Thanksgiving Run Lament

Ahh, Thanksgiving. Friends from high school, turkey, cold weather, and New England Phish shows.


In ’97, ’98, ’03, and ’09 Thanksgiving meant time with family and friends, and then heading out to a small New England venue for a mindblowing Phish show. This was my introduction to Phish – 11/29/97, featuring the infamous 59 minute Runaway Jim (all of it below, if you really want to watch it). My second show was exactly a year later, 11/29/98, a show that featured a rare Ambient Jam>YEM second set opener. These were the “Wipeout” jam weekend in ’98, the Jeff Holdsworth show in ’03, and of course, last year’s monumental Seven Below>Ghost from Albany. I saw at least one show on each of these tours, and it almost feels like there’s something missing from this year’s autumnal celebration.

Of course, things are all good in the Phish universe. The often-repeated discussion on the band’s status right now is that things are finally back to the way they should be. Musically, Phish was solid even from the first notes of Hampton in ’09. Eventually, the jamming prowess returned. What’s back now, though, is the Phishiness. The silly, stupid, dorky, and ingenious musical turns of phrase, teases, and segues. The Guyutica show, the blowout of rarities and covers in New Hampshire, and of course, the Zeppelineezer from Atlantic City. Phish is acting like a bunch of dorks in their mid-20s again.

So we really shouldn’t complain. But there was always something so romantic about heading home for some family time, having an evening of (relative) normalcy and domesticity on Thursday, and then turning around for an out-of-mind facemelting experience for the next few nights. For Phishheads, it feels like the quintessential experience. At least, for me, and I’m sure a number of other New Englads heads, it is.

So this year, let’s be thankful that one of our favorite bands (or our favorite, depending) is back, happy, healthy, and preparing to blow the roof off a pair of Northeast venues this New Year’s run. Be thankful for family, friends, and gluttonous turkey/stuffing/squash/pie consumption. And be thankful for the highlights of Phish’s thanksgiving weekends past, provided below. Happy holidays everyone!

The absolutely sublime, “best-ever” 11/30/91 Harry Hood:

Fishman’s Fall ’98 Viking helmet, and a bit of the Wipeout ridiculousness from 11/27/98:

From the pathbreaking, paradigm-shifting 11/28/09 Seven Below>Ghost jam, my favorite part of this monster, the second half of the Ghost jam:

And if you’ve got an hour to kill, the Runaway JAM from 11/29/97. Split into 6 parts for YouTubing! (my favorite is pt. 3):


~ by Jake on November 25, 2010.

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