Acoustic and without microphones. Fish on washboard.
 Without microphones.
MFMF included Born on the Bayou teases from Page and Trey. Mike's Song contained teases of Today (Smashing Pumpkins) from Trey. Weekapaug, Big Ball Jam, and Hood included I Love Lucy theme teases. Ginseng Sullivan and Nellie Kane were performed acoustic, without microphones, and featured Fish on washboard. Sweet Adeline was also performed without microphones. The soundcheck's Simple led to joking "performances" of limited parts of Fool on the Hill, Arthur's Theme, and Sunset Grill. The soundcheck information is from phish.com.
On the May `94 West Coast tour, they booked a show at The Hult and I knew I had to be there. Silva Hall is the main theater at the Hult, 2,500 capacity, and is an incredible modern acoustically designed concert theater "in the central part of town". www.hultcenter.org/Silva/index.htm .
The ceiling is a "basket weave" surface that reflects sound perfectly.
Every seat has a view and great sound.
This remains perhaps my favorite Phish show of the past twelve years.
Any show that starts off with "Halley's Comet" ->"Llama" sends a clear message from the band that they are out to deliver the goods. That became even more clear when they played an insane version of "Stash". The jams this night were tight and focused, rather than loose and spacey, and the "Stash" got evil. They took it into a very alien sounding atonal pattern that stayed intense, and wound up into the most explosive ending I've ever heard. After the final note, the kid next to me said "That's the best Stash I ever heard, and I'm from f***ing VERMONT!" Highly recommended version, a must have for any fan. It was followed by a strong and emotional "Horse"-> "Silent in the Morning", which was absolutely perfect.
The next song was "Down With Disease", debuted about a
month earlier, and the new song had us dancing down hard during the jam. I remember thinking how great the new songs were. The "Mango Song" that followed had the intensity and sparkle that was escalating through the whole set, and had Trey ad-libbing in-between chorus lines to someone in the audience.
The second set picked up steam again and they laid out a classic
"Mike's"-> "Hydrogen" -> "Weekapaug" that was again tight, clear and focused. The band never seemed to lose their way this night (typical of so many `94 shows) with all four minds combined as one as they turned corners together with ease. "Julius" confirmed my opinion of the new material as it rocked the place. Then after a huge Big Ball Jam came perhaps the finest part of the whole night: "Harry Hood". This "Hood" jam ranks as my all time favorite since I began following Phish in 1991. They take it from a delicate ice petal flower and patiently build it into a very different type of sound with Gordon hammering on his bass strings as if he was some Thunder God, with Fishman slamming punctuation marks into it. Then they return to the classic "Hood" theme, and bring it to an almost sexual climax that peaks once, then again, then again, each one higher than the one before, until one last huge peak with all of them just as focused and powerful as I've ever heard them. This is absolutely my pick for the finest "Hood" of all time.
The encore was completely un-amplified bluegrass, and could easily be heard throughout this acoustic marvel of a hall. Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" wrapped it up with one more electric punch.
I rate this show a solid A+. Pure solid Phish packed in its own juices.
Based on David Steinberg's recommendation of this particularly spooky Stash, I gave this one a spin tonight.
I'll get right to the point: how this Weekapaug isn't on the jam chart or highlighted as Noteworthy is beyond me. It's jaw-dropping in it's conciseness, no time wasted or breathing room, just a sub-7 minute runaway mineshaft ride with Trey doing his best Indiana Jones.
Temple of Doom is right.
Mike starts this thing off with a bunch of wild slapping figures, trilling chords way up the neck in a way I simply have never heard him play before. They come in like an oiled machine and the rest is a force of nature. How's that for mixed fucking metaphors.
Isn't that it though? These guys playing loosely with organic material in crazy mechanical ways? Listen to how Trey and Mike IMMEDIATELY play the same descending figure out of the jamming gate. They do it again towards the close. In fact, Fishman, who is a maniac this entire show, gets in as much crash action as a metal freak would want or need and follows Trey's leads more than once.
And Trey. Fucking Trey! It's more than Machine Gun. He simply smokes his lines with some sort of cool abandon, making things sound effortless but leaving you breathless just the same. It's funny. Made me laugh out loud. It's faster and more melodic and of a creative energy that didn't or doesn't exist then or today. His penchant for Languedocian feedback bleeds into his solo, and the result is ear-splitting sirens and Howitzer wails stuffed inside these monstrous jazzy runs. Nuts.
Trey is on fire during this show. This Stash (one of the 'key' versions) is strong, although I don't know that I find it to be that much better than other versions from this period. A cool down with Horses>SITM seems like a good call after the thrilling jam though. The following Disease is brief but Trey shows some of that "fire" I mentioned at the top.
Mike's Groove is the next noteworthy performance. Mike's Song is fierce and Trey once again lets out the flames in Weekapaug. Lizards is cool because the beginning of the song serves serves as a quieter, relaxing piece in contrast to the preceding Weekapaug, but by the end the end of it, the energy is back up, and Julius cranks it up several notches higher. I don't think I've heard a more energetic and peaky Julius than this one. After the rousing Julius, the only thing separating us from another dose of high-caliber Phish in Harry Hood is Big Ball Jam. This Hood jam takes a little while to really get going as Trey lays back at the beginning, but he comes out frets blazing later on. There is a short stretch of arguably type 2 stuff before the final peak as well.
Don't expect to be able to hear the un-amplified encore songs very well, but this is a strong 4-star show.
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