The JamBase List | 10 Amazing Pre-Hiatus Phish Segues

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Each Friday, @YEMblog holds a Friday Conversation with followers in which they are asked a question about Phish. This past Friday’s question asked “What are some of your favorite #phish segues/transitions?” and nearly 100 responses were received.

We’ve compiled a number of Phish segues mentioned by YEMblog followers that took place before the band began what would be a two-year hiatus on October 7, 2000 as well as a few of our own suggestions for this installment of The JamBase List:

1. 7/22/97 Down With Disease -> Mike’s Song

[Timing: Just before the first video ends and the second video begins]

Trey seems to stumble onto the lick he uses to start “Mike’s Song” out of an insane, exploratory “Down With Disease” and doesn’t let the fact that he’s in the wrong key stop him and the rest of the band from slyly transitioning into “Mike’s.”

2. 6/29/00 Drowned -> Rock & Roll

[Transition starts minutes before “R&R” begins in earnest at 18:22]

Phish kicked off the second show of a memorable two-night stand at the PNC Bank Arts Center in 2000 with a five-song first set that ended with an awe-inspiring sequence of two classic rock covers -The Who’s “Drowned” and The Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll.” The quartet milked the lively transition between the two tunes for all it was worth.

3. 12/7/97 AC/DC Bag -> Psycho Killer -> Jesus Just Left Chicago

[Timing: Hints of “Psycho Killer” begin at 4:28, song starts at 5:55 / “JJLC” comes in at 11:33]

Fans knew they were in for an extremely special night when Phish opened a performance at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio with an epic “AC/DC Bag” -> “Psycho Killer” -> “Jesus Just Left Chicago” sequence. Both transitions are spot-on which is all the more remarkable due to the rarity of the classic rock covers as “Psycho Killer” had only been performed once in the past nearly four years prior and “Jesus Just Left Chicago” has never been in heavy rotation for the band. The beauty of the sequence isn’t just in the transitions as there’s magical improv found both before and after the Talking Heads cover.

4. 12/29/95 Bathtub Gin -> The Real Me -> Bathtub Gin

[Timing: “Real Me” starts around 11:20, back into “Gin” at 22:10]

The Vermonters made their lone performance of The Who’s “The Real Me” outside of the Quadrophenia set on Halloween one to remember. Phish’s second set at The Centrum in Worcester on December 29, 1995 started off with a sensational “Bathtub Gin” -> “The Real Me” -> “Bathtub Gin” sequence. The transitions both into and out of “The Real Me” were near perfect and egged on more by drummer Jon Fishman than many of the others on this list.

5. 11/27/1998 Chalk Dust Torture -> Mirror In The Bathroom > Chalk Dust Torture

[Timing: “Mirror” starts at 9:08 / “Chalk Dust” returns at 9:50]

Phish’s lone performance of The English Beat’s “Mirror In The Bathroom” came in the midst of one of the craziest sets in the band’s history. The quartet broke all the rules during their first set at Worcester’s The Centrum on November 27, 1998 for a show they thought so highly of it was included in the first batch of Live Phish releases less than three years later. The quick romp through “Mirror In The Bathroom” came in the middle of one of the first extended “Chalk Dust Torture”s and both the segues in and out were well-executed, with the return to “Chalk Dust” of the “drop on-a-dime back in” variety.

6. 7/30/97 David Bowie -> Cities -> David Bowie

[Timing: “Cities” begins to emerge around 17 minutes, vocals at 19:37 / “Bowie” returns around 24:33]

You know a segue is particularly good when the band needs to change key and doesn’t trainwreck doing so. The legendary “David Bowie” -> “Cities” -> “David Bowie” sequence Phish laid down in Ventura, California on July 30, 1997 is a good example. There’s nearly three minutes of “Cities”-like upbeat funk that emerges out of the typically dark “David Bowie” jam space and eventually the foursome changes keys at the same time to begin “Cities.” Even more impressive improv links “Cities” and the end of “David Bowie.”

7. 4/29/93 Weekapaug Groove -> Makisupa Policeman -> Weekapaug Groove

[Timing: “Makisupa” starts at 2:04:42 / “Weekapaug” returns at 2:07:18]

“Makisupa Policeman” made its first appearance in a whopping 322 shows as part of a ridiculous “Weekapaug Groove” -> “Makisupa Policeman” -> “Weekapaug Groove” sequence in Montreal on April 29, 1993. These are not exactly two Phish originals you’d ever think would fit together, but the band masterfully works their way both into and out of the bust out. We love the way they break down the groove on the way into “Makisupa,” and if guitarist Trey Anastasio ever played a faster run of melodies than he does at the end of “Weekapaug” (see the 2:11:12 mark) we’ve yet to hear it.

8. 12/11/99 Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley -> Ghost -> 2001

[Timing: “Ghost” starts around 1:29:28 / “2001” starts around 1:48:52]

Phish turned in a five-song second set for the ages at The Spectrum in Philadelphia on December 11, 1999 that included a number of memorable segues. First up is a milked-out transition between “Sneakin’ Sally” and “Ghost.” After a stellar 20-minute “Ghost” fades to spaciness, somehow “Also Sprach Zarathrustra,” aka “2001,” emerges.

9. 7/4/99 Ghost -> Slave To The Traffic Light

[Timing: Phish makes turn towards “Slave” around 12:00, song starts at 13:35]

For our money, one of the more beautiful Phish segues of the era took place at Lakewood Amphitheatre on July 4, 1999; when the Vermonters turned a dirty “Ghost” jam into more blissful territory out of which “Slave To The Traffic Light” emerged. The few minutes between the two is “must-hear” Phish and shows what happens when the band jams on the beginning of “Slave To The Traffic Light.” It doesn’t hurt that both the evening’s “Ghost” and “Slave” are top-shelf renditions.

10. 7/25/99 My Left Toe -> Whipping Post

[Timing: “Whipping Post” starts around 21:51]

Here’s another case of a show filled with sweet segues, but none as impressive or as well-received as the one that connected the instrumental “My Left Toe” with the first and only Trey-led cover of “Whipping Post” to be played by Phish since 1990. Those of us who were there will never forget the moment it was clear this “Whipping Post” would be much more than a tease.