, attached to 1996-10-19

Review by IHateLazerBeams

IHateLazerBeams Something has been compelling me lately to go back and listen to some of the older shows that I was at and in doing so, of course (in most cases) a flood of memories roll in… Thanks to the keeper’s of the music and the tapers – I had a really bad copy of the show, but the one I pulled off of the spreadsheet was head and shoulders above. This was not my first show, but it was my first show. Being young and noob-like in 1995 I lived by the too much too fast motto and don’t remember much of my first show (Niagara). The lot = yes. But the show = no. When I got word that my friends had gotten me a ticket for the Buffalo show I was bound and determined to be at the top of my game for this show. In the ensuing year since the Niagara show my love affair with the Phish had truly begun and as we barreled down the i90 in an old beat up CJ7 my excited mounted. A friend of ours who was going to the show had an apartment in the city and we gathered there before making our way to the subway. This was my first anything at the Marine Midland Arena, which was pretty much brand new at the time… The lot was rocking and I remember that the cops were being pretty cool. It was cold for October and everyone was bundled up pretty good. My friends had dosed before leaving the apartment but I stayed free and clear as per my plan. This comes into play later on in the evening… Eventually we wandered into the venue – my first time there as it was brand new (replacing the old Buffalo Aud). Our seats were Page side, not too far up and I was on the end of a row – so I had some space to get my groove on.

Set I – the lights went down and the strains of My Friend floated up to us and we were off. Solid and well played and then right into Rift. A raucous version – again straight ahead and it kept everyone moving. Up next was Free. I dig this tune – dark subject matter – around 4:45 or so it starts to go out there a bit. No crazy Type II but a nice jammed out version. A quick break in the action and then that circus intro could only mean one thing – Esther was up! A flawless version in my humble opinion – Esther never goes way out there in the jam department, but it’s still one of those songs that makes up the nucleus of Phish… Out of Esther and into Llama. Llama was well played and fun for all. This is when I notice my friends – they looked scared as shit and were standing stock still… Something was up with their trip and I was damn glad that I was not on it. Beside’s Gumbo was up and it was (and still is) one of my favs. Again – a solid version – nothing crazy out there. Out of the Gumbo and into Disease – this rocked out pretty good – not Fall 97 good, it stayed within the confines of Type I, but full of heady jamming. There was a good Page part at 8:22. The end did seem a bit rushed though… Out of Disease and into Caspian, which worked – other than Esther, it was the only slow down for the first set. A rocking Frankenstein – the place went nuts (except my friends) and that ended set one.

Set break my friends seemed to relax a bit, but they were still on a different wave length than most of the other folks in the building… Not exactly 15 minutes, but before long the boys took the stage and so started the second set.

Set II – it’s not on the recording that I pulled off of the spreadsheet, but I’m fairly certain there was an audience chess move in there. A Floyd tease and then into Bag – good stuff here and it got the second set off to a great start. Everyone was getting down – then Sparkle kept us all moving. Sparkle into Slave – a very solid version indeed – well worth the price of admission alone and another song that only Phish could do. Next was Bouncing – a nice quick, tight version. Split Open was very good – weirdness ensues at around the 10:12 mark and then is reeled back in pretty quick… Fluff was in the next slot – Fluff came to New York – the only Fluff I’ve ever seen – again, another well executed song in Set II. Swept Away and its companion Steep brought us down for a few minutes of rest and then some screaming at the end woke us all up and the melodic note of Antelope came gently out of said screaming. At the 5:20 mark they go out there a bit – and I thought for sure that would be the end of the set, but they came back out for some acapella magic – HMB and then they made their way off stage… ….for a few minutes and then for the first encore – Fee with megaphone!! Despite a lyric flub it was fun to hear/witness. After Fee into a quick, ripping Rocky Top and it was over… A solid show all around – not much in the way for you lovers of Type II, but nonetheless a good show.

Back into the cold night we made our back down Main Street. Somehow we ended up at a TGIF’s (or some sort of chain place like it) – not a good place for the freaked out, but after a few beers everyone seemed to come down a bit and eventually we trekked back out into the cold, found a cab, stuffed all five of us in and then made our way back to the apartment…


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