, attached to 1994-06-18

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Being such a lover of late-90s/2011-12 Phish, it's always kind of weird when I go back and listen to mid-90s Phish, as it might as well be listening to a totally different band. Songs like Wilson (without the Wilson chants, although you can hear a few crowd members giving it a halfhearted shot), AC/DC Bag (not funky??? how can this be???) and DWD are played with a whole different energy, as though Phish had little bets backstage with each other over who could play each song the fastest, with the most verve and ferociousness. Phish 2012 plays with a great deal of energy too, certainly, but this is different - this is energy borne of youth and sheer passion, instead of today's energy borne of experience and a rediscovered love for their craft.

Phish in 1994 seemed to make a habit out of playing insane second sets that make people go "how the hell did THAT work?" and turning them into classics (Bomb Factory, of course; 7/13 and 11/30-12/1 also leap to mind); this might very well be the best of them, and as a fervent Bomb Factory fan it hurts my heart to say so. Peaches kicks things off in seemingly normal fashion, and then things, as they say, take a turn. Bowie appears to be in the offing, but then Trey starts up my favorite moment of 1994, the Mind Left Body (Bowie?) jam, and good gracious is it a fantastic, joyful few minutes. Then Bowie kicks back in, and it's a damn fine version, full of weird teases (Hendrix, sure, but 3 Blind Mice? Really?) and crazed, atonal jamming - maybe my favorite Bowie of them all, when the MLB Jam is taken in. Horn and McGrupp are nice mid-set palate cleansers, and then we get into the *real* meat of the set. Tweezer immediately slips into this really beautiful minor chord groove before the band says "fuck it" and pushes the "hose" button, reaching the rock and roll noise nirvana they would practically make a science 18 months later, before the jam peters out (in a funny manner, to me at least) and they head into an uplifting, lighter-waving version of Lifeboy. Then comes a *punishing* YEM, which starts deceptively quietly before gunning the engines and just ramming maximum intensity riff-driven jams down our throats, then gives us a truly, truly goofy "Spam" vocal jam. Chalk Dust, ferocious as always, closes out the set, and Bouncing > Tweeprise sends everyone home happy. Well, happier.

1994's the year that everything really changed for Phish; this is one of the shows that showed us how far they'd come, during one of the greatest 7-day spans in the history of the band (the OJ show and 6/22 were all in that span - how ridiculous is that???), before Halloween and A Live One moved them to a different level. You want to know what the wild and crazy kids of mid-90s Phish were all about? Here's an excellent place to start.


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