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Link Monday, 08/09/1993
Concert Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Set 1: CDTChalk Dust Torture -> Who Knows Jam -> CDTChalk Dust Torture, Mound, Fee[1] > SOAMeltSplit Open and Melt -> Glide[2] > Nellie Kane > DividedDivided Sky, Memories[3], CoilThe Squirming Coil

Set 2: Dinner and a Movie > Tweezer > Tela[4] > My FriendMy Friend, My Friend[5], MMGAMOIOMy Mind's Got a Mind of its Own, YEMYou Enjoy Myself -> Contact > Crimes of the Mind[6]

Encore: Rocky Top

[1] Trey sang verses through megaphone.
[2] Simpsons, All Fall Down, and Random Note signals.
[3] Without microphones.
[4] Ending featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
[5] Beginning featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
[6] Dude of Life on vocals.

Teases:
· Nellie Kane tease in Divided Sky
· Nellie Kane, Theme from Speed Racer, Smoke on the Water, and Psycho Killer teases in You Enjoy Myself

Noteworthy Jams: Chalk Dust Torture, Who Knows, Chalk Dust Torture, Fee, Split Open and Melt, You Enjoy Myself

Average Song Gap: 44.75

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Steve Pollak ("The Dude of Life") (Guest)

Notes: Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Glide included Simpsons, All Fall Down, and Random Note signals. The ending of Tela and the beginning of My Friend featured Trey on acoustic guitar. Nellie Kane was teased in Divided Sky and also in YEM from Mike. YEM's jam segment included Trey quoting "Here comes Speed Racer" and teases of Smoke on the Water and the vocal jam contained verses from Psycho Killer. Contact subsequently started as part of the vocal jam. Memories was performed without microphones. Crimes of the Mind (with the Dude of Life on vocals) was played for the first time since November 8, 1991 (234 shows).

Song Distribution:
5 Junta
3 A Picture of Nectar
2 Stash
2 Rift
2 Lawn Boy
2 The White Tape
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1993 Summer Tour."

waxbanks , attached to 1993-08-09 Permalink
waxbanks To my ears Phish was a dramatically better band in 1997-99 than in 1993: less precise, less 'clever,' less adversarial in their virtuosic geek-prog mischief-making - arguably less interesting! - but immeasurably more patient, empathetic, and open-hearted. More daring too, in a strange way. During their late-90's groove/texture period Phish took fewer technical risks but much greater emotional ones. As a result, pre-1995 Phish tapes sometimes play a little uncomfortably in retrospect.

Take this sterling 8/93 show for example.

Fee > Split > Glide (w/signals) and Chalkdust > Who Knows > Chalkdust are as thrilling on tape as on paper; the groove that emerges at the end of Split is particularly fetching. But it's only a fancy, an idea no neater than any of the million-and-a-half others the bad tosses off on a given night. The 'secret language' theatrics in Glide are a neat bit of rock-conceptualist tomfoolery (as is the perverse metrical filip in each chorus of the Split jam, come to think of it). But when you dig into the music with the decontextualizing mixed benefit of hindsight, it's hard to avoid the feeling that Phish's extraordinary generosity of spirit rarely found unfettered expression in the early 90's precisely because of the band's taste for brainy hijinks.

The 8/9/93 Split slows and quiets to a sludgy nothing, but (say) 1998-era Phish would've seen the brief, jaunty post-Split funk groove as a chance for a new exploration - a moment for increasing depth. One of the few downsides of being a genius songwriter/guitarist/bandleader, apparently, is that it's perilously hard to sit still; the compulsion to do things *to* the groove, rather than *within* it, constantly got the better of Anastasio and company in those days, which goes a long way to explaining why Phish has always been a hell of a lot more interesting and exciting than The Grateful Dead, but for the longest time couldn't dream of matching the old Bay Area freakazoids' depth and patience.

(Insert various qualifiers about the differences between the two bands HERE.)

The same brain-before-heart dynamic obtains in this show's Tweezer > Tela. The start and end of the jam feature brief, compelling rockoutwithcockout guitar jams...but in the middle there's an aggressively off-putting start/stop weird-off that sounds for all the world like a failure of nerve - the need to joke around just when things are threatening to get majestic.

Or is that the mature refusal to indulge in 'anthemic' rock cliché I hear? Could be, I suppose. They are, after all, pretty goddamn smart guys. (And now all four are masters, without question.)

Regardless, it's a bit of a buzzkill, and when the guitar-cock reemerges during the jam's final minutes, I can't help thinking it's all a bit of a joke: a reflection on musical fellowship rather than a guileless embrace of it. All I know is, the 8/17/97 DWD drifts into some doofy start/stop metrical play too, but it stays funky and true, and the music laughs but *never at its own expense*. Beyond the stylistic differences, that's one big leap from '93 to '97 and beyond: groove-era Phish kept up the musical comedy, but kept the fourth wall largely intact when the lights went down.

The upshot, here, is that these two sets of music are about as good a time as you can have while getting your brain-muscles worked this hard. Phish '93 was the kind of band that could get thousands of college boys pumping their fists to a song like Mike Gordon's 'Mound,' for god's sake, could turn around and knock out a 'funky' YEM dissolving into an insane Psycho Killer/Contact mishmash in the vocal jam. Yet the most insightful song about human relationships played this night was the oblique Shakespeare spoof My Friend My Friend - and the highlight of the YEM is its extensive quotes of classic rock chestnuts. It's a brainy, exciting, festive, and inventive show. Phish '93 was peerless and this is a fine specimen of the breed. But (contra the hopelessly lost Parke Puterbaugh in 'Phish: The Biography') the music developed way beyond this point not only during the 1994-95 watershed but for several years thereafter - and losing a step while taking a leap seems like a no-brainer. Right?

It's a great month of Phish and a fine night; I'd grab 8/13 (Murat), 8/14 (Tinley Park), and 8/7 (Darien Lake) first though. Go nuts.
Score: 5
SlavePhan , attached to 1993-08-09 Permalink
SlavePhan THE GOOD: This is a show of wild mood swings, which, as a whole leave it a bit weaker than the shows preceding it (and definitely those after), but there are some nice moments. Take the short wild jam at the end of Fee, the nice version of Glide, or the Crimes of the Mind closer (with the Dude!). But the shining star here is the Tweezer in set 2. Right around 5:00, the band collectively picks up on a happy progression that builds in speed and intensity for a solid 2 minutes. But, then things move straight towards hey-jam land, complete with Trey counting off in French and lots of screaming. It is tense and jarring, but eventually resolves wonderfully back to the original progression before shifting quietly to the beginning of Tela. It's a great recipe, one that would be followed at a higher level in jams over the following two weeks [e.g. Gin (8/13) and Antelope (8/14)]. It's definitely worth a listen.

THE BAD: Unfortunately, with the ups come the downs in this show, and there's a bunch. SOAM doesn't really go anywhere here, which is weird since the band knocked it out of the park previously (8/6). Trey butchers Dinner to the point that he basically stops playing. For some reason, the band adds the eerie screams in Coil that are featured on the album version, which is quite surprising and somewhat distracting.

ETC: Trey counts off in French to start the jam in SOAM. There's a bunch of teases in Divided Sky - including Glide and Nellie Kane. Fish false-starts Dinner. MMGAMOIO features 'hey' yells by Mike. During Mike's bass solo in YEM, Fish introduces him.
Score: 2
Penn42 , attached to 1993-08-09 Permalink
Penn42 Not the best show of Summer 93, but it has it's moments, and those moments are wonderful. Chalk Dust -> Who Knows -> Chalk Dust is a solid sandwich to start. Split wanders for a bit then gets on track and from there is solid, it's capped off with a smooth segue into Glide. Divided Sky and Coil are good, but really nothing special, whatever.

Dinner And A Movie to open set two is really sloppy, which is a bummer... But, you know, it's like... whatever. Tweezer is fun, with some of that 93 on/off crazy/not-crazy jamming going on. Blah Blah Blah... YEM is its usually good self, whatever, but the segue into Contact, that's the best part of the show IMO. If you haven't heard this segue, seek it out now. Just so smooth and spontaneous, yummy! It's really the whole reason I wrote this little review.

Crimes and Rocky Top are Crimes and Rocky Top, whatever.

Short version: this show has generally good playing/jams, accented with really strong segues.
Score: 1

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