, attached to 1997-12-11

Review by Herbdacious

Herbdacious This show is amazing. The chill guitar lick funk at the end of an already blazing Disease. The Maze is one for the ages. The ambient slower jam at the end of drowned. The real jam for the ages, for me anyway is the Ghost->DWD ending. It is so much high energy Trey just nailing every note. He just never lets up, then all the sudden next thing you know, right after the peak it feels like you were just in a Disease solo for a while. It makes the show feel like one big disease, but in the best way possible. This show also has some of the best flow. The way the big jams are such different styles, they feel as if they are playing you a setlist of feelings instead of a songs. Johnny B Good is so fast and the blues shredding is in some ways better than the Dayton JJLC, if only because of the speed 5/5 one of my favorite Fall 97 shows.
, attached to 2020-02-15

Review by DaleCooper

DaleCooper Late 1999, I had recently moved to Chicago to finally finish my undergrad degree and begin my professional career. My first job was at a coffee shop right across the street from The Music Box. One night, when closing, the XRT DJ announces that Oysterhead had formed and would be making their debut at Jazzfest in about 5 months (forgive me if some of my dates or math are off on this). I knew immediately that I would not be able to attend due to a commitment. The Police, Primus, and obviously Phish... All coming together in a power trio. Unbelievable. I enjoyed the album tremendously and couldn't wait till they came through Chicago a year and a half later. Alas, I was cast in another show, a three and a half hour one, that prevented me from even showing up at setbreak. The one off at Bonneroo? Same weekend as moving to DC. Thought I'd never get a chance again... Frankly, I didn't think this would ever happen. Sobriety, passed years, professional conflicts all seemed like very justifiable reasons to not expect these three incredible musicians to cross paths again. When this was announced, essentially a birthday show for me, I said many times that I would give up a years worth of Phish for one night of Oysterhead. Considering the current Covid world, I wish I might've used different phrasing, but whatever. This was a two decade dream. There is no music like this group. While some phans don't jive with them, those of us who love this band, LOVE THIS BAND. And this night of music did not disappoint. Replaying the complete album, in an albeit different order (I prefer night 2), with some great covers (including obvious nods and teases to other trios in rock history) and a tightness that has been missing from previous incarnations. BUT, with a darkness that has been missing from a great deal of Trey in the past few years. I sincerely hope that this will not be the final outing of this band. If it is, it will go down with me as a personal favorite... Good friends, great musicians, and an incredible show. Take a listen if unfamiliar with it. You won't be disappointed.
, attached to 1994-05-22

Review by Northernghost

Northernghost I was at this show twenty fucking six years ago today (damn). It was my second show and I thought I had prepared well since my first acid soaked show at the Commodore nine months prior. I was wrong. I had obsessively listened to everything I could get my hands on. Which turned out to be a lot. Nevertheless the boys treated me to a magnificently unexpected experience. Everything from the humour, Greasy Fezique for chrissakes to the absolute commitment of laying it the fuck down every time they sang or touched their instruments. Mike-less acoustic performances (with emotion solos!), and majestic electric jams. The first hint that we were going to have a really, really good night was when they turned on the smoke machine 15 minutes before showtime so we could all light up and just blend. So goddamned civilized you know? Anyway the show. Demand. Totally unexpected and one my favourite weird Phish tunes I was floored. Then out of nowhere comes this golem of a song The Sloth. Played with utter conviction and completely flawlessly it was the first time I’d heard it. Damn. Then (oh bliss) Divided Sky in all its glory and grace. Things are going really well. Then Peaches! A song off of my favourite Zappa album! Split open and melt, a repeat from my first show. It took me away then and it took me away now. And then... My one and only Fluffhead. What else is there really there to say? Then the acoustic hijinx. My Sweet One, Ginseng Sullivan, and Dog Faced Boy. This brings me to one of the things that is absolutely lost to the scene. When they were performing unamplified, if anyone obstructed the sound with Yeehaw‘s or woo woos they were unapologetically shushed until they shut the fuck up and let the rest of us hear what the boys were doing. I really, really miss it. All three songs were performed with such warmth and humour I was in tears with the biggest smile on my face I’d ever had. Hearing Fishman introduced as Greasy Fezique killed me. Crazy ass heavy metal set closer Axilla II, I’ve heard many Axilla’s only time I’ve heard part II. Down With Disease Single version! No jamming but so much fucking fun. Then, and I have to say this, one of my all-time favourite Phish tunes, Bouncing. Right off the bat, no pause, no break, no hesitation. The beat and the bass and then the lovely, lovely harmonies building up to one of those crazy Trey triplet climaxes that never cease to amaze me. Then, it’s ice. What can I say, the way the whole band interacts on this track every fucking time they play it is crazy. I love how much piano is played in this period, Paige lays it the fuck down and challenges the whole band. It was so beautiful I could hardly stand it. And then we come to the purely Phishy weirdness that is Gamehendge. McGrupp and all his pathos. I have to say, it really appealed to the mushrooms that were having just so much fun in my system. Ok. Tweezer. An absolutely insane series of peaks and valleys specifically tailored to my state of mind. These cats knew what I wanted and needed. Finally tailing off in an absolutely magnificent bit like a broken clock slowly ticking off it’s last bit of energy. I was helpless. A cool down with Lifeboy, I love this song. Paige’s piano work is just so beautiful, I was so happy to be where I was in the moment that was happening. Rift to get up back to speed, and then, Slave. My first Slave to the Traffic Light. I... I don’t really know where to go go here... it was, almost total silence when they started the build and... what can I fucking say? There were tears, there was laughter, there was joy and there was, amazingly, a building certainty, that it was going to finally, work the fuck out. Then, just to make goddamn sure… Back to Tweezer and yet another, another fucking peak to end off on. And then they brush us off, told us we were OK, gave us a smile and played Sleeping Monkey. Fishman doing his falsetto and making us all collapse with laughter, and then Paige and Trey being as Beatle-y as can be bringing us all to our knees. It was fucking perfect. 26 years ago, and they bring me to my knees every single fucking time. Thanks for all the bliss Jon, Mike, Paige and Trey, you made my life better.
, attached to 1989-05-20

Review by GarianoRivera

GarianoRivera I attended this show as a graduating student at NHM in 1989. This was the annual 'Spring Thing' event. It was not in a gymnasium as noted on most setlists. Phish set up their equipment and played in an open field on campus. I remember a white truck parking right on the grass and the band literally setting up their gear then playing, no stage. So close to the band you could hit Fish's cymbals if you wanted to. Great memories!
, attached to 1997-12-12

