Notes: My Friend My Friend included additional lyrics from Mike. Before I Didn’t Know, Trey introduced Fishman as (former NFL quarterback) Ron Jaworski. After Silent, Trey introduced Fishman as the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” referencing the horror movie of the same name. Reba contained a DEG tease from Trey. Scent of a Mule through Llama featured Béla Fleck on banjo and Old Home Place through Nellie Kane were performed acoustic. Llama began in the acoustic setup, but during the song the band members switched back to their electric instruments. Prior to Beaumont Rag, Trey teased Sample in a Jar.
Holy guacamole, the Bowie from this show isn't even ON the Bowie Jamming Chart? A short version to be fair, and from a well-enough regarded show (due to the Bionic Llama) so I assume that it was intentionally left off due to personal taste, but wow!
The Bowie from this show is extremely well put together with the band weaving in and out of several different thematic segments that all generally point in one direction despite a wide variety of backdrops. It's kind of like when you see that Frodo Skywalker character flee his village. You know this has happened before and it will happen again, and you have a general idea of what kind of a trilling conclusion it will come to, but the beauty is in the set-pieces in between.
Top 10 Bowie? Nope. Not even a top 10 Bowie for the year. It's an excellent slab of darkly cohesive improvisation which has apparently flown under the radar though, and every once in awhile I like to pop up and wave these slabs around on a stick.
This was my first show. Reviewing it nine years and 53 shows later is pretty interesting on many levels. I got all geeked out for the show in funky clothes and a stupid Phish hat. Times seemed so innocent then in the scene and the band was right there in the small sealed-off section of the Memorial Gym.
My first taste of Phish was a true segue-way fest of Simple>My Friend>I Didn’t Know. Simple was still a work in progress then but it rocked out for the opener. The My Friend was very strange and slippery with a whacked out (more than normal) vocal jam at the end that led into I Didn’t Know. Guyute was a real treat because it was still a fairly new song then being the 5th time played. It was raw and exciting and felt like a real treat. The biggest thing about this part of the show was how I couldn’t figure when they were onto something new. I was so enveloped in the sound and the newness of Phish that I was kinda lost. In a good way. The second set featured a blazin' Bowie and the popular Reba. I really got treated to a great 1st show when Bela Fleck came out and rocked the banjo. If your a fan of Bela this is a must show. Just some good ole' bluegrass. In hindsight, THE main reason for hearing this show is the Llama that begins acoustic and slams into electric. One by one the band members switched back, flawlessly of course. A rippin' Llama that converted me through and through! This show was just a fun show with lots of shakin' and movin'. One of those had to be there shows. But for Llama fans or bluegrass (Bela) peeps, this show is a nice addition!
The ticket for this show was $8. There were maybe 800 people there. Bela Fleck hung out with us in the parking lot before the show, as did Mike. This show is sick. I didn't get a good recording of it...and I'd love to hear this released via board. The highlight was the banjo duel between Bela and Trey that occurred in the second set. Bela, maybe the most highly regarded banjoist in the world, was blown away...as were those of who in the crowd, dancing on giant wooden benches, having partook of some very fine bathtub gin that evening...yoozers...
1994 is just a fabulous year. This isn't a particularly standout show for 1994, but it is still very well played with lots of energy and charisma, as well as great set flow and a great guest appearance.
The first set is is exactly like I described the show as a whole, high-energy, charismatic, and well played (Stash in particular is just dripping with '94 energy), but it's the second set is where most of the notable stuff for this show is held. This Bowie is awesome. It gets pretty raucous and out there, then they do that wonderful thing that they do where you hear Bowie start to come back and at the top of the phrase they pop right back in, flawlessly! Hot damn I love that! Horse > Silent, yeah yeah yeah, type II Reba? Yes Please! Not the best Reba out there, but this is certainly an interesting take on this song.
Now the setlist notes don't show this, but the recording I have has a very deliberate segue (->) between SOAMule and Lifeboy that was completely out of left field, and for me a highlight of the show. Bela really shines starting at The Old Home Place. Beaumont Rag is a fun little ditty and Nellie Kane is nice like usual. Now for the Llama, which closes the set out in style. This bad boy is well over average Llama length seeing as it segues from Llama (acoustic) to Llama (Electric) and Bela is showing off the whole time! The only other Llama I can think of that is as good/notable as this one is the one from 7.2.97.
Solid 4/5, 80/100, 800/1000; with a guest, to be there must have been awesome. Opening with SIMPLE and MFMF they were off time, did not seem to be synchronized, pretty slow start had me asking, "are they wasted?". Things pick up with IDK, page coming out strong and pulls them together for vocal jam which is awesome, including unbelievable vacuum solo; STASH shows that the band has synchronized on stage and we are grooving; Trey seems slow but is bringing it pretty good, page still blasting away on the keys through TELA and IT'S ICE leading us to my personal favorite part of the show, absolutely epic Guyute, trey continues to sound wasted due to enunciation of words and timing but GTE is above perfect and could be an objective +10, occasionally lost but very upbeat and fun; all 4 creating an excellent GTE: awesome, perfect, unbelievable by the time "I'm dancing like...." and full goosebumps by "...once again".
The crowd received DS with absolute pleasure, absolutely kill it up to pause in DS, crowd is very patient and receives absolute perfection, pure audio beauty,"don't think listen" in my notes didn't realize amazing grace was at the end, just real awesome stuff. To open the second, Bowie is coming and the crowd is hype as can be when they finally open up, although "messy" a very energetic Bowie starts second set and is masterful, the horse and Silent are really well played; somewhere around there my sound went from a 9 to a 5. The sound varies in and out but REBA comes through strong and is close to a tie with LLAMA for best of second set; should at least mention bela fleck; sounded like a "good" time at the very least, not my personal favorites but lots of good energy and had I been there I'm sure I would have been drenched in sweat.
This show is a hidden gem amongst some great shows all throughout '94. The band was on fire from note one, especially the opening trio of Simple>MFMF>IDK. A brief country tinged stop in Poor Heart, followed by a well played, but fairly straightforward Stash. The dip into Gamehendge was welcome, and the Divided Sky was, as usual, on fire.
The reason to get this show, as noted somewhat above, is the Bowie, Reba, and the acoustic run with Bela Fleck. The Bowie is an absolute monster, and the Reba is a vastly overlooked rendition. The appearance from Bela is the cherry on top, and yes, that Llama is one for the ages. Left me speechless.
I think this one is out on SBD now, so find it so you can hear the full power of that second set.
Its all been said above already, but wowowowow what a show! What a turn around from the show before. The whole thing is top-notch and Bela Fleck does an awesome job with them. First set has great flow and sounds better and better as it continues. Guyute sounds great and boy do they really nail Divided Sky. I can't remember the last time I heard Trey sustain those long notes as perfectly as he does in this version. Flawless.
The Bowie that starts the second set off is truly amazing and seems to be very underrated. Just because it isn't 20+ minutes long doesn't mean it doesn't get the job done. Page takes a nice lead about 10min in and builds into a great release, holds some tension, then peaks again. Classic.
The Reba from this show is just as excellent as any I have ever heard. This jam picks, stretches, bends, curves, and winds its way to a nice spacey groove before returning to the Reba proper and leading to a wonderful, joyous peak. This version is loaded.
Bela Fleck joins the band later on and they play some great acoustic material that even includes a half acoustic half electric Llama! The jam in Llama is very unique and much longer than usual and sounds absolutely fantastic thanks to Bela Fleck.
Overall this is a fabulous show and you would be really doing yourself a disservice if you don't check out the Bowie or Reba. They are real gems.