Phish Performs +21-Minute ‘Piper’ On Fall Tour 1999
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 performed twice on October 2 over the past 25 years. One concert took place at the Seattle Center Arena in 1995 and the other was held at the Target Center in Minneapolis on this date in 1999. The quartet’s second set in Minneapolis was a jam-filled, six-song frame highlighted by a “Piper” that spanned nearly 22 minutes.
An expansive “Split Open & Melt” in the first set foreshadowed what was to come with guitarist Trey Anastasio putting delay loops to good use. “Split” concluded with Trey introducing each of his band mates as he called bassist Mike Gordon “Cactus,” keyboardist Page McConnell “Stumpy” and drummer Jon Fishman “Matty” before referring to himself as “The Good Lieutenant.” A potent “Tweezer” that didn’t stray far off course opened the second set and was followed by a rare cover of Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down” and the sensational version of “Piper.”
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
“Piper” was debuted by Phish on June 14, 1997 and has been played a total of 174 times through February 21, 2020. The version in Minneapolis was one of only nine to pass the vaunted 20-minute mark. Anastasio starred between verses by unleashing a torrent of powerful riffs. The band entered the jam at warp speed thanks to the fluidity and precision at which the guitarist was playing. Trey eventually landed on a progression that sounded straight out of a Jimi Hendrix song to the delight of the audience.
Fish impressively kept up with his band mate and didn’t miss a beat throughout the fast-paced segment that began “Piper.” Anastasio finally settled down and the quartet explored “Sunshine Of Your Love”-esque terrain around the 15-minute mark. Trey set a delay loop that added another layer to the improvisation while McConnell added driving Fender Rhodes chords to the mix and Gordon employed an synthed-out tone. From there, Phish connected on a progression akin to “Birds Of A Feather” with Trey focusing on rhythmic work. The final segment of the Minneapolis “Piper” was free-form and ambient as Anastasio moved over to a keyboard that was part of his rig for a short time.
A run of “You Enjoy Myself,” “Frankenstein” and “Waste” ended the second set before Phish encored with a cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that gave way to “Tweezer Reprise.” Hear an audience recording of the full show shared by fromtheaquarium queued up to the start of “Piper” below: