The summer of '95 was an amazing Phish tour, featuring fantastic runs at venues that we might never get a chance to see the band at again, due to their swelling popularity. Some of these include Great Woods, Sugarbush Summer Stage, Red Rocks, and one of my personal favorites, the Jones Beach Amphitheater. It's a summer shed that is unique because it has fantastic acoustics, no lawn seating, and is located right on Long Island Sound. Regarding the two nights Phish played at this venue in '95, all I ever hear about is how excruciatingly long the “Tweezer” on the 6/28 was. Maybe so, but 6/29 is a fabulous show, and perhaps one of the most criminally underrated shows of all time.
The first set is above average with definite highlights. “Runaway Jim” isn't one of the most common openers for nothing, and “Taste” is gorgeous even in its fledgling form. We also get one of the greatest “Divided Sky”s I've had the pleasure to hear in person. The closing jams are gorgeous and nearly flawless. At this point in the show, the fog was just beginning to lift over Long Island Sound, adding to the beauty of the jam. “Cavern”, “Rift”, and “Simple” were played one after another with no pauses, creating a momentum which made this series much more than the sum of its parts. Then a fiery “Split”, and “Carolina” to close.
I'll never know why the second set is nary to be found on the common “favorite sets of all time” lists that seem to crop up everywhere. At the time, I had never heard “Free” before, and it worked wonders in the opening slot, combining with the fog and bright yellow lights for an incredible experience. The “Bowie” that follows is out of this world — twenty-five minutes long, and proof that Phish can be spacey without being boring. “Strange Design” was another first-timer for me, and the placement for this mellow ballad, after the barn-burner “Bowie”, was perfect. Summer '95 was a watershed time for “YEM”s, and the “YEM” played on this night was no exception, with an insane bass and drums section. Mike is on fire. “Acoustic Army”, and then “Day in the Life” to close, which was a treat before it got overplayed. I've seen thirteen shows since the 6/29, which was my second. This isn't mere nostalgia talking; it was a fantastic and underrated show with one of the best second sets I've seen. In addition to the two sets, “Theme from the Bottom” was an excellent encore, which was gorgeous even in '95. I rarely see this one on tape lists, but it is well worth seeking out.