A Show for Your Weekend: The Auburn Hills YEM

The Palace

For your listening pleasure this weekend, I chose December 2nd, 1999–the kickoff to their abbreviated winter tour in December before Big Cypress at the end of the month. ’99 was an odd year for Phish; there were moments I could have done without and moments of musical bliss. The You Enjoy Myself from The Palace of Auburn Hills is categorized in the latter–the jam is completely original. While it’s not musically similar to the Bathtub Gin they had just executed a few months before in New Mexico, it’s similar in that it reminded us again that Phish was still able to lay down completely fresh-sounding jams–stuff we’ve never heard come out of their monitors before.

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Farmhouse, Heavy Things, Roggae, Run Like an Antelope, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, Free, The Squirming Coil

Set 2: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Gotta Jibboo, Bathtub Gin -> Also Sprach Zarathustra, You Enjoy Myself -> The Little Drummer Boy

Encore: Bold As Love

The first set offers us things both familiar and unfamiliar. The Runaway Jim opener is and always was very familiar, however, a mid-set Antelope was (and still is) very unusual. Farmhouse was still an infant, this is before it was released on the album with the same name a year later. There was an adjustment made to the song in this show, making it closer to the way it’s performed now.

Actually, now that I’m reviewing this, the first set features some of my favorite songs but isn’t anything too exciting. Let’s just move on to the meat & potatoes, shall we?

Starting the second half off with some dancable grooves, the Boogie On sets us up for another infant song, Gotta Jibboo. It’s funny to look back on Boogie Ons; we are so used to Mike’s thick, synthesized bass when it’s played now. Did that sound really appear in the song any time before the epic Alpine 2004 version?

The Bathtub Gin anchors this second set down, laced with teases of 2001 before they finally surrender to the flow and Fish lays down the beat.

Trampolines '99 (phish.com)

You Enjoy Myself is beautiful. One of my favorite recent memories of the song is when my brother (who popped the song in), my girlfriend and I were driving to Cincinnati in 2009 for the fall shows. It was an overcast early morning when we hit the road. With coffees in hand and a veil of groggy silence upon us, the sublime interplay between Trey’s delicate hands and the rest of the band started syncing with the movement of my wipers slowly swiping away the small beads of rain dropping on my windshield. Wow, that was deep. This version contains a slight silent jam and features improvised singing over the jam. I can’t really explain how it sounds, you’ll just have to download. The vocal jam slides into Little Drummer Boy, leaving just Fishman on stage to close out the set before Jimi Hendrix’s Bold as Love closes the show.

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