fifteen years ago tomorrow phish embarked on their last full tour before the new millennium, playing 14 whirlwind dates in 16 days, with three sets of 4 straight shows (unheard of in 3.0, and rightly so).
over the last few years, i’ve developed a newfound love for 1999 phish. i was previously an almost exclusively 94/97/98 listener, but the soundboard release of 7/21/99’s my left toe blew my mind and i immediately began searching for other similar jams from the year. that led me back to 12/16/99’s tweezer, 12/7/99’s gin jam and so many others. i’ve created a mix called space mountain ’99 that i’ll post sometime over the next few weeks after i relearn how to zip files so you don’t have to download them individually.
but back to ’99- you had trey and page playing 3 shows as the original phil and friends quintet, trey’s barnburner solo tour with the original tab trio, an excellent summer tour that launched the transition into even more ambient space jams that concluded with their first trip to japan (which itself preempted the epic june 2000 japan tour), a fall tour with emphasis on mostly college venues with fewer sheds and large arenas, and obviously big cypress.
these 14 december shows, though, have a different feel and sound to my ears. a lot of that may be due to preference of indoor phish, but there’s less of the raging rock jams of the summer and even more of the patience from each band member. because there are so few soundboards from this tour, there are also a number of unheralded jams and stellar versions of songs in every show.
on top of the excellent and new style of playing, the setlists had no rhyme or reason to them at all, and i mean that in a good way. hood opening two shows in the same week? check. ya mar encore, following one of its best versions ever played just days prior? check. sand being played every other show, with each successive version outdoing itself? check check check. my sheer excitement over concerts that were played when clinton was still president causing me to lose any sense of grammar and articulation while writing this? check. i think.
i’m going to try and hold myself to a post a day for every date this month that a show was played fifteen years ago, and since i’ve listened to all of these shows several times a piece over the last two years i should be able to at least have a little insight into the best parts of each one. below are the tour dates, and once i’ve written a post on each show i’ll link them here so it’s more accessible. and yes i know this poster isn’t the december tour poster but it was technically still fall so i’m using it.