Fish on trombone.
 Phish debut.
This tour opener brought the first performances of The Fog That Surrounds, Cars Trucks Buses, Billy Breathes, Keyboard Army, and the Phish debut of Hello My Baby. I Didn’t Know featured Fish on trombone. Harry Hood was unfinished. Possum contained Johnny B. Goode teases from Trey.
Though this was the first Phish show after Jerry Garcia's death (at a venue that the Dead played regularly) Jerry's passing drew no mention tonight (that would be saved for the Shoreline show)
The words "Shirley Temple" are sung in the background vocals of a short Wolfman's, making its first appearance since the GameHoist show.
Free gets the extended '95 style exploration in a first-set version and It's Ice is well played. Fishman's I Didn't Know trombone solo is more polished than usual (and possibly the last time Fishman pulled out the trombone for this tune, if this site's notes are correct).
The Fog That Surrounds is introduced by Trey by saying, "Some of you think you know this song, but you don't." It is of course, the reworked Taste, a brief change of form that the band made to this now classic Phish tune.
The debut of CTB is uneventful, but Bag takes us on a slightly longer journey that segues smoothly into the Bowie intro, with a slow jam connecting the two songs. A fast and manic Bowie never moves deep into Type II territory.
Billy Breathes intro is slightly different and the song isn't really finished and the Keyboard Army that follows is short but sweet.
The rest of the show isn't especially noteworthy, with Hello My Baby dedicated to Pete Schall and a surprisingly strong Possum encore. A show that might only interest completists and those seeking out debuts, though the playing isn't bad.
This should be an edit to the one above. But, i would be remiss not to give the Hood its props, too! Definitely realizing this show has got some goods, front to back. It is a Worthy tour opener and deserves a relisten. After all, the recording sounds great taboot. I've given it 4 stars.
Phish’s 54-show Fall 1995 tour opened in Sacramento, CA at the Cal Expo Amphitheater. It was the beginning of a 3 month adventure that zigzagged the country from West to East. We got new songs, odd song placements, and a couple very interesting structural song changes from the norm. Plus, there’s no better way to start a tour than with a 500+ mile drive to the next show the following night ;)
Wolfman’s Brother (1 of 6) was a peculiar opener particularly because it was last played at the Game-Hoist show (88 show gap). It immediately set the vibe that things were going to be different from summer tour. This version stays within the confines of the song per usual for the 10th time played. However, it had never opened a set, or tour, and it was the first time I was hearing the song live.
Like most tour openers this first set is not extraordinary but affords the band some time to get the engine started. Rift was Rift and showed off the band’s overall sound nicely to any uninitiated attendees. Free followed and allowed the band to work on creating a cohesive wall of sound. It’s Ice gets nicely spacey and psychedelic before the ending takes over. I Didn’t Know just made perfect sense for the first of fifty-four shows. Phish being Phish!
The Fog That Surrounds had been reworked and Henrietta was singing new lyrics and Trey’s verses were eliminated, but the song still soared and was one of the highlights of the set. Strange Design was a reminder “to keep the tires off the line” on the drive down to San Diego with our companions. Chalk Dust Torture gets nasty quickly; obviously the band needs to release some pent up energy. The Squirming Coil is the perfect set closer and Page soloed for over 4 minutes. Great way to end the first set of tour. So far, so good! I couldn’t have been happier :)
Cars Trucks Buses was a fun 2nd set opener, especially since it was a debut. The first few times you hear new Phish is always a fun treat. The band let loose for AC/DC Bag and sent a clear message about their attitude for this Fall tour. Watch Out! David Bowie immediately sealed that feeling with a patient build into a rowdy, high octane version. Tour was on in a big way!! (sidenote: oh, how I miss the extended Bowie intro)
Back to back debuts up next with Billy Breathes and Keyboard Army. The former piqued my interest as a new ballad with a elegantly delicate jam. The latter was Phish being Phish! It was the sequel to Summer Tour’s Acoustic Army. (sidenote: it was nice that they busted Keyboard Army out at Dick’s; last played Binghampton ‘95)
Harry Hood dropped afterward to everyone’s delight. Fun intro as usual, tight middle section, then an incredible jam develops almost immediately. This qualifies as a must hear version! The ending was particularly odd as the song didn’t end proper. There was no ending chorus or a real ending as the jam fizzled into a spacey song ending sound.
And more Phish being Phish happens with the new a capella debut of Hello My Baby. Top notch choice. A Day In The Life to close the second set of the tour opener was a nice touch. Still new to their repertoire from Summer Tour and a full Phish assault on the senses, CK5 included.
Possum was a personally fitting encore as I had made a red/white “I Brake For Possum” sticker to sell on tour among other things. Back then Possum carried a lot more weight and often went deep. This version went the extra distance needed to send us on our way south for tomorrow night’s show, my first birthday show, in San Diego at Summer Pops, Embarcadero Center.
As the other reviews stated, the playing at this show is solid and certainly shouldve made everyone feel good about the rest of the Fall Tour. The Free and Ice from set 1 are definitely worth a listen, as is the Bag>Bowie. The Possum deserves the "Highly Recommended" mention and interestingly this night is its tenth anniversary as a part of Phish's repertoire, having its debut 9-27-85 in the stretch when the band was a five piece.
Since there's only one other review, I'll add the thoughts I posted at phishthoughts.com on this 18th anniversary of this show (!):
One of the few Phish shows that happened less than an hour from my home (The others were 8-30-92 [Cal Expo Santana opener, didn't attend]), The Crest, UC Davis ’94 and Arco Arena ’96).
The new songs were interesting, but the show never really took off…not unexpected, since it was the tour opener. But I was hoping for a bit more exploration than we got. Free had a bit of a jam, and I think there was a little exploration during It’s Ice, but the biggest moments were Bowie and Hood (and the Possum encore- no, really!)…I don’t remember Hood hitting the highs to which I had become accustomed, in fact they brought it back down near the end, in what I thought at the time was a nod to the version on the recently released A Live One. Maybe not. Perhaps it was just a miscue.
But I left satisfied, especially knowing that I had 3 more shows in the next 3 days. I was looking forward to the progression to Shoreline, and they didn’t disappoint.
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