Monday, September 20, 2010

April 6, 1994 Concert Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Etree Source

Spreadsheet Source

Miner's Archive Source

Last Show: April 5, Metropolis, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Distance from last show: 340 miles, roughly 6 hours.

Show highlights: Stash, Mike's Song, Squirming Coil

Set 1: Llama, Guelah Papyrus, Poor Heart, Stash, Lizards, Sample In A Jar, Scent Of A Mule, Fee, Run Like An Antelope

Set 2: The Curtain, Down With Disease, Wolfman's Brother, Sparkle, Mike's Song, Lifeboy, Weekapaug Groove, Squirming Coil, Cavern

Encore: Ginseng Sullivan, Nellie Cane, Sweet Adeline

For this show, I listened to the source from Mr. Miner's archive.  His site is fantastic both for his great writing and reviews, but also for his easy to use and access archive of many, many shows.  This source is a Panasonic SV-3700 into a Tascam PCI-822. 

That beating drum can only mean a Llama opener.  Great, pumping way to start the show.  Page is all over the organ to get it started.  Page is definitely on it to start this show.  Great solo with Trey adding some discordant strumming behind him.  Trey comes in high and then just starts rocking.  A little low jam to build tension almost sounds like a chalkdust jam for a moment.  Really nice jam overall.  A great way to start a show.

Guelah Papyrus follows.  I wish that recordings showed you the Guelah dance, because I absolutely love the dance.  A nice little breakdown before the first verse.  The Asse Festival part is just played flawlessly.  One of Phish's many 5 minute jamless pieces.  Well crafted and well played.

They still haven't really gotten jamming yet, and Poor Heart isn't the place for that to start.  Still, always fun.  Trey says "cactus" two or three times at the start of Gordon's break.  High speed bluegrass, nicely played.  The boys are having fun, but really haven't gotten going yet.

I was thinking Stash all the way through Poor Heart, and sure enough there is was.  Just so you guys know, I don't peak at the setlists before I hit play on the show, figure it gives me a "blank slate" review.  A few hiccups by Trey into the 2nd vocal part.  The drums are a little low in the mix at this point.  Trey is immediately heading into a dark space with the jam, repeating a figure down low while Page plays up higher on the piano.  Got a little psychedelic before the first peak, but you can just tell that Trey is nowhere near through with this one.  Trey gets further and further out there, and the crowd roars its approval, hitting a brief peak before diving back in.  Then the band goes into a staccato jam, the bass is now low in the mix.  The band gets really, really quiet, just a little feedback from Trey.  Really sparse jam here, with Fish just tapping the woodblocks, kind of building it up from Trey and Page.  Fish and Mike bring it back to the traditional Stash jam.  Wow.  This is a really, really good version of Stash.

Lizards provides a nice opportunity to cool off after that Stash.  However, it still keeps the crowd engaged.  The band is exhibiting nice harmonies.  Trey says "my bad" in the middle of the first chorus, but I can't really tell why.  However there is a slight hint of feedback coming from somewhere, perhaps that's it.  Page takes a nice break, but nothing remarkable.  Basically, same from Trey, nice but not noteworthy.  Lizards is always a treat, but is never really special. This version is no different.

Apparently Trey wants to rock it out a bit, so we get the obligatory Sample In A Jar.  Heavy bass lines in the intro.  At this point, Trey is low in the mix, just like the version from Burlington.  Standard Sample, rocking, but you know, not much else.

Scent of A Mule comes next.  Another new song, at least back then.  Its standard right into Page's solo.  Page does some nice trills, a little reminiscent of a Close Encounters jam, but only hinting at it.  Then the duel.  Nice yelling during the duel.  Hey! The band accelerates together, unlike in Burlington.  Overall, a much tighter version than the debut from two nights earlier.

Fee, another repeat from Vermont.  Lots of crowd singing on the chorus.  Nice dissonant piano by Page before the last verse.  There is a neat little harmonic jam at the end into a pretty ending.

