are made of.  As they rounded the bend into the final week of fall tour, the band had a confident swagger that exploded in The Palace with a flood of combined energy that flows through on the tapes. The Palace is deep in the suburbs but this Saturday night show in the home of The Pistons was a slam-dunk that reverberated throughout Detroit Rock City and beyond.

 The release was created from Paul Languedoc’s DAT stereo soundboard mix re-mastered by Fred Kevorkian and contains two and a half hours of music totaling 16 songs.  The 2-CD LivePhish Limited set (also available as downloads at livephish.com) is slated for release on JEMP Records September 25, 2012.

Enjoy! --ks

 

 

 

PHISH: 12/31/91 The New Aud – Worcester, MA

12/31/91 Worcester, MA at LivePhish.com

I treat every minute like an hour and then it seems like a year has just flashed by again. Twenty years later, I’m still upside down.” The Worcester Memorial Auditorium (known at the time as The New Aud) in Worcester’s Lincoln Square was designed by Lucius W. Briggs in the 1930’s as a World War I memorial in Art Deco style with magnificent murals and ornamentation. The building had been recently refurbished when Phish announced their third annual New Year’s Eve show there and excitement about the show was unprecedented. It seemed the whole of the fast-growing Phish Nation made plans to attend.


With a stated capacity of 4,000, The New Aud was the largest indoor venue the band had played at the time. It was a perfect room for a New Year’s show with features like an open dance floor sans chairs and a wrap-around balcony overlooking an impressive proscenium. From the outside, the building’s imposing pillars framed the faithful gathered for the 9:30 PM showtime. It was a bitter cold night and the City of Worcester was offering tours of The New Aud as part of their First Night celebration. Meanwhile, tapers and other early arrivals were huddled on the steps trying to stay warm until the doors opened to concert goers. The building is currently a storage facility for court records but, on December 31, 1991, it was an ideal vessel for the band’s fast-expanding creativity and appreciative audience. Tickets for the all-ages show billed as “Dionysian Productions Presents New Year’s Eve With Phish”, cost $16.50 and were sold out. After two-set shows with support acts the previous two years at Boston’s World Trade Center Exhibition Hall, Phish blew the roof off The New Aud and created the template for modern Phish New Year’s events. This was the band’s first three-set New Year’s show, their only stand-alone New Year’s gig without other holiday shows and the only New Year’s Eve when the midnight hour fell during set II. It was also the only show between December 1991 and March 1992, making it a true destination affair.


Phish had a busy year in 1991, signing a record deal with Elektra and touring coast to coast for a total of more than 130 shows including a fourteen-show Horn Tour with a three-piece horn section and the first official Phish festival at Amy’s Farm. Phish also recorded an album backing Trey’s old friend, The Dude Of Life (aka Steve Pollak) and, during the summer, recorded their third studio album, A Picture Of Nectar. The band’s hometown White Crow Studios in Burlington, Vermont provided the backdrop for Nectar’s namesake with engineering duties covered by Kevin Halpin and Jon Altschiller. While Jon was still getting his start as an engineer, he was also a fan and was among the dozen-or-so tapers at The New Aud. Thanks to his work on Nectar, Jon was allowed to set up his microphones inside the front-of-house position. He also managed to snag a then-rare soundboard patch from FOH engineer Paul Languedoc. Fast-forward to 2010 when Jon returned to work with Phish full- time as LivePhish remote engineer and the seeds were sown for the long-awaited release of this classic show. Two decades later, Jon combined his discreet audience and soundboard DAT recordings to create the matrix master for The New Aud release. Mastered by Fred Kevorkian, this unique source is a proper document of the show, combining the qualities of both sources and harnessing the stunning music and electricity that characterized this special performance.


The New Aud show saw a number of new additions to the band’s repertoire, most notably the debut of Marjorie Minkin’s new 8- panel, painted lexan (plexiglass) backdrop replacing her original canvas piece the band had used to catch lighting designer Chris Kuroda’s work. Toph also employed a disco ball and sirens as well as extra strobes and hazers to extend the occasion’s impact. Starting with this show, the crew grew to formally include Brad Sands, a longtime fan who worked with Phish for the next decade and a half. Brad joined Paul, Chris, monitor engineer Pete Schall and tour manager Andrew Fischbeck to round out what was then (and, though it’s changed, is still today) the best road crew in the business.


The band was noticeably excited by this venue as they tore into set I with a scorching Possum opener. Foam came next as the band stretched out to demonstrate their budding skills as a swinging jazz quartet. Trey used Sparkle to first demonstrate his Christmas gift known as The Final Word – a keychain which uttered curse words on demand. He played with the thing at key points throughout the show creating some precious moments during Esther and an uncommonly hilarious rendition of Wilson. The band started to let loose during Stash and continued with inspired takes of The Lizards and Guelah Papyrus. The Divided Sky was dedicated to local fan Chris Gainty who was at his first show since recovering from a car accident earlier in the year. Llama unleashed a fury of incendiary guitar and Golgi Apparatus closed the set as 4000 ticket stubs were waved in the air.


After a setbreak, the band took the stage for set II with an opening of Brother that picked up where Llama left off, rapid- firing on all cylinders. Brother led into Bouncing Around The Room, during which Super Balls were bounced from the balcony onto the floor, making for some surreal footing on the wood floor. Buried Alive was next and Trey counted down the last two minutes of 1991 while deftly teasing Auld Lang Syne and building into a frenzy for the final countdown. A full instrumental Auld Lang Syne followed, punctuated by confetti explosions that further set this show apart from all that came before and foreshadowed the elaborate NYE gags that followed. A glorious Runaway Jim was the first song of the new year, leading to a hot combination of The Landlady > Reba. Cavern came next, setting the stage for My Sweet One > Run Like An Antelope to round out the second set. During Antelope, the band’s playing rose to meet the majesty of the room and the unbridled passion of the huge (for the time) crowd...and this was still set II!


The first-ever New Year’s Eve set III started with Fish’s kick drum and Trey’s Final Word commentary about the evil King of Prussia. This was years before fans began chanting “Wilson” and the spellbound spectators cheered with anticipation as the band dipped into The Squriming Coil. Trey joined Page’s piano outro near the end to set up the show’s improvisational highlight – a ground-breaking, earth-shattering Tweezer complete with primal vocalizations and a ferocious jam that decelerated naturally into McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters. Leading the assemblage through Gamehendge, this pretty McGrupp paved the way to a set-closing Mike’s Groove that found the whole band hooked up and soaring from start to finish. As they took it to Rhode Island with Weekapaug Groove, Trey teased The Lion Sleeps Tonight, fueling the band and audience to ever higher levels. After Weekapaug Groove, the band returned for an Encore that began with them asking Chris to illuminate the new Minkin so they could enjoy the sweet effects of the lights-on-lexan that were otherwise hidden from their view. The band and audience gave Mike’s Mom a round of applause and the backdrop remained a signature part of the light show for years. The Encore continued with Lawn Boy, punctuated by an enchanting seasonal nod to The Christmas Song. Rocky Top and Tweezer Reprise ended an exciting and historic night of music.


The New Aud release demonstrates a creative peak before a record crowd that was treated to a spectacular show in an especially inspiring setting. The three-set New Year’s Eve show became a hallmark of Phish’s year – a ritual that has occurred nearly every year the band has been active. The New Aud also began the Moore’s law of Phish New Year’s gigs, a customary doubling of capacity until the venues couldn’t hold any more and elevating the New Year’s tradition into legendary status. This is the first matrix release from livephish.com, capturing the electric energy of this special performance for veterans and new generations alike. The New Aud celebrates more than three hours of Prime Phish and is a perfect 20th anniversary view inside this formative show. The 3-set download (also available as an on demand 3-CD set at livephish.com) slated for release December 31, 2011 is a staple for everybody who remembers the good old days and those who wish they did...but we all start out small.

Enjoy! --ks

 

PHISH: "Japan Relief" - 7/31/99, Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata, JAPAN

The year 1999 will always be a key year for Phish because of how it ended, with the penultimate millennial celebration at Big Cypress.  However, the band members had an especially busy first half of the year with Trey founding his band with Russ Lawton and Tony Markellis, Mike playing acoustic with Jamie Masefield and Doug Perkins as well as electric with Buddy Cage and Vassar Clements and Fish touring with Jazz Mandolin Project and his band Pork Tornado.  Meanwhile Page put the finishing touches on The Siket Disc – an official collection of Phish jams from Bearsville Studios released in June.  In April, Trey and Page joined Phil Lesh in his Phil and Friends project for three standout shows in San Francisco.  Page and Mike recorded a track with the Gyptians to benefit the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic.  Phish also changed their stage setup during rehearsals and implemented it on summer tour, with Fish now in rear center stage.  This was also the only year that Phish performed two festivals of their own – the mid-summer Camp Oswego and the aforementioned Big Cypress.  Immediately following their U.S. summer tour, the band traveled abroad for their first ever shows in the beautiful country of Japan.  They were also the band’s last shows of summer.

 

Fuji Rock Festival took place on multiple stages and the festival had specially designed the "Field Of Heaven" stage for Phish to play three consecutive nights of complete, two-set headline shows with just a few, local opening acts such as Big Frog and The Boredoms.  Phish also played a daytime set the first day on the festival’s larger Green Stage.  Fuji Rock took place on multiple stages and 1999 headliners were as diverse as ZZ Top and Rage Against The Machine but the Field Of Heaven was a Phish oasis straight out of the early (pre-Clifford Ball) festival tradition of Townshend Family Park, Arrowhead Ranch and Amy’s Farm.  The scenic surroundings included a modest stage bounded by mountains that rose out of a vast green forest.  The stage was dimly lit (Chris Kuroda had a small fraction of his modern lighting gear) and ringed by fresh-cut lavender.  The field itself was flat and open with homespun craft and food vendors in an intimate tent city with room to dance for the few thousand surprisingly savvy Japanese fans who attended all three nights of Phish.

 

Japan Relief features Phish’s entire show from July 31, 1999 – the middle, Saturday night as well as “What’s The Use?” from their soundcheck on July 29th.  The July 31st show crackled with energy, intermingling classic and new material with an exploratory vibe that meshed with the atmosphere of respect and beauty.  Fish performed much of the show wearing a white cowboy hat.  Set one had many high points including standout performances of “My Friend, My Friend”, “Back On The Train”, “Limb By Limb” and “Character Zero”.  Set two started in the stratosphere with a “2001” > “David Bowie” opener that proved the most experimental music played at Fuji Rock transposed against the gentle beauty of “Wading In The Velvet Sea”.  Set two also featured one of the all-time great renditions of “Prince Caspian”, a smoking “Fluffhead” and mystical “Simple”.  The encore provided a chance for friend and fellow musician Nawang Khechog to address the crowd about Tibetan human rights and perform with Fish on vacuum for a meditative jam with Fish and with the whole band on flute for a special “Brian And Robert”.  Japan proved a perfect host for Phish, the Field Of Heaven has survived ever since as part of Fuji Rock Festival and Phish has maintained a strong connection with Japan, weaving Japanese lyrics into “The Meatstick” as recently as New Year’s Eve 2010-2011.  Japan Relief was recorded by Paul Languedoc and mastered by Fred Kevorkian.  All the vendors involved in this release donated their time for the cause. 

 

In response to the recent earthquake and tsunami that the northeastern part of this country has endured we are releasing a download at livephish.com to benefit Peace Winds America http://peacewindsamerica.org.  100% of the funds they collect for disaster relief will go to support operations through their sister organization, Peace Winds Japan. Relief operations began March 15th and are currently underway in Miuyagi Prefecture, where Peace Winds is on the ground providing food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelter to survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

 

We are taking pre-orders now for "Japan Relief - 7/31/99, Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, Naeba Ski Resort, Nilgata, JAPAN".

 

Phish 2010-08-13 Verizon Wireless Music Center – Noblesville, IN Summer 2010 Leg 2

LivePhish Limited 06 (released 2/1/11)

On Friday August 13, 2010, Phish played the second show of a sold- out two-night stand at the Verizon Wireless Music Center, commonly known as Deer Creek. It was the seventh show on Leg 2 of the band’s summer tour and their twentieth headline show at this outdoor covered amphitheater with a capacity of about 24,000. Phish first played this venue fifteen years earlier and had since played two nights each summer in 1996 (8/13/96 was released in 2002 on CD as LivePhish 12), 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009. They also played three-night stands in 2000 and 2003 making this Phish’s most common outdoor summer host and a favorite of many fans who travel from across the country to camp in the surrounding cornfields. This was Friday, August 13th, which was also somewhat of an historic return – the band played a breakthrough gig on that same date seventeen years earlier at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis (Murat 1993 - 8/13/93 was released in 2007). It was with this rich background that 2010’s Friday the 13th show took shape.


As temperatures soared into the mid-90’s, Phish kicked off the show with a rocking “Chalk Dust Torture” (surprisingly the first Chalk opener ever at Deer Creek) followed by “Guelah Papyrus”, which was played only one other time in Noblesville in 1997. The Fishman- penned bluegrass number “My Sweet One” came next, followed by “Axilla” and “I Didn’t Know” with a classic vacuum solo by Fish. “Walls Of The Cave” was played for the first time since the band’s 2009 return and preceded “Stash” and the alien themes of Mike’s ballad “Train Song” (the only version of the year) > “Backwards Down The Number Line”. “Ocelot” found the band improvising a bit more as Trey dropped some sweet leads. Deer Creek’s first “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” came at sunset. This Lynyrd Skynyrd cover, which recently returned to the live repertoire the previous summer, featured the band’s blues chops and Page’s soulful vocals. “Wilson” > “Possum” closed set one.

A mostly non-stop set two began with “Halley’s Comet” > “Light”, the latter of which inspired the band to venture outside the beat and let their freak flag fly, eventually hovering free for a few ambient minutes. The ambience led into “46 Days” which in turn transitioned to a high octane “Maze” - a double-entendre reference to the local fields that many attendees called home for the shows. Set two continued with “Meatstick”, which showcased the band’s skills with Japanese lyrics before morphing through a unique and musically intense segue into “The Mango Song”. The band followed Trey’s lead one at a time into Mango, creatively riding it atop the “Meatstick” beat for a while before committing and ultimately finishing the song by starting “Fluffhead”. Fluff blew the place up before resolvinginto “Julius”, which brought the set to a high-energy close. The Deer Creek faithful, many of whom had made the heroic 1200-mile, nearly twenty-four hour drive from Telluride with just one off day between, were treated to an encore of “Contact” into a passionate “Slave To The Traffic Light” that provided a fitting end to another steamy stay at Deer Creek.

Phish 2010-08-07 Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley – Berkeley, CA Summer 2010 Leg 2

LivePhish Limited 05 (released 2/1/11)

On Saturday August 7, 2010, Phish played the final show of a sold- out three-night stand at the Greek Theatre. After setting the bar high with the previous two shows, expectations soared. As the band continued their 2010 Greek run, they seemed to reach higher each night as they basked in the glow of this historic venue and uncommonly attentive crowd.


Phish opened the show with an old-school pairing of “AC/DC Bag” > “Foam”, the latter of which featured Page’s fine piano work. “Gotta Jibboo” was next as the band deepened their connection with the same patient, open-eared approach that developed over the previous shows. After a long pause they ripped into “Reba” as Trey’s new guitar emitted a flow of pretty leads and staccato runs amidst intricate Rhodes work by Page. Fish and Mike set the foundation for a soaring jam that came to a close without whistling. The year’s last “Sleep Again” and “Army Of One” provided a needed moment of reflection before “Poor Heart” led to a sizzling combination of “46 Days” > “Tube”, the former of which included a playful “Streets Of Cairo” tease by Trey among other highlights. Holding the last bass note from “Tube”, Mike provided the bridge to a fiery, sing a long “Character Zero” that ended one of the few sets of 2010 that fits on a single CD.

After another lovely sunset over the San Francisco Bay, the band kicked off set two with “Wilson” > “Light”. This rendition of “Light” climbed to pinnacle heights, bending and floating to a sublime place that only Phish can go.  As with “Simple” the previous night, this heavenly Jam transcended the limits of time and space before resolving perfectly into The Golden State’s first performance of “Twenty Years Later” – nearly twenty years after Phish first played at nearby Berkeley Square. Twenty Years slid neatly into “Harry Hood”, which Fish accentuated with ghost notes on a second snare drum, press rolls and other percussion wizardry. As had become the rule here, the band quickly hooked up for this jam as they traded sustained notes that hung in the night air and reverberated across the Greek’s open bowl. Harry gave way to “Theme From The Bottom”, which built patiently to a strong peak, continuing the dynamic tone of this whole run of shows. Phish’s trademark reading of Deodato’s “2001” sustained the fun as fans jumped up and down with arms in the air and Mike repeatedly punctuated the funk with his foot bell. The thick “2001” groove gave way to a rocking “Suzy Greenberg” that found the band having such an obviously good time that they reprised the funky Suzy jam and shook the trees for a few more minutes before slowing down for “Slave To The Traffic Light”. Slave featured a spacious jam that found the crowd mesmerized, leaning into the notes as if to connect more deeply with each one. Having started with “Wilson”, this special set could only end with the first “The Lizards” encore in nearly fifteen years as the eager crowd sang along “but I’m never ever going back there and I couldn’t if I tried...” and closed their eyes for the instrumental ending, wondering if or when such a run at such a place would happen again. Not another word was uttered as “First Tube” put the finishing touch on an incredible three days of music at one of the must stunning spots there is.

 

Phish 2010-08-06 Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley – Berkeley, CA Summer 2010 Leg 2

LivePhish Limited 04 (released 2/1/11)

On Friday August 6, 2010, Phish played the second show of a sold out three-night stand at the Greek Theatre. The Greek Berkeley is a Greek Revival style, open-air amphitheater built in 1903 with a cozy capacity of about 8,500 and stunning views of the San Francisco Bay including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. This run, which began Leg 2 of the summer tour, was the band’s first visit to this venue since they closed their epic summer 1993 tour there. J.J. Cale opened the show in 1993 (joined by Trey and Mike for a sit-in) but in 2010 it was just three smoking nights of Phish. After a solid opening night on Thursday, during which Trey debuted his latest custom guitar with a special chant for luthier Paul Languedoc, the band really opened up for the Friday night show.


It was a cool night in the Berkeley foothills but the crowd was heated up and the band responded in kind, opening with “Chalk Dust Torture” – perhaps a shout-out to Jezmund aka lyricist Tom Marshall in the house. Next came the complexities of “Guyute” followed by a relaxed and grooving “Ocelot”, a song about the wildcat that adorns the headstock inlay on Trey’s new guitar, and “It’s Ice”. The music never stopped for the rest of set one as Phish tore through a topical combination of “Cities”, with its invocation of the ancient Greeks and an explosively funky Jam that formed the set’s apex, into “The Moma Dance”. Still floating on a sea of energy from the so- called “Berkeley Jam”, set one ended on a high note with “Bathtub Gin” > “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan”.


Set two started with the Velvet Underground’s “Rock And Roll”, which briefly visited a mystical place (known in the LivePhish.com world as “Berkeley Jam 2”) before dropping into “Ghost”. This short but hot “Ghost” lit up with a groove that was still building when it bumped into the opening riffs of “Mike’s Song”. The selection recognized the especially resounding quality of Mike’s bass at the Greek and this dark and heavy “Mike’s Song” led to the pinnacle moment of the set if not the run. “Simple” that came next built patiently with exquisite restraint, moving Outward through a series of tribal peaks on a timeless journey. Spacey digital delay provided a landing into “Backwards Down The Number Line” which in turn introduced California to the universal themes of the “Show Of Life”. “Seven Below” > “Weekapaug Groove” wrapped up Mike’s Groove. “You Enjoy Myself” closed the body of set two, recalling the last song at Shoreline a decade earlier.  The Encore, “Good Times, Bad Times” drew the middle show of this classic three-night stand to a close.

PHISH: 12/29/97 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (12/19/06)

December 29th, 1997 Phish was the first show of Phish's first three-night stand at Madison Square Garden. Before starting the holiday tour, the band played a breakthrough 21-show tour starting November 13th in Las Vegas and ending with two nights in Albany, New York December 12th and 13th. Consistently amazing performances were the rule throughout the tour as Phishheads soaked up legendary shows from Vegas to Denver, Hampton to Worcester, Philadelphia to Michigan, Ohio to Rochester and Albany. By all accounts, the holiday tour closed an exceptional year in Phish history.

Phish had released their 6th studio album "Billy Breathes" in fall 1996. The band had been working toward a new, more textural and democratic sound leading up to their Halloween 1996 musical costume "Remain In Light". By the time they recorded "Slip Stitch and Pass" live in Germany in March, 1997, Phish had become comfortable with the sparser, funkier feel that defined their sound in the later ‘90's. They created another festival masterpiece at The Great Went that summer. Following the release of "Slip Stitch and Pass" in October, they would spend the spring of 1998 recording "Story of the Ghost" with a brief time-out to perform the four shows of the explosive and historic Island Tour. Filming for the Phish movie, "Bittersweet Motel", also began during fall 1997 and continued through the sold-out holiday tour and into 1998.

Amidst this busy background, holiday tour 1997 kicked off on December 28th in Landover, Maryland before the band settled into New York City for the remaining three gigs. The band hit the stage on the 29th with NICU > Golgi Apparatus > Crossroads. This was one of only nine Phish performances of Crossroads, Robert Johnson's devilish tale of the making of a guitar hero and the band made the most of the rare chance. A hot Cars Trucks Buses and soaring Theme From the Bottom and Fluffhead led to a set-closing Antelope, which resolved into deep funk only after multiple peaks of music and energy shook the Garden. A dark and poignant Down With Disease > David Bowie opened set two before the band paid tribute to the Blues Brothers (and Otis Redding who penned the classic) with a double Possum/I Can't Turn You Loose sandwich. A deep, telepathic Tube and a smoking, funk-filled You Enjoy Myself to close the set. The Good Times Bad Times encore unfortunately can't be included with the video for the show but it's included with the audio download. Like the other three shows from the holiday '97 tour, each of which deserves a chapter of its own, this show transcends all worldly expectations.

