A local band, The Jolly Llamas, opened. Bowie included heavy Manteca teases and Charlie Chan and Random Note signals. Trey teased Under Pressure in Suzy.
Noteworthy Jams
Teases
Manteca tease in David Bowie, Under Pressure tease in Suzy Greenberg
Debut Years (Average: 1988)

This show was part of the "1991 Winter/Spring Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1991-02-21

Review by hmi1892

hmi1892 Tight version of Reba to open this one up. What a great way to start a set. I've heard better versions from the era, but can you really complain about Reba? It's THE quintessential Phish song in my opinion. After a standard Dinner and a Movie, the band starts up Ya Mar. It's a fun version with nice solos from Page and Trey. Split Open and Melt hadn't quite reached the maniacal heights it would later in the 90's, but this version features plenty of interesting playing. Fee is dedicated to Rob - a lucky man indeed! Fee fades into a rocking Llama. Trey really tears this one apart. In one of my favorite moments of banter I've heard, Trey dedicates the song to "all the 'Jolly Llamas' out there." (Edit: I now see this was the name of the opening band). So far, the energy and playing in this set has been excellent.

The Lizards is a beautiful piece of music. At some point in the middle of the song, Mike makes a really odd (accidental I assume?) sound with his bass that for some reason I've always been intrigued by. It occurs at 3:15 on my copy of the show. Just an odd, completely out-of-place "thump" on Mike's bass. This version is very tight. Trey's outro solo absolutely soars, as usual, although the ending is cut off on the tape. My Sweet One begins with machine gun drumming from Fish and is a standard run through of the bluegrass love song.

The jam in Mike's starts out with some heavy organ by Page before Trey comes in with a snarling solo. Short but intense, not unlike most early Mike's Songs. Still, maintains the energy of an already strong set. I am Hydrogen is typically blissful. Weekapaug, while also standard for the era, nonetheless features a blistering solo by Trey. He really used to rip his solo in this song apart in those days.

Thus ends a set that I enjoyed very much. The playing was tight, the flow and song choices were both great, and there was plenty of high energy, creative playing. Not to mention the SBD quality makes this set a great choice for a snapshot of the band in the post-college pre-93 days. Let's see if Set II delivers the same way.

As the band noodles around on their instruments at the start of the second set, a fan yells "Golgi Apparatus!" and the band immediately starts up the song. I wonder if they played it for him or if he was perceptive enough to hear something in their tuning that indicated they were going to play it. Not the tightest Golgi ever - some noticeable Trey flubs in the middle section. A standard Cavern leads into The Landlady. Trey's solo is a little rough at times, but man, he really channels a gritty Latin soul. After Bouncing Around the Room is a very crisp Stash. Only a few flubs in the composed section and the jam is full of tension and great playing from Trey and Page in particular.

The recording cuts out the intro of Guelah which is a bit disappointing, but oh well. Mike's bass sounds particularly heavy at this point in the recording as well. Uncle Pen is definitely one of the better bluegrass tunes they play, and this version is plenty of fun. During the HYHU intro Trey announces that Fish's 26th birthday was two days ago, and Fishman walks up to the mic and announces "Good Morning." Page, Mike, and Trey all take solos during Love You. Trey's drum solo is comically lame. Fishman sounds a little tired while he sings, but his vacuum solo is funny and he mentions that his mouth is "so fuckin' dry" at the end.

Bowie starts with a somewhat spacey and very interesting intro. The jam starts with HEAVY Manteca teasing (Edit: I see .net agrees), but they never quite break into the full groove. The rest of the jam is full of dissonance and tension until the song reaches its explosive final peak (complete with some secret language). Suzy is hot. Great way to end the show. All in all, I think the second set definitely upholds the energy of the first. I really enjoyed listening to this show. Nothing groundbreaking, but tight and creative versions of some of Phish's classic tunes.

One thing I thought about while listening to this show: Phish makes so much more SOUND these days. Compared to the layers of sounds and effects radiating from the stage in the later and current incarnations of the band, it is refreshing to hear such a crisp, clear, and simpler sound. Each instrument is more clearly distinguishable in the recording and there is less reliance on effects, especially from Trey and Page. I especially love Trey's clear tone from this era - such a beautiful sound. It is certainly a nice change of pace from listening to 3.0.

I can't quite justify a 4 star rating for this show, but it's a great listen nonetheless.
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Fun with Setlists

September 29, 1990
26 years ago
23 East Caberet

Set 1: Divided Sky, Dinner and a Movie, The Landlady, Ya Mar > Buried Alive > Bouncing Around the Room > Possum[1], Magilla > David Bowie -> Happy Birthday to You[2] -> David Bowie[3]

Set 2: The Squirming Coil > Tweezer, Gumbo, Uncle Pen, Stash, Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

Encore: Lawn Boy

[1] Two Charlie Chan signals; also Oom Pa Pa and Popeye signals.
[2] Sung by the band to Trey.
[3] Charlie Chan and How High the Moon signals.

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