My Friend, My Friend is a pretty cool opener. I didn't realize quite how many times it has been in that spot, but checking the charts here at Phish.net it is surprisingly often. Drops right into a short and sweet Ha Ha Ha which as a novelty song is a precursor of things to come. A fiery Stash is next, played with all the exactness one would expect from a 1995 version. Trey drops a "Ha Ha Ha Ha" during the first woo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo part - not sure I'd call it a tease, but cool nonetheless. This is a short Stash, but it packs a nice little Type I jam in. Trey gets a little talkative about Elvis and a thankfully short f***erpants follows. Pretty jam in the Reba, great great guitar work by Trey.
Then the hilarious Dog Log banter commences. One of the main things I loved about Phish at the time (and now) was their sense of humor, and I was really excited to be involved in a prank like this. As an impressionable 18 year old I really truly believed the Dog Log album was going to happen (in fact I still wish it would). I was thrilled to hear my first Tube even if is was just played totally straight up. Rest of the set is pretty standard, just goes to show they played two set closers in a row in 1995 too.
Highlights from Set 1: Stash, Dog Log sequence.
The Curtain is a great set opener as always, and then (and now) a personal favorite of mine. Fun stop-start into a very spacey Bowie hi-hat opening that dragged the tension to the breaking point. Cool, very chill interplay between Page and Mike in this part, with Trey hitting the effects hard. Nearly 5 minutes until they hit the opening riff and they hit it hard (this was the longest hi-hat Bowie opening up to this point, FWIW). There's a neat little moment early on where Trey sings along with his guitar. When the jam proper kicks off, Trey immediately drops into some menacing lower register playing that sounds incredibly cool. Definitely a pretty dark jam for Bowie, especially led by Trey's playing, but Mike goes some pretty interesting places as well. Halfway through the jam it slowly starts to climb toward the light. Verges on Type II at times, but doesn't quite blast through the wall, mostly held in check by Fishman's steady hand - which isn't to say that he doesn't add some awesome fills throughout the jam. Very cool staccato playing by Trey about 16 minutes in. Extremely high energy finish, I'd be dancing if I wasn't at work.
Mango is a well-needed chill out tune. Taste that Surrounds is notable only for being one of the few Taste that Surrounds. At the time, the evolution of the song seemed really important, a way to show how much you knew as a fan, now…it doesn't. Kind of a cool Mule duel, as far as they go, but I much prefer them as a first set thing. A sublime Harry Hood follows - this was an early favorite in my Phish career and has stood the test of time, but then again 95 was a great year for Hood. I always love Fishman tunes, and Suspicious Minds was no exception. Warren Haynes sitting in on Funky Bitch and WMGGW was a very unexpected and awesome treat to experience live, and he is right at home dropping some blues in Funky Bitch (dare I say his guitar's tone is more appropriate to the tune than Trey's?).
Highlights from Set 2: Bowie! Harry Hood. Funky Bitch, esp. if you like Warren Haynes.
This show has almost everything one could want in a Phish show: an awesome jam, tight playing, banter, some antics, a Fishman tune, and a great guest appearance. 4 out of 5 stars. Check it out!