Page continues with the piano part that ended Fee as Trey starts in to Run Like An Antelope.  Time for a raging jam to end the set.  The band starts whistling during the intro.  That's a little different.  Trey seems to get lost, so he goes into a start/stop thing.  They are clearly having fun.  The jam starts off really rocking, no drop down here, just balls-to-the-wall, in your face rock.  Trey could definitely be higher in the mix.  Page continues to shine with some nice dissonant chords on the piano while Trey keeps rocking.  Heading up to the ending, Trey adds some descending figures and they kind of crash into the breakdown.  Not the worst transition I have heard, but not the best either.  Basically, a good Antelope, but not particularly inspired.

Overall, not the best first set of the tour.  Really, the only highlight was Stash, though the Llama opener was pretty good too.  Trey is low in the mix and maybe that is part of the problem.

The second set opens up with The Curtain.  Always a nice opener.  Usually leads into something big.  They are definitely in sync for this one.  A few missed chords, but overall, well played.

The ending of The Curtain leads into wet chords from Gordon, which can only mean Down With Disease.  While this is only the second Disease ever played, the crowd response is already great.  Again, with Trey low  in the mix, you can hear Page play the lead line as they head into the start of the jam.  Usually that part is drowned out by Trey.  Gordon isn't particularly distinct either.  As he moves up the fretboard, his bass is clearer, but in the lower registers it is just muddy.  All around, it's a nice, rocking jam.  It never leaves the structure of Disease, but then it doesn't really have to either.  The vocal part is nice to end the song, complete with the "oh, oh, oh's".  Fun.

Wolfman's Brother follows.  Gordon is laying it down thick to start the song.  Trey is having fun layering in some trills.  Really laid-back version.  A little doo-woppy heading into the jam.  They go into a start/stop jam.  It is clear that they are still working out how to do the jam in this song.  Page is dancing up the piano, Gordon is laying down some bombs.  Trey is kind of fading away here.  Neat little jam, with Page ending it singing "shouldn't have took more..."

Trey starts up Sparkle.  Time for the crowd to shake their ass.  Tight into the jam.  Page is on it nicely and Trey is still low in the mix.  They nail the ending.

Finally a jam song.  Trey kicks those opening notes to Mike's Song and the crowd goes wild.  In the first set there was actually a Mike's Song chant that is audible on the recording "Mike's Song, Mike's Song, Mike's Song....."  Ask and you shall receive.  Page sets the stage on the piano for the beginning of the jam, then switches to organ when Trey starts playing.  Trey immediately goes into a repetitive, droning jam with Trey and Page duplicating each other.  That heads into a funny little ditty that is reminiscent of a children's song.  Then is starts to slow down, staying on the same scale, though more menacing now.  Then Fishman kicks it into double time, and Trey starts to hint at getting back into Mike's.  They get back to the theme and start rocking it pretty hard.  Definitely an interesting Mike's and worth a second or third listen.

Lifeboy flows out of Mike's and this transition works really well.  Page lays a nice sounding grand piano hit at the start of the song, and then the usual ascending figure.  Very tight.  However, like the If I Could from Montreal, Trey is just too impatient to let the jam build up.  Hopping to quickly to a more forceful jam, it can't hit the heights if it doesn't have the quiet parts at the beginning for comparison. 

Fish immediately kicks Weekapaug Groove, but then pauses as if to check with Trey and make sure that's really what's next.  Then he kicks into it again.  Page is playing great.  Trey is still low in the mix, and he does his typical triplet figures.  Trey leads the band into another droning jam, and then they get atonal.  Gordon is playing syncopated beats.  Fish hits the snare twice and then boom!, back into the Groove.  Trey holds a long note while Page just gets down.  Nice Weekapaug! Rocking!  As they get back to the final chorus, Gordon lays down a cool bass lick.  They're singing the chorus an octave high, and then Trey starts going down really low.  Kind of vocal jammy here.  Page leads the ending lick too.  He is on fire tonight.

It's fitting that since Page is the clear MVP of the show, Squirming Coil comes next.  The composed section is solid.  With Trey so low in the mix, the final chorus just doesn't have the punch that it should.  Page is just playing beautifully though, reminiscent of Keith Jarrett.  Once he is on his own, he plays a gorgeous ascending figure that sounds very classically influenced.  Wow! Nice solo by Page.

Cavern follows to end the set probably.  Always a nice rocker.  Gordon is using his envelope filter.  Rocking version as usual, and it does end the set. 

The Coil and the Mike's are the only standouts in this set, and even then, the Coil suffers from Trey being low in the mix for the composed part.

Fishman comes out and says "Did any of you guys see Madonna on Letterman?  Yeah?  Well this is my Madonna washboard."  This leads the band into an acoustic, unplugged encore.  I had to juice the volume by 6dB in order to make the songs audible.  At that volume, there was noticeable hiss in the recording.  Ginseng Sullivan was nice.  The vocals are audible, as is the hit of the bass, but the guitar and mouth piano are basically lost entirely.  During the washboard solo there is some giggling by the audience.  I wonder what Fish was getting up to?  Trey's solo is basically inaudible. 

Nellie Cane is played next.  The high harmony is a bit rough.  In the middle of the song, somebody is doing something because the crowd starts hooting and hollering, but whatever they are doing is inaudible, made worse by the crowd shouts. 

The band finishes up their encore with an a capella Sweet Adeline.  The crowd stays quiet throughout and the song sounds quite nice. 

All in all, this recording suffers mainly from Trey being low in the mix, which is no fault of the taper.  However, there is a noticeable lack of clarity in the lowest registers as Mike gets muddy in the mix.  Definitely listenable though.  I will check out the Stash and Mike's Song again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

April 5, 1994 Metropolis, Monteral, Quebec, Canada

Etree Source

Spreadsheet Source

Last show: April 4, 1994 Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT
Distance from last show: 97 miles, roughly 2:30 minutes, not counting border crossing

Show highlights: Julius, Tweezer, Runaway Jim

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Foam, Fluffhead, Glide, Julius, Bouncing Round The Room, Rift, AC/DC Bag

Set 2: Peaches En Regalia, Ya Mar, Tweezer, If I Could, You Enjoy Myself, I Wanna Be Like You, Chalkdust Torture, Amazing Grace

Encore: Nellie Cane, Golgi Apparatus

For this show, I listened to the B&K 4011 source.  This source is available via the etree link above.

Runaway Jim opener.  Not a big surprise, one of their favorite songs to open with.  The recording is slightly quieter than the B&K source from the night before.  Trey does some interesting work in the upper register during the bass breakdown, just some noodling, but unusual and nice.  They are very tight.  Cool little droning jam, Page and Trey are really playing off of each other.  They crank it up a notch and the crowd responds nicely.  Page starts doing some descending chords to take it to the next level.  No let up at all in this Jim, just flat out getting things started right.

Foam comes next, not a big surprise here either.  Trey is nailing the composed part.  He sounds more relaxed than the night before.  The contrast between Foam and Jim is always nice, but there are also some interesting parallels.  Both songs breakdown to just a bass and drum part, but while Jim stays pulsating, Foam gets a little darker and more exploratory, but they both build to a rousing ending.  The ascending chords that Trey plays behind Page foreshadow a similar sequence in Taste musically.  Some crowd chatter in the recording here, perhaps the mics were too low?  Nice start/stop jam during Trey's solo.  Trey hits an envelope filter and gets the jam into a new direction before bringing it to a close.

That leads right into Fluffhead.  Nice rocking start to the song.  Page is funking it up a bit on the piano.  The bass is nice, but not really defined.  The low end is rounded and there, but the attack on the individual notes is missing.  The band is flawless through the chase before the clod.  Gordon repeats "check it out" forcefully the 2nd time.  He really means CHECK IT OUT!  Slight hiccup after the clod, but they get it back together.  Lilting singing in Bundle of Joy, kind of funny.  As always, a triumphant ending.  Phew, what a great way to start a show.

Glide comes in next and starts off fairly standard.  Trey seems a bit tentative during his part after the first vocals.  Trey is flubbing a lot of his licks and is playing quiet as a result.  Crowd gets really animated, stomping feet, clapping loudly during the pause before the final "glide".

