Harry Hood is definitive of the type of song structure Phish became known for in the early days. The song meanders through a number of distinctive sections beginning with a simple minor key reggae groove, which sets the tone with a darker color. From there, the song weaves in and out of a catchy chord progression, moves to a powerfully haunting lead riff and resolves with a long improvisational section based on an uplifting major key progression. The song concludes with a hair-raising crescendo and the celebratory mantra, “I feel good!”
Over the course of Hidden Track’s lifespan, we’ve taken a couple different stabs at making a list of favorite Hoods, and it felt like a good time for the next iteration. It will remain a perpetual work in progress as the band plays new renditions and old gems get discovered, but nevertheless, it’s coming along. This time, we have a meticulously organized, iPod-ready download for your enjoyment as well as a stream at the bottom of the post. While these are mostly audience recordings or soundboards that are not part of official releases, but we tried to normalize the levels and made sure the volume is plenty loud. Without further ado, here is the list…
#1) 1993-12-31 – The Centrum, Worcester, MA – It’s only fitting: arguably the best show of them all should have the best Hood. Ten years from the start of their career, Phish held nothing back and delivered a handful of all-time favorites. The improvisational portion of this New Years Eve Hood perfectly exemplifies the climb from the tranquil beginning to the towering climax. This is my desert island song.
#2) 1994-11-12 – MAC Center, Kent State University – Kent, OH – This gem, like so many others from the era, exhibits very tight improvisation across the board and Trey forgoing his Languedoc in favor of an M-16.
- DOWNLOAD: Fifteen Favorite Harry Hoods
READ ON for 13 more outstanding Hoods and to stream them…
#3) 1994-10-20 – Mahaffey Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL – There must be something in the water down in Florida that makes the band want to let Harry loose. Just three days before the famous A Live One version, the band unleashed this mammoth. In fact, scanning through the Almanac, one reviewer actually jokes that they think Phish mixed up their notes, because they picked the wrong Florida Harry Hood to include on the official release. If you’ve ever heard the Eric Clapton quote, “Playing a guitar solo is the art of falling down and landing on your feet,” well, here is the perfect example. Listen to what happens after Trey hits a brown note around the 10:30 minute mark.
#4) 1993-02-04 – Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence, RI – There’s a bit of a theme here. Throughout ‘93, the best Hoods often had a common element, which is that Trey would create short melody lines or themes within the improvisation, which he’d then hammer and repeat throughout the jam, ultimately using them to build the tension and rocket into the high notes for the climax. This is a great example of that, screaming with energy.
#5) 1994-10-23 – Band Shell, University of Florida – Gainesville, FL – This is the probably the most widely known Hood ever played (for good reason) as it was featured on the live release, A Live One. This Hood illustrates the “build up” for Harry Hood, which the song is so adored. Trey also makes some interesting use of feedback and distortion to build tension before releasing into his final ascent.
#6) 1994-07-16 – Summer Stage at Sugarbush – North Fayston, VT – Despite a tragic accident involving a cat and a comet, Phish delivered an extremely memorable hometown show at the ’94 summer tour closer in VT, amongst which the Harry Hood stood out as a clear highlight.
#7) 1995-12-30 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – The 12/30/95 Hood is a good stellar example from this period with Trey employing a Flanger effect in the chord section, providing a nice contrast to the crunchy distortion leading up to the Thank You Mr. Minor verse. The first minutes of the jam are clean and warm with the crowd driving the band by clapping perfectly in time and Page stepping out more than most Hood jams. Once Trey catches on to the repetitive melody around the 10:30 mark, it’s all over.
#8) 1993-03-31 – Roseland Theater – Portland, OR – Kicking it off with Mike teasing the Pink Panther Theme in the intro, and Trey summoning up the Simpsons, it’s clear that this ‘93 version is a treat from the get go.
#9) 1997-08-17 Great Went, Limestone, ME – This oft cited “best ever” Hood is an epic that gets its notoriety from the introduction of the glowstick war, which brought out one of the great crowd roars in Phish history, and in turn brought out the best in the band.
#10) 2000-06-22 – Amsouth Amphitheatre – Antioch, TN – This more modern Harry Hood came in the form of a Dog Faced Boy sandwich with the tail end of the jam bringing some of Nashville’s finest pickers onstage for a towering bluegrass-tinged version, including Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury and Robbie McCoury.
#11) 1996-11-02 – Coral Sky Amphitheater – West Palm Beach , FL – The Coral Sky version is very popular with fans of the full build up from trickling improvisation to complete crescendo.
#12) 1995-07-01 – Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts – Mansfield, MA – The energy picks up early in this version and never lets up. This is just a really strong version from start to finish.
#13) 1992-04-18 Wilbur Field, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA – It’s not the tightest or most raging Hood out there, but the incorporation of the Linus & Lucy theme makes this Hood a classic.
#14) 2010-12-28 – DCU Center – Worcester, MA – By far the best Harry Hood in the 3.0 era. While the very end of the song lacks a real blast off, the funky staccato interplay in the middle of the song is breathtaking.
#15) 1998-12-31 – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – This is a unique rendition in that the intro portion stands out for its improvisation. In fact, the end jam doesn’t even begin until over 13 minutes into the song. Also, notice the eerie delay effects around the 7 minute mark.