Phish: Predicting The Hampton Opener

When it comes to the first song back, there are so many ways to go. It has to be a nerve-wracking first few tunes out there for those guys after almost four years away from the stage as a group. So I don’t think we will see anything way out of the comfort zone.

Let’s break it down a little bit and take a look at a few likely contenders for the March 6 opening debut of post-Breakup Phish…

The Likely Choices:
According to the Phish stats page run by that guy with all the Zs, Y and Xs in his name, there are the most common show openers along with how many times they have opened a show:

1. Runaway Jim – 80
2. Chalk Dust Torture – 75
3. Buried Alive – 59
4. Llama – 51
5. Golgi Apparatus – 49

Any one of them is certainly a candidate. But of the five, I think Chalk Dust Torture is probably the safest pick. Runaway Jim is probably right in the mix too but sometimes can take a little while to get going whereas Chalk Dust tears it up from the start. It gets the crowd moving right away and Trey called it his favorite Phish song to perform live in an Entertainment Weekly article back in August, 2000.

Buried Alive racked up its numbers in the early ’90s and would be a surprising, but not unwelcome, choice. I hadn’t thought of Llama till I recently watched the 12-6-96 Vegas DVD where they absolutely nail it. It certainly rocks and gets the crowd moving but something tells me it’s a little too short to kick things off. Golgi was pegged by many for the 12/31/02 show opener with people offering everything short of a kidney to have a ticket stub in their hand. Certainly would fit here too.

The Perfect Choice:
All Things Reconsidered:
Opened show 2 times

What says it better? Four years after calling it quits for the second time, the band has certainly reconsidered. Besides the irony of the title, this rarely played, complex instrumental, if played correctly, could make a joint statement on preparedness and bust out potential. It’s been 311 shows (2/23/97) since this one has been played so chances aren’t strong but to me, it would be a throwback to the cleverness that arose when some thought went into the set list.

The Emotional Choice:
Curtain (With)
Opened show 17 times

The last song most of us heard Phish play was that forced version of The Curtain (With) that served as the cherry on top of the disastrous mud pie that was Coventry. A tight, well-played version would be a good way to start the process of erasing those memories.

The “All In” Choice:
You Enjoy Myself
Opened Show 6 times

Played 472 times total, nearly 100 more times than it’s closest competitor (Mike’s Song – 378), YEM would certainly be the band’s way of pushing all its chips into the middle of the table early in a high stakes game. With a quick start and some of the best build-and-release in the band’s catalog, the arena would shake at its foundation if they walked out and nailed a YEM.

The Déjà Vu Choice:
Opened Show 5 times

When we did this last time, we packed Madison Square Garden for New Years Eve 2002-03 and Phish eased into their first comeback show with Piper. At first it was hard to hear over the screams for “lights out” what the choice was but an understandably uneven version of Piper was the first live product of post-Hiatus Phish. Seven Below stole the show that night but the energy in the building for Piper was off the charts.

What do you think Phish will open with in Hampton on March 6? Be sure to enter the Tour Opener Contest at Phantasy Tour and let us know what you chose by leaving a comment below…

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88 Responses

  1. Stash
    -Classic Phish
    -The clapping will be a ‘we never left’ moment right away, -Was it for this my life I’ve sought?

  2. dudes…
    I’m sticking with my “My Friend My Friend” opener request.

    followed up by some nasty, dreadburning HEAT!

  3. gonna have to go with YEM

    ~as Luke says… “All In”. Very aggresive choice that would put the pressure on the band
    ~make up for the bothced Hampton 03′ version
    ~Trey’s left nut comment
    ~it’s fucking YEM and it would test the structural integrity of Hampton

  4. Nah…I’m really going with Down With Disease. It’s got the crasy psycho bass opening and of course,
    “when I think it’s time to leave it all behind, I try to find a way but there’s nothing I can say to make it stop.”

  5. they need to recreate the coccoon scene (2 coccoons instead of 3 obviously) from spinal tap while covering Rock N Roll Creation. THAT would be an opener.

  6. The Boys are back in town opener in Hampton –

    very similar to the Foreplay> It’s been such a long time opener when they finally came back to Great Woods in 99′

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if they bust-out something none of us has heard before – Time Turns Elastic? Or maybe something new they’ve worked-up/will in the next few weeks?

