Friday, December 27, 2013

Episode 23: Guest Pick - Phish 12.31.93 Worcester, MA

Happy Holidays everyone! For our last episode of 2013, we were approached by our friends Tom and Matt to play 12.31.93 from Worcester, Mass. It's funny because Brad and I actually discussed playing this show, and then we heard from these guys. Serendipity! It's a great 3 set show, of course, and we hope you enjoy. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

And one quick appeal from us: please review us on iTunes! Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 23: Phish 12.31.93 Worcester, MA

New Year's Eve shows are celebrations. Phish shows are celebrations. The combination of the two can be explosive. So we're closing out our first year of the podcast on this celebratory note, 20 years ago this week. This may be the most "popular" show we've played, but all 3 sets are worth revisiting.

As many of you probably know, this show was broadcast on radio in the Boston area, so the sound is pristine. The first set of this show has a great moment during the break in "Guelah Papyrus" where Trey asks "Is everybody in yet?" Our guest Matt mentioned that there were storms in the Northeast that night, so people were slow to fill up the arena.

The first set is highlighted are "Stash" and "Run Like an Antelope," both featuring huge energy and their classic jamming approach of tension and release—and the evolution of this jam style has led to everything that we've seen since.

The second set kicks off with a hot "Tweezer." I think we'd argue that 1994 really represents the birth of the modern "Tweezer" jam, but this one is pushing the envelope in that direction. Fishman drives the jam for a while, and Trey begins building it with some groovy rock patterns, and Mike weighs in pretty heavily as well, bringing a little bit of funk to the jam. The peak of the jam has some classic Trey raging from the early 90s. I love this song.

The third set contains one of the truly classic moments in Phish history, when "Auld Lang Syne" rings in the new year and transitions into the jam of "Down with Disease"—a song that had to this point never been heard. Our guest Matt said: "There's no way anyone there would not say it was the greatest thing they'd ever heard." Makes sense given the beauty of that jam—and remarkable that this show introduced us to one of the band's most enduring and adventurous songs.

The band closed out this night with an a capella version of "Amazing Grace," which was a perfect end to a marathon, classic show. We really hope you enjoy revisiting this as much as we did. And Happy New Year!


Phish 12.31.93, 
Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA

Set 1: Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan, Reba, Peaches en Regalia, I Didn't Know, Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Tweezer > Halley's Comet > Poor Heart > It's Ice > Fee > Possum, Lawn Boy, You Enjoy Myself

Set 3: Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease Jam > Split Open and Melt, The Lizards, Sparkle > Suzy Greenberg > Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin' Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

E: Golgi Apparatus, Amazing Grace

Monday, December 16, 2013

Episode 22: Guest Pick - Phish 11.14.97 Set 2 West Valley City, UT

Hello friends! This week we're doing another guest pick, this time from our friend Wally (aka @waxbanks). We had a great conversation about his Phish journey (and his writing, which can be found here), and we discussed and played Set 2 of 11.14.97, from West Valley City, UT. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

BTW, Wally wrote THE book on Phish's Fall 1997 tour, A Tiny Space to Move and Breathe, which everyone should check out. 

And one quick appeal from us: please review us on iTunes! As the MSG run approaches, check out for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 22: Phish 11.14.97 West Valley City, UT

This week's Listener Notes are drawn directly from Wally's review of this set on

The second set really is what it looks like: Wolfman's > Piper > Twist > Slave, blending together the ethereal delicacy and enveloping darkness of late 1997 before a tiny, attentive crowd. Wolfman's Brother clonks back and for for a while before developing a spacey echt-'97 groove, all hazy atmospherics and feathery drumbeats; as the jam opens up a welcoming major-chord pattern evolves, and Piper bubbles up in its own time. It's a lovely Piper, building slowly to a midtempo climax - the song hadn't yet turned into a musical greyhound race in those days. After the late lamented Piper coda, Trey starts up the haunting original Twist arrangement...

...and (surprise surprise) Fall '97 was a good time for Twist too. Trey keeps things mellow with his guitar comping, Mike lets some weird dissonant chords loose from his bass, Page plays some tricks on the piano, Fishman is his usual larking-gnome self behind the drumkit, and the groove involutes and complicates into a gorgeous full-band statement - a futuristic precursor to 11/22's 'space jam' out of Halley's Comet. Trey hangs out in the ionosphere, soloing for several minutes, as the other players drop out. This is the template: between this Twist jam and the ambient Stash from the previous night in Vegas you can discern the outline of the whole tour's weeks-long subterranean melody. It's a powerfully emotional moment wholly distinct from, say, Trey's digital delay loop jams from Back in the Day (e.g. 12/31/95, 5/7/94).

