Florida tour continues as we hit our seventh straight night of shows in a row. Phish is clearly unknown in Florida at this point as this is the second bar in a row they have played. Perhaps a reflection of this, the first four songs of the night are (relatively) short and concise. “Golgi” opens up the affair, and oof, this is easily the worst sounding recording of the tour to date. A pair of Rift tunes follows: “My Friend, My Friend > Rift.” Mike has mentioned recently on Twitter that “Rift” is one of the hardest songs in their catalog for him to play, but everything has sounded good so far. The recording has stabilized a bit but it still has a persistent buzz that is annoying. It’s listenable, but barely. “Bouncing” cools things off before a heavy-hitting pairing of “Split Open and Melt” and “Reba.”
This “Split” jam has good energy from the start, around 4:35, and lots of metal-esque palm-muted riffing from Trey. There’s also a cool rave-up during the ending of the song around 9:35. Altogether it’s one of the more notable performances of this song on this tour and some small steps in the right direction for “Split.” “Reba” is a standard-great performance that follows its usual trajectory, the peak from 10:00 through the end of the jam at 11:10 is certainly glorious though and probably the highlight of the set. “Lawn Boy” gives Page a chance to croon at the audience, while “Chalk Dust” reminds everyone that yes, this is a rock show. “The Wedge” makes its first appearance in over a week and I’m still digging this arrangement, but apparently the band isn’t because we won’t see it again for about a month. “Paul and Silas” brings us to the set-closing “Antelope.” This “Antelope” has a particularly wild peak around 6:15 with Trey shredding “machine-gun” style (he’s been having a good night). Like the last performance there’s some neat mini-jamming after the song’s initial peak, including a section around 8:00 where they drop out entirely, “Divided Sky”-style, to the crowd’s approval. It’s a strong end to a solid first set.
“Axilla” and “My Sweet One” open set 2, which together make for quite the pair of high-energy tunes. We then get another second set “Stash!” Placing this song in the second set on Sunday night let it open up a bit more than normal so let’s hope for more of the same this go-around. The jam starts at 5:00 and Trey begins some haunting descending lines at 7:30 which leads to a more darker and moodier jam than normal by 8:30. There’s a great minute of tense, atmospheric playing before the band breaks for the light and lands a smooth segue into “The Lizards.” It’s another great “Stash” jam. I’m glad they’re starting to experiment with this song more; not doing so was a disappointment I had with many of its earlier outings this tour. After “The Lizards” we hear “Punch You in the Eye” and “All Things Reconsidered”; all of the compositions have sounded good so far this set.
An opportunity to go for a ride appears again with “Mike’s Song,” and like “Stash,” this is a better-than-average “Mike’s” for the tour. There’s more great shredding from Trey on the guitar shortly after 4:00 that leads into the end chords at 4:40. They use the chords to segue into the ‘F-key’ jam at 5:00 which leads into a solid minute of more metal-esque grooves that are fun to headbang to if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s a mini stop-start sequence after 6:00 that heads back to the end chords for a final time at 6:45. This is a fluid and good “Mike’s” jam! Unfortunately tape woes strike again and the cut between “Mike’s” and “Hydrogen” is a bit jarring. “Nellie Kane,” which we heard soundchecked last night, makes its debut performance shortly after the beginning of the “Weekapaug” jam. The segue into it is very slick and well-done and the song sounds good at its first outing. They then slide seamlessly back into the “Weekapaug” jam for a couple more fun minutes, and then slip right into “Hold Your Head Up” without missing a beat. This sequence of songs doesn’t go particularly deep at any point, but if you’re into the band seamlessly moving between disparate themes this is a fun section of the show to hear.
Tonight’s Henrietta sequence features a stirring rendition of “Terrapin.” Fishman introduces his Electrolux vacuum to the “newcomers” in the audience before the song. “Possum” closes the set. Trey has been having a good night from the very beginning of the show and this comes through in his ripping “Possum” solo. “Sweet Adeline” takes the encore, a-capella slot (somewhat surprisingly given “Amazing Grace’s” monopoly on the slot), and of course, we can’t have a night go by without a performance of “Poor Heart,” so that tour-stalwart ends the night.
Once you get past the less-than-quality recording of this show that circulates, which is worst during the set openers (“Golgi,” “My Friend,” and “Axilla”) and transitioning between different sources (see the cut between “Mike’s” and “Hydrogen”), this is a pretty great show for the time. All of the compositions are more-or-less nailed and I didn’t really hear any flubs. Trey is on and delivers a lot of shredding solos, and between the “Reba,” “Antelope,” and “Stash” there’s quite a bit of quality improvisation. There’s even a bit of a segue madness around the debut of a great bluegrass tune “Nellie Kane.” All of this makes for a show that’s easy to recommend. The band gets a well-deserved night off tomorrow, so I’ll talk to you again in a couple days.
- Show rating: 4/5
- Highlights: “Reba,” “Run Like an Antelope,” “Stash -> The Lizards,” “Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove -> Nellie Kane -> Weekapaug Groove -> Hold Your Head Up”
- Phish.net setlist
- Debuts: “Nellie Kane” (Hot Rize)
- First set length: 75 mins.
- Second set length: 85 mins.
- This is the first time Phish performed at the Edge Night Club. They will return on 4/30/94.
- The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “The Wedge,” returning after a seven show absence (2/15/93).
- The best represented studio album is Lawn Boy (6 songs).