I remember more the circumstances and general impression, but decided to take this anniversary to do a re-listening of the show, and was reminded of what got me, uh, hooked.
I was age 16 working that summer at a residential summer camp in upstate NY ...As fate would have it, Sundays were my day off that summer, and Phish's SPAC date was on the radar of our Sunday-day-off crew. I had only heard Lawnboy a couple times and had tried to digest Junta.
That day was a beautiful crisp sunny day our crew was hangin out and gettin down on the lawn. (hoping to stay out of sight of any "head" counselors from camp).
Who could forget the spinners in the back of the lawn, or running into an old friend from camp not at camp that year but rather on Phish tour... He spoke about how much Phish was blowing it up, how the previous nights in Great Woods had been ridiculous with the Gamehendge set (and what Gamehendge was), and how everyone on tour was feeling really good and happy (and also how more and more Grateful Dead kids were coming to Phish shows) and also about the great Homer Simpson whom had been going around.
Only David Bowie, Low Rider, and Bouncin were of any familiarity to me ...it made no difference. The music and vocals were intense, spirited, crafty, witty, spooky, tender, raging (Yes! Dude of Life!) and simply, fun ...There was a palpable interplay between band and crowd ... and, of course, the lights.
I particularly remember the often lyrical weirdness and total rocking playing, and the strobe lights. Bowie, Mike's Song the Low Rider (recognizable from the popularity of the soundtrack to the recently released movie "Dazed and Confused".)
This show left me wanting more, and the next one would be another memorable '94 night, in the Fall at the GMU Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA (night after my 17th birthday and kickoff to a following run of GD shows Cap Center).
As for the re-listen it sparks some impressions and memories as follows...
The first set was well-received by the crowd, starting off with a rocking ....Chalkdust. Age 16 and only wanting to be free, I must have been immediately drawn in by CDT's chorus of "Can't I live while I'm young?"... and intense playing that followed. I think it fitting that CDT would be the first of Phish's songs to ever hit me live, it being a Trey favorite, and a staple of the shows I'd see in the ensuing years,
...Horn kept the rocking energy going. segued nicely into
....Peaches, really got the crowd going. I had no idea what I was hearing, but sure loved it. Intro to FZ.
...Rift ...closely on the heels of Peaches. It kept on the display of musical virtuosity and band vocal and instrumental interplay... "It shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite .... Aaaaaaahaaaaaah"
... Stash. Hoh! The first of Phish's large jam vehicles was layed on me. ... clapping interplay between band and audience ... "Was it for this my life I sought ...maybe so, maybe not ...control for smilers can't be bought" ... and then the song .... wooosh ....took off...a testament to Phish's musical improvisation and risk-taking ... maybe so, maybe not. Things were getting interesting.
... If I Could. delicate and beautiful version. I remember thinking that was a really nice ballad. this version builds well to a nice peak and ends well. The album version made this song a personal favorite, but the live version has eluded me since.
....My Friend ... Perfect for the moment ...IIRC the sun was down by now and the night settling in. The end gets truly vocally weird in a fashion unique to Phish, and the night is on.
...Julius this was the first of the "new" songs, that people were "warming up to", said a friend. it really rocked and got everyone on the lawn boogying down. And I was like, oh, cool
...Cavern kept everyone on the law dancing and kept the raging weirdness gettin on. People were psyched. IIRC shoes were flying.
...Sample in a Jar ... another relatively "new one" "not on any album" that people liked.
...Bowie ... second big hitter ...long spacey intro that got the crowd whistling and clapping and shouting ... and then people were gettin down! Bowie stretched to lands of dischordance and tension and release. I remember the strobe lights and being unsure of what was going on, and then thinking that they play really long compositions. On the heels of Bowie, Fishman led the band into
...Glide ... another crowd favorite ...a fun moment...feel lucky to have seen when in full rotation. Glad glad glaaaaaaaaaad.
(personal note: in perfect Phish fashion, the 10/7/00 Glide on my 23rd b-day also invoked this first experience)
...Ya Mar ... kept the good vibes rollin and would be an intro to mike's voice. Nice musical interplay towards the end makes this one stretched out and fun. .. and then
....Mike's Song Hoh! The third 'big hitter' a friend told me to hold on for this one. I was blown away and for the first time just totally like, For-the-Love-of-Jesus-Christ-What-the-F-is-going-on-here!? or for short- FTLOJCWTFIGOH at a Phish show, just full charge ahead and around on this one ...and then out of it...
...Low Rider Jam! ... I definitely knew this one and smiled wide and thought this was very cool...this version works with some interesting tempo changes, and then, through some Izabella teases, back into
(personal note: I'd see Low Rider jam years later in Utah '03 during a similarly FTLOJCWTFIGOH moment at that show.)
...Mike's Song ... and I was like, oh, damn! ..that was cool...
...Hydrogen 'nuff said
... Weekapaug ... another of the jam vehicles ...and they were off in a fun and hoppy dancy fast paced space. This was an instant personal favorite. This version has its own flavors of quiet jammy weirdness, that somehow works, and of course leads to an exploding end... then Fishman leads them to
...Bouncin ... another of the beautiful Phish classics. Bautiful harmonies, piano work, and green lights, IIRC
... Coil ..another Phish classic with beautiful piano work... then
a "very special guest" that got everyone excited ..."Dude of Life" for
...Crimes of the Mind - was assured that that was not a Phish song... memorable for its special guest, booming vocals, and rockin style, not so technically flawless
...e: Golgi ... white lights and ticket stubs
...Rocky Top ...a blue grass tune just to keep everyone on their toes! we all cheered, clapped, and went back to camp happy.
And I was hooked! Thanks for so many great years since then, Phish!