Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Episode 32: Guest Pick - Phish 4.3.98 Uniondale, NY

This week we're happy to be joined by Steve Judd, a great guy and a big fan who picked an absolutely epic show, the second night of the Island Tour, 4.3.98, from Uniondale, NY. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.

In our discussion with Steve, we talked about how historic this run was. Every year, tons of fans celebrate the anniversary by listening to all 4 shows. Steve's opinion is that this is probably the best 4-show run from Phish, ever. Brad and I couldn't disagree. Also, all 3 of us were there, which made revisiting it all the more special. 

In April 1998, Brad and I were college freshmen, and we decided that driving to Long Island and Rhode Island to see Phish for 4 days was far more interesting and important than going to 4 days of college classes. The decision still seems like the right one. It was a formative experience for us as friends and as fans, and a seminal moment in the band's history. It was another peak for them, as Steve said in this episode. 

The interesting thing about this run, musically, is that we're really right between the serious funk of 1997 and the ambience and exploration of 1998—which lead to the "millennial sound" of 1999-2000. The "Roses Are Free" is probably one of the most referenced, listened to and revered jams in Phish history, not to mention the "Piper" it melts into. We all agree that it still stacks up, 15+ years later. The first set "Reba" was especially blissful, reflecting the joy we were all feeling that night. 

And the band was having fun. Trey said that they decided to do the shows because they were "bored." It was a time of celebration, and this show was not without Phish hijinks. At the beginning of "Antelope," someone jumped on stage. He was pretty quickly taken down by Pete Carini, but then, in typical Phish fashion, instead of them berating the guy, throwing a rock star-esque fit, or anything else, they made it part of the show and part of the experience.

"Don't let Carini get you" became part of the banter at the beginning of "Antelope," with Fishman interjecting "don't attack the drummer." An incredibly intense "Antelope" closed the set, and they appropriately encored with "Carini" in a great 3-song combo with "Halley's" and a "Tweezer"-less "Tweezer Reprise." Fun. Nonsense. Intensity. 

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod. And please check out CashorTrade.org for face value tickets to shows across the country. 

Chapter 1    0:00          Chat w/Steve Judd
Chapter 2    22:38        Set 1 Phish 4.3.98
Chapter 3    1:40:56     Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4    1:57:11     Set 2 Phish 4.3.98
Chapter 5    3:20:14     Set 2 Breakdown


Phish 4.3.98, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

Set 1: Mike's Song -> The Old Home Place > Weekapaug Groove, Train Song > Billy Breathes, Beauty of My Dreams, Dogs Stole Things > Reba, My Soul

Set 2: Roses Are Free > Piper > Loving Cup > Run Like an Antelope

E: Carini > Halley's Comet > Tweezer Reprise

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Episode 31: Guest Pick - Phish 3.6.92 Portsmouth, NH

This week we're happy to be joined by Steve Olker, a great fan and one of the architects of the online Phish community. We talk about all things Phish, and play and discuss 3.6.92, from Portsmouth, NH. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.

In our discussion with Steve, we talked about the fact that the 1st set was the real highlight of this show, which is something you wouldn't hear too often these days. Not just the debut of the "new" version of "Rift," but also the debuts of "Maze," "My Friend My Friend," "Mound," "NICU," and "Sleeping Monkey." 

One of the highlights of this show, for me, was the "NICU." Not at all similar to the versions we're used to today, it was more of a free-form, slow, jazzy jam. The show also has a "Bowie" chock full of secret language (which is ALL explained in the 2nd set), along with a nice early "Stash" with good tension and release from the band. And the 2nd set closer was a nice energetic "Possum." 

Steve and I discussed what people would have thought seeing Phish in a 900-person venue in 1992, and the fact that there were so many good songs that debuted this night. The sound of this show is great, and you can hear the crowd loving every minute of it. We hope you do too.

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod. And please check out CashorTrade.org for face value tickets to shows across the country. 

Chapter 1    0:00          Chat w/Steve Olker
Chapter 2    22:05        Set 1 Phish 3.6.92
Chapter 3    1:46:55     Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4    1:51:11     Set 2 Phish 3.6.92
Chapter 5    2:57:34     Set 2 Breakdown


Phish 3.6.92, The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH

Set 1: Rift, Cavern, Sparkle > It's Ice > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Maze, Reba, All Things Reconsidered, David Bowie

Set 2: My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, Secret Language Instructions, Stash, Mound, Llama, Bouncing Around the Room, NICU, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Episode 30: Phish 8.10.97 Noblesville, IN

For Episode 30, we wanted to celebrate the announcement of Summer Tour dates by playing and discussing one of our first Summer Phish shows—8.10.97, from Noblesville, IN, at the venue we'll always know as Deer Creek. 

We went on a little run from Tinley Park to Alpine Valley to Deer Creek, 4 shows that gave us our first taste of the band outdoors, and convinced us to go ahead and follow this band around for the next 17 years (and hopefully beyond), whenever possible. 

Musically, Summer '97 was yet another transition period. The band was searching for the next sound, and in this show you can hear them right on the verge of fully embracing the FUNK that we know from Fall '97. There are a few really must-hear song versions from this show, including "Harry Hood" and "Cities." It was hot and muggy that night, and the music was thick and intense. We hope you enjoy. 

The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.

Chapter 1    0:00-8:56                 Intro Chat
Chapter 2    8:57-1:34:20           Set 1 Phish 8.10.97
Chapter 3    1:34:20-1:42:03     Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4    1:42:04-2:58:39     Set 2 Phish 8.10.97
Chapter 5    2:58:40-End           Set 2 Breakdown

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod. And please check out CashorTrade.org for face value tickets to shows across the country. 


Phish 8.10.97, Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, IN

Set 1: Bathtub Gin -> Sparkle > Down with Disease > Dirt, Cars Trucks Buses, Billy Breathes, Split Open and Melt, Bye Bye Foot > Ginseng Sullivan, Harry Hood

Set 2: Cities -> Good Times Bad Times -> Rotation Jam -> Rock A William -> David Bowie

E: Cavern

Monday, March 3, 2014

Episode 29: HF Pod From The Tapers' Section

Episode 29 is up! We were very fortunate to be joined by 3 great tapers and members of the Phish community: Craig Hillwig, Lenny Stubbe and Scott Bernstein. Tapers have a unique perspective on the band, the music, and they've been the way we've heard most of this band's music for the majority of the last 30 years. We're grateful for all of the work they do. 

The format of this episode is slightly different. We asked each of our guests to pick a few tracks that represent quality audience recordings from across Phish's history. For each pick, we play the track and then discuss the recording and the music. Before the tracks, we have a great conversation with our 3 guests. Really fun episode. Chapter markers are below.

Here's a recent article that talks about Scott Bernstein's taping career and his views on a lot of where the taper community is today.

As always, please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.

Finally, we're happy to officially be partnering with CashorTrade.org. Check out their site for face value tickets for shows all over the country. 

Note: Shows links below are from the source we played on the podcast. 

Chapter 1     0:00         Chat with Craig, Lenny & Scott
Chapter 2     55:19       7.2.11 McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters (Craig)
Chapter 3     1:10:00    8.11.93 Mike’s Song (Lenny)
Chapter 4     1:26:57    8.6.96 Purple Rain (Scott)
Chapter 5     1:39:32    7.2.98 Ghost (Craig)
Chapter 6     2:11:57    8.17.96 Fluffhead > Run Like An Antelope (Lenny)
Chapter 7     2:35:35    2.5.94 Crimes Of The Mind (Scott)
Chapter 8     2:48:29    12.31.97 Emotional Rescue (Craig)
Chapter 9     3:09:05    7.12.13 A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing (Scott)
Chapter 10   3:19:49    7.3.11 Down With Disease>No Quarter (Lenny)
Chapter 11   3:40:02    4.13.94 David Bowie (Scott)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Episode 28: Phish 2.3.93 Portland, ME

Episode 28 is up! This week Brad and I are back solo, back to our roots, and we're playing a show we've been looking forward to sharing for a long time: 2.3.93, from Portland, ME. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.

Chapter 1    0:00-8:00              Intro Chat
Chapter 2    8:00-1:22:54         Set 1 Phish 2.3.93
Chapter 3    1:22:54-1:35:37    Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4    1:35:37-3:15:06    Set 2 Phish 2.3.93
Chapter 5    3:15:06-End          Set 2 Breakdown

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod. Also, Brad is on Twitter @brad_hfpod and RJ is at @rj_hfp.

Listener Notes—Episode 28: Phish 2.3.93, Portland, ME

So, why have we been looking forward to playing this show for so long? Once they bust into the first song, "Loving Cup" (a debut), you can hear that something's different from previous years. Of course, the answer is that it's the first show with Page's baby grand piano. The debut of this new critical instrument, along with the fact that it's the first show of what will end up being a monumental year, makes it incredibly fun to revisit. 

Most of the songs in the first set feature the piano heavily, ending with a "David Bowie" that is definitely worth listening to again. Page and Trey's patient little exchange in the jam is very nice, and is a great precursor of things to come. 

The 2nd set starts out with a really fun "Runaway Jim," and we get our 3rd "Tweezer" in as many podcasts. This one is definitely Trey-led, but Page's baby grand offered a little more space for them to improvise with, compared to earlier years. This was definitely a breakout year for this song, and it's nice to listen to the first one of the year. 

They also tackle "You Enjoy Myself" in this 2nd set, with alternate lyrics that originated from a posting from "Mike's Corner" in the Doniac Schvice. This show was an energetic, ambitious tour opener, front to back, and the energy remains high throughout.

1993 was really the first year that Phish played big, national tours, covering almost the entire country at least once, sometimes more for certain regions. 

They were on an upward trajectory, and it's clear that the introduction of the baby grand piano played a big part in how they played and listened to each other. From this February opener show to the 1993 New Year's Eve show in Worcester, it's almost a different band, and it's always a treat to relisten to the evolution.


Phish 2.3.93, Portland Expo, Portland, ME 

Set 1: Loving Cup, Rift, Fee > Llama, The Wedge, Divided Sky, I Didn't Know, My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart > Guelah Papyrus, David Bowie

Set 2: Runaway Jim, It's Ice > Tweezer, The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Sparkle, You Enjoy Myself > Lifeboy, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Big Ball Jam > Hold Your Head Up, Possum

E: Amazing Grace, Tweezer Reprise

Friday, February 7, 2014

Episode 27: Chat w/Nathan Rabin - Phish 5.27.11 Set 1 Bethel Woods

Episode 27 is up! This week we were joined by writer, critic and all around hilarious guy Nathan Rabin—the author of "You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me," a fantastic book about Nathan's wild adventure of self discovery on tour with Phish, and during various adventures with the fans and music of the Insane Clown Posse, particularly at the Gathering of the Juggalos. 

A big part of Nathan's adventure is a life-changing experience he had at a Phish show at Bethel Woods on 5.27.11. After we talk with Nathan, we play and discuss the first set of that show. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below. Enjoy the episode!

