After driving down to the DC area from upstate NY to surprise my girl, I said hey let's go see Phish. Neither of us had seen them before but by then I knew most of the tunes and had a handful of shows on tape. So we drive a couple of hours into rural Virginia and pull into the lot. After some extracurriculars we head in.
The Nissan Pavilion was your typical summer shed. We had pavilion seats about 3/4 of the way back and towards the middle. The band strolls on stage, the crowd is pumped, showtime.
Divided Sky - not a horrible way to open my first show! Fuckin stupendous version, really hot right out of the gate and with an early summer sunset taboot. Killer.
Suzie - ok, a fun one, nothing too memorable
Taste - wow a new tune. Good early Taste.
Fee - good stuff, standard but with the megaphone
Uncle Pen - I'm a pretty big fan of bluegrass and it was appropriate for middle of nowhere bumfuck VA. So I dug this Bill Monroe classic.
Julius - let me put it this way, if they played a Julius this good TODAY the entire phish community would be fuh-reaaking out. Just one of the several reasons this show should get more love.
Lawn Boy - standard summa classic ready for the next shoe to drop. And it would...
Curtain - wow, how friggin choice. I don't know if it is just me, but when I think back to 6/17/95 everything is tinged with a purple hue. This song screams purple to me. Great version, no "with" but the tension grew and grew until...
Stash - BAM right into Stash from Curtain. If the transition wasn't perfect enough, how about this version of Stash. Good fucking God. This Stash is the kill. Rages, peaks, rages some more. Every Stashophile needs needs needs to hear this one.
Wilson - kicking off set 2 with that dark heavy funk. Fairly standard version but it totally set the tone. We were in for a ride.
Maze - heeere we go. Sick maze. Killer version. This was probably my single favorite phish tune at this point so I was experiencing my first permagrin. Psyched.
Mound - ohhhh man. Dear Phish, please play Maze > Mound at every show. Thanks. Stellar, spacey version with Mike holding the "bitter bluuuuuuuuuuuue" just a little extra long. Sweet sweet sweet.
Tweezer - oh slam. This is where shit blasts off. One of those deep dank dark funky slimy solid grooves that just burns in your brain. You know what I'm talking about, this Tweezer is epcot! After the "uncle ebeneezer" bit it goes into a nice rocking jam. That builds. And builds. And builds some more. And then...
Johnny B Goode - what theee fuuuuuck! Tweezer > JBG! Totally out of the blue and yet expected and perfectly fitting out of the Tweezer jam. A ripping good, wicked fast version (say twice as fast as the Dead's version). After a short shredfest...
Tweezer/Montana - the comedown off the end of JBG lands peeeerfectly into that ultradense Tweezer sickness. How the hell they did that I still have no idea. But oh does it work. But that is not all. Far from it. The Tweezer jam melts into what is easily my favorite jam of 1995 (only possible exception being the Albany YEM). As far as straight-up improv, it does NOT get better. And to put the exclamation point on how sick it is they not only jam on Montana (my favorite cut off A Live One which was fairly new at the time) the post JBG jam alone is over 10 minutes but they drift into space and right (again peeerrrfectly) into...
McGrupps - okay again um you've gotta be joking. Gorgeous tune. Masterfully played gorgeous rendition. Completes what has become to me one of the most epic classic runs in my phish career still to thos day.
Acoustic Army - really nice acoustic instrumental, well played Phish well played
Sweet Adeline - nice standard a capella
Harry Hood - yet another spectacular, special unique version from this show. Simply put, Mike's bass line in the first part is frigging NAAAAAASTAYYY dirty gnarly. Some effects going on there and man you need to hear this Hood.
Sample - not done raging yet? Course not! This fun standard didn't disappoint and closes out this monstrous classic of a set in prime fashion.
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley tune first time played. With Dave Matthews singing and LeRoi (RIP) on sax. Cmon now. Just classic.
To sum up...
My first show and STILL one of my favorites 100+ shows and 18 years later. Classic tunes, amazing song placement, amazing jams, 2 first time bustouts, AND a bigtime guest. All I have left to say is... Phish, PLEASE PLEASE release this as a livephish sbd.