On the 16th stop of Phish’s fall ‘99 tour, the band rolled into Memphis on a Wednesday night. As of showtime, there were still tickets left—so anyone with $25 could get in for face, setting the stage for a very weird and fierce mid-week gig. The night started off on an unassuming note—a classic “Runaway Jim” opener bled into the rocking radio single “Free,” and Trey Anastasio messed around with what could only be described as his “late-‘90s pedal effects.” (You know them when you hear them.) On the surface, the first set seemed rather tame though—“Nellie Kane,” “Taste” and “Dirt” made appearances before “Stash” amped things up. But then Anastasio stopped the show for a bit, announcing a contest for two sets of tickets and backstage passes to any upcoming show. The only thing you had to do was say what the songs in the set all had in common. That thread? Everything but “Driver” was in the key of D.
The second set opened with the highlight of the whole show, a 36-minute “2001” > “Down With Disease” combo, with “2001” alone pushing over the 20-minute mark. There’s chatter in some circles that say this is the greatest “2001” ever performed—and it’s not a bad take by any means. The tempo is atypically fast, and the experimentation is constant. A “Mike’s Song” sequence that segued into both “Kung” and “Catapult” furthered the strange vibes that colored the later part of the set, making for a very playful night in Memphis. Throw this one at the top of your Phish queue, stat.
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