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Funky Bitch gets things off to a funky-bluesy start, Page taking control on the organ before the jam fades into a floating groove, leading into 2001. This is a great placement for the 2001, here at the almost-hometown dance party, with Mike getting that super-flanged bass bumping going, especially after the first “chorus”. We get slithering synths, wah-chucked Superbad Trey, a ’97 2001 if I ever heard one. “This set has won me over already!” a friend comments. Camel Walk is the next call, opening up a chill groove with clav and wah’d-out lead guitar action in this loose rendition, staying on the rails but definitely getting the Fall ’97 treatment. Taste, next, gets that (in my eyes) perfect mid-first set placement, bringing the energy and peaky-ness through Page and Trey’s features. Bouncing settles things down a bit before Tweezer drops. First set Tweezers are always a great time, and this one holds to that rule. This one starts out a bit sparse, spacious, just bumping as classic cowfunk. Soon, Trey gets his wah-spotlight moment, leading into some low-geared, torquey Tweezah action. Trey takes control to build this one up to a peak, before fading into calm ambiance. Train Song follows, playing its role as the perfect calm interlude well, as always. Character Zero, closing the set, is another strong ’97 version, a total Hendrixian rave-up engulfed in wah-vortex shred. Set Two Notes: Saw It Again kicks things off as a novel, rare choice for second set opener. As the jam space develops, looming wah growls hover over churning, rolling, crashing rhythms. Soon, the music breaks free from the SIA structure, Fish pounding away. The space opens into a calm molten musical flow, liquid heat rolling down the mountainside, before lightness emerges, and the jam floats up into atmospheric melody-making, a real Type-II version. Piper, next, is very patient in its entry, a classic slow-builder. Soon, though, the band takes the song beyond its standard frame into some wah’d-out shred-jamming, soon coming to settle in a calm siren-space for a bit. Trey gets plucky with chord hits as Mike plays a little lead, before everything starts to build back into a bit of a musical tangle. As the energy builds, the Hendrixian raging emerges, giving way to some high-tempo bump-groove cowfunk. The peak troughs-out as clav-floating chord space, giving Swept Away>Steep a chance to emerge. Steep is interesting here, with some lilting delay loop effects. Caspian next, and man, Trey loves his Caspians. The Type-I section here is liquid fire soloing, then the big rock ending hits. As it turns out, though, this is no ending at all. Instead, the jamming keeps rolling and raging, lulling, then raging more, then lulling, then raging more… tension and release, turning the valve up and down… before dissolving into a puddle. A standout Caspian in a year of great Caspians. Izabella then gets laid down one more time for this tour, a tour whose sound seemed heavily inspired by the original composer, and this version is as energetic and triumphant as it should be. At this point, I definitely thought that the set was over, until Tweezerprise (Tweezreprise? Still don’t know…) hits, reminding me of the fact that they laid down that great cowfunk-reeking version of its parent song in the first set. Coming out for the encore, Guyute leads the way. That dissonant, heavy middle section is especially anxiety-inducing here, very intense, forming a highlight in a great, solid version of the song. Antelope sends everyone out with one more chance to get down. Mike really gets grooving as the jam heats up, leading to many rolling peaks, light/dark, tense/loose action, for sure, with that distinctly liquid ’97 flavor. Best of the tour? No way. Five star, highly entertaining show, worthy of all the Fall '97 associations and accolades? 100%. I really loved it. Give it a listen, if you haven’t. You scrolled all the way down here reading reviews of it, anyway. Happy travels.
, attached to 2020-03-03

Review by kingcrowing

kingcrowing This was for Bernie Sanders' 2020 Super Tuesday Rally. The stage was small and Fishman was on a little drumkit, sound in the venue was pretty bad (basically it was a big metal shed with the band on a side stage). The Mallet Brothers are a pretty bland band IMO, but having Mike come out really made for a cool experience. Whirlwind and Let's Go were the standouts.
, attached to 1998-12-28

Review by ColForbin

ColForbin [I attended this show but don’t remember much about it, so this review is based on a relisten.] Fiery fiery Stash, Trey attacked the solo like a man possessed, just an incredible build. Page takes an excellent solo in a joyful Taste, and Trey builds the tension by holding off on his solo for bit. The acoustic mini set was never my favorite part of a show to see in person, but on the recording it’s kind of nice, and Albuquerque is always a treat. Did they jam Tube? No, unfortunately not, but it got the energy in the room back up. Fun finish to the set with Golgi and GTBT, but nothing too exceptional. Switched from the excellent FOB AUD to the SBD for Carini >Wolfman’s (released on Live Bait 13). The Carini jam starts off with Trey playing some screaming guitar and Fishman attempting to murder his drums. Slows down into a spacey jam with some great color being added by Mike and Page. The space takes a dark turn, then Page starts swinging on piano and the tempo increases and the jam finds a nice groove, before being deconstructed into a stop start transition into a laid back Wolfman’s composed section. After a high energy opening the Wolfman’s jam settles into patient cow funk that gets progressively more spacey/ambient. The jam then gets angry and evil, then ends with some ambient noise from Trey and Page. A great 1-2 punch to open the set, if you haven’t heard the SBD, check it out, it reveals a lot of in the spacey parts of the jams. Birds of a Feather and When the Circus Comes were straightforward. Quinn was triumphant and even found its way to a little ambient jam at the end. Bowie had a fun little digital delay loop intro with an extended Godfather tease from Trey. The jam starts off patient and quiet, with some audience clapping that I’m sure annoyed the hell out of me at the time. Good high energy finish, but nothing too outside the norm for the time. Been Caught Stealing was a huge surprise and a blast to hear in person, but in retrospect is just a funny stunt cover. Overall you definitely want to hear the Carini>Wolfman’s, and maybe cue up the Stash and Taste. A good start to a NYE run that is often overlooked.
, attached to 2018-10-24

