Saturday, 05/14/1994 Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Saturday, 05/14/1994

Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

 

Gonna be another busy day, but as I mentioned last night, today is my bride’s birthday, so I am determined to get my listening in while I work. I cannot put this off to the end of the day again.

So, I’m in. Llama opener first thing in the morning? I’m awake, damnit. I’m awake!! Wilson with a fun, secret language boasting, intro, but, alas, no chant. It’s fun tracking this thing. I mean, by the end of the year there will be no more Wilson’s with fun intros… well, the chant is fun, I guess, but you know what I mean.

…and I thought I was in, but I’m just now getting to the Reba at 2:30pm. All work and no Phish makes me a dull boy! But this Reba is worth the wait. Yes, indeed. Then I love Trey’s banter about “our muddy-water, Mississippi, Vermont home” before they close out the set with a tight Bowie.

And the second set is exactly my type of Phish. Curtain opener always sets a nice tone, if you ask me. The Mike’s Groove is traditional with no real surprises, but it is fantastic. I should note how much I appreciate a traditional Mike’s Groove. I’ve seen Mike’s Song 36 times and I am Hydrogen only 7. It’s a stat that has urked me for years. I didn’t see a single H2 from 7/2/1994 through 12/30/99. And the 7/2/94 Mike’s was in no way “traditional.” So, suffice it to say I love an unadulterated Mike’s->H2->’paug.

When the ‘paug melts into TMWSIY; my heart melts with it. It’s such a lovely composition… and speaking of stats, I’ve only seen TMWSIY 4 times (well, 7 times at 4 shows, if you want to get technical). If they want to bust it out at SPAC this summer it’ll end a 19-year, 80+ show gap. I’ve given up hoping for such things these days. Shit, I never thought I’d ever see a Fuck Your Face and I’ve see a couple at this point. I can’t complain.

PYITE features Page on the Rhodes. That’s a permanent transition at this point. Sounds great, too. Then the Fast Enough is beautiful. Trey and Page sing the opening verses with the most delicate of tones. Then the energy kind of explodes by the time they get to the last refrains.

This show has a lot of quiet moments. It’s not something you can count on these days. The 3.0 crowd gets chatty during quiet moments (or maybe they’re just chatty and we can hear them more during quiet moments). But there were lots of shows like this one back in the smaller era, when the band senses an attentive crowd and they reward them with lots of quiet moments. I love it. Even the Lizards here starts out really quiet and mellow. Like their saying, “lean in… listen to this tale.”

And who doesn’t love a Bold As Love encore?? What a great show. So very different from the night before, but just as great. I’m loving this journey!

Thanks for reading.

 

Saturday, 05/14/1994

Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Set 1: Llama, Wilson > Down with Disease > Fee, Reba, Sample in a Jar, My Sweet One, Ginseng Sullivan, David Bowie

Set 2: The Curtain > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Punch You In the Eye > Fast Enough for You, The Lizards, Cavern

Encore: Bold As Love

Notes: Wilson included Oom Pa Pa, Simpsons, and Key Change signals. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Ginseng was performed acoustic and without microphones. Weekapaug included a Divided Sky tease and was unfinished.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

 

Key tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-14/reba

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-14/mike-s-song

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-14/i-am-hydrogen

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-14/weekapaug-groove

Friday, 05/13/1994 Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Friday, 05/13/1994

Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Well, today just plain got away from me. I’ve already had dinner before starting this show… and since my lovely wife (who’s birthday is tomorrow) hates the Phish, I’m stuck back in the office listening on headphones while she watches her shows. This is literally the first time this project has felt like a chore. Make the most of it, I say!

RunJim opener? Sure, why not… but alas, it’s not followed by Foam on this night. Instead we get a 10 minute Ice? It’s Ice has been blowing me away every time I get to it on this run. Each seems to outdo the last. This one is certainly the biggest yet. Again, it’s heavily piano driven, but that downplays what all is going on there. Must be heard!!

Then another rockin’ Julius. Dare I say the energy is back. I think last night was an off night for the band. Maybe it’s because Tempe’s got that great college crowd that has always been good for Phish. Maybe it’s because the show was outside. I don’t know… but it’s good to hear.

