Trey sang verses through megaphone.
 Fish on trombone.
 Played to the tune of Cavern.
 Unfinished; Played bluegrass style to the tune of Scent of a Mule.
Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. I Didn't Know featured Fish on trombone. Wilson was played to the tune of Cavern. Tweezer contained Woody Woodpecker theme, I Wish, and I Know a Little teases. BBFCFM was unfinished and played bluegrass style to the tune of Scent of a Mule. Trey teased Slave throughout Suzy Greenberg.
So this one goes down as my favorite show. I have a lot of near favorites but this was the best show I attended and one of my favorites to listen to at home. This show was on the same day as the Dead's Highgate Vermont show. Their one and only Vermont show. My friends and I debated and debated should we go to Vermont or should we see Phish. We were coming off a pretty great string of shows (7/2,8 and 10) and we decided to see Phish. Our logic was that very few people would be there and the band would reward us. Well we were totally right.
The thing I love most about this show is the flow. Every song from the Buried Alive on is just perfectly placed. It's all good not a bummer in the bunch. The gig was at a ski slope called Big Birch know to locals as the Big Bump. not much of a slope. The scene outside the show was total mayhem. The security were all bikers who did not get in anyone's way. You were allowed to do whatever you wanted. It was totally peaceful and wild at the same time. Inside the venue had set up probably 1000 or so folding chairs in the front of the stage. They may have been ziptied together but in no way permanent. As soon as the show started the chairs went flying in every direction including the stage. There were piles of chairs in random spots through out the crowd. They were also being thrown on stage and the band was dodging them. I remember Brad Sands standing a bit offstage and corralling what he could... It took awhile for all that to settle down. During It's Ice you can hear some feedback and Page sounds like he's fidgeting around a bit. I think that was due to chair chucking. So first set was totally solid but no real hint of what was to go down.
Second set was fire from the second they hit the stage. The Possum from this show is still my favorite version. Trey was totally on fire and the crowd was synced into him. Cavern>Wilson>Cavern was a head scratcher and I think everyone was confused as to what was actually being played. That combo set the tone for the rest of the set which really has to be heard to be enjoyed. NICU was pretty new and pretty rare at the time and it was my first time hearing it. Then they went into the whole Tweezer madness with the bluegrass version of BBFCFM which is really musical improv at it's best. Slave>Suzy with Slave highlights really tied the whole thing together. I walked out of there feeling like my brain had been flushed.
We were too burnt to even consider driving home after that show so we pitched a tent in the parking lot and slept until like 11 the next day. The biker who woke us up was totally nice and understanding. All around best scene/show ever. After this is it was no contest if Phish and the Dead were competing for my time Phish won out every time.
phish really brought that high weird sound on 7/13/94 at the Big Berch Pav in Patterson, NY. Like a lot of shows, the boys played it fairly straight in the first set, but there are still tons of highlights. trey really rips buried alive before they bounce into a lively poor heart. an early down with disease works nicely into fee before they go into a very lively it's ice. page sounds wonderful on ice. split open and melt is really the only spot they open in the first set. trey cuts into psychadelic mode on this one before bringing the set to a close.
the second set appears to start out in standard form as fish cranks up cavern. before cavern can really get going, trey comes in for his opening chord...wait...that's not cavern. theh fun begins! they intermingle cavern and wilson all the way through. basically, they play wilson to a mix of the wilson and cavern music. as wilson comes to it's typically rowdy close, they find a way to work in the last verse of cavern. this dips nicely into a solid take of nicu. well, you can tell early in the set that this is not going to be your average phish show. trey's opening to tweezer all but confirms that. fishman comes in heavy too, and by the time we hit the improvisational segment, fishman and trey are just feeding off each other. fishman has some wonderful john bonham'esque playing here. just really heavy. trey is just ripping over top of him. eventually, trey works his way into the opening of julius. he backs off for a minute letting everyone else ease their way into the song before opening up julius full throttle. julius was fairly standard but high octane, none the less. they burst back into tweezer without fully playing the tweezer theme. gordon sounds like he is about to go into a full on stevie wonder "i wish" jam, but they speed things up and shift gears. after a nice rocking, escalating jam they work into a full on "i know a little" jam. once again, they smoothly turn a corner and trey steers them into bbfcfm. this one starts out typically, but gordo makes a move to the land of bluegrass. bbfcfm is given a very cool/odd bluegrass rendering. the boys occasionally move back toward the typical bbfcfm music before going back into bluegrass. finally, they whip full throttle back into the bbfcfm theme building it up to crash back into the tweezer theme. trey leads into tweezer, but backs off as soon as he gets there. this opens things up for gordo and page to lead the way on the tweezer melody. underneath, trey is just wailing on an eerie guitar drone. this jam comes to climax and lands gracefully into fishman's intro into the mound. this song seems to be even more mesmerizing than ever. maybe it's just that it's the first "straight" song of the set, but it adds a very pleasant feel. talk about pleasant and mesmerizing, the slave the follows is the bee's-knees! the boys are sooo patient on the build up here. trey just weaves between page and gordo before fishman starts the ascent. as they build, page just rolls under trey beautifully. this one does not reach the same heights as some of the best slaves out there, but it mostly fits this slot in the show perfectly. suzy greenberg ends this set in typically rousing fashion. just for good measure, trey tosses in some very fun slave teases in the suzy jam. from start to finish, this set just keeps you on your toes, finally landing you softly back on the ground with slave. then you get a bonus suzy!!
the my sweet one>tweezer reprise is a nice juxtaposition, but it is pretty straight, none the less.
anyway, if you feel like taking the ride, hop on the spread sheet. their link is either a sbd/aud matrix or one of the best damn aud's i've heard. no one will be disappointed!! oh yeah, if you dig this show, check out another one of my favorites. 7/2/94 from holmdel is similar in style with a monster mike's groove subbing in for a good 'ol tweezer fest. check out that holmdel weekapaugh....yowser!
As the setlist notes suggest, this is an unusual show. And while the first set is certainly worth a listen, its really just a prelude to the delightful, spirited weirdness that follows…
The second set opens with a lively Possum, and from the song’s start it’s almost immediately clear that the crowd is ready to get lit and go wherever the band’s whims lead. Possum doesn’t disappoint, briskly blazing along before winding down with a sort of yodelled honky tonk send up. What happens next would probably be better labeled "Cavern/Wilson Mashup," because the two songs aren’t simply sandwiched, but are actually threaded together, the band seamlessly flowing back and forth between the two in what appears to be an ingenious impromptu hybrid.
Segueing immediately into NICU, the boys temper the wild vibe a little while still maintaining an energetic bounce. The song then ends with an escalating riff that suggests BBFCFM before launching into Tweezer, which sort of flops after a monster drum lead up. This is one contentious Tweezer, right here. Full of teases and sprinkled with heavy riffs, the song seems poised to pull itself apart a couple of times, touching on grooves only to restlessly spring away before finally dropping into mid-gear jazz, complete with a distinct Woody Woodpecker tease, and then spiraling on into Julius…
Julius is distilled at full strength, followed by alternately meandering and manic jamming that briefly quotes Tweezer before at last ramping up into BBFCFM. This Furry Creature begins with characteristic heaviness but soon saunters on as a jaunty bluegrass tune, not Scent of a Mule per se but close enough to give the feel of yet another impromptu mashup.
Replete with a chorus of yeehaws and hollering that echoes Possum’s wild vocal ending, BBFCFM becomes a yodeling balls-out rodeo that is somehow eventually corralled back into a continued Tweezer progression, thick with a wind-tunnel of weird feedback, that drops heavily into Mound, audience going wild the whole time and then clapping along (at least trying to) as the groove resettles…
Mound just fits perfectly here, played with uncustomary verve and rhythm, the mood beautifully suited to the energy of the evening and the sense of a journey undertaken. What I love about this set is the way it so masterfully demonstrates Phish’s ever playful improvisational dexterity, as well as revealing the band’s living knowledge of so many diverse American musical traditions.
The Slave that follows Mound is played brilliantly, providing a slowly ascending, soulful climax before leaping immediately into a brisk, Page-dominated Suzy Greenberg to close the set.
The encore that ends the evening is something like a cigarette after sex. You’ve just gotta hear this show.
This show garners a 5/5 mainly because of the second set and the lunacy that it contains.
That is not to say the first set is a sleeper... Buried Alive opener gets things off to a nice fast paced start and so on with Poor Heart. Sample rages as much as it can (anyone who says the do not enjoy this song is lying). Foam is awesome and you get to start to hear the first sounds of Trey's phaser (that warble-y sound that hits you right in the soul). DwD rips, even among the concise 94 versions. It's Ice also features great work from Page and more Trey phaser. SOAMelt to close the set gets mike ripping up the bass.
Ok... now for the meat and potatoes, and don't forget the gravy. Possum right out of the gates gets things fiery and gets the band firing on all cylinders. All out ripping Possum. Wilvern/Cavson is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard Phish play. Some people might call it sloppy, but all you have to do is listen to realize the intricacy with which they are playing and weaving the songs together. This NICU Tweezer sandwich is unearthly and if you have not heard it, open a new tab, go to the spreadsheet, download it and listen to it right now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. LISTEN to it! Holy. Shit. That phaser is an amazing toy that Trey is playing with through this whole show as well. The segues between Tweezer and Julius and BBFCFM (which has a bluegrass beat and is Mule-y, wtf is happening!?!) are all twisted, deranged and evil. I don't really know how people who attended this show were able to walk out. Mound cools things down a little but, not before Slave blasts off into blissful spacey jam peak jam land. And boy does this Slave peak... Just when you thought it was over, Suzy!! with slave teases throughout.
Great way to end it: MSO > Tweeprise and there you have it... your face is melted and sitting on the ground.
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