, attached to 1994-05-08

Review by theghost

theghost So this was THE show for me. I'd seen them in Maine in early '89 and loved them but wasn't sure if they'd go beyond regional. I moved to Austin in 1990 and wasn't sure if I'd ever see them again, but sure enough, they came in October on their way to Colorado and played a quick one setter. I met Mike and asked how I could get some of their music. He said he had Lawn Boy cassettes for sale, but didn't have any CDs. He told me that Waterloo Records had the CDs, so I waited until the next day to get one. Could have had a tape passed to me by Mike but had to get all prissy about the digital thing.

The next year, I'm standing out in the rain at Liberty Lunch reading a sign that said "Show cancelled due to leaking roof...see you next summer"

I look for them all summer...nothing. Years later I find out they got the Santana gig and didn't get to Texas. Bummer for '92

'93 I book a big ski trip with friends for spring break. Find out that they're coming the day after we leave. They end up following us around Colorado, unbeknownst to me.

'94 I've got all the CDs through Hoist. THRILLED to see they're coming to the Backyard. Gush to friends, talk a few into going. Somewhat apathetic friends poke around and make me late, but I assumed there would be an opening band so no big deal. We get to the lot and see quite a few out of state plates but no vending/tailgating of note. We get out and I hear this throbbing beat coming from the venue. I start saying I don't know who this opener is but they sound good. Eventually it occurs to me that this IS Phish, I just didn't know the song (RJim). I start to fast-walk, with my friends going WTF what's your rush. Anyway, we "bubble" into the venue during Foam. And off we go.

Listening back, the Jim is short but hot. Trey kind of loosens up with some sharp shredding and finishes strong. Foam through Rift was very crisply played but nothing unusual. DWD was the first jaw dropper. They've gotten pretty comfortable with it by this point, and this is my favorite of '94. Trey REALLY rips this one. He rips a lot of them but this solo almost sounds composed. Perfectly phrased and he does this awesome double line effect...hard to describe but amazing. Any brass players remember the Carnival of Venice exercises in the Alban's
books? Kind of an obscure comment but I've got to throw it out there.

And then Bouncing hits! Well, it was what it is, but I'd never heard it live and I loved it. 4 minutes well spent. To be honest, I'd take a Bouncing at every show. Takes no time, hooks the noobies, and it's just fun.

Next jaw dropper was Stash. This Is a great month for Stash and this one really delivers. The lights were finally out and they launch into the jam fiercely with the Cannonball riff from the night before and then blast off from there. This was group improvisation like I'd never seen and left me stunned again. Give this Stash a listen if you haven't.

A very sweet Coil ends the set. Everyone left the stage and Page gave a beautiful walk-off solo.

2001 with all the lights and fat bass started me right back up again. I'd never heard their version and I loved it. It flows into...
ANTELOPE! This one's no secret but this was the earthquake that shifted my world. Probably the most intense musical experience of my life. A musical dab if you will. At one point deep in the jam, a breeze came up and Trey was hunched over his guitar, slackjawed in the white lights. I think there might have been drool...completely possessed. Gotta hear this one!

Ice was excellent but in the box...great Page. Fee ended with Mike using a glass of milk (soy?) as a slide. Julius was another wow moment. Fish and Mike were really swinging it, and Trey went shredding again. Hot Cavern...these small songs are ripping too. YEM had some great moments too but wasn't a real highlight in this show. During the Nirvana section, Kuroda blasted out an enormous amount a fog and then shone a search light beam back and forth a few feet over people's heads...very eerie. The vocal jam dissolved into the opening of Halley's in a way they rarely if ever did again for some reason. Such a natural segue. Halley's was quick but featured another enormous blast in Trey's solo. Without missing a beat (literally), they land on the opening notes of GTBT which was of course was shredded. Adeline was another little touch and Golgi was great to hear for the first time.

I went to more adventurous shows but I don't think I've ever seen them this sharp since. Just a rip-snorter of a show with no fiddling around. From here I plunged deep into the insanity that many of you know...there's no way I'll ever get this band out of my blood.

I promise I'll never write anything this long again. This show was so special to me that I had to spill it all out. Give it a listen...it's good stuff.


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