August 8th, 1993: Nautica Stage, Cleveland OH

Phish performed in Ohio on the 6th, but tonight’s show feels like the true start of the mid-west leg of tour, as the band will spend the next week and a half moving around the region (loosely-defined). “Big Black Furry Creature from Mars” makes its second appearance of tour to start the show on an odd note. Mike faintly plucks the song’s riff as the band takes the stage, and the band goes with it. This is the first “BBFCFM” to open a show in ’93. The band keeps the song short and the hijinks mostly to a minimum, though Trey does throw in some “Divided Sky” quotes during one of the song’s many freak-outs. It amuses me that this performance was likely someone’s first exposure to Phish.

A well-played “Foam” follows “BBFCM,” returning this set to a somewhat normal course. “Loving Cup” is then played for the first time in 50 shows; the song was last seen in March. Mike shakes off some rust here, as it sounds like he re-learns a couple of his lines on the spot. It’s still fun to hear this one though, and Trey delivers a good solo at the end of the song. Trey builds on this quality soloing in the subsequent “Runaway Jim.” His solo gets unusually dissonant and tense at 5:45, driving the song to a big, trill-filled peak that begins at 6:30. This thrilling soloing makes “Jim” the most compelling performance of the evening so far.

“The Horse > Silent in the Morning” are next to give everyone a mid-set breather, and are followed by the second “Punch You in the Eye” of tour. “Punch” is standard but well-played, and the same can be said of the subsequent “Fast Enough for You.” Like he did in the last outing of “FEFY” on 7/30, Trey does an excellent job of building his solo into a fiery, shredding peak, making this song once again an unexpected highlight of the set. “Paul and Silas” is the night’s bluegrass song, and “I Didn’t Know” takes its usual penultimate-song-of-set position. “IDK” is humorous tonight, with Trey introducing Fish as a “butt with protruding limbs” and later telling the audience that Fish will perform the “sparsest waterboard solo ever in human history.”

“David Bowie” closes the set. There’s a couple Secret Language signals in the intro, and the jam begins at about 5:45. The jam breaks down almost immediately. Trey starts some quiet riffing, and Page matches him on piano. The band builds the jam back up as Trey hammers away on a crunchy chord. This chordal work sets a dissonant tone for the following minute of the jam, before the band shifts back into more recognizably “Bowie” territory at 7:00. Trey locks into a simple, cocky rock riff at 7:25 that launches him on a journey towards a traditional “Bowie” peak. After a couple of wild, “Run Like an Antelope”-like tension/release runs, the song comes to a head at around 10:00, and the band transitions into the composed end of the song at 10:40. This is a good “Bowie”; the jam features a couple short but interesting minutes of experimentation at the beginning that works its way into a traditional, but very satisfying and well-executed build. Certainly the most interesting song of an otherwise solid but unmemorable set.

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8/8/93

“2001” opens the second set. This song has been performed with a laser-like focus so far, but the band sounds a little looser tonight. Not loose in the ‘extending the song with improv’ sort of way, but loose as in ‘the band is flubbing’ sense. Trey in particular noticeably misses a couple notes. Everyone tightens up quickly though, for the following “Rift” is delivered with precision. The set opens up with “Harry Hood,” the longest song of the show. This is one of the most experimental “Hoods” of recent memory; I think I would go all the way back to the 3/21/93 “Hood” as the last performance of the song to depart this much from the normal progression of the jam.

Page really stands out in this “Hood.” The jam starts at 5:55; Trey drops out immediately while Page sets the tone with lovely flourishes on his baby grand. Trey starts to slowly come back in at 6:20 with quiet riffing, but Page continues to hold the spotlight with very sparse and airy, delicate playing. Page’s solo picks up while Trey builds momentum with his playing, before Trey starts to take control over the direction of the jam at about 8:50. What follows is a wonderful sequence of back and forth. Fishman begins to cut in and out with his drumming, perfectly timed with Trey’s precise and jazzy descending lines. The jam really picks up in energy shortly after 10:00, as the band begins to swell around a driving Trey riff. Instead of building this right into a raging peak, Trey instead slides into the composed “Hood” melody at 11:15. He solos in and out of the “Hood” composition until the band begins to sing the last verse of the song at 13:45. Given the long build I expected this “Hood” to erupt into a huge, triumphant peak, but the band plays it more understated instead. I appreciate the subversion of my expectations at the end, and I absolutely love the full-band interplay and Page leads during the first segment of the jam. You can feel good about this “Hood.” (Give me some credit for waiting 80+ shows to drop that line).

The band follows “Hood” with a number of more through-composed songs. “Wilson” kicks off this sequence. Besides for a very subdued and elongated intro, not ending until 2:00, this is largely a standard “Wilson” performance. The same cannot be said of “It’s Ice.” Almost immediately after the ‘underwater’ segment begins, Page launches into a thundering, chordal solo. Not content with leading the first half of the “Hood” jam, Page decides he needed to steal the show in “Ice” as well. The rest of the band drops out entirely, leaving Page to deliver an impressive “Squirming Coil”-esque solo that lasts for several minutes. All of this makes for easily the most memorable “Ice” in some time. “Fluffhead” rounds out this composition-heavy sequence. Simply put, this “Fluff” is performed with excellent, professional finesse. Normally I don’t get too excited when I see “Fluff” anchoring the middle of a second set, but the band pulls it off with aplomb tonight. Page continues to sound great during the composition, and Trey delivers an exciting, fire solo to end the song. “Possum” just builds on the energy from the end of “Fluffhead.” Unlike “Hood” the band largely colors within the lines of the song, but Trey builds his solo into the most raging peak of the set.

