UIC Pavilion, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Soundcheck: Honky Tonk Woman, Ginseng Sullivan, All Things Reconsidered, How Many More Times, Poor Heart, More Than I Can Say
Set 2: PeachesPeaches en Regalia > BowieDavid Bowie -> Mind Left Body Jam -> BowieDavid Bowie, Horn > McGruppMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Tweezer > Lifeboy > YEMYou Enjoy Myself, CDTChalk Dust Torture
 Monty Python "Spam" vocal jam.
· Three Blind Mice, Dave's Energy Guide, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), and Purple Haze teases in David Bowie
· Frankenstein, How Many More Times, We're Off to See the Wizard, and Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque teases in You Enjoy Myself
· How Many More Times tease in Chalk Dust Torture
Noteworthy Jams: It's Ice (highly recommended), Divided Sky, David Bowie (highly recommended), Mind Left Body Jam (highly recommended), David Bowie (highly recommended), Tweezer, You Enjoy Myself (highly recommended)
Average Song Gap: 7.95
Notes: The Mind Left Body Jam's melodic theme (like the MLB theme from Grateful Dead jams) bears a striking resemblance to Marvin Gaye's and Tammi Terrell's You're All I Need To Get By. Bowie (after the MLB Jam) included Three Blind Mice, Dave's Energy Guide, Voodoo Child, and Purple Haze teases. YEM included Frankenstein and How Many More Times teases, as well as a Monty Python “Spam” vocal jam with a We're Off to See the Wizard quote ("Oz" was changed to "Spam"). The vocal jam also contained a Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque quote. Chalk Dust subsequently contained a full band tease of How Many More Times. This show was released as part of the Chicago '94 box set.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1994 Summer Tour."
“We were at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. And we were playing “Divided Sky,” and we got down to this quiet part where it gets silent. And we were getting quieter and quieter, and then became silence. And I had my eyes closed, and I could feel the crowd, and I started to — because improvising is, you`re trying to translate the — what`s out there already, greater pattern of things. And sometimes it feels like it`s coming through the hole, and you couldn`t play a wrong note if you tried; you`re just floating.
And at that moment, you are in the middle of it, and I started to see those colors, like I`m not kidding, floating around there, and I realized that I could almost — it was silent, but I could see what we were translating. And as soon as I could see them, I started improvising, but I didn`t play anything. I did everything in the sense of improvisation, except for the actual notes, and as soon as I did it, the whole place erupted. It was like, whoa, and just tears started rolling down my face, and it was at that moment that I knew that it was truly bigger than me. It. You know what I mean? There were probably a lot of moments like that, but those two just come to mind. It was amazing.”
Phish in 1994 seemed to make a habit out of playing insane second sets that make people go "how the hell did THAT work?" and turning them into classics (Bomb Factory, of course; 7/13 and 11/30-12/1 also leap to mind); this might very well be the best of them, and as a fervent Bomb Factory fan it hurts my heart to say so. Peaches kicks things off in seemingly normal fashion, and then things, as they say, take a turn. Bowie appears to be in the offing, but then Trey starts up my favorite moment of 1994, the Mind Left Body (Bowie?) jam, and good gracious is it a fantastic, joyful few minutes. Then Bowie kicks back in, and it's a damn fine version, full of weird teases (Hendrix, sure, but 3 Blind Mice? Really?) and crazed, atonal jamming - maybe my favorite Bowie of them all, when the MLB Jam is taken in. Horn and McGrupp are nice mid-set palate cleansers, and then we get into the *real* meat of the set. Tweezer immediately slips into this really beautiful minor chord groove before the band says "fuck it" and pushes the "hose" button, reaching the rock and roll noise nirvana they would practically make a science 18 months later, before the jam peters out (in a funny manner, to me at least) and they head into an uplifting, lighter-waving version of Lifeboy. Then comes a *punishing* YEM, which starts deceptively quietly before gunning the engines and just ramming maximum intensity riff-driven jams down our throats, then gives us a truly, truly goofy "Spam" vocal jam. Chalk Dust, ferocious as always, closes out the set, and Bouncing > Tweeprise sends everyone home happy. Well, happier.
