Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2011.
While it wasn’t the biggest bustout at Super Ball IX, the return of “Scents and Subtle Sounds” with intro was definitely a highlight for many people including yours truly. The song, which debuted during the 2003 summer tour opener in Phoenix would later appear on 2004’s Undermind. “Scents” would go on to make 7 appearances during 2003 and showed a lot of promise as a jam vehicle. “Scents” returned in 2004, but the band ditch the intro for reasons unknown. The song has only made two appearances during 3.0, and only one with an intro. Let’s take a look at our top 5 versions of our blogs namesake, Scents and Subtle Sounds.
5. 7/19/03 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
You may remember this show for “The Leo Trio”, but it also features a stellar version of “Scents”. The band never really leaves the structure of the song, but Trey’s playing is on point during this performance. He uses a lot of quick hitting repetitive riffs that really flow well. The band reprise the vocals a little quieter than usual, but it sounds gorgeous. Definitely a solid version.
4. 8/12/04 Tweeter Center at the Waterfront, Camden, NJ
I think it’s pretty fitting that this is the darkest version of “Scents” ever played. This was the last shed show of the 2004 summer tour before the disaster known as Coventry. This jam for the most part lacks the spacey open feeling jam that is heard in most versions. But this definitely can be attributed to the state of the band at the time. If you like dark jams, then you will want to listen to give this one a listen.
3. 7/2/11 Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
I am not one for chasing songs at Phish shows, but I will admit that I have been hoping the band would bring back “Scents” with the intro. I mean why not? When Trey started the intro, it took me a second to process what was going on, but I had a huge smile on my face. The jam has great flow to it and definitely has a Harry Hood feel to it.
2. 7/23/03 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Noblesville, IN
This version see’s the song opening a show for the first time. The band also stretches the jam out for the first time with great results. The jam starts around the 7:30 mark with Fishman layering some nice beats over Trey’s soloing. The band slows the jam down around the 12 min mark with Trey and Mike locking up in a nice groove. The jam heads toward type II territory at the 19:45 mark before the song segues beautifully into “Theme from the Bottom”.
Check out our favorite version after the break.
1. 7/30/03 Tweet Center at the Waterfront, Camden, NJ
This show is notable for many reasons (“Secret Smile” encore), but this is hands down the best version of “Scents” played to date. The jam starts around 6:30 mark and the band doesn’t waste much time before bringing the jam to type II territory. The jam picks up steam at the 21 min mark, but at about the 25 min mark the jam starts to get dirty with an all out band assault. The is a must listen after the 25 min mark.
What is your favorite versions of “Scents and Subtle Sounds”? Leave us a comment and let us know.