The version of “Bathtub Gin” performed by Phish on December 7, 1999 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine, is not one that follows the typical grain. Instead, the jam charts a course built upon a celestial, ambient undercurrent that glides beneath the minimalist playing from each of the members. It’s a lesson in patience and communication. But, what stands out most about this version, as is so often the case with Phish, is the almost impossible combination of Fishman’s calypso drum beat paired with the psychedelic direction of the jam. It’s almost soca-like, yet Fish maintains a delicate groove that carries a sense of motion, directing the band through a sort of musical journey. Atop Page’s sheets of synth-y sound, Trey adds subtle, repetitive trills that gradually build until the jam organically slips into the welcoming arms of “Simple.” Enjoy the weekend, folks.
“Bathtub Gin” > “Simple” (12/7/99)