In August 2015, during the most recent peak in Phish's history, Zeb (@frankstallone) shared with us some great news: he had received a copy of a previously-uncirculated show, 4/3/91, from Ashland, OR. It isn't often that ~25 year-old recordings are unearthed and circulated. Zeb quickly got the audio files (transferred from cassette) to phish.net admins / Mockingbird Foundation board members John Demeter and Charlie Dirksen, who immediately relayed the files to the esteemed Charlie Miller for mastering and circulation. But from whom did Zeb get the audio files?? It turns out that his friend and fellow New Orleans resident, R. David Guidry (@RDGwayup on phish.net and @rdguidry on Twitter), who runs Concertmats.com, had attended the 4/3/91 show (his first Phish show) with another friend who had happened to record it, and David had kept the second-generation casettes in his collection for many years. As luck would have it, David is a professional photographer with his own photo lab and shop, and the 4/3/91 recording wasn't the only quarter century-old relic in his possession. March 3rd, 1993 – 24 years ago today – Phish played their fifth (and final) show at Tipitina's in New Orleans, LA. As a New Orleans resident and newly converted Phish fan, David was at the show (and the night before); and as a photographer, he took pictures. Today, on the 24th anniversary of Phish's last show at Tipitina's (also during Mardi Gras celebrations), we are pleased to share David's photos from that evening.
Here's what David had to say about that night, Phish, and his relationship with the music (mildly edited for blog presentation):
March 2nd and 3rd, 1993 were my third and fourth Phish shows. I stumbled into them on 4/3/91 in Ashland, OR. Then I saw the November '91 show at Tipitina’s. [Set II from this show was released as filler on the "New Orleans Relief" LivePhish release in 2005. - ed.]
I remember more about that November '91 show than I do about the others at Tipitina’s. For about five or six years there in the late 80’s and early 90’s I went to a ton of shows at Tipitina’s. Neville Brothers and Meters etc. As far as Phish was concerned, I was convinced they were going to be BIG and special the first time I saw them. I was an evangelist to my people. I was spreading the word. This was a special time because Phish hadn’t totally blown up yet. Good tapes were hard to find down south. Tipitina’s capacity is about a thousand people. A little over 3 years later I was standing with 70,000 others at the Clifford Ball. I treasure that I was able to see them somewhat early on. As a Deadhead, I mythologize the early shows at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore East etc. Glad to have been there.
In 1994, I got married and got a real job. I decided not to attend Big Cypress at the turn of the millennium. When Phish said they were quitting, I was pissed. How could these guys quit something like that?? I dropped out for a number of years. Then I saw three shows in the Summer of 2015, and the Halloween run in 2016. Phish is a much better band now. Just amazing. I'm glad to be back.
On the photos themselves:
I believe that the photos might be from the 2nd as well as the 3rd. I say that because of the picture of the horn guy. [That appears to be Carl "Geerz" Gerhard, who sat in with the band on March 3rd - ed.].
My negatives are marked 3/3/93. I had just gotten my first serious camera. The camera I used that night was a Nikon 8008s. I remember I had an 85mm f1,8 that night. I used Fuji 800 color negative film. I've been into photography ever since.
Without further ado, here are the rest of the amazing photos David took that night:
Thanks so much to David for once again popping open his time capsule and sharing the contents with the world! But the story doesn't quite end there... in reading about these shows, I noticed that someone named Ben (@sirchandestroy) had posted a link to some photos he took that as part of his phish.net review of 3/3/93 – unfortunately, the link was dead, and I was unable to reach Ben to retrieve the photos. But I was able to dig through internet back-ups and salvage four of his photos from that night:
If you'd like to download a .zip file containing the higher resolution photos from David and Ben, I've placed them here.
While the '93 Tipitina's shows don't quite reach the fever pitch of the highly-lauded Roxy shows from just a couple weeks earlier, they do feature some tight playing and glimpses of what would end up being the band's first serious foray into exploratory jamming a mere five months later. But don't get it twisted: the playing is fiery throughout both nights. For example, while there are a few noticeable flubs in the "Reba" from the first night, she does hint at what was to come for her; on the second night, a fantastic "Mike's Groove" anchors the second set, with "Weekapaug" providing the exclamation point on the weekend. It's no coincidence that the last song Phish played at Tipitina's was Jimi's "Fire."
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