, attached to 1994-11-16

Review by Feel_The_Bern

Feel_The_Bern Top to bottom, this show showcases all the best of what Phish sounded like in November '94, from incredible setlist flow to bluegrass jams with Reverend Jeff to hyperactive, hard-rocking jams that can be found here in such masterpieces as the Simple and Antelope. I do not usually like to do song-by-song reviews of shows, but I think that this one completely requires one:

Sample in a Jar - this song is one of my very favorites to find in the first set, and as the opener it is quite a treat. This is a rocking near-perfect version with a raging Trey solo, just like it should be. 5/5. Only a few seconds go by until Fish starts the drumbeat of...

Foam: Echoing the masterful version in Bangor 2 weeks before, this version has a perfectly nailed fugue section before getting very quiet, with lots of atmospheric Trey plinking, gradually building to a blazing peak. Again, 5/5.

FEFY: Great ballad, so refreshing to hear a good '94 version of this one, especially after a raging opening combo. 5/5.

Reba: For some reason, in the midst of such an (already) great show, I do not dig this Reba. Maybe it's just coming off the incredibly monumental Halloween version that my expectations were too high while listening to this one, but the band members are not really in sync with each other. By this time in this song's history, it had become customary for a quiet start to the jam with a huge peak, and that basic structure remains intact, but everything (especially Trey's high distorted notes and Mike's weird bass notes) seems somewhat out of place. Without a doubt, another dynamic Reba from '94, but nothing that needs re-listening. 3/5.

Axilla II: This absolutely rages, and it is kinda cool to go back to '94 and '95 and listen to the alternate versions of this song (notice the "II"). The trippy ending is pretty cool. 5/5.

Lizards: While I love this song, this version is standard - which, of course, in '94, means AWESOME. But still, doesn't stand out in any way. 4/5.

Stash: Masterful, tense, and melodic. One of my favorite Stashes. Enough Said. 5/5.

Bluegrass Set: Bring out the Reverend! This is super-cool to hear such a great bluegrass musician as Jeff jamming with the dudes, teaching them the tricks of the trade. Tennessee Waltz I would say is the highlight, and that breakdown jam before Swing Low is pretty fiery. 5/5.

Overall, a great first set, with the two main jamming vehicles being the high (Stash) and low (Reba) points. 4/5. But the low points were all done for this show, as seen in the amazing second set

Mike's: Rages, just a rock powerhouse with an unexpected yet perfectly placed -> into Simple. 5/5.

Simple: The magic of Phish's Fall '94 jams are something that I have only recently latched on to, and this jam brought me there. The improvisational passages speed up and slow down, louden and soften in matters of seconds, and it seems as if the band is eager to explore as many themes as they can fit in 34 minutes. All of these themes seem to work, though, and Mike, Page, Trey, and Fish can pick up on any hint another one picks up, having an almost telepathic sense of communication. After about 28 minutes of this mastery, they latch on to the single longest-explored theme of the entire jam: a blissful, rocking groove that will send any listener's happiness through the roof. Just joyful improvisational music. Nothing more to it. I do not use the term "epic" lightly, but this jam is completely that. There are not enough stars. 6/5.

Bluegrass: Bring out the Reverend again! 2 of the greatest acoustic songs phish played, following perfectly in the heels of a masterpiece. 5/5.

CDT: Found on ALO, it is concise, rocking, and utterly perfect, as far as live music goes. Trey's solo is out of this world. 5/5.

Fee: More of a first set tune, but so great to hear it in what is already such a great second set. Very cool. I dig it. 4/5

Antelope: Continues the epicness of the Simple jam, with raging passages and sudden reggae breakdowns that are just so fun to hear. Hot Hot Hot, to close out a Hot Hot Hot set. 5/5.

Such a great second set, one of the unsung greats. And for an encore, I can only imagine how special it would be to be there as Phish sang without microphones the classic spiritual Amazing Grace. Sharin' in the groove, alright. Pure transcendence. 5/5.

Suzy Greenberg: Perfect for an encore, with a Page piano solo that just makes you want to get down. This show is definitely one of my favorites, and I can say that the Simple is the greatest version of that song ever played. Give this show a listen - you will be glad you did.


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