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Link Thursday, 06/23/1994
Phoenix Plaza Theatre, Pontiac, MI

Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart > SOAMeltSplit Open and Melt, NICU > Foam, Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room, DwDDown with Disease > SilentSilent in the Morning > PYITEPunch You In the Eye > Julius

Set 2: Frankenstein, BowieDavid Bowie, MangoThe Mango Song > Axilla (Part II) > Uncle Pen, Tweezer > Lifeboy > SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Sparkle > TweepriseTweezer Reprise

Teases:
· Sunshine of Your Love tease in Tweezer

Noteworthy Jams: Split Open and Melt

Average Song Gap: 16.85

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: The first set included the first NICU since May 1, 1992 (249 shows). Silent was performed without The Horse. Tweezer included Sunshine of Your Love teases.

Song Distribution:
4 Hoist
4 A Picture of Nectar
3 Stash
2 Rift
2 Lawn Boy
2 Junta
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1994 Summer Tour."

Matso , attached to 1994-06-23 Permalink
Matso This show will also be remembered for the fact that it was the first and only show to which I brought my mother. It was my second show and I was 16 at the time and, due to a trip to Europe that summer, was going to miss Phish's next show in Montreal that July. The nearest venue before my departure date was Phoenix (home of some of the most absurdly large car plants, presumably, in the world). I somehow convinced my mum (yes, I know, it's ridiculous to me even as I write this) that it would be a good experience for us to drive 13 hours together to go see a show. I think I said something about it being "good practice for my driving".

Anyway, as noted in the other review, the show was on the roof of a parking lot and it rained hard all night long (you can hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on the AUD of this show). Highlights included a spirited Buried Alive opener to warm everyone up; the return of NICU and PYITE (although I hadn't heard either before that night); a typically twisted 94 Split; and a strong Bowie/Tweezer/Slave in the second set. It was a good show, but given the weather and the shows that surround it (eg. 6/22/94 and 6/26/94), a weaker effort from that period. It being only my second show, I was still dazzled.

My mum seemed to enjoy it too. She liked the more melodic stuff (eg. Mango), the vocal harmonies (which the boys did well that night, I think), and Fish's drumming. I remember her remarking at the effort and energy of his playing.

Music aside, however, the personal legacy of that show for me is two-fold: (1) it made it clear to me that driving hundreds or thousands of miles for a show was a perfectly rational thing to do; and (2) it gave my mother a really positive insight into this "thing" which I had become more and more obsessed with over the preceding 2 years (which had exploded for me in April of that year with my first show). This was a small-ish (5,000 people?) show in 1994 and a couple of years before the awkwardness of dealing with barfing frat boys and vacant wooks would colour the concert experience and become the norm. We were among good people in other words, listening to a healthy band which was energised and passing that on to its audience night in, night out. In the years to come, my mum understood, and never questioned, the efforts I made to get to a show.

Thanks mum!
Score: 6
mattc , attached to 1994-06-23 Permalink
mattc This night will be remembered for the rain storm (and wind) that kept those of us jamming to Phish on top of a parking garage - the Phoenix Plaza - wet all night long. It will also be remembered as one of the more aggressive dance scenes I've seen at a show, especially during Axilla. The was a log of energy in the crowd on this night.

Personal highlight for me are the monster Bowie, which sees Mike taking the lead on the jam. The Tweezer is solid and ends up in a nice spot with Lifeboy. A great Slave closes out the wet madness.

I don't know if I'd call this show a sleeper since I enjoyed it so much. For those looking for something different, check out the Bowie.
Score: 4
kaufmak , attached to 1994-06-23 Permalink
Almost twenty years on, what I remember most is the rain. After that it would be the venue, one of the strangest places I’ve ever seen a show. The only other one that compares is when I went to see Todd Rundgren at the zoo. The Phoenix Plaza was on top of a parking structure in lovely Pontiac, Michigan. I was in grad school at Michigan State and was gradually getting into Phish during the previous year. I had a few tapes, 12/30/1993 being my favorite and a copy of Rift and the new album, Hoist. I would go over to the computer lab almost every day to check out rec.music.phish and there was a lot of concern that this new record and the new fans like me were going to ruin Phish, they made a video for god sakes! I found all the consternation a little much, but it would be the first of many things that were going to change everything, and never for the better. Earlier in the week I tried to get into the show in Kalamazoo but couldn’t score a ticket. This intrigued me. I had gotten pretty adroit at picking up tickets right before a show, more often than not with pretty good seats; The Rolling Stones, Paul McCarty, Roger Waters had all been last second purchases. Who was this band that no one would give up a ticket?

Ironically, when we got to Pontiac, I had an extra ticket. After the K-Zoo experience I knew that wasn’t going to be a problem; sure enough my friend hoisted the ticket up in the air and a pack of hippies descended on us like seagulls after a french fry. I’ve never been one to scalp, but I also wasn’t familiar with the idea of miracles either. I’ve since miracled a bunch of times, but this time I think we got $10 for our troubles.

I remember wanting to get an official Phish t-shirt, sort of my physical manifestation of being a fan. I wanted a black shirt with the colorful logo, nothing else. It made me feel legit. At this point, I have no idea how many shirts I’ve bought and even though I say, even promise my wife, that I won’t be getting a shirt this tour, chances are a design, or a color, or both will catch my eye. I mean, I write a blog about the White Sox, how in god’s name can I turn down a ¾ sleeve baseball themed shirt? Simply put, I can’t.

Inside the venue, shirt bought, skies threatening to rain, the Phoenix Plaza may be the least romantic venue I’ve ever seen. There was the stage and basically a concrete slab, no greenery to speak of, no grade to the floor basically it looked like they set up shop in a mall parking lot. When the band came out, almost on queue the rain started. It pretty much wouldn’t stop until we got back to the car. At first it was so bad, everyone was resigned that tonight, we were going to get wet.

The show started with a combo that I still love, Buried Alive -> Poor Heart. Next was Split Open and Melt, a song that I’ve never particularly liked. I mean it is ok, but it always seems to get truncated, especially in the first set. After SOAM, something happened. The band started a song I had never heard, but seeing how this was my first show, nothing strange about that. Even so, there was a buzz, people were high-fiving, grinning, and scribbling notes in notebooks. I had witnessed my first bust-out. NICU hadn’t been played for two years, 249 shows.

The rest of the set was pretty pedestrian, looking back. This was a time before Down With Disease was monster and the rest of the songs, Silent in the Morning, Punch You In the Eye and Julius were…ok. There wasn’t much of a jam element, not much in the way of experimentation, just a string of good, if a bit quirky songs.

Did I mention the rain? What had been a pretty steady shower got more and more intense as the second set approached. By the time the band came out and played Frankenstein, small puddles had become large ones and the rain wasn’t abetting. I was excited to hear David Bowie at my first show, and it was the first really extended jam I heard Phish play, clocking in around 13 minutes. It was weird, quirky, rocking, and I loved it. After Bowie petered out, the rain that never stopped, started to add thunder and wind. I didn’t realize that there would be more jamming to come. I was happy with seeing Bowie and The Mango Song, Axilla Part II, Uncle Pen (more bluegrass!) was great, a nice way to wind it down. That wasn’t the plan.

What came next was something new to me as a concertgoer, a second peak. I had heard the studio version of Tweezer. Like so many of Phish’s songs, the studio version doesn’t do the live version justice, especially in the case of Tweezer. This isn’t a must have version by any stretch. I think Charlie Dirksen gave it a C. Musically, listening to now, it was a pretty pedestrian Tweezer. One that night though, it was perfect. The rain had turned into a full scale gale sheets and sheets of water were pouring down, sideways and because it was hitting the concrete so hard, it was splashing upward. And the band matched the intensity of the storm; the more it blew, the harder they seemed to play; the lights were crazy, fantastic. I can still see Trey just wailing away, weird sound effects, and something vaguely familiar (turned out to be teases of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.)

Then the music subsided, the rain not so much. A song I just don’t get enough of, Life Boy (You don’t get a refund if you over pray) eased the mood down to a song that I still find just beautiful, Slave to the Traffic Light. I don’t know why, I still find it clever that they sang that on top of a parking garage. The encores were way up tempo, Sparkle and Tweezer Reprise, and it was really cool that they dedicated the encore to a person in the audience. Even as Phish has gotten bigger, they still make those little gestures that I love, honoring requests from fans on the street, responding to fans signs in the audience and recognizing fans that have been along for the whole tour. I know I don’t make it to enough shows to ever be recognized from the stage, but maybe this year I’ll make a sign to move my stat page a little bit.

As first shows go, it was pretty memorable. It was good enough to make me want to see them again. I wasn’t completely sold, but it was close. I wouldn’t get the message until November of 1994, but 6/20/1994 got the ball rolling and nothing has been the same since, nineteen years ago.
Score: 3
Blastingcaps , attached to 1994-06-23 Permalink
I picked up summer tour 94 in chicago. in my bag i had clothes, a knife, and mushrooms for my burgers, because i like my mushrooms fresh. by the time we got to pontiac i was a full blown phish head. on this day i chose to go i. the venue to check out the digs cause the place looked strange. i climbed so step and who do i see coming toward me, but mike gorden, my favorite bass player in the world. i started talking to him and we bullshittedf for a few minutes when he said he had to bail to get ready to play. i was stoaked. i pulled a bowl out of my pocket and took a toke. a minute later security was gripping me up and telling me i was 86'ed. i was devastated. i threw a FIT. outside the venue a cop told me to just let it go and he wouldnt take me to jail, finally i accepted i was beAt and just listeded to the show bounce off a wall facing the venue. when we were getting ready to leave i told everybody what had happened and my friend chris told me they dedicated the encore to me...i couldnt believe it and one other guy said no,mthey said eric not aaron. well, they DID dedicate the encore to me and they DID say AAron. i just heard it on you tube on fromtheaquariums page yesterday. How fuckin cool are these guys! I am the aaron they mention at the end of that tape. wow..immortalized on a phish bootleg! fuck yeah!!
Score: 1

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