Tonight’s Henrietta segment is long, with Fishman taking the time to banter with the audience before launching into the first “Love You” of tour. Fish mentions he sung it last time they were in town, which I can confirm. Fish also introduces the band during “Love You,” and calls Trey “Chuck Norris.” The first “Daniel Saw the Stone” of August follows Henrietta before “Good Times Bad Times” ends the set. This set has been very high-energy post-“Hood,” making this song an excellent choice to close on. “My Sweet One” and “Free Bird” are the encore songs tonight.

Phish played a great show in Cleveland when they were last here at the end of April. The venue size has tripled since that last show, but the band matches the earlier show in quality. This is largely due to the second set, which is a sum is greater than its parts. “Harry Hood” is very good, with interesting, full-band jamming that emerges into an understated peak. The set becomes a party after that, with the highlights being Page’s ownership of “Ice” and the raging, precisely played “Fluffhead.” The first set takes its time warming up, which caused me to initially fear a come-down show (see: 8/3) after the face-melting show the night before. “David Bowie” puts that fear to rest, and the rest of the show similarly impresses.

  • Show rating: 4/5
  • Highlights: “David Bowie,” “Harry Hood,” “It’s Ice,” “Fluffhead”

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 68 mins.
  • Second set length: 85 mins.
  • Encore length: 8 mins.
  • This is the first time Phish performed at the Nautica Stage. They will return on 6/25/94.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Loving Cup,” returning after a fifty show absence (3/30/93).
  • The best represented studio album is Rift (5 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 7th, 1993: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center NY

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.

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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.

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“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

Show stats:

  • 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).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 6th, 1993: Cincinnati Zoo Peacock Pavilion, Cincinnati OH

After a couple nights off, Phish relocates to the midwest to kick off the next leg of summer tour. “Split Open and Melt” kicks off tonight’s proceedings. Like many “Melts” from this tour, the jam hews close to the song’s composition. The jam starts at 4:20 and begins with a couple minutes of Trey riffing/soloing. It does sound briefly like the band is about to head sideways at around 6:20, but they quickly return to typical-“Melt” territory. A couple of solid tension/release runs bring this “Melt” home for the composed end. This is a short and not particularly mind-melting “Melt,” so it’s not a jam I’m really going to seek out in the future. That said, just opening with “Melt” is something of a statement, so hopefully it will give the band something to build on over the course of the night.

A series of shorter songs follow “Melt.” “Poor Heart” keeps up the energy of the set before the band drops into the first “Curtain” of tour. “Curtain” is a lovely song, so it’s re-appearance is a treat. And, as weird as this sounds, I quite enjoyed the pairing of “Curtain” and “Sample in a Jar.” The ending of “Curtain” flows well into the intro chords of “Sample.” Up next is the “buy our new album!” portion of the set, with a duo of Rift songs: “Rift” and “Horn.” The playing in both songs is solid.

“Divided Sky” follows “Horn.” Like everything else in this set, the song is well-played. Trey’s solo at the end is a decent length and ends the song in satisfying fashion. After “Nellie Kane” provides a brief interlude, two high-energy party songs end the set: “Chalk Dust Torture” and “Suzy Greenberg.” While all “CDTs” this tour have been firmly within the song’s type-I, less-than-seven-minute mold, I have become increasingly impressed with the band’s playing during the song (especially Trey’s). This performance is no exception, with Trey’s gnarly solo going through some twists and turns and lots of shredding. “Suzy” also is a fun one tonight, featuring a lengthy “Tequila” tease before and during Page’s first solo and great peaks during the solos themselves.

Besides for the tour-debut of “Curtain” and the fun segue from that song into “Sample,” the first half of this set didn’t do a whole lot for me. The show picks up for me during “Divided Sky.” “Sky” is delivered with precision, and the hard-rocking pairing of “Chalk Dust” and “Suzy” to end the set is the highlight of the night for me. A pretty typical first set for this tour, but it still has some fun sequences.

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While “Buried Alive” frequently opens show, Phish has been opening the second set with the song far less frequently. The song’s uptempo but vaguely ominous vibe makes it a good fit for this slot, so I’m glad the band plays it here tonight. “Buried Alive” crashes into the opening of “Tweezer.” The ‘composed’ portion of “Tweezer” has some added twists tonight, with good Page leads and a vocal jam during one of the song’s breakdowns at 3:10. This is built on a minute later as Treys starts ominously chanting before the jam begins at 4:30. The jam settles on an almost-bluesy riff at 5:30, with Page providing some great comping. Page and Mike continue to step up as Trey repeats his riff and recedes steadily into the background. The band gets quieter and the jam darker, before Trey locks into a new riff and the jam changes directions shortly after 7:00. Initially it sounds like the song is heading towards a triumphant peak and a ripping Trey solo, but instead he settles back into dissonant riffing. The jam begins to break down again at 11:45, and the band begins to tease “Tequila” again. This fades out and the band starts up “Guelah Papyurs.”

“Tweezer” is very good tonight, with the jam moving through a number of distinct segments. The ominous vibe of “Buried Alive” is very much still alive in this jam, with the song never bursting for the light or a triumphant solo. The jam remains dark and even subdued for most of its duration. One of the most interesting performances of the song on this tour to this point. “Guelah” has some extra fun tonight, with more “Tequila” teases and a Secret Language signal during the song’s pause. A dude from the audience appropriately and in drunk fashion yells out “Tequila!” at this point. An early “Squirming Coil” provides a breather after a very entertaining first 20 minutes of the set. Page has stealthily been tearing it up since at least “Suzy Greenberg,” and that streak continues now for his solo in “Coil” does not disappoint. The song also has a neat little mini-jam before Page fully takes over.

