Tonight is the 20th show of tour! That means we’re only about a third of the way through Winter/Spring ’93. We kick off the show with a concise reading of “Runaway Jim” that is well-played and shows that Trey came prepared tonight. The following “Foam” sounds good as well. “Fee” provides a pleasant interlude before the band drops into “Split Open and Melt.” They have shown a willingness to experiment a bit more with this song in recent outings but this one is played close to the book. There’s some good riffing from Trey and a solid peak but it’s a standard performance of the song. “Fluffhead” anchors the middle of the set and, like all of the compositions so far, sounds good.
“Llama” is its usual, ripping self and “Horn” provides a nice mid-set breather before the band drops into another compositional heavyweight, “Divided Sky.” This is at least the second time this tour that “Fluffhead” and “Divided Sky” have been paired in the same set. As I feel they occupy similar roles in setlists I would spread them across shows, but perhaps playing one puts the band in the mood to play the other? Who knows? Either way, like “Fluffhead,” it’s a good reading of the song. The solo at the end is particularly thrilling and features some nice trilling from Trey. There are few songs I enjoy as much in the first set as a well-played “Divided Sky,” so I would name this as the highlight of the set. “I Didn’t Know” makes a consecutive appearance and features “Fish monster man” on a “Madonna sister washboard,” a reference I don’t fully understand. Fishman does actually play a washboard though. “Cavern” wraps up another solid first set. Hopefully this first set doesn’t overshadow the second half.
Set 2 starts with “Loving Cup.” I still really like this song taking the opening slot: it’s high energy and a fun sing-along to get the crowd going. A quick “Paul and Silas” gives way to “Tweezer.” Ever since hearing 10/20/13 I’ve enjoyed hearing “Silas” as a prologue to “Tweezer,” so this combo gets a thumbs-up from me. The “Tweezer” jam is a relatively straightforward, Trey-led build-up to a peak. After this peak the jam gets more dissonant at 7:25 which leads to a more subdued segment at 8:00 filled with cool riffing from Trey. This works itself into the composed ending of the song shortly after 10:00. This is a relatively standard “Tweezer” for the time but it’s still a solid listening. “Glide” is “Glide,” and leads to a concise “Chalk Dust” that serves as a nice mid-set rev-up.
“You Enjoy Myself” makes its second consecutive appearance. Page’s solo is more memorable than last night and has a nice pizzaz to it. Trey breaks it down a bit at the beginning of his solo but quickly brings the energy back up by 12:20. The bass and drums segment is brief and the vocal jam starts by 15:00. This vocal jam only goes for a couple minutes before they start chanting “Pete Shaw!” repeatedly, effectively ending the song. I have no idea who that is. For the second night in a row I feel “YEM” is played in a slightly pedestrian fashion; all of the solos (except for perhaps Page’s) feel brief. Tonight’s Henrietta segment features Fishman introducing “Lengthwise” as “off our new album!” and “a very sad song.” “Squirming Coil” and a typically high-energy “Tweeprise” end the set. “Bold as Love” is the biggest bust-out of the night and the first song of the encore, not appearing since Bloomsburg PA. “Sweet Adeline” sends the crowd home, and seems to be alternating with “Amazing Grace” at this point for the “show ending a-capella tune” slot.
I could understand someone giving this show a 4 (even a 5 if it was their first show), as the band is absolutely killing their compositions at this point and everything sounds on-point. The night is high-energy throughout and has a good setlist construction. That being said, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed that “Split Open,” “Tweezer,” and “YEM” all fail to distinguish themselves from earlier performances this tour. “YEM” in particular seems to have taken a step down the last couple nights with some very brief solo segments. Nevertheless the tight playing is encouraging, and sure to spark some improvisational creativity in the nights to come. I’ll be back tomorrow night for the last night of the Florida run.
- Show rating: 3/5
- Highlights: “Divided Sky,” “Tweezer”
- Phish.net setlist
- First set length: 75 mins.
- Second set length: 87 mins.
- This is the first time Phish performed at the Ritz Theatre. They will return on 8/2/93.
- The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Bold as Love,” returning after a twelve show absence (2/11/93).
- The best represented studio album is A Picture of Nectar (6 songs).