Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA
Soundcheck: Tweezer -> I’ll Come Running -> Tweezer Reprise
Set 1: Don't You Want To Go?, Ha Ha Ha > Spock's Brain, Strange Design, Reba, ThemeTheme From the Bottom, HYHUHold Your Head Up > Lonesome Cowboy Bill > HYHUHold Your Head Up, Free, Glide II, YEMYou Enjoy Myself, Sweet Adeline, SampleSample in a Jar
 Phish debut.
 No whistling.
Notes: This was a Voters for Choice benefit concert that also featured Jennifer Trynin and Emergency Broadcast Network. During the pre-show introduction, host Gloria Steinem promised Phish fans more new music in one night than ever before. The band proceeded to deliver the first public performances of Ha Ha Ha, Spock's Brain, Strange Design, Theme From the Bottom, Free, and Glide II. Don’t You Want To Go?, Lonesome Cowboy Bill, I’ll Come Running, and Gloria also made their first Phish public performances at this show. Reba did not have the whistling ending. Fish introduced the new songs that had been played before Lonesome Cowboy Bill. Fish explained that they didn't really have a name for the song after Ha Ha Ha and Trey added that since it was a Voters For Choice Benefit, they'd give the crowd four choices and let it vote on the title: The Plane, The First Signal, Israel, and Spock's Brain. Page subsequently teased the theme from Star Trek as the crowd voted for Spock's with Trey subsequently explaining the song's origin. Prior to Adeline, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Page.
A friend and I drove down from New Hampshire that afternoon just to try our luck. We immediately saw how difficult it would be- fingers were up everywhere looking for a ticket. Not expecting anything, we walked around and met some folks and had fun. Standing by the entrance as everyone was walking in, we decided we would head home. At that moment, two people came up to us and said they were looking for a nice couple to miracle and we were the ones they picked! It was amazing! We couldn't thank them enough. (I have since tried to pay that forward by doing the same whenever I have extras).
Walking in to Auditorium, I was struck by how small the room was and how awesome this was going to be. Phish had graduated to the bigger rooms in 1994 (at least in New England) and even the previous show I attended was at Boston Garden (12/31/93). So this was tiny.
Our seats were right in the middle, about 15 rows from the stage. This was the first and only time I had seen an opening band at a Phish show. I remember the fans being pretty respectful of Jennifer Trynin, but also remember hearing chants for Phish between songs.
We had heard rumors that the night would include a lot of new songs, which everyone was really excited about. Sure enough, the evening started with a bunch of debuts. It was really amazing how quiet the crowd was since we were all hearing these songs for the first time. No singing along or anything- just listening closely. The songs that immediately made an impression on me were Theme and Free. Those tunes were flat out amazing - we could immediately see their potential to destroy a set in a great way!
But the song that tore the roof off the tiny space was Reba. This version is one of the best ever. Wonderfully patient and exploratory jam that sounded amazing. It felt like the band had been working so much on new material that they just relaxed when they started Reba and got into their comfort zone. Find this Reba if you haven't heard it.
The rest of the show was fun- a bit of Fishman time with Lonesome Cowboy Bill, a great YEM, even Sample was nice to hear even though it was already being overplayed. We even voted on the name of the second new song- Spock's Brain was the no brainer winner when Fishman gave us our choices.
The encore started with Mike singing Brian Eno's I'll Come Running. This was a great cover and I could easily see this being played again. The Gloria was for Gloria Steinem who MC'd the night. She came out while they played it and got a big cheer from the crowd.
Walking out, those in attendance were all smiles knowing they saw some of the future tunes of Phish and a killer version of Reba.
And getting a miracle ticket on this night made it even better! There are some awesome people in this Phish community!