Soundcheck: Funky Bitch > Dog Log/Funky Bitch mashup, Ginseng Sullivan, work on The Old Home Place, The Old Home Place, work on The Star-Spangled Banner, The Star-Spangled Banner

SET 1: Poor Heart > Down with Disease, Guyute, Gumbo, Rift, Free, The Old Home Place, David Bowie, Lawn Boy > Sparkle > Frankenstein

SET 2: La Grange > Runaway Jim -> The Vibration of Life -> Kung -> Catapult, Axilla[1] > Harry Hood[2] > Suzy Greenberg[3], Amazing Grace

ENCORE: We're an American Band[4]

Page teased Maple Leaf Rag at the end of Gumbo. The Vibration of Life was announced by Trey as “Written by God” and was performed for the first time since November 30, 1994 (148 shows). At the end of Axilla, the light crew also received a bizarre tribute and Leigh Fordham, a member of Phish's light crew, was mentioned several times. The Hood lyrics were subsequently altered slightly to include a bit about Leigh Fordham. Suzy Greenberg included Leigh Fordham references as well as La Grange and Axilla teases. We’re An American Band made its Phish debut in the city referenced in its lyrics. The Dog Log/Funky Bitch mashup was the music of Funky Bitch with Trey singing Dog Log and Page singing Funky Bitch.
Jam Chart Versions
La Grange and Axilla teases in Suzy Greenberg, Maple Leaf Rag tease in Gumbo
Debut Years (Average: 1990)

This show was part of the "1996 Fall Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

There always seems to be a stigma with reviews of Phish shows, that someone's review or opinion is almost always wrong about how good or bad a given show is. More recently since the return of Phish, shows have either been tagged with the label of "epic", "best show ever", or "worst show ever". Rarely in reviews does one read about a show that was simply solid, with high energy and great fun all the way around. A show where the setlist had good balance, the sound of the venue was excellent, and the band and the crowd were in high spirit. A show where no particular song crumbled, but a couple stood out as inspirational and emotional markers of the evening. And more importantly, a show you were so glad to be at or kicking the dirt because you were not. A show like the one that took place during the late fall of 1996 in the desolate tiny town in the Great Plains known as Omaha, NE. My intention of this review is not to hype up an underrated show to acclaim some certain status, but to intrigue fans to go and download or trade for this show to enhance their listening pleasure.
One reason this show might be masked of its greatness could be due to what went down at the infamous "M" show on the night before in St. Louis. We drove from Bowling Green, KY only to hit St. Louis. After such a great show, my girlfriend (now wife), along with two roommates were standing in the Kiel Center lot confused as to whether we wanted to drive back home on such a solid note, or to utilize our post-show high energy to hoof it to Omaha. We decided to at least head towards Nebraska and decide by the time we got to Kansas City. We figured if not, then hang out in Kansas City and go home on the following day. So we arrived in Kansas City and slept on our decision.
Naturally, we decided to finish the trip right and head to Omaha. We didn't know what to expect so we ordered four Will Call tickets to be safe from a sold-out show. When we arrived in Omaha, the weather was biting cold with freezing rain. As we drove past the venue the marquee read, "Tonight Phish" and just below, "Sold Out". After a swipe of the brow and "thank goodness we called earlier" heard throughout the car, we proceeded to the lot, which was cold, wet, slippery with ice, and quiet as everyone wanted in when the doors opened.
Inside, the venue was rather small (compared to most Fall 1996 venues and thereafter). The venue had a nice personal feeling to it because of its size. Both the floor and the seats were general admission so we decided to park it right behind the stage in the front row by Page...literally. Sitting in my seat, I would rest my feet on the stage floor, as Page was not too far in front of my seat. The sound and lights from our location were excellent. A nice feature of sitting behind the stage is having a similar view as the band. Our expectations for the show were low (because of the "M" show), but we were still excited to be in such a small venue in the middle of nowhere seeing Phish.
After absorbing the first set's energy by finally getting to sit down during set break, the four of us knew we drove all the way here for a reason and that reason was firmly established during the second set. The “La Grange” opener set a nice opening tone with another reminder that we were in Omaha, getting down to some ZZ Top style country rock and roll. None of us had seen Phish do this number before (and have yet to see it since), which increased our excitement. Following “La Grange” was a dark “Runaway Jim”. As this jam vehicle launched away, there was this immediate feeling of intensity and indifference that eventually led to a deconstructed breakdown into this hum, which began to overtake the sound.
At first it was annoying and I think many were waiting for Paul to fix a feedback problem. But then Trey began to narrate and everyone got interested real fast as he described, defined, and gave us all, the “Vibration of Life”! After Trey announced that the “VOL” had been written by God, the vibe slid right into “Kung”. With this only being my second “Kung” since my first show (10/29/95), I was very excited.
Many of the jams so far in the evening were taking on a dark connotation, with heavy use of red, yellow, and white lights from Kuroda. Thus “Kung” fit right into the theme. Soon after the chant, the odd calypso beat of “Catapult” sprung in as Mike performed gypsy-like dancing at the front of stage while waving a purple handkerchief. To break from this odd but rather amusing part of the show, the band jumped right into “Axilla”.
This heavy rocker immediately built the energy back up before taking on more of the dark style of jamming and chanting during the slow outro. The chant involved some shouting between Trey and Fish involving Leigh Fordham. A creepy “Axilla” nonetheless and well worth a listen. What came next would be what I would consider one of the most energetic, emotional, and inspirational moments out of my seventy seven show Phishtory, and that moment occurred during “Hood”. During the "Harry" portion of the song, the band altered the lyrics referencing Leigh Fordham, once again adding to the mystery of what the story behind Leigh Fordham was all about. As we all know, Leigh popped up again in the lyrics to “46 Days”.
Anyway, this “Hood” could very well be the top version that I have heard and seen. All “Hood”s are a blessing, in my opinion, but during this particular version, Trey held this one note for just over four minutes while pumping his arm and fist in the air. He motioned to the crowd as if he were saying, "Come on, feel this moment, this it, this is why you are here and all of us in this room are connected on the same level of musical euphoria". And it worked, as the crowd roared throughout this everlasting moment, and Trey broke out of the note to finish the jam. If you are looking for a touching goosebump type of song, get this show for this version of “Hood”.
My buddy was really hoping for a “Harpua” sometime during the show and especially loves the line "we're coming to your town, we'll help you party down". Well, he was at least satisfied when they encored with the debut of “We're An American Band”, where the same line appears all throughout the song. This song fittingly has Omaha references and maintained a high energy send-off.
The show ended a bit early (between 10:30-10:45pm) due to a heavy ice storm that was taking place during the show. We were slipping and sliding to our car only to find over an inch of ice on the windshield. It was a hectic drive, but the eighteen hour drive home in snow and ice was well worth it. From the Fall of 1995 to the Summer of 2003, this show stands out as one of the most fun and solid shows that I have attended, and I highly recommend it to anyone who does not have it in his collection.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by TheEmu

TheEmu In order to fully appreciate this show, you should really check out the many videos available on YouTube. The first set is solid, nothing too amazing, unless you were under the influence of mescaline and practically ran for your life when they played David Bowie. But I digress...

As Trey makes mention during the second set, it was an all GA show with no seats on the floor. The Civic Auditorium (may it rest in peace) was PACKED, and I had to get out of the crush, so I made my way to the seats behind the stage, where I had a good view of the second set insanity.

A solid La Grange opener gives way to a Runaway Jim that meanders for a bit before entering some darker territory. It's at this point that Trey steps up and says he's going to give us the Vibration of Life, so you can feel it in your ass and in your solar plexus and be recharged for the rest of the evening. They then proceeded to Kung the Omaha crowd before Trey headed for his mini drum kit for a bizarre jam that turned into Catapult. Mike added some babushka-waiving antics that must have had many people asking "WTF?" This insanity is followed by a ripping Axilla I with spooky Axilla II ending and hilarious shouting about Kuroda, Leigh Fordam, and a trip to Cuba. Fishman carries the Leigh Fordham craziness right into a now-famous Harry Hood that contains a full three minute sustained note from Trey which sees him playing the crowd like puppets. Fantastic. Wrap it up with Suzy, Grace, and the first American Band encore as a shout out to my home town, and it was really a memorable night. If you are looking for amazing jams, this might not blow you away, but it was tremendously fun to be at and a fun listen, even on tape. Part of me wants to say 5 stars, but it was more about a good time than great music, so I'll stick with 4.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by Tbone

