This show, on paper, looks like standard Fall 95 fare. It is not. This is a night where every song is played perfectly. Flow and execution are top notch. This Gumbo is so spot on it could be the studio version, if there was one. The short lived Fog that Surrounds is nice to hear and well-played, and Fishman's singing aint so bad either. Mound was starting to taper off in the rotation at this point and was my last until Riverbend 2011. A 69 show gap. 69. Gap. That's funny. Anyways, this mid first set Possum is awesome!! Rest of the set is nothing short of exceptional playing on typically placed songs. An atypical rendition of Wilson into Antelope to close the first set.
Set II is so fun to listen to. This place held less than 3,000 people and the acoustics might have been some of the best I have ever experienced. It's an Opera House, to reiterate again the sound in this place. You can definately hear it in the recordings. These are the kind of auds that sound better than the sbds could. Ambience man! Ahm-bee-on-sss!! This Makisupa has a calm meandering reggae feel. Seems longer than usual when I listen. Mike's bass is extremely pronounced here, bouncing off the acoustically perfect walls. CTB was a dime a dozen during this tour as it had just been debuted a week earlier in Cali but is perfectly placed here. This SOAM is very tight in the type I format. Really nice directional jamming at high velocity. This might be my favorite It's Ice ever.
The coup de gras here on this night is this Harry Hood. There is so much intimate emotion portrayed in Trey's guitar on these audience recordings. It starts off so delicate and slowly builds into a beautiful culmination of instrumental story telling. As most know, at one point he kills all amplification on his guitar and simply plucks the notes using the room as his speaker. He takes it THAT low, and then they slowly builds it up to the peak, and the release is really something special. At 15+ mins, this Hood was particularly long for fall 95. You want to hear beautiful Phish? You headphone this Hood, and you will be rewarded. The whole show for that matter. Then PM me to say thanks.
Truely some of my favorite Phish right here. Can't say it enough. In the forum when someone asks the fav show question, this one always comes to mind. Nothing fancy looking, just exceptional energy, and the perfect notes to express that energy. If this show were food, it would be McDonalds french frys. Nothing fancy, or exotic. Just done perfectly. Who doesn't like McDonald's french frys?
The Spokane Opera House was an interesting venue to see Phish in. It wasn’t as majestic as Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre the night before but it had it’s own beauty and was one of the smallest venues of tour. Oddly, each row in the orchestra section was one long row of 75 seats and there were two balconies. Being an opera house the sound was excellent and Phish took advantage of that several times.
Julius immediately sets the tone that this show will be more rockin’ than Vancouver. The 1st Gumbo of tour (10 show gap) is a nice surprise. Trey attacks this The Fog That Surrounds with some fiery riffs. The 1st Mound of tour keeps the mood upbeat and the setlist fresh.
Trey starts up the 2nd Possum of tour (8 show gap) right as Mound ends. I was thrilled for two reasons: I really enjoy hearing Possum and I was selling "I Brake For Possum" stickers on tour, and sales are much better when the song is played. The intro is drawn out a little bit before kicking in. Trey's solo is lively right from the get go. Fishman is driving the beat at a furious pace. The jam is non-stop high-octane booty-shaking Phish; just the way we like it.
The Mango Song, the 1st of tour (21 show gap) and 2nd of the year, has the feel of a bust out. It is a perfect cool down without taking it way down. Acoustic Army provides the real breather and sounds great in this venue. "Henrietta, lead guitar" says Trey.
Wilson raises the energy level again. The intro to Run Like An Antelope is playful with some lite singing and audience clapping. The intro The band quiets things way down right before crashing into the main jam. This Antelope has a face pace right out of the gate. Everyone’s locked into the groove which is tight and controlled. The tension just keeps building and building; more non-stop high-octane booty-shaking Phish. Antelope closes the best first set of the 9 shows so far this tour.
Set two starts with Makisupa Policeman (10 show gap) and might just be my most unexpected set opener. “Woke up in the morning, DANK!” They don't rush this one and lay down a nice groove. Cars Trucks Buses had to be played after a day off and Page shines of course.
Split Open And Melt caught me off guard. It was time to get Phish-y! They lay down a frantic groove and it gets a little dicey. This is why we tour!! Full band relentless insanity! More non-stop high-octane booty-shaking Phish! A complete breakdown of the song ensues while maintaining the theme. Full band participation, absolutely beautiful. I’d do this all day long.
Strange Design allows everyone to catch their breath. It’s Ice enters mid-second set which was a little odd. The Page led jam goes deep and explores much more than the normal spaces long enough before Fishman kicks in the beat leading to the song’s finale.
Mike starts a little bass jam that quickly leads to the opening bass lines of Contact, the 1st one this Fall. So far this the best set of tour for the band. The midsection funk jam is quite powerful; solid version. Frankenstein, another 1st of the tour and 2nd of the year, was HUGE! Great placement and major fun! Best cover band ever!
Harry Hood drops inconspicuously; the crowd is so quiet and mesmerized in the opening segment. Phish cruises through the middle section and crushes the Mr. Miner section. The jam starts out so delicately and Trey eventually turns off his amplification. The rest of the band quiets way down so we can hear Trey play. It’s a brief but amazing moment, the crowd is being so respectful and quiet. Trey continues to patiently build the Hood jam; of course someone yells out Freebird, there’s always one. The intensity builds and builds as the approach the ending of the song. For some reason they don’t sing the final chorus but space out the final moments similar to version played in Sacramento. Again this seemed odd to me, but change can be a good thing. Hood concludes and the band walks to the front of the stage to sing Sweet Adeline to close the set. Fire is the encore and delivers the requisite rock ‘n roll finale.
What a really great night of music, and I sold quite a few ‘I Brake For Possum’ stickers taboot. Phish is obviously feeling more comfortable with a bunch of shows under their belts. We have a 200 mile drive to Missoula, MT for the final show of this Northwest 4-show run.
Worthy of a listen: The Fog That Surrounds, Possum, Run Like An Antelope, the whole 2nd Set!!
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