Stash is a keeper, too. And another absolutely beautiful If I Could. Then there’s the sub-10-minute Slave which is somehow still really amazing. Tight as hell. Wastes no time at all. Wow. I can see the Timer’s disapproval over the length, but I would argue this Slave is better than most 3.0 Slaves that are much longer.

Also, did you ever notice how some of Page’s piano breakdowns in Suzy are more inspired than others… This seems to depend on the night, too. Like, even within a tour there will be Suzy’s where he just takes it somewhere and others where he seemingly phones it in. Anyway, this is one of the good ones, for sure!

Second set starts off with a stutter step from Trey. Then when he starts the first verse the reverb on his voice is set way too high at first. Woah! Then the jam just rips. When I say the energy is back, I mean it.

The Melt is out there, too. Melts have been great, too. I guess it’s almost like playing a hot track off the new album when they played Melt on this tour. I mean, it’s on there. This one kind of reminds of the Hoist Melt jam, actually. It builds and builds like it’s gonna eventually crash, but it never does. That last one eventually broke down into something much quieter and slower. This one is just relentless.

Then McGrupp… aaaahhhh. Not gonna type during this. Just gonna sit back and enjoy it! Yes. And as it fades… drums drop me right into Peaches!! Nice.

Then, honestly, I could write a whole blog post about this YEM. For starters, there’s the whistling in the chill section that sounds just like the whistling in the “Lassie, come home” section of the big Bowie at the end of the year. It’s like foreshadowing!! Then something funny must have happened with the tramps – I think Brad must have set them up and Trey was just like “Yeah, I can’t do that.” Something.

But the jam here is really where it’s at. Classic YEM build from quiet to raging followed by a sort of unique slap-happy Mike segment. Greatness.

How do you bring a show like that home? With a trio of covers everyone loves! Purple Rain is always a classic. GTBT speaks for itself (Also, I kinda wish Phish had played GTBT at Jazzfest while Robert Plant was doing his thing over on Gentilly). And Freebird to close out. Tough to beat, really.

This was a scorching show. It’s almost midnight as I finish it up. Honestly, I sort of thought I’d cheat a bit tonight and skip through some of this one. I’m exhausted. I literally had NO time to listen to Phish today until really late. I was dreading it. But then I started listening to this great AUD recording through my sweet Grados and everything melted away… much like it does at a show. I found that I couldn’t bring myself to skip anything… not even Bouncin’… it just sounded too good.

… and so to bed. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 05/13/1994

Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Set 1: Runaway Jim, It’s Ice > Julius, Mound > Stash, If I Could > My Friend, My Friend > Slave to the Traffic Light > Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Split Open and Melt, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Peaches en Regalia > Scent of a Mule, You Enjoy Myself, Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Good Times Bad Times

Encore: Free Bird

Notes: Suzy included a Layla tease from Page. YEM included a Mission: Impossible theme tease from Page a Spider-Man theme tease from Mike, and a Mind Left Body jam.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

 

Key tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-13/it-s-ice

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-13/if-i-could

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-13/slave-to-the-traffic-light

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-13/split-open-and-melt

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-13/you-enjoy-myself

 

Thursday, 05/12/1994 Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ

Thursday, 05/12/1994

Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ

 

It’s Monday – that means calls. Calls. More calls. I’m busy! Listening is happening a song or two at a time if I’m lucky. That said…

Catapult opener? Mike sings a capella. Was the rest of the band slow to get to their places so Mike decided to fill the time? Anyone know the story behind this? Only know Catapult opener per phish.net. Things that make you go “Hmmmm.”

After that, the first set is fairly standard. Rockin’ DwD. I like how Foam emerges from the Axilla instead of it’s usual spot after RunJim. Then, during Foam, Trey holds one note for a readicculusly long time. The band builds and builds behind him, but he just holds strong. That’s the kind of thing that sucks you in, even when you’re multitasking. It requires your attention. It can’t be ignored.

The rest of this show has sort of flown by without much notice, to be honest. Not that it’s bad, but it certainly doesn’t ooze energy like the Paolo Soleri show two nights earlier. Take a look at this picture of the venue. Hard to imagine this wouldn’t inspire the band like the Paolo Soleri…

Image

There are some fun moments, though. I always love hearing Lizards. The 2001 is all intro. The Antelope is short but sweet. The quick little transition from Fluff to Lifeboy is pretty cool. The Bring It On Home teases are fun. The Contact>BBFCFM is a throw-back to encores of years past.

So, it wasn’t a bad show, I’m sure. Unfortunately, it didn’t get my full undivided attention. It’s Monday and I’m way too busy for Phish today. Sorry! At least I listened. It happened.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 05/12/1994

Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ

Set 1: Catapult, Rift, Down with Disease > Fee > Maze, Axilla (Part II) > Foam, Bathtub Gin -> The Lizards, Sample in a Jar

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope > The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Uncle Pen, Fluffhead > Lifeboy, Possum, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

Encore: Amazing Grace, Rocky Top

Notes: Catapult was played for the first time since February 10, 1993 (133 shows). Trey sang some of the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Fluffhead and Possum contained Bring It On Home teases.

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.

 

Key tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-12/catapult

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-12/also-sprach-zarathustra

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-12/lifeboy

 

Tuesday, 05/10/1994 Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, 05/10/1994

Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Saturday for me! I had a shit-ton of chores and errands to get done after being gone the last two weekends, but they are done! Time to listen to some Phish! High-energy Buried Alive opener?? HELLSYEAH!!! Perfect! Then they rip right into a fiery Poor Heart. Man, they must have had some energy after being cooped up in the tour bus for two days straight. The only problem I see with Austin, TX is it’s a long drive from here to anywhere interesting.

But if you want interesting, you really need look no further than the Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre! Holy cow! I would have loved to see Phish at this place. Hell, I’d love to see anybody at this place! Unfortunately, it looks like it’s been closed since 2010. There are tons of pics out there if you want to check it out. This one I found features Bela Fleck and the Flecktones onstage:

Image

Back to my listening exercises. Gorgeous Divided Sky is an early highlight. This is a band inspired! Also, another funky-as-shit little breakdown in Ice. This one is strictly piano-driven from the get-go, but it is funky! Then another Melt that builds and build until it drops off a cliff. Interesting improv, to say the least. Another beautiful If I Could and a standard Cavern close out the set.

I’ve gotta believe the sun has set by the time this crowd is getting into this Maze. Then there’s the Wilson… You can tell Trey is clearly egging the crowd on to start the chant, but they don’t really know what to do so they start with just big “WOOOO” chants… but after a few rounds, someone must have helped them get to the “WILSON” chant. Here it is. This is the first since the Beacon chant… and the first where Trey clearly instigated it… I definitely remember Trey egging on the MSG crowd at the end of the year. I can really picture it here. Interesting! Definitely one of those little things I wanted to learn as I listen to this year of Phish.

I really try not to do a song by song review each time… But this set is chock full of highlights. The Reba jam starts out so mellow and quiet I had to turn it up just to hear what was going on. Beautiful, to say the least. The Julius is fire – even in the context of Julius. I mean, it’s just insanely high-energy. The Hood is everything you want in a Hood. Truly sublime and inspirational.

Then the acoustic segment is really beautiful. The Ginseng is cut from the recording, but the Dog Faced Boy is really sweet. And I’ve never heard a more attentive crowd for mic-free Phish. The harmonies are tight and perfect.

Then they take it all home with a short but intense Bowie and a Coil that leaves Page out there to shine.

Wow! I did not expect to so thoroughly enjoy this out of the way show. It makes sense, though. Phish always rewards the out of the way shows. I mean, there’s nothing “Bomb-Factory-out-there” on this night. But I would have walked out of this one grinning ear to ear.

Thanks for reading.

 

Tuesday, 05/10/1994

Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample in a Jar > Divided Sky, Axilla (Part II) > It’s Ice > Split Open and Melt, If I Could, Cavern

Set 2: Maze, Wilson > Reba, Julius, Scent of a Mule, Harry Hood, Ginseng Sullivan, Dog Faced Boy, Nellie Kane, David Bowie

Encore: The Squirming Coil

Notes: Ginseng Sullivan through Nellie Kane were performed acoustic.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

 

Key tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-10/split-open-and-melt

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-10/harry-hood

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-10/dog-faced-boy

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-10/david-bowie

Sunday, 05/08/1994 The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX

Sunday, 05/08/1994

The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX

 

Let me start by saying the original Backyard was one of my favorite venues in the world. Unfortunately, it died a slow, painful, death at the hands of developers. By the time they “moved” it to it’s new location, it’s famous Hill Country views were blocked out by the likes of Best Buy, Michael’s, Lowes, etc. Watching this beautiful venue get swallowed was painful. I saw so many great shows out there… David Bowie, Phil and Friends (the Q), Allman Brothers, Willie Nelson, David Byrne… the list goes on.

Alas, I did not see Phish at the Backyard. I was not yet an Austinite. I can only imagine how great it was as I listen to this show today.

Another RunJim Foam opener gets no complaints here. The DwD has a nice little jam to it. Trey spits fire. I don’t know why I hated this song for so long, but I did. I’ve since grown to love these early versions.

The Stash is really cool, too. I think everyone would agree that Stashes from this era are all stellar. There’s just so much tension in them. Then the Coil outtro is beautiful, as usual. Plus Page ends it with a little blues flourish… never heard that before!

Set two opens with 2001 after a 14-show gap!! That is literally the longest gap in the song’s history. Wow! I wonder why they didn’t play it for a while there? I also wonder why they brought it back on this night.

Then comes this really intense Antelope. I remember seeing the Sugarbush Antelope at the end of summer and being frightened by the darkness that took over. This one is similar. It’s a scary Antelope… but so good!

There’s another really cool breakdown in Ice, too! While I wouldn’t call It’s Ice the song of the year in 1994, I would definitely say 1994 is THE year for It’s Ice. Every one I’ve heard so far is worth hearing. I didn’t really expect that coming into this project. It’s been a wonderful surprise every time! Julius, too. I know I keep mentioning it, but these early Juliuses (Julii?) are stellar!

Finally, the YEM is pretty cool. They kind of sneak into the vocal jam and sneak out of it by starting up Halley’s… which drops hard and fast into GTBT. Solid closing!

A great show… nothing on the night before, but I wish I was there, nonetheless.

Thanks for reading.

 

Sunday, 05/08/1994

The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX

Soundcheck: Loving Cup (intro), Nellie Kane (x2)

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Foam, Axilla (Part II) > Rift, Down with Disease > Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, The Squirming Coil

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope, It’s Ice > Fee > Julius, Cavern > You Enjoy Myself -> Halley’s Comet > Good Times Bad Times

Encore: Sweet Adeline, Golgi Apparatus

Notes: Stash contained Cannonball teases. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. YEM contained a theme from Mission: Impossible tease from Page and a theme from Shaft quote from Trey. Halley’s segued out of the YEM vocal jam. Adeline was performed without microphones.

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.

 

Key Tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-08/stash

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-08/run-like-an-antelope

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-08/it-s-ice

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-08/you-enjoy-myself

 

Saturday, 05/07/1994 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Saturday, 05/07/1994

The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Does this show loom large for you, too? For years the words “Bomb Factory” were a code for everything we love about Phish. It was the promise of the Roxy Tweezerfest realizing its full potential. It was the exact show we knew Phish was capable of long before it happened.

The crazy thing is that it wasn’t a show I had heard about at all. Perhaps because I was out of school for the summer so I wasn’t on rec.music.phish when people were raving about it. Perhaps nobody really raved about it until the SBD of the second set made the rounds over the summer. For whatever reason, I had no clue this crazy show had happened until I ran into my buddy Jay Rosenblum at a Medeski Martin & Wood show and he handed me a tape, saying “Here. You need this.”

