I wonder what small percentage, if any, of attendees at this show were excited to be seeing the opening act. It's interesting to muse on how this historic footnote set would have been received by a European Violent Femmes fan. Or for that matter, how an American VF fan who didn't know Phish would have thought about this "special guest from The U.S." And with respect to Dollar Bill's theory, if I had to guess, I'd say that the boys saw a promo poster for the show that was probably printed before they were confirmed on the bill. If they were billed as "Special guest from The U.S." then damnit, that's who they were going to introduce themselves and play as. I think that definitely fits the band's sense of humor.
Trey lays out a set that's equal parts showing off their diverse range of genre and overall chops (Landlady, Stash, YEM), lyrical eccentricity (Stash thru YEM), and quirky showmanship (did I mention they played YEM?). It's fairly representative Phish for the time period: talented yet oddbag musicianship. Not the weirdest they can get by any means, but for their first time in Europe, I'd say they came out of the gates ably and represented.
It is interesting to note, as I take one more glance over their song selection, with the exception of Sparkle, they definitely tended to go with a more wheelhouse-friendly approach, rather than truck out much of the batch of new (though months old) Rift-era stuff from this year. I'm sure that will come, though the only other show I'm currently familiar with, the Stowe Santana show, is also devoid of new tunes except Sparkle. Hm.
Well I've never really heard any European shows so this was a treat for me. Pretty good bootleg, I believe it's a soundboard. You can hear Page's Leslie and the Piano's vibrato in stereo!
Trey starts off by saying "Good evening ladies and gentleman, we are special guests from the U.S.", and it sounds like the boys are on their best behavior. Nice Landlady opener. Mike sounds a pinch off here. You can hear Trey call out for Greenberg. Good Suzy. Stash is good, Mike is still a little off. Trey calls out for Coil which has Page a little off in the middle section. Sparkle is good. Cavern is Trey's turn to be off, I guess, as he plays wrong chords coming in the begining and then later blows some of the ending lyrics. A short real announcement precedes a weak YEM intro. The rest of YEM is pretty good. Mike's solo section is a little weak and fades away into the vocal jam which gets cut off by the bootleg source. Bummer, I wanted to see how far they would take it on the first night.
Not a bad opening show in Europe, just not very relaxed yet. I wonder how the Violent Femmes were after this?
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