There almost wasn't a third Phish show for me. My second, 7/1/94, had been rather dull, and my wife-to-be hated it with a passion. I had loved Rift but was underwhelmed by Hoist. There were plenty of other rock acts competing for my dollar at the time, and most of those my fiancč©e was willing to see. The burned-out hippies, whom I find annoying, had invaded the Phish scene with full force. But memories of my fantastic first show, 5/2/93, and my favorite moments on the first four studio albums prompted me to give Phish another try. And it paid off. While not as energetic or as fun as that '93 show, this show had some incredible moments that kept me curious as to what else they might be able to do. Another show as desultory as 7/1/94 might have caused me to jump off the bandwagon forever.
The first set was pretty standard but had a strong opening pair, "Ya Mar"¯ into "AC/DC Bag,"¯ that got the crowd swaying. Other highlights included a crisp "Divided Sky,"¯ a goofy "I Didn't Know"¯ (with Fishman introduced as "Cedric Harris"¯), and a galloping "Split Open and Melt."¯
But the second set was the real story here. The opener, "Maze,"¯ raged nearly as hard as the one from my first show, and was more playful with its "Reveille"¯ teases. "Scent of a Mule"¯ gave me my first exposure to the duel, and I found Page's classical stylings impressive. But the show's calling card was the unusual "Mike's Groove"¯ with "Why Don't We Do It in the Road"¯ and "HYHU"¯ in the middle. A sequence that combined such incredible jamming with such brazen silliness, well, only a band that really has something going for it could pull that off. I was hooked, again.
The encore was my first exposure to "Slave"¯ and I was again impressed. Two days later I went out and bought A Live One on its day of release. While it would take two more years for me to become a raving, drooling die-hard, I never considered falling off the Phish train again.