, attached to 1995-09-28

Review by Man_From_Mars

Man_From_Mars My 1st birthday show in San Diego at the Embarcadero Center is admittedly one of the weaker shows of Fall 1995. This is mainly due to both sets being short in length although not short in energy. The band played well for the 2nd show of their mammoth tour, but we were left wanting more especially after driving all night from Sacramento the night before.

Cars Trucks Buses was a fun opener and not a surprising call as the band likes to play new songs with frequency after their debut. Page shows off his chops and the crowd is pumped up. I wonder how many people were at last night’s show, not that many I think. Runaway Jim follows solidly and under normal circumstances might have been the opener. The Jim jam builds patiently and the tension is finally released near the end. Billy Breathes is next and we get another new tune repeat from the prior show’s second set. This was fine by me as we had a long road ahead of us and I took the opportunity to soak in this delicate number. Trey takes a moment to introduce the song by name afterward.

Scent Of A Mule is worthy of a listen for any fan of the Page-Trey duel. The full band is engaged playfully as Page takes over to challenge Trey to the duel. Trey responds with most of his effects leaving Page to reply in kind humorously. The song concludes normally by getting the crowd feverishly clapping along until they can’t keep up. The Stash is hot and gets menacing. A solid version all the way until the end!

Fee is always fun to hear and is a real crowd pleaser. The outro jam into The Fog That Surrounds, another repeat from Sacramento, is very short. A beautiful transition but Fishman can't recall the lyrics once he starts playing the drums. Some fun banter ensues as Fishman is encouraged to start the song over. This version is a highlight in the set like the night before. At the conclusion they tease Fish with a few HYHU quotes.

I wonder if the prior fun distracts the band and inspires Acoustic Army next. A nice choice for this small outdoor venue on the water in San Diego. Nice placement in the first set for the first time. Phish being Phish is always entertaining. Slave To The Traffic Light was like a birthday present for the first set closer; another song that was typically played in the second set. An ultra patient build ensues toward a never ending climax. A short yet satisfying first set!

Theme From The Bottom is a song that is near and dear to my heart. This version is well played and serves the set opener role effectively. Poor Heart immediately stirs things up with lots of high energy. You gotta appreciate how much they can accomplish in just over two minutes. Don’t You Wanna Go? I always wanna go and never understood why this was the last time played, and at the beginning of a tour. I think this song is a lot of fun and I enjoy the train horn sounding jam. They seemed to enjoy singing it as well. Oh yeah!!

Very happy to get my favorite song Tweezer next, the ultimate birthday present. This version delivers a driving jam and would be appreciated by any Tweezer enthusiast. Some great tension and release occurs to everyone’s delight. The jam breaks down to near quiet as Keyboard Army starts up. One of the great things about about this song is watching the band members migrate to Page’s keyboards. More Phish being Phish. The transition from Tweezer added to that vibe unlike the night before where the song followed Billy Breathes.

Amazing Grace is a great a cappella tune and I’m bummed they stopped singing it. It seemed to take on special meaning to the band and the fans. The song is lyrically appropriate throughout; “and Grace will lead me home” seemed to strike a cord as Fall tour was wrapping up in December near my home.

Sample In A Jar picks the energy right back up and the crowd is pumped. The first few notes of Run Like An Antelope are always a welcome sound. The intro is playful. It doesn’t take long for this Antelope to get going and the band is firing on all cylinders. This is why I’m on tour!

While the second set felt short it somehow felt complete. Obviously the setlist flow contributed to that. The Fire encore was fitting as it was short yet sweet. “See you next time!”, as in tomorrow night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. So my birthday show wasn’t the craziest show ever but it did bring a lot of energy!

#20yearslater


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