This Weekapaug, often referred to as the “Freakapaug,” included a Nellie Kane tease from Trey, circus dancers, and Mimi Fishman dancing around on stage towards the end. Watchtower (first since April 21, 1994, or 228 shows) featured Buddy Miles on drums and lead vocals, Merl Saunders on keys, and Fish on Trey’s percussion rack. The circus dancers also appeared for the encore.
Jam Chart Versions
Nellie Kane tease in Weekapaug Groove
Debut Years (Average: 1991)

This show was part of the "1996 Fall Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by CarnivalParade

CarnivalParade Part 1 of "Cosmic Adventures in Synchronic Time" by Steve Urban

My Mother, Father and Grandfather were all born on the same day: October 21st. My parents met at a discothèque on Long Island. About a week later my mom visited my dad whom was washing his car. He asked her, “What is your Birthday?” She said, “October 21st.” He said, “Me too! And my Father!” At first, she didn’t believe him. Just as many of you won’t believe me. But do you honestly believe that my Mother, Father and Grandfather all being born on the same day is just a mere coincidence? That the circumstances are just random and the dice fell that way? Mathematically the probabilities of such an event are astronomically incalculable.

Furthermore, 2 months into my freshman year another synchronistic event takes place. One of my best friends called me and asked if I could come see the rock band, Phish. It was on, his Birthday, on October 21st 1996 at Madison Square Garden. I remember the audience participated, chanting, “Wilson,” like the tennis company and clapping their hands to intricate Latin jazz instrumentals. Though they were already playing an important role in expanding consciousness, this was the first time Phish entered into my individual consciousness. So October 21st was also the birthday of Phish for me. The reason that Phish entered my world in such a synchronistic way connected to my parents I believe now to have great significance. Because of what would happen next. Something that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams!

Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve 2002. Phish is about to take the stage after a hiatus. I just spent the night spun on 7th avenue family fluff. I’m swigging whiskey and hot cider to keep me warm. Then while waiting for the box office to open, thin strands of a cobweb-like substance cover the outside wall and quickly disappear. I recently discovered that in UFO research this phenomenon is known as “Angel Hair.” According to Wikipedia: “It is named for its similarity to fine hair, or spider webs… it disintegrates or evaporates within a short time of forming. One theory is that it is ‘ionized air sleeting off an electromagnetic field’ that surrounds a UFO.” Someone should have told the aliens that the show was sold out.

Later that afternoon among the ticketless throngs I met a man whom claimed to be “The Sloth” a character from, Gamehendge, Phish's rock opera. In his hands was the legendary helping friendly book! Gamehendge is a mythological world of fairy tale. It’s a parallel reality or possibly the story of Earth’s very distant past. Trey Anastasio wrote Gamehendge as his senior thesis. The story is that of a retired U.S. Colonel whom steps through a portal traveling through space and time. While in Gamehendge, Colonel Forbin discovers a race of lizard people, who have been enslaved by the evil King Wilson. He has stolen the helping friendly book from the lizards, which has all the knowledge inherent in the universe.

This is the book Sloth is holding. “Written by the great and knowledgeable Icculus.” Titled “Well You Can Imagine” by Sean O. Huigin. He found it in the children's section of a used bookstore in Canada. “Yeah! My children are old enough to read Icculus!” When you examine the book there are Phish lyrics and cartoon illustrations of Gamehendge characters like the mockingbird, the sloth and the lizards. The cover even dons the band members Trey and Page. But the author did not know Phish. The book was published in Canada the year Phish was formed. Sloth explained: ”Icculus means I is the accumulation of us.” Somehow the author and illustrator created this book from the chaotic sea of our collective unconscious. The book truly came from, Gamehendge, a place that transcends space and time, as we know it.

I stood underneath the marquee watching waves of energy flow over the bricks and between the windows of the Hotel Pennsylvania. The building was alive! My thoughts stopped in sheer wonder. Then out of the top left corner of my vision I saw a single eye was watching me from above. Pop! Another revealed itself! Pop! Another! Until this pattern of eyes filled the sky. They were geometrically precise lines and overlapping circles. All shapes were in perfect union. I looked away and the psychedelic vision was gone. That night I was introduced to someone in the Phish community who told me to read Drunvalo Melchizedek’s Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, a book on sacred geometry. Months later, the same geometric pattern I saw in the sky was exactly the same symbol on the cover of the book. What I saw was the unity consciousness grid, naturally making a higher level of consciousness accessible to humanity. Well you can imagine.

