PHISH FRIDAY: When Will Another Letter-Themed Show Happen?!

Phish is primed to close out the Summer of 2012 in beautiful Colorado with three shows in Commerce City starting tonight and going till Sunday.

Lest we forget, just last September at Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Phish stormed out of the gate with a one-of-a-kind show and run that had the community abuzz months after. No, they didn’t play a set of Gamehenge or a 25-minute “Mike’s Song.” Instead the band weaved a setlist with songs that began entirely with the letter “S“. The burning question as we head into the final three shows of Summer — Will Phish ever attempt that type of show again?

2011 Photo by Dave Vann

We learned after 9/02/11, that the “S” theme was entirely the brainchild of Trey Anastasio who had flirted with the idea in the past but never acted on it. With the encouragement of longtime friend and Phish Lyricist Tom Marshall, Phish set forth on the idea of an entire performance starting with the same letter. As the show was unfolding and the audience caught on halfway through the first set, the energy became infectious, everyone hanging onto the next song choice like their concert-going-career depended on it.

In conversation for this piece @PeteLikesPhish reminded me that some proclaim Phish as having done the ‘letter-theme’ before in 1996. Technically no. Trey announced, albeit incorrectly, after “Sleeping Monkey” that the show was brought to you by the letter M (referencing all the second-set songs with “M”-titles.) But take a look…

Set 2: Makisupa Policeman -> Maze, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Split Open and Melt, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own > Mike’s Song, Sleeping Monkey > Mean Mr. Mustard > Weekapaug Groove

The first disqualification is “Split Open and Melt,” and if that doesn’t convince you, please take a pause from reading and get out a pen and paper and write out a spelling for “Weekapaug Groove” with an “M.” I’ll wait.


Mental thought: “I could easily add another disqualification with that “F” song encore…”

Back to the task at hand. Will Phish unleash this idea again in the same venue for the second year in a row? Although not in character for the band to dip back into an old bag of tricks, with such a vast catalog of originals and covers the opportunity is certainly there for the taking. If executed correctly, they could have a new spirited tradition on their hands. A #PhishDicks Ritual if you will.

Here are a few fantasy shows LIVE has put together with certain letters in mind, giving you a better idea of how successful this letter theme could be.

The ‘C’ Show

(Submitted by Jackson)
(I) Crowd Control, Cities, Camel Walk, Casino Boogie, Chalkdust Torture, Cars Trucks Busses, Corrina, Cool It Down, Communication Breakdown

(II) Crosseyed & Painless -> Catapault -> Crosseyed & Painless -> Carini > Clone, The Curtain With -> Caravan > Cavern, Carolina, Character Zero

(E) Contact, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

The ‘T’ Show

(Submitted by @Phortin)
(I) Tube, Thunderhead, Train Song, Time Loves a Hero, Two Versions of Me, Twist > Twenty Years Later, Talk, Torn & Frayed > Taste

(II) Timber (Jerry) > Tweezer -> Take Me To the River -> Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom > Tweezer Reprise

(E) Terrapin Station

The ‘R’ Show

(Submitted by @PeteLikesPhish)
(I) Runaway Jim, Roadrunner, Rift, Rocky Raccoon, Reba, Rip This Joint, Rocket In My Pocket > Rocket Man, Round Room, Rock & Roll

(II) Roses Are Free -> The Real Me -> Roses Are Free -> Rotation Jam > Rock-A-William, Roggae -> Riker’s Mailbox, Ramble On > Run Like an Antelope

(E) Ride Captain Ride, Rocky Top

The ‘G’ Show

(Submitted by @PeteLikesPhish)
(I) Glide, Get Back on the Train*, Ginseng Sullivan, Guelah Papyrus, Guyute, Gumbo, Gone, The Great Curve

(II) Golden Age -> Ghost -> Gotta Jibboo -> Guy Forget -> Great Gig in the Sky > Golden Lady, Golgi Apparatus

(E) Grind, Good Times Bad Times

*We use the old song title here because we like to start controversy.

The Real ‘M’ Show

(Submitted by @Phortin)
(I) Melt the Guns, My Friend My Friend > My Sweet One, Moma Dance > Mound, Mock Song, Middle of the Road, My Soul > Mr. Completely, Monkey Man

(II) Mike’s Song -> My Left Toe -> Manteca -> Meatstick -> Mango Song -> Magilla, Mountains in the Mist

(E) Moby Dick

See you on the soccer field yet again!