    It would be a lil deflating in one sense, but conversely it’s a fresh start – why not come out of the gates with something new and fresh? I’ll gladly settle for YEM though…

  8. then Chaldust

    a chalkdust reprise > Chalkdust would be pretty f’in crazy though. remember, NEVER, underestimate these 4 guys. In my adventures with the band 98 shows from 95-00 I’ve seen some stuff i never would have expected

  9. I mean one of the three, not in that order. And I’d like to throw in Chalkdust and I also agree with Erik’s The Boys Are Back in Town, which I had thought of awhile back, that it would be funny and exciting.

  10. I was actually thinking the other day that Free would be a pretty good opener. Relatively simple, soaring lead line, appropriate chorus, and NASTY breakdown in the middle to really get things going. I’d be very ok with that.

    “I feel this feeling I forgot.”

  11. Jennifer Dances

    Seriously though, agree with Jeffrey above, YEM would be great especially after Trey’s comments about the song.

  12. I’m a little shocked nobody has mentioned Bathtub Gin. I came real close to including it in the column – I think it has a pretty good shot. Trey loves that “…and we love to take a bath” singalong

  13. Who gives a damn what they play, a bunch of sell outs who have become exactly what they didn’t want to be: a nastolgia act.

    Whoo Way TO GO!

  14. I’m going to guess DWD. It would be an epic song that would get the crowd pumped and has instant recognition. The lyrics also have speak of the disease that plagued the band…

  15. Bowie*&$#>

    *long intro
    & w/exploding pinatas hung from Hampton ceiling
    $ w/”all fall down” signal
    # Dude of Life joins the band onstage and announces his retirement from music

  16. Tweezer Reprise > YEM !!! All the way
    This fits with the necessity for high octane. has a slow build and gets loud enough to hear over the crowd and is a huge release for all the tension that will have been building for months. Then once everyone shuts up they can lay down the shit. Then they will open set 2 or sat night with tweezer.

  17. Maybe it’s just the tons of Rock Band I have been playing, but if they were gonna open with a cover I say Journey’s Foreplay/Long Time. Good jamming opportunity at the opening of the song, followed by a VERY true opening line, “It’s been such a long time”!

  18. Hey Dickie that’s not Journey it’s Foreignor. And as for an opener it would have to be Peaches & Herbs “Reunited” and it feels so good.Or Buried Alive > Tube.

  19. guess the opener and win $100 (or more!!)

    here’s the list of so far > >

    Song List & Confirmed Bidders:

    Makisupa Policeman – unclejohn
    You Enjoy Myself – messengerbird
    2001 – Heather
    Wilson – Scott (aka WhatstheUse?)
    The Curtain With – August
    Chalk Dust Torture – caravan2001
    David Bowie – Freya
    Runaway Jim – Aaron
    Run Like an Antelope – birdman
    Down with Disease – Ryan
    Tube – Ali
    The Curtain – chriskovach
    Mike’s Song – Steven B
    Destiny Unbound – Worm
    Golgi Apparatus – blatboom
    Simple – mandi
    Punch You in the Eye – cactusfan
    Piper – Hicks
    Bouncing Around the Room – Barret
    AC/DC Bag – adam B.

    still plenty of great songs choices left to bid on.
    only $5 to join.

  20. I had a dream the other night that I was there and they opened with a suprising Gumbo followed by Taste. That being said my prediction is AC/DC Bag, I just feel it.

  21. with—>rift…pick up where they left off.

    okay, maybe too heady..then a possum with that build at the begining would be killer.

    psyched to get this show on the road.

  22. I think that creativity is being way overlooked here. I understand that it has been a while but we are talking about some spectacular musicians, I completely expect the lights go down and then we hear something that they have never played before. My guess is a cover to the likes of comfortably numb.

  23. Free. I’m floating in the blimp alot, I feel a feeling I forgot…. I feel no curiosity, I see the path ahead of me! A Rebirth is a great way to start phish 3.0

  24. Peaches En Regalia, though…

    Drove to the North where the oceans freeze, spent FOUR LONG years on the open seas!

    And if I were to awake into a dream…

    Oomm pah pah Oom pah pah Oom pah pah ahhhh…..

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