1994's the year that everything really changed for Phish; this is one of the shows that showed us how far they'd come, during one of the greatest 7-day spans in the history of the band (the OJ show and 6/22 were all in that span - how ridiculous is that???), before Halloween and A Live One moved them to a different level. You want to know what the wild and crazy kids of mid-90s Phish were all about? Here's an excellent place to start.
Wilson is a great opener and this night's sets out to prove that with an inspired version and > into Rift. AC/DC Bag is a shredfest for both Trey and Page, who really make this one soar. Page doesn't put out the fire for the following Maze, which is excellent. Trey plays some ungodly notes here and around 8:45 it's clear that the entire band is feeling IT. This fantastic Maze closes and the wonderful intro to The Mango Song echoes through the Pavilion. I personally love this admittedly standard version, and soon after, the ambient intro to Down With Disease begins. Trey's fingers prance around the fretboard for a wonderfully bouncy and exciting reading of this tune.
The jam in It's Ice is damn good, with Page leading the way in a surprisingly funky (for 1994) segment. One of my favorite Ice jams without a doubt. Fade into Dog Faced Boy, which I always enjoy. Divided Sky begins, a particularly famous performance due to some of Trey's comments regarding the lengthy pause section. It's excellent and, in my opinion, deserving of the hype. Inspired playing from all. Sample closes the set in fine form.
Peaches En Regalia opens set two and is played well, but the real fun begins when the song is over. Repeating teasing of the famous Mind Left Body jam gives way to an all out performance of the tune, which, frankly, is damn incredible. A wonderful homage to the pioneers of the genre as well as an absolute face melter. They nail it and move through a few other movements, all rather dark, with a Fish/Mike breakdown at 4:35 before advancing into Bowie. The ensuing jam is no slouch either, a nice theme is touched on almost immediately and they keep at it (it reminds me of Shakedown Street a tiny bit), and it soon opens up and becomes fierce. The tempo increases tenfold and at 14:40 the rocket takes off, leaving UIC Pavilion way behind. Everyone is on the same page, just playing absolutely pulverizing rock and roll. Trey hits a note that sounds like an airplane about to hit the ground or a literal bomb dropping and then a seamless movement into the Bowie outro, with numerous teases. Hear this Bowie at all costs.
Horn is a nice breather to follow, before a lovely McGrupp begins. With a funk edge, this McGrupp really lets Page shine (this is practically his show) before Tweezer emerges. The song itself just sounds really good, and immediately after the jam begins Trey starts to experiment with a few different riffs, and the band LOCKS IN. Fish keeps a groovy beat throughout, Mike is dropping bombs, Trey is playing an ethereal guitar riff, and Page is complimenting all of them perfectly. The jam moves along at a steady pace and Trey finally breaks the mold with a soaring pattern of sounds that slips into a series of descending notes that sends Fish into a frenzy. Still locked in, it sounds like they could bust out the main Tweezer riff if they wanted to and call it a day, but Page is playing a sweet trio of notes and everyone is moaning in unison; it's clear they don't want to let it go just yet. Trey starts to play a heavy, heavy riff and Mike really goes to town slapping his bass. This is grade A, bad ass jamming here, folks. Trey starts to squeal the highest notes from his guitar and a peak is reached. Special props to Fish for keeping this one steady the entire way through. The jam drops off with the descending Tweezer outro, and a well played Lifeboy provides the necessary R&R.
If the previous jams weren't enough, don't worry, the boys jump into YEM. Phew. The 'note' section is nailed, the 'tramps' section is smooth, and once Trey hops back on, it's tease central. Things get real quiet for a good while and then explode once again when Trey comes out guns blazing. The jam peaks nicely with what sounds to my ear like teases of The Landlady from Page. B & D > Monty Python vocal jam to finish make this a very nice reading of this song. The Chalk Dust that closes the set is laid down and absolutely shredded. A How Many More Times jam gives way to one of favorite Chalk Dust solos from Trey. Insane energy. Bouncing > Tweeprise to cap off this wonderful show.
One of my favorite shows from this year and of all time, it takes no prisoners. A perfectly solid first set with a few highlights gives way to a remarkable second set that truly exemplifies the darker, chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out side of the band, with Bowie and Tweezer being all time greats. Hear those jams, and the rest of this show, like your life depends on it (it does).