A little background… If you were a Phish fan living in Nashville in the mid-90’s, you probably knew Jay Rosenblum. He was the hub of the tape-trading community in Nashville at the time. I’d venture to say 75% of the tapes in my collection at one point were dubbed by his rig. He’d have nearly every show from some source within a month or two of the end of any given tour, no small task back in those days.

So, when Jay handed me an unsolicited tape and said, “You need this” I was very curious! Once I slipped that tape into the deck of my car, I’m not sure it left that spot for a solid year. This tape consisted of Set 2 from the Bomb Factory minus the encore, which was replaced by the Murat Gin from the previous summer. I listened to it non-stop. I know that tape so well that when I listen to the LivePhish release of this show I’m always thrown for a loop when it doesn’t fade out for the tape flip after the Digital Delay Loop Jam section.

Listening to the complete show today, in the context of this insane project, I’m actually really blown away by how good the first set is. It’s never been talked about much. I don’t think the first set SBD circulated before the LivePhish release. But it’s really good – better than anything the night before, imo.

A beautiful Horn with this cool little outtro that surprises me every time I hear it leads into a raging Divided Sky. The FEFY and If I Could are both stellar. The SOAM and SOAM combo is a treat, with the Melt really heading off the cliff at one point. And the Suzy is a barnstormer to close out the set.

But we all know why the first set gets slighted… It’s the stellar Loving Cup > Sparkle!!

No, really… This Tweezer is the greatest thing ever. Really. It’s fun, dark, bluesy, scary, amazing, crazy… it’s everything you want from Phish. It NEVER gets old to me. I could listen to this every day of 2014 instead of listening to the 1994 show 20 years later and still feel like I spent the year doing something worthwhile. At an hour and nine minutes total running time, it is surprising that it never passes into a single boring segment.

The opening 26 minutes of Tweezer before they finally land in Sparks is some of my favorite Phish exploration ever. And Sparks is literally the only tune left that I’m still chasing live. The only one I care about that I haven’t seen.

And when Spark fades into Makisupa, we’re still only half-way through this brilliant non-stop onslaught of Phish music. This is a band possessed. You can sense the “don’t even come up for air at any time” mentality going on here. By the time they are jamming the shit out of HYHU and transitioning into Tweeprise I’m spent. Every time I listen, even in the background, I’m spent by the end.

This set is exhausting. It demands a lot from the listener. I’m having trouble writing about it, honestly. I don’t really know what more to say. It’s the soundtrack to a vast swath of my life.

In my mind, it’s up there with Live/Dead, Waiting For Columbus, Live at Leeds, Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park, Sunshine Daydream, Stop Making Sense, The Song Remains the Same, Roxy and Elsewhere, Bongo Fury, P-Funk Earth Tour, Exit Stage Left, Wattstax, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, The Last Waltz, Live at the Fillmore East (Allmans, Derek and Dominoes, and Zappa/Mothers), James Brown Live at the Apollo, The Meters Uptown Rulers Live on the Queen Mary, Cornell ‘77, A Live One, The Woodstock Soundtrack, Townes van Zandt at the Old Quarter, Willie and Family Live,  and any other great live recording you know and love. It’s on that list.. and near the top. It’s that good.

I doubt anyone who has read this far has not heard this show. If not, WTF??!!?!? DO IT NOW!!

Thanks for reading.

 

Saturday, 05/07/1994

The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Soundcheck: Jazz Jam, Dog Log (slow reggae version), Blues Jam

Set 1: Llama, Horn > Divided Sky, Mound, Fast Enough for You > Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, If I Could, Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Loving Cup > Sparkle > Tweezer -> Sparks -> Makisupa Policeman -> Digital Delay Loop Jam -> Sweet Emotion Jam -> Walk Away -> Cannonball Jam -> Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up Jam -> Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Amazing Grace, Sample in a Jar

Notes: Horn ended with a brief, atypical jam. The jam after Walk Away included a Page solo, teases of It’s Ice and McGrupp, and a Simpsons signal. Amazing Grace was performed without microphones. This show was officially released as Live Phish 18.

