In any good run of Phish shows, there is always the discussion point at the end of the night about What song(s) got dusted off? and / or When was the last time it was played? Not always the rule but sometimes the case, a rare tune can separate an average show from a great one and completely change the outlook on a first set, especially in the era we currently find ourselves in. Certain bust outs are akin to a triple play in baseball. Not a Perfect game (12/31/95, 11/17/97) or a walk-off grand slam but they’ll definitely make the highlight reel. This year the Phish community had a lot to chew on in just 20 shows. Past Halloween songs became a common theme in many a first set, helping Phish in their obvious quest for a new personal best in song totals.
We stand at 207 right now with the 2nd leg still in waiting. Here’s the list and a note where appropriate (Only songs w/ 100+ show gaps were included) :
Bust Outs from Summer’s 1st Leg
(in order of appearance)
If I Could (6.7.12) – Last played on November 21, 2009. The version in Worcester is about as good as it gets if you’re a fan of the song. I certainly am. The perfect breather after a Ghost>Boogie combo that still stands as one of the better segments of the 1st leg.
Shafty (6.10.12) – Last played on December 30, 2003. AKA Oblivious Fool, or Olivia’s Pool. Probably up there in the Top 5 as songs I’d love to cross off the list. Odd the band chose the B’roo festival crowd to unleash this rarely played Story of the Ghost track.
“Geerz” (6.19.12) Can a human being be a bust out? Sure. Carl Gerhard, better known as “Geerz” from the Giant Country Horns sat in on Party Time in Virginia playing trumpet. It was a treat for everyone watching at home on the webcast too. I’m not particularly a fan of guest sit-ins at Phish but I’ll always take the GCH.
Dog Log (6.20.12) – Last played on August 2, 2003, better known as the It Festival. This one carried some weight because it seemed unplanned — Trey spoke to some fans holding signs — about four of them raised high in the front row. Better known for being played only at soundchecks, it’s a highly sought after tune to see at a show. I doubt we’ll see it again soon.
Shaggy Dog (6.22.12) Last played October 29, 1995. This song had a 500 + show gap. Most don’t know Shaggy since it’s been played 16 times in total. My tour buddy Miguel Cocinero was really bummed to have missed this one.
Old Home Place (6.28.12) Last played December 5, 2009. Just making the cut, this tune at Deer Creek immediately followed another tune with bust out history…FYF. Remember the uproar in when Phish dusted off the Gordon tune in Charlotte on 7/2/10? The record gap-holder in history with 1,412.
Sweet Jane (6.29.12) Last played October 31, 1998. The song that began the trip down Halloween lane in the first leg. The Velvet Underground classic that I hope stays in the rotation, or at least we see it once more in the 2nd leg.
Skin It Back (7.3.12) Last played on July 29, 1988. A 1,000+ show gap. Containing a brief tease of Feat’s Spanish Moon in the beginning — it confused the Phish community, even the capital V veterans for a few long seconds. The largest gapped bustout on the 1st leg…Unless you count the IT Soundcheck performance from 2003, which I don’t but some may (psst @CDirksen). The un-equivical bust out MVP of the tour so far. The Little Feat cover kicked off the show in style, evoking a slow hush then elation over the crowd once folks caught on to what was happening on the water in Wantagh, NY.
Happiness is a Warm Gun (7.3.12) Last played October 31, 1994. Another Halloween tune (Beatles) and the 2nd bustout of the night for the crowd at Jones Beach. A first set that had everyone buzzin’ at setbreak.
This show at Jones Beach also contains a tease of Izabella worth mentioning. The 2nd set SAND contained elements of the Jimi Hendrix tune. Check out the version that comes out of Tweezer 12/6/97 for proof of how awesome it could be.
Head Held High (7.4.12) Last played October 31, 1998. More VU love from Phish. Keep em’ coming.
T.M.W.S.I.Y / Avenu Malkenu (7.4.12) Last played June 21, 2009. A rare tune but not really a bust out in the conventional sense.
Bittersweet Motel (7.4.12) Last played August 2, 2009 at Red Rocks.
Purple Rain (7.4.12) Last played July 25, 1999. Appearing in a song-heavy first set along with the other bustouts mentioned, Purple Rain was handled by the self-proclaimed, Friar Tuck, aka Fishman.
Psycho Killer (7.6.12) Last played August 14, 2009. Sandwiched between Tube, the Talking Heads tune gives most a flashback to the December 7th, 1997 version. Here’s a video highlight straight from the best in the game, mkdevo
Cracklin’ Rosie (7.6.12) Last played December 10, 1999.
Blister in the Sun (7.7.12) Last played July 9, 1998. Containing just the first verse each time it was played, this tune was the theme of the 2nd set appearing as a tease in BDTNL and the Mike’s Groove that ended the set.
La Grange (7.8.12) Last played September 22, 1999. This tune closed the first set at SPAC that night. Another personal favorite of mine, the ZZ Top original was a workhorse for Phish in the early 90’s but became a rarity in the later part. Here’s hoping the band doesn’t forget about it. Put in the same slot as Walk Away would be a welcomed addition to this style of Phish.
Bust Outs Left on the Table
With the anything can be played at anytime attitude of Phish this Summer, You’ve got to think that the band will continue to dig into the vault for the 2nd installment of Summer. Or better yet, do they mix it up and add new covers to the equation? Just two years ago, the first leg featured a new cover almost every night. From Zeppelin’s The Rover to Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over the Sea to Lennon’s Instant Karma! It’s all up for grabs.
Which songs left in the deep catalog will raise some eyebrows? I wouldn’t mind some more Cactus centered tunes. Clone from the album of the same name with Leo Kottke would be a huge 1st set bust out. It was played on 2/26/03 along with TAB’s Drifting. Another Halloween tune, Born Under Punches is severely overdue if Phish keeps digging up old costumes. @DaveOatHT of Hidden Track figured it had a long shot at one of the heat wave infected Mid-west shows, especially Deer Creek.
Unofficial 2nd Leg Vegas odds are on Spock’s Brain. The fan-titled tune (after Star Trek of course) was last seen in Camden 7/30/03. A must hear show with rarities and a jammed out Scents & Subtle Sounds the band is still looking to top.
At 400/1 odds, I Just Wanna See His Face. With The Stones’ Torn & Frayed getting regular rotation time now, my hope is Phish will continue to pepper in some Exile On Main Street tracks. A version even half as good as the jam set forth on 10/31/09 would be divine. I still firmly believe that the band teased the jam segment they created of I Just Wanna See His Face a day earlier during the Piper on 10/30/09. Slyly announcing which album they’d be covering.
Other tunes I hope bust out of the 2nd leg:
Sea and Sand, Glide II, Izabella, Emotional Rescue, The Mock Song, and Trey Anastasio needs another crack at Pavement’s Gold Soundz.
We’re less than a month till Phish hits the West Coast and takes the stage inside an aquarium themed arena in Long Beach, California.