Friday 10/17/2014 by Doctor_Smarty


I’ve quite deservedly earned the reputation of someone who complains a lot about the lack of Phish shows in Oregon. Going beyond my typical “Phish last played Oregon in 1999” whine, allow me to provide you some perspective as to why exactly this fact is so particularly unfathomable whilst pre-capping the band’s triumphant return to the Beaver State and their first annual visit to the Matthew Knight Arena. You read that right… this is a PRECAP of the Eugene show.

Because there are a limited number of us in the Pacific Northwest, there is no official webcast that will allow one of my east coast colleagues to do a couch tour recap, and there is a high likelihood that I will be unable to go to the show tonight, rage Eugene afterwards, drive to Seattle for the next show at the Key Arena, AND write a recap… I am going to provide a forecast for tonight’s gig based on a historical analysis of what came before. We can discuss your displeasure for this approach and/or how chillingly accurate (I am not crazy) my prognostication was in the comments below. But first… let’s get back to that whole perspective on the lack of Phish in the Pacific Northwest thing I mentioned above.

Matthew Knight Arena

The Grateful Dead last played in Eugene, Oregon on 6/19/94, performing their last show of a three night stand at Autzen Stadium. Inexplicably, the last time Phish played in Tracktown USA was a month earlier in the Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center on 5/19/94. Let that sink in… the Grateful Dead… featuring Jerry Garcia on guitar… played in this Merry Prankster Mecca more recently than Phish. WTF? Having listened to all five of the previous Eugene shows in preparation for pre-capping tonight’s show I have to ask why? Why Phish WHY? Sure… there were subsequent shows in Salem and Portland as recently as 1999… but still… that’s 15 years without a Phish show in Oregon. Are you kidding me?

Prior to that seemingly final Hult Center show, Eugene had been enjoying a fairly regular return engagement with the Phish. One which previously had included one show each at Woodmen of the World Hall (4/4/91) and the University of Oregon’s EMU Ballroom (10/10/91) and two performances at the Hilton Ballroom (4/22/92 and 3/30/93). If the string of shows was a relay race, the Matthew Knight Arena show tonight is going to be the anchorman… a really slow anchorman who dropped the baton numerous times during his lap around the track and took forever to come back. But nevermind all that… let’s delve deeper into the past before we get to the prognostication. To understand where we ended up we have to go back from whence we came.

WOW Hall

The 4/4/91 WOW Hall show (capacity about 400) is best known for the “I Dream of Jean Jeannie” version of “David Bowie,” the intro for which, in addition to containing the aforementioned “Jeannie” theme song tease also has a clear through the wormhole puff of “Gotta Jibboo”... I shit you not. The “Bowie” jam is clearly the ferocious vortex that was required to suck the “Jibboo” smoke that far into the past. Go back and check it out and tell me I’m wrong… and then listen to the solid first set “YEM” while you are there. This show also features a first set “Colonel Forbin’s” > “Mockingbird,” a second set Fishman “Love You” long time, and a double encore each bearing two songs.

Six months and six days later (10/10/91), Phish doubled down (I’m noticing a trend) and through the sponsorship of Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) came back to play the EMU Ballroom (capacity about 800) and delivered a tight high energy affair that is really exemplified by an insane “Brother” and sublime “Reba” combo to open a solid second set that also features a great high energy “Antelope” and closes with a raging “Mike’s Groove.” Tack on a “Squirming Coil” with a tail of “Fire” encore and you really can’t complain, comrade.

EMU Ballroom, University of Oregon

Six months and twelve (double six) days later (4/22/92), the boys were back in town for U of O’s Earth Week celebration and the first of their two performances at the Hilton Ballroom (capacity about 1,400). An extended “Wilson” featuring an explanation of “The Secret Language Instructions” with Fishman on trombone is the centerpiece of a second set that also includes another glorious “YEM,” a “Cold as Ice” > “Cracklin’ Rosie” > “Cold as Ice” and the ever elusive WEST COAST “HARPUA!” complete with an invitation to Fishman’s after show party in his Hilton hotel room (623… factorially speaking). Anybody have any stories they want to share about that scene?

The following spring (3/30/93) Phish returned for their second engagement party at the Hilton Ballroom. To get a good grip on this show go directly to the first set “Stash” to hear an angry “Timber (Jerry)” jam morph into a delicate “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” tease from Page. The second set is well constructed and a non-stop good time. The “Tweezer” is all about the chairman of the boards and some heavy metal funk before devolving into a “Lifeboy” breather to prepare for the “Psycho Killer Mike’s Groove” (dedicated to Mike… by Mike) that was going to comprise the meat of the set. This one also included Fishman’s take on “If I Only Had a Brain” and a “Big Ball Jam” for good measure.

Hilton Ballroom

Which brings us back to 5/19/94 and the Hult Center (capacity 2,448… another double double?), the band’s most recent visit to Eugene prior to this evening’s return. This one tears out of the gate with a streaking “Halley’s Comet” that crashes quite abruptly into the fifth consecutive “Llama” to be played in Eugene. Yup… every Eugene show to date has had one taboot, taboot. For the second Eugene show in a row… the first set is dominated by a sick “Stash” and the second set is built around a “Mike’s Groove” centerpiece. The “Theme to I Love Lucy” which appears in “Weekapaug,” “Big Ball Jam,” and “Harry Hood” completes the loop on television show teases that was initiated in the WOW Hall “Bowie” and the show concludes with a four song encore (more “Echoes” of 4/4/91) that includes another version of “Fire.” That’s “Fuego” in Spanish.

Silva Concert Hall at The Hult Center

Having safely returned back to the future we are now prepared to construct our great expectations for this evening in the form of some probable highlights of tonight’s show (see below). Taking heed of the great philosopher Carlos Santana’s words ”Those who cannot remember the pasta are condemned to reheat it” and “Only the Dead have seen the end of Weir” and based entirely on historical trends for Phish shows in Eugene, Oregon we can be absolutely sure of what should come to pass this evening. Phish just can’t help being Phish...and certain places attract certain songs like moths to a flame.

  1. “Lllama” has been played at every Eugene show to date. Why break the streak now?
  2. There will of course be a healthy selection of “Fuego” tunes...but considering the numerological recurrences of the past “555” is a lock.
  3. The first set will feature another above average great performance of “Stash” that will include a rare opening frame Type II jam. That jam will be hotly debated for the “Dark Star” tease that it will be alleged to contain.
  4. The second set will include an above average great performance of “Mike’s Groove” with multiple Simpson’s (goodnight Springtonthere will be no encore) secret language cues, some humorous banter (are those things real?), and a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Careful with that Axe Eugene” somewhere in the mix.
  5. There will be a Fishman song… it should be “Bike” for what it’s worth.
  6. There will be an acappella song… fingers crossed for “The Birdwatcher” or “Free Bird!”
  7. The other numbers that are already in the Eugene 50% club and therefore highly likely to be played include: “Suzy Greenberg,” “Golgi Apparatus,” “Poor Heart,” “Cavern,” “Divided Sky,” “Runaway Jim,” “The Horse” > “Silent in the Morning,” and “Sparkle.”
  8. The songs that will join the club when they are performed this evening include: “All Things Reconsidered,” “Big Ball Jam,” “Fire,” “Foam,” “Glide,” “Guelah Papyrus,” “HYHU,” “My Friend My Friend,” “My Sweet One,” “Reba,” “Rift,” “Antelope,” “The Landlady,” “The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony,” “The Squirming Coil,” and “YEM.”
  9. The encore will be a cover of the Lead Belly song “Goodnight Irene” played in the style of Eric Clapton’s cover of the tune with a lyric change to “Goodnight Eugene!”

I know what you are thinking. “All Things Reconsidered” even “The Landlady” doing “The Big Ball Jam” thinks that last one is a stretch. But hear me out. This year marks the 50th anniversary of prankster patron saint Ken Kesey’s gyppo logger master work Sometimes a Great Notion. The book about the lumberjacking Stamper family of Wakonda, Oregon takes it’s title from Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” lyrics:

Sometimes I lives in the country,
Sometimes I lives in the town,
Sometimes I take a great notion,
To jump into the river an’ drown.

Which of course evokes visions of the similar rhyme scheme in the ever elusive, I’m talking the last one was at the E Center on 11/2/98 and we all know what happened there, WEST COAST “HARPUA”... wherein the Phish from Vermont will finally come back to your town Eugene...a nd help you party down. “Twenty Years Later”... it’s still upside down.

