, attached to 1995-10-21

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads This review is based upon the archival release; I was not in attendance. Unprecedented Tweeprise opener, to be unlikely repeated a few weeks later at 11/9/95, according to a jaunt over to ZZYZX's Phish Stats, and which would not happen again until 6/19/10, where it followed 6/18/10's encore-closing Tweeprise and preceded its own show's encore-closing Tweeprise! Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! I love the freewheeling, madcap velocity of Fall '95, which is on display in this show beginning with the Chalk Dust Torture. I'm not as Booked, chaptered, and versed in Phishtory as many other Phishtorians, but I feel handily sure that Fishman's best year may have been 1995. The band moves as an unit, as a well-oiled machine steaming through the composed portions to break through to uncharted territory with admirable fearlessness and glee. This Chalkdust certainly verges on Type II, with the hindsighted benefit of knowing what was to come in the 7/10/99 version casting a very promising and engaging color over this admittedly shorter and Type-I version. It just sounds like they're bursting to lift off like that version does, even though '95 was a year more inclined to Machine-Gun Trey than the near-krautrockish propulsion and euphoriant, shoegazey drift of that Camden version. They even tack a little big-rock coda onto the end of this one, and here comes Guelah! Guelah is probably among the least variable of songs in Phish's repertoire--though it's thus alongside such notable staples as Bouncing Around the Room--so I don't have too much to bring to the table in describing this version's individual merits. Reba is next, and Reba was fast in '95, my goodness! Tidier composed portion than my favorite version--also from Fall '95: 12/31--and I don't know how much I really need the percussive quasi- vocal-jam stuff from Trey in the beginning of the jam, but there is an array of approaches taken within the jam proper, witnessing some quieter moments that finally resolve into a searing peak the likes of which Reba is most beloved for, I think. Esteemed RMPer Tim Wade rates this one a B+, a motion that I second given Reba's capability of not merely peaking but irrevocably changing people for the better... well, let's not get carried away with ourselves, but it's a very good version. Wilson has an interesting pre- Blat Boom section with feedback. I was listening to the 6/18/94 Wilson a few nights ago and was pleased to hear it without "the chant," but Trey obviously approves or approved of it because even in that version he was shamelessly egging it on. Little things like this contributed to the brand Phish has built, like them or not. Kung -> The Lizards, Strange Design, Acoustic Army might be the stuff dreams are made of in a contemporary 3.0 setlist, and they're all very special here. This whole segment of the first set really demonstrates the ephemeral flaw in the pursuit of excellence: that if it's not preserved somehow, by memory or in this case by recordings, the everforward march into the future tends to cast shadow on previous achievements. GTBT -> Tweeprise! Not a heavy set on the Type II, but we still have set two to look forward to! Just imagine what Phish 3.0 could do with a commonly played 2001 Set 2 opener nowadays! This one is of the more concise varieties, but segues into Bowie in a most intriguing fashion. Bowie itself is breakneck and breathtaking. Resolves somehow into Lifeboy, one of Phish's more contemplative and therefore beautiful numbers: one which has been inexplicably sporadic in appearance these past 7 years. YEM features Trey on percussion rack and some Speedy Gonzales-type screeching--from Fish?--in the vocal jam. Hood is typically perfect for the era, plenty of "shredding," and Suzy, Highway to Hell puts us back on the road. The lack of a huge Type II jam notwithstanding, this is an amazing show, one that you have little excuse not to seek up, since it's available via archival release on LivePhish.com!


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