Part 2: 11/24/09 Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA and 10/24/10 UMASS, Amherst, MA *Cosmic Adventures in Synchronic Time was Originally published in Surrender to the Flow
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by kentkarlsson

kentkarlsson My first show. I was 51 years old. My oldest son brought me. I was late, and missed the only two Phish songs I knew (Runaway Jim and Bouncing), but when YEM came on, and the crowd began to dance en masse, the atmosphere was filled with love and music, and I was done. Hooked. 75 now. 70 shows later. The rest of the show is a blur; I was unfamiliar with the music but loved it, and I'll never forget Buddy Miles' performance (I dabble on drums), and was won over by the way the group featured their guest. Thank you Phish for the continuing music, old and new. For a guy who started on Elvis and Dylan, and then of course doo wop, r&b, the Beatles, and on and on, Phish managed to surpass all and become my favorite band.
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by maddyb4me

maddyb4me When ever I see the date 10/22- it will always remind me of my first phish show. Here I am, 16 years later- and I am still fantasizing about this particular day in history. I rated the show a 4- not because it was a great show, but because it was one of the best nights of my life. I knew not what I was getting into, but only that I was going to a concert to see a cool band.

One moment stands out from all the rest, and it was the moment when I got IT. Scent of a Mule- during the duel- audience and band in sync. My life was forever altered, and I continue to pay homage to the best band on Earth!
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by seattlegal

seattlegal This show will always be special for me as my first show, nearly 20 years ago! First set closer YEM had me shocked and awed by set break - what is this insane experience? But then Freekapaug was still to come - a stage full of drag queens and elaborate costumes flooded the stage at the end of set 2. Then a guest appearance by Buddy Miles topped off an All along the watchtower encore (you can find backstage footage of Phish with Buddy Miles that night on youtube). Nostalgia aside, a solid fun show!
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by DaReba

DaReba i have to reiterate that this is not just some throw away weekapaugh just so they bring out some dancers. Trey just gives us the chords while the dancers come out and then its full throttle weekapaugh .one of my complants sometimes with the song is its awkward rhythm when they are not hittin. this was tight as hell.
and when you listen to the show, every Trey build up in the jam was matched by the dancer near him. completely organic madness !
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by DaReba

DaReba my fav phish show of all time ......clifford ball, way anyone can hear this and say they needed more phish. it would be a lie. I went to the night before wit friends from u of m at college prk. ,y my dude gave me a ticket for this night . i still this day don't know why i was the only one who went to this show after 5 of us drove from maryland for 10/21/96
this curtain opener is friggin note for note perfect !!! down to the "Baby's MOOOOOUUUUTH!!!!"!
crazy. loud aggressive. quiet delicate. perfect
into Runaway Jim i want to note this was the same opener for 8/17/96 the only other second set besides PNC bank arts 7/16/99 lol ( i'm sorry . theses guys are awesome) that I cream over that I've seen and will preach about. this Jim is sorta still 95ish but its so tight and huge you dont care ... you don't hear one instrument at all. its a whole metal animal on the tapes. There, at the Garden ,I was in another world. confident I'd chosen a great band then Trey took us to the nxt level in the Jim Jam!!! crazy ....they were full throttle 2 songs in!!!! a rest of the first set that was soo similar to the 1st set second night of Clifford ball but I didnt notice it while I was there. They were rockGIANTS.
not a bouncin fan but I love hearing the crowd scream at a phish show for whatever reason.
This Melt is FANTASTIC. HEavy type @ # whatever Fish is obviously listening to everyone they are all buggin out Trey is again just happy to be loud and roll this metal bll down Broadway!! crazy !! Loud i just remember being engulfed by sound.
there I was just floored . clifford ball melt is crazier and louder but this is sick.
Sparkle was sweeet!!! we danced. free is not my fav song but i beleieve they like toplay it they usually follow it up with something nasty everytme i see it live they follow with something amazing.
This Y.E.M was fantastic. i just remember people telling me o shut up. then everybody sceaming lol
on the tapes it is note for note perfext just how I heard it. The Garden was quiet my friends!!!
until that part!! BOOOOY!!!they ripped it. the vocal jam I was wondering loooking for a bathroom , my head was scattered happily!!.................
The Secong Set is one of the greatest performance moments of my life.
2001 into a Disease that was just blazing!!fro the begininn you could sense them busting out of the seams of The Garden. straight head banger Phish. hard core train wreck funk ball !!! I was just laughing looking around at the time. Listening to the tapes its ridiculous that this didn't win a Grammy.. Fish was on some drum drugs. Trey was so humble as to let page a Mike pump this metal audio animal to its full potential. This DWD gave me Volcano HEad!!!!
At some point Trey got on his drum set which I hate but this was such a musical animal youcouldnt hate. they were jammn hard.....
The opening note of Taste didnt do much for or the people around but but by the end I was wondering if try was mad at his guitar. Trey srtaight murdered this so much to the point that every other Taste has made me hate the song.Fish is just flying over the set. Trey's solo is one of incredible arena thought,acrobatics, GENIUS, MIKe is a BEAST!!!this is arena rock at its best.Page was happy to lend abiance you cant orchestrate... bananas!! when they brouhgt it back to the taste melody in trey's jam I was smiling from ear to ear...then te most unique Phish song that neeeds to be on the radio!!! MANGO SONG!
one of the great versions here. despte the feedback lol i love hearing the voice harmonies over the instruments!! Fish was so killer the whole night. so soft. Like an Arena Ed THIGPEN.. BEAUTIFUL. All the boys were humble to an extreme exgent tonight ..thats why they played out of their minds in my opnion. it seeme like they were each trying to be quieter than the other .Lawn-scent-Mike's all classic j-card jizz.The Weekapaugh is is what will be talked about forever and ever. When I aaw the dancers come out , yes I was faded, but the boys took it to CHUUUUURch!!!!! listen to this jam and imagine Trey fingering to some freak dancers on Page's piano! the Garden was floored! crazier than a three ring circus!!!!
the encore made me blind for 4 days.......
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by RollinInMyGrego

RollinInMyGrego They say that you always remember your first, and though it was along time ago and I was only 15 at the time, I certainly will. This is a really great first show with great music and silly antics. Phish was somewhat new to my ears but the night featured many familiar classics including Bouncing, Free, YEM, Disease, etc. Set 1 YEM closer is a real treat! Everything was played extremely well like you'd expect from Fall 96, though little stands out as exceptional.The It's Ice, SOAM and Disease have some really interesting parts, and the Scent of a Mule vocal jam is a lot of fun. The highlight of the show is, of course, the Mike's Groove with the (unknowingly at the time) rare "Swept > Steep" middle section and a top notch, bonkers Weekapaug. Watchtower encore is kinda weird and unPhish but hearing Trey shred is pretty awesome. I never would have predicted that 25 years later I would have seen this band 100 times.
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by GreatWent19

GreatWent19 I love this show. DwD has a Page-led percussion type jam, excellent Taste, and one of the most fun Mike's Groove I've been lucky enough to see. If you were there, it's legendary. 1996 often gets lost in the fantastic years before and after, but this is a great one.

And there's one last part for me. At the end of the encore, one of the Freakapaug dancers threw out the club from her costume. Somehow, it wound up right at my feet. 16 years old. Was one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. Stood on my seat and waved it to the cheering crowd at MSG.
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by DaReba

DaReba smokin' , rising 2001 second set opener so much energy.

This DWD is hard core . For hard core phans only lol Trey sometimes amazes himself and sometimes the band amazes him. I believe all that happens int he first 3 min. of this jam. just straight rocking Phish!! no need to type II this right here!Did I mention Fish being a drum God! literally the only reason they have this arena filling sound. Trey lays back so much on this its just drums and the other three in a musical ball bouncing off the walls. Fish and Mike lay the groove using the same beat for about 7 minutes. Trey gets on the drums at some point and a raucous return to the them happens. a good time is had by all.

This is the best Taste I've ever seen in person. On the recording on you can hear thr=e crisp power of Fish's drums. this Trey solo is very noteworthy. The minor beginning jam is crazy then the switch is triumphant. fully realized version of the song.

Mango smoothed things out. lovely.

The opening notes of Lawn Boy are fantastic. Page hams it up!!

Crazy Page solo during Scent of a Mule. awesome. The chairman of the boards!! He straight spazzes lol ! Trey follows with a great jam himself though. getting the crowd into it. An exercise in crowd control/love/appreciation/ and creativity in general. makes you wanna cry .. seriously. ....Page answers in similar scat style . even Mike jams his vocal note lol They were in rare form this night.