The opening chords of Slave coalesce out of the mist, and the next 15 minutes are sublime. It's a short set (less than an hour!), but the music flows so effortlessly that it seems like one long song. This is dream-music - musical psychedelia in the truest sense of the word.

Phish just didn't play bad music in Fall '97; this show doesn't get the same attention as Denver or Hampton or Dayton, but it's every bit as good as the rest of the tour - a single cohesive musical statement to reward a tiny out-of-the-way audience. Other shows can claim to be Greater in some sense, but this is the deep stuff right here. The purest essence. 


Phish 11.14.97, The "E" Center, West Valley City, UT

Set 2: Wolfman's Brother -> Piper > Twist > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Bold As Love

Thursday, December 12, 2013

HF Pod Chat: Bitches Love Phishes Edition

Hey friends: Once again we were pleased to host an HF Pod Chat, this time the "Bitches Love Phishes" edition (named by our guests, not me!). We had 4 great female fans on to talk Phish past, present and future. Some great insights from 4 very knowledgeable fans. Our guests were Jen (@nycjamgal), Felicia (@feliciafied), Missy (@missypoo586) and Allie (@alliedise). Check it out here or in the video below.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Episode 21: Guest Pick - Phish 11.16.91 Washington, DC

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. This week we have another guest pick, this time from our friend Scott. We had a great conversation, and we discussed and played Phish 11.16.91, from Washington, DC. The setlist and Listener Notes are below. 

One quick appeal: please review us on iTunes

Scott tweets from @TourTweet. He started listening to Phish in the late '80s/early '90s, and he has a really interesting and unique perspective on the band, its history and the music. Although this show we discussed was his first official show, Scott mentioned his first "IT" Phish moment, from this "Harry Hood," Charlottesville, VA in July of 1992.

As the YEMSG run approaches, check out for your face value ticket needs. Lastly, send comments and feedback to helpingfriendlypodcast at gmail dot com, and follow us on Twitter @hfpod.


Listener Notes—Episode 21: Phish 11.16.91 Washington, DC

When we were discussing this show with Scott, the first word that came to his mind when describing Phish's music in 1991 was "relentless." Brad and I feel like that's a perfect word to describe their playing from 1990-1993. 

The first four songs are just absolute fire: from the opening "The Landlady" through "Uncle Pen," "Wilson" and into "Runaway Jim," you can hear how aggressively Trey is playing and how proficient he's becoming with this style of guitar. This show is worth listening to just to hear the shredding that some people argue is missing from 2013 Trey. 

1991 was also a year of debuts and early tinkering with Phish songs that eventually became classics. In this show, 13 of the 23 songs played debuted in either 1990 or 1991. Check out this show for early versions of "It's Ice," "Stash," "Tube," "Chalk Dust Torture" and "Horn."

And on "Horn." Scott made a compelling argument for why he loved this version of the song. He talked about how the show was so small and so intimate that during "Horn" you could hear the vibration of Trey's solo notes off of Fishman's snare drum. It's almost unconscionable that Phish was a bar band of this level of talent and potential 1991—and as Scott said, everyone knew it then. 

You can hear this level of potential in the "You Enjoy Myself" jam—it's groovy, funky, and well-executed. A song and a band well ahead of its time. 

Lastly, Scott pointed out that a lot of friends and family of the band were present at this show. You can tell that's the case through all of the joking, banter and, we think, the song selection. This band was on a serious upward trajectory in 1991. We hope you enjoy this show—relentless musically, but intimate and humorous too.


Phish 11.16.91, The Bayou, Washington, DC

Set 1: The Landlady, Uncle Pen, Wilson > Runaway Jim, It's Ice > Sparkle > Fluffhead, Foam, Stash, Ya Mar, Cavern

Set 2: Tube > My Sweet One > Bathtub Gin, Brother, You Enjoy Myself, Horn > Chalk Dust Torture, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Llama

E: Glide, Rocky Top