Phish Cooks Up Heavenly ‘Gumbo’ In Providence 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 only played one concert on this date over the past 25 years besides their Fall Tour 1997 closer in Albany. That show took place at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island on December 13, 1999. A number of tasty jams were performed by Phish in Providence 21 years ago today including a particularly swampy rendition of “Gumbo.”

Drummer Jon Fishman penned the lyrics to “Gumbo,” which features music written by guitarist Trey Anastasio. Phish debuted the song at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York on September 28, 1990 and “Gumbo” has been a live staple ever since with the exception of a handful of gaps, mostly notably a 227-show disappearance between July 25, 1991 and April 16, 1993.

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Phish played “Gumbo” in similar fashion between its debut and a sizzling jammed-out version on July 29, 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona. At that point, the quartet would often take the song outside the lines through a 16-minute take at Deer Creek in 2003. However, Phish has kept “Gumbo” compact since.

The band’s late-tour visit to Providence came during the glory days of “Gumbo.” Phish kicked off the evening with an intense “Tube” and a run through keyboardist Page McConnell‘s “Cars Trucks Buses” before serving up “Gumbo.” Anastasio led a memorable expedition in which he was prodded into “Type II” territory by bassist Mike Gordon. McConnell tickled the Clavinet with dark riffs as Trey locked in on an anthemic descending riff. Page and Mike quickly caught on and while the Providence “Gumbo” only spanned 11 minutes, it features ethereal improvisation.

Phish locked into a groove for a few minutes to bring the glorious and unusually evil “Gumbo” to a close. “The Moma Dance” followed with Gordon teasing “Gumbo” to the delight of the crowd. A six-song first set continued with a 19-minute “Piper” featuring fretboard fireworks galore from Anastasio. Trey eventually moved over to the keyboard that was part of his rig for the tour as the band explored various soundscapes within the standout “Piper.” Phish brought the jam to near silence before beginning the “Theme From The Bottom” that would close the frame.

The recently debuted “Gotta Jibboo” opened the second set and after “NICU” would be followed by a string of three additional songs premiered in 1999: “Sand,” “The Inlaw Josie Wales” and “Mountains In The Mist.” Gordon infused “Sand” with the “Gotta Jibboo” bassline as part of the standout +23-minute version of the tune. Anastasio starred on a “Sand” featuring multiple crowd-pleasing peaks. The guitarist was also in fine form on “Limb By Limb” later in the set, which came ahead of the pairing of “Golgi Apparatus” and “Slave To The Traffic Light” that ended the set.

Phish shocked fans when they returned for the encore and began playing “Silent In The Morning.” The version marked the first of the Rift classic that wasn’t preceded by “The Horse” since June 23 1994 — a span of 421 shows. Another new tune, “Heavy Things,” brough the evening to its conclusion.

Listen to an audience recording of Phish’s entire December 13, 1999 performance taped by Dave Flaschner and shared by fromtheaquarium queued up to “Gumbo” below:

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