Friday, 12/31/1993 Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA

Friday, 12/31/1993
Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA

I can sum this show in one word: Energy.

The thing about this show is, where the night before is crystallized in my memory banks, this one is just a blur. I didn’t really have a good time at this show, but that’s just me. I also didn’t really have a good time at the Clifford Ball. Goes to show you how much your own personal headspace is often more important than the playing when it comes to enjoying a show.

Having a blast listening to this one today with friends old and new. That’s all I’ve got.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Friday, 12/31/1993
Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA
Soundcheck: Peaches en Regalia (x2), Funky Bitch, Ginseng Sullivan, Blues Jam
Set 1: Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan[1], Reba, Peaches en Regalia, I Didn’t Know, Run Like an Antelope[2]
Set 2: Tweezer > Halley’s Comet > Poor Heart > It’s Ice[3] > Fee[4] > Possum, Lawn Boy, You Enjoy Myself
Set 3: Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease Jam > Split Open and Melt, The Lizards, Sparkle > Suzy Greenberg > Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin’ Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise
Encore: Golgi Apparatus, Amazing Grace
[1] Trey on acoustic guitar, Mike on upright bass, Page on piano and Fish on Madonna washboard.
[2] Tom Marshall on vocals.
[3] Random Note signal.
[4] Trey sang verses through megaphone.
· Jean Pierre tease in Tweezer
· Peaches en Regalia tease in It’s Ice
· Peaches en Regalia and Earache My Eye teases in Possum
· Hold Your Head Up tease in You Enjoy Myself
· Auld Lang Syne tease in Down with Disease
· Smoke on the Water and Peaches en Regalia teases in Suzy Greenberg
· Peaches en Regalia tease in Hold Your Head Up
· Theme from The Odd Couple and Auld Lang Syne teases in Harry Hood
· Roundabout tease

Notes: Ginseng Sullivan featured Trey on acoustic guitar, Mike on upright bass, Page on piano and Fish on Madonna washboard and was preceded by a Roundabout tease. Antelope featured Tom Marshall on vocals. Tweezer contained a Jean Pierre tease from Trey. It’s Ice contained a Random Note signal. The band put on wet suits during the end of the YEM vocal jam, which contained a HYHU tease. The third set was preceded by bubble noises through the PA and the band “diving” into the aquarium on stage. Peaches en Regalia was teased in It’s Ice, Possum, Suzy Greenberg and at the end of the second HYHU (by Trey on drums). Possum also contained an Earache My Eye tease. Auld Lang Syne was teased in the DWD Jam and Hood. Suzy also contained a Smoke on the Water tease and Hood also contained a brief Odd Couple theme tease from Page. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. The entire show was broadcast live (and rebroadcast the following day) on Boston’s WBCN 104.1 FM.

Thursday, 12/30/1993 Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME

Thursday, 12/30/1993
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME

First things first. This show is why I’m a fan of Phish. It’s still my favorite show I’ve ever seen by any band. It’s just a perfect show start to finish.

We woke up in New Haven to a foot of snow and a towed car. It was a rough day after a long night. It was bitterly cold in Portland when we pulled up to the Civic Center. The line to get in was brutal. We got found seats Page side high (of course) and 2 minutes later the lights went down.

…and Bowie! What a freaking great Bowie, too. The dream on and Dave’s Energy Guide teases are so seamless and effortless. Pure fun. A statement of purpose that this night is going to be special. The rest of set flows like a mountain stream. Just perfect. And when you’re listening to it for the thousandth time and it has faded into the background you are very suddenly drawn back in when the Bathtub Gin starts raging like a monster. Greatness.

Then the second set is one for the ages. The Mike’s basically defined an entire new direction for Phish. I still get chills at moments with every listen. Without going song by song after that, let’s just say the whole set is majestic.

I will mention the Slave… I remember reading about Slave on in the preceding months as people were excited that it had returned for the first time since the 80’s. But going into this show I still had never heard it on tape or otherwise. Needless to say, I was blown away.

Listening now in a rented apartment full of friends, half still sleeping off last night’s epic throwdown at MSG, I’m immediately transported back to the CCCC. Every moment of this show is preserved I’m my memory… Perhaps helped over the years by tapes of the show that have never left heavy rotation for me since I got them in the mail about 3 weeks into 1994.