With beautiful flow, song selection and execution, 12/29/97 is the next show in the Live Phish Video Series, which will feature regular new releases from the Phish Archives, so stay tuned. Enjoy!

--ks

PHISH: 7/6/98 Lucerna Theatre, Prague, CZE essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (3/24/08)

PHISH: 7/6/98 

After finishing recording "The Story of the Ghost" in Vermont and Bearsville in upstate New York, Phish embarked on June 27th for a short European tour. The band was accompanied on the trip by their core crew and a very limited amount of their own gear. Adding to the adventure of playing a mini-tour abroad with rented gear in some strange places, Todd Phillips' film crew was filming the Europe shows for the Phish movie "Bittersweet Motel". At times during these shows, the unwary film crew found themselves uncomfortably sandwiched between the band and audience in the limited space of cozy European venues.

The tour began with a three-night run at Grey Hall in Copenhagen, an old army barracks mess hall in the colorful anarchist community of Freetown Christiana. On the first night, June 30th, the band debuted Roggae, Moma Dance and Brian and Robert plus their new arrangement of Water in the Sky. On July 1st, the second set featured a killer combo of Tweezer > 2001 > Loving Cup and a Harry Hood encore. For the third Copenhagen show on July 2nd, they introduced two more new songs from the new album - Meat (described as the second song in the Ghost duology) and Fikus – as well as a hot second set consisting of Ghost > Runaway Jim > Prince Caspian and You Enjoy Myself.

On July 3rd, Phish left the clubs to play a set at Midtfyns Festival in Ringe, Denmark, about 100 miles from Copenhagen. The band and crew spent American Independence Day flying from Copenhagen to Prague for their second appearance in the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague or Praha was also the capital of ancient Bohemia and is a cultural center that thrives on the arts, especially gothic and modern architecture. The city is packed with historical sights from the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle to the 500-year old Golem said to protect the city's Jewish Ghetto from attacks. Full of catacombs, Prague has been called the most haunted city in the world.

On July 5th Phish played the first of two shows at the Lucerna Theatre, an ornate theater turned music club with a capacity of 700. It is located through an indoor mall a few flights below street level in the Nove Mesto or New Town. The intimacy of these shows can't be overstated. The average venue for Phish shows in the United States at the time was close to 20,000 so those in attendance were treated to arena rock concerts with the sound and feel of club gigs. Prague is situated 600 miles from Copenhagen and more than 1000 from Barcelona making travel to and from the other shows a challenge, especially by train. The first Prague show was Monday July 5th during Jan Hus Day, a national holiday commemorating the execution of Master Jan Hus who was burned at the stake in 1415 for espousing heretical views. The show was reportedly colored by experimentation with the local absinthe as many in attendance chased the Green Fairy for the first time. This yielded some good jamming on Moma Dance as well as interesting jams in Fee, McGrupp and The Watchful Hosemasters and Funky .

On Tuesday July 6th, the band tore into the second show with a subterranean Buried Alive during which Mike turned experimental before the two-minute mark, stretching the breadth of the song until the band switched handily into AC/DC Bag. This was a relaxed, playful Bag that, like Buried Alive, hinted at the night's ghostly theme. AC/DC Bag was explosive, buoyed by Fish's fiery drum fills around which the whole band locked into a groove.

They deconstructed Bag's concise jam into a perfect segue to the centerpiece of the show - a fast, funky and furious Ghost. The soundboard recording compliments the band's creative approach while building this masterpiece. You can clearly hear the sonic flourishes layered over a driving groove with confident vocals that seethed energy. The dynamic feel of Ghost lent deep drama to the lyrics, highlighted the loops and effects and provided an ideal platform for some hairy soloing. Page migrated from piano to synthesizer, Clavinet to Rhodes in a floating conversation with the band. Eventually Ghost took on an electronic tinge that hinted at the deepest post-hiatus improvisation. This was fueled by Trey's Hendrix-esque leads with bent tone and pitch into a series of shifting polyrhythmic counterpoints. Expanding until it seemed the room would explode, the music evolved into a funky groove with starts and stops punctuated by the now-roaring crowd. These pauses, described by some as a "silent jam", led into an unusual Cities that started in double-time and shifted effortlessly into normal rhythm for the first chorus and the rest of the song. With the lyrics "a lot of ghosts in a lot of houses", Cities continued the eerie theme of this already-historic performance, blending a smooth, creative vibe with an aggressive, rocking attack. Seemingly on cue, the band dropped out of Cities and left Trey to end the song alone with the clapping crowd. The momentary pause after Cities was the first time the band stopped at all, having linked Buried > Bag > Ghost > Cities into a powerful opening sequence for the ages.

Limb By Limb followed - a song first tracked in March 1996 for "Billy Breathes" but debuted for the public in Europe a little more than a year before. Written by Trey on a sequencer with a drum part intended to stump Fish, Limb is always a feat of execution. This performance exhibited an added sense of dynamics no doubt spurred on by the intimate setting, highlighting restrained melodic dialogue among the whole band. While sometimes this jam breathed fire, this groovy interlude danced intricate circles around the glowing embers, leaving space for Fish to lay down some outrageous fills and cymbal work. Trey's final solo culminated in repeated guitar fanning, which brought the song to a cathartic close.

Train Song, debuted in Europe two years before, provided a moment of tranquil reflection in the middle of the set. The second-ever live Roggae followed, giving a chance to show off more new material in a new country as the band fashioned a coda with so much inherent space that the notes hung slightly suspended between phrases.

Roggae was followed by a unique Maze, which blossomed into an electric improvisation starting with Page's lively organ solo followed by a cacophonous solo from Trey who shredded unabashedly until the whole band telepathically stopped on a dime for him to say "We hope you're all having a good time tonight...we just want to say that we really appreciate your support and how much we enjoy playing in Prague here." Page interjected "We love the architecture" while Trey continued "I don't think we got a chance to thank you last night so we just thought we'd take this moment to thank you very much." After a quick countdown, the band re-entered the song in the exact shred-space they'd occupied before the acrobatic stop. After Maze, they closed the first set with Golgi Apparatus that had a rave-up ending with Trey shouting, in an apparent nod to the World Cup Soccer quarterfinals, "Jon Fishman, Jon Fishman, Hey, Ho, Hey, Ho".

Set two began with a swinging Julius that got everyone moving and Fishman passionately testifying at the highest peaks. Julius led into Meat, a new song the band wrote in Vermont during the "Ghost/Meat" sessions in March and first played publicly in Copenhagen. Meat returned the show to its initial ghoulish theme, confounding the audience with its multiple stops and starts. Immediately after Meat came a soaring, adventurous Piper, which stretched nearly twenty minutes and bumped up against the boundaries already shattered by Ghost. Piper sped into a ferocious jam characterized by intense guitar runs with hints of Crosseyed and Painless and perhaps even Gimme' Some Lovin' before it settled into hard rock with plenty of room for the whole band to explore. Like the experimental Ghost in set one, Piper was fearless, building to massive peaks before floating off into a slower, more minimal section accented by loops from Trey and Mike atop Page's piano and Fish's cymbal rolls. This part of Piper hinted at Fikus, part three of the Ghost trilogy, becoming slow and funky before locking neatly into the rowdy reggae of Makisupa Policeman. As he scatted around the lyrics, Trey uttered the key phrase, "stink-kind", adding a touch of home with "policeman came to Vermont!" He handed things off to Page for a piano solo (calling him "Petrof" after the logo visible on the rented piano) during which Page developed a ska feel. Trey announced a drum solo next, saying if Fish soloed too long the crowd should start whistling, as the band did when he talked too much. Fish played along, rendering a minimal solo of high hat, kick drum and rim shots, returning to the song in the nick of time. After some dancehall-style dub effects, the band finished Makisupa and dove into David Bowie.

