From the Archives: Phish Festival Radio
If you’ve ever been to a Phish festival, you’ve probably heard Kevin Shapiro’s Phish Festival Radio broadcasts. Sitting by your tent, or wherever, the guru himself takes us through gem after gem as we await the next set. Over the years, these broadcasts have become famous, and have featured members of the band as guest djs, interviews, and of course – incredible jams in crisp SBD quality.
Today, we continue to feed the hype leading up to Festival 8. We have chosen to share all of the past Phish Festival Radio broadcasts, and highlight some of the best moments in detail. Without a doubt Kevin has some of the greatest taste for Phish jams, and his broadcasts – whether they be on Phish Festival Radio or Live Phish Radio – are highly sought after. The man himself has told us that, if all goes well, he expects to do some broadcasts at 8. Until then, let’s check out some of the broadcasts from the past.
Clifford Ball Radio
On the first day of the band’s first festival, Phish took over the airwaves of 89.1 FM. The broadcasts began as the campgrounds opened, providing the soundtrack to the fans’ first Phish festival experience. Unfortunately the sound quality on the recording of the broadcast is poor, so we have uploaded one of the jams Kevin chose, out of our own stash (this jam is not included in the broadcast download for some reason). The download for the broadcast is also available below.
“Tweezer>McGrupp” 12.31.91 [SBD]
This was the jam that kicked off the broadcast, as fans made their way to through the campground. This early “Tweezer” hints at the magical places the song would later reach. As the jam kicks off, the band begins by layering their instruments with each member’s patterns interweaving with the others. This “Tweezer” takes off early, eventually landing in the jazzy intro to “McGrupp”.
DOWNLOAD Clifford Ball Radio
Great Went Radio
The second Phish festival followed with more broadcasts by Kevin, this time on 89.1 FM WENT. The shows featured two archived broadcasts from Kevin (available below), an hour-long Grateful Dead program, a Saturday morning jazz show, as well as originals of songs the band had covered, among other things. One of the highlights is Trey’s wild DJ set where he talks about a record store he found in Amsterdam.
“Harry Hood” 4.18.92
From the free outdoor show from Palo Alto, CA, the place the Dead was formed. The entire show is wild, but this “Harry” that Kevin chose is quite special. The band teases the classic jazz number “Linus and Lucy” before launching into a divine modal excursion.
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“The World’s Only Radio Station”, 89.1 The Badger. For those in attendance at Lemonwheel, this was the only radio station that mattered. At Lemonwheel, Kevin continued to deliver spectacular gems, and the broadcasts became more interesting.
“DWD>Have Mercy>DWD” 11.12.94
This is a truly sublime version of “DWD”. The jam takes a wildly outside trip which slows to form the deep grooves of “Have Mercy” (not played in 101 shows), the classic reggae tune by the Mighty Diamonds. The slow reggae groove unexpectedly leads into a dark outside ambient soundscape, before launching back into the wild “DWD” jam. If you don’t know this jam, and the entire show from 11.12.94 Kent, OH, check it out. It’s pure magic.
Big Cypress Radio was more of the same, Kevin dishing out magical jams from various shows. Kevin kept people sane with his broadcasts while they sat in traffic, trying to get into the campground. At Big Cypress, Kevin had the entire decade to look back on, and over the two days, he shared some great moments from Phish’s career.
This was the debut of “Reba” and was dedicated to the ‘Spirit of Nancy”. It seems as though the band has been performing this song for years as they take us through the soaring jam that paved the way for so many incredible more.
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“The Bunny” was a larger radio operation than had been used in the past. But when the radio station was set to go online, the crew ran into a series of problems. Finally, once the problems were sorted out, the tradition continued as Kevin led us through another Phishy journey.
“Halley’s Comet” 11.11.98
This collosal “Halley’s” from Grand Rapids is the first piece of an incredible second set. Exploring the intergalactic, spacey grooves of ’98, the band takes this Halley’s for an extended journey. If you don’t know the show check it out, as this is only the start of the powerful “Halleys>Simple>Walk Away” combination.
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It certainly didn’t feel like the last Phish festival, let alone the last Phish concert on Coventry Radio. What started out as a series of disappointing messages from the band with regard to the mud situation, turned into a weekend of incredible broadcasting, that sent Phish Festival Radio off in style. These were the final broadcasts Kevin made, and ever since we have been waiting for more.
Defining the funk-based playing of ’97, this “Bowie” delves into both the dark-style jam the song is known for, as well as a thick, textured funk groove. These contrasting styles make this one of the more interesting versions of “Bowie”.