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, comment by Lee_Fordham
Lee_Fordham Excellent research and insight, sir. All of which confirms the fact that tour opener will be Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.
, comment by JARdale
JARdale Great read..... have fun all you west coasters!!!!!
, comment by cmonster
cmonster Awesome calls. I have two friends going to tonight's show who will be pleased to see all of that. Though, last night I called the Freebird for Seattle tomorrow, so you're mistaken there. Regardless, you're gonna have a great one down there and then a Jimi-influenced Type II fest up here in Seattle tomorrow!
, comment by Harveyglobetrotter
Harveyglobetrotter Very cool insight. I was in Eugene this summer and it's a pretty awesome place. After reading this I definitely wouldn't be surprised by a llama opener and maybe even a Simpsons signal given that Springfield is so close. Won't hold my breath on the Big Ball Jam coming back though.

I'm jealous. Have fun!
, comment by ADAWGWYO
ADAWGWYO Very nicely done
, comment by 2grandmaz
2grandmaz This was awesome. Can't wait for the night!
, comment by bryanarchy
bryanarchy Good stuff @Doctor_Smarty, I enjoyed that!
, comment by Just_Ivy
Just_Ivy Very cool, @Doctor_Smarty!

You had me at "Beaver State".
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd Never give a inch, @Doctor_Smarty!
, comment by HeadyBrosevelt
HeadyBrosevelt a very fun read.
, comment by ThingsOnMyMind
ThingsOnMyMind careful with that axe...

is what i think of every time someone mentions Eugene

have fun out there west coasters
, comment by SallySneaker82
SallySneaker82 A+ read. Cant wait to hear tonights show. Llama opener for sure.
, comment by daynarabbit
daynarabbit I never knew what the WOW in WOW Hall stood for. Also, I LOVE Sometimes A Great Notion and had no idea that the title came from Goodnight Irene. Thanks!

I second your killer "Stash." Party Down folks, Party Down.
, comment by DodgetheJeffry
DodgetheJeffry Wow I hope you are just halfway correct on your predicted series of events that will take place. At any rate you gotta love fall tour .
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Nice work Marty -- a fun read. I'm going be an ass and point out the obvious: these predictions rely heavily on the fact that the band either remembers their previous shows in Eugene, or that they care enough to look back at old setlists. I don't think they do either, ever -- but what do I know? That being said, I'm guessing you're right about 555, Stash, and Mike's Groove (though I doubt we're going to get anything resembling the Hamburg Mike's Groove!).

On another note, I'm glad you brought up the "Are those things real? NEIN!" quote from the Hamburg Cities -- was Trey looking at a German woman's breasts?! Took me about ten years to arrive at that conclusion; when I was younger, I had assumed Trey was hallucinating.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty I believe one of the St. Pauli girls was one of the chicks in the front row
, comment by jibler
jibler I've been looking for a real Phish cover of Careful w/ that Axe my whole life. (ie not the 3/1/97 tease)

If they do that - I will be happy
, comment by white_lightning
white_lightning the 3/1/97 tease is so classicly phish, though. taking someone else's something and making it so them -- in this case layering the tease/quotes beautifully throughout the mike's and carrying it through lawn boy and weekapaug, and in fact, completely pulling it off to the point of it working perfectly. i actually almost like that better than a full blown cover of the song, IMO.
, comment by jibler
jibler I shouldn't bitch - I do like that version - esp. mixed with The Doors' peace frog and the end.

BUT - I really want to see phish cover careful with exactitude.

This is the pinnacle of music />
Can Phish play like this?? (The 12/28/13 steam says yes)
, comment by timber02
timber02 wow that 3/30/93 is one spicy meatball! thanks for the rec and the great preview! very fun to read
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @Doctor_Smarty said:
I believe one of the St. Pauli girls was one of the chicks in the front row
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @Doctor_Smarty said:
I believe one of the St. Pauli girls was one of the chicks in the front row
I take it back, you weren't joking! From here:

Its not "niiiigh", its "NEIN" as in the German word for "no". The show was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, famous for the St. Pauli Girls. I was at the show and spoke to Mike. Phish had spent the day drinking where the St. Pauli's girls serve big beers. The girls are the German equivalent of Hooters girls, all with big breasts and skimpy German outfits. Trey asks "Are those things real?" (boobs) and the answer he got from his German counterparts was "NEIN" (or "no" ;) , meaning that the tits were fake. I think the lyrics were totally off the cuff. All factors taken into consideration (setting, venue, vibe, etc.), Hamburg was one of the best shows ever (certainly out of the 100+ i've seen). The Markethalle (venue) only held about 500 people. It was awesome.
, comment by songchaser
songchaser Nice historical OVERview and a good PREview. But you really should have made it to Eugene so you could provide a credible POSTview.