 

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

Key tracks:

SET TWO!!!

 

Friday, 05/06/1994 Tower Theater, Houston, TX

Friday, 05/06/1994

Tower Theater, Houston, TX

So, the spreadsheet is missing the first set of this show… as such, so is phishtracks and the Aquarium Project. These have been my sources for this project. Now is as good a time as any to give the kind folks behind these projects a shout out. Without them a blog like mine would be far more difficult to accomplish.

So, I am listening to Set 2 while I try to get out from under the hundreds of emails that have accumulated while I was in NOLA for Jazzfest. We’ll see how focused on the music I can actually be. Hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day, as I cannot wait to get to the Bomb Factory show!!

First thing that really stood out was the Reba. Love a second set Reba, and this one does not disappoint. Then the Julius (if you’ve been following along, you know I’m going to comment on Julius) is really great. Rockin’ jam that peaks with fire!

Bike, I happen to know, is one of Fish’s favorites to come out front and sing. He’s the biggest Syd Barret fan you’re likely to meet. Finally, the Bowie sends everyone home on a high note.

It’s crazy to me that this tame show is just one night prior to the Bomb Factory show. That’s the context? That’s what led up to the most epic Tweezerfest ever? “WOW,” is all I can say.

Until tomorrow… Thanks for reading!

 

Friday, 05/06/1994

Tower Theater, Houston, TX

Set 1: Down with Disease, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag, Poor Heart, My Friend, My Friend, Ya Mar, Stash, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2: Maze, Golgi Apparatus, Uncle Pen, Sample in a Jar, Reba, Axilla (Part II) > Julius, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, David Bowie

Encore: Ginseng Sullivan, Free Bird

Notes: The Bowie intro included Oom Pa Pa, Aw Fuck!, and Simpsons signals and HYHU teases. The encore was performed without microphones. This show was originally scheduled for Houston’s Bayou City Theatre, but was relocated at the last minute to the Tower Theater.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

 

Key Tracks:

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-06/julius

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-06/david-bowie

 

Wednesday, 05/04/1994 State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, 05/04/1994
State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

It’s heartening to see things revitalized in New Orleans these days. I spent several hours last night in the beautifully renovated Saenger Theatre right across Canal St. from the State Palace. The Saenger along with the Joy represent the best of what can be done when people care enough to do it. Unfortunately, the State Palace is still sitting there in disrepair with an “available” sign hung by some real estate broker. I’ve gotta believe it will come back soon like its brethren.

This morning I’m up early despite my exhaustion. One more day at the Fairgrounds and Jazzfest 2014 is on the books. It’s been a long two weeks, and I’m not really sure how I’m going to settle back into the reality of life tomorrow. I need another week off to recover!

I did not attend this show. If you read yesterday’s post you know I had a final on this day. If you keep up all year, however, you’ll have a chance to hear about my first New Orleans Phish show in the fall.

The show starts with the staple RunJim Foam combo. Already in the quiet part of Foam you can hear how attentive this crowd was. Somehow I doubt that would be the case if Phish played a small NOLA show these days as most of us are older, chattier, and drunker now than we were in 1994.

The first major highlight is the Ice jam. What fun they were having with Ice on this tour! You’ve gotta hear this one! Page leads with Trey all over the wah pedal throughout. It’s intense!

Add Tweezer and Tweezer Reprise and this first set’s already a keeper. The Tweezer is great, too.

Second set starts with a bang and only gets better from there. What a great show. The third “horns show” of tour does not disappoint. Perfect compliment to my morning!

The crowd goes nuts when the horns come out during YEM. I love that shit! I wonder if they just skipped the tramps on this night. Nothing in the notes about a sub for the still gimpy Trey.

Julius and Wolfman’s both steal the show here! Wow! Just as good if not better than the earlier horns renditions from Burlington and NYC. Wolfman’s goes into another extremely fast high-energy jam. Magilla and Suzy are just icing on the cake.