Nathan is also one of the minds behind TheDissolve.com, so you should also check that out.

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.

Chapter 1    0:00-1:00:35          Conversation with Nathan Rabin
Chapter 2    1:00:35-2:22:25     Set 1 Phish 5.27.11
Chapter 3    2:22:25-End           Set 1 Breakdown


Phish 5.27.11, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY  

Set 1: Tweezer > My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, Roses Are Free > Funky Bitch, Wolfman's Brother -> Walk Away, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Kill Devil Falls, Bold As Love

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Episode 26: Guest Pick - Phish 12.28.11 MSG

Episode 26 is up! This week we were joined by guest Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman), and he chose a really fun show, 12.28.11, from the New Year’s Run of 2011, from the hallowed ground of Madison Square Garden. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.

Chapter 1    0:00-17:13           Conversation with Jake Sherman
Chapter 2    17:13-1:39:18      Set 1 Phish 12.28.11
Chapter 3    1:39:18-1:55:31   Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4    1:55:31-3:26:28   Set 2 Phish 12.28.11
Chapter 5    3:26:28-End         Set 2 Breakdown

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod. Also, Brad is on Twitter @brad_hfpod and RJ is at @rj_hfp.

Listener Notes—Episode 26: Guest Pick - Phish 12.28.11 MSG

To set the context for these notes, we’ve been reflecting back on the first 25 episodes of the podcast. Since we started, the most prominent theme, really, is how damn fantastic Phish is playing right now. 2013 IS another peak. As fans, we hope everyone understands and appreciates that. And, for better AND worse, the way we analyze the shows from 2009 to 2013 are all viewed within the context of 2013. So this 2011 show really offers a lot of glimpses of what’s to come, and that was really fun to revisit.

Now, this 12.28.11 show is very very good (and interesting) in its own right. As Jake points out, the collection of the first four songs is one of the highlights, which is unique. Part of that is a wonderfully groovy, rhythmic “Cities” jam that happens early in the first set. We heard a little bit of the Dick’s “Undermind” from 2012 in that jam. Everything builds on the past.

The second set’s “Carini” is really a fantastic preview of what we’ve come to know and love about that song this year (I think it’s our “MVP” of 2013). This version starts with Fishman yelling, the hard, psychedelic rock carrying us into a really nice, spacious, contemplative place. The jam segues into “Tweezer,” which is a fun but straightforward version with some nice unified jamming from the entire band. Trey is noodling, quietly, Page and Mike pick it up, then they all meld together. Funk lives.

And, as usual, “Harry Hood” is a show highlight for us. This song. Every time. Wally (@waxbanks) mentioned a few weeks ago that telling us “you can feel good about Hood” is almost too corny to be emotionally resonant (this was in contrast to “Slave”). But we feel good about it, always. This version has some incredibly emotive soloing from Trey toward the end, with Page providing a beautiful organ backdrop. This slides into an equally emotional “Bug.” Overrated? No.

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate how great this band is playing right now, and let’s also acknowledge everything that built up to it—and what’s yet to come. Hell yes.


Phish 12.28.11, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Free, Glide > Possum, Cities, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Stash, Contact > Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls > Bathtub Gin

Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Carini > Tweezer > My Friend My Friend, Rock and Roll > NICU, Bouncing Around the Room, Harry Hood > Bug 

E: Tube > Rocky Top > Tweezer Reprise

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Episode 25: Guest Pick - Phish 4.24.94 Charlotte, NC

Episode 25 is up! This week we have another guest pick—this one is from Rob Mitchum (@robmitchum & @phishcrit). He's working on a great project where he's reviewing every Phish show from 1993 onward on Twitter. We're discussing and playing a show he reviewed recently, 4.24.94 from Charlotte, NC. Really fun show with a couple fantastic jams that foreshadow great things to come. As Rob pointed out during our discussion, this year may have been the biggest "crossroads" for the band. The setlist is below. 

One of the most interesting things Rob said about this show is that in 1993, Phish was relying heavily on teases and covers during their improv. But 1994—exemplified by this show's "Bathtub Gin" and "David Bowie"—they figured out that they didn't need to tease someone else's music, they could actually just go into a different theme on their own. The birth of "Type II" jamming. These two songs make the whole show worth listening to.

Also, here's a link to the article that we discussed, detailing how Rob helped turn Grantland writer Steven Hyden onto Phish. Really good read. Lastly, here's Rob's review of the 12.6.97 Palace show, from when the show was officially released.

We've started creating chapters! Below are the chapter markers for this episode, for your reference (you should be able to skip chapters on most podcast apps/devices, please let us know if it doesn't work for you):

Chapter 1   0:00-40:39           Conversation with Rob Mitchum
Chapter 2   40:39-1:43:31      Set 1 Phish 4.24.94
Chapter 3   1:43:31-2:04:05   Set 1 Breakdown 
Chapter 4   2:04:05-3:22:30   Set 2 Phish 4.24.94
Chapter 5   3:22:30-End        Set 2 Breakdown

Please review us on iTunes, and send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Phish 4.24.94, Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC

Set 1: My Friend, My Friend, Ya Mar, Axilla (Part II) > Maze, Bathtub Gin -> Jump Monk -> Bathtub Gin > Dog Faced Boy, Paul and Silas > It's Ice > Slave to the Traffic Light

Set 2: Demand > David Bowie, The Mango Song > Julius, Colonel Forbin's Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Chalk Dust Torture, Contact, Good Times Bad Times

E: Sweet Adeline

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Episode 24: MSG 2013

Photo by Andrea Nusinov
We are grateful to have Kevin (@okdeadhead) join us for our first episode of 2014—breaking down and playing some great selections from the New Year's Run, from Madison Square Garden 2013. We're playing and discussing the Chalk Dust Torture & Ghost from 12.30, all of Set 2 from 12.31 (which they played from the top of an old bus), and the Light from 12.31.

We really appreciate Kevin joining us, and our conversation was fun and expansive. In lieu of Listener Notes, we just want to say that we all agree that MSG capped off one of Phish's best years since the late 90s (1997, to be exact). Listen to this stuff from the New Year's Run and judge for yourself. 

And a quick favor: please review us on iTunes! Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.

Friday, January 3, 2014


This is a guest post from our friend @blissphish

It wasn't about what they played, but rather what they didn't play…covers. Perhaps the most important “message” they offered all year…or all era, even. We are here to play OUR songs for YOU. No gimmicks, no hidden setlist messages. Most shows spell something? Bullshit. These shows spell nothing, but PHISH.

To me, there were very few of the “holy shit, time might stop” moments that we had throughout Fall Tour. Maybe during “DWD” on 12/29. And that is OK. It wasn't about 20-minute cathartic jams. It wasn't about new jam styles. It wasn't about 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 Phish. It was a celebration of their songs. Their rich 30 year history. Bar gigs. Roots. 

Not to say this run didn't have its musical moments, because it certainly did. Wingsuit songs made their way effortlessly into the rotation. Other than “Devotion to a Dream,” they were all placed excellently. “Wolfman's Brother” was once again the catalyst on the 28th, and "Carini" proudly owned the “song of the year” title. “Chalkdust Torture” was the clear centerpiece. 

The most important “moment” from the run came when Trey cut “Tweezer” short and dropped into “Number Line.” He bailed on their biggest jam vehicle, and dove right into what many consider their least favorite Phish song. Was it intentional? I don’t think so. Was it punishment for not getting the “message”? Doubtful. It was Trey doing what he wanted…what makes him happy happy. It was yet another page taken out of the "Garden Party" playbook. Pay attention to these moments, they are the ones that matter, not the Tahoe Tweezers. There’s magic in the valleys, once you get over the peaks.

THE MESSAGE? Contrary to popular belief and speculation, the “message” some of us aren't getting, is the mere fact that there is NO MESSAGE. While we are searching low and high for deeper meaning, I truly believe there isn't any. That’s what Trey was getting at. It was Trey telling us, keep looking, because there is nothing there but the music. So learn it. Embrace it while we still have it. Stop wasting your time chasing songs or jams and fuckin listen to the music. 

One of my personal highlights of the MSG run was “Ocelot." The playing. No wasted notes. Oozing with emotion. Sway and swager. These moments. Not the Reading “DWD” peak. Not the dark horse “20 Years Later.” Not a jammed out “Tube.” But those moments where their intent is shining through. Trey put everything he has into that “Ocelot” solo. Didn't take 10 minutes of meandering to reach a glorious peak. There wasn't any wasted time. It was pure emotion. 

In short, DON’T READ THE FUCKIN BOOK, because there isn’t one. It’s still being written.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Episode 23: Guest Pick - Phish 12.31.93 Worcester, MA

Happy Holidays everyone! For our last episode of 2013, we were approached by our friends Tom and Matt to play 12.31.93 from Worcester, Mass. It's funny because Brad and I actually discussed playing this show, and then we heard from these guys. Serendipity! It's a great 3 set show, of course, and we hope you enjoy. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

And one quick appeal from us: please review us on iTunes! Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 23: Phish 12.31.93 Worcester, MA

New Year's Eve shows are celebrations. Phish shows are celebrations. The combination of the two can be explosive. So we're closing out our first year of the podcast on this celebratory note, 20 years ago this week. This may be the most "popular" show we've played, but all 3 sets are worth revisiting.

As many of you probably know, this show was broadcast on radio in the Boston area, so the sound is pristine. The first set of this show has a great moment during the break in "Guelah Papyrus" where Trey asks "Is everybody in yet?" Our guest Matt mentioned that there were storms in the Northeast that night, so people were slow to fill up the arena.

The first set is highlighted are "Stash" and "Run Like an Antelope," both featuring huge energy and their classic jamming approach of tension and release—and the evolution of this jam style has led to everything that we've seen since.

The second set kicks off with a hot "Tweezer." I think we'd argue that 1994 really represents the birth of the modern "Tweezer" jam, but this one is pushing the envelope in that direction. Fishman drives the jam for a while, and Trey begins building it with some groovy rock patterns, and Mike weighs in pretty heavily as well, bringing a little bit of funk to the jam. The peak of the jam has some classic Trey raging from the early 90s. I love this song.

The third set contains one of the truly classic moments in Phish history, when "Auld Lang Syne" rings in the new year and transitions into the jam of "Down with Disease"—a song that had to this point never been heard. Our guest Matt said: "There's no way anyone there would not say it was the greatest thing they'd ever heard." Makes sense given the beauty of that jam—and remarkable that this show introduced us to one of the band's most enduring and adventurous songs.

The band closed out this night with an a capella version of "Amazing Grace," which was a perfect end to a marathon, classic show. We really hope you enjoy revisiting this as much as we did. And Happy New Year!


Phish 12.31.93, 
Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA

Set 1: Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan, Reba, Peaches en Regalia, I Didn't Know, Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Tweezer > Halley's Comet > Poor Heart > It's Ice > Fee > Possum, Lawn Boy, You Enjoy Myself

Set 3: Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease Jam > Split Open and Melt, The Lizards, Sparkle > Suzy Greenberg > Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin' Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

E: Golgi Apparatus, Amazing Grace

Monday, December 16, 2013

Episode 22: Guest Pick - Phish 11.14.97 Set 2 West Valley City, UT

Hello friends! This week we're doing another guest pick, this time from our friend Wally (aka @waxbanks). We had a great conversation about his Phish journey (and his writing, which can be found here), and we discussed and played Set 2 of 11.14.97, from West Valley City, UT. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

BTW, Wally wrote THE book on Phish's Fall 1997 tour, A Tiny Space to Move and Breathe, which everyone should check out. 

And one quick appeal from us: please review us on iTunes! As the MSG run approaches, check out cashortrade.org for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 22: Phish 11.14.97 West Valley City, UT

This week's Listener Notes are drawn directly from Wally's review of this set on Phish.net

The second set really is what it looks like: Wolfman's > Piper > Twist > Slave, blending together the ethereal delicacy and enveloping darkness of late 1997 before a tiny, attentive crowd. Wolfman's Brother clonks back and for for a while before developing a spacey echt-'97 groove, all hazy atmospherics and feathery drumbeats; as the jam opens up a welcoming major-chord pattern evolves, and Piper bubbles up in its own time. It's a lovely Piper, building slowly to a midtempo climax - the song hadn't yet turned into a musical greyhound race in those days. After the late lamented Piper coda, Trey starts up the haunting original Twist arrangement...

...and (surprise surprise) Fall '97 was a good time for Twist too. Trey keeps things mellow with his guitar comping, Mike lets some weird dissonant chords loose from his bass, Page plays some tricks on the piano, Fishman is his usual larking-gnome self behind the drumkit, and the groove involutes and complicates into a gorgeous full-band statement - a futuristic precursor to 11/22's 'space jam' out of Halley's Comet. Trey hangs out in the ionosphere, soloing for several minutes, as the other players drop out. This is the template: between this Twist jam and the ambient Stash from the previous night in Vegas you can discern the outline of the whole tour's weeks-long subterranean melody. It's a powerfully emotional moment wholly distinct from, say, Trey's digital delay loop jams from Back in the Day (e.g. 12/31/95, 5/7/94).

The opening chords of Slave coalesce out of the mist, and the next 15 minutes are sublime. It's a short set (less than an hour!), but the music flows so effortlessly that it seems like one long song. This is dream-music - musical psychedelia in the truest sense of the word.

Phish just didn't play bad music in Fall '97; this show doesn't get the same attention as Denver or Hampton or Dayton, but it's every bit as good as the rest of the tour - a single cohesive musical statement to reward a tiny out-of-the-way audience. Other shows can claim to be Greater in some sense, but this is the deep stuff right here. The purest essence. 


Phish 11.14.97, The "E" Center, West Valley City, UT

Set 2: Wolfman's Brother -> Piper > Twist > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Bold As Love

Thursday, December 12, 2013

HF Pod Chat: Bitches Love Phishes Edition

Hey friends: Once again we were pleased to host an HF Pod Chat, this time the "Bitches Love Phishes" edition (named by our guests, not me!). We had 4 great female fans on to talk Phish past, present and future. Some great insights from 4 very knowledgeable fans. Our guests were Jen (@nycjamgal), Felicia (@feliciafied), Missy (@missypoo586) and Allie (@alliedise). Check it out here or in the video below.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Episode 21: Guest Pick - Phish 11.16.91 Washington, DC

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. This week we have another guest pick, this time from our friend Scott. We had a great conversation, and we discussed and played Phish 11.16.91, from Washington, DC. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

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Scott tweets from @TourTweet. He started listening to Phish in the late '80s/early '90s, and he has a really interesting and unique perspective on the band, its history and the music. Although this show we discussed was his first official show, Scott mentioned his first "IT" Phish moment, from this "Harry Hood," Charlottesville, VA in July of 1992.

As the YEMSG run approaches, check out cashortrade.org for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 21: Phish 11.16.91 Washington, DC

When we were discussing this show with Scott, the first word that came to his mind when describing Phish's music in 1991 was "relentless." Brad and I feel like that's a perfect word to describe their playing from 1990-1993. 

The first four songs are just absolute fire: from the opening "The Landlady" through "Uncle Pen," "Wilson" and into "Runaway Jim," you can hear how aggressively Trey is playing and how proficient he's becoming with this style of guitar. This show is worth listening to just to hear the shredding that some people argue is missing from 2013 Trey. 

1991 was also a year of debuts and early tinkering with Phish songs that eventually became classics. In this show, 13 of the 23 songs played debuted in either 1990 or 1991. Check out this show for early versions of "It's Ice," "Stash," "Tube," "Chalk Dust Torture" and "Horn."

And on "Horn." Scott made a compelling argument for why he loved this version of the song. He talked about how the show was so small and so intimate that during "Horn" you could hear the vibration of Trey's solo notes off of Fishman's snare drum. It's almost unconscionable that Phish was a bar band of this level of talent and potential 1991—and as Scott said, everyone knew it then. 

You can hear this level of potential in the "You Enjoy Myself" jam—it's groovy, funky, and well-executed. A song and a band well ahead of its time. 

Lastly, Scott pointed out that a lot of friends and family of the band were present at this show. You can tell that's the case through all of the joking, banter and, we think, the song selection. This band was on a serious upward trajectory in 1991. We hope you enjoy this show—relentless musically, but intimate and humorous too.


Phish 11.16.91, The Bayou, Washington, DC

Set 1: The Landlady, Uncle Pen, Wilson > Runaway Jim, It's Ice > Sparkle > Fluffhead, Foam, Stash, Ya Mar, Cavern

Set 2: Tube > My Sweet One > Bathtub Gin, Brother, You Enjoy Myself, Horn > Chalk Dust Torture, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Llama

E: Glide, Rocky Top

Friday, November 29, 2013

10 Fall Phish Shows To Be Thankful For

This blog post was co-written with Nate from @Phish_Forum

In celebration of the week of Thanksgiving, we wanted to look back and share our thoughts about 10 Fall Phish shows that we’re thankful for. For us, the fall is always about a few things: leaves turning, the weather getting colder, and awesome indoor Phish shows. We wanted to share a few of the shows that bring to mind the classic Fall Tour Phish we all love. Hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think. 

10.26.89, The Wetlands, New York, NY
1989 represents the first real Phish “Fall Tour.” This show from the Wetlands was among the first shows I ever had on tape, which was a nice SBD copy. This is vintage early Phish. Songs like Fluffhead were still being re-worked at this time, as we see “Who Do We Do” and “The Chase” portions played standalone here. Check out the early first set “You Enjoy Myself,” and a “Mike’s Groove” first set closer that just showcase great interplay between Trey, Mike and Page. Check out the second set “Punch You In The Eye” too, which was shelved two shows later for 414 shows. This version of PYITE smokes any ‘93 and most ‘94 versions.  The show ends with a long, winding “David Bowie” that definitely goes “Type II” and features the classic tension and release that means “Phish.” If you haven’t heard a lot of Fall ‘89, start here.

11.4.90, Fort Ram, Fort Collins, CO
At the end of October 1990, Phish played a 5-show run in Colorado. This was actually their 2nd run in the state that year, and we know that the band has always progressed when getting out of their “element,” first in Colorado and later in Europe and Japan. This 1990 show shows a marked improvement from 1989 in terms of improvisation, technical ability and breadth of playing. Bowie fans will not want to miss this 11.4.90 version, which is overshadowed by the 11.2.90 version. The “Harry Hood” and “Mike’s > Hydrogen > Weekapaug” are great examples of the development of opposite ends of the spectrum (blissful vs. raging rock). This spectrum of possibility in their playing was just starting to develop, and this show offers a nice preview of where things are going.

12.5.92, The Vic Theater, Chicago, IL
1992 holds a special place in my heart. It was the first year I sat down and listened to every show consecutively with the intent to “learn” Phish—whatever that means. In 12.5.92 we hear a nice rocking first set, with strong versions of “Rift,” “Melt” and “Divided Sky.” But this show is anchored by its remarkable second set. Boundless energy and creativity pervade this set. “Tweezer,” “Reba > I Walk The Line > Reba” and “Mike’s Groove” all see nice segments of improvisation. And “Maze,” still in its infancy, shines here too. The now highly sought after “Whipping Post” gets the Fishman treatment, and the “Tweeprise” to close the set ties it all down. 1992 shows often find Phish high on their own virtuosity, and we all know what happened as ‘92 progressed into ‘93 and then ‘94 and so on. Check this show out and hear Phish on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

10.31.94, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY
This is a pretty obvious one, mostly because of the historic second set cover of the “White Album” in its entirety. But we always go back to this show’s first set. Maybe it’s because we had a VHS video of the show? Maybe it’s the all-time versions “Reba” and “Divided Sky?” Maybe it’s Fishman starting up the beat to “Simple” after the segue from “Sparkle.” Whatever IT is, this show is always worth listening to, front to back. The band was so energized going into this first ever album cover show, you can hear it throughout. The third set opens with an almost perfect “David Bowie,” contains a stellar “Run Like an Antelope,” and the “Squirming Coil” encore is a lovely end to what is a truly wonderful show.

11.9.95, Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA
What can we say about Fall ‘95 that Phish themselves have not with their choices for official releases? 10.21.95, 11.14.95, 12.1.95, 12.14.95 and most recently 12.7.95 grace our ears in fully remastered soundboard glory. Clearly this is a rich period in Phish’s history that finds fresh creativity and improvisation night after night. Truly wondrous.

And 11.9.95 is no different. The rare “Tweeprise” opener lets us know from the start that this will be no ordinary show. A standout version of “Divided Sky” follows, and we hear very nice first set jamming in both “Simple” and “Reba.” But it is the “Bathtub Gin" in the second set that raises this show from ordinary to extraordinary. Perhaps (rightly) overshadowed by the 12.5.95 and 12.29.95 versions, this version is no slouch. The “Gin” jam progresses through several themes before a light as air denouement signals the “Gin” coda—top notch Phish, not too long winded and fresh ideas throughout. Follow that up with the always welcome “TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY” and you have a set for the ages. Well played, Phish. Well played.

11.2.96, Coral Sky Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, FL
Afterglow—the elated feeling that remains after a pleasant experience. After an especially moving Phish show I glow very brightly, radiating a powerful blend of pure energy and emotion. On 11.2.96 Phish was still basked in a powerful afterglow from their monumental Halloween show in which they covered the Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light.”

You can hear it in Trey’s raspy voice. You can hear it in every single song in the first set. You can hear it especially in the monster “Crosseyed and Painless” that opens the second set. The afterglow brightens and starts to spark, igniting a fire within the band that would fuel the most creative period in their history, 1997-2000.

“Antelope,” “Waste,” “Hood.” Every song thereafter is imbued with the wondrous glow. We’re so thankful Phish made this show an official release in both audio and video formats, because you can feel good over and over and over again.

12.6.97, The Palace, Auburn Hills, MI & 12.7.97, Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
As our friend Andy suggested, these two shows just go together, and one ends where the next begins. Much like this entire tour, where segues and song combinations were perfect and seamless—well represented in these two shows.

The Palace show’s first set is highlighted by a high-energy, rocking “Bathtub Gin” that flows beautifully into “Foam.” As we all know, the band was firing on all cylinders during this tour and were in the process of destroying America. The second set opening combination of “Tweezer > Izabella > Twist > Piper” is, for lack of a better term, brilliant. Sometimes a second set “Tweezer” opener means life will never be the same. After a fairly standard ‘97 funky jam, at about 12 minutes in Trey starts the upbeat, blissful jam. This builds and builds until Trey takes it into a decidedly dirty, classic rock direction. The “Izabella” that followed scorched the Palace. Fans have been hoping for a “Tweezabella” ever since.

The next day, on a cold Sunday morning, we traveled from The Palace to the Nutter Center. Although we had been treated to what was maybe the best second set we’d ever seen on Saturday night, expectations were high, because it was the Fall of 1997 and we knew that the band was connected in a way that we hadn’t ever heard before. The opener of “AC/DC Bag” into “Psycho Killer” was perfect for that night, and we knew we were in for it again. To end the first set, there’s a “Tube” that immediately develops into a deep funk jam. They ended “Tube,” and Trey says, audibly, “let’s start that jam again.” They take the funk jam from Tube for another 6 minutes before landing into “Slave to the Traffic Light,” which melted the arena. That was just the first set. The second set didn’t even really matter, but a nice “Reba” and incredibly fun “Possum” closed it out. These two shows were the best 2 in a row I’ve ever seen, and are worth listening to back to back.

11.11.98, Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
I am a major proponent of this show becoming an official release. The Midwest leg of the ‘98 Fall Tour had some very strong shows, and Van Andel Arena is a standout among standouts. In the first set we hear full-on space jamming in “Gumbo,” an emotional “Tela” and the set-closing medley of “Birds of a Feather > Theme from the Bottom > Julius” is wide open rocking.

The second set though—whoa buddy the second set. The set-opening “Halley’s Comet” is the stronger, angrier cousin of the Hampton ‘97 “Halley’s.” And when coupled to the following “Simple > Walk Away > Limb by Limb,” we have nearly an hour of brilliant improvisation.  The mellow lull of “When The Circus Comes” provides a launch pad for the set-closing “Ghost.”

This “Ghost” is the absolute fire, and is an improvisational highlight perhaps even beyond that of the “Halley’s.” The opening loops pique our interest after “When the Circus Comes,” and the band begins ever so lightly, exuding confidence. The lyrics come in and they slide effortlessly into a loping funk groove. Fish pushes up the tempo and “Ghost” just builds and builds into pure rock fury. Page, Mike, Fish and Trey all take the lead at points and make this “Ghost” a shared highlight. Huge show for Phish. Bravo.

11.28.09, Times Union Center, Albany, NY
When Phish came back in 2009. we were so happy that we were back, we didn’t (at first) think much about how much they were jamming songs or how much they were pushing the envelope. That lasted about 3 shows, and people started getting antsy. The band executed some nice jams in the summer and fall, including the “Ghost” from Red Rocks, the “Light” from the Gorge, and the “Down with Disease” from Detroit. 

But this second set opening combination of “Seven Below > Ghost” is something for the ages. The 24-minute “Seven Below” contains what I consider to be the best improvisational playing of 2009—it spans funk, bliss, rock—but the real key is that they’re completely locked in, together. This is the hose, and it’s beautiful. The "Ghost" continues this journey, and it's something to behold. This is the first "3.0" show I saw where I thought: “Phish is back.”

Friday, November 22, 2013

Episode 20: Guest Pick Phish 11.19.95 Set 2 & Fan Interviews

Hello friends. We have another guest pick this week, from our friend Eric. He chose 11.19.95, from Charlotte, NC, and we're playing Set 2. 

Eric tweets from @surrenderedflow, and has been a huge supporter of the podcast from the beginning. We were really happy to be able to finally spend some time talking Phish with him. Eric conducted some great interviews from the road on this Fall Tour, which are included in this episode. It's worth a listen to hear the perspective from a few great fans—including @frawg_dawg, @chef_fasano, @kiefwahoo216 and @
KZilembo, who works with @PhanArt & @SttFlow.

You can listen on the player on the right or through iTunes other programs. If you do use iTunes, please give us a review! 

As the New Year's run approaches, check out cashortrade.org for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, please send us comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 20: Phish 11.19.95 Set 2, Charlotte, NC 

The Fall of 1995 was a special time for us in our Phish journey—it was the year when we saw our first show, which we wrote about a few weeks back. But it's obviously special for the band as well, with this month's release of "Niagara Falls," a show that took place about 3 weeks after the show we played on this week's show. 

1995 is the first year that Phish's improvisation really reached new heights. We always talk about the "David Bowie" from Providence 12/29/94, which was clearly a turning point in the band's jamming. And this led right into 1995, when they picked it up and pushed it to new heights. 

Eric chose to play and discuss 11/19/95, and we focused on Set 2. The "Tweezer" is the clear centerpiece of this set—and at just about 21 minutes, you can see why Eric remembers this show fondly. 

