Trey teased Call to the Post before My Friend and Antelope before Horn. This show was the beginning of the Band/Audience Chess Match that continued throughout the fall tour. Page and a tour-head named "Pooh" played a few moves to set up the board during the White Rabbit jam in the first set. Suspicious Minds made its Phish debut. I’m Blue I’m Lonesome was dedicated to Jerry Garcia and was acoustic.
My first visit to Shoreline Amphitheatre was earlier that year in June prior to starting Phish's Summer Tour. I caught the Friday and Sunday Grateful Dead shows which ended up being my final Grateful Dead shows, and the last Dead shows at this venue and for the Bay Area. Appropriately the last song I heard Jerry sing was Brokedown Palace.
Shoreline, unlike the first three venues of Fall tour, is a traditional outdoor shed with a pavilion and a lawn. While I was on the lawn for the Dead I was in the pavilion for Phish.
Trey teased Call to the Post prior to the set opening My Friend My Friend. This song perfectly highlights the yin and yang of Phish. The 4th consecutive Cars Trucks Buses starts underneath the ending screams. One can't help but groove along with this song while Page displays his talents.
Trey welcomes everyone to Shoreline and explains why there is a chess board at the back of stage Page-side. The band plays a lot chess on the bus and people kept asking when can we play some chess. So they decided to play the audience in chess during this tour. They chose to start the game in SF because there are so many incredible chess players living there. White Rabbit fits the mood appropriately. Page and fan Pooh start the game with a few moves each. Going forward, the audience will decide their move at setbreak and make it at the start of the second set while the band will make their move at the start of the first set.
Reba was the perfect call to get the show back on track. The composed section is played much faster than normal and has a manic pace. The jam is full of activity; soon after starting it strays nicely away from the groove for a little while before coming around to a screaming finish. Uncle Pen follows and keeps the mood upbeat. Soon after the song ends Trey starts Antelope and just as Fishman starts his hi-hat intro Trey aborts into Horn. Obviously they had a game plan and in hindsight it made sense. I enjoyed hearing Horn as we only got one during the 22-show Summer Tour.
Run Like An Antelope starts up again and gets past the 10 second mark ;) The intro doesn’t depart from the norm and jam moves along strongly. It reaches a chaotic segment where the band stretches a little before picking things up to close out the jam. The ending segment/chorus is typical.
The band comes to the front of the stage to play an acoustic song. Trey says "We wanted to send this one out. This is the last place, that personally myself and I know two other guys in the band, saw Jerry alive and we thought this would be a good opportunity to play one of his favorite songs 'cause I know he's up there listening. This is for you Jerry!" They play Blue and Lonesome for the first time since the 1st MSG show during the ‘94 Holiday Run (28-show gap). They close the first set on a high note with Sample In Jar. While the set was less than hour a lot of interesting things happened.
Runaway Jim opens the second set and Trey implores some scratching effects in between verses. The jam doesn’t get out of hand and gets fiery toward the end of the song. The Fog That Surrounds comes next and Trey plays some intricate riffs. Another solid version.
If I Could is up next and nicely fills the ballad role albeit a little early in the set. This would be the 1st of four versions played during Fall Tour before the song became somewhat of a rarity, which is a shame. Scent Of A Mule comes rolling in and the duel is entertaining; Page wins!
Finally we get the first Mike’s Song of tour. The first jam is sinister while the second jam ends up plodding along until Page starts playing Keyboard Army. Upon conclusion Mike initiates the start of Weekapaug Groove. The jam is more of a full band groove with little Trey soloing.
Toward the end of the song Trey moves to the drum kit and Fishman emerges wearing a cape to sing Suspicious Minds. The night before Fish debuted Cryin’ which was hilarious. But this song was light years better. Hence why it stayed in rotation. The best part was he ran around a bit then stopped at the front of the stage in dramatic fashion to open his cape and expose the lights on the inside. Of course the band played Hold Your Head Up to end the shenanigans and slickly dropped into Cavern without stopping to close the set.
The encore began fittingly with Amazing Grace and closed with a rocking Good Times Bad Times. Page thanks the crowd and wishes Trey Happy Birthday. All in all a great night, and a fine finish to a 4-show CA trek to start Fall Tour.
The next two shows would take place at Seattle’s newly renovated Key Arena. Fortunately we had Sunday off to complete the roughly 14-hour drive. As most of us know the vibe differs between outdoor and indoor shows; both have their perks and their drawbacks. Shoreline was the second to last outdoor show of Fall Tour; Compton Terrace 10/11/95 was the last. I was excited for some indoor Phish!
Phish's legendary Fall 95 tour actually got off to a rather tepid start with 4 shows in California in late September after a nearly 3 month long break. While this show is the best of the 4, it does not come close to reaching the musical heights reached later in the tour. Still, as with just about every Phish show, there is some stuff here that is worth hearing. Besides the My Friend, My Friend opener that I always enjoy, the most notable moments of the first set are the introduction of the audience/band chess match played over the White Rabbit Jam and the dedication to Jerry before I'm Blue I'm Lonesome. Reba goes a little out of control at times and is average.
The second set begins with 3 well-played songs, and the Scent of a Mule in the middle of the set features some significant improvisation. Mike's Song is average, but the segue into Keyboard Army is pretty good, and Weekapaug ends with another segue into the debut of Suspicious Minds.
This show comes off as completely average in just about every way, but it is not a bad show. 3 stars for sure.
A friend at the last minute offered me a 10th row ticket and we headed down to Shoreline from the Mission. The chass match was very cool and was really digging the Antelope. I thought the I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome dedication to JG was very, very classy and was a tremendous moment. I was really impressed with the whole Mike's Groove and Suspicious Minds blew my mind.
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