Tonight’s show brings us back to New York for one more show in the northeast. This show is also the first of the tour available for download on LivePhish. “Llama” begins the evening, and is slightly elongated. Trey takes the time to experiment some with his solo in the song. An early “Bouncing Around the Room” is followed by “Poor Heart,” rounding out a trio of short openers. “Stash” is up next, and breaks this show wide open. The jam begins at 5:00, and is initially led by a tense Trey riff. Page steps up with great comping at 5:45. This leads Phish to commit entirely to the groove being established, and they begin to depart from the “Stash” theme. Page is leading the jam by 6:20 as Trey recedes into the background. Trey quickly comes back in with a melodic riff that reaches for the light, shifting the direction of the jam once again. A full-on ‘bliss’ jam is underway by 6:50.
The band sticks with this uplifting jam for several, excellent minutes. Page continues to deliver quality melodic playing, while Mike’s bass groove is reminiscent of the summery rhythms of “Ya Mar.” Trey’s riffing starts to get more dissonant at 10:00, which pulls the band out of blissful territory and begins a tension/release jam. This builds to a peak, and the band transitions back into “Stash” territory at 10:50. The composed end to the song begins soon after, but instead of ending the song, the band drifts off at 12:00 for a smooth segue into “Makisupa Policeman.” “Makisupa” serves a similar role here as it filled during its last appearance on 8/2, and works well as a landing pad for the band after an intense jam. This “Stash > Makisupa” sequence is high-powered and filled with laser-sharp improvisation, and is extra impressive for how early it appears in the show.
After taking a quick break with “Makisupa,” the band heads back into high-stakes territory with a mid-set “Reba.” The “Reba” jam begins at 6:15, and wastes no time in building towards a peak. While the build is short, it doesn’t feel rushed either. The peak itself is glorious, lasting several minutes and reaching the same levels of bliss as the earlier “Stash.” Trey sounds on tonight, and shreds up a storm during the last couple minutes of the jam. A great “Reba!” The band doesn’t let up after “Reba”, and pushes onwards into “Maze.” “Maze,” unsurprisingly, has some added spice tonight. Page’s solo is nice and long, taking its time to build to a fiery peak. Trey responds in turn by beginning his solo with a noticeable quote of “Stairway to Heaven.”
“Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird” starts the homestretch of the set. Tonight’s narration is more entertaining than the average Forbin’s narration, with Trey taking advantage of his surroundings and telling the audience about the “rollercoaster of the mind.” The audience gets on this rollercoaster by “leaving your body behind.” The rollercoaster climbs “higher and higher” before plunging straight down into Gamehendge, with appropriately anarchic complementing this descent. Trey rushes through the Gamehendge story of the song after narrating this rollercoaster journey. The composed portion of “Fly Famous Mockingbird” sounds very good tonight, and is followed by the set-closing “Cavern. “Cavern” has become very comfortable in this first-set closing role over the last week or so.
Simply put, this is an excellent first-set that holds its own when compared with the first set from Ritz Theatre on the 2nd. The band drops a “Stash” that goes type-II with a long ‘bliss’ jam early in the set, and then follows this with an expertly delivered “Reba” shortly after. An entertaining Forbin’s narration at the end of the set is a cherry on top. A top-notch first set; it’s easy to see why this show was selected for a LivePhish release.
“2001” opens set 2, returning after its longest break of tour (2 shows without an appearance). The band drops straight out of “2001” into “Mike’s Song” in a reprise of the 8/2 second set opener. The “Mike’s” jam starts at 2:35, with Trey coming in about a minute later. The first jam is comprised entirely of a short and rather dissonant solo from Trey. This leads into the first set of ‘end chords’ at 4:45, and a second jam at 5:00. The mood in the second jam remains dark, and it gets increasingly wild as Trey takes the lead with more dissonant riffing. The jam begins to break down and get more subdued at 7:45, as Trey slowly fades out while playing a repetitive riff. It seems like the jam might fade out entirely, but instead Trey latches onto an uplifting, melodic phrase at 9:00 that keeps the song going. This sparse jam works its way through a couple Secret Language signals before emerging into the first “Kung” of tour! Trey’s playing throughout “Kung” can be described as very staccato, dissonant, and squealing. “Kung” crashes back into “Mike’s Song” at 13:00. After a final, exciting solo from Trey the band returns to the “Mike’s” end chords at 14:00.
