Phish Plays 30-Minute ‘Drowned’ On Fall Tour 1999
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
Only four Phish shows have occurred on December 12 over the course of the band’s 37-year career: in 1992, 1995, 1997 and 1999. The band’s 12/12 show on Fall Tour ‘99 was held at the venue formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center where they had played twice prior and have once since under its new name, the XL Center.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
“Drowned” was one of the few songs from The Who’s Quadrophenia that stayed in Phish’s repertoire after it debuted as part of their Halloween musical costume on Fall Tour 1995. The song sung by bassist Mike Gordon opened the second set on December 12, 1999 and stretched just beyond the half-hour mark, making it the second-longest version on the Phish.net jam chart for “Drowned,” which currently has only 17 entries. The Hartford “Drowned” was the second appearance at a Phish show in 1999 and, at the time, the 14th performance of what currently stands at 46 times played.
Before getting to “Drowned,” the first set in Hartford saw Phish start the show with “Heavy Things” after having selected it to open a show for the first time earlier on the tour. “AC/DC Bag,” “Strange Design,” “Divided Sky,” “Beauty of My Dreams,” “Bug,” “Stash” and “Chalk Dust Torture” rounded out the set. At the end of “Chalk Dust Torture,” guitarist Trey Anastasio acknowledge the presence of family members inside the arena and paid tribute to his grandfather who had passed away at age 92 earlier in the year.
After opening the second set with a half hour’s worth of “Drowned,” Gordon, Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon Fishman kept going with a presentation of “Prince Caspian” that when coupled with the opener was 40 minutes of interrupted playing. The first pause in the set led to “The Squirming Coil,” which was followed by “Makisupa Policeman” (keyword: “herbal jazz cigarette”) and “Run Like An Antelope.” An extremely rare “Runaway Jim” encore, the ninth and most recent instance of the early original showing up as part of an encore, brought an end to the show.
Now, about that “Drowned.” The ensuing jam launches on the momentum of Anastasio’s rapid delivery of notes, pressing ahead on that intense trajectory for several minutes. The fretboard fireworks downshift at around the nine-minute mark, but the hard-charging jam pushes on while Anastasio steers the others through several melodic passages. About 15 minutes in, Gordon and Fish settle into a slightly more restrained groove and McConnell adds chunky synth lines as Anastasio shifts to a wobbly tone as the foursome incorporates a funky element to the improvisation.
Trey’s looping siren calls that were a signature of the era ring out around the arena at the 20-minute mark of the jam. Phish transitions into another distinguishable segment, Anastasio pulling back to let his loops and rhythm section build a swirling atmospheric soundscape. At 25-minutes in, Trey sends a scream from his guitar which Gordon responds to with a pulsating swell of chest-thumping notes, Page embellishing with hypnotic piano playing and Fish keeping a steady rhythm. The final minutes of the jam grow with tension from the long, screaming notes Trey deliberately doles out that eventually signal the start of “Caspian.”
Click below to start with the 30-minute “Drowned” from Phish’s show on December 12, 1999 below: