, attached to 1993-02-03

Review by Penn42

Penn42 **This is my first of (hopefully) 71 reviews as I listen to the entire winter/spring '93 tour.**

This is solid tour opener that marks the debut of Page's grand piano. This major instrument upgrade really rounds out the band's sound. It's easy to forget that just two months prior they sounded so very much different, even though their actual playing probably didn't change all that much. The grand is so much warmer and really just adds a wonderful depth to their sound.

Loving Cup is an appropriate opener considering this instrument change. At the end of Llama Trey notes they had wanted to play Loving Cup for years but Page refused to play it until he had an actual piano. The first set is generally pretty tight and fun. The Wedge, a song generally not associated with 1993, also debuts. After only nine performances in 1993 it was shelved until 1995. Seeing as it's currently 2014, it's easy to forget that Bowie used to get a bit more exploratory. It being 3.0 and all, our expectations for a 12 minute Bowie aren't particularly high, but you'll find the more you listen to early 90's Phish that this song really used to shine in that amount of time. Each rendition really has a unique identity. Not that this version is crazy out or anything, but it develops it's own little "thing" and should hold your attention much better than most from the past couple years.

The main attraction of Set II is a great YEM > (the debut of) Lifeboy. YEM isn't longer than usual, nor does it vary form its normal formula (i.e. Page > Trey > Mike > vox jam), but everything is played really well. Even the ambient vamp in the beginning of the composed section gets a little face-lift. The biggest bummer is that the only circulating source has a short portion of the jam missing at the end of Page's solo into Trey's solo. It's actually masked by a tape-splice that keeps the beat going, but if you're not spacing out you will notice the missing bit. Other than that non-musical critique, this YEM is pretty fire. Page slays, Trey really slays, Mike gets quirky... even the vocal jam ends pretty neat with a drone-y work-song type vibe. The lyrical variation in (foreshadowed in Tweezer) is hilarious too. And to cap it off, Lifeboy follows it up. For my money, there isn't a better song to follow a big jam (and this YEM is certainly big) than Lifeboy. It works so damn good.

HYHU > Terrapin > Big Ball Jam > HYHU is actually pretty engaging. There is lots of playful banter and the Big Ball Jam features Trey on drums and Fish on Vacuum.

Overall I'd say this is a pretty strong show. There's nothing super negative about it and there's nothing ridiculously stand out about it. It's a strong play-it-by-the rules show that I would recommend for fun listening. If you're looking for the highlight, definitely set your course for the YEM > Lifeboy.


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