Review by ShipofPhools

ShipofPhools Overall I really enjoyed this show, but Ascend is my favorite venue for Phish, so perhaps I'm biased. The night before was pretty damn hot, and vibes were high going into this night. There was a big, bright full moon in the sky, and I felt we were in to blast off. The show is riddled with space and moon references as a result. Soul Planet > 2001 was an incredible opening sequence. Trey was really going for it in SP and seeing 2001 in the unique second slot was awesome and I felt like it was setting the tone. 555 through Waste. Any of the songs in that segment on their own I don't mind, but when they strung those four together it became a bit of a snoozer. Perhaps they wanted to lullaby us under the full moon? Boom. A nice evil MFMF to wake us up. This put me on alert, as the last time they had been at the venue, they played MFMF to precede the Bob Weir sit-in. While we didn't get a sit-in at this show, we got some great rippage. I remember the Maze shredding and the Gin having a really good jam. Second set front-to-back was just stunning. IMHO about as good as it gets in 3.0. Just excellent flow and song selection. DWD was a scorcher, and the playing was steady throughout. The Run Through the Jungle tease in scents had me giddy, being a big Creedence fan. It's moments like that that remind you how awesome this band is and how they will always find a way to surprise you. Solid, steady jamming from DWD through No Men, and then one of my personal favorites, Boogie On, to cool us down a bit. Send off the set with Hood to tie things together nicely. Then Antelope in the encore slot, another somewhat unusual song selection for the slot in this show, but it kicked us up, ready to have some fun that night and looking forward the weekend in Chicago. I don't have a lot of years under my belt, but in the last five years I've seen a lot of Phish. This is a standout show in my 49 show career. One of the best second sets I've personally seen, and good moments in the first set. The band was so locked in this whole tour. I consider myself very fortunate to have been there, and I can't wait for my next trip to Nashville in August 2021.
, attached to 2000-06-10

Review by life_boy

life_boy It’s insane how this show starts out. It makes more sense when you realize that though this is a different venue, it’s only about 20 minutes away from the On Air East. It feels continuous, as if the “YEM” encore from 6/9 is actually the first song of this set. All the songs are self-contained, which makes the show feel a little more vintage throwback than usual (especially in light of the segue-fest that is Drum Logos coming up in a few days). But it overall feels like a bit of a cool down show after the intensity of that previous night’s “Tweezer.” Even the intense “Down with Disease” and “Piper” in this set feel like they could be within the package of jams emerging out of that On Air “Tweezer.” “Piper” in particular goes some intense places and feels like the highlight to me. I also really like the “Gin” and “Loving Cup.” Overall, that context helps me sit with this show differently than I would if I came to it by itself. As a standalone show, it doesn’t do a whole lot for me. But as a piece in the larger context of the Japan 2000 run, I see where it fits and I like the role it plays. I also see how the elements are beginning to coalesce into what will be the Drum Logos show. Zepp Tokyo is atypical. Nothing particularly exciting but nothing particularly bad either. Worth hearing in the context of Japan 2000.
, attached to 2000-06-09

