Phish Plays Rarities In Philly On Fall Tour 1999

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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’s history of shows on December 10 includes concerts in 1988, 1992 and 1994, but their only performance on this date in the past 25 years occurred on Fall Tour 1999 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. The show was Phish’s sixth appearance at The Spectrum and it opened a two-night stand at the since-demolished arena where the band played a total of nine times, following another two shows in 2003.

Those who attended the first Philly show of Fall ‘99 were treated to a number of setlist rarities, though the extent of the rareness of some of the songs played that night would not be realized for many years to come. Both sets on December 10, 1999 contained selections that with the hindsight of 25 years showcased songs Phish has played live 50 times or less, so far.

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Set one began with “Tweezer,” and a few songs later the band unleashed “Dogs Stole Things,” the bluesy original debuted in 1997. The fourth “Dogs Stole Things” of 1999 marked the last year it has been played by Phish more than twice in a calendar year. With nine additional performances since Philly, its current total stands at 38. Bassist Mike Gordon then led his bandmates through a cover of the bluegrass classic “My Mind’s Got A Mind Of Its Own.” Phish first covered “MMGAMOIO” in 1992 and only eight times after the Spectrum show for a total of 44 times. Later, the set closed with a somewhat unusual first set “Loving Cup.”

An adventurous “Gotta Jibboo” kicked off the second set, followed by “The Wedge” and “David Bowie.” Around the 13-minute mark of “David Bowie,” when the song would normally start climbing toward a tension-filled peak, the band instead found a reggae groove that they stuck with rather than finish “Bowie.” The reggae vibe led to a smooth segue into “Have Mercy,” The Mighty Diamonds song Phish busted out earlier in the year at their two-day event in July in Oswego, New York, after not covering it since 1994. Currently standing at 17 times played, “Have Mercy” would again be absent from Phish setlists until July 2010 and has only been performed by the band seven times since the Philly version.

“Have Mercy” was punctuated with a dub-like jam that saw Page McConnell start playing “Hold Your Head Up” on organ, while the rest of the band kept playing in a reggae style. Drummer Jon Fishman, who was compelled to the front of the stage by the “HYHU” introduction, augmented the unusual performance of his theme song by playing his vacuum cleaner. With guitarist Trey Anastasio on drums, Fish then led his bandmates through “Cracklin’ Rosie,” which at the time was its second performance since 1995. Fish has chosen the Neil Diamond singalong 50 times so far, but it has only been played once (in 2012) after the Spectrum bust out.

The encore at The Spectrum was a cover of “Ride Captain Ride.” Another rarity sitting at 17 Phish performances, it had been over a year since Phish last played The Blues Image classic and would not make another setlist until 2010.

Listen to “Dogs Stole Things,” “My Mind’s Got A Mind Of Its Own,” “Have Mercy,” “Ride Captain Ride” and the rest of Phish’s December 10, 1999 concert below:

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