, attached to 1991-10-12

Review by wprestia

wprestia The instrument played during "Only Had a Brain" is the nose flute. Artis played it. He also sometimes played tin whistle, and if I recall correctly sometimes used blew the tin whistle with his nose. (Hilarious - part of the experience of Artis is seeing him.) I saw Phish a fair amount during this era. I was at the Backstage in Seattle (now a health club) the night before, I was at Great American & Santa Cruz about a week later. This show was stellar. I was straight sober, and my perception was that the energy in the room was through the roof.

Artis is a Seattle-based artist who does a lot of political commentary / topical songs, and (obviously) rips out on the spoons. He opened for Phish in Seattle and also in Portland & Olympia (and maybe one other show) during this run. In Seattle, many of us were sitting on the dance floor in front of the stage (no seats, just a wood dance floor) for the opener, and Trey came out and sat next to me (pure chance) and dug all of Artis's show. The guy was very engaging.

When he walked on with Phish during Brother, it was exhilarating, and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun with him up there. Not sure what version of the tape you have (or whether this is on Phish OD or any similar service), but when the band came out for the encore, the emcee said, "from Vermont - Phish!" and Trey followed right up with, "from EVERYWHERE, Artis the Spoonman!"

While I agree that you might not want spoons at every show, it was great, it was fun, and it was a one-off novelty. I got the cassette a couple years after the show, when I still lived on the East coast. When I moved to Seattle in '99, I ran into Artis at Folklife festival. I talked to him about sitting in with Phish. He remembered the experience fondly. I burned a copy of the tape for him (this was before MP3s were around, kids). He was gracious, just as he was on stage with Phish.

Anyway - I think this was terrific show. I thought the band, all-in-all, was hotter than the night before, and I think the recordings bear this out.

My 2 cents.


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