Review by life_boy

life_boy What a great way to kick off the 2000 Japan mini-tour. “Axilla > Taste” is fantastic, a great pairing. “Billy Breathes” may look weird as the third song in the set but it is gorgeous. “Funky Bitch” has a fun, deconstructed jam in the middle. “First Tube” is always fantastic and a great expression of 00s Phish jam synthesis and a blistering “Chalkdust Torture” is always hard to beat. Set I is fantastic, a nice mix of songs and dynamics, and the band sounds hyped and energized by the out-of-context location (both culturally and physically, with the smaller venue). Great performances of great songs. Set II is when the band reaches for the stratosphere with an intense 30 minute “Tweezer.” Overall, it’s a beautiful, intense full-band jam. I have never heard a pitch for this version, never heard it referenced anywhere that I consciously recognized. I discovered it quite by accident which makes it all the more magical and is part of what continues to draw me in as a Phish fan. Things like this exist out there, in places you least expect. But I also want to mention that the pairing with “Bouncing Around the Room” may not look awesome on paper but it is so perfect when you hear it. The crowd loved it and it is a great uplift after the epic journey we just took. After that “Tweezer,” its understandable that the rest of the set feels a bit like a cool down. “Squirming Coil” is beautiful, “Jibboo” is so perfectly 2000 Phish, the first “Meatstick” with the Japanese lyric section, and a high energy “Tweeprise” to end it. “You Enjoy Myself” won’t get any write-ups on JamCharts but it’s a wonderful cherry on top of a fantastic show. Jam junkies will only care about the “Tweezer” but I hope that many who love the Drum Logos show will take some time to soak in what Phish were doing overall on this mini-tour. It's not Drum Logos but it is a great peek at the band in a more intimate setting, really the last time that will happen ever (it seems). I love it. I have listened to it twice back-to-back and it certainly won’t be the last time.
, attached to 2009-11-21

Review by Flubhead

Flubhead Didn't attend, but I must put in a good word for this SOAMelt. The jam explores standard ground in its infancy but then the beat stretches out, the energy dissolves and the band drops out, getting mellow for just a bit before Trey and Page start getting "out," harmonically. A lot of dissonance crowds into a tiny space; it sounds like Mike and Fishman want to return to the SOAMelt jam beat but Trey and Page are too busy lobbing bird squawks at one another. The idea of "key" is pretty much forgotten; the band is now fully caught up in the tornado Trey and Page have brewed up. The SOAMelt beat is officially abandoned ever so briefly; then, like a Michael Bay anti-hero in suit and shades, oblivious to the explosion he caused billowing behind him, Trey just marches right out of that weird space and back into the SOAMelt jam. It's a bit like whiplash when they hit the closing coda. There seems to be a lot of good stuff in early 3.0 that deserves second (or first, or third, etc.) listens.
, attached to 1997-12-11

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: PYITE kicks things off, and Mike comes out punching (sorry) with heavy harmonics, leading to a strong version of this moody jazz-rock opener. DWD gets going next, a catchy rock song to keep the energy up. As the jam portal opens, the jam is Trey-centric, with a very focused wah-infused Hendrixian influence. Soon, Mike starts to change the terrain below as the jam nears its first peak. “Talk about shred!”, a friend comments. The jam is soon allowed to go offroad into Type-II territory, opening into a chill, bluesy, slow moving float-space with a major-key flavor, before Trey starts to take his leads into minor territory, shifting the band. UFOs start to hover and lay down synth scans in stereo, sirens whirling, and soon, a late-night stoner groove emerges, truly smooth, sophisticated cowfunk. The jam falls into gentle interplay, truly mellow stop-start action, before totally dissolving into foggy, swirling murkiness, the clav holding out as the Fish starts up Maze. “This is one of those noisy Mazes.”, a friend comments in regards to the sirens and loops whizzing away over the intro of this rendition. Page’s solo features many diabolical organ lines, before Trey’s solo gets a little strange, then a lