We’re entering that period in mid-December–with cold weather thrashing many areas of the country, and Thanksgiving a few weeks behind us, but Christmas/New Year’s/Phish shows still a couple weeks away–when it’s easy to fall into a bit of a funk. Well, we can lift you out of your funk, but we’re going to drop you right into Phish’s. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the end of Phish’s Fall ’97 tour, which represented the pinnacle of their cowphunk period. (More on that later–as many of you know, I’ve been reviewing all the shows from that tour on Twitter, and I’ll be posting a recap and a huge audio compilation later today.)
So with today’s video pick-me-up, we’re going to look back at a few of the many forms the Phish funk has taken over the years. Let’s take it in reverse chronological order, starting with the amazing Tube from Deer Creek ’04. Mike slays this version, but the whole band is completely on point:
Next up, the Ghost from Sessions at West 54th, the PBS show hosted by David Byrne in the late 90s. The jam is more rock- than funk-oriented, but it remains among the funkier thing Phish has gotten to do on TV. (The whole performance should be watched; there’s also a great Birds and Taste.)
Onto Fall ’97. There are countless great funk jams from that tour, but here’s one that’s easily forgotten, which I listened to yesterday for the first time in a while. It comes out of the middle of Page’s solo in Funky Bitch. Instead of ever finishing Bitch, they just go into a sweet 2001.
Last but not least, 12/9/95 YEM, which celebrated its 15th birthday last week. That jam had a bit of everything–including an extended silent section–but funk was one element, so I’ve got my excuse to share it with you all here. It’s four parts, but it’s all worth watching, even the vocal jam.