Phish Teases ‘Dog Log’ Album In Portland On Fall Tour 1995

By Scott Bernstein Dec 11, 2020 7:27 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 continued their Fall Tour 1995 25 years ago today at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. The memorable concert had it all from rarities to impressive jams to a stellar guest appearance, yet is best remembered for two of the more interesting instances of crowd participation in Phish history.

The four-piece opened the show by pairing “My Friend, My Friend” and “Ha Ha Ha.” A typically dark “Stash” came next before Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio addressed the crowd. “We always like to play on this stage, this is where Elvis [Presley] was supposed to do his last concert. He died the day before,” Anastasio said. “We’re basically trying to channel Elvis’ energy tonight, so we hope you can all help us. We know you’re out there, Elvis.” He then dedicated “Prince Caspian” to “The King” and “his son, the little known ‘Prince Caspian.'”

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An ethereal “Reba” followed “Prince Caspian.” Trey then invited the crowd to help Phish with a project they were working on wrapped around “Dog Log,” an obscure soundcheck favorite that hadn’t been performed during an actual concert since August 2, 1993 — a span of 218 shows.

Here’s what the guitarist told the audience:

Just thought of something funny during that last jam there. Let me tell you about something that we’re doing you guys can help us out with. Just kinda came up with this idea if you wanna … We’re doing this other album here on the side. What we’ve been doing — we’ll let the secret out of the bag — everyday when we do soundcheck, we do this song “Dog Log.” You guys know [it]? Everyday it’s totally different. So what we’re going to do is at the end of the tour we’re gonna put together all these things and put out an album and call it Dog Log. Fifteen different versions of “Dog Log.”

You guys can help us out on this one. So, what we can do, is we start playing “Dog Log” and everybody’s totally silent as if we’re in soundcheck. At some point during the middle of it, I’ll give this signal or something and then everybody just start booing like, “This sucks! You suck!” Just screaming! And then we’ll stop and that will be on the album.

Don’t start yet! Let us start the song but you have to be really quiet so on the album it sounds like we’re doing it in soundcheck. Suddenly all these people come in and just start booing. After you guys scream, really scream at us like you just hate us, total hatred towards the stage. Then, I’ll give you another signal at some point and you can stop again and then we’ll be able to get out of it. We start the song and you guys have to be quiet.

The audience complied and went silent as Phish began “Dog Log.” Anastasio gave the signal 30 seconds into the tune at which point the crowd did indeed boo the band. The quartet continued “Dog Log” for another 20 seconds before Trey signaled fans to stop. Both the guitarist and Phish drummer Jon Fishman gave their thanks and the quartet lit into “Llama.”

However, the antics weren’t finished. Phish picked “Dog Log” back up following “Llama.” Once again, Anastasio strode to the mic with instructions for the crowd:

Alright, want to do one more for the album here? Hang on one sec, Fish. This time, when I give the signal, everybody just do the most obnoxious high-pitched piercing scream. What will happen is, you guys keep screaming and we’ll just kind of fade out underneath so it leaves just you screaming. Then, when I give the next signal, just stop and that will be the whole thing. So, on the album it will be like a one-minute song, okay? We start playing, you guys are quiet. I give you the signal and when I give you the signal it’s just ::screams::. Then, we’ll stop and you just keep going until I give you the next signal. Does everybody under their mission?

Phish played the “mellow” version of “Dog Log” in order to give more emphasis to the screaming. The second “Dog Log” was akin to “Lawn Boy” and after approximately 40 seconds Trey queued the crowd. “Good one,” Anastasio noted after “Dog Log” was aborted for the second time. “That was beautiful. Rock history. Rock history in the making. The next ‘Free Bird.'”

The band had a treat in store for fans next. “Okay, since you guys are helping us out so much here, we’ll now play one that people request all the time that we never play,” Trey explained. “Returning your favor.” Phish then kicked into just their fourth “Tube” since 1992. The previous version took place 36 shows prior in Fort Worth, Texas and the one before that was played 119 concerts earlier in Charleston, West Virginia. A run of “McGrupp & The Watchful Hosemasters,” “Julius” and “Cavern” brought the first set to a close.

Phish’s second set in Portland 25 years today was filled with impressive improvisation. The versions of “David Bowie,” “Taste That Surrounds,” “Scent Of A Mule” and “Harry Hood” from the frame were all Jam Chart-worthy. As if the evening wasn’t special enough, Phish still had one surprise up their sleeves. The Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes sat-in on the “Funky Bitch” that ended the set as well as the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” encore.

Sadly, we’re still awaiting the Dog Log album 25 years later.

The only video to circulate from the evening came within a montage broadcast at setbreak of the band’s 20th Anniversary Concert in Boston on December 2, 2003. Watch the “Dog Log” antics below starting at the 17:53 mark:

Stream an audience recording of Phish’s December 11, 1995 concert recorded by Dave Flaschner, shared by fromtheaquarium and queued up to the first “Dog Log” intro below:

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