"This jam is one of the long-form jams of the 1994 Fall Tour that would in retrospect, stand out as some of the best improvisation Phish has done. Earlier in the year at the 5/7/94 Bomb Factory show, Phish blew the lid off the place with a wacky mixed-up song set that seemed to be a natural evolution of the best of what 1993 had to offer. Personally my favorite part of a Phish show, and I know I'm not alone, is the improvisation (duh!). The jam before a song, or in between two songs, the ten minutes after the song usually stops. This fall tour had many of these moments. The 11/16/94 Simple, the 11/2/94 Tweezer, 11/12/94 DWD, 11/28/94 Tweezer, 11/30/94 Fix' to Die, basically every other show or two featured a lengthy improvisational suite, and it kept going until the 12/29/94 Bowie. For fans of spontaneity, this tour was one of the best.
On this night, somehow the taper captured this jam nicely. The first set of the VHS copy of this show is unwatchable, the taper was clearly having a good time. Camera in one hand, who knows what in the other, and shaking a leg. Then by some intervention, maybe from above, possibly a junior mint, this unsung hero found a ledge to set his camera on, 30 seconds before the start of this super jam. For the next 25 minutes, he kept it trained on the stage. Thank God!
A powerful jam right out of the gates, with several changes from soft and twinkly with colors spinning to menacing ferocity spiralling into darkness. Chris Kuroda plays between light and dark like the band does with the tempo and volume. Fitting that at the end of this jam, out of serenity it morphs into Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, whose lyrics translates to "Oh, Jerusalem of gold, and of light and of bronze, I am the lute for all your songs." Beautiful end to a sometimes frightful 25 minutes!
I asked Dave a couple weeks ago where all these fantastic videos were coming from:
"I've been going thru a lot of DVD's that were once on VHS that a friend transferred to DVD for me a few years ago by means of DVR. A lot of them never really got seeded as DVD's for download type torrents on Trader's den or the like. And many were 1st or 2nd gen. Sometimes the audio was bunk or a bit shaky or too dark or too light. I've been using some software to sync a better audio copy and fix what can be fixed, as not to alter anything too much. I always been a huge Phish video fan, so I collected everything I could as it was going around. Sharing the groove is the whole reason for it all."
As for this particular show:
"I came upon this tape with many others starting in 1994 and 1995 with the invention of the Internet. I remember rec.music.phish being the third music group after the Beatles and Elvis to have a group formed. I actually went to some record conventions and bought (i know) a few 1st or second 2nd gen Phish videos sold by slithery types, muggles. Then never went back. I'd record it 30 times, put one post up, get 30 trades set up, and then get 30 packages in the mail. Unreal. The networking of Phish fans still blows me away. This tape was one that I got in one of those trades. Quickly grew a nice list and kept in contact with the first Phish video tapers and grabbed everything that was out there. Funny thing though. With the fast and furious pace Phish had, you had to roll with it like NOW. So if a video was shaky, dark, poor sound, or lots of static, they were kind of forgotten. Better cameras were making better videos. Now, again with the internet and software, it is worth the time to search out a sweet copy of the show, and fix it up the best that I can. I watched that Columbia Jam really for the first time last nite. Couldn't sleep."
Couldn't agree with you more Dave: Sharing in the Groove indeed! Thanks for sharing this great video on YouTube and specifically debuting it with us on Video of the Week.
Every Friday, we highlight a video with a brief recap of the show it is from and what makes it interesting, noteworthy or simply fun. With the help of Dan Saewitz from Phishvids.com, we hope to keep the stream of videos coming at you entertaining and interesting. Have a cool video you’d like to suggest? Interested in contributing a review yourself? Submit ideas here.
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