[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series 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.]]
As I sit here in California, I'm grateful to be reflecting on an awesome California run and and a notable, if sometimes overlooked, show from San Francisco. True to the point of "Weekly Catch," this is another one of those "show the night after the show" kind of shows. Follow that? Me either. Anyway, the night before is one of the most famous shows I’ve come across, 4.16.92.
Like many of you, I'm sure, I had the bootleg from 4.16.92, “Follow Me To Gamehendge.” For a 15 year old Phish fan to discover this was heavenly. It was mysterious, inviting, a little bit of a deeper dive into this strange new world I was learning about. And it was on CD. Wild. But that’s not the show we’re talking about. After getting the bootleg CD of 4.16, I remember being on the lookout for the tapes from the other shows on that run (through TapeTrading.com, I think, and many other places), and I remember getting 4.17.92 in the mail (and 4.18.92 and 4.19.92). This collection of 6 California shows, as part of this massive Spring tour, really stands out. I eventually was able to collect almost the entire Spring 1992 tour, as part of my ever-growing collection of tapes. Which I still have!
Why? This was Phish’s 3rd real year of national touring, but this epic 3-month tour of the US highlighted and brought out a bunch of new "Rift" tunes, which expanded the repertoire and the reach of the band. The sound from this era is fantastic. So let’s hop in.
A very energetic “Runaway Jim” started things off, followed by an uptempo “Foam,” played just perfectly. BTW, this "Jim" > "Foam" first set opening combo was played 30 times from 1991-1995, which is part of the reason that this combo is burned into my brain in terms of a show opener. And why "Jim" is still my favorite opener. (Last one was 11.2.14.)
“Stash” matured quite a bit since the early days. Trey is really driving this jam, as he does with most jams in this era. The full-band tension build was really starting to get real at this point, and it continued on through the epic “Split Open and Melt” from the next Spring tour, 4.21.93. This one builds very slowly but with a lot of dissonance, completed by the glorious Trey solo toward the end of the release.
Another wonderful “Reba” from 1992. There’s some very soft full-band interplay a little ways into the jam. The place sounds completely quiet, which is hard to imagine! Then they get into a little almost start-stop jam, which was very common in this era. The entire jam is pretty delicate until Trey starts the buildup toward the peak. And it delivers.
“David Bowie” -> "Catapult” -> “David Bowie” contains the debut of “Catapult,” which I would not have guessed. I’ve always thought about it as an older song. ’Tis not! Really insane jam here, well worth revisiting.
Kicking off set 2 with “Brother” is incredibly shreddy. I've sort of forgotten about the early jamming of this song, mostly because we don't hear it much and if so, they tend to be more perfunctory jams.
“YEM” and “Tweezer” both in the 2nd set, the two best Phish songs according to the recent, epic “Weekend Wook” bracket challenge. He does great work on those, and if you don't follow him on Twitter, you should.
As expected, the only real funk and jam vehicle of that time, “YEM" has a great full band jam. Great breakdown, and maybe even a good vocal jam? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
It was fun to go back to a really high energy tour and an underrated show that brings you the energy and technical expertise of 1992, while being able to see just a little bit of what's to come with experimentation and improvisation.
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