The song starts with a straightforward rock jam, with Mike and Fishman laying the foundation while Page and Trey noodle over it. Trey has some typical '95 riffs in here, bordering on funk but still more in the category of blues. 

One of the most striking things about listening to the late '90s now—in contrast to 2013—is how steady of a groove Fishman kept in those days. Today, he's one of the improvisational centerpieces, bringing more of a jazz drummer's mentality to the jams. But then, he was simply laying down the groove, which created a more straightforward landscape for the rest of the band (mostly Trey) to solo over. 

Back to this Tweezer. They build the first jam to a nice peak, and then they take another turn in the road. It gets more funky, Page hits the synthesizer, Fishman varies the beat a bit, and they go in another direction altogether. This is the difference between a 1991 version and a 1995 version of "Tweezer," they have more places to go and more options. The 1991 version would have ended after the first peak, which would have been a fine jam. But this is a different era. 

For the next jam section, Trey gets on his (at the time new) mini-drum kit, and Page gets on the baby grand piano and then the organ. Bluesy, rock, but still soaring. Still rising. Finally, Trey gets back on the guitar and brings it home. The song ends in classic fashion, slowly and methodically drawing down. We went through 4-5 different segments, all within "Tweezer." This was 1995, and this version is a great representation of the fact that the band was clearly pushing themselves to the next level.

They then play "Billy Breathes," as everyone needed a breather after that. Eric described it as being "like a big hug." Following a typically strange "Scent of a Mule" was a classic, blissful "Harry Hood," which always gets us. Every time. No matter what. Phish at it's emotive finest. 

Fall will always remind us of a few things: football, the leaves turning, and raging, indoor Phish. And in many ways, Brad and I started here, in the Fall of 1995. 

Many thanks to Eric for helping us revisit this show and this tour. It's always nice to go back to where it all started. 


Phish 11.19.95, Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

Set 2: Theme From the Bottom > 2001 > The Curtain > Tweezer, Billy Breathes, Scent of a Mule, Harry Hood, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Life on Mars? > Tweezer Reprise

Thursday, November 21, 2013

HF Pod & Friends: November Phish Chat

Last night we hosted another live Phish chat, with Q&A from Twitter and YouTube. This was a conversation with RJ, Zac (@zacharycohen & @thebabysmouth) and Brian (@sufferingjuke). You can access the video here: http://hfpod.blogspot.com/2013/11/hf-pod-friends-november-phish-chat_21.html

We hope you enjoy. Please send thoughts and feedback! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Episode 19: Guest Pick Phish 11.17.94 Dayton, OH

Hey friends! This week we're bringing you another guest pick, this one from our friend Brian Brinkman. Brian is a great fan and an excellent writer who has been observing the 3.0 era from South Korea. He tweets from @sufferingjuke can find his writing here.

Brian chose a really interesting show from November 17, 1994 from Dayton, Ohio (setlist below). This was one of the first shows that Brian ever heard, and it's worth a listen. Wacky, weird, but tightly played1994 Phish. Check out our Listener Notes below. 

You can listen on the player on the right or through iTunes other programs. If you do use iTunes, please give us a review! 

As the New Year's run approaches, check out cashortrade.org for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, please send us comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.

Listener Notes—Episode 17: Phish 11.17.94, Dayton, OH (written with Brian Brinkman)

We've written before that we feel like Fall 1994 represented a fork in the road for Phish: it was both a peak to date, and a departure toward another plane. It was a peak of Phish's creativity, energy, excitement and technical ability—and it also offered us the last of something that the early 1990s represented, in terms of intimacy and playfulness. This show from Dayton really represents both sides of this divide.

In 1994, Phish was in an artistic space where they knew everything they do really well, and were in full command of that, but they want something more. Specifically during Fall 1994, you can hear them tinkering constantly. This is more than the 1993 type of tinkering, where they’re working within songs, and not nearly as advanced as what they would be capable of one year later.

As a result of this combined unique peak and willful dive into the abstract unknown, we hear a band that’s both on top of their musical game, and fully invested in uncovering all the layers that have—over time and through many eras and many different bands—created the place for Phish. A great example is the "David Bowie" from this Dayton show. It's not quite at the point where it becomes a completely different song, a jam vehicle for the ages, but it's not just a simple composition anymore.

This show starts with a wacky and bizarre rendition of The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and right into "Scent of a Mule." Weird Phish. Fun Phish. They give the people at this "hockey barn" a real treat with a "Colonel Forbin's Ascent" and a "Vibration of Life." There was also a scorching "Down with Disease" closer in Set 1, an odd placement for a song in only its first year in the rotation. 

I think we all agreed that the highlight for us was the "Slave to the Traffic Light." This really does have it all—great communication between all members of the band, a really melodic jam, and a great peak with Trey's guitar just ripping until the end. The first of many memorable shows from Dayton for the band, and a great tour to reflect upon. Hope you enjoy.  


Phish 11.17.94, Hara Arena, Dayton, OH

Set 1: Helter Skelter, Scent of a Mule, Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, Wilson > Divided Sky, Dog Faced Boy, Colonel Forbin's Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird -> The Vibration of Life -> Fly Famous Mockingbird > Down with Disease

Set 2: 2001 > David Bowie, Sleeping Monkey > Sparkle > You Enjoy Myself -> Hold Your Head Up -> Love You > Hold Your Head Up > Slave to the Traffic Light, Golgi ApparatusEncore: I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome*, Nellie Kane*, My Long Journey Home*, To France* -> Fixin' to Die*

*w/"Reverend" Jeff Mosier