The spreadsheet I posted the other day includes ~170 songs that I had identified over the course of this Fall 98 tour as being of some level of merit. We aren’t going to spend time on each and every one considering that some inclusions are more “that was neat” than really awesome music stuff. Instead, I want to focus on the top tier jams today. These are the ones you either know by name or have memorized due to spinning them numerous times. They represent the Fall 98 sound the best and tell the story of what occurred over the course of those 22 shows over the course of 31 days, covering just under 5,000 miles in a pretty well planned out fashion crossing from west to east between Southern California and New England.
Honestly, when looking at some of the questionable routing choices the band’s tour managers have made over the years this is a pretty straight forward one. I still have a hard time understanding why so many people on tour took that right turn in Sulphurdale, UT to head east to Colorado considering there were days between shows and SLC is not that far out of the way but the concerns about police and other hassles were almost assuredly the main factor there. But that’s a discussion for another time. Now, let’s get to the hits!
In order to avoid any concerns of ranking (outside of my little tiered system that we are just getting into here) I am presenting these chronologically. Feel free to put them into whatever order your brain needs in order to understand their relative greatness. In many cases there are songs that are listed here that realistically are not the best versions of the songs but work in this context due to being part of a string of segued together tunes, generally paired with a top notch version. So I guess you could say that this endeavor seeks to categorize the best segments of music from the tour since – just as one example – there is no way I’d leave out the NICU between Tweezer and the unique jam into Caspian from 10.30.1998 even though the NICU itself is rather unremarkable. All told we end up with a playlist of 51 songs (including segues and whatnot) from the Greek Reba through the Worcester Gin. There are many many other songs that could be included here so have at it in the comments to let me know where I went wrong (considering that the entire tour is about 440 songs played that 11.5% inclusion rate I hit here isn’t so bad…). This sets us up for at least three tiers of ‘takeaways’. The top of the heap is handled today with the strong-but-perhaps-not-all-timer ‘mid tier’ to follow and finally the interesting inclusions that make some of these sets truly unique (such as fun covers and the like). With all of that said, let’s get this show on the road!
Oh wait. Almost forgot…
Take a look over to the left sidebar. You might need to scroll down past the other stuff you haven’t been paying attention to but there is now a lovely little music player with the playlist below ready for you to enjoy. If you listen to this you will have a pretty darn good feel for what we got over the course of that tour. You can also pick and choose what you want to spin if you don’t have the 11+ hours it will take you to get through it all in one sitting. Have fun!
Reba->Walk Away->Simple Los Angeles, CA (10.29.1998)
Stash->Manteca->Tweezer->NICU->Jam->Prince Caspian Las Vegas, NV (10.30.1998)
Lonesome Cowboy Bill>I Found A Reason Las Vegas, NV (10.31.1998)
Wolfman’s Brother->Piper Las Vegas, NV (10.31.1998)
Tube->Drowned->Jesus Just Left Chicago West Valley City, UT (11.02.1998)
You Enjoy Myself West Valley City, UT (11.02.1998)
Frankie Says->David Bowie Denver, CO (11.04.1998)
Split Open and Melt Madison, WI (11.06.1998)
Mike’s Song Chicago, IL (11.07.1998)
ACDC Bag->Ghost Chicago, IL (11.07.1998)
Down With Disease>Piper Chicago, IL (11.08.1998)
Bathtub Gin Chicago, IL (11.09.1998)
Gumbo Grand Rapids, MI (11.11.1998)
Halley’s Comet Grand Rapids, MI (11.11.1998)
Wolfman’s Brother->Mind Left Body Cleveland, OH (11.13.1998)
Meat>Harry Hood Cleveland, OH (11.13.1998)
Tweezer>Moma Dance Cincinnati, OH (11.14.1998)
Stash Murfreesboro, TN (11.15.1998)
Wolfman’s Brother->The Lizards Greenville, SC (11.18.1998)
Ghost Winston-Salem, NC (11.19.1998)
Bathtub Gin Hampton, VA (11.20.1998)
Mike’s Song>Simple Hampton, VA (11.21.1998)
Down With Disease New Haven, CT (11.24.1998)
Tweezer->Possum New Haven, CT (11.24.1998)
Weekapaug Groove->Wipeout->Weekapaug Groove Worcester, MA (11.27.1998)
Wolfman’s Brother>Timber (Jerry) Worcester, MA (11.28.1998)
Limb by Limb->Catapult->Kung Worcester, MA (11.29.1998)
Simple Worcester, MA (11.29.1998)
Bathtub Gin Worcester, MA (11.29.1998)
So start dissecting because after this we can dive into the next tier of songs as well…
UPDATE: Here is a link to a DL of the playlist (mp3, auds from phish.in) if you are so inclined. It is a temporary link so it will expire one week from today, on or about 12.15.2015.