Tbone This journey started at our house in Denver during a college party that we were hosting. I had just caught my first two shows having seen Jazz Fest show and 2nd night a Red Rocks. My buddy comes up to me pretty damn close to midnight and says "I just got two tickets to see Phish in Omaha and we are about to take off. Why don't you come with?" After finalizing some of the logistics and discovering that one our friends Meagan would provide the car and that our friend Anne was from Omaha and that we had a place to sleep we hit the road.

One of the nastiest road trips you could imagine. I just remember my buddy Mark and I switching off driving and it was a white knuckle drive as ice was everywhere. When the sun came up in the morning we could see jackknifed trucks all over the interstate. Arrived to Omaha, took a nap and woke up for Phish.

Man was I blown away by the entire night. I think part of it was seeing them in what was a small venue to me. The first set was solid but I felt a good vibe and then when they came out for the second set I had my mind blown away. First opening with La Grange which is my favorite ZZ Top song by far and I had no idea back then that they covered it. Then things got crazy as Runaway Jim led to some insanity. I will skip ahead to something I will never forget and that is this version of Harry Hood. I remember Trey egging us on while holding that note, man that's perhaps the biggest sustained smile I have experienced and damn near brought some tears to my eyes (in a good way). Beautiful song and what an experience it was, I have seen plenty of Harry Hoods since but that one will always remain special and my favorite version witnessed. The We're an American Band encore was great too, the crowd erupted during the Omaha line.

The drive back was a piece of cake and we all had big smiles the entire time. That was the only spur of the moment Phish trip I ever took and would definitely do it again if I had the chance.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw This show rules. Anyone who only listens to Clifford Ball, Deer Creek, & Halloween '96 is really missing out.

As with most versions from '96 Trey nails his DWD solo. I'm not a big fan of Guyute, in fact there are likely no Phish songs I am more burnt out on. But I actually can get behind this version it's really great. Gumbo has a nice Page Synth solo that I can't remember hearing in any other versions. Free is powerful and has a very good mid section. Bowie is a little mellow in the middle but is very strong.

La Grange is a great bustout and a really weird song to kick off S2 but it works well. Jim moves into a nice pulsing jam and then moves into some really heavy funk that gets cut off. I'm torn because I really would have liked to hear that jam go a little further. However the ensuing bizarre trio of Vibration of Life/Kung/Catapult is also pretty damn cool. It also includes some really cool percussion and effects. Axilla starts the weird gibberish banter for the night that keeps going on. Hood is pretty great. Trey holds a note for what must be 3-4 minutes. It's cool but becomes increasingly obnoxious (which is probably what he was going for). Suzy is great in that it has excellent teases of La Grange and Axilla that mesh very well with the key Suzy is played in.

The debut of We're an American Band is fantastic and a really great way to end this show.

Really great show.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by wordsisailupon

wordsisailupon Wow, another hot Fall 1996 show from the Mid-West. This second set was a bit wild, especially the Vibration->Kung->Catapult and huge tribute to the lighting crew during Axilla/Suzy. You can feel good about Hood in this show and We're an American Band was a special treat. I never really knew who Leigh Fordham was (46 days)until hearing this show and reading the show notes. It is all tied together in the world of Phish.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by westbrook

westbrook The band was clearly having a lot of fun on this night with all the shenanigans in the second set but that's not the only selling point of this show. The Runaway Jim and Hood in the second set are the most noteworthy jams but a ripping Disease, Guyute, and strong Bowie make the first set a fine listen as well. This one gets 4 stars from me.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by Divided_Stash

Divided_Stash Poor Heart: fun opener choice

Down With Disease: high energy awesome type 1 version

Guyute: played perfectly

Gumbo: The effect Page uses for his solo in the middle is cool. Also a maple leaf rag tease in the piano solo

