Phish Plays Wild ‘Possum’ On Fall Tour 1995

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of 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. 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 made their lone appearance at Phoenix-area venue Compton Terrace Amphitheater in Chandler, Arizona on this date during Fall Tour 1995. The concert featured one highlight after another with the “Possum” that opened the second set among the best in the song’s 35-year-history.

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The quartet was firing on all cylinders two weeks into the 54-show tour and wasted little time getting down to business at the 10,000-capacity venue by opening with an impressive, tension-and-release-filled “Stash” that spanned nearly 15 minutes. Phish gave Arizona fans a diverse first set that included the tour debut of “The Old Home Place,” a euphoric “Divided Sky,” beautiful “If I Could,” unplugged “Acoustic Army” and more.

Phish’s second set on October 11, 1995 features a dream setlist with a performance to match. Guitarist Trey Anastasio responded to the audience chess move by quipping, “On behalf of the band, we’d like to thank you for making that move.” The four-piece then lit into a wild and unusual “Possum” that wasn’t as notable for deep improvisation as it was for the dynamics showed off by the group. Phish alternated between near silence and blues-rock during an extremely long intro, which foreshadowed what would follow.

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Bassist Mike Gordon growled the lyrics putting extra emphasis on certain words. The start of the solo/jam saw Trey, Mike and keyboardist Page McConnell pluck short riffs as they played off each other’s melodies while drummer Jon Fishman kept “Possum” from falling apart with a steady beat. Anastasio then went full-on guitar hero by stringing together one otherworldy riff after another in building to a rolling boil.

The guitarist led quick excursions to “Dave’s Energy Guide” and “Johnny B. Goode” as he brought “Possum” to its climax. At one point, he sustained a powerful note and took the opportunity to bang on the mini drum kit that was a new addition to his rig for the tour. The crowd expressed its appreciation as Phish concluded “Possum” and followed with a “Bathtub Gin” that had plenty of tempo changes throughout from the incredibly tight band.

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Gordon stepped into the spotlight next to lead the band through both “Mound” and “Mike’s Song.” The second “Mike’s” jam featured a particularly evil progression unlike any in the history of the song. “Mike’s Song” gave way to “McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters” as part of what still stands as the band’s only run of “Mike’s Song” > “McGrupp” > “Weekapaug Groove.” The “Weekapaug” was short and sweet with Anastasio having “Llama” on his mind and initiating a drawn-out transition into the tune. Next, a rare unfinished “Suzy Greenberg” bled into Phish’s first cover of “Crossroads” since May 8, 1993. The a capella “Hello My Baby” and a cover of The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” ended the second set with “Chalk Dust Torture” serving as the evening’s encore.

Stream an audience recording shared by fromtheaquarium queued up to “Possum” below:

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JamBase Live Video Archive
JamBase Live Video Archive