Phish Performs ‘Reba’ & ‘Gumbo’ At 1998’s Lemonwheel Festival In Newly Surfaced Video
On August 15 and 16, 1998, Phish presented their Lemonwheel festival at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine. While fan-shot video from the second night has circulated for years, there was thought to be no footage from the first night … until now. YouTuber MrMarMar420 recently unearthed fan-shot video of the transcendent “Reba”/”Gumbo” segment from Phish’s second set on August 15, 1998.
Approximately 60,000 Phish fans made the trek to the top of Maine for Lemonwheel, the band’s third big festival following the Clifford Ball in 1996 and The Great Went in 1997. The Great Went also took place in Limestone as did the It festival in 2003.
Phish played a total of seven sets for the public at Lemonwheel including a surprise “ambient” set on the first night. The “new” footage starts after “The Wedge” that kicked off the quartet’s second set and features the 30-minute “Reba”/”Gumbo” pairing. “Reba” is notable for the exquisite interplay between guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell, however it’s the “Gumbo” that really stands out.
“Gumbo” turned into a jam vehicle in 1997 and the song gave way to impressive improvisation a number of times over the three years that followed. At Lemonwheel, Phish broke through the tune’s typical structure and connected on a funky interlude powered by the rhythm section of bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman. The “Gumbo” hits its stride when the band lands upon an ascending pattern akin to “Tweezer Reprise” to bring the version to a powerful crescendo. A brief foray into blissful territory and a move into a rock-heavy chord sequence that brings to mind “Chalk Dust Torture,” which lays the groundwork for a transition into “Sanity,” is the icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, video of the end of “Gumbo” is missing though MrMarMar420 used a montage of photos from Lemonwheel to accompany the audio. Here’s hoping footage from the rest of the day surfaces soon. Watch Phish’s performances of “Reba” and “Gumbo” from August 15, 1998 below: