Phish Begins Island Tour On This Date In 1998

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On February 24, 1998 Phish announced a four show run that would go on to be known as the famed Island Tour. A mere 37 days later, on this date in 1998 the band played the first of two shows at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, and then played two concerts at Providence Civic Center in Rhode Island. Complete video footage the notoriously funky four nights from April 2 and 3 in Uniondale, New York and on April 4 and 5 in Providence can be viewed below.

Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro has written extensively about the now legendary Island tour which he explains occurred between a pair of studio recording sessions they called “Ghost Meat.”

April 2, 1998 Nassau Coliseum

“Tube” got the Island Tour off to a funky start and the first set also saw a standout “Stash” segue into “Horn.” The second set included the debut of “Birds Of A Feather” and “Frankie Says,” the latter of which came out of a sublime sequencing stringing “Wolman’s Brother” and “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” together. The encore of “Guyute” closed out the opening show and set up an adventurous night two.

[April 2, 1998 Set One | Via thegreatboognish]

April 2, 1998 Set Two | Via BurningShoreProphet2]

April 3, 1998 Nassau Coliseum

The second Island Tour show began with “Mike’s Song” that included teases of “Mozambique” which would not be debuted by Phish until September 9, 1999. A notably funky “Weekapaug Groove” came behind “My Old Home Place” and the blues cover “My Soul” closed out the first half. Only four songs made up the second set on the second night, with lengthy takes on Ween’s “Roses Are Free” and their original “Piper” coming ahead of The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup” and a loose “Run Like An Antelope” closer that interjected cries of “Carini’s gonna get you” after drum tech Pete Carini chased a stage crasher away from the band. An apt “Carini” initiated the encore followed by “Halley’s Comet” and a rare “Tweezer Reprise” coming without “Tweezer” being played earlier in the show.

April 3, 1998 Set One | Via BurningShoreProphet2]

April 3, 1998 Set Two | Via BurningShoreProphet2]

April 4, 1998 Providence Civic Center

Moving over to Rhode Island, the show on April 4 opened with the companion “Tweezer” missing from the night before. A transition into a nifty “Taste” was another first set highlight. The second “Birds Of A Feather” began the second set and segued into a space-funk rendition of “2001” that when finished amassed over 30 minutes of music. A couple of performances of “Brother” (including a “radio-friendly” version) added a dose of levity to set two and a jammed-out, “radio unfriendly” rendition of “Ghost” with a “Can’t Turn You Loose” tease, “The Lizards” and more funk inside “David Bowie” completed the second set. A languid “Harry Hood” sent fans home with one more show left on the Island Tour.

April 4, 1998 Set One & Set Two | Via Stephen Gripp]

[April 4, 1998 David Bowie | Via silverchair97]

[April 4, 1998 Harry Hood | Via silverchair97]

April 5, 1998 Providence Civic Center

The only time Phish has paired “The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony” with “You Enjoy Myself” opened the final night of the Island Tour. A funk-filled evening’s first half also saw a groovy “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” as well as nicely jammed “Bathtub Gin” with a seamless move into “Cities” and a “Split Open and Melt” closer. The nearly non-stop playing from the final Island Tour set opening “Down With Disease” through the closing “Cavern” wove supreme examples of “Cow Funk” throughout. The jam in “Ya Mar” is particularly interesting, a soaring “Prince Caspian” enters into ambient bliss territory, a blistering “Maze” smoothly shifts into the dark and funky debut of “Shafty,” the rocking “Possum” is abandoned in favor of what’s likely the funkiest rendition of “Cavern” ever employed. During the “Cavern” intro, guitarist Trey Anastasio thanked the audience for attending the Island Tour, informed them that more funk was on the way and invited “those of you who want take off, take off – but for those of you who just want to dance to the funk, we’re gonna stick around and keep grooving.” The Island Tour came to a close with a cover of “Bold Is Love” by Jimi Hendrix taking up the final encore slot.

April 5, 1998 Set One & Set Two | Via Brian Colligan]

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