Phish Makes Binghamton Finale Memorable On Fall Tour 1995

By Scott Bernstein Dec 14, 2020 6:28 am PST

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.

Phish only performed one concert on this date over the past 25 years, though they did make their lone appearance on Saturday Night Live 18 years ago today. On December 14, 1995, the quartet brought their fall tour to Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena for what still stands as their last show in Binghamton, New York. The band made their fifth and final gig in Binghamton count by loading the night with highlights. Phish’s farewell to the city was so good it was selected by archivist Kevin Shapiro as the band’s first Live Phish archival release.

The Live Phish series dates back to 2001 and is still going strong as Shapiro will announce the show featured in the next release later today on SiriusXM’s Phish Radio. At first, the series consisted of physical releases but now has gone fully digital with installments available for download and streaming via LivePhish.com. The initial batch of Live Phish featured five different audio recordings with Binghamton 1995 selected as Volume 1.

More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
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  • Phish Teases 'Dog Log' Album In Portland On Fall Tour 1995

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  • Phish Plays Rarities In Philly On Fall Tour 1999

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  • Phish Delivers The Albany 'YEM' On This Date In 1995

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Read a note that accompanied the release of Phish’s Binghamton 1995 show:

Volume 1 from the original twenty-volume series known as LIVEPHISH.

Original release in a metallic paperboard slipcase with a plastic fold-out showcase sleeve and a 4-page booklet. Later re-issue was packaged in standard double jewel case.

The LIVE PHISH series feature innovative packaging modeled after the way Phish fans collect and organize the band’s live shows. The CDs are in premium metallic paperboard slipcases; discs are held in a folded vinyl inner sleeve with four pockets — two holding discs, one holding a four-page booklet. When removed, the vinyl inner sleeve can be unfolded and inserted directly into the custom-designed ShowCase, a deluxe 3-ring CD organizer manufactured by Case Logic.

Phish’s visit to Binghamton was most worthy of kicking off the series. The night started innocently enough with a first set featuring “Foam,” “Split Open & Melt” and “Makisupa Policeman” among the highlights. Yet the second set was an all-killer, no-filler affair with one impressive segue and jam after another that melt together into an incredibly cohesive frame. “The Curtain” opener gave way to a high-octane “Tweezer” based on a powerful riff that would surface later. Just as “Tweezer” reached a peak, guitarist Trey Anastasio lit into “Timber (Jerry The Mule).” Wild jamming emerges out of “Timber” and eventually Trey re-inserted the “Tweezer” riff and picked up where he had left off about five minutes prior.

Keyboardist Page McConnell then showed off his handiwork on synth before an impressive course of full-band improv. After a few glorious minutes, Phish took it down a notch and all the members headed to McConnell’s rig for “Keyboard Army,” an instrumental debuted on the first night of the tour.

The second set is a seamless frame with the exception of a brief pause after “Keyboard Army.” After the band all returned to their usual spots, bassist Mike Gordon began singing “Halley’s Comet.” Phish treated fans to the first jammed-out “Halley’s,” as the quartet blew through the normal progression to connect on a frenetic chord progression they rode to glory. It was a true “hose” moment but the band wasn’t done with majestic improv yet. Next, drummer Jon Fishman kicked into a reggae groove that paved the way for a spot-on transition into “NICU,” which featured a riff Phish had been jamming on a few minutes earlier.

“NICU” also isn’t a Phish song known for birthing impressive jams, but it most certainly did so on this night. In fact, the version is just one of four out of the 142 in the band’s history to qualify for the Phish.net Jam Chart and remains the longest “NICU” ever 25 years later. Fish, Trey and Mike pulled out of the mix after the “NICU” jam leaving McConnell to lead into the majestic “Slave To The Traffic Light” with a solo. A cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love” served as encore in response to a fan with a sign, though Anastasio told the crowd “when fans bring signs, it has to be for a song the band wants to play.”

Stream Live Phish Volume 1 below:

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