Phish Friday | Lemonwheel Highlights, Part I

A while back, Live Music Blog friend and occasional Phish Friday poster, Stanley T. Roper, made me a CD compilation of the “Best of Lemonwheel.” The discs featured a bunch of highlights from Phish’s 1998 festival extravaganza up in Limestone, Maine. I always loved those discs, and although I can’t remember their exact tracklistings, I distinctly remember listening to one of them and re-discovering a certain segment on a beautiful Sunday morning back when we lived in Boston:

Phish – Gumbo – 8/15/98 > [mp3]
Phish – Sanity – 8/15/98 [mp3]

(mp3’s removed — sorry!)

I was groggily waking up from a long Saturday-night and Stan, my lady, and I were all getting ready to walk to our favorite local diner. As I was getting dressed, I had Stanley T’s Lemonwheel mix playing and my ears suddenly locked into this seriously funky version of “Gumbo” — a tune I never really even thought of as a typical Phish “jam” vehicle. I called Stan into the room to take another listen.

The funk was deep and dark, with Mike Gordon laying down some seriously meaty bass lines. It was patent Phish funk, yet it hadn’t moved on completely from the “Gumbo” sound. But then, like so many great Phish jams, out of the dark came the light. Trey started working in a more major-chord progression that triumphantly moved the song out of the dark funk into a distinctly rockin’ change in mood. He eventually locked into an even lighter two-chord rock groove, and as the band allowed the song to dissipate, he dropped into the chords of a truly old-school song from the band’s catalog: “Sanity.”

Something about Jon Fishman’s marching-band beat and the goofy lyrics just made us laugh and smile. As we headed out the door, we just couldn’t stop repeating the silly lyric, “Stars Suck!” Now, any time I hear this song segment or “Sanity” on its own, I am instantly taken back to that sunny Sunday morning…and I smile.

Have a great weekend!