This week the crew moves into a new direction. Scott, Tanya and Drew discuss the history of Mike’s Song. They start in the early days and discuss how the song has evolved, and eventually, devolved, into 2010. The framework used in this episode will be repeated in the next 2, at least, as a complete overview of Phish in the 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 eras.
The first part of this episode will cover the early days. Scott sets the stage and talks about how Mike’s began, the name changes it took in the very beginning, and how it started the “song suite”. From its inception, Mike’s presented itself as a rager, as a song for Trey to wail on. A clip from 5/8/89 is presented to illustrate Scotty’s point.
Then, Tanya takes us to the days of a “beautiful Mikes jam”. The crew feels this era began with NYE ’92 and continued through 1994. It is during this time that the F major jam was started, the song gained legs as being more experimental, and it is worthy to note the frequency at which Mike’s got played, nearly every other show. A clip from 12/30/93 was chosen for this segment.
Up next, Drew discusses the “Glory Days” which he is calling 95-99. During this period, there are many stellar versions of Mike’s to choose from. He dives right into the 11/11/95 clip, and as you could guess, he labels this one epic. After giving due props to 95, we lead into a clip from 8/13/96, again, hitting that epic territory. Finally, Drew touches on the funk that was 97 and the often overlooked jams of 98 and 99.
Then, Scotty brings it back home and breaks down where Mike’s went in Phish 2.0 and 3.0. And, as the title of this episode suggests, we feel Mike’s has tamed it down a bit, and is not the jam vehicle it once was. Scotty notes that the F jam has disappeared, and the song returns to the late 80’s, early 90’s versions which were essential Trey driven. One version which caught the eye of the panel though was 12/28/09, which we grab a clip from.
Finally, the group wraps up a general discussion of the song, I throw out some questions our listeners might be interested in, and we make predictions on the role Mike’s will play in the 2010 holiday run.
Be sure to tune in next week when Sam, Eric and Justin will take us on another nerdy journey into Phish’s history.
- Stephen Olker