A pleasant “Uncle Pen” leads into a big, mid-set “You Enjoy Myself.” “YEM” is making a consecutive appearance tonight, as the song was by far the best moment of an otherwise-staid show in Miami on the 3rd. This set’s ominous vibes continue during the ‘bliss’ segment of “YEM,” which nears three minutes total and is much darker than usual. Before the beginning of the jam are more “Tequila” teases from Trey at 9:00. There’s an unfortunate tape flip at the beginning of Page’s solo, but it’s solid nonetheless. He works in some more “Tequila” teases and it builds to a good peak. Trey takes over shortly after 11:00, and quickly works into a brief stop/start jam. He adds some vocal wailing, and the energy begins to build. The band tears into an incredibly locked-in passage by 13:15. Trey is rocking away with a shredding riff, and Page steps up and starts soloing all over the place. This culminates with a big, satisfying peak at 14:00. The bass and drums segment starts shortly after. Mike starts up a bluesy groove, and Trey comes back in with chordal strumming at 15:15. This slowly morphs into a full on “Cocaine” jam, complete with a sung verse of the song (“If you want to get down / get down on the ground / cocaine”). Trey drops back out and Mike transitions back into ‘bass and drums’ at 17:20 only for the vocal jam to begin seconds later. The vocal jam is short tonight, with a smooth transition into the a-cappella intro of tour-debut “Halley’s Comet.”

Two “YEMs” in two shows, and two excellent jams. Even without the “Cocaine” segment, this “YEM” has great playing and improvisation during the initial jam. The “Cocaine” fun just puts it further over the top. Another must-hear “YEM.” “Halley’s Comet” is fun to hear, and instead of ending the song suddenly, the band decides to jam out the ending of the song a bit, fading away the song with a transition into…”SLAVE TO THE TRAFFIC LIGHT!” “Slave” has not been played since 1991, and I’ve been waiting to hear ’93 Phish take on this song since the first show I listened to a show for this blog! The “Slave” jam is short, but it’s ever so sweet, and does not underwhelm after the wait. As the jam builds to its final peak, Trey blisses out and goes full-on ‘hose’ shortly after 7:00. The jam then breaks down and slowly transitions into “Hold Your Head Up” before a “Cracklin’ Rosie” Henrietta segment. Fish is (unintentionally) funny tonight, as he forgets the “Rosie” lyrics and starts tunefully singing “I don’t remember the words / but I hope you know them / Cracklin’ Rosie / hey!”

“Tweezer Reprise” is the lone post-Henrietta song, while “Amazing Grace” is the only encore. Trey introduces “Grace” by joking they need to play something that will “put the animals to sleep…so ‘Highway to Hell!'” Mike reminds the audience to drive safe. Tonight’s show is a tale of two sets. Until the end of the first set, this night seems to continue last night’s trend of standard playing. “Sky” sounds great, however, and the last two songs of the set light a spark under the band that will continue through the rest of the night. This second set is excellent and non-stop. The set feels more cohesive than most have on this tour, with the setlist flowing throughout and an ominous vibe permeating a lot of the set’s song, from “Buried Alive” through “YEM.” “Tweezer” has some good experimentation, and while the “Tweezer” jam doesn’t peak, the set builds and comes to a head with the second huge “YEM” in as many shows. And that’s all before the lovely, exhilarating bust-out of “Slave to the Traffic Light.” You can largely give the first set of this show a pass without missing much, but definitely check out the second half.

  • Show rating: 4/5
  • Highlights: “Tweezer,” “You Enjoy Myself > Halley’s Comet > Slave to the Traffic Light

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 61 mins.
  • Second set length: 78 mins.
  • Encore length: 2 mins.
  • This is the first and last time Phish performed at the Cincinnati Zoo Peacock Pavilion.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Slave to the Traffic Light,” returning after a two-hundred and forty-one show absence (10/24/91).
  • The best represented studio album is A Picture of Nectar (5 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 3rd, 1993: Bayfront Park Amphitheater, Miami FL

After a scorcher last night in Tampa, Phish moves on to Miami for the second and last Florida show of tour. Unfortunately, only about half of the show-opening “Runaway Jim” circulates. From what I am able to hear, the show-opener sounds like a solid/standard “Jim” with a decent Trey solo. A pleasant “Nellie Kane” takes up the two-slot, before the band moves into a slightly-extended “Foam.” The composition of “Foam” is performed well and Trey takes his time with his solo, making this a fun and interesting performance of the song. “Foam” is followed by a pairing of two standard songs, “Fee > Rift,” before the band reaches an opportunity for a significant improvisational excursion: A mid-set “Stash.”

The “Stash” jam quickly centers around Trey’s dissonant riffing, with an intense passage building up tension underway by 5:30. This comes to an initial peak by 6:00, before the mood becomes dark again. The jam loosens up slightly at this point and becomes more subdued. Trey starts playing a relatively simple (but still ominous) melody that sounds quite unlike his typical playing in “Stash.” This comes to another peak by about 9:00, at which point it sounds like the band is heading towards the composed end of the song. Instead, Trey leads through the band through a brief but exciting anarchic freakout, which culminates in the most energetic and thrilling peak of the jam. The band finally lands on the composed ending at 10:20. This is a good, effective “Stash” that goes sideways through multiple tension-building passages that each result in a satisfying release. Easily the most exciting song of the set so far.

