Bowie contained an A-Hunting We Will Go tease from Page and Trey. The Mockingbird narration was based around The Vibration of Life and a green light that transported fans to a Gamehendge revival. Suzy contained a brief Stairway to Heaven tease from Trey. Simple included a Woody Woodpecker theme tease from Trey. Weekapaug closed with a strong Can't You Hear Me Knocking jam. Ya Mar contained a Stash tease from Trey.
The view of the Carrier Dome I caught as I rolled back into Syracuse for the first time in four months triggered a wave of emotion that would wash through the show that night and sweep me along into an uncertain future. I was on the uphill climb out of the pit of despair I had created for myself while at the lowest point in my life. A musical obsession was slowly taking the place of an interpersonal one. In place of a love gone bad I had a new love that was nothing but good. In the course of a year and a half I had become a Phish fan and was on my way to attending my fifth show.
The scene outside the Onondaga War Memorial was as tumultuous as the torrent of thoughts cascading through my brain. It seemed there were a couple thousand more people hanging around in the parking lot than there were seats in the arena. People seemed rabid, frothing at the mouth to get into this show. Could they really all want to be here as badly as I did? The steady stream of fans climbing on each other’s shoulders to sneak into the second-floor bathroom window of the War Memorial answered that question with a resounding HELL YES. This show was going to be even more crazy than the one down in Binghamton in April. I was experiencing true ecstasy and had yet to hear a note. Finally, I made it through the turnstile and down onto the floor. A general-admission show and the floor was covered with seats? What was the meaning of this? Slowly but surely the chair trees sprouted from the floor — Row upon row of chairs, separated and stacked. Higher and higher they grew, a forest of plastic and steel, lofty perches for those brave enough to scale them for a better view of the stage.
The lights went down and the roar of the crowd rose up to the rafters. The first set opened with a paint-by-numbers version of “Sample in a Jar”. But the colors…the colors they used…so alive…so liquid. With the exception of “Bouncin’” (which reminded me of her!), the first set was an incredible orgy of light and sound. I felt so alive. Such a stark contrast to the Dead shows I had been to a couple weeks before at the Boston Garden and MSG. “David Bowie” ripped off the top of my head with its intensity. With my scullcap pried loose, there was nothing to prevent the “Vibration of Life” from seeping into my brainstem and coloring it paisley forever. I was indeed tuned in to the universe. There was so much room in this music to think about things. Sometimes I felt forced to consider things I'd rather forget, other times images I was sorry I had forgotten flooded into my consciousness. It was amazing, truly magical, and at times hilarious. “Chalk Dust Torture” finally (it seemed like time stood still for a while) closed out the set and I found I definitely wanted to live while I was young.
During the setbreak I tried to come to terms with my latest Phish experience. Garbled sentences sprung from my mouth and impacted wordlessly on the ears of my friends. I could not find the words to express the joy I felt. I had been to Gamehendge, I was saved.
The lights went down once more and I saw my life run away from me. Thousands of friends I had yet to meet ran along…singing words from a song. My song. Our song. The song of the universe. Have no regrets. Never put yourself in a position where you wish you had or had not done something. Better to love and lose than never love at all. Profound philosophy being injected into my thoughts by the vibration of light and sound and energy swirling around me. Was this happening to everyone? One look around at the radiant smiles told me all I needed to know. This band is so damn good. I can't believe a concert can be like this. Pummeled by thoughts, by light, by sound…it's relentless. I'm trapped in time. I don't know what to do. Ah yes…just share in the groove. Sure, I can do that. This is “Simple”. Just because we've got a band. Our band. Skyballs, saxscrapers, cymbop, and beebophones. What? By the end of “Weekapaug” I had been reduced to a gibbering simpleton. The rest of the set was a blur.
The encore brought me my first sip from the “Loving Cup”. A song that plays such a huge role in my life to this day. It is a song of hope, a song of frustration, a song of love, and a song of life. I can run and jump and Phish but I won't fight…you if you want to push and pull with me all night. Just gimme little drink…from your loving cup. Just one drink…and I'll fall down drunk. Yes you.
Everyone in the car was asleep when I stopped at the gas station for directions to the Onogada War Memorial Auditorium. We had been driving for awhile. “You mean the Onondaga War Memorial Auditorium,” a police officer answered. After getting directions I was on my way to my second Phish show ever, driving someone else’s car…in second gear (it was an automatic). It all seemed so strange to me…why was I doing this? As soon as I got to the lot it made sense. I was with two close friends in the middle of one of the best times of my life. The lot was littered with the sounds of VW buses, people were abuzz about something called Glens Falls, and setlists from the previous show. I found everything about it to be fascinating. It was like this Bizarro world, where the only worries were of first-set-openers or extras for Indiana. All that mattered was tonight’s show.
As we found our way in, I meandered onto the floor where my seat was. Only there was no seat. It was a free-for-all. Everyone was stacking the chairs into towering piles. The floor had so much room, and I could see everything, unlike the night before at the Mullins Center.
Suddenly the lights went out and that was it, everyone went ballistic. At this point I was about tenth row, and the band opened with “Sample”. Knowing probably a dozen songs, I was psyched to hear something I knew (I was also psyched for the “Bouncin'”). Now I was mesmerized, studying the band that is the focus of all this. I eventually made my way to the front row, which rendered me immobile. I looked around at the arena; this is when I first noticed the lights. It was during “Bowie”, granted I was at the stage where I didn't know where one song ended and another began. Trey was wearing his jamming pants, those gold striped things that he used to wear all the time in ‘94. I watched him for the rest of the show. During “Colonel Forbin”, he did this crazy narration and he handed out these crazy 3-D glasses to the front rows. I got a pair and I was like, “Wow! Trey just gave me these glasses, I’m gonna keep these,” but then I looked around and other people wanted to see, so I gave them up. It was here I realized the communalism that existed at a Phish show. It’s not about one person, its about the whole experience, and having no worries.
Anyway, first set closed and ushers started threatening to end the show. They weren't excited about the chair thing. So I moved back to my tenth row seat. Although I didn't know it at the time, second set was killer. “The Curtain”, “Mike’s->Simple->Mike’s->Tela->Weekapaug” was insane. At the time, I heard “the band opened a curtain with some guy’s song into a simple Tela.”
Regardless, I had a great time and it was here I got hooked. Thirty-five shows later I’m driving a standard, hoping to go back to the OWMA again and wishin' I kept the glasses.
This is an above average Fall '94 Tour show and marks the final show before the boys took a week off to regroup after 23 show run.
First Set Highlights:
Solid It's Ice....Page rips up the middle section....7 show gap here...
Early mid set Bowie (15+ min) is above average and the description from the jamming chart, "Great tension and dissonance combined with moments of melodic beauty and calm. Like one of the big November '94 "Tweezers" with many movements, and all packed into a 10 minute jam," is on point - thanks Jason for the superb chart. Bowie fits very nicely in the third slot, here. You can hear the boys play around with a few concepts that will reveal themselves again more robustly in 25+ Grand Rapids Bowie on 11/14.
Forbin's > Mockingbird -> The Vibration of Life -> Mockingbird > Mule is fantastic and played very well during composed sections
Suzy--> Chalkdust finishes off an upbeat and high energy first set!
Mike's Simple Tela Groove kicks ass.....love Ya Mar....and the Slave to end the 2nd set is gorgeous
A great sounding recording is available at the Spreadsheet...check this show out
What really struck me about this show is how it seems like everyone in attendance is completely into the music and just totally pumped to be there. I’m sure people were still buzzed from the Halloween show a few days earlier. Sure people are always cheering really loud between songs or when a favorite song starts up but when the crowd is raging during parts that only Phish fans would pick up on you know that there were a lot of fans there and a ton of energy in that room. I guess at this point Phish was still SOMEWHAT of an underground thing and hadn’t turned into the drug fueled party scene of people just going there to get fucked up. I actually think that there are more true fans at Phish shows these days then there were from this era, 94-95, on. They started playing bigger venues which just made room for more douche bags. Anyone agree with me on this?
Well then, I liked the first set and really liked the first half of the second set. The changes in Mike’s and the Simple and then back to Mike’s is really good. Awesome rock and roll shit going on here. After all that excitement they bring it down with Tela, which is fine with me. I like Tela, even in the second set. I have fond memories of hearing it for the first time at SPAC (summer 95) so it always brings me back to that time. I’ve been listening to a lot of Slave’s recently but this one doesn’t really do much for me. Kind of surprised considering the era and the excitement going on during this show.
This show has got a lot of noob favorites, monster rock songs AND a Forbin narration. I’m sure there were a lot of converts made this night. I’m going to be checking out some more shows from a few weeks prior and after. My second show was in Erie a few days later and I haven’t listened to it in YEARS, I don’t really even remember much about the show. It’ll be fun to visit it again.
Having just started a freshman year of college a huge group of us had come together to attend this show. There was a few of us that had already seen quite a few shows, and were spinning tapes and turning on new friends.
The large group of balls to the wall partiers rolled down to Syracuse from Paul Smith's to rock the house. Shortly after arrival, I ran into a bunch of the old High school crowd as well. Most of the time in the lot that night is a blurr at best now...
Inside the show, all us Paul Smith cats had gathered Fishman side in seats for a few songs before hopping the rail onto the floor. We all did this in unison, it was pretty blatent...
Everyone enjoyed the music,, Phish was growing and the college scene was a big part of it.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.