Rift: lightning fast, almost too fast

Free: typical Trey percussion early version

The Old Home Place: bluegrass time

David Bowie: long and weird intro, just how I like 'em. There’s bit of unusual jamming early but it quickly returns for a tremendous build and peak, with another little section of improvisation later on

Lawn Boy: chairman of the boards and Trey on percussion again

Sparkle: standard

Frankenstein: great set one closer

La Grange: 56 show gap. Low Mike to start the second set

Runaway Jim: first type 2 jam of the show. After most of a normal Jim build they find an exit into a nice spacey funk groove. After a while Trey asks Fish to stop playing so they can do

The Vibration Of Life: 148 show bustout

Kung: 55 show gap

Catapult: Trey switches to percussion and Mike dances with a scarf. Peak Phish weirdness, and it’s awesome

Axilla: part 2 ending. Don’t shine that thing in my face man

Harry Hood: contains the longest note by Trey ever

Suzy Greenburg: amazing La Grange and Axilla teases

Amazing Grace: acapella to end the set

We’re An American Band: appealing to the people of Omaha with this song to close the show

Awesome stuff! The first set flows nicely with a fantastic jam in Bowie, and the antics in the second set are hilarious and one of my favorite Phish moments. This is an 8/10 show. Highlights are Bowie, Jim, Vibration, Kung, Catapult, and Hood
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Poor Heart: Great energy coming out of the gate. You can tell Fishman is in high spirits based on him improv vocals >

Down with Disease: Well played, lots of fire.

Guyute: Nailed. Sounds great.

Gumbo: Maple Leaf Rag tease by Scott Joplin @ 5:25 through the end. Solid Gumbo, Page rules.

Rift: Standard.

Free: Standard.

The Old Home Place: Tad bit sloppy.

David Bowie: Trippy intro with loops and some note bending that is pretty cool. This is a rocking version with a fiery climax. Would relisten!

Lawn Boy: Standard >

Sparkle: Standard >

Frankenstein: Great set closer. They must have taken notice as the next three times they played it – they did so with the same placement: 11.29, 12.6, 12.28.

SET 2: La Grange: Solid bust out – LTP 12.29.95 – 56 show gap. Just a bit sloppy at the beginning but they more than make up for it as they burn the house down with this one and the stage is now set for what will be an outrageous set II. >

Runaway Jim: Huge clap along in that interlude after the 'Cause he took all the money that I saved for rent – makes sense as Chicago is not that far from Omaha – so all the Chicago clappers must have made the trip. 9:59 here comes that funk that has been creeping into sets ever since Remain in Light and would become so prominent the following year. Things get decidedly darker after the funk jam. Hold on to your hats, things are about to get very weird… ->

The Vibration of Life: Performed for the first time since November 30, 1994 (148 shows). Trey “This was written by God” -> Kung -> Catapult:

Axilla LOLs are a plenty with all the yelling at Kuroda and Leigh Fordham and Fish and Trey saying they want to go on a trip to Cuba with Leigh: > Harry Hood: All-timer! The antics (Leigh!!!Fordham!!!). THE Note! The way they rip it up after that. Crazy good Hood. Check out the YouTube’s to see how incredibly pumped Trey is. >

Suzy Greenberg: La Grange tease at 1:09 – Axilla tease at 2:37 – this is a fun Suzy.

Amazing Grace

ENCORE: We're an American Band: Debut. Face melter and obviously perfect for this town/venue.

Summary: The rewarded those that made the extremely dangerous drive to this show. Weather conditions were incredibly bad. Lots of altercations with cops on horseback outside before the show. Replay value: Bowie, Runaway Jim, and Hood. The whole show is ridiculous – the ‘standard’ stuff is on point and tight. The one and only time they played Omaha, they destroyed it. Phish loves crushing towns in the Midwest and this evening was no different.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by BlazedOn

BlazedOn my first show. bitter cold and icy outside. cops on horses checking out the scene but seemed like everyone just wanted to get inside. all GA and full but comfortable, and we were Mike side seats. Guyute and all of set 2, which was a full on rock show, were standouts for me. the Band seemed to have a blast.
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