They head right into Julius.  First repeat from the night before.  It doesn't sound like anybody in the crowd really minds though.  After all, this is only the second time the song has been played.  Gordon is walking all over his bass, really nice.  Everybody is playing really well together right now.  Page is doing some nice piano work while Trey leads them into an odd rhythm, then back into the straight rock n' roll beat.  Trey is letting it all hang out and shredding hard.  Such a rocking tune.  Trey really gets into the vocals at the end.  Smoking!

Bouncing is next.  I never really got why this tune is a crowd favorite.  Definite sing-along though.  You can hear the audience singing on the recording, though not overpowering, but definitely there.  Fairly standard version.  You've heard one Bouncing, you've heard them all.

Rift follows, another crowd favorite with no real jam section.  However, a much, much better song than Bouncing.  Trey hits the wrong chord out of his piece, but quickly slides up to the right one.  Fishman jumps the gun a bit on the ending, but the band catches on quickly.  They all end together.  All in all, not a bad Rift.

AC/DC Bag to end things.  Clearly wanting to go out on a high note, they pick one of their workhorse songs to end the set.  Time to get people rocking again and a chance at a little bit of improv before the break.  Nice grooving version, not as funky as the song can get, but not just a straight ahead rock version either.  Gordon does some interesting fills at the start of the solo.  Trey dips into his tension/release bag of tricks.  Page is moving way up the piano, and Fishman is just relentless on the drums.  Nice version, but a bit short.

All in all, the set started out with a bang.  I'll take Jim, Foam, Fluff to start a show any day.  However, with the exception of Julius, the rest of the set was a little flat.

After a lackluster ending to the first set, I expected a pretty big start to the second set.  Peaches En Regalia is always a welcome tune, however, it is completely composed.  Page was a bit low in the mix and it was difficult to hear his fills on the intro.  About half-way through the song they bring up Page in the mix.  Mike is playing some really great, complicated bass parts here.  The band is playing well, but seems to be holding something back.  It could just be the difficulties in playing a Zappa song.

The ending of Peaches leads right into Ya Mar.  I love me some Caribbean rythma.  Gordon is slightly ahead of the beat heading into the first verse.  Page is adding some nice fills on the Hammond.  There is some interesting scatting on the 2nd chorus.  This actually leads to a pseudo vocal jam for a second before Page takes a solo.  Gordon adds some neat filigrees during his solo.  Trey starts his break out with a little repetitive ditty and then some quick melodic runs before heading down low.  Fishman and Page drop out so Gordon and Trey can break it down, then Fish comes back in and you can feel Page just waiting to get into the organ swell.  Overall, a really nice Ya Mar.

Tweezer.  Now we're ready to rock.  Fish does some high-pitched squeals for some extra phun.  Page starts out laying some serious business on the piano while Trey vamps behind him into the last verse.  Page again lays it down hard to start the jam.  Gordon switches to the envelope filter.  Jam is still based on Tweezer theme, but its getting darker, almost like a Melt jam.  Page has switched to the Hammond.  The jam is really getting out there.  Only 1 1/2 shows into the tour, but so far this is the best jam they've played.  They change the key and then begin a slow down jam.  The song just kind of peters out.  Kind of a disappointing ending to an otherwise really good Tweezer.

If I Could comes next.  I could see where a breather song might be appropriate, unlike its placement the night before.  Especially after that Tweezer.  The harmonies seem improved over the previous night as well.  A couple of flubbed chords come just prior to the jam.  The jam just isn't as patient as the night before.  As a result, the build-up just doesn't pack the punch that it could.  Trey is clearly too excited to let the piece stay quiet for a bit. 

It's no surprise, then, that they head into You Enjoy Myself next.  Trey wants to jam.  The Hammond is nicely in front.  Pretty flawless execution right into the vocals.  The separation of instruments on this recording is really great.  The lead in to the tramps is pretty clever, a little start/stop thing.  Page takes a nice solo on the Hammond and then they break it way, way down.  Just Trey with Fishman riding the high-hats.  Really bluesy.  The crowd is clapping along.  Trey is laying down an interesting rhythm that I presume he wants the rest of the band to follow, so he can solo on top of it.  Instead, Gordon and Fish start dropping some serious bombs (low bass note and kick drum hitting hard together).  Then the whole band comes together in a fairly normal YEM jam.  Pretty rocking stuff into Gordon's solo.  Really, really dissonant stuff from Gordon leading into the vocal jam.  The vocal jam starts off with a doo-wop groove, and then they start into some really low notes (I know I can't sing that low). 

Out of the vocal jam, the drum beat signals the start of I Wanna Be Like You.  For the second time in two shows, Fishman dips into the Louis Prima song book.  It sounds like Fish is singing through the mega-phone to start the song.  Unless that's the sound of his mic? He didn't sound so distant the night before.  A little vacuum solo.  Vocals are out in front for the 2nd verse.  Page takes a nice little break and then Fishman starts scatting like crazy and the rest of the band joins in.  Heads into HYHU to bring Trey back on guitar. 

Trey was probably grinning from ear-to-ear as he launched into Chalkdust Torture.  Its nice to hear the song somewhere other than an opener.  The extreme low end is a bit muddy.  Trey is very nimble getting up and down the fretboard, rocking really hard.  The jam doesn't really develop into anything though, not even as interesting as the Julius jam from the first set.  The song ends with the vocals sounding a bit low in the mix.  Kind of a short Chalkdust to say the least.

Trey asks everybody to be quiet.  The a cappella songs with no mics are always problematic on recordings.  Trey tells everybody "I think you can get quieter" then he says "Come on guys".  You can hear the taper boost the levels on the recording at the beginning of Amazing Grace, then he drops them down before the 2nd verse.  I found that you had to boost the signal about 5db to bring it to listenable, though nowhere near loud levels.

The first encore is Nellie Cane played electrically.  There is a nice little solo from Page on the piano.  Trey goes up the fretboard nicely during his break, but sticks at a wrong note before going up further to end the solo.  Pretty standard version.

Golgi follows.  Of all the "composed" 4 or 5 minute songs, this is definitely my favorite.  In fact, the chorus is the ringtone on my phone.  Trey is singing really well.  Gordon is not as forceful as he can be on the chorus.  There is a bit of sloppiness coming out of the break.  Otherwise, they were on it.

Overall, this show is a big improvement on the night before.  The sound of the recording is excellent, great separation.  The only complaint is that the extreme low end is muddy. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

April 4, 1994 - Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT

Phish Spreadsheet Source review 

Show highlights: Maze, Melt, Wolfman's

Set 1: Divided Sky, Sample In A Jar, Scent Of A Mule, Maze, Fee, Reba, Horn, It's Ice, Possum

Set 2: Down With Disease, If I Could, Buried Alive, Landlady, Julius, Magilla, Split Open and Melt, Wolfman's Brother, I Wanna Be Like You, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Harry Hood, Cavern

Most of second set with Giant Country Horns.  Debut of Scent of a Mule, Down With Disease, If I Could, Julius, Wolfman's Brother, and I Wanna Be Like You.

I listened to the B&K 4011 source available via the etree link.  I can't guarantee that that link is still active, but it was at the time of posting this.

The show opens up with an acapella "Back in my hometown" a snippet also heard at Sugarbush later in the year.  The Divided Sky opens up fairly standard.  Page does some interesting droning work during the pause with a really nice, well rounded low-end.  Gordon sounds low in the mix at this point, particularly as they leave the pause.  Trey is a little rough through parts of the composed parts.  As they play through there are more noticeable flubs by Trey.  As they near the peak of the jam, Trey is much more on it and very far in front of the mix, cranking up the intensity.  There is a nice use of distortion to create dissonance.  Gordon is now much more out front in the mix and Trey's playing, which has entered lower registers, is less audible.  Page does some nice piano work as Trey ratchets up his playing into a more rock and roll style.  It sounds like Paul has turned Trey down.  Page switches to the Hammond as they head to the finale, then back to the piano for the standard ending.  Nice and tight to end the song.

Sample In A Jar follows immediately.  Trey's guitar is noticeably low in the mix.  Pretty standard version with Trey unable to get the kind of sustain that he normally has.

