This is why I don’t think people should review shows they weren’t at. It’s kind of like the tapes of this show, incomplete. Although the prior reviewer knows his Phish, there is only one way to know why a random show like this is almost 5 stars and that was to be there. I am writing reviews, so people that are interested can get a take by a person who lived through these amazing concerts.
Paolo Soleri is one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been to. Holding 650 people, it was so intimate. Not sure I saw them in a smaller place. The venue has this cerebral native American vibe which made the experience religious, more so than Red Rocks. The Amphitheatre is shaped like a half of a bowl dug into the ground with all things facing the stage. Wild caves and Stones are the back drop for the stage. Surrounded by gorgeous New Mexico mountains. Can’t be beat.
The music was the large part of this and every show but on this night there were some intangible occurrences that stand out equally to the music played. The venue was so small, I was front row the whole show. We had a decent size bong in the show which Page watched us smoke. He chuckled as we puffed out of it. I am not the kind of person who will say, "He looked into my eyes as I got high and it was like we were one." Sorry. I’ve met the band too many times to care if I have eye contact with a member. Freaks. But it was cool. He was so close he could have lit it for us, I mean like 3 feet away. The audience was situated slightly higher than the band I could see everything. Trey’s expressions. The kind of socks Gordo had his neon pants stuffed in. The duct tape on Fish’s Mumu.
Buried Opener is always welcomed. It rained before the show and the sun came out just as the band took stage. Of course Divided which during I remember the sun coming out as the wind whipped thru the venue. It was a heavenly moment. A really good It’s Ice explained well by the prior review, a smoking Melt and If I Could was really pretty and suiting for the Paolo. Solid first set.
Other vivid memories are, during intermission a Latino man came out, I wouldn’t bet much on what he was wearing but I remember a suit or tux. Probably not but whatever. He announced the upcoming shows which included Santana. Then a pretty, young lady walked onto stage, left a love letter on trey’s monitor and walked off. There was zero security at this place. Soon after an employee walked on stage and took the note. The crowd booed him. He laughed. We laughed. He took the letter and walked off. When the band took stage for the encore Trey said, “Carlos is playing here! I wouldn’t miss that.” Then he teased a Santana number.
The Maze is ridiculous. Red Hot. Almost 11 minutes. This was a top shelf Maze. Trey was very into the show and his tone was very clean. This reflected in a VERY RARE second set Reba which completely brought the house down. This is a great version-Trey smokes it like we smoked those kind bong hits. Pure Butter. Hood was sick. Fishman was on his game. Trey hits a lot of pretty notes during his solo. The positive vibes were oozing from his ax thru his rig into our ears. We all swayed under thousands of stars held by a New Mexico sky. And a monster series of high notes from Trey w Fish Bombs. Then after a couple of bluegrass jams, I mentally willed a rocking Bowie. Bowie was wild and experimental- Very enjoyable. Usually I would leave for Coil but on this night I stood in that serine venue and enjoyed.
This is one of those nights that I would relive in a second.
Special venue indeed (photos are available - check them out). Unique and tiny and certainly not full. I remember sitting in the lot waiting for the rain to subside and thinking I was at some small high school. Turns out we were at a school, the Santa Fe Indian School.
The Cactus was wearing neon pants. Red or orange.
Hoist-centric show. Had fun during the Mule Duel.
About 10 years later, WSP played Paolo Soleri so I got to go back. A lot more people but still very cool.
A few days ago I was looking through some Spring '94 shows to find a good rated/reviewed one to listen to. When I got to this one I was surprised to find a show I had never heard any praise for with a 4.7 rating, significantly higher than the majority of May '94 shows. A quick look into the reviews section yielded no further information, but the setlist and astonishing rating had peaked my interest. So off to the spreadsheet I went.
First, according to db.etree, this show only has one complete source, the same source that is on the spreadsheet. This source is decent/poor. Fishman's cymbals are crackly (I'm assuming from some peaking, but I'm no export on those types of things), the bass could be more present, and the general clarity is ok, but far from great. The quality fluctuates quite a few times throughout the show and there is a weird couple-second tape-splice of completely unrelated material toward the end of Axilla… But lets move onto the music.
They really had something special going on in Sping/Summer '94. They just had this incredible energy and tightness at this point in their career. As one would expect from the aforementioned characteristics of this era: the opening trio kills. High energy and their charisma is radiating. "The Divided Sky" in the 4th slot is really well played and the jam is one of the highest energy jams I've heard out of this song. Axilla has the weird stuff toward the end but is otherwise unremarkable. Although this "It's Ice" isn't jammed out like the 4.8.94 version, Page still tears it apart pretty hard and there is this seriously awesome Page-and-Fish-breakdown-in-PYITE-esq latin groove in there that only lasts for maybe 5 seconds before it dissipates and the normal "It's Ice" groove comes in. But that groove could've lasted for 5 minutes and I wouldn't have complained! This "Split" is a scorcher, but nothing too groundbreaking for the era. "If I Could" and "Cavern" are nice.
"Maze" to open set II is good. Love me some '94 "Maze"! The intro to "Wilson" is pretty funny. Instead of the chant, which hadn't fully caught on yet, the crowd just makes party noises; it gets pretty rambunctious before some folks who "knew" finally started to get the "Wilson" chant going the last couple of times. This "Reba" is decent, but doesn't compare to the Warfield and Laguna versions to happen just a couple weeks later. Julius is energetic and Scent Of A Mule is pretty sloppy. Aaaaand now we're at "Hood" (a personal favorite song of mine). With the exception of a somewhat humorous miscue out of the opening reggae section, the composed section is nailed. The beginning of the jam is super delicate and build to the peak is really nice. This isn't the best "Hood" ever, but a very solid version nonetheless. Ginseng Sullivan is missing from the recording. For some reason the crowd found "Dog Faced Boy" really funny. Maybe something was going on onstage. There are a couple funny audience quips before "Nellie Kane". This "David Bowie" goes to gnar-town, and it goes there hard. Super tension. Super release. Love it! Highlight of the night. "Coil" is nice and well played.
Set I: The Divided Sky, It's Ice
Set II: Hood, Bowie, Coil
All-in-all, a solid show. However, this show doesn't compare to other 4.6's-7's from the same era (i.e. Bomb Factory, 6.11, 6.17, 6.18).
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