Story of the Ghosts: Top 10 Weekapaugs

9. 3/22/1993, Crest Theater, Sacramento, CA

This one still makes me laugh. Back in college, I used to be a sandwich delivery guy and used to listen to this particular Weekapaug on the way to the dorms in my trusty ’85 Bronco II. There used to be this girl jumping rope regularly outside the store where I parked. There was the recurring stoner moment that I thought was totally mind blowing; she always jumped rope perfectly to the beat of this song. Thinking back, it seems pretty obvious that it was simply because I was playing the thing at 110 decibels, so it makes sense she would jump rope to the beat, but it took me a really long time to figure that out.

8. 11/21/1991, Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

Taking a little inspiration from Charlie Conway, this colossal Weekapaug includes a triple deke move whereby Phish fakes not one, not two, but three endings.

7. 7/2/1994, Garden State Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

This is one of the more gimmick-laden on the list, but it’s still a gem. It’s almost tough to tell if it’s Weekapaug or Antelope, as there is a defined Antelope Jam in here, even with a Trey “Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul” and some audible “Run Run Run” from the crowd in there. As if that’s not enough, Trey incorporates a little Zarathustra in a phenomenal, humongous finale. In the immortal words of mortal Keith Jackson, “Whooooa Nellie.”

6. 3/20/1992, Broome County Forum, Binghampton, NY

This is a Scotty B pick right here and you’ll hear no arguments from us. Mike opens this with a wicked bass effect that basically makes us want to hide under the bed. In fact, I think this tone was named “Goblin” on the old Casio. Rarely does it occur to me that, “Man, they are definitely on some drugs tonight,” but this squints the one eyebrow. The playing is right on, but the odd yodeling definitely begs the question, “What the fuck are they up to?” Nonetheless, they pull it together and hammer out yet another sick 1992 Weekapaug. The song sounds crisp with the old gear and stripped down sound. I always expect them to sound a little worse in the older days, but songs like this make you wonder if they were born with it.

5. 12/31/1995, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

The best way to describe the Weekapaug from everyone’s favorite ’95 NYE show is it is just like Ace’s jeans: tight. While we really didn’t factor in the rest of the Mike’s Groove for the most part in this list, this one is pretty unique in that the Weekapaug stands alone; it comes out of Auld Lang Syne, whereas Mike’s Song closed out the second set. They take us on an odyssey of the high-energy jams, reggae and mellow ambient sections. Further, we are treated to a nifty Auld Lang Syne tease, but it’s mainly just really crisp playing that makes this one special. While we love this show, it always seemed a bit overrated. I mean, Mortal Kombat is a really good game, but Donkey Kong (12/31/93) is the best game ever.

4. 8/10/2004, Tweeter Center, Mansfield, MA

It’s too bad Phish didn’t just hang it up after these Mansfield shows, because this is how it should have ended. If this was Coventry, we would probably still be talking about these shows as some of the best ever. We alluded to this in the above entry, but often what we look for in these arbitrary lists is an impromptu theme that manifests itself in the middle of the jam. This has a really unique and powerful theme throughout, which ultimately winds down intro a super-slow jam with some really funky bass. Like the Cavern in Providence, it’s amazing how good some of these Phish songs sound when they simply slow them down. This is definitely our favorite Frankie Valli song.

3. 12/6/1996, Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

Remember Alf? He’s back, in ‘Paug form. Oops, dumb joke. This is probably one of the most famous Weekapaugs, as 12/6/96 is widely considered a legendary night, more so with the big Live Phish/DVD/in-store recent release multimedia release. Despite the Elvises, Les Claypool, and a terrific Hood, we consider this easily the highlight of the show. The stop/starts are really what set this apart above the average great one. The band must have practiced this, because they start on a dime at the peak of the jam and bust right back in on that very same dime.