“The Horse > Silent in the Morning” follows “Stash,” bringing the energy of the show back down a couple notches. Fitting in with this mellow mood is the subsequent “Ya Mar.” This “Ya Mar” is largely interchangeable with the other “Ya Mars” from this summer, meaning it’s about 7 minutes long and features some nice soloing work from both Page and Trey. An absolutely ripping “Llama” with a ferocious Trey solo builds the energy back up before the set-closing “Cavern.”

This set definitely feels like a come-down of sorts from the wild show the night before. It does have some high-energy moments (“Llama,” “Stash,” the half-“Jim”) and an entertaining tension/release jam (see again: “Stash”), but it also largely features standard performances of songs in heavy rotation (“Rift”,” “Nellie Kane,” Horse >Silent in the Morning”). There’s definitely far more exciting first sets this tour, but the set is still an enjoyable listen regardless.

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Set 2 opens with the first “Lengthwise” of tour, and is followed by the obligatory “Maze.” Page’s solo is standard tonight, but Trey adds some nice spice to his, making him the clear winner of the “Maze” duel. Trey’s solo contains some gritty, dissonant runs as well as excellent shredding in the run-up to the peak of the jam. A good, if not amazing, “Maze.” “Bouncing Around the Room” serves as an early breather before the band launches into “It’s Ice.” “Ice” is well-played tonight, and features Page having some fun with an extensive “Theme from the Munsters” tease during the ‘underwater’ segment of the song.

“Ice” leads to an early “You Enjoy Myself,” as the band starts “YEM” only a little over 20 minutes into the set. “YEM” begins with a lovely and ethereal ‘bliss’ jam from 1:30-3:00. Trey flubs a little during the composition of the song, a little after 4:00, but you have to be listening closely and be familiar with the song to notice it. He pulls it together for the rest of the song when the next section of the composition starts. Page’s solo initially sounds rather standard, like his solo in “Maze.” Trey drops out entirely, and Mike begins dropping great bass booms all over the place. This seems to inspire Page, for he launches into a great, melodic chordal progression that builds into a ripping end to his solo.

Trey starts strumming at 10:30 and takes over the jam at 11:30. The jam quickly breaks down after this transition to Trey, with Mike and Page both dropping out. Fish and Trey trade some jazzy playing, before Page comes back in at 12:05 as Trey falls into a swaggering riff. This riff dissolves into silly, staccato fun as the jam quiets to near silence. The band comes crashing back into a rock groove at 12:50. Trey locks into a driving riff at 13:30 that launches him into a solo. This solo builds to a hard rocking and satisfying peak to round out a fun segment of improvisation. The bass and drums solo begins at 14:55. Mike continues with his great playing from earlier to deliver some fine, funky playing. He locks into a dissonant note at 15:55 that is so much fun it even causes Trey to come back in, briefly, for some additional intensity. The vocal jam starts at 16:20. Usually the vocal jam doesn’t do much for me, but this one actually moves through some neat melodic sections before coming to a close with a wailed scream.

This might be the best “YEM” of the tour that doesn’t involve some sort of ‘gimmick’ (such as the guests on 7/27 or the “BBFCFM” segue on 7/23). It’s at least a serious contender for the title. No frills; just a lengthy and fun jam that goes through several distinct segments before wrapping up with a big rock solo. “YEM” is definitely the big highlight of this show. “The Lizards” is next, and is well-placed as a composed pairing to the exciting “YEM” jam. The rest of the set is well-played, but less eventful than this mid-set sequence. “Sparkle” follows “Lizards,” leading into the umpteenth “Purple Rain” of tour for the night’s Henrietta segment. “Golgi Apparatus” is the lone post-Henritta song of the set. A quick duo of “Poor Heart” and “Free Bird” comprise the encore.

This show contains an excellent “YEM” that is surrounded by an otherwise thoroughly average show. The playing is rock solid throughout the night, and both sets feature a decent setlist with some fun sequences. That being said, after last night’s barnstormer, it’s hard to see this show as anything other than a come-down of sorts. The band gets some “rest” after tonight, with their first multi-night break from playing shows in 2 weeks. I say “rest,” for this break will involve travel of over a 1000 miles for the next show in the midwest. I’ll talk to you again on the 6th from Cincinnati, OH.

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

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: ~62 mins.
  • Second set length: 79 mins.
  • This is the first and last time Phish performed at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Lengthwise,” returning after a sixteen show absence (5/30/93).
  • The best represented studio album is Rift (8 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

August 2nd, 1993: Ritz Theatre, Tampa FL

August 1993 is one of the most vaunted months in Phish history, often spoken about in the same bated breath reserved for Fall ’97. Despite this reputation, I have previously listened to very few the shows from this month. This is thus my first time listening to this Ritz Theatre show. We were last at this venue in February (2/26), and the show on that date was a rather average performance. Just one look at tonight’s bust-out-heavy setlist, however, leads me to think that tonight might be more eventful. “Chalk Dust Torture” opens the show, and even by “Chalk Dust” standards, this is a fiery performance that sets the energy-level high right from the get-go. “Guelah Papyrus” was in heavy rotation during the spring but has been played more sparingly this summer, so it’s almost nostalgic to hear it return to the two-slot, a spot in the setlist it occupied so frequently during the last tour. The mellower vibe of “Guelah” serves as a nice companion to the high-energy show opener, and it features a Simpsons signal during the song’s pause.

A quick “Poor Heart” serves as a bridge between “Guelah” and one of the biggest bust-outs of the tour so far: “Brother!” I heard this fan-favorite soundchecked once during Winter/Spring, but it hasn’t been played at a show proper since July 1992. Perhaps due to the song’s absence, the band almost loses the thread of the song at 3:45 during Trey’s otherwise-excellent solo, but they manage to recover quickly. Despite this minor misstep the song is fun to hear, and it’s an overall good performance. The rarities just continue to flow from there, with the elusive “Oh Kee Pah Ceremony” serving as an intro to a mid-set “Suzy Greenberg.” “Suzy” fits well here in the setlist, as the show has been generally high-energy from the beginning. Trey delivers a positively scintillating run up the fretboard prior to Page’s second solo, much to the crowd’s delight, and Page matches Trey’s playing with an impressive solo of his own. This adds up to a better than average “Suzy.”

A quick run-through of “All Things Reconsidered” brings the band to “Bathtub Gin.” “Gin” was last seen in April, and while the song is a personal favorite of mine, the band still seemed uncertain what to do with the song’s jam last time it was seen. Trey definitely shakes off some rust during the song’s composition, as it sounds like he remembers how to play the song’s main melody on-the-spot. The jam starts at 4:55, and it initially sounds like it will break down immediately, similar to the spring performances. Trey quickly locks into a simple, melodic riff, but the rest of the band seems uncertain as to what to do. Mike and Page lock into Trey’s playing fairly quickly, but Fishman is all over the place with the rhythm, unsure of whether to break the song down or to lock-in to the rest of the band and dive deep into the unknown. The latter course prevails, and the whole band is locked in to the jam by 6:45. What follows is a short but simply glorious and uplifting bliss jam. Trey returns to the main “Gin” melody at 7:45, which led me to think the band was bringing the song to a close. They take a left-turn at 8:30, however, and the tempo suddenly quickens as the band instead moves into a very bluegrass-esque second jam. Page takes the lead in this segment with some great, melodic playing. After some fun with dynamics, fading the jam in and out, the band plays a buttery smooth segue into “Makisupa Policeman” (!), which has only been played once so far this year.

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Folks, I think we just witnessed the birth of the modern “Bathtub Gin,” and it’s simply a delight to hear. You can literally hear the band in real-time decide whether or not to take the song for a ride. I’m glad they did. “Makisupa” is a nice landing-pad after the craziness of “Gin,” and contains a nice little ambient/reggae jam of its own. The set rolls on from there, with the band starting straight into “My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own” out of the ending of “Makisupa.” Two more huge bust-outs close the set: “Dog Log > La Grange,” both which have not been played since 1991. “Dog Log”  has been soundchecked several times this year, so the song sounds pretty tight despite the time on the shelf. It’s fun to hear, but it’s a fairly standard read of the song. “La Grange” provides Mike with an opportunity to ham it up during the intro, before the song kicks into high gear to end the set on the same note as it began: with lots of energy and quality soloing.

This is simply a wild set: it’s ridiculous how much ground the band covers in less than an hour. The overall energy level of the set is very high from the beginning, with a fiery “Chalk Dust,” fast “Brother,” above-average “Suzy Greenberg,” and ripping “La Grange” closer. The band breaks “Bathtub Gin” wide open for the first time in the song’s history, with the song contains both an uplifting bliss jam and a bluegrass second jam that segues smoothly into the rare “Makisupa.” Lastly, this set contains big bust-outs left and right. This whole set is more or less one giant highlight, from beginning to end. Easily one of the best sets of the tour so far.

“2001” opens a set for the 12th time this tour to kick off the show’s second half, and drops unexpectedly into “Mike’s Song.” Mike’s Groove has been played less often this summer than during the Winter/Spring tour, so it’s a surprise to hear it pop up in consecutive shows. It’s also usually played much later in the set. That said, if the first set was any indication, “anything goes” is the mantra of the night. The “Mike’s” jam starts at 2:30, with Trey coming in at 3:10. Trey rides a simple, hard-rocking, Zeppelin-esque riff for about a minute before transitioning into a solo shortly after 4:00. This builds to a good, exciting peak, before the “Mike’s” end chords kick in at 5:00. A second jam begins at 5:15, and the band quickly breaks the jam down into a chordal, half-time segment. Trey locks onto a driving riff at 6:00, which the rest of the band uses to build the jam back up. The tempo increases rapidly and the mood becomes quite intense. This crashes back into the “Mike’s” progression at about 6:45, with the jam winding back to the “Mike’s” end chords at 7:45. Someone starts wailing away at this point on vocals, a guest named Joe Rooney according to Phish.net. This wailing adds to the anarchic and intense mood of this jam. The jam starts to break down again, and transitions into the biggest bust-out of the night at 8:40…”Sparks” (!!!).

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“Sparks” was born to be played coming out of an intense jam, and that’s exactly the role the song fills tonight. This song is a lot of fun to hear, and it transitions into another rarity: “The Ballad of Curtis Loew.” “Loew” is not exactly my favorite song, as I’ve noted before, but after a wild first ~15 minutes of the set it fits in well here as a nice, contemplative breather. The tempo and energy of the set increases again after “Loew” with a well-played, mid-set “Rift.” “The Squirming Coil” is next, making a somewhat unusual mid-second-set appearance.

The band didn’t forget about “Weekapaug Groove,” as the song gets cold-started after “Coil.” Like last night’s “Weekapaug,” this is a very short performance of the song, clocking in at under 5 minutes. Despite being of similar length and style to last night’s performance, however, I think tonight’s performance is much more dialed in. The jam starts at 1:20 with the band initially bringing down the song’s volume, instead of diving straight into a peak. Trey then leads the band through several minutes of build-up, which culminates with a quick dissonant run shortly after 3:00 that erupts into a thrilling, trill-filled, blissful peak at about 3:40. After this excellent, uplifting denouement, the band works back into the “Weekapaug” verse at 4:30. Seconds later, the band smoothly segues into “Hold Your Head Up.” This is an great example of a short “Weekapaug” that works well despite its length.