Gordon does a nice job with the introduction to Scent Of A Mule.  Page hits some really nice piano work during the beginning of the harmonic minor breakdown.  A little bit of sloppiness during the mule duel.  It sounds like Gordon was a bit behind the beat as Trey speeds up the song.  Trey is still low in the mix.  Nice and tight out of the duel.

Gordon lays down a seriously pulsating rhythm to start Maze.  Trey sounds a bit more balanced in the mix now.  A bit of a hiccup into Page's solo.  Nice work on the organ, lots of trills while Trey and Gordo patiently build up the tension behind him.  The organ gets really quiet towards the end of Page's solo and so the hand off to Trey is a bit anti-climactic.  Trey starts out with a nice droning piece.  He really ratchets up the tension with some high notes while Fishman fills in with a nice syncopation that takes them to a really nice peak.  Overall a really nice Maze.

At the beginning of Fee, Trey is a bit off.  There is no megaphone in this version.  Fairly standard until the ending which sort of trails off sloppily into Reba.

Reba is a bit slower than normal.  They nailed the composed part until the transition to the jam which is just a trainwreck.  Trey starts to tease Hickory Dickory Dock and the rest of the band picks up on it.  Just a bit of the Phishy teases that continue until the end of the set.  Trey picks up the pace with a jam that is reminiscent of the theme to Batman, then back to a normal Reba jam.  It sounded like Trey wanted to start something but it was just going to be a dead-end.  Trey hopped out of the jam and Fishman was a tad late to follow.  They come together nicely for the ending.  The whistling part gets a bit crazy and they add whistling to the "bag it, tag it" part.  A bit of phishiness for sure.

During Horn, Trey adds a bit of heavy metal soloing during the intro part.  Otherwise a standard, and thus rocking, Horn.

It's Ice is always nice to hear.  I love it when Page sings.  The band is a bit sloppy heading into the build up before the quiet part.  There is a funky jam by Page on the piano to start out the jam, this leads to some neat syncopation that is reminiscent of the mule duel.  This leads to a "Hey Bulldog" jam.  Always nice to hear a Beatles tease.  Overall a nice It's Ice, made more interesting by the tease.

Possum is a rocking closer, as always.  Trey does an interesting descending chord piece during the intro.  As usual, Trey builds a nice dissonant part complemented by a descending pattern from Gordon that mimicked the opening pattern from Trey.  The whole jam gets really quiet and then Trey ramps it back up again with some pinch harmonics.  Trey uses some long notes to build the tension while the rest of the band rocks behind him.  As usual, the band is rocking really hard through a fairly standard tension/release jam and then the song ends fairly normally.

Overall, a nice, if not particularly adventurous, first set.  The sound on the tape is very good with a nice amount of audience noise, but not overwhelming.  There was some noticeable sloppiness throughout the set, but considering it was the first show in 4 months, that is at least partially, to be expected.

This recording starts abruptly right before the guitar comes in for Down With Disease.  The band also seems to start abruptly as they are not in sync to start the song.  The song is slower than a modern version.  There is also some slight digi-noise just prior to the jam.  The jam is nice, if a bit standard, never really going out there, but then it really didn't start going out there until later.  They end the song nicely with the typical coda.

If I Could slows things down considerably considering the set just got started.  It just doesn't seem like its time for a breather yet.  The harmonies are a bit off prior to the piano breakdown.  The whole band exhibits a great deal of patience building the jam, not rushed at all.  They nailed the ending and the crowd response was very positive.

Here come the horns with the intro to Buried Alive.  Trey seemed a bit tentative during his composed part and the beginning of his solo.  Much better the second time through.

I absolutely love The Landlady with horns.  Trey plays some nice runs prior to the beginning of the composed part.  The band sounds really tight with the horns.  Nice sax solo, but then Carl Geirhard on trumpet just blows the roof off of the place.  The ending gets a little botched and they just aren't together.

Julius starts up immediately after Trey gives a shoutout to the Giant Country Horns.  The harmonies are off again prior to the jam.  The jam is driving, as always, and must have been a treat for the audience, seeing so many debuts.  Not a super long jam, but it does rock all the way.  Trey kind of scats around the ending and there is a nice barritone sax part during the ending.  Huge crowd response to this one.

Magilla starts with nice work from Page, then a little drum breakdown, then in come the horns.  Nice trombone solo.  Band is vamping nicely.  Fishman's solo is a welcome treat, though its mainly on the snare.  Nice, tight ending.

Melt sounds cool with the horns, though they are pushed way back in the mix.  The main part of the song is solid leading into the jam.  Trey heads down low to create a droning effect while Page goes high on the piano with some trills.  Fishman plays some funky beats, throwing the rhythm all over the place.  The horns come in with ascending fills.  Trey goes high, but is still droning, horns still doing fills, tension rising, Trey chases up the fretboard as Fishman starts intimating the triplets to bring the jam to a close.  The horns pick up on Fishman and the jam comes to a satisfactory conclusion.  Nice Melt, not as crazy as it can get, but really, really nice all the same.

Wolfman's starts off with a heavy bass line.  Nice horn parts.  Trey is heavy on the wah pedal.  Nice fills by Page during the bridge.  The song kind of breaks down in the middle heading into the outro vocals, seems tentative.  Neat horn/guitar interplay during the ending.  Band speeds up the ending gradually, eventually to a frenetic pace and they switch to an Alumni Blues jam.  The song ends in a chaos of blowing horns and hammering drums.

This flows straight into I Wanna Be Like You, which is a great Louis Prima song from Disney's Jungle Book.  A local band, Polka Boy, does a great cover of it too. If you're ever in Indy go see them!  Fishman's vocals actually sound decent here.  Vacuum solo, of course, then some creative scatting to end the song.  The band is clearly having a blast at this point.

Trey starts Oh Kee Pa really, really quietly.  No horns for this number.  Standard, quality performance leads right into Suzy.  Interesting sax part to lead off the jam into Page on the piano for the first interlude.  Barritone sax hands off to Page again, more forceful jam out of Page this time.  Nice breakdown into Trey introducing the horns.  There's a HYHU jam in the middle of the introductions.

After the encore break, Trey comes out and talks about the NCAA title game being tied between Duke and Arkansas.  Nobody seems particularly interested.  Trey talks about getting back on the road and that, with the exception of the New Years Run, they hadn't been on the road in 8 months.  Harry Hood then starts with Gordon laying some serious bombs.  There is a secret language tease, ie Trey signals the secret language, but they don't actually go into a secret language.  There is, however, a fairly extended introduction to the song, with Trey doing some interesting work in the upper registers.  There is a bit of sloppiness heading into the jam before the "heavy" section.  Searingly lyrical leads by Trey lead this version into a lovely bliss.  The band is clearly pumped about being back on the road, if just in their hometown.

Cavern gets people pumped up after Trey announced that Arkansas won the national title.  Horns are back for Cavern, at least the trumpet is at first, blowing at intervals.  There is a long pause before Trey adds alternate lyrics about the brothel wife slashing him on the tongue.  Ouch!  What's with Phish and slicing things (especially on the nipple)?  All the horns come in for the big ending.

Nice encore for sure.  Overall, an enjoyable show, if not particularly out there.  Lots of sloppiness, which I chalk up to the 8 month layoff and a number of debuts.

The B&K source is excellent.  Good definition throughout the sonic range, not a lot of audience noise and generally warm sounding.

Why this blog

Hey folks!

Just wanted to give you guys an idea of what I am trying to do here.  I will be listening to various sources for shows as they become available and then give folks an idea as to which sources sound the best.  This project will begin in earnest with fall tour.  In the meantime, I will be listening to specific phish shows, starting with 1994, and giving a review of the show and of the recording.  Basically, I will give you a setlist, a link to download the show, links to other reviews, and then my own review of the show.  This is purely subjective and I look forward to anybody's comments on the shows reviewed.  There are lots of folks reviewing current shows, so I will focus on older shows, though ones that are freely available.  I hope you enjoy.

While I have downloaded most of my shows from, many, if not most, are available from this google spreadsheet