Twenty Years Later guaranteed. After all its just been over twenty years since Phish performed Eugene.
, comment by phishroc
phishroc Whyyyy. Good pre-review. I would love to see All Things Reconsidered since it has not been played in 3.0 for whatever reason. Let's see what happens y'all. That brother from 10/10/91 is sick too.
, comment by sirhotpants
sirhotpants Awesome precap, it makes me very excited for all of Eu-geners. I wish I were out there!

Um, so Phish played a hotel's conference room and then the after party with the band was an elevator ride away? Outstanding. That ought to be the theme for Festival X.
, comment by braindeadr
braindeadr Nice precap. Fun. I bet you ll see that 555. I ll also see your Llama opener and raise you a Col. Forbin s.
, comment by LoboJoe
LoboJoe Wasn't written by @careful_w_that_axe_Miller?

, comment by Hose_jam
Hose_jam It is pre-show unrealistic expectations like these that make the phish fan base what it is. Just go and enjoy the show.
, comment by MajorRager
MajorRager While I did enjoy that read I am most inclined to agree with the comment above from @Hose_jam. expecting anything from a Phish concert is out of my SOP. I honestly think that your research and logic is completely sound & reasonable. what is unreasonable is to assume that the four members of our favorite band put even 1/8 the thought into the logic of content compared to the fan base. from my pov, u could double that and it would only be 1/4. significantly less then half. which is good for a baseball batting avg.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @Hose_jam said:
It is pre-show unrealistic expectations like these that make the phish fan base what it is. Just go and enjoy the show.
I read an Onion article the other day and was disappointed to find out that it really was not news.

I can guarantee that @Doctor_Smarty went and enjoyed the show.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Nice job @Doctor_Smarty...but there sure ain't no Jibboo tease in the 4/4/91 Bowie
, comment by GAphishin
GAphishin Great precap. Though reading it as Quinn the Eskimo concludes this great season opener! That solo simple is great. And cross eyed into hood is grand. Though hood closes a little chuggery.

You were wrong on almost all except poor heart.

But I did indulge in your efforts and to have seen your line up would be a phenomenal show!
, comment by thewagger
thewagger I was at every one of those shows. WOW Hall is just crazy to think about last night. I should have taken photos and done my own "Remember when Phish used to come to Oregon?" thing.
, comment by thewagger
thewagger Last night Crosseyed and Painless ... the place almost exploded. Never seen so much energy in a West Coast crowd, EVER, and I'm talking going back to Jerry days. Still Waiting .... "IT" happened during the last chorus before the jam ... that was also when the "arena," (Hampton seems bigger than Matthew Knight but it's not ... ) the whole place was bouncing like MSG can, but it finally came together when the crowd was dancing and the building shook on beat, and we and the band felt it at once. Just listen back but focus on the crowd reaction during C&P ...

That is the moment we keep going back for ...
, comment by Shangho
Shangho I enjoy Phan predictions,and agree that the probably never looks back at old setlists,however I wouldn't be surprised if they looked at predictions and played exactly the opposite!!!!It seems like the kind of "mind screw" that they get off on,which is part of what makes their humor so quirky and enjoyable
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty I did say..."555 is a lock" there is that.

Phish defied their history as far as setlist selection went. But they CRUSHED skulls in Eugene...EXACTLY as I expected.

Seattle was a great time...but a weak show. Looking forward to the view from the couch for the next two.
, comment by jibler
jibler no careful w that axe - but yeah that was good music from Eugene nevertheless
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty A friend reported a Miles Davis "Saeta" tease/jam at 8:40 mark of the Crosseyed & Painless...same album as "Solea" more commonly known as "Spanish Jam" when the Dead played it...nod to Jer (and miles) confirmed.
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