Fishman introduces the audience to his new Electrolux vacuum before singing the tour-debut of “Bike.” It’s silly to critique the Henrietta segment too much, because c’mon, it’s the Henrietta segment of a Phish show, but it’s kind of nice to hear “HYHU > Bike > HYHU” after the seemingly countless renditions of “Purple Rain” this tour. “Run Like an Antelope” closes out the set. The “Antelope” jam is high-octane from the start, with Trey wasting no time in setting the gearshift for the high gear of your soul. The jam goes slightly sideways, briefly, at 4:30, before going through several tension/release segments that get progressively wilder and more intense. This builds to a furious peak at 7:00 before the jam breaks down into the song’s reggae segment. Instead of playing the normal reggae segment, the band instead transitions into a full-on “Makisupa Policeman” reprise! This lasts for a couple of minutes, with the band singing the “Antelope” lyrics over the “Makisupa” groove (mentioning a “Marco Policeman-dolas” in the process). This is another great, summer “Antelope” and an excellent way to end the set. “Sleeping Monkey” and an “Amazing Grace” sung without microphones comprise the encore.

The second set is not quite the same ecstatic frenzy that the first set is, but it’s still a blast to listen to. The first twenty minutes (through “Loew”) are a fun journey through jams and bust-outs, the set-closing “Antelope” is as thrilling as the other great “Antelopes” from this tour, and the short-but-sweet “Weekapaug” in the middle is a joy to listen to as well. Combine this with a mind-melting first set and you have yourself one hell of a classic Phish show. If tonight’s performance is any indication of what I have to look forward to over the next month, well, it looks like I’m in for quite a treat.

  • Show rating: 5/5
  • Highlights: “Bathtub Gin -> Makisupa Policeman,” “Mike’s Song > Sparks > The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” “Weekapaug Groove > Hold Your Head Up,” “Run Like an Antelope > Makisupa Policeman Reprise > Run Like an Antelope”

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 59 mins.
  • Second set length: 70 mins.
  • This is the second and last time Phish performed at the Ritz Theatre. They last performed here on 2/26/93.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Sparks,” returning after a three-hundred and ninety-two show absence (9/13/90).
  • The best represented studio album is Lawn Boy (4 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

July 31st, 1993: Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta GA

The Winter/Spring ’93 tour treated us to not one, not two, but three great Phish shows in the city of Atlanta (2/19, 2/20 & 2/21), forever immortalized with the At the Roxy box set. There hasn’t been a single multi-night stand at one place this whole summer tour, however, and Phish’s stop in #Hotatlanta on this tour does not break that trend. This Saturday night show begins with a pairing of “Rift” and “Sample in a Jar.” Both songs sound good but are standard. The breezy “Ya Mar” follows, always a great first-set song choice for an outdoor, summer show. “Ya Mar” generally tracks along the same course it has charted all year, but it does give both Page and Trey an opportunity to stretch out a bit and warm up their soloing chops. Trey’s solo in particular is fun; he plays very quietly for most of his solo and the band matches him, making this an unusually subdued “Ya Mar.”

“Split Open and Melt” is next, giving the band an opportunity to light some sparks under what has been a solid but largely uneventful show so far. It sounds like Mike hammers on a wrong note at 1:00, which is briefly jarring, but he recovers instantly. The jam begins at 4:10, with Trey quickly locking into a driving, three-note riff. Mike matches Trey’s playing, and Trey begins to modulate at 5:10. Fishman starts pushing at the rhythm at this point, and the song quickly builds in intensity. Trey begins full-on soloing a minute later. The song threatens to cut loose into psychedelic weirdness, but Trey quickly falls back into dark riffing. The jam ends with a couple minutes of great, tension/release runs that peak at about 7:45. These runs continue until 8:45, at which point the band wraps up the song very quickly with just a couple refrains of the song’s main theme. This is a short but efficient “Melt” that punches above its weight, with the band (particularly Trey) rapidly working through a number of ideas. “Melt” definitely lights some fire under this set.

“Mound” carries the momentum from “Melt,” before the band drops into a mid-set “Foam.” Like “Ya Mar,” this “Foam” features engaging, exaggerated dynamics. Trey plays some unusual scratching noises over the song’s intro, which returns at about 5:45 as the song breaks down into near-silence. The band continues to play very quietly for a solid minute or so, before the song explodes back to full volume. This makes for a fun “Foam.” “Nellie Kane” is next, serving as an interlude between two of Phish’s more impressive compositions, as the band follows “Kane” with a late-set “Divided Sky.” This “Sky” does feature a crowd pause, though it only lasts ~15-20 seconds and the cheering is not very loud. Still, this is at least the second show on this tour to feature the pause, so it’s definitely (slowly) coming into existence. “Sky” is well-played and features an energetic solo from Trey at the end. “Cavern” closes the second first-set in a row.

This set doesn’t contain as many “wow” moments as yesterday’s first-set, so I would rate it as only about average for this tour so far. Average for this tour is still pretty good though: “Melt” is short but packs in some good improv, both “Ya Mar” and “Foam” are more dynamic than usual, and “Divided Sky” does a good job of filling out the end of the set. This first-set is an enjoyable, albeit not very unpredictable or surprising, listen.

“We’ll be right back…get some cold water or something!”