To this point, most of the tour’s memorable “Mike’s Songs” have gone to the next level by launching into unexpectedly melodic playing. This one instead sticks to a dark and moody vibe for most its duration. It’s still a wild ride though, and the “Kung” excursion feels well-earned, making this an easy “Mike’s Song” to recommend. The band transitions into “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” out of “Mike’s.” “TMWSIY” is a lovely, serene interlude after the chaotic jamming of “Mike’s.” The set flows along from there, with the band managing to execute a very smooth transition out of “Avenu Malkenu” into an energetic and well-played “Sloth.” After “Sloth,” the band takes their first pause of the set after a relentless half hour of playing.
“Sparkle” serves as a mid-set breather before the band launches into a composition-heavy sequence to anchor the back-half of the set: “My Friend, My Friend > McGrupp and the Watchful Horsemasters.” Both songs are very well-played. “My Friend” has a cool outro, with the band improvising a bridge between the two songs. Mike leads this transition with melodic bass playing. I feel like the band has really leaned into these brief, improvised transitions the last week (see the “Halley’s Comet” > “Slave to the Traffic Light” from last night), and they have been very effective. I like this trend. The rare “McGrupp” makes its first appearance of tour tonight, but shows no signs of rust. Page really takes the spotlight here, delivering a lovely and lengthy solo on his baby grand in the middle of the song. This sequence by itself could easily have been a show highlight during early-’93 shows, but it’s overshadowed a bit by tonight’s big improvisational moments. This is still a quality sequence though, and worth a listen.
Another improvised transition of sorts, this time led by Page, brings us to the night’s Henrietta segment of “Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up.” This is followed by “Run Like an Antelope,” the only post-Henrietta song of the set. “Antelope” features some added, full-band hijinks during the song’s intro. The jam starts at 3:00 and is initially led by soaring and driving riffs from Trey. Trey’s riffing gets chunkier about a minute later, which launches the band into a series of progressively more intense tension/build sequences. A particularly wild run begins at 5:30, and Trey launches into his most shredding playing of the set a minute later. This culminates in an exciting peak and transition into the reggae portion of the song at 7:45. The rest of the song is largely standard, though the band does add some extra vocal silliness during the verse. This “Antelope” is very much cut from the same cloth as other summer ’93 “Antelope’s,” but given the quality of the song on this tour, that is certainly a compliment. The “Antelope” jam is high-octane, and an excellent way to close out an incredible evening of Phish. The tour debut of “Carolina” and return of “La Grange” comprise the encore. I’m happy to see “La Grange” was not just a one-off bust-out, for the song ends the show on a very high-energy note.
This is an incredible night of Phish. A remarkable aspect of the show is how evenly spread across the two sets the highlights are. There’s virtually no down moments, with every ‘quarter’ of the show, so to speak, featuring entertaining and memorable sequences. There’s blissful peaks to be found in “Reba” and the unfinished “Stash,” ridiculous comedy in the “Forbin’s > Mockingbird,” chaos in “Mike’s > Kung > Mike’s,” and high-energy shredding in “Antelope.” This is the kind of show that is likely to please every type of Phish fan.
- Show rating: 5/5
- Highlights: “Stash > Makisupa Policeman,” “Reba,” “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird,” “Mike’s Song > Kung > Mike’s Song > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Sloth,” “Run Like an Antelope“
- Phish.net setlist
- First set length: 73 mins.
- Second set length: 70 mins.
- Encore length: 7 mins.
- This is the first time Phish performed at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. They will return on 8/14/97.
- The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Carolina,” returning after a twenty-six show absence (5/1/93).
- The best represented studio album is A Picture of Nectar (4 songs).