When I tell you this was the most amazing Phish night ever fa sure up to that point it is no hyperbole and its all because of this Mike-swept away-steep Frekapaugh . There is a great video on youtbe of this suite . Being there it was a complete assault on the senses. Weekapaugh already has a built in 'tug at your hear-strings chord progression". but add MSG , already 3 classic sets and some dancers and you have something that just left my tearing up . You must see the video. But the music itself is transcendent.

This is why I listen to Phish
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by DaReba

DaReba so i am listening to all of '96 on phistrack and am now at this show that changed my life and how I view performing artist. This will be my third review but from a "all shows previous stand point" .
The boys are on fire for the start of the fall tour. They have played a better and better show over the last week. Last night is a behemoth to top especially at the "world's most famous arena!'

A curtain-> Jim opener is great start. Giving solid praise to the second set opener of 8/17/96 a classic. This is a crazy Jim to say the least. The boys were loose but loud.
Bouncin always shows me how much we the audience love this band. hearing the crowd sing the lyrics is so sweet lol
nice ice and talk. great hearing how it's ice can translate from Nectar's to The garden
SOAM!! we know they are about to get nasty... Page takes this over in the beginning of the jam. His piano is just banging around the Garden in syncopation with Fish and Trey is just laying back harmonizing with Mike. you want type II. you got it. Mike goes berserk on one noe for a while lol then gives us some trey like figures which inspires Trey to get out in front and we're off to the races. i think this is the first time I really noticed Psage using the organ on this song. The end is where it's at ;-)

Sparkle got the crowd participating. but this is a particularly good sparkle musically. u gotta think that if they lay into a song like sparkle we are in for something special.

Free is probably where Mike would like to stay . HE kills it and the song clears the mental pallet.

Pretty heavy YEM ends the first set. and despite a small flub in the written part its mammoth and a perfect end to a first that would be a second set many other places.
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: The Curtain: Cannot go wrong with this as the opener >

Runaway Jim: Nicely jammed, sounds great!

Bouncing Around the Room: Perfect placement.

It's Ice: Jam has an extra creepiness to it, cool effects and something dynamically seems a bit different about this one. Would relisten.

Talk: Standard, love the placement.

Split Open and Melt: Very steady jam. 7 minutes of solid Phish. Pretty solid peak to this one too, a bit sloppy in parts though. Would relisten.

Sparkle: Crowd and band don’t seem into this one like they usually are >

Free: Standard >

You Enjoy Myself: They shred the hell out of this jam, hot YEM. Airhorn goes off in crowd as the vocal jam starts like in Divided Sky the previous night. Hang on to your hat with this vocal jam, I imagine some folks had a tough time with that one. Awesome way to close out the set! Would revisit this YEM!

First set summary: Killer first set! Has everything I would want and more. Tons of replay value and jamming. Great Phish.

SET 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra: The excellent energy does not get hampered with the setbreak, it just keeps rolling on as 2001 hits hard coming out of the gates. >

Down with Disease: Most of this jam is Trey on the mini kit, kind of boring to be honest >

Taste: Really good stuff here. Good follow up to the sort of meh DwD.

The Mango Song: I will take this tune anywhere and anytime pretty much. This one has great synergy between Page and Trey.

Lawn Boy: Page blows the lyrics, funny stuff.

Scent of a Mule: I am not a fan of this tune but this one is quite entertaining and has plenty of replay value. Pretty crazy version!

Mike's Song: Trey sounds AMAZING in this first jam, would encourage anyone to check this out (3:46, 3:57, 4:06, 4:15, 4:32) – just LISTEN to that guitar. Awesome. The second jam is filled with effects and an evil, nasty edge – just the way we like them. ->

Swept Away > Steep > - Likely appreciated by many as that was an intense 21 minutes of Mule and Mike’s. I am sure that melted many a face and this breather allowed folks to try and get their stuff together.

Weekapaug Groove: Freakapaug! Absolutely smoked! Machine gun Trey baby!

ENCORE: All Along the Watchtower: This is one where you kind of had to be there. Listened many times, watched the video – it just doesn’t quite translate. Trey does smoke in spots though.
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by ImissJohnnyBgoode

ImissJohnnyBgoode PLEASE, if anyone has a decent sounding version of this show, message me!! I really only remember the encore, and it was fun! It was nice to see Merl!
, attached to 1996-10-22

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround Apologies, meant for this to be in my review:

Second set summary: THAT was a great set! Mule, Mike’s, and Weekapaug all have significant replay value. Great flow throughout the set and a very, very cool sit in for the encore. Always appreciated this show and this re-listen was very enjoyable, holds up after all these years.
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