By the end of Mike’s everyone is awake and the party is rolling by the time we get to Slave. I’m done typing. Time to hang with all these kind people. I have high hopes for tonight. 20 years after my favorite show, I’m beyond excited to see Phish tonight.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 12/30/1993
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME

Thursday, 12/30/1993
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME

Soundcheck: Dog Log (x2), Funky Bitch

Set 1: David Bowie, Weigh > The Curtain > Sample in a Jar, Paul and Silas, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > Rift > Bathtub Gin, Free Bird

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song -> The Horse[1] > Silent in the Morning > Punch You In the Eye > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Weekapaug Groove[2] > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Rocky Top > Good Times Bad Times

[1] Trey on acoustic guitar.
[2] Vocal jam; unfinished.
· Dream On and Dave’s Energy Guide jams in David Bowie

Wednesday, 12/29/1993 New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT

Wednesday, 12/29/1993
New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT

Night two of this epic run starts with the classic pairing of RunJim and Foam, this time sandwiching another Peaches to nod to Frank. The first set really sets the stage for my theory that 1994 would define in so many ways the phish we know and love now. The crowd isn’t yet chanting "WILSON!" There are some folks clapping in the Stash breaks, but Fish is still filling on wood blocks. By the end of the year these rituals would be locked into place for all time.

It’s also fun to hear the band so tight on some tunes (Foam and Stash in particular) but so loose on others… The Wilson is incredibly loose compared to Wilsons in later years.

Set two starts off pretty simple like the night before, but then they dive into a monster Fluffhead. From there things get weird and, at times, evil.

What I remember from this show was missing a huge chunk of the first set… The drive from D.C. was brutal and the last mile into New Haven was worse. Still, the night became one of our most epic nights in life. A night my buddies still talk about to this day. We ended up at a friend’s apartment in town post show watching a pre-release VHS copy of Dazed and Confused with about 20 people. That’s as much detail as I’m at liberty to share in public….but it was an epic night, trust me.

Also of note, the only video footage I’ve seen of this holiday run comes from this night. I think the entire show is on YouTube. If you’ve never seen what fish tank set looked like, you should go watch some clips from this show!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 12/29/1993
New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT

Soundcheck: Reggae Jam, Nellie Kane
Set 1: Runaway Jim, Peaches en Regalia, Foam, Glide[1] > Divided Sky, Wilson > Sparkle > Stash[2], The Squirming Coil
Set 2: Maze, Bouncing Around the Room > Fluffhead > Run Like an Antelope > Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars[3] -> Walk Away > Big Ball Jam, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up, Sweet Adeline, Chalk Dust Torture
Encore: Nellie Kane > Cavern
[1] Simpsons signal.
[2] Included a jam akin to the sound of a television newscast, complete with vocal quotes from Trey referencing news personality Connie Chung.
[3] Unfinished.

Tuesday, 12/28/1993 Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC

Tuesday, 12/28/1993
Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC

I decided to prime the pump of this ambitious project by kicking it off with the last 4 shows of 1993. My thinking? First, I am excited to get started and prove to myself that I can do it no matter the circumstances. Traveling to NYC for the NYE shows this week is the first test of the logistics of listening and posting to the blog while life happens around me.

Mostly, though, I have always thought of this epic NYE run as more of a kick-off to 1994 than a summation of year preceding it (which NYE runs tend to be… for instance, I consider 12/31/95 an exclamation point on the year). The fall of 93 saw zero shows as Phish headed to LA to record Hoist. While they didn’t play any new songs on the run, they did begin 1994 with the DwD Jam that would become a mainstay of the Phish repertoire.

So, if this NYE run isn’t technically in 1994, I’ll just call it a prelude and feel good about it.

If you did this run, you remember the snow that blanketed every road you trudged to get through it. People always said Limestone felt special because you really had to “want it” to make the trek. Well, this run was the same. The blizzard made the entire run a feat of perseverance with the greatest of rewards for your efforts.

The run kicks off with this show that seems pretty straightforward on paper. The first Peaches of the 90’s (a nod to Zappa who had passed at the beginning of the December) sets the tone quite well. I have to admit I did not recognize Peaches at the time. Everyone’s a noob once!

The entire first set flows… no sign of rust. There’s a fiery SOAMelt that builds much like the jam tacked onto Demand from Hoist. The rest is classic early 90’s Phish. The playful Ya Mar is so much fun I had to “get down” a bit in my seat as they played. The Possum infused with Kashmir is another fun one. Fun as hell, I say!

Set 2 starts innocently enough with Sample but dives headfirst into a great YEM after that opener. Again, what stands out most is the flow and fun they bring here. Some rocking out with the Sloth and Highway to Hell, but plenty of time for introspection with The Lizards and a beautiful Hood.

