Last Summer would have been Phish’s 25th anniversary of playing Deer Creek, but, as we know, it didn’t happen. So in honor of the 26th anniversary of the first year they played, we rank the top 09 deer creek shows. We rank the top 09 deer creek shows
We open with the first show of their 1998 run. It was the band's 4th trip to the venerable venue. The show took on a mellow vibe thru the first few tunes before the 2nd performance of Joe Tex’s You Better Believe It Baby when things took off with a solid Boogie On, the summer's best Reba, and Birds of a Feather to close. Set 02 takes no prisoners, opening with Possum into Ghost that lands on a strong Lifeboy before a legendary Creek Bowie.
Their first appearance at Deer Creek makes the list as much because it is a ‘we made it’ moment and also a strong collection of songs. Theme, Reba, and Antelope are all unique versions in the first set, while set two offers the first of many excellent Creek Bowies.
2003 saw Phish do their first 3 night run at Deer Creek and in night three the band really hit their groove. The Scents and Subtle Sounds opener let you know this wasn’t going to be a normal ride. The 1st also saw 2.0’s first Sneaking Sally. The second set opening Down With Disease> The Squirming Coil was solid with Disease claiming some interesting new spaces before Makisupa Policeman, Buffalo Bill, and Thunderhead all making appearances
The throwdown of 3.0. This show has it all; acapella (Birdwatcher), bluegrass (Old Home Place), Gamehenge (Tela), even a Fishman tune with Bike. The first set shines with midset Chalkdust Torture and Tweezer. Set two opens with a Mike’s Song> McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters that says ‘we mean business’ which follows through the whole set that closes with, you guessed it, another next level Bowie.
The second show of the 1998 run builds where night one left off. Opening with Rhinoceros it then takes off with a 20 minutes Halley’s. Ride Captain Ride makes a reappearance not long after before closing the frame with a standard (for 98) run. Set two sports top 05 versions of Gumbo and Limb By Limb.
In addition to some top-notch playing, this one gets the nod for the 2nd appearance of the ‘acoustic mini-stage'. The first set is bookend by strong versions of Divided Sky and Slave to the Traffic Light. Set 02 flies out of the gate with AC/DC Bag and Lizards. Next, they jump into a huge Mike’s Song> Lifeboy> Weekapaug Groove that leads to the appearance of the aforementioned acoustic set before closing with, yep, Bowie.
The Moby Dick night, the one many would say was the best of Deer Creek. Today it comes in at no. 03. The first set lets everyone know things may get weird with a Chalkdust Torture Reprise into Chalkdust Torture midset. What can we say about set two? 5 Moby Dicks, and the band at their playful best.
The Happy Birthday Night. A wild first set includes My Friend into My Left Toe, Whipping Post, and a Makisupa birthday sandwich, while Set 02 has standout versions of Birds of a Feather and Run Like an Antelope> Suzy Greenberg that has an ‘I Wish’ jam. The energy on this night was off the charts and that’s why it lands at number 02.
The first night of 97’s two-night run offers one of the most elusive Phish treats, a 4 song second set. Set one shines with a fantastic, complete Down With Disease, and Split Open and Melt, besides the beautiful Bye Bye Foot. Set 02 they threw the rule book out the window, taking a 20+ minutes Cities into Good Times Bad Times that led to a long rotation jam before emerging with another Fishman rarity Rock a William before closing out with a top 05, the greatest Deer Creek, David Bowie.