Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
· Frankenstein tease in Suzy Greenberg
Average Song Gap: 22.17
Notes: This show marked the breakout of Frankenstein, which hadn’t been played since July 26, 1991 (332 shows). Suzy subsequently included a Frankenstein tease. Fluffhead was played after a group of fans had been requesting it since the beginning of the show.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1994 Summer Tour."
I'll be brief in my review because I think this a show that should be approached with a relatively open mind and just a little expectation of some greatness. In short: YEM is traditionally considered one of the greatest of all time, Stash, Antelope, Chalkdust, Melt, and even SOAM all rip hard, and Fluffhead is Fluffhead take it or leave it...but in this case I'll take it.
Much of June '94 has become lost on casual fans due to the vast density in the quality of music, particularly from 6/10-6/25. If your a fan of '94 or really of the band at all you need to hear this show. The YEM reaches a peak seldom reached by Phish and is essential listening for any legitimate fan of the tune
Let's start with the most obvious jam here in YEM. I don't think a whole lot needs to be said about this jam. Everybody who has heard it knows that it and 12/09/95 are the premier YEMs of the Phish catalog, and it seems like a narrow majority has selected the Red Rocks 94' YEM as the greatest version of Phish's most iconic song. This is one of those unique, iconic Phish jams where it really speaks for itself. If you've heard it, then you know why it is the best. If you haven't then just go listen to it and you'll understand. It truly speaks for itself.
Next up we have Split Open and Melt. While the Big Cypress SOAMelt ventures off into blissful territory and then slams into a funky Catapult, this version is more of the tension and release type jam. But of course, "tension and release" is a bit of an understatement. This is the most definitive "tension and release" jam ever played by the band. There was an interview with Trey in Fall 1994 where he talks about hoe the band puts certain jams on the backburner during certain tours when they aren't really "feeling" the song. He specifically mentions the Red Rocks 1994 SOAMelt and talks about how the band knows they can never top a version like that. If Trey thinks it's the best... well.... that has to count for something, right?
Third, we have Stash. This one flies a little under the radar compared to the SOAMelt and the YEM, but almost everybody who has actually heard this Stash knows that it is among the premier versions ever played. This isn't some monster Type-2 version like Europe 97' Stash's, and it's not quite like the 11/14/95 Stash (I think that's the date), but it doesn't need to be. It's nine minutes long. Go listen to it and check it out for yourself. The entire jam just builds into the most cathartic (I'm not Mr. Miner, I swear, this is just the proper term here) ending to Stash you will ever here. Almost everybody who has heard it agrees, it is an insane Stash.
Outside of the "Big 3" we also have a number of amazing segments of music. It is hard to call any Tela "the best one ever," but it is hard to find one more perfectly nailed than this. I remember hearing a Phish fan at this show talk about how he cried when they played this version. I think that says it all. Indeed, the entire It's Ice>Tela is one gorgeous segment. The funky jam out of Ice just blends so fluidly into Tela. I wish they would play it like that more often.
A lot of people consider the Maze played at this show to be the best ever. I see this all the time. Personally, I prefer 06/18/94, but since so many people love this Maze, and it is really the heart of the second set, it is worth mentioning.
We also have a Fluffhead that I consider to be the best one ever played. Outside of one version in 1999, Fluffhead has never been jammed really, but you will not find a tighter more well-played version than this one, although 06/22/94 is an amazing version as well. The entire second set opener that precedes, 2001>Antelope, is quite unreal.
I could keep going, but then I would write about the entire show. Take it from me, RR1994. This show is A+ Phish.
wilson>chalk dust gets the energy up right off the bat. then they go deep early with a good first set yem. rift is pretty straight forward, as is dwd, but then, i love this set ending sequence. the whole band plays really well on ice and they let it drop nicely into a very good tela. then they blow their "rocks" off on this stash. trey really digs deep on this one. great set closer.
2001 is pretty standard brand for '94, but they really cut loose on this antelope. page and trey move this one around nicely. a very tight fluff head follows. they were playing this song very well in '93-'94. very spirited. i love how mule comes out of the back end of fluff. good stuff. this is a nice wild mule. coil comes a little earlier than normal, but it sets up maze really well. this maze is a barn burner too. great page/trey interaction. they kill it. then as contact winds down, it is time for a real surprise. the first frankenstein in 3 years pops up. what a closer; it's still one of my favorites. a rocking suzy, complete with frankenstein teases, closes the red rocks run in high style.
I'm not going to go through every song and make hackneyed comments about how well each one was played. Listen for yourself, and what you hear will far surpass any words that I can use to describe these two sets from Red Rocks. Believe me, you won't be sorry.
A few notes:
-The YEM is a multifaceted monster.
-The Maze and the Antelope caused the rock structures around the venue to collapse.*
-The Squirming Coil is why we love Page.
-The Contact gets funky. It's awesome.
That is all.
* = not entirely accurate
NOTE TO READER, “FRANKENSTEIN” IS ALSO VERY MUCH QUITE HEADY
Set 2 opens with a standard early 90's version of 2001 which gets the crowd ready for an action packed second set. A better than average Antelope follows and leads to a decent Fluffhead. Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, and The Squirming Coil give the set some solid jams but nothing special from any of the three. Maze in my opinion is the star of set II, you can really hear the crowd get into it and the band responds with great energy of their own. Contact slows things down a bit making the first Frankenstein in nearly 3 years that much more suprising but certainly a pleasant suprise.
The boys close out the show with the always fun Suzy Greenberg. All in all a great performance from the guys with no really weak songs.
But now I'm digging deep into 93-95 and am really loving it, as it's getting me connected back to those early records I loved so much. I'm a jazz guy and a rock guy, so this is like aural candy for me.
Anyway, just gave this a spin and I agree with other reviewers that it's an upper echelon Phish show. There's so much manic energy, fire and passion in the playing, which is spot-on for the whole show. The YEM and Stash from the first set are outstanding, as is the RLAA. Superb.