|1988-09-12||Burlington, VT||9:10||Debut version. Original lyrics alter the song's now familiar structure.|
|1989-02-07||Burlington, VT||10:02||Reworked, "Esther" more closely assumes its now familiar lyrical and musical structure.|
|1989-04-14||Johnson, VT||9:32||Great early version which showcases the song's potential, featuring particularly strong playing from Page and great soloing from Trey.|
|1989-05-28||Hebron, NY||10:05||> from "Slave to the Traffic Light," this too is slow, patient, and well-played. Trey is particularly on point, deploying a series of "jazzy" chords before offering up a great solo.|
|1990-03-03||New York, NY||8:53||Great "Esther" with strong, full-band playing. Both Page and Trey standout amidst this version which features a unique, shuffling tempo.|
|1990-04-22||Colorado Springs, CO||9:06||A fun and playful intro yields to strong and spirited playing. Trey's solo is particularly melodic, and great full-band syncopation (highlighted by some notable percussion) rounds out this excellent version.|
|1990-10-04||Durham, NH||8:54||Great pacing and impressive musicianship. Trey modifies his tone and solos beutifully, with Page striking a fine balance.|
|1991-03-17||Aspen, CO||9:26||Cool intro. This leads to a really "chilled out" and relaxed vibe, with Trey's solo particularly nuanced, strikingkly hushed, and patient. Near reverent. Super Page and strong percussion lead to a fiery close.|
|1991-11-21||Somerville, MA||9:42||An especially thoughtful and busy intro sets the foundation for a strong version featuring dynamic playing and impressive modulation, with particularly strong contributions from Page and inventive soloing from Trey.|
|1992-04-18||Palo Alto, CA||8:59||Inspired from the jump, Trey works with Mike to inform a highly musical passage before breaking to solo with great intensity.|
|1992-08-17||San Juan Capistrano, CA||8:40||Awesome version with dynamic, full-band play, and, unsurprisingly, especially strong Trey.|
|1993-02-09||Rochester, NY||10:16||Signal-laden intro with fun stop / start playing. Trey even seems to sing with a sense of urgency, before great soloing gives way to thoughtful and inspired full-band playing.|
|1993-02-21||Atlanta, GA||10:43||Reggae style and other fun throughout the intro, as if to set the table for Page. And Page responds in kind, his playing strong throughout the version, both when soloing or providing fills for Trey.|
|1993-05-03||New Brunswick, NJ||9:06||Very pretty and delicate soloing. Impressive Page and a strong conclusion. Proof positive that "Esther" is not necessarily best reflected in the studio.|
|1993-08-26||Portland, OR||9:09||This "Esther" features a fun and different sort of intro - which invites a really cool and shuffling sort of tempo - before great soloing and flashes of improvisational flair hint at what would come in 1994.|
|1994-04-23||Atlanta, GA||9:12||Super musical, this version, which features "Caravan" teasing and wonderful Page, boasts incredibly strong soloing (Trey) and remarkable full-band play.|
|1994-05-29||Monterey, CA||9:01||Terrific Page. Outstanding Trey (whose solo departs from that sound characteristically "emotive" to become something more "musical"). Fish is the surpirse, here, though. Rim shots, extra floursihes and fills really work to bring this version to a fun and fiery close.|
|1994-06-13||Kansas City, KS||9:11||Totally on point, Trey moves the band though this version with verve and tenacity. Instead of modifying his tone, Trey dances through a series of notes, providing a solo not wholly unique (this is not the only of its kind), but perhaps the finest of its nature. A "heavy metal" outro of sorts befits this fine, "exploratory" "Esther."|
|1994-06-21||Cincinnati, OH||8:39||Mike mows everyone down on this bass-centric version. 1994 is a great year for "Esther," and here is one reason why. Page's and Trey's solos smoke, but it's Mike's powerful playing that distinguishes this version, not a song one normally associates with Mike.|
|1994-07-05||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada||9:43||Early "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" teasing is enhanced by great Trey, whose unique soloing features dynamic modulation before the band comes togehter for a strong conclusion and a great > into "DwD."|
|1995-06-16||Raleigh, NC||8:53||The watery sounds produced by Trey's use of the Leslie percoloate throughout this great version. Add fantastic Page and Fish, with his uncharacteristic rim shots, and an unusual and highly engaging concluding Trey solo, and it adds up to a stellar performance.|
|1996-08-12||Noblesville, IN||9:16||Exceptionally strong version featuring great solos and tight playing from all four musicians.|
|1996-08-16||Plattsburgh, NY||9:08||Classic "Clifford Ball" version featuring a totally relaxed vibe, glittering Page, and one of Trey's most memorable "Esther" solos.|
|1998-08-09||Virginia Beach, VA||9:19||This very pretty and subdued version features notably strong playing from Trey and Page.|
|2000-09-30||Las Vegas, NV||9:12||"She's dead. She died." A flub paves the way for both lyrical and musical improvisation, and "Esther" truly goes for a ride. A feeling of warmth and mirth, as opposed to anger or frustration, informs great, soulful jamming, which eventually breaks for a > into "Weekapaug Groove."|
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.