, attached to 1993-08-07

Review by n00b100

n00b100 August 1993: The Month Everything Changed; the hurtling-down-a-mountain kinetic energy of the early days was being mixed with a newer style of improvisation, leading to one of the band's strongest years and some of their (to this day) most beloved shows. I've never heard this show, so let's fire up the new LivePhish remaster and dive in...

Set 1 kicks off the right way with a fireball Llama that dips into some of the same pool of atonal dissonance Stash did during that time period, then after a few tracks we get tossed into that pool as Stash itself makes an appearance. Or, at least, we eventually do, as beforehand Page and Trey combine forces and start an odd major-key groove which soon enough winds into familiar teeth-grinding Stash territory and closes in fine fashion with a sneaky and goofy segue into Makisupa Policeman. A surprisingly short (but still incendiary) Reba comes next, then a dig-in-your-heels typically gnarly mid-90s Maze, and Forbin's > Mockingbird (Trey story time is fun and all, but I prefer to just get to that incredible guitar part) and Cavern close out a nice enough first set.

Set 2 begins with a bog-standard 2001, then good ol' Mike's Song pops up (funny how the Mike's Song closing starts about 4 minutes earlier than it would in 3.0, but it then goes into a 2nd jam so it's not a big deal) and brings a manic, also-dissonant added jam that actually sounds like a darker, eviler Simple in points, before we enter an eerie space (Page teases New York, New York, the goofball) that winds into an odd little jamlet and crashes its way into Kung. Mike's Song comes hurtling out of the end of Kung and we get the usual finish, then TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu charms its way into our hearts before making way for The Sloth. Sparkle comes next (this is a second set, right?), then the second big highlight of Set II with a blistering MFMF that cools down to an atypically weird ending and ends up in McGrupp. McGrupp is a nigh-perfect version, given that extra green-treatment oomph by Page strutting his jazzy stuff on the keys, and with a wink and a nod Page starts playing some familiar chords and Fish gets his showcase for the night with a typically hilarious Purple Rain. A fierce and breathtaking Antelope ends Set II, and Carolina and the ever-rare La Grange ends the night.

Final thoughts: this is August 1993 for you. They aren't quite ready to make the deep dives of 1994 (and especially 1995), and they're still getting some of their showier elements out of their system, but the virtuosity is absolutely off the charts and some of the wilder jams will leave you feeling like the dude in the Maxell commercial. If you want a primer to one of Phish's best months without dipping right into the most legendary shows, you can hardly go wrong with this one.


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