Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY
 Brief DEG tease.
 My Generation jam, Rift teases from Mike, and Fishman on vacuum.
Notes: Maze included a brief Dave’s Energy Guide tease. This 40-minute Tweezer, which is known as “The Fleezer,” contained a My Generation jam, Rift teases from Mike, and, at one point, a Fishman vacuum accompaniment.
This show was part of the "1995 Summer Tour."
Set I was alright, but nothing special. Mule at points seemed like a train ready to derail but was still enjoyable. Ha Ha Ha > Divided Sky is an interesting choice. After It's Ice (which sounds like it features a vacuum solo), Strange Design is a great way to let off steam, and a raging Maze turns it right back up to 11. Cavern and Sweet Adeline were played and sung great, as always. A great first set and a solid 8/10, but there's nothing that really stands out.
Set II is obviously the main attraction here. Theme from the Bottom is solid as well, and evolves into a small interesting little jam until Trey takes us into Tweezer. Let's break down this 40 minute behemoth.
The opening composed segment of Tweezer almost seems like it's going to fall off and derail at any point as well. Fishman can never seem to be right on target, and (in my copy at least), there are way too many annoying push/pulls in the rhythm. Around 5 minutes in, Trey screams for "NEEZA! EBENEEZA!" Page side is most definitely rage side until Trey breaks into some heavy Zeppelin-esque riffs around 12 minutes in. This escalates into a solid type II jam for a little while until...
It starts getting a little weird with a bluegrass-y jam on the Who's My Generation around the 20 minute mark. Trey sings as Page just hammers the keyboard until it begs for mercy. Immediately after they finish jamming My Generation, they slow the tempo down a lot and go into more type II jamming. Fishman has some great echo-y hi-hat rolls as Trey and Mike lead this part of the jam. Around 29 minutes, they go into some scary, dark, effects-laden jamming accompanied by screaming from what sounds like Mike and Fishman. Trey and Page go crazy with effects - sounds like air horns and raid sirens going off. Fishman just hammers the ride cymbal and toms and at one point, someone begins to play the vacuum.
Around 35 minutes, Trey and Page begin to form actual notes and melodies again. Page and Mike lead a small jam here, with Fishman accompanying them with tasteful work on the hi-hat and wood block. Around 38 minutes, Trey comes back in and lightly jams with Page. The finale of this epic Tweezer finishes with Fish playing a weird rhythm and gradually slowing into...
Tweezer Reprise to roaring applause. Fishman is bouncing off the walls and begins playing even before Page and Mike come in. He exits and waits for Mike's bass bombs, and comes right back in. Right before the final "step into the freezer"s, Fishman plays some great triplet snare rolls.
This encore is the only thing to me that holds this concert back from being one of the all time greats of 95. After the massive Tweezer and energy of Tweeprise, where do they go from here? Unfortunately, they blow it with Acoustic Army, and it's met with screaming and lots of shushing from the crowd. At one point, they begin clapping along and I even think I heard a firecracker? While My Guitar Gently Weeps comes afterwards, and while another good song, what were they thinking? They killed all the energy from set II!
Final thoughts: Set I was solid but doesn't really stand out. Set II features the incredible 40-minute Tweezer into a screaming Tweezer Reprise. Everyone should seek out set II, but the encore ruins any energy that was still left over. 8/10.
Is the hour of music contained within the second set a successful outing for the Phish from Vermont? I can't really say. On one hand: HOLY SHIT! 20 minute Theme?!? 45 minute Tweezer -> Tweezer Reprise?! On the other hand: What?... With the benefit of hindsight, this is a really interesting set to listen to. It shows a band that had reached a point where they could comfortably do pretty much whatever they wanted on stage and get away with it. Including, but not limited to, only playing three songs and jamming two of them out for way longer than normal.
I'd call Theme From the Bottom proper mediocre at best, but the post jam and segue into Tweezer (Fishman mistakes notwithstanding) are really nice. This monster Tweezer, just like the Mud Island version, has lots to love, and lots to... feel otherwise about. Personally, I didn't *hate* any of it, but it wasn't a full 40 minutes of mind = blown. My favorite portion is right after the My Generation jam and the subsequent build into the vacuum jam/chaos. (I don't like the My Generation jam at all, though. It's just awkward.) Had they segued into Rift when Fish then Mike fell into that groove, I'd have been a happy camper. It's not even that I dislike the jamming after Rift fails to catch, I just didn't need any more at that point and Fish and Mike really had it grooving.
However, all of that said, had I witnessed this in person, I don't think I would have responded particularly well. Nobody goes to Phish shows to see four guys go on stage and wank for an hour. Because, if these long excursions are anything, they're self-indulgent. I think their ability and rate of success when it comes to these XXXL jams increased tremendously with time (Cypress Rock and Roll, IT Ghost, and IT 46 Days immediately come to mind), but at this point, they just weren't something I'd necessarily want to witness. Of course, as I said earlier, it is fun to listen back from our current vantage point and be able to hear these anomalies within Phish-lore.
But what are my words worth? Now that this set has been released as filler on the Blossom '95 archival release, you no longer have an excuse for having not heard it. Take a listen and decide for yourself! At the very least it will be a pretty wild ride!
Of course the reason for giving this show a listen is the second set Tweezer (FLeezer). A bit spaced out a times but good fun.
That being said the first set has a great feel to it. It is almost as if while listening to the first set it becomes obvious that the second set is going to be strange. A classic ScentOAM and a great It's Ice.
If you listen to the recording at a couple times you can hear people yelling to "play another song!" during the second set. Kinda funny.
If I recall correctly it was a beautiful evening in Canandaingua. The line of traffic for this show stretched far from the venue all the way of the main street in town. Kinda shut the town down for the evening.
After this show, the rumor goes anyway, Canandaigua said that Phish would never be allowed back. And this was the last time they played at this venue until 2010. Oddly enough almost 15 years to the day (they returned on 6/29/2010).
Absolutely worth a listen.
I have not heard this show since I was there.
But I hope we're allowed to be critical, in a peaceful and constructive manner, about the band we all obviously LOVE on this site. I'm not trying to be a drag, offensive or a bummer but.....
After 14 shows, this one left me actually hurt. I mean, my feelings were so hurt after this show that I have not seen Phish since. (Now, that may change Summer '13! I'll admit right here: the boys are back ) But, back to '95......
Personally, I felt the band was giving us the finger, musically, in the 2nd Set. They had an hour + to give us the Phish I had grown to LOVE....instead, they gave us nonsense. I only remember it being tedious, sheer chaos. I am not, again, trying to offend those of you who are fans of this show. To each their own, you know?
Did the band do some serious *partying* backstage? That's what it seemed like. I had never, EVER heard Fishman's tempo waver, but at the start of Tweezer, he was pullin and pushing so much...I had no idea if it was intentional, for some reason, or if the guys just had "one too many" of....something.
And that's just it...was this intentional musical experimentation that went awry? Or....was it a band just too inebriated to even play? Honestly, I don't know. Maybe no one does, but thank goodness, these days are gone and I've had 18 years to lick my wounds, and fall back in love with the band.
Let's hope for a killer '13