So I've elected to listen to all the Fall 1991 recordings on the Spreadsheet, partly in honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of this tour, and partly out of sheer curiosity, as I hadn't previously heard very much from this tour. Only a week in, and I can tell why this tour is neglected - the room AUDs generally range from "boomy" to "nearly unlistenable" (like the next night in Athens, OH, recorded on a boombox). To be fair, one-third of the shows on this tour circulate on SBD, but even these will tape speed issues, and occasional cuts or dropouts.
This recording is notable, however, because it was made by Kevin Shapiro, who would go on to be the Phish Archivist - in fact, this was his first Phish show. During his From The Archives show on 8/13/04 at Coventry, Kevin reminisced briefly about attending this show, and how it was the Landlady > Destiny Unbound sequence that hooked him Given that the band has brought back The Landlady as an occasional treat, I'm hopeful that he reminds the band of the transition into Destiny, IMO even more powerful than Oh Kee Pah Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg.
Overall, this room AUD recording is certainly high quality for this tour. The audience chatter does not intrude for the most part, which certainly benefits the quieter musical passages, like Trey's support of Page's piano outro to Squirming Coil. This show features one of the best existing live recordings of Eliza, the quiet minuet from the recently recorded A Picture Of Nectar album. Even the a capella Memories is audible on this tape - usually this one is completely drowned out by the audience noise. Paul Languedoc's house mix is balanced and the instruments are clearly heard, though Trey's vocals don't cut through at times, which hurts an otherwise rockin' Sloth. I can't quite tell who Trey introduces Fishman as during I Didn't Know, something like "Curtis Daniels Scotts", probably an associate of Norton Charleston Heston
The setlist and performance here is definitely typical of this tour, no crazy breakouts or wild jams. Phish was on a mission to win over listeners and increase their audience, so the focus is on tight arrangements, clean performances, and flowing setlists with very little downtime. The "brand new" It's Ice had the band repeating the intro, and Page repeating the first verse, after the long instrumental section (you can hear this at 8:00-8:38). In a couple weeks, the band would cut this part, finalizing the arrangement still heard today (although it did lead to a train wreck of sorts during 10/27/91). The Reba jam is soaring, but not particularly notable. Trey focuses on the lower register of his 'Doc during the Bowie jam, playing lots of chromatic lines and dissonant notes, which to these ears sounds plodding and unnecessarily difficult to enjoy, but practice of this improvisational approach would yield rewards later in the tour.
If you're interested in checking out something from the month of September 1991, this would be a good pick.
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