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Disco Biscuits at Masquerade Music Park

Set 2 opens with a short, standard “Wilson” that drops into “Runaway Jim” (I guess “2001” is an every-other-show opener, now?). “Jim” is also rather concise tonight, and while it features some solid soloing from Trey, it doesn’t reach the same ‘type-I’ heights that “Jim” often has reached this year. The set continues along with a well-played but unremarkable “It’s Ice” (sense a trend here?) that is followed by a mid-set “Maze.” Page’s solo in “Maze” is the most exciting moment of the set so far, as he takes his time building to a good peak. Trey’s solo might be even better, for his playing in “Maze” feels more experimental than usual. He leads the band through several dissonant passages, including a thrilling run shortly after 8:00 that features him vocally wailing over his playing. These twists and turns make the eventual peak feel all the more sweeter. This is a very good “Maze.”

“Sparkle” serves as a bridge between “Maze” and Mike’s Groove. The “Mike’s Song” jam begins at 2:35, with Trey coming in at 3:20. Once Trey is in, the band almost immediately moves into a “Heartbreaker” (Led Zeppelin) jam. Trey breaks from this riff into a solo at 3:50, but quickly returns to “Heartbreaker” just a half-minute later. Another quick solo ends the first jam, as Trey starts up the ‘end chords’ at 5:00. A second jam begins at 5:25. Trey locks into some vaguely-uplifting riffs, which sets the tone for the second jam. Despite Trey’s major-key-ish riffing, the rest of the band keeps the vibe of the jam murky and ominous. This segment chugs along for a couple minutes before the jam begins to break down at 7:20. Page briefly takes the spotlight with some neat organ fills, before a chordal assault from Trey brings the band back into the “Mike’s” progression at 8:00. One final, quick Trey solo brings the jam to an end, as the final set of ‘end chords’ kick in at 8:15. Overall, a fun “Mike’s Song” with a couple unusual segments. This probably isn’t one I will return to often, but it’s entertaining while it lasts.

The final performance of “Leprechaun” serves as the bridge between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug Groove” (side note: “I Am Hydrogen” has not yet been played on this tour). It does sound like “Leprechaun” has been tightened up since its first couple of appearances, and it does an adequate job serving as a sort of alternate “I Am Hydrogen.” Despite this being the best performance of the song, I don’t think I will miss “Leprechaun” much (and the songs it will give birth to, “Free” and “Guyute,” are much better). So long, “Leprechaun,” we hardly knew you. Trey starts soloing shortly after 1:00 of “Weekapaug.” His solo builds for a couple of minutes into an exciting flurry of hammer-on/pull-offs from ~3:25-3:55. This is followed by some great, melodic soloing, a final peak, and a return to the “Weekapaug” verse by 4:50. This is a solid “Weekapaug,” but it’s very short. “Weekapaug” was consistently one of the band’s most experimental songs during Winter/Spring, but it’s felt much more reined in on this tour.

We weren’t treated to a Henrietta segment during last night’s tightly-scripted second set, but never fear, we get to hear Fishman seduce us to the tune of “Purple Rain” tonight. This second set is wrapped up quickly after “Purple Rain,” with tight performances of “Daniel Saw the Stone” and “Highway to Hell” ending the set. The first encore is a treat tonight, for “AC/DC Bag” makes its first appearance of the summer. “Free Bird” sends the crowd home for the night.

Phish plays it very close to the vest tonight. The setlists of both sets flow well and the playing is rock solid, for the most part, but there’s little sense of spontaneity or unpredictably either. This show is a solid listen, but few great Phish shows start from the premise of ‘playing it safe.’ A solid show, though slightly underwhelming given the fire the band brought to Atlanta earlier this year.

  • Show rating: 3/5
  • Highlights: “Split Open and Melt,” “Maze,” “Mike’s Song”

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 62 mins.
  • Second set length: 80 mins.
  • This is the first and last time Phish performed at the Masquerade Music Park. G.R.A.B. will perform here on 7/15/06, and Mike Gordon on 8/9/08.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “AC/DC Bag,” returning after a sixteen show absence (5/8/93).
  • The best represented studio album is Rift (5 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

July 30th, 1993: The Veranda at Starwood, Antioch TN

Night 2 in the Volunteer State brings us to Antioch for a show literally played in the concession stand area of a larger venue. Phish might be starting to break through to larger venues on this tour, particularly in the northeast, but clearly they still have work to do in the south. “Contact” opens the show tonight, the first time the song has taken the opening slot all year. The song features an extended bass intro from Mike, and feels like it’s played at a slightly more relaxed tempo than it usually is. The end of “Contact” drops straight into a fiery “Llama,” which brings the energy up after the languid feel of the opener. Together I found these two songs to be a very fun opening to the show. A well-played performance of the always-appreciated (at least to me) “Horn” is next. “Uncle Pen” follows “Horn,” and like “Contact,” also feels like it’s played at a slightly more relaxed tempo. The song serves as a pleasant southern-tinged interlude, and brings us to the first real chance for improvisation tonight: a mid-set “Stash.”

…and “Stash” does not disappoint. The jam starts at about 5:10 and is initially very quiet and subdued, matching the vibe of the night so far. The first minute consists of lazy riffing from Trey that is accompanied by great fills from Page. Mike starts to match Trey’s playing, and the band starts to add some soft vocal wailing on top as the jam slowly but steadily picks up steam. The band enters into a passage led by dissonant riffing from Trey. This passage builds and builds, and sounds like it’s peaking by 8:50. Trey just keeps pushing, however, until finally the jam explodes at 10:20 as the band shifts out of this dissonant passage back into the “Stash” progression while Trey squeals away. After some triumphant soloing from Trey it sounds like the band is about to bring this one home, but the band has one last trick up their sleeve. At 11:30 the jam breaks back down into the quiet, subdued mood that initially began the improvisation. The band then proceeds to play a slow, moody version of the song’s ending. This “Stash” features engaging dynamics and a real sense of progression. An excellent jam!

