, attached to 1993-12-30

Review by n00b100

n00b100 One thought, before I get to this amazing show. I mentioned some of the good things about the spreadsheet in my Chula Vista '99 review; this show makes me think of one of the bad (well, "bad"...maybe just weird?) things about the spreadsheet, which @andrewrose touched on in his review - the sense of joyful discovery at getting to a show like this, collecting tapes until you got to one of the Legendary Shows, is pretty much lost. It might have taken me months, maybe even years, to hear this show; instead, it took me about 5 minutes of downloading time via wireless broadband. That's more a nostalgia thing than anything else - if you were living in 1994, with a modem that still made that screeching noise and pictures that took 10 minutes to download in full and Angelfire pages that were pretty much all text, why WOULDN'T you want to have every show at your fingertips like today? - but nostalgia is still powerful, as is that sense of discovery. Back when I was in high school (1998!!!), I used to make trips to Georgetown to buy import Radiohead singles; now a click on Soulseek brings them all in front of my face. And I am grateful for that, but I was grateful for those trips too. I dunno.

Digression aside, obviously this is one of the great shows; every time I pull it out (even that's an anachronism, as I am listening to mp3s) I find myself asking why I don't listen to it more often. The first set is as good as many second sets, with a ferocious Bowie (Bowie's a song I think belongs more to the mid-90s than most), a charming Forbin's/Mockingbird (it's interesting how much Gamehendge played into early Phish history and was more or less left behind by 1997 as the band got big), a Gin that clanks and clatters and displays Phish's still-fermenting ability to get weird while staying interesting (no sign of the Big Gin Jams of later years), and a great/goofy/stupid/awesome/no, kinda stupid/but okay, still awesome set closer in their a capella (but still intricately detailed!) Free Bird. The second set is a full-on masterpiece, with a heartstopping Mike's Song that features some of the most thrilling holy-shit-these-guys jamming of any era and a groove at the 10:30 mark that feels like a wall of sound just pushing its way towards the horizon before dying away and *beautifully* segueing into The Horse, a Mike-driven super-charged Weekapaug (with a goofy vocal jam) that leads into f'n Purple Rain, and a capital-G Gorgeous Slave with an awe-inspiring peak. I don't know what else to say about this show - I'd probably have worn my Maxell copy down to nothing too.


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