, attached to 1993-08-13

Review by n00b100

n00b100 I think everybody agrees that August 1993 is a watershed month in the evolution of the band; they were still as musically intricate and explosive as they'd been earlier in the decade, but their chops were drastically improving, meaning that we got great music as well as amusing teases and quotes - the magician developing legit tricks instead of just having good patter, so to speak. I still think the May 8 show is the best of the year, mainly because the second set is so grand, but this is my clear runner-up and my favorite show of this truly legendary month.

It's so bracing to listen to Phish in '93, with everything played with such crazed energy and exuberance, and that comes across in the first set of this show, with a tense and repetitive Stash that roils and churns before returning to the main theme, a well-played mid-set Fluffhead, and a big-time Bowie with a lovely My Favorite Things tease in the extended intro and a jam that swings back and forth between the usual quiet Bowie jam and some uptempo, atonal rocking (as was Phish's style at the time), throwing in some jazziness just for fun. But, naturally, it's the second set that makes this show so beloved, and it starts with one of the best ever set openers in Buried Alive. Rift comes next, then a legendary Gin, and @MiguelSanchez is not exaggerating when he says this is one of the best jams Phish had played up to that point.

The usual Gin jam gets weird and messy right off the bat (hard not to smile at whoever's saying "TUB" an inch away from his mic), even as the band sticks with the Gin theme, then the band starts picking up the pace and we get a *glorious* Weekapaug jam, as powerful as any of the best Weekapaugs themselves are. Trey suddenly starts ripping into a Gin solo as the rest of the group stays Weekapaug (and Fish yells random stuff into his mic like he's Flava Flav), and then the group just starts slowing down and speeding up the tempo at will, almost like they want us to know how proud they are of their own talents. After a few minutes of madness, the jam slows nearly to a crawl (allowing Leo to throw in an organ sting or two), then finally picks back up one more time for Trey to lead the band gloriously into Ya Mar. This Gin really needs to be heard to be believed; you might be put off by the weirdness of the whole thing if you haven't heard much '93 Phish, but the sheer thrill of much of the jam will appeal to any Phish fan.

Ya Mar is as fun as usual, Cactus laying down some bombs as is his wont, then the band launches into the night's last big jam, a Mike's Song for the Phish fan scrapbook. The jam starts out clanking and clattering (and sounding Simple-ish?), then turns into a surprising Page showcase (Trey sits back on this part, even more surprising for a '93 jam), before the jam turns surprisingly melodic (as the jam chart says) and anthemic, Trey hammering away and yelling into the mic with Page really going to work on the organ. We get a big heavy metal-type close with some truly nasty riffing, then a sly return to the main Mike's Song jam, which leads into a charming Lifeboy as palate cleanser. The rest of the set is a nice way to close things out, and Highway To Hell is the perfect encore for a loud, wild, brilliant night of music. 20 years on, this show still has the power to thrill - if you haven't listened yet, get on LivePhish tout suite, and make sure you keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.


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