Posted to rec.music.phish and/or submitted to the legacy Phish.net site...
O.k. I was talked into this one. It doesn't usually take much to get me to go to a Phish show under a hundred miles away, but I knew that this one was sold out. But Kelly kept pleading, and my resistance wasn't that strong anyway, so up to Saratoga we went. Now the thing about Kelly is that she is very pretty and enjoys to flirt. So when we got there and the bouncer told us the show was sold out, she took a deep breath batted her eyelashes and said, "But we came all the way from Baaaaah-rd." It worked; he told us to pay the cover price and in we went.
We arrived at around 10:02. Much to our surprise, Phish were already on stage playing the opening song (Dinner and a Movie). I immediately understood why they didn't want to let us in. The place was packed. Wall to wall people. This was true not just by the stage, but all throughout the club. Completely insane.
The first set was quite good. The highlight was probabally Page playing the Andy Griffith Theme during the Antelope intro. During the break, the club let everyone outside, and- since it was really cold- I went to talk with Claw Me Down. I was wearing a shirt that I had made with various possibilities for the line in YEM. He promptly grabbed a sticker, wrote the correct line on it, and handed it to me. Ah for the good old days, when I never had to pay for Phish merchandise.
During the second set, The First Phish Equation kicked in: Cold weather = hot show. For this set, I moved to the back of the arena. Claw Me Down had set up some cups and pennies and made a little drum set. We were playing along with Phish on that for a while, and then I whipped out my ocarina and we were styling. During the amazing Lizards they played that night, Claw Me Down sang the mystery lyrics to the song. Apparently, during the jam in the end (the part on the album where Trey talks about Rutherford being saved) there is a set of lyrics about a dog. He sings about all of the things he would do if he were another animal, but then concludes that he's glad he's a dog. I only heard them that one time, so I don't remember the words very well.
Towards the end of the second set, there were some electrical problems. Claw Me Down went up to fix it, and told me to staff the booth. Fortunately, the band was playing Curtis Lowe and no one wanted to buy anything. So I just sat behind the desk and pretended I knew what I was doing. Finally he fixed the problem and came back.
The encore was quite nice: Good Times Bad Times and Contact. After the show, I went up to talk to Fish. I had just met him the week before at the Wetlands. I got to hear the stories behind the lyrics to My Sweet One and You Enjoy Myself. Finally I found Kelly and we headed out. It was 2 in the morning and I still had a long drive back to Bard, but I didn't care in the slightest.
Most of my '90/'91 reviews are along the lines of "Solid show, nothing spectacular." This is one of the exceptions: I think this show is pretty much a stinkfest. As far as highlights, I would mention the first few moments of the Antelope jam, and a Weekapaug Groove that builds from tolerable to decent by the end. But right from the start, Dinner & A Movie is really sloppy, and is followed by a pretty average YEM. Possum starts rough, then levels out a bit, then we go OK (Ya Mar), slop (Foam), OK (Suzy), slop (A Train). Antelope has some interesting moments at the start of the jam, but the rest is pretty average and the intro is a damn mess. Set II is more of the same, with a so-so Divided, wonky deconstruction Gin, repetive and somewhat annoying AC/DC Bag, shaky and thrown-together Caravan, and a Mike's that's just blecch. Hydrogen is flat-out BAD, and you can hear Trey trying to get tuned up at the beginning of Weekapaug, which builds from tolerable to somewhat decent (mark that as your other highlight). Curtis Lowe is again haphazzard sounding, and Golgi is really messy. Then we get to the Contact, and that's what broke the camel's back for me. It's an effing wreck, with Page starting out horribly off-key and going down hill from there. GTBT is a bit better, but still fairly wonky, and besides, it's too late to change my opinion. Trey makes a comment that Saratoga should be proud of generating more body heat than any other city he's been in, so maybe that explains the show, but in any case, I didn't enjoy this one at all. I'm afraid I've got to go one star for this. Sorry, Saratoga!
My friend Matt took me to the show and we stood front row center. The band was close enough to touch and the energy was off the hook. I didn't know a song, but realized PHISH were extremely special. A Dead Head first, I am very glad that I chose to check up on them a little every year after. Many other Heads of the day could not make the musical transition. Forty or so shows later, my personally collection of songs seen is epic simply because I bought in early. I got my Forbin, Tela and Sloth before they put them in the attic. The band peaked for me at Greatwoods 1994, but everything after is still really cool. Now that Trey is sober, the shows don't quite transcend, but all the big tunes seem poised for rebirth. It seemed impossible to me that Fluffheads parts could still be executed, and Trey probably has to gear up for specific songs on specific nights, but to hear any of that early material attempted is inspiring. Still nead to hear Spices and Goodbye Head!
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