2. 12/1/1995, Hershey Park Arena, Hershey, PA

It took a great deal of restraint to keep this one out of the top spot, but it just didn’t seem right without a Mike bass intro. The one barrels rolls straight through from the Mike’s Song and never stops. The highlights here are the trance-like jam early in the song and the really defined theme Trey subsequently concocts, which ultimately forms the backbone for the rest of the song. This is without a doubt the perfect song to practice your subway robot.

1. 12/2/1997, Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

When it comes to Weekapaugs, this is the Jack Sikma. This rendition goes just about everywhere. It kicks off with Fishman getting shifty, hitting his snare on different beats, almost giving the feeling that it is falling apart upon first listen, but ultimately setting a really funky tone. Before long, sure enough, we are knee deep in ’97 funk. Six minutes of fuck-your-face rock later, they finally wind through a little digi-infused jam before closing out with one of the grandest Weekapaug finales to date — 2,700 listens later, and still goose bumps every time.

So what’s your favorite? Agree with the Ghosts boys? Wanna string ’em up? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below…

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31 Responses

  1. Great work guys.

    I’m a sucker for the ’92-’93 versions. One of my all-time faves is the 4/29/93 version from Montreal. The band fires on all cylinders during the ‘paug before expertly seguing into the first Makisupa Policeman in a few years. After a brief run through Makisupa they work their way back into Weekapaug, and Trey fires off the quickest riffs I’ve ever heard him play. Machine gun to the next level.

    But all of your choices are superb.

  2. Sorry about those three that only have 30 second snippets from Live Phish. I wasn’t sure how that would play out, but I guess now we know.

    Scotty, I looked for that Montreal one on your recommendation, but didn’t come with it in time for the list.

  3. Really, a post-hiatus version ahead any the versions you mentioned, epsecially 3-20-92? Most that you mentioned are excellent. (7-2, 3-20, ,12-1)

    Yet, here are some that MUST be considered

    7-17-98 (The best, imo)
    2-20-93 (#2)
    10-15-96 (m Set)
    11-4-90 (tightly packaged)
    11-27 98 (awesome)

  4. never met a paug i didnt like (its like finding a bad antelope)
    so many greats named, i saw half of the top ten listed above, including 12-2-97.
    one not mentioned is 12-31-03, one of my faves jun-gle boogie

  5. Oooh, that Montreal 93 one was sick, indeed. I believe some dipshit tried to stage dive in the middle of it, to ill effect.

    Of the Weekapaug’s you’ve probably never heard that are just jaw-droppingly insane, check out 4-23-93 Colgate… there is a section in there that may be the best thing I’ve ever heard Trey do. Seek it out… or bug me and I’ll post it. Yes, that good.

    Take it from the guy who knows….

  6. Neddy beat me to it on that Colgate version. It’s downright improvised classical music if you ask me. Pure genius. Also, please tell me you DID NOT spell Binghamton with a P! Great version though and my first show so no arguments on that one.

  7. All good choices.

    One that comes to the front of my mind is 10/22/06 at MSG with The Madison Scare Garden dancers towards the end.

    It was out of Swept Away/Steep, and I remember it being a main highlight of 1996 Phish for me.

    Haven’t listened to it since the days of Maxell XL II, though. Who’s got my heady MP3?

  8. Just looked up the setlist from 10/22/96, and then I stumbled upon the review of the show. Saw this:

    “That was the most amazing Weekapaug ending I’ve ever heard. Absolutely phenomenal. Hear at all costs. This version is
    easily the best all-around 1996 version that I’ve heard, too.”

  9. Great list but you have to throw 12/6/94 Santa Barbara into the mix. It’s unrelenting. The whole show is fantastic and worth seeking out.

  10. i like the cross section of paugs. i expected to look at this list and see every one come betwen 92 and 95 and all be based on how fast trey was shredding.

    12/2/97 and Great Woods 04 are both super weird Paugs. I’ll take inspired originality over execution any day!

  11. Not sure how 12/31/97 is not here. I liked 8/10/04 but to say that’s better than the holy 12/31/97 rendition…sacrilege.

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