Twenty Years Later: Phish Fans Start ‘Hood’ Chant At Red Rocks In 1996
Last month we prepped a list detailing 10 times Phish fans influenced what the band played on stage, but there are a number of times the relationship worked in reverse. One of the most memorable instances took place on this date 20 years ago, when a fan-driven campaign to have attendees of the foursome’s Red Rocks run in 1996 chant “Hood” in response to Phish singing “Harry” in “Harry Hood” first paid off. Twenty years later you can still hear many chant “Hood” each time the Vermonters perform “Harry Hood.”
It all started on Rec.Music.Phish, an internet newsgroup in the days before Phantasy Tour, Phishhook and other Phish-y forums. The “Hood” campaign began one month earlier on July 6, 1996 when RMPer Darius Zelkha wrote to the members of the newsgroup in an effort to come up with group crowd ideas. He polled the group of Phish diehards for ideas and a few weeks later shared the final draft of a flyer he was printing up to distribute at the band’s four-night Red Rocks run August 4 – 7 in Morrison, Colorado. “If they play HARRY HOOD, when the band sings ‘Harry’, YELL ‘HOOD!’ on the next beat (it works perfectly with the music). Example: Band: ‘Harry!……….Harry!………..Where do you go when……’ Crowd: ‘……….HOOD!………..HOOD!………………………etc,'” read the part about “Harry Hood.” The flyer contained a number of other ideas, but it was the “Hood” chant that caught on. Zelkha and his group of friends printed and distributed 1,000 of the flyers. Check out the 1:51:35 mark to hear the crowd respond with “Hood” to Phish’s “Harry.” You can hear the band crack up and the fans cheer with delight at pulling off the feat.
Phish’s August 6, 1996 performance is memorable for more than just the start of the “Hood” chant. The night prior an incident went down in the town of Morrison itself that began when a ticketless “fan” threw a bottle at a police officer. The cops responded aggressively and cleared fans off the streets of Morrison. Watch a local NBC affiliate’s report on what went down:
There was anxiety in the air when Phish took the stage for the third night of the first four-night stand at a single venue in the band’s history. Trey, Mike, Page and Fish responded to the incident in their own way by opening with “Makisupa Policeman.” Later, in the “Rift” that followed, Anastasio paid homage to both U2’s Red Rocks appearance and his own quote in the “Icculus” found on Junta by stepping to the mic and saying, “This is Red Rocks, This is the Edge.” The first set also included the year’s only “Dinner & A Movie,” a particularly lively “Suzy Greenberg” and a “Run Like The Antelope” that saw Anastasio substitute “21-year-old Phish fan Marcus Esquandolas” for “Marco Esquandolas.” Trey used a line that appeared in a local paper about the Morrison incident, which gave Phish fans a good chuckle.
One thing many musiclovers don’t know about Red Rocks until they visit the iconic venue is just how far off in the distance you can see from your seat. You can see for miles and miles and during the second set attendees at the sold-out concert witnessed a major storm approaching. Phish took the stage regardless and opened with “The Curtain.” Up next was a “Tweezer” that stands among the top 10 or 25 versions of the song. The band raged through the jam as the storm was about to blow through. The highlight of the “Tweezer” and in my opinion the run came exactly 10 minutes in, when the quartet made a turn from “Tweezer”s normal evil jam space to pretty, major-key territory. One of the first of what fans have dubbed “butter jams” came and went with Trey throwing in quotes from “Norwegian Wood” for good measure. Thankfully, a soundboard recording of the Red Rocks ’96 “Tweezer” was shared by archivist Kevin Shapiro on a past Live Bait compilation:
“Tweezer” ended with a dip into “Prince Caspian,” but these were the days before you could download shows hours after they ended. I hadn’t heard a “Caspian” since the previous December and at that point the song was a few chords and changes. The band reinvented “Prince Caspian” with Steve Lillywhite in the studio for release on Billy Breathes, but at Red Rocks the album was still months away from being issued. As such, I thought the beginning of “Prince Caspian” was just an extremely inventive end to “Tweezer.” I was also very impressed by what Phish had done with the end of “Caspian.”
The second set rolled on with The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life,” a cover Phish had debuted at the same venue one summer prior. At this point the storm had reached Red Rocks. Thunder, lightning and a heavy soaking of rain enveloped the capacity crowd. There was no where to go and nothing to do but dance and take it all in. Phish responded to the frenetic storm with the equally frenetic “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” Then, Trey made his way to the drum kit and Fish came up front to deliver a cover of “Purple Rain” by Prince as the rain fell. Fish’s performance along with the purple lights that bathed the stage made a sight those in attendance won’t ever forget. The quartet then ended the set with the aforementioned “Harry Hood” and “Tweezer Reprise” before saying farewell with a “Johnny B. Goode” encore.
Sadly, the incident in Morrison showed the band was too big at this stage in their career to play a mid-sized venue like Red Rocks. There’s debate as to whether Phish was banned from Red Rocks, but the fact they didn’t return for 13 years is telling.
Here’s audio of the entire show thanks to From The Aquarium and the original taper: