Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Set 2: 2001Also Sprach Zarathustra > SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light > SOAMeltSplit Open and Melt, CoilThe Squirming Coil, My FriendMy Friend, My Friend > CDTChalk Dust Torture, YEMYou Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain > HYHUHold Your Head Up, Cavern
 Narration told the history of Red Rocks and the fate of a giant iguana; Rock and Roll Part Two tease.
 Simpsons signal and Can't You Hear Me Knocking jam.
 Beginning featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
 Mimi Fishman joined Fish on vacuum.
Notes: The band began the show with an appropriate opener, as the storm that had lingered in the Morrison sky cleared just before the show began. The Harpua story told the history of Red Rocks and the fate of a giant iguana, who was referred to throughout the show. Harpua also included a Rock and Roll Part Two tease. Ginseng was acoustic, was dedicated to Brad Sands, and was preceded by a "Charge!" tease from Page. Antelope included a Simpsons signal and a Can’t You Hear Me Knocking jam. The beginning of My Friend featured Trey on acoustic guitar. Purple Rain featured Mimi Fishman joining Fish on vacuum.
This show was part of the "1993 Summer Tour."
For a while it was uncertain whether this show would happen. The tickets mentioned the chance of a rainout and the rain was coming down hard. The cancellation rumor was helped quite a bit when the backdrop was removed. However, Icculus was with us. At almost exactly 7:30 the rain stopped. Due to some good work by the crew, the show practically started on time.
The show started with an inspired choice, "The Divided Sky". This is a beautiful song anytime, but hearing it at Red Rocks with strong winds blowing around was just amazing. The only environment that was close to this one was Amy's Farm.
"Divided Sky" came to a full stop, and after a pause we got our first surprise of the evening, "Harpua". "Harpua" nowadays is usually reserved for the "show-stopper" slot of last or second-to-last song of the show. Getting it second showed that they had confidence that they could top it. The version itself was odd. The story was about "Harpua" the Giant Iguana being turned to stone by Poster Nutbag's (or Posterus Nutbagus as Trey referred to him) deadly gaze. Allegedly, one of the rocks looked like a giant iguana, but I could never find it. This became a bit of a running joke throughout the set. After an outstanding opening, things had to return to normal for a bit. An excellent "Maze" was sandwiched between "Poor Heart" and "Bouncing". Then things got unusual again. Rather than the boring jams they've been playing in "It's Ice" since they got the glider toy, they gave Page a solo. After "Ice", they started to play a jam that I didn't recognize at all. After sixty-nine shows, it was rare to have to write a "?" on a setlist, and I was enjoying it. The suspense was broken when they stepped to the microphones and sang "We're bobbing on the surface"...." My first "Wedge"! This version was much different from the studio, and much better. However, the highlight of the set was still to come. After two more songs, the set closed with "Run Like an Antelope". This was no ordinary version, mind you. Other than the 3/13/92 Providence "Run Like a Big Black Furry Antelope" jam, this was by far the best version that I've ever seen. The jam was both sick and long; it clocked in at over fifteen minutes, whereas the average "Antelope" is around ten. Get this tape and listen to it. You won't be sorry.
After a brief break, the second set opened to the familiar strains of "2001". Then came the best moment of the show"...and of my Phish career: "Slave to the Traffic Light". Not only was this my first version, not only did they play the best version I have ever heard, but they were playing it at Red Rocks. This meant that during the quiet jam I could look out to my right and see lightning strike over the lights of Denver. I can't really say any more about this; you just had to be there.
Now, while I would have been perfectly happy if the set had ended right there, the band felt like playing some more. In fact they played excellent versions of "Split Open and Melt" and "Chalk Dust", with a sweet "Coil" and a really fun "My Friend, My Friend" in between. However, I was still going "Slave, Slave, SLAVE!!" in my head and kind of let these songs slide by. The second set was to bring one more treat. During "Purple Rain", Mimi Fishman came out to do the vacuum solo. I heard her on tapes and was expecting her to do really well. Unfortunately she was having an off night and couldn't get any sound out of it. Fish took the vacuum back and redeemed his mother with a solid solo. The set came to a close with an excellent "Cavern". My guess for the encore was "Freebird" and something else. While I was right, I never expected to hear "The Mango Song" to open an encore. An excellent version, too.
This show was easily the best of the twenty I saw that year. It had everything: odd song selection ("Wedge", "Slave"), standard songs played well ("Antelope"!), and even a special guest. All I can say is get the tapes. Better yet, hope that the band videotaped it and get that! Better yet, invent a time machine and go see the show yourself. It'll be worth it.
A Divided Sky opener was destined to be. The post storm sky demanded it! Every silver lining has it's cloud. Then some ancient cave man lore for Harpua, and the giant iguana was born, now in the form of rock. The iguana would either be "Creation Rock" or "Ship Rock", these are the two major rock formations which amp the theater. The land of the lizards. A great Poor Heart>Maze sounding better and then Bouncing Around the Room. I recall realizing that this whole Phish show going thing was for me. This realization solidified when they went into one of if not the best It's Ice I've ever heard! The Page solo for this one is awesome. Page stands out in this show. Heck they all just rip it up this show. I love '93! The Wedge starts with a unique intro that I've only heard in a few early versions. I usually don't care for Ginseng Sullivan so much, but this version I'll make an exception for. We then lift approaching a Rift. The set is closed with a top shelf Antelope. This is a song that I have gotten a bit gotten tired of thru the years. Which of course doesn't mean that I don't want to hear it again, but I do feel that the versions being played these days are not as heavily rehearsed as they once were. 8/20/93 is a great example of an Antelope that is a well oiled machine rather than an off the cuff improvisational piece. A superb, well presented first set.
2001 starts off the second set. Always a great way to start a second set. They go into Slave to the Traffic Light, which looking back on it is kind of early in the set for a Slave, in a way. I like it. Into SOAM, killer! At the time this might have been my favorite song of the show, I now understood. Squirming Coil was next; a little early in the set for Squirming Coil? I like it. The first part of the Page solo at the end is accompanied by the rest of the boys. Did I mention that Page McConnell is on fire this show? My Friend, My Friend is acoustic which always sounds good at Red Rocks. Into a summer tour Chalk Dust Torture. Old reliable, a great rendition. You Enjoy Myself. This is one of the songs I really wanted to hear (who doesnt like a YEM?) and they did not disappoint. The jam at the end starts quiet and easy then begins to speed into a hard rockin jam. This is a very memorable YEM for me. Next was Purple Rain with Fishmans Mom on the vacuum. I had no idea they even did this song before. This is tied with 12/30/93 for my favorite version. I would give birth to a massive stiffy if they ever bought this song back. They finish the set with Cavern. It just makes sense.
The encore starts with Mango Song. I really like this song, especially the studio version. Its a song inspired by the glory that is the food service business. Still, nothing beats a really good cook. At this point I love to hear any song off the first four Electra studio albums. This song can be a little rocky. Sometime I think the vocal harmonization of the song can throw off the instrumentation. But this version is really good! The encore is finished with Free Bird. Ahhhhh.
This is a show I will never forget. Filled with some oldies but goodies that they dont play these days. Get it, get it, get it!