Great show! Ready to hit the Fairgrounds one more day!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 05/04/1994
State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sample in a Jar, It’s Ice > Sparkle > Axilla (Part II) > Tweezer > Lifeboy, Rift > Tweezer Reprise

Set 2: Run Like an Antelope, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, Buried Alive, The Landlady, Julius, Wolfman’s Brother, Magilla, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Caravan

Notes: It’s Ice included a Right Off (Miles Davis) tease. YEM through Caravan featured the Cosmic Country Horns: Michael Ray and Carl “Geerz” Gerhard on trumpet, Dave “The Truth” Grippo on alto sax, Tony Tate on tenor sax, Jerome Theriot on baritone sax, and Rick Trolsen on trombone. Suzy ended with a jazz jam involving a megaphone on Trey’s guitar and an electric screwdriver on Mike’s bass. Trey dedicated Antelope to his friend, who was, at that moment, giving birth. He recommended that she name the child “Marco Esquandolas.”

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.

Key tracks:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-04/it-s-ice
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-04/tweezer
Then start with YEM and just listen to the rest of the show… Seriously!
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-04/you-enjoy-myself

Tuesday, 05/03/1994 Starwood Amphitheater, Antioch, TN

Tuesday, 05/03/1994
Starwood Amphitheater, Antioch, TN

I should not have attended this show. I had one last final to close out my sophomore year at 8am Wednesday morning. But after the thrill of seeing the B’ham show the night before, I just couldn’t imagine missing this show.

So, caution to the wind, I headed to Starwood solo expecting Phish to play out by the snack bar (officially the “Veranda”) like they had the year prior. I arrived just as they were starting up Rift on the main stage. The covered seats were about half full as the GA crowd all pushed toward the front. I don’t remember any rain, but that was the reason for the move under the roof.

And, boy am I glad I hit this one. It’s one of the most memorable shows I caught in my years of seeing Phish. It’s chock full of little gems.

To start off, Page’s solo in Maze is freaking great – I remember this being the first Maze where I really beamed in on what Page is doing while in the spotlight. Wow. He’s just ferocious here! PAY JORGAN!!! The entire first set is tight and solid… with Page highlights throughout, in fact. The mid-set Coil and ferocious Mule Duel certainly showcase the Chairman of the Boards.

The Bowie that opens set 2 is exceptional, starting with the Sunshine of Your Love, Sunshine of My Life teases that would pop back up in Harpua later.

Then there’s one of my favorite moments ever… Alison Krauss singing “her” part on If I Could. If you’ve never heard this version, you simply must. It’s the only live version that sounds right!! It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Then, of course, is my first Harpua. Not only that, the narration is all about growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey… This hit really close to home as I grew up in New Jersey and was living in Nashville at the time. Perfect, really. Even without that connection, it’s a really fun Harpua. Give it a listen.

Add to the special treat category my first and only time seeing I Wanna Be Like You… And the Slave is a beauty.

What a great show… and great memory. I’m really glad I threw caution to the wind and hit this one up!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 05/03/1994
Starwood Amphitheater, Antioch, TN

Set 1: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Maze, Sparkle, Stash, The Squirming Coil, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar, Sweet Adeline

Set 2: David Bowie, If I Could, Fluffhead > Down with Disease, Harpua, Chalk Dust Torture, I Wanna Be Like You > Hold Your Head Up, Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Nellie Kane > Fire

Notes: If I Could featured Alison Krauss on vocals. Bowie contained Black or White, Sunshine of Your Love and Sunshine of My Life teases. Harpua contained Charge! and I Wanna Be Like You teases from Page and Sunshine of Your Love and Sunshine of My Life teases. Adeline was performed unmiced. The venue is sometimes mislabeled as “The Veranda” at Starwood; the show was scheduled to be held there but was moved to the main stage due to rain. Interestingly, Hank Williams, Jr. had already set up his PA and light system for a tour rehearsal and allowed Phish to use his rig. After Stash, Trey thanked Hank for letting Phish borrow the equipment, joked that they would like to play the Monday Night Football song in honor of him and quoted All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

Key tracks:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-03/maze
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-03/david-bowie
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-03/if-i-could
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-05-03/harpua

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