This is one of those time-machine moments where I really wish I could go back to this night and re-experience my first time seeing Phish. Not because it was incredible, but because I just can't remember much about it. This show happened in the middle of one of the Grateful Dead's greatest runs 3/90-10/91. Dead promoter and patriarch Bill Graham died in a helicopter accident while going home from a Huey Lewis concert in Oakland. That happened on the 25th, just 8 days after this show. I think that's a big reason this show got a lousy spot in the concert-memory dept. of my brain. The Dead went on to play an incredible 4-night Halloween run which began on the 28th, and followed up by headlining the Bill Graham memorial concert in GG Park on Nov 3rd, which was free and had an estimated 300,000 attendees (I was dead center 10 rows back, thanks to camping out the night before right next to the entrance. Literally one of the first 50 people to put down a blanket).
Ok, so back to Phish. I thought they were a fun band but didn't really take them seriously, and probably was a little defensive since people were starting to say they were better than the Dead. What I do remember about this show is how much fun it was. They had a great stage presence, and were obviously really talented. And I remember watching Mike and Trey on the trampolines and laughing my ass off, while still appreciating the music they were playing.
So ultimately this show, and the one I saw the next night, weren't really enough to get me to buy into Phish full on, but they were enough to make me keep and eye on them, and see them when they were local. Now I love them and consider them the best band in the world, musically. It just took a journey...and this is where it began.
(Published on the legacy Phish.net site many years ago...)
I would have to first say that the Great American Music Hall is one of the best rooms to both play in and go see music. It holds about 550 people with room to dance. If it was New York, there would be atleast 1000 people inside. I was told that the last time that PHISH played the Wetlands that the normal 650 person limit was stretched to 1200. If you have ever been to the Wetlands, you know that is tight.
The show was very good, highlighting a great deal of the Junta material. As you can see, there are none of the new tunes on the list. The songs that stood out for me on this night were The Curtain, David Bowie, which had a very heavy groove working in the intense jam, and You Enjoy Myself, which had a great vocal jam in it, Possum, and Chalkdust Torture. Of course, anytime PHISH covers a Syd Barret tune (Honey Love), it is a definite highlight.
The show was sold out with lots of people outside. As the show started, they did sell a few more tickets to the point that almost everyone who came and remained patient got in.
On the whole, a GREAT AMERICAN time to be had by all.
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