Shows For Your Extended Weekend: Thanksgiving Edition

One of Phish’s favorite times to play is around the Thanksgiving holiday. Very little in today’s World is as genuine as arena Phish on a fall/winter night in New England. Although Phish has never actually played on Thanksgiving (can’t imagine that would help ticket sales too much), they have often played the days book-ending the holiday. This year is unlike most with no November concerts. The tradition that started in 1990, missing only four years through 2009 (1993, 1999, 2000, 2004) will have to be carried on next year.

Phish has put together some of their most impressive shows around the holiday. Statistically, You Enjoy Myself is their second-favorite song this time of year (next to Bouncing)–something few can complain with, and a total of 211 songs have been played. These are certainly dates they are aiming to truly please their audience. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable shows that have been played within two days of Thanksgiving.

On 11/30/1991, a pretty memorable and fan favorite Hood emerged. A rare Dave’s Energy Guide (for this song) was teased, along with Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered by Rodgers and Hart. The show opened with a gleeful Glide.

Set 1: Glide, Llama, Foam, Sparkle, The Divided Sky, Cavern, The Squirming Coil, Brother, Paul and Silas, Guelah Papyrus, You Enjoy Myself

Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, It’s Ice, Bouncing Around the Room, My Sweet One, Horn, I Didn’t Know, Run Like an Antelope, Golgi Apparatus

Encore: Contact, Rocky Top

On 11/28/1992, Phish wound a second-set center piece around Tweezer and TMWSIY. The Tweezer that was laced with Alumni Blues bled into TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu–usually it would go back into TMWSIY, instead the hi-hat closed and we launched into Maze before TMWSIY Reprise. Lots of secret language in this show.

Set 1: My Sweet One, Foam, Stash, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture, Sparkle, Fast Enough for You, All Things Reconsidered, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

Set 2: Suzy Greenberg, Paul and Silas, Tweezer -> The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu -> Maze -> The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday,Bouncing Around the Room, The Squirming Coil, Love You > Hold Your Head Up,Harpua, Golgi Apparatus

Encore: Contact -> Tweezer Reprise

1994 was a huge year for Thanksgiving, the holiday was sandwiched by a total of four hardcore shows. Each one is worth mention. 11/22 is obviously the most known because of Phish officially releasing it (which is why I won’t include the setlist or download link since most should have it). Over these 5 nights we saw 20+ minute Funky Bitches, YEMs with Frankenstien and Vibration of Life within, unfinished Guyutes, a Harpua within a Mike’s Groove that contained the first-ever glow stick war, and one of the most memorable jams of the year– Hally’s Comet > David Bowie.

11/23 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Wilson > Sparkle > Simple -> It’s Ice > If I Could, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, The Divided Sky, Amazing Grace

Set 2: Maze, Fee, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer, Lifeboy, You Enjoy Myself -> The Vibration of Life -> You Enjoy Myself, Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Sample in a Jar

11/25 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Reba, Bouncing Around the Room, Split Open and Melt,Esther, Julius, Golgi Apparatus

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song -> Simple -> Harpua, Weekapaug Groove -> The Mango Song > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Run Like an Antelope

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

11/26 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: My Friend, My Friend, Possum, Guyute, If I Could, Foam, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Poor Heart, Cavern

Set 2: Halley’s Comet > David Bowie, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Rocky Top

1995 featured some bouts of Mike’s Groove silliness. On 11/21, Mike’s Song went into a string of unusual songs that took the band so far away from what had started it, Weekapaug was left idling in the garage. A few night’s later, after Turkey Day and the band’s first time at the Mothership, Phish played a complete Mike’s Groove with a rotation jam and acoustic bluegrass songs.

11/21 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Fee, Chalk Dust Torture, Prince Caspian, The Divided Sky, My Long Journey Home, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome, Guyute, My Friend, My Friend, Dog Faced Boy,Runaway Jim

Set 2: Simple, David Bowie -> Take Me to the River -> David Bowie, Glide, Ya Mar,Mike’s Song -> Keyboard Army > Hold Your Head Up > Suspicious Minds > Hold Your Head Up, Carolina, A Day in the Life

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

11/25 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Poor Heart, A Day in the Life > David Bowie, Billy Breathes > Taste That Surrounds, Bouncing Around the Room > Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Runaway Jim

Set 2: Timber (Jerry) > Kung, Mike’s Song -> Rotation Jam -> Mike’s Song, My Long Journey Home, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome, Strange Design > Weekapaug Groove, Harry Hood, Hello My Baby, Poor Heart

Encore: Poor Heart Reprise, Fire

1996 put us in the holiday spirit with the very well-known “Diseezer” and a 5-stringed YEM after Trey breaks a string–interesting jamming.

11/27 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Julius > My Friend, My Friend, Ya Mar, Chalk Dust Torture, The Sloth, Uncle Pen, Free > Theme From the Bottom, Bold As Love

Set 2: Down with Disease -> Jesus Just Left Chicago, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer ->Sweet Emotion Jam -> Down with Disease Reprise, The Star Spangled Banner, Fire

Encore: Waste, Tweezer Reprise

11/28 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Frankenstein, NICU, Cars Trucks Buses, Character Zero, The Divided Sky, Bathtub Gin, Life on Mars?, Maze, Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Wilson > Simple -> Sparks -> Sparkle, Taste, Swept Away > Steep, You Enjoy Myself, Waste, Harry Hood

Encore: Sample in a Jar

Gosh, the three shows surrounding Thanksgiving in 1997 are all unbelievable. We have a Character Zero that’s left unfinished and clocks in at over 20 minutes, one of the best Ghosts ever that goes into a raging Johnny B. Goode, and the longest Phish jam ever.

11/26 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: Tweezer > Sparkle > Gumbo, My Soul, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters,Dirt, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Taste

Set 2: Character Zero -> Also Sprach Zarathustra -> Cities -> Ya Mar > Punch You In the Eye > Prince Caspian > Poor Heart, Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Cavern

11/28 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: The Curtain, You Enjoy Myself -> I Didn’t Know, Maze, Farmhouse, Black-Eyed Katy, Theme From the Bottom > Rocky Top

Set 2: Timber (Jerry), Limb By Limb, Slave to the Traffic Light > Ghost -> Johnny B. Goode

Encore: My Soul

11/29 – DOWNLOAD
Set 1: The Wedge, Foam, Simple -> The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, The Sloth, Ginseng Sullivan, Saw It Again, Horn, Water in the Sky, David Bowie

Set 2: Runaway Jim > Strange Design > Harry Hood, Prince Caspian, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Buffalo Bill > Moby Dick > Fire

We travel back to the Centrum Centre again for a series of more excellent shows. This one, on 11/27/1998, is popular, and for a reason:

Set 1: Funky Bitch, Ya Mar, Carini, Runaway Jim, Meat > Reba, The Old Home Place,Dogs Stole Things, Vultures, When the Circus Comes, Birds of a Feather

Set 2: Buried Alive, Wipe Out, Chalk Dust Torture -> Mirror in the Bathroom -> Chalk Dust Torture -> Dog Log -> Chalk Dust Torture > Sanity, Buffalo Bill > Mike’s Song -> I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove -> Wipe Out -> Weekapaug Groove, Weekapaug Groove Reprise > Run Like an Antelope

Encore: Wading in the Velvet Sea, Golgi Apparatus > Wipe Out

Phish took Albany by storm on 11/28/2009 when they sculpted a stellar first set (including an Uncle Pen bust out) only to open the second with nearly 50 minutes of improv with only two songs. Many mark this show as Phish’s first return to completely open-ended, extended, type II improv. While I appreciate what the Seven Below > Ghost signifies, I am a bigger fan of the Cool it Down > Jibboo (waits for comments on this).

Set 1: Party Time, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Uncle Pen, Sanity, Foam, Walk Away > NICU, Alaska, Split Open and Melt, Joy, Vultures, Backwards Down the Number Line

Set 2: Seven Below > Ghost, Cool It Down > Gotta Jibboo, Let Me Lie, Wolfman’s Brother > Julius

Encore: You Enjoy Myself

Going into our Phishless Thanksgiving weekend, we can at least reflect on these shows. These downloads should be enough to tide everyone over until Monday morning’s video pick-me-up!. I hope everyone has a safe and fun Thanksgiving; enjoy time with your friends and family.