All in all, a great show and a great way to kick off the run and my new blog.

20 years ago today I was a 19 year old, wide-eyed, dumb, kid with less than two years of driving a car under my belt doing some of the toughest driving I’ve ever done to this day. Now I’m 39 and embarking on a project that may be the dumbest thing I have ever attempted. Wish me luck!!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 12/28/1993
Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC

Set 1: Peaches en Regalia > Poor Heart > Split Open and Melt, Esther > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Ya Mar, It’s Ice > Fee > Possum

Set 2: Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself, My Friend, My Friend -> The Lizards, The Sloth, Fast Enough for You > Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Highway to Hell

Encore: Memories, Golgi Apparatus

Notes: For the entire New Year’s Run, the stage was set up as an aquarium, complete with sand, seaweed, rocks, and a giant clam. Suzy included a Tweezer tease and Possum included a Kashmir tease. Peaches (first since June 23, 1989, or 558 shows) was likely played in memory of Frank Zappa, who passed away a few weeks before. Subsequently, SOAM included Peaches teases. Ya Mar included an Auld Lang Syne tease and Hood included a Simpsons signal. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. My Friend started out with Trey on acoustic guitar and did not contain the “Myfe” ending.

More About Why I’m Doing This…

Today’s post serves two purposes. First, I’m testing the post-by-email system. I need to get a handle on the technical side of running a blog. I don’t think it’s terribly difficult, but I am new to it, so bear with me.

Second, I’ve been putting more thought into the reason for this blog. I mentioned that I do not intend to give a song by song review of every show. I mean, nobody is going to keep up with a blog that reads like that. Most shows have fan reviews posted on anyway. I would not really adding anything to the conversation with a daily review of a show from 20 years ago.

So, that gets at the real goal here. There is a daily Phish conversation happening all over the Interwebs. I read zzyzx’s daily stats post on FB because they are always interesting and insightful. I keep up with Scotty B’ YEMBlog posts for the latest in Phish news. I sometimes read blogs like Mr. Minor or the Daily Ghost. I lurk on PT and other Phish-related forums. Each of these is part of our daily phan interaction. If my blog doesn’t add something useful to that conversation then it’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

My goal is to listen to every show twenty years later and reflect on the process. Ideally, I’d like to reveal over the course of the year what it means to be a 40 year old phish head who saw the band in their heyday and still loves them.

It’s also a study of a band in transition. A band with a sound system and light show ready to fill huge spaces playing one last jaunt in the theater circuit before permanently locking into arenas and sheds. A band whose core repertoire has been locked in for a while and is exploring new sounds with a sense of urgency. Bluegrass. 30+ minute jams. The Halloween tradition. In so many ways, 1994 defined what phish really became.

Also, I have a life and a job. There is no way I can listen to every show and take notes on every song. It’s not feasible. Much of my listening will be background listening while I do other things that need to get done on a daily basis. I don’t have 3 hours a day to dedicate to this shit… But I think I can get it done with 15 minutes of writing a day and listening in the office or on a plane or whatever my life makes me do next year.

If I’m successful, it will be something people want to read and check in on regularly. If it’s a study in madness as the project drives me insane, then I’ll get readers who love a trainwreck. I’m sure whatever I think it will be now will change as the year rolls on.

By starting the blog this week, I think I am making the commitment to myself to do it no matter the cost. My only real hope is that I am adding something to the Phish conversation.

Thank you for reading.


1994 was a special year in the world of Phish. They played 124 shows in 1994, the most of any year in their 30 year history. I have long declared 1994 to be my favorite year of Phish.

Sometime toward the end of 2013 I decided I wanted to listen to every show from 1994. Not only that, I wanted to listen to them exactly 20 years to the day after they happened. So, what you will see on this blog will be my reports of these shows as I listen to them 20 years later.

It’s going to be a monumental task. I do have a full time job, so I intend to keep this blog anonymous. I do not need my employer knowing I spend 3 hours every day listening to music. That said, I imagine much of my listening will happen while working anyway.

What to expect: I definitely will not do a song-by-song review of each show. I will just give some general comments and point to a couple of highlights. I imagine it will include some personal stuff, too. What was my mood was when I listened… how that affected my opinion of the show… experiences seeing the show (I saw 17 shows that year)… my memories of tapes I had and knew well of certain shows from the year… if I’m getting sick of phish a month in… whatever.

I also have a couple of friends interested in joining me on this journey. Perhaps it will be a challenge amongst us… a fight to the finish!

Thanks for reading!