[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 Brian Brinkman of Beyond The Pond.]
As the Spring 1992 Tour wove it's way back to the Northeast for its conclusion after three months on the road, the band was tight, filled with humor, and readying for a leap that would project them to the creative peak of the next three years. Here, on May 14, from The Capitol Theatre, a venerable must-play venue for all jambands, Phish played a show that displayed all the aspects that made the Spring 1992 Tour so ripe with youthful ambition and so filled with joyful pure Phishiness.
Secret Language, "Cold As Ice," "Wait," Page's electric keyboard, the first hints of modern improvisation, the blossuming of Rift tunes....these are the defining features of Spring 1992, and they're all here. The show kicks off with a trifecta of "Suzy Greenberg>" "All Things Reconsidered" and "The Sloth." One of the more energetic opening quarters of the tour, it showcased the future of their funk side - "Suzy," more than just a longtime joke song, also served as a preview of the sound that would redifine the band - one of their better latter-day compositions, and the Gamehendge slam rock rarity.
The middle of Set I is comprised of Rift-era classics: "Horn," "Maze," "Sparkle," and "My Friend, My Friend," reminding anyone listening how uniquely perfect first sets filled Rift songs are. The set ends with a 18-minute take on "Run Like An Antelope" that offers the band a few minutes to initiate those in he dark to their secret language gimmick that had been building all tour. "Turn Turn Turn," "Doh!," "Aw Fuck," "All Fall Down," and the "Random Note" are practiced and then delivered through a raging version that ends the set on a major peak. Listening to this with the benefit of hindsight, it's a cute and utterly simplistic version of Phish, much like Fall 2010. And yet, to think about the path the band were about to take over the next five years, this exercise of communal-building and barrier-breaking was essential as they set the foundation towards linear musical communication.
For some reason, "Glide" opened a ton of second sets in Spring 1992, and this would be the second-to-last one that would until 12/31/2013. Perhaps the finest version of "The Chase" segment in "Fluffhead" is played two songs later before the very last version of "Eliza" comes next. The peak of the set and show comes in the "Mike's Groove" that follows. In "Mike's" Trey utilizes rhythmic chunking that adds to the jamming segment of the song. But it's in "Weekapaug," where the band provides yet another preview of where the band is going to push themselves within just 12 months. Leaping into a jam segment that moves away from the "Paug" theme, Trey guides the band into a lyrical jam that's reminiscent of the brilliant "Tweezer" from April 21. Yet, as the band would prove themselves incapable of truly breakthing through to transcendence for at least another year, they revive the "Wait" gag for the first time since 12/6/1991, and the last time ever. It's an undeniably brilliant peak into the future of Phish while retaining in the past for ever so slightly longer.
The set ends with a run of songs that never quite fit though don't take away from the peak of "Mike's Groove." "Possum" ends things with a bit more Secret Language before "Sleeping Monkey" and "Rocky Top" sends everyone north towards Boston and the tour closer in Vermont. On a night that's rarely discussed in the larger memory bank of Spring 1992, 5/14/92 contains all the charm that makes this tour one of my personal favorites in the band's history. These are the nights, like so many we've featured in this series so far where the band took their reps and built towards the eventual creative that was just around the corner.
Thanks for reading and hopefully you're enjoying this series. Another Weekly Catch with Osiris will be up next week!
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March 27, 1993
25 years ago
Set 2: Buried Alive > Halley's Comet > It's Ice > Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin' Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Poor Heart > Golgi Apparatus
 Beginning featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
 Fish on trombone.
 All Fall Down signal in intro.
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