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Ethereal, energetic, and eclectic

This quiet end to “Stash” flows well into the organ intro of “Esther.” “Esther” is concisely played tonight, but it sounds good and adds some compositional heft to the set. Trey starts up “Chalk Dust Torture” during the ending of “Esther” to assure everyone in attendance that yes, they were actually at a rock show. There’s nothing too special about “Chalk Dust,” but Trey takes his time with the solo, building it to a satisfying peak. “I Didn’t Know” is next, taking one step away from its usual setlist position as penultimate song of the first set. This “IDK” features a little extra silliness, with a longer-than-normal intro from Trey to Fish’s washboard solo.

The reason “IDK” is not played in its normal set is because we get treated to the first “Reba” in ten shows! That’s an unusually long gap for this song, at least at this time, and it’s only the second “Reba” of summer. The “Reba” jam begins at 6:12, and like “Stash” before it, begins very quietly (though with a much more blissful feel than the prior song). The jam breaks down to near silence by 7:10 before the band very steadily starts to build it back up. There’s a jump in energy at about 9:00 as the band inexorably marches towards the jam’s peak. This peak begins at 10:00 with uplifting wailing from Trey. Many “Rebas” this year have ended quickly after peaking, but not this one. Trey just keeps pushing and pushing, with wonderfully blissful shredding. Fishman deserves credit for letting Trey rip, and not prematurely signaling the end of the jam. After several glorious minutes, Fish finally signals the end of the jam at 12:15. The wait was worth it; this is an excellent “Reba.” A quick “Cavern” puts a bow on the set.

Wow; what a step up from yesterday! This set is perfectly paced with a fun beginning, seriously good improvisation in both “Stash” and “Reba,” compositional heft (“Esther”), and some good, old-fashioned rock (“Chalk Dust Torture,” “Cavern”). The set has a slightly more relaxed feel than the sometimes-frantic nature of first sets on this tour, but that just lets the highs burn even brighter.

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This random image suggests the stage was located where that red square is drawn

“2001” returns to its routine set-opening position after taking a night off yesterday. The band isn’t pulling their punches tonight, so they drop right from “2001” into a hefty “Tweezer.” The jam starts at 4:30 with just minimalist guitar scratching from Trey over Mike and Fish’s groove. This segment sounds almost Beastie Boys-esque, and lasts a good minute before Trey starts up some subtle riffing. Fish changes up the beat after 6:00 to push the jam in a funk direction, setting the mood for the next couple of minutes. Trey starts to solo over this chunky segment, building up a good head of steam by 8:00. After a dissonant run the jam enters into a quick peak at 9:00. This doesn’t last long, for Trey starts some heavy-metal riffing at 9:30 that leads into an exhilarating tremelo-picked run. Trey brings the jam to a final peak at 10:30. It sounds at this point like the band is going to drop into the composed ending of the song, but instead they start up a chordal, dirge-like outro at 10:50. This segment slows down gradually, giving Trey an opportunity to pick up his acoustic and transition into “The Horse.” This “Tweezer” is not exactly mind-blowing, and is a little overshadowed by the stellar “Stash” and “Reba” from the first set, but it still contains a solid jam that moves through multiple fun segments and multiple peaks.

A snappy “Poor Heart” follows the “Horse > Silent in the Morning” breather, and drops into a mid-set “Fluffhead.” The whole “Fluff” composition is well-played, culminating in an exciting and energetic solo from Trey. At the end of the solo, Trey picks up his acoustic guitar for a pleasant rendition of the song’s outro that segues smoothly into the intro of “My Friend, My Friend.” “MF,MF” is standard tonight. This is a composition-heavy middle to the second set, but “Fluffhead” is played so well that it works as an anchor for the set. “Golgi Apparatus” rounds out this segment of largely through-composed songs.

A fine outing of “The Squirming Coil” brings us to the end of the set…or does it? The band ends the set with two closers by sneaking in a bonus “David Bowie” after “Coil.” This “Bowie” is on the short side for the song, and the jam is more or less a direct line towards the song’s peak. That said, the jam is quite energetic, and the final build from about 8:15 to 9:15 is quite thrilling and a great way to cap the set. The always-fun “Walk Away” makes a somewhat rare encore appearance before “Amazing Grace” sends the crowd home.

Like last night, I think the first set of this show actually edges out the second half, due to the excellent jams in both “Stash” and “Reba.” Unlike last night, however, both sets are filled with legitimate highlights and a lot of fun to listen to. It’s great to hear the band bounce back from something of an off-night yesterday to treat Tennessee to a legitimately great show, before moving on further south for tomorrow night. This was undoubtedly a fun Friday night in Antioch for all ~1500 people that showed up.

  • Show rating: 4/5
  • Highlights: “Stash,” “Reba,” “Tweezer,” “Fluffhead,” “David Bowie”

Show stats:

  • Phish.net setlist
  • First set length: 69 mins.
  • Second set length: 82 mins.
  • This is the first and last time Phish performed at the Veranda at Starwood. They’ll play Starwood Amphitheatre proper on 5/3/94.
  • The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Reba,” returning after a ten show absence (7/17/93).
  • The best represented studio album is A Picture of Nectar (6 songs).
Posted in 1993, Review, Summer 1993 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment