Notes: Reba did not have the whistling ending and Possum included an All Fall Down signal. Faht featured Fish on acoustic guitar. Tweezer contained Take Me to the River teases and Squirming Coil contained a Carol of the Bells tease from Page.
This is an all-time sleeper show in what was possibly the greatest month in Phish history...it's straight fyah. This was my second show and I love listening to it, but am I the only one who thinks this Tweezer is overrated? I mean, clearly it rips from beginning to end...that's not the problem, but I've listened to it over and over again and to be honest, it's kind of boring.
To this point, I was also fortunate to be at 2/28/03 and that Tweezer is in my opinion not only one of the greatest (if not the greatest) versions of all-time, but is so much more interesting than 12/2/95. Just an incredible exercise in group improvisation.
With that being said, I think the Runaway Jim at this show is completely underrated. If you like the boys firing on all cylinders with Trey leading the way, this is 8+ minutes of beauty...check it.
So today is the 17 anniversary of this show which was my first. This one gets lost because it came the night after a famous Hershey PA show that was stellar. Everybody seems to just talk about/remember the Tweezer from this show. Although that Tweezer was great and experimental, I tend to remember a different highlight from this more standard and mellow show. Everybody loves a good Reba. The Reba from this show is in my opinion extremely underrated. Now with 17 more years of Phish Experience than I had on this night, I only realize more how special and exciting this Reba was. This is a less circulated tape/cd/mp3 and most only give the Tweezer a listen. I recommend giving the Reba a go. The high and mighty Reba Jam touches many levels and builds beautifully. It will catch you off guard and exceed you expectations. Just when you think it is time to wrap up the Jam, it goes on for several more minutes and is quite full of high energy. Since this night I have received many fine Rebas but I will always remember my first on this Frigid night in CT.
This show features a phenomenal uptempo Tweezer (hey - it IS from December '95, right?) that starts up on the heels of the last-ever performance of Faht.
Tweezer takes a few bars to get off the ground, but quickly ventures into the aggressive improvisation that this era is known for. The band is completely locked-in to one another, and they are firing on all cylinders. Around the 7 min mark, Fishman throws the beat into a double-time feel and all hell breaks loose. Mike & Trey are so synced up it is read-icculus. At 7:35 Trey throws out a dark lick that winds up this portion of the jam, and then it's a full-steam-ahead onslaught to the climax. Someone (on stage?) yells "yeah!" Three minutes later we are finally nearing it -- Fishman pops back into the half-time feel for just a few bars just prior to the (first) climax, giving even more power to the peak when they rip into it. Impeccable playing from everyone here. Page is sustaining chords on the Hammond with his one hand, but wailing on the piano with his other. Then he switches completely to the piano, and the jam enters its second peak. Right at 12:00 they build to this final peak, and the audible sound of heads exploding is present on the tape. At 12:35 we are back to the half-time feel, and the glorious wind-down ensues. There's a very strong "Take Me To The River" feel here. The last few beats of this wind down are so slow, it's almost comical.
The rest of the show is solid, too (I just happen to like the Tweezer best). The Jim leapt out at me as being particularly strong -- it just went that extra step as compared to the Jims of more recent memory (again, this is Dec-95 we're dealing with...this extra reward is to be expected!) It sounds like the band is really keyed up throughout this show. Maze rages. Simple rocks (this is from back when Simple rocked). Trey gives a maniacal "mwuah-ha-ha" type of laugh he layers the effects at the beginning of Also Sprach.
It feels strange to have Golgi late in the 2nd set like this. Also feels strange to go Coil>Reprise. But Page teases "Carol of the Bells" in his Coil solo, which made me smile. Because 12-2 in New Haven was probably very Christmasy.
This is also the first-ever Caspian opener. (Is that a good thing?)
what i remember without ever having listened back..
prince caspian blew me away as the opener. i remember trey's hair flying in the breeze and this band i had come to know as a quirky, atonal, jazzlike jamming machine comes out with this mellow, loving arena rocker...everyone singing... OOHHHhhh!....
the rest was a blur
until they played day in the life.
and i tore my red flannel shirt off to show off my Rubber Soul T-shirt to everyone around me. as if i was special cause i liked the beatles too. oh to be 15 again.
i remember FAHT too, wondering what the heck was going on. i got told to shut up several times that show by this guy in front of me. i ate fake mushrooms, smoked fake hash but still was sky high from some moist green vermont ganja we scored.
The show as a whole is merely average for fall/winter 1995... meaning it's a good show, but only average compared to other shows from the tour. Most of the show is relatively unremarkable... except for the Tweezer...
When I used to be an avid tape trader back in the 90's, this show didn't circulate very much. So the Tweezer missed the notice of many people. I taped this Tweezer as fillers on other show tapes for people whenever I got the chance. It's only about 15minutes long. But this Tweezer is unequivocally THE BEST Tweezer in the Type I, Fast-and-Furious category. This is the definition of Facemelt. If you have heard the more widely-circulated 11/30/95 Dayton Tweezer, you'll know the style. That was only a few nights previous. They basically distilled it down, polished it up and gave it a 6th gear.
The opening part of Tweezer is average at best. The jam starts out with the typical driving Fish beat so prevalent in the 94-95 era. Before long, you can tell Trey is ready to shred something here. Halfway through the jam, Fish switches to doubletime and it just explodes from there to the end.
If any of you remember Charlie Dirksen and his Tweezer Reviews, you may remember that, on his scale of 1-10, he only gave a full 10 rating to one Tweezer: the 11/30/95 Dayton Tweezer. He gave the New Haven Tweezer an 11.
Last I checked, if you do an internet search for New Haven Tweezer or something similar, you'll find a link to a Soundcloud page that has a SBD of this Tweezer you can listen to without having to download or convert anything. Go find it right now. Right now.
(P.S. My favorite Tweezer is still the 11/28/94 Bozeman 44 min. monster... but that's a different kettle of fish.)
The past few weeks have been the first time I have really dug into '95. I had listened to quite a bit of it casually, but it had never been a year I particularly cared for. I can't say that it has come close to '94 or '97, my two favorite years (original, I know). However, my recent listening adventures have certainly garnered this year some newfound respect.
That aside, this show as a whole definitely falls in the lower half of shows I'vi heard from '95, there just isn't all the much that really stands out. This is the most raging Tweezer ever, though, so there's that. The Reba is also pretty decent and the Caspian opener actually works pretty well. The show hadn't started yet, so Caspian couldn't really interrupt the flow, and it's so brief it is easily forgotten by the time Jim wraps up. Oh, and this Possum rages like they all did in Fall '95. It's not quite as good as 10.22, but shit is still super intense.
I'll be coming back for this Tweezer many more times. If you haven't heard it, check it out.
This is a decent show which seems to get overlooked. The only crime this show commits is being played in one of the most prolific months in the band's history. All in all, it's a solid show with solid playing. The quality of the Tweezer and Reba have been noted in other reviews and I'm always pleased with Mound and Maze.
Just want to touch on the 2nd set. Strong 2001 leading into an excellent rager of a Maze. I think that this Simple is the best non-jammed out Simple performed. It really is just a gem and actually turned me from a Simple hater into someone who can appreciate the song for what it is now. The Tweezer will make you laugh. It's that good. In terms of intensity, it's on the same level as 10-24-95 Antelope. The lucky people who were there!