In this intimate setting, Fish's introduction to David Bowie was particularly suspenseful. A thematic jam hinted subtly at Santana before riding a dissonant wave into the ending changes of the second and final Bowie of the European tour. With scarcely a pause, Page hammered out the opening notes of Loving Cup, cementing the status of this magical night. Trey tore through his solo supported by the band in elegant lock step, building successively to the last chorus. Whether this was another soccer shout-out or just an old-school cover to end a rocking set, it was a beautiful buzz indeed.

The band returned for an encore and repaid the rowdy crowd's enthusiasm with Possum. The audience clapped along for a bit eventually leaving the band to a textbook performance that was at once conscious and passionate, restrained yet explosive. Trey dropped a quick tease of Stash as he propelled "Possum" through machine-gun fans entwined with soft, dynamic sections that made this a perfect encore for such an intimate show. As the crowd filtered into the streets of Prague it was clear that this had been an unforgettable night that could only have happened when and where it did.

To save space, along with renting gear and flying from city to city, the 1998 Europe tour wasn't multi-tracked. The band's only audio recordings from the show were Paul Languedoc's 2-track soundboard reference DATs. Due to an issue during recording, the only usable transfer from the master DAT's came from a lucky play in a portable DAT player. Ten years later the DATs mastered by Fred Kevorkian are the definitive soundboard source of this show, capturing a peak moment as poignant now as when it happened.

 

Enjoy!

--ks

back to 07/06/98

PHISH: 12/1/95 Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, PA essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (3/18/07)

Phish 12/1/95

By the time Phish arrived at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, PA on December 1st, 1995, they had performed thirty shows in Pennsylvania over the years, from a 1988 gig at John & Peter's in New Hope to a sold-out 1994 Philadelphia Holiday show . and most recently a two-night stand earlier that summer at Mann Music Center . The Hershey show fell in the middle of the second leg of fall tour and the previous shows of the run contained too many high points to list. Some notable moments of the late fall included a three-night stand in Atlanta and a blistering Orlando show . Other highlights included the debut of the full-band "Rotation Jam" (a/k/a instrument-switch jam) at their first Hampton Coliseum show, Fish's loving serenade of Col. Bruce Hampton in Knoxville and Bela Fleck's semi-regular Nashville sit-in. The night before Hershey, they nearly blew the roof off Dayton's Nutter Center during an exquisite second-set Tweezer > Makisupa > Antelope that must be heard. After an overnight drive of nearly 500 miles, the tour arrived in the mystical land of chocolate, conveniently located just over an hour's ride from Wilson Drive in King of Prussia.

Hersheypark Arena is a hockey arena built during the Great Depression. It sits in the center of Hersheypark , a nearly 100 year-old amusement park set in the "sweetest place on earth" originally built to entertain employees of Hershey's Chocolate. Phish's December 1st show there was sold out to a crowd of over 8,500 – tickets were sold mail order through Phish Tickets By Mail (begun in earnest that summer) and through the venue box office. Despite cold temperatures in the venue, zealous security and the old ice arena's imperfect acoustics, the band played a high-energy, well-paced show with good flow and exceptional comic relief rooted in the location, the band's penchant for The Simpsons and the universal human proclivity for "…mmm, chocolate." During this tour Trey had begun playing a percussion setup during jams and Page's Clavinet and synthesizers were becoming more prominent in the band's sound especially when Trey focused on grooving percussion. These changes in instrumentation helped open the jams up for the unofficial funk breakthrough that crystallized around the 1996 Halloween show and matured around the 1997 Hamburg show immortalized on the live album Slip, Stitch and Pass. Lighting Designer Chris Kuroda had increased the size and functionality of his lighting rig and crew and, for the first time in over three years, the Minkin backdrops and scrims created by Mike's mom weren't used. While missed, the lack of backdrops helped open the stage to the audience from more directions - 360 degrees at many venues - which helped energy flow more freely in the arenas. All these factors alchemized to lead the band and a lucky capacity crowd in Hershey to the sweet taste of high adventure.

Like nearly all shows that Fall, the Hershey show began with the band chess move. As soon as the band took their places, they kicked into Buried Alive to open the show. With Trey's first notes, the crowed exploded with waves of unbridled energy that characterized the rest of the night. After the opener, Mike dropped instantly into Down With Disease, deftly connecting club days gone by to the arena rock era. The lights accompanied the last strains of Disease softly into Theme From the Bottom, easing the transition into the latter's submarine wisdom. As our hat-headed fearless leader coaxed slow leads through his Leslie amplifier, the spirit began to take hold. Piano, drums and Languedoc custom bass combined in exquisite counterpoint from the bottom and from the top building to the final crescendo in one of the set's high points. Poor Heart was next, played at a fast clip in contrast to some slower shuffle versions played earlier on the tour. With scarcely a pause, Page set forth the opening piano notes to Wolfman's Brother. Trey liked the "smooth atonal sound" line so much he repeated it, lending to the carefree, relaxed feel of this set. The staggered ending harmonies and extro of Wolfman's led Trey immediately into a rocking Chalk Dust Torture.

For the first time in more than four years, Col. Forbin's Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird followed Chalk Dust, coupling the tale of youthful frustration with that of mid-life vision quest and divine connection. Trey's narration was another high point of set one as he endeavored to explain "a brief history of this planet" focusing on "the horrible split" between Western and Eastern thought, the latter of which obviously led to the "mystical land of chocolate…mmm chocolate." The story was that before the evil King Wilson enslaved the Lizards, the only place remaining where science, philosophy and religion were all unified was Gamehendge (which incidentally owed its peace and harmony to the prophet Icculus' inspiring archival work in authoring the Helping Friendly Book!). Answering fan inquires, Trey then revealed the alleged location of The Rhombus in nearby King of Prussia before they finished Mockingbird.

Stash followed with a formidable jam that stretched out instrumentally, locking into a dissonant theme that ignited the highest improvisation of the set. The whole band linked up beautifully for this jam, evoking a Dave's Energy Guide-ish vibe and at points recalling the expectation-smashing heights of the Orlando Stash weeks before. After Stash returned to terra firma, Cavern closed the set, leaving "15 minutes" of recovery and preparation before the even sweeter second set that defined this show.

The audience chess move was made by an eleven year-old in attendance before set two's music kicked off with the doo-wop intro to Halley's Comet. This was a straightforward version compared to the extended madness of Halley's > NICU > Slave two weeks later on December 14th but it was a great start featuring pronounced Clav work by Page and a short guitar solo that dropped straight into Mike's Song. Before Mike even began to sing, Trey was spinning little licks around the groove. Page's organ fueled the jam as Mike and Trey began an improvised theme. The jam got deeper and deeper until it eventually flew off a precipice as Fish switched to a more syncopated feel while Trey and Page hammered around him on guitar and piano. Trey then alluded back to the initial improvised theme, switched to a funkier feel and some hard rocking chords before he moved to percussion. This allowed Page to immerse himself in a long piano solo atop Mike and Fish's deep groove. Page switched back to the funky wah-wah of the Clav, eventually locking into a synth-inflected groove that stretched out over the driving drums and bass. Trey picked his guitar back up amidst a changing beat that seemed to form the basis for the first-ever transition directly from this legendary Mike's Song into Weekapaug Groove (they repeated the combination the following week at Niagara Falls). The band experimented with the rhythm of Weekapaug and a big guitar swell preceded the melody and lyrics, which took a minute to lock in as if the band was surprised that's where they landed. Perhaps they were. Weekapaug soared with Mike slapping and Trey and Page trading licks for a minute until they developed a beautiful, almost-harmonic theme. As the jam shifted dynamically and began to deconstruct, the exuberant crowd started to clap along and the band sped furthur out into hyperspace before resolving back into the end of Weekapaug.

They barely paused before diving into The Mango Song. The audience hung on every line, reacting to the lyrics. Page's piano work trading licks with Trey atop Fish's jazzy approach here transliterated the tranquil and serene moment. The layered lyrics of the next verse were well executed and the jam out of the last chorus was tight with everyone hooked up into the ending, which in turn, was immediately transformed into Wilson. The crowd went crazy singing along, and the band was obviously excited to finally present the story of Wilson, King of Prussia so close to the namesake – causing Trey to giggle a as they negotiated the changes. Trey even blurted out "King of Prussia" before the blat-boom ending. The end of Wilson gave Fish and Trey the opportunity to switch drummers without a pause as the band slid into Suspicious Minds - a tribute to another King. Fish's vocals were especially zealous, distorting at times as he drove the audience absolutely bonkers with his lit-up cape, the claw and the windmill during the rave-up ending. As usual, the band poked fun at him with Hold Your Head Up while he took his bows and sat back down to the serious business of bending minds.

David Bowie began with the signature high-hat section quickly melting into Catapult, which Trey sung accompanied by Mike's understated bass. With barely time to process the song change, Catapult morphed back into Bowie's introduction, which was peppered with more Homer-style references to the region's key export and Simpson's Phish language
thrown in for good measure before the lyrics. This was one of three Bowie > Catapult > Bowie sandwiches in Phish history (the other two are the first live Catapult 4/17/92 San Francisco and 2/16/03 Las Vegas). Similar to other big jams in this show, Trey began an improvised melodic theme colored by the eerie sound of his Leslie as the other band members swirled around him. Before long, the jam returned to more familiar Bowie territory as they rocked their way to the triumphant end of the song and set.

The fun continued during the Suzy Greenberg encore, with some unusual string scratching by Trey and an extended piano solo among its highlights. This show is a classic and we can now experience it with re-mastered soundboard audio synced to archival front-of-house video footage. It's worth noting that this is the best possible quality this show's audio can ever be offered in because the multi-track tapes are unplayable. This show, like Orlando before it and others on-deck for future release, is another stop along the golden road to the epic year-end celebration of this powerhouse year of Live Phish.

Enjoy!

--ks

PHISH: 11/14/95 University of Central Florida Arena, Orlando, FL essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (2/19/07)

PHISH: 11/14/95 University of Central Florida Arena, Orlando, FL
essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (2/19/07)

After touring in support of "A Live One" the previous summer, Phish's Fall 1995 tour kicked off in late September in California and spanned from the Pacific Northwest through Big Sky country and the southwest reaching Chicago for their second modern era Halloween show, 24 shows later. The band solicited votes for their second Halloween musical costume and even led the fans into believing it could be a Michael Jackson album (a joke which dates as far back as the band's first gig in 1983). On Halloween, the band performed an impressive reproduction of The Who's "Quadrophenia" complete with horns, guest vocals and pyrotechnics (see This Month In Phish History September and October 1995). After a ten day break, the tour resumed in Atlanta for a three-night stand at the Fox Theatre, which began a second leg of nearly thirty more shows eventually ending the year in style with the "New Year's Eve 1995" concert at Madison Square Garden

.

The three nights at The Fox were legendary, building toward the magnificent peak of the 11-11 show before rolling down to Gainesville for Phish's first Florida dates of the year. Phish had been gaining notoriety in the sunshine state ever since they first played there in February 1993 but the shows in August 1993 and spring and fall of 1994 cemented the band's reputation there. Those previous shows had been clubs and a couple small amphitheaters so the college arenas in 1995 were a step up, however the energy of The Edge and even The Ritz shone through.

Shows that week in Gainesville, Tampa and most notably West Palm Beach were all excellent, but the magic that took place inside the University of Central Florida Arena on November 14th was of a higher order. Having written about the personal impact of this day in other forums, it suffices to say that a trip to Disney World was the perfect buildup to a remarkable show. This show also marked the time when Eric Larson was equipped to videotape some key shows (12/31/95 and 12/29/97) and luckily, the Beta SP masters of the Orlando show turned out great. The result when synced with engineer Paul Languedoc's 2-track soundboard reference audio mix mastered by Fred Kevorkian elevates the intended archival-only status of these tapes to that of must-have release.

The University of Central Florida Arena is a 5300-seat bleacher-lined basketball arena which, for this show was set up with the soundboard against the back, leaving no room for the taping section where it usually was beside the front of house mix position. Instead Paul helped set up a special taping section in the bleachers at stage right so tapers could still record the show. The two thirds full room buzzed with anticipation as the band made their move in their continuing chess match against the audience and started a blazing Chalk Dust Torture which served as an initial portal into the show. A particularly intricate and dynamic Foam kept the eager crowd’s attention as the possibilities of the evening continued to unfold. A pretty Billy Breathes, which had been debuted at the beginning of fall, came next before Trey looked skyward for The Divided Sky. Just a few seconds passed after Divided Sky before Page dropped into the circus-y opening of this tour's second Esther - the theme of which would be revisited later in the show's peak moments.

A solid Free and a spirited Julius came next, further stoking the electric atmosphere. The acoustic instruments and arrangements that had been honed the previous fall tour were used for I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome which featured a brave mandolin solo by Fish as well as some especially inflected vocals by temporary upright bassist Page. Cavern provided a fitting close to a tight, well-played set that alluded, only in subtle ways, to the incredible madness that would manifest during the second set.

After a set break and the audience chess move, Trey taunted the audience as the band broke into a frenzied Maze– traversing alien switchbacks fueled by swirling organ and Trey singing along with his guitar for a gremlin-like effect. Gumbo was next and provided a funky interlude before the band launched into one of the deepest and most exploratory versions of Stash, which was masterfully woven in and around most of the rest of the set, spanning an epic forty minutes before returning to the more earthly environs of Central Florida. Alongside telepathic sets like 2/20/93 The Roxy, 8/14/93 Tinley Park and 5/7/94 II Bomb Factory the improvisational skill and grace demonstrated in this Stash set the standard for years to come.

Trey began the first segment of Stash so quickly that the rest of the band was barely ready. By this time in Stash's history, it was standard for the audience to clap along to the woodblocks, but their in-unison shout of "please don't do that" signaled the Florida kids' intensity and no doubt helped this masterpiece pick up even more steam. Staccato guitar and clavinet accents began to lead into some incredible jamming with massive, swirling tension as the band weaved in and out of Stash's theme in a loose, psychedelic approach. Deep rhythmic tribal incantation followed with Trey eventually switching to percussion and grooving into something akin to the ending of Fee. This jam continued, melting perfectly into a supercharged version of Manteca, played for the first time in a year and sandwiched between segments of Stash for the first time since 2/21/93 at the Roxy.

Manteca resolved back into a soaring jam that begat the second segment of Stash – lighter and more dynamic in contrast to the more slanted feel of the first section. It's here that Leslie-soaked guitar floated serenely over Fish's ethereal cymbal and woodblock work to allude sublimely back to Esther, conveying a level of emotion capable of coaxing tears of joy from even the most grizzled listeners. A primal jam developed from this moment of beauty that swirled deeper and darker into a drone accented by tick-tocking percussion that lasted a few minutes before tender a capella vocals emerged for the only Stash > Dog-Face > Stash in Phish history. After Dog-Faced Boy, the band returns to the harmonic bed that begat it, mysteriously skipping the final lyric "but ask me and I'll do anything but you" as they add increasingly-intense layers of hypnotic sound complete with some swirling megaphone work by Trey and (so it seems) a paintbrush solo on the bass. This experimental jam ultimately reverses its cacophonic swirl back into the triumphant final segment of Stash, leaving minds blown and jaws on the gymnasium floor.

Strange Design provided a needed entrée back to reality – sung and played superbly and providing a chance to catch a breath before Trey counted out the opening of You Enjoy Myself. Like parts of the show-stopping Stash and other versions from this year commonly ranked among the best ever, this YEM is amazing, intense and engaging, exploratory and rocking especially when teamed with Chris Kuroda's phoenix-shaped lighting rig. A brief nod to Led Zeppelin's The Immigrant Song punctuates the jam and the energy in the room and intensity of playing throughout kept the set flying as high as Trey and Mike's mini-trampoline performance. A two-song encore of The Wedge and lickety-split Rocky Top provided the sweet icing on the cake of this landmark performance in the Magic Kingdom.

Enjoy!

--ks

PHISH: 11/30/94 Olympia, WA & 12/1/94 Salem, OR essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (2/8/05)

PHISH: 11/30/94 Olympia, WA & 12/1/94 Salem, OR

Phish began the touring year of 1994 with seventy-four shows from April through July following the release of their fifth album, "Hoist." Responding to an increasing number of tapers and core fans hitting the road for multiple shows, Phish mixed things up even more than usual. They added horns to shows in April, tore through full sets based on single songs and songs within songs and even spent one show egging on a fugitive celebrity. They capped the summer off with the first performances of the Gamehendge Saga (the second with all of "Hoist" as a second set!) and a blistering tour-closing show in Vermont, which was later released as LIVEPHISH 02.

Phish hit the road again in mid-October for another forty-six shows. This time they were armed with multi-track recording gear to capture the shows for their first live album "A Live One." Attendance grew larger and performances riskier with more exploratory jams and the debut of complex composition Guyute and several covers. As the band grew in stature, their shows were less often set at nightclubs and watering holes. The new venues (mostly colleges and theatres) allowed the audience to tune in at higher levels and appreciation for the band intensified accordingly. Amidst growing fan concern about the band's fast growth and wider discovery of the fans' secret, the band repaid the attention beyond expectations. At the twentieth show of fall tour, Phish donned the first of four legendary musical Halloween costumes they would perform in the coming five years. The middle of three sets in Glens Falls, New York on October 31st, 1994, consisted of Phish's complete rendering of The Beatles' "White Album" (released as LIVEPHISH 13) and set the standard for Halloween performances for years to come.

After Halloween, the tour proceeded through the northeast and into the midwest with celebrated shows and a new bag of tricks every night. Creativity swirled around the band, crew and fans as the tour increasingly became a place to stay for a few nights or more. Rev. Jeff Mosier was enlisted for acoustic bluegrass training (much of it onstage), which became a regular part of groundbreaking performances across the breadbasket (see TMIPH November 1994). After a scarcely documented show that yielded Montana on "A Live One" in the midst of an incredible Tweezer, Phish arrived at Olympia, Washington on November 30th. The locale was already famous in Phish circles for its 1991 narrated "Gamehendge" set. With the year's events being what they were, anticipation was high. Phish had played at Evergreen State College in Olympia for their second time in 1992 on Chariots of Fire and, as Trey pointed out during the 11/30/94 show, "three is a magic number." A smoking tour, rich history and the lush backdrop of the Olympic rainforest set the stage for what happened that cold, dank night at the Campus Recreation Center.

The band hit the stage with a rocking Frankenstein opener. The rollicking country of Poor Heart gave Mike and Page a chance to stretch out and Fish an excuse to let loose some screams before sliding into My Friend, My Friend. After a spooky, extended ending without the usual "mife," My Friend segued neatly into Reba, which soared through hills and valleys of extended dynamic exploration. Reba showcased Phish's growing ability to stretch themes acrobatically beyond genres, starting and stopping effortlessly and journeying through the sweet, the dissonant and everything in between in a single jam. When Reba touched back down amidst screaming guitar, it also ended unusually - without the whistling. The crowd erupted as the band broke into Colonel Forbin's Ascent and Fly Famous Mockingbird. The latter became a vehicle for Trey's introduction of the profound Vibration of Life. Building on a theme begun earlier on the tour, he explained how the Vibration synchronized with Chris's lights and swirled the audience around space so fast they drifted into Gamehendge. After Mockingbird, Mike led the spacey beginnings of a textbook multi-dimensional Down With Disease, for the set's last excursion into warp-driven cacophony. After an emotional Disease, they eased into Bouncing Around The Room. Set one ended with I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome and My Long Journey Home, a pair of bluegrass songs performed for the devoted audience on acoustic instruments.

Set two kicked off with Halley's Comet, a vehicle into one of the craziest, darkest and segue-filled sets in Phish history. The band scarcely paused during the entire set, segueing from Halley's into a blistering Run Like An Antelope and then into an extended improvisational My Sweet One, which made a rare second-set appearance. Sweet One slowed to silence fueled by the attentive crowd (at the time, some Phish audiences would even "shush" each other during a quiet moment). The pause in Sweet One was colored by uncanny grunting and snoring before it grew into a spellbinding jam amidst Antelope-esque jamming which yielded another great segue into Phish's first electric Fixin' To Die. A traditional song "popularized" at the time by Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Fixin' was performed acoustic with Jeff Mosier weeks before. The band's only electric rendition of the song featured a spine-tingling jam punctuated, as was much of the show, by Fish's shouted testimony. Fixin' slowed near the end and the groove bent toward Latin and then calypso as it melted into Ya Mar. Trey turned his volume down to nearly inaudible and built it back up before they segued into Mike's Song. Fish's drums tore through the sparse, dark Mike's jam. As Mike's ended, Trey sang Catapult, which provided a perfect transition into an especially dynamic McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters. The ending decay of McGrupp formed the beginning of the set-closing Cavern, as Trey described the time and the mission to the keen audience. After the pyrotechnics of this incredibly-flowing second set, the band returned to the stage for a reassuring encore of The Horse > Silent In The Morning. The show ended with Amazing Grace performed acapella without microphones at the edge of the stage. After the show, the thunderstruck audience shuffled out of the Campus Recreation Center to prepare for the three-hour trek down to Salem knowing that with the band playing like this, if you snooze, you lose.

The following day, December, 1st 1994, United States Senator Patrick Leahy (of Vermont) recognized Phish on the Senate floor, stating proudly for the Congressional Record: "Their star is on the rise. Phish's music spans many genres - from classically inspired pieces - to hillbilly country - to slick jazz - to hard rock. Add two trampolines, a vacuum cleaner, a first rate light show and you have a live performance that is hard to forget. A lot of good things come out of Vermont - Phish is one that seems poised to play a prominent role in the American musical scene" (see TMIPH December 1994). Meanwhile, the band prepared for their show that rainy night at the Salem Armory with a sound check that produced this jam.

Phish kicked off the first set of the sold-out Salem show with the first single from "Hoist," Sample In A Jar, which focused the energy of the exuberant crowd. They followed Sample with Flatt and Scruggs' Uncle Pen. Next was Fast Enough For You, which featured an evocative solo by Trey before ending with the introduction to Maze. The chaotic energy of the previous night was recalled Trey and Page traded off the lead in Maze before launching into the orchestrated, progressive Guyute. Completing a two-night nod to Nancy, they followed with his swinging classic, I Didn't Know, with Mike's doo-wop vocals and trademark vacuum solo by Fish, introduced as "Greasy Fizeek." Next was a funky and adventurous Split Open and Melt, which turned dissonant, stretching from one theme to the next as band and audience held on for dear life. Sweet Adeline, performed acapella without microphones, settled things down for set break as debate began about the set two opener.

The band opened the second set with Peaches en Regalia by Frank Zappa followed by Mound. The remainder of set two recalled the previous night's adventures in connectedness as a formidable Tweezer began a non-stop adventure in musical madness. Heavy bass and Page's funky keyboard lines helped achieve liftoff, eventually blasting through the melodic horizon into a funky groove punctuated by Fish's testimony. Tweezer eventually became a start-stop groove, with Mike and Fish yelling and laughing over the demented waves of music. A frightening, dark segment ensued during Fish's vocalizations and eventually morphed into an instrumental Norwegian Wood jam recalling the roots of the region that inspired the risky jamming of these two nights. The jam flowed smoothly into a twisted rendition of Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, which the band used to rib their lone vegetarian, Mike. Creature grew syncopated, traveling outward as Trey scatted into a groove that eventually slowed into Makisupa Policeman. After a bizarre Makisupa, they locked into a new rhythm and completed a tremendous transition into a euphoric NICU, with more testimony by Fish and a brief encounter with Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies. They returned briefly to Tweezer, which they segued into a standout reading of Jesus Just Left Chicago, showcasing Page's soulful vocals and poignant piano work. They slickly slid the blues ending of Jesus straight into Harry Hood, which signaled the approaching end of the show. Like the show itself, the jam in Harry went from understated, distorted to the soaring end before they ended the set ended with Golgi Apparatus. After leaving the stage momentarily they returned for an encore and Trey thanked the audience before launching into Sleeping Monkey followed by Tweezer Reprise. These incendiary shows left many mapping the mileage to Davis, California for the final leg of this inspirational tour.

PHISH: 8/13/93 Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro (6/11/07)

Phish 8/13/93

When reviewing shows for release, there are a number of approaches. One is to look for music never heard by the community – something that's basically new to everyone who hears it. A good recent example of this is the Headphones Jam recorded at a studio session in the barn. The relative privacy of that setting, while retained on the tapes, changes as it becomes engrained in the collective memory of more and more listeners. If the music and performance are special enough, it may eventually rise to legend. Other shows are chosen because they are known and loved. They have already been accepted as legendary and literally beg for release regardless of the sources that circulate. Without them, the catalog – some would even say the fan experience – is simply incomplete.

The August 13, 1993 Murat Theatre show is a perfect example of the latter. The venue was an Egyptian-themed Shrine Temple, palatial on the outside and dripping with red and gold trimmings inside. About 1700 attended Phish's first show here, which was typical for the time with just enough room for everyone who arrived to pay their $17 and enjoy the show. The performance was groundbreaking with whole styles of playing and interacting unfolding in real time. Adding to the backdrop of this surreal summer 1993 tour was the progressive rock, conceptual dream-space album Rift.

The added twist is that audience tapes circulated of the Murat thus far were made from the extreme back of the balcony, where the taper's section was located that night instead of its usual spot adjacent to the mix position. Phish implemented the official taper's section earlier that summer when the forest of microphone stands in front of the mix position grew too thick for the band and crew to see each other. That meant that circulating recordings of this classic show, instantly famous for its mind-melting (or is it mind-melding?) Bathtub Gin > Ya Mar and Mike's Song > Lifeboy have always been amiss. A soundboard cassette of the second set of the show was copied early on and has been among the most commonly traded tapes/CD's for years, but the first set has never been fully appreciated due to limitations of the audience source. This show is legendary among Phishheads based almost entirely on the second set! That's not to say set two is not worthy on its own, but the entire show is risky and magical in so many ways. Every note must be heard in the highest possible quality to fully appreciate what transpired amid the geometrically ornate background of that beautiful Masonic Temple.

Summer 1993 was a time when each show somehow surpassed the last. From the sunny innocence of the Cincinnati Zoo to the Roller Coaster of the Mind at Darien Lake to the first time at Nautica Stage, from the penultimate stage fog of Grand Rapids' Great Gig in the Sky to the blazing Split Open and Melt in Rochester, this tour was for the ages. The audience was spellbound every night sharing incredible discoveries with the band that kept unfolding with more clarity and purpose than previously imagined. Until now, the only show from this amazing tour released was LivePhish 07 from 8/14/93 Tinley Park. The Murat Theatre release continues the story of LP07, working backwards a day and whetting the appetite to hear more and more of this powerful era of Phish music.

It is true that the Murat show is capped by the pure unbridled majesty of Bathtub Gin and Mike's Song, but the whole show is worthy of strong recognition. Set one began with a unique opening combination of Lengthwise > Llama, a dub-wise Makisupa Policeman with an easy slide into Foam and an exploratory Stash (which entered hyper-space a couple nights later). After a special Friday the 13th interlude, Ginseng Sullivan featured "Mr. Butt with protruding arms and legs on Madonna washboard" followed by a formidable Fluffhead with an acoustic introduction by Trey. My Mind's Got a Mind of It's Own and Horn provided a bit of a head-rest, before they ended the set with a powerful and dark David Bowie sprinkled with licks from the likes of The Mango Song and Magilla.

While the Murat Gin > Ya Mar and Mike's Song > Lifeboy define the show – perhaps even the era, the band threw caution to the wind throughout this entire show resulting in transcendent musical and emotional heights. The power of the Buried Alive > Rift set two opening combination started things off solidly. The set continued with a masterpiece Bathtub Gin that featured a massive, historic jam rooted at times in Weekapaug Groove resolving into a spine-tingling segue to Ya Mar. At this point, the place nearly exploded with sheer energy, setting the stage for the evening's next improvisational experiment, a deep, dark Mike's Song. Interwoven with Stranglehold teases and other musical madness still sizzling with high voltage electricity after Bathtub Gin, Mike's Song begat another near perfect segue to the contemplative spaciousness of Lifeboy. As trusted guides have pointed out, this Lifeboy was truly "spiritual." In addition to a host of dark heavy jamming to the depths of consciousness, this show still maintains a playful vibe throughout. It ended that way with Oh Kee Pah Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg and the perfect yin-yang of an encore, Amazing Grace and Highway to Hell.

To celebrate the newfound availability on CD of more shows from the archives, filler from the Murat Theatre soundcheck was included. That provides a glimpse at what was almost an interesting development for Fishman material with Love Me Two Times, a cool little jam known as Page's Hand a/k/a Indianapolis Soundcheck Jam and finally Ginseng Sullivan which had been debuted August 11th and reveals the band working out the details of where to place Fish with his Madonna washboard for the best acoustics.

This must-hear show from a must-hear tour is as good as they get, and this is the first opportunity in nearly fourteen years to hear the whole show in crisp soundboard audio beautifully re-mastered by Fred Kevorkian. An added bonus is the fact that this landmark show along with 11/14/95 Orlando, 12/1/95 Hershey and 12/29/97 Madison Square Garden are now available on CD with filler from the soundchecks. It's been a long time coming and it's never been better.

Enjoy!

--ks

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