, attached to 1994-06-17

Review by n00b100

n00b100 I wrote out and deleted three different drafts of this review before settling on this one - it's almost like Phish's version of Last Year at Marienbad or Gravity's Rainbow, in that it defies any sort of reasoned critique in a way that I'm not sure any other legendary show does. I mean, if you step back and look at it from a (relatively) objective standpoint, it's a show that's constructed much more like a 92-93 show in its setlist and doesn't get anywhere as knotty and insanely deep as you'd expect from a 1994 show (compare to 7/16, or anything in the fall, or the Bangor/Bozeman/Bomb Factory/Big Birch Tweezerfests), is inextricably tied to a historical event that could age the show in a way other shows aren't, and (much like 7/21/13 II, which I don't think *anyone* likes nearly as much as this show) boasts a Harpua as its longest jam. You might see a show like this and think to yourself "yeah, they played about 15-20 shows like this in the early '90s", and then move on.

And yet here I am, talking about a show that's probably more beloved than any of the Tweezerfests I mentioned, a show sporting one of the healthiest ratings on .net, and a show that people still talk about fondly to this day. When people talk about 1994 as one of Phish's great years, they are most assuredly including this show in that opinion. It's a classic show, it always has been, and it always will be.

The main reason for this? It's so damn *fun*. I mean, it's one thing to read the reviews about how upbeat and energetic this show is, but it's another thing to *hear* the show, the snarky OJ references already populating the 2001, the wild first draft of Simple that leaks into IAH, and the melodic firepower of both Mike's and Weekapaug (to say nothing of the Gamehendge-inflected Harpua), and be amazed at how much power the band put into their performances back then, before they properly harnessed it in 1995 and then dispersed it in new and exciting ways in 1997. There's still a lot of early 90s in this show (particularly Gamehendge), but with even more skill and ability than even a year ago, as the band were continuing to mature on stage. Once you get past the OJ stuff, that's what really remains - a band having as much fun as they ever had on stage, while showing just how far they'd come in such a short period of time. I'd say that makes this show worthy of its reputation.

Also, try not to laugh at "Run, OJ, run!"


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