, attached to 1990-09-13

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Anybody that's read enough of my scribblings on this website knows that I have a pretty strong post-96 bias; anything before Roxy '93 is pretty much uncharted territory for me, although I have been trying to absorb more early Phish as of late. .net user @leroy asked me to try and write about this show, a pretty historical show in terms of some of the songs debuted, so here goes nothing...

Set 1 starts with the (apparently disputed) debut of the much-missed Landlady, a fine piece of composed music. A very fine (if a bit heavy-handed) Divided Sky and Foam come next, then the debut of Tube (a song I love), and while this version is a bit rushed (they hadn't worked out the pauses before each verse yet, nor the cool windup before the final verse), it's still a fine and sharp version, thanks to Page's nifty solo. The next set highlight (the goofy take on Minute by Minute doesn't count as such) is the debut of Buried Alive, and it's nice to hear that it was fully formed from the start, a bracing glimpse at the firepower the band could summon on stage. The rest of the set is fine, although it's interesting to hear a slower take on Bouncing Around the Room.

Set 2 begins with a Classic Groove, a slow and deliberate Mike's giving way to an upbeat Weekapaug (no wonder the songs were put together - it's a very yin-yang feeling when only Hydrogen separates the two). Then comes a 1-2 punch of debuts, first with the cool jazziness of Magilla, then with the beloved Stash (which sounds weird without the claps), a standard version that still shows the promise the band would fulfill in later versions. After another big-time rarity with Goin' Down Slow, the band whips out a cool OKPC > AC/DC Bag -> Buried Alive Reprise segment, with the band flipping the switch from one to the other with surprising, almost off-putting ease.

Take The "A" Train comes next (I really do miss Phish playing jazz standards), and then a surprise rendition of Sparks that neatly leads into Reba. Reba is a bit more heavy-handed than I'd like, the usual delicate touch the band brings to the jam replaced with a more rock-ish feel, but that might make it worth a listen all on its own. The rest of the show is fine - none of the Dude of Life songs really stand out, but the encore Lizards is very deftly played.

Final thoughts: I get why @leroy likes the show so much - there's much more jazz than you ever hear from the band these days, the energy is as strong as it always is with an early Phish show (with the audience, as well), and there's no shortage of coolness thanks to the debuts and rarities. My quibbles with the show (mainly the era, actually) aside - for instance, there is no setlist flow at all, as though the band threw a bunch of song titles in a hat and picked them out one at a time - there's a heck of a lot to like here if you're any sort of fan of what I now like to call the JEMP Truck sound. Give it a spin - you won't be disappointed.
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