[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris, a weekly piece brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from RJ Bee of Helping Friendly Podcast.]]
I'm going to keep it short and sweet this time. Sometimes, we look at "the show," in this case, 3.20.92 from Binghamton. But sometimes, it's fun to look at the show before "the show," or the show after "the show." As fans, we sometimes don't do this, because we've been trained over time to expect the before/after "the show" to be lacking, or at least not as good. And with 1,660 Phish shows (according to ZZYZX's amazing IHOZ), you can't listen to everything. Or can you? Anyway, let's check out "the show after the show," 3.21.92 from Philadelphia. Also, this second set was released on video by a fan in 2017, as highlighted by JamBase.
Venue information: this was Phish's first and only show at the Chestnut Cabaret, which is in West Philly and finally shut down under another name in 2013. According to Wikipedia, a shit ton of famous people played there, so that's cool.
So now you get the shtick of "the show after the show." One of the amazing things about this band, and even more amazingly as a fan, is being able to dive into a show like this and discover some hidden gems. And this extends more broadly to other music. I end up going back to the same 30-40 albums when I'm listening to music, but I love to get pushed beyond my own boundaries (one of the reasons I love the Beyond the Pond podcast). I'm going to highlight a few gems that I found in this show. (There are no "Jam Chart" songs from this show, but I do think there are some worthwhile moments.)
"Runaway Jim" is my favorite opener. Here it's an almost opener, but the pre-peak jam is so great. Trey is just on top of the guitar for every single measure. But not in an overly aggressive way. This seems like the mix of when Phish was both experimenting and pushing, but Trey is still clearly leading the band. Mike and Page are showing up more in terms of driving these jams. This is a fantastic version of "Jim."
"Foam" is another good example of this balance. Their technical chops were aligning with ever so slightly more improvisation. Songs like this sound so much better in '93 after the addition of the concert grand. As an aside, the last one of these I did, on an early '93 show, I mentioned the prominence of the baby grand, which is the most important thing for the '93 sound, IMHO. But a commenter pointed out that it's actually a concert grand, not a baby grand. I don't know, but I wanted to point that out and leave it to the piano gods to sort out.
"Split Open and Melt" is not as exploratory or tight as some of the versions the following year (see 4.21.93 for the best example, exactly 13 months after this version). In this one, you can hear Trey leading the band outside of the normal boundaries of the song to really push the jam in an exploratory direction. This is like the toddler version of the song—it can walk, it can sort of talk, but it's not a full human being yet. One more year, and it's there.
"Squirming Coil" has a really cool jam at the end that shows again, a nice toddler version with a little jam at the end, but it hasn't quite blossomed into the teenage version we here a few years later with the beautiful, extended Page solos.
"David Bowie" is another gem. It has a fun little intro with some teases and other fun nonsense. The jam segment has a familiar line from Trey in those years (6:00-7:00 or so), and Page is really all over the place throughout the jam. He speeds up his playing which causes Trey to speed up as well. Trey also turns the effects a little dirtier (is that an official thing?) and amps up the intensity. The final build and peak is really nice, highlighted by Trey's awesome soloing.
"You Enjoy Myself" contains a fiery solo from Trey, which caps off a really nice show. This jam highlights the way Trey was leading songs in 1992, but really also shows the way they are just starting to evolve into the full-band jamming we'll see over the next couple of years.
Thanks for reading and hopefully you're enjoying this series. You can check out everything we're doing at Osiris on our website. Check out Weekly Catch with Osiris every Wednesday.
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