, attached to 1990-09-13

Review by SplitOpenAndMule

SplitOpenAndMule I was very excited to hear the first known and recorded secret language signals in this Possum, and can only imagine the crowd must have been flabbergasted as the band broke into abrupt changes throughout the jam. (Secret Language has yet to be explained, as far as I'm aware.)

Unlike DemandOpener's review, I loved hearing the Bag>Buried Alive>A Train segues, but I can understand the other perspective. Digging into it further, I realized what was going on, and thought it might be helpful to explain it on this setlist page for anyone who likes to understand the tricks behind the magic. The key is the "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" signals, a signal I hadn't been aware of before. At the end of Bag, Trey plays the Charlie Chan signal, which indicates a secret language cue is about to happen. He then plays the rising and falling "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" riff, which is played to indicate that a new song is on deck and about to be transitioned to. To tell the rest of the band what song it is, Trey plays part of the song, and then band abruptly drops into it. This works uncannily well when, at the end of Bag>Charlie Chan>"I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" signals, Trey plays the Buried Alive riff, and the band immediately breaks into Buried Alive (I call it reprise, since it's the second of the show, and a shorter version). That's the first known "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" signal, and I think it's incredibly cool. During that short Buried Alive, however, things get messy.

Trey plays the Charlie Chan signal (think: secret language is coming), followed by the "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart"signal (think: a new song is coming), followed by the first few notes of The Landlady. At this point, Trey thinks everyone is ready, so at the end of a measure of Buried Alive, he starts The Landlady, but it seems the rest of the band didn't know what song they were going into or how to get there, so things just kind of slow down and space out. Trey, ever quick on his toes, quickly plays another "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" signal followed by the 'A' Train riff, before the band all seamlessly kicks into 'A' Train on the 1. I can see how it's cringeworthy, but I think the band plays it off really well, and they all hop aboard the 'A' Train, none the worse for wear.

As for the rest of the show, I think it's pretty standard 1990 Phish, which is to say simultaneously incredible and mostly unremarkable in light of the rest of Phish's live canon. In this show, all the debuts are very exciting to hear, especially a zesty Tube and extra energized Paul and Silas. Goin' Down Slow is a great cover I'd love to hear them bring back, and perhaps to mark the specialness of the song and secret language debuts: Sparks is played. It is a special show.

For the last three songs of the second set with The Dude of Life on vocals, Phish is a different band. They're more like a, well, Phishy version of a Brit-Punk-Grunge band. After accepting that, I enjoyed Self and Dahlia (especially the outro sort-of vocal jam on the latter), and The Dude's comical drawn out exit during Revolution's Over. 3 stars for playing, 4 stars for history.


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