Monday, 05/02/1994 Five Points South Music Hall, Birmingham, AL

Monday, 05/02/1994
Five Points South Music Hall, Birmingham, AL

So, yesterday was one of those glorious bluebird Jazzfest days. There really isn’t a better way to spend a day than that. 75 and sunny with 100% chance of boogieing to the Wailers. Perfection. So good, in fact, I decided to take a night off from seeing music and just chill last night. Now I’m rested and ready for three more days of whatever NOLA can pile on…and I woke up ready to listen to some Phish.

I have really fond memories of this show. Five Points South Music Hall was definitely the smallest room I ever saw Phish play. I’ve been back to B’ham many times since the place closed… at one point it was a pool hall. The last time I was there it was shuttered completely.

The show was very sold out and I had no ticket. I was begging folks outside for a ticket all afternoon. Finally, I ran into someone I knew who had an extra. With a sigh of relief I hurried inside and found my friends on the rail in front of Mike just as the lights went down. At set break, I ran into more people I knew who had been simply stubbed in… no hand stamp and just a ticket stub to get back in?? Yup. Place was packed to the gills by the end of the night.

This was one of the very few nights I spent “on the rail” for Phish. It was great. The stage was only about 3 feet off the floor. There was no way for it to be any higher as the ceiling was only maybe 12 feet above us.

The show starts with nod to Pink Floyd… apparently the entire band and crew had used their day off on May 1st to see the monster stadium production that was the “Division Bell Tour” at B’ham’s Legion Field. I actually caught the tour a week later in Nashville… but this ain’t no Floyd blog.

Coming out of Great Gig, the Melt is a screamer! Energy through the low-slung roof. Hard to explain the energy you feel when you’re close enough to Mike you could reach out and mess with the knobs on his bass with very little effort. Great memories, indeed. In fact, one of my clearest memories of the night was Mike hitting the opening of DwD right in my face. Intense!

Without going song by song from there, I’ll just say the whole show is really great. The set-2 Reba is a beauty with Page hanging out on Rhodes for a large portion of the Jam. The Julius is, yet again, very intense. Then, I very clearly remember Trey wanting to start Lawn Boy despite Page’s protests. Everyone had a great laugh at Page’s expense. Good times.

Finally, there’s the Mike’s. You gotta check this out! Three bass players onstage trading licks (one of whom is Stacy Starkweather on an upright electric… you’ll notice what sounds like a fretless on the recording). Oteil does his infamous “sing and play” technique which Mike mimics to hilarious effect. Then the band starts scrambling around the stage playing each other’s instruments. Very entertaining to watch, for sure. A mess on tape, perhaps, but, again, fond fond memories!!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 05/02/1994
Five Points South Music Hall, Birmingham, AL

Set 1: The Great Gig in the Sky > Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, Down with Disease > It’s Ice > Glide > Divided Sky, Suzy Greenberg > Foam, Sample in a Jar

Set 2: Runaway Jim, Mound > Reba, Golgi Apparatus, The Lizards, Julius, Lawn Boy > Mike’s Song -> Jam

Encore: Cavern

Notes: Oteil Burbridge joined on bass during Mike’s Song, also jumping on the trampoline. They were then joined by Stacy Starkweather on stand-up bass for the jam out of Mike’s Song, during which the band members switched instruments. At one point, Trey wound up on drums while Fishman played Page’s organ. Cavern contained a Stairway to Heaven tease from Trey.

Key tracks:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-02/the-great-gig-in-the-sky
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-02/julius
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-02/mike-s-song-jam

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