Wednesday 05/01/2019 by howard_roark


[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a historic Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from Myke "Lawn Memo" Mineo of The Daily Soundcheck.]

Listen: Le Spectrum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada - 04/29/1993

Lately, I have been caught up with listening to some of the all times greats. I went on massive binges in recent weeks diving deep with Duane Allman, Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix. As incredible as each of those respective musicians’ catalogs are, what continues to floor me is the young age of those men were when they passed. Duane was 24, Marley 36, and Jimi 27. So much genius for being so young! Here I am in my late 30s, and on most days I have no idea what I am doing, let alone creating “Statesboro Blues”, “Hammer”, or “Third Stone from the Sun”.

When asked to pick a show for the Weekly Catch series, I knew I wanted to pick one with a cool soundcheck. The timing worked out to chose 04/29/1993 Le Spectrum in Montreal, Quebec.

Going back and re-listening to the early days of Phish quickly reminds me of something I think about quite a bit: Trey Anastasio is a musical genius and much like the men listed above, it was evident at an early age. Trey might not have the same notoriety of the incredibly talented three men I mentioned above, but he does deserve the title of genius. TMWSIY, Junta, Lawn Boy, A Picture of Nectar, and Rift had all been written by the time this show took place in 1993 forming the core of what would be Phish’s arsenal. All this creativity before the time Trey was 30 years old. It’s incredible to think about. Not to mention his jaw dropping technical ability, unique tone, and ability to tell a story with his guitar For my 30th birthday I played golf and ate pasta and cheesecake. I have no memory of anything I did worthwhile in my 20s. I wrote zero songs unless you count my un-released original called “I farted in the shower.”

Different years of Phish elicit different feelings when I listen to them. Pre-94 almost always leaves me with a feeling of awe at the sheer power of Trey Anastasio. He had youthful energy and a driven passion to rule the rock and roll world. It comes through on every recording. Trey turned his guitar into an unstoppable force of nature. No matter how much comedy or hijinx took place, the feeling of power when his guitar notes hit your ears was the feeling that reached your deepest core.

The Le Spectrum show punches you in the face in the first ten minutes with an absolute fireball “Split Open Melt”. You want a hidden gem that has flown under the jam chart radar? Look no further than this "Melt" opener. It’s evident right away at the quality that will take place during this show. I would also like to note the drummer of this band is really, really good. Check out Fish during this “Melt”.

The rest of the first set keeps the energy uptempo. This is some serious speed Phish. Particularly benefiting from this breakneck Phish pace is the “Llama” that takes place in the middle of the first set. It’s almost double time and would surely give me a heart attack if I tried to play the drums that fast. Trey, however, struggled with “Glide” that follows.

The “Run Like an Antelope” set closer is another reminder of the power of Trey. This a standout version with a “Money” tease to start then finds a cool place to space out before blowing up all of time and space. Set 1 is all about the opener and closer and the blistering pace in between.

The second set goes a bit deeper. “Chalk Dust Torture” continues the high-energy fast pace and a nice “It’s Ice”, which is followed by a must-listen version of “Ya Mar”. If you like banter and fun moments, than this “Ya Mar” is one for you. Lots of Leo jokes when it’s his turn to step up. The “Reba” that pops up two songs later is not on or Phishtracks for some reason, so make sure you download this show from the spreadsheet. This “Reba” hits at the perfect time and Trey works a cool “Sanity” tease without throwing anything off. This is yet another gorgeous “Reba” from this time frame that simply leaves you in awe at Trey’s ability. It’s a technical freak show, yet is still tells you the great story of “Reba”. Incredible.

Up next is the centerpiece of this Le Spectrum show. The “Mike’s Groove” has it all. “Mike’s Song” is the big beast of force I always hope it to be. Trey provides some super cool rhythm licks in the intro. The jam rides on a death-eating lick from Mike that forces the band into an awesome gritty crazy train. They beautifully work in an atypical “I Am Hydrogen” with some interesting teases. The “Mike’s Groove” goes into “Weekapaug Groove” for four minutes beginning with the hyperdrive and ending by slowing down to almost nothing punctuated with “Bonanaza” teases. Next is a 320-show bustout with “Makisupa Policeman” bust out before returning to “Weekapaug Groove” again. The second “Weekapaug” is 5:44 of pure magic and my favorite part of this killer show. About 2 minutes in, there is a jam that reminds me of the 07/21/1997 Virginia Beach “Bathtub Gin”. The end of this “Weekapaug” features some teasing on the Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”.

In short, this “Mike’s Groove” has it all. Beast mode, fun, beauty, and killer improv.

During “Hold Your Head Up”, Fish has some fun banter about inhaling fog and how everyone at the show is from Burlington. “The Squirming Coil” closer is predictably beautiful.

Unfortunately, the encore was lost in the recording….

What does exist, however, is 16 minute soundeck called the “Reggae” jam which is one cool laid-back jam. This is some must-hear stuff. I covered this jam in Episode #30 of The Daily Soundcheck.

If you would like to learn more about the interesting Le Spectrum venue and the tragedy of what it has become, I cover all that in depth in Episode #20 of the Daily Soundcheck.

So, if you are looking for an excellent show that showcases the speed at which Phish could play, then 04/29/1993 is an excellent choice. It’s also one of the most completely overlooked shows with only 29 ratings. I often feel like it’s almost as if shows in Canada never happened. I can assure you that in this small 1,2000-person theatre in Montreal, Phish made a lot of noise that night. After all, they were led by a genius.

Thanks for reading and hopefully you're enjoying this series. Another Weekly Catch with Osiris will be up next week!

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, comment by JMart
JMart I always imagine spring 1993 fans looking like that dude in the chair in the old Maxell
Cassette ad: fucking holding on for dear life while some noise just explodes out of the speakers and threatens to tear your head off. Take it easy, Trey!
That Duane Allman was 24 (!) when he died and achieved that level of mastery will always be a source of complete bafflement for me (Duane + Jerry + Jimi)/(Steve Howe) = Trey
, comment by dscott
dscott Props for shining the spotlight on an overlooked classic! The band was remarkably locked-in by the end of the Spring '93 megatour, such that they got loose without sacrificing uncanny tightness. This is very much on display throughout this Phrench Canadian gig, but especially during Reba and Mike's Groove. Love this show!!!
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