Feb. 7th, 1993: Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC

Fun fact: I’m currently a law student at George Washington University and see this building virtually every day.

Night 5 of Winter/Spring 1993 shows Phish making a quick detour south to Washington D.C. for the first Sunday night of tour, though they will quickly dash back up north for the next show. “Suzy Greenberg” gets the show underway, played at a venue on the campus of George Washington University, and the band sounds tight from the top. The solos are kept short. In a surprising move “Buried Alive” emerges out of “Suzy” after just being played late in the show yesterday evening. This is one of those tunes that could pop up anywhere in a setlist and sound well-placed and that holds true here as it keeps up the momentum from “Suzy.” They try to start up “Poor Heart” without a pause in the beat but Trey goofs the intro a bit. “It’s Ice” makes its first first-set appearance of the tour after showing up twice in the second earlier in the week. Like the Portland performance the ‘underwater’ segment is extended slightly and features a lot of fun Page flourishes. After a quick “Sparkle” we have the first narration of tour in a “Colonel Forbin’s > Mockingbird” segment. Trey’s narration in this one is particularly strange; he tells the audience that “we’re all becoming plants” that become pea pods which are then harvested by a farmer and everyone is then mashed together into pea soup that is fed to a baby which results in all of us floating through space…and eventually landing in Gamehendge at the end of the narration. It’s strange and trippy but fun.

“I Didn’t Know” once again features Fish on the trombone instead of the vacuum. “Split Open and Melt” makes its second appearance of tour near the end of the set and has a bit more meat on the bones than the Roseland rendition (though put emphasis on “a bit”). The jam starts by 4:45 and has great soloing by Trey from the get-go. It doesn’t stray far from the main progression of the song but has an excellent segment of repetitive riffing around 6:30. A standard “Fee” follows and brings us to the set-closing “Runaway Jim,” which seems sort of an odd placement for “Jim.” The song doesn’t stray far from its normal course but the segment of Trey’s solo from 5:30-6:00 is really amazing, he suddenly kicks into overdrive and launches into some really great trilling that leads to a strong peak. Overall this is a fairly pedestrian set for the tour so far, with the weird (but entertaining) Forbin’s narration, the “Split” jam, and the fiery ending of “Jim” being the only segments that really stand out, but all of the songs are played well with only minor amounts of flubbing throughout.

t7m91od

As the band takes the stage for set 2, Trey chats with the crowd and lets us know that tonight is a “very special night” before introducing special guest Chelsea Clinton. The laughs continue as Fishman starts up “Llama” and Trey realizes that his amplifier isn’t turned on. After the botched beginning they play “Llama” proper and follow it with an early breather,”Fast Enough for You.” After “Fast Enough” comes the largest bust-out since “Punch You in the Eye” at the Roseland; “My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own” makes its first appearance in eighty-three shows. The gap between performances is the most notable thing about “My Mind,” which I think is a fun little tune but not much more.

After a somewhat unremarkable opening to the set we get two heavy hitters in a row: “Reba” and “Tweezer.” An impromptu vocal jam begins at 2:00 in “Reba”, replacing the “Bag it/Tag it” lyrics. The vocal zaniness ends with Fishman yelling “BAGUETTE!” I’m happy that pun was made and exists on recording. I think Fishman should starting yelling shit into his microphone again. The “Reba” jam takes an unusual turn at 9:00, breaking down into a quasi-ambient passage that is somewhat reminiscent of the ‘bliss’ section of YEM. It starts Page-led but eventually Trey grabs hold and builds momentum as Fishman picks back up the beat. This really cool segment peaks and returns to a more standard-sounding “Reba” jam at 10:30. It only goes for another minute after that so it’s a relatively quick “Reba,” but that middle segment is really unique and interesting, so this is definitely a must-hear for “Reba” fans.

Unlike “Reba,” I don’t have much to note about the following “Tweezer” except that the last couple minutes of the jam are a great peak, though the rest of the jam leading up to it didn’t strike me as super interesting. Instead of finding their way back to the composed ending of “Tweezer” by playing the main riff again like they have at the last few performances the band never returns to the refrain tonight, though it does fade out in a similar fashion to the composed ending. The end of “Tweezer” segues seamlessly into the “Big Ball Jam” of the night. A quick “Glide” brings us to “You Enjoy Myself,” probably my favorite performance of the song this tour. Unlike the last rendition which I felt cut some of the awesome segments short everything feels like its given the proper amount of time at this show. Perhaps inspired by the ambient jamming in “Reba” the ‘bliss’ segment at the beginning of this YEM is great and has nice melodies from Mike on bass. Page kills his solo following the lyrics, per usual, but Trey is able to give Page a run for his money and delivers some fireworks as well. There’s nothing particularly unique about this YEM but it’s nice and long and has some great solos.

cli2qoi

Lisner Auditorium

For whatever reason there’s no Henrietta segment tonight, at least not one with “Hold Your Head Up” (I guess you could count the silly cover of “If I Only Had a Brain” as close enough in spirit). “Coil” and “Tweezer Reprise” round out the end of the set. A triple encore starts with “Amazing Grace,” once again performed without amplification. Tonight’s tape is perhaps the worst recording of “Amazing Grace” yet on this tour. Two oddball Mike songs send the crowd home: “Contact” and “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.” I’ll just say that ending a show with BBFCFM is perhaps a weird vibe to end a show on.

I had some trouble choosing between a 3 or a 4 for this show but I ended up going with a 3 because I think the show has a weird flow. Both the first and second set sets start off in a rather uneventful fashion but eventually develop into having strong highlights in between some otherwise unremarkable segments. The Forbin’s narration is particularly weird, “Split Open,” “Runaway Jim,” and “Tweezer” have serious sparks of improvisation, and “Reba” and “You Enjoy Myself” are the best performances of the songs so far this tour. But these highlights are concentrated at the end of the first set and the middle of the second, and I don’t have much to recommend about the rest of the show. Some of the song placements are also a little odd (“Fast Enough,” BBFCM). I can understand the argument for rating this show higher, for the highlights are quite high, but a 3 rings a little truer to how I feel. The 8th is the first day off for the band after 5 nights of playing in a row, so I’ll see you again on the 9th!

  • Show rating: 3/5
  • Highlights: “Reba,” “You Enjoy Myself”

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 75 mins.
  • Second set length: 100 mins.
  • This was the second and last time Phish performed at the Lisner Auditorium.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own,” returning after an eighty-three show absence (5/6/92).
  • The best represented studio album is A Picture of Nectar (5 songs).
Advertisements
This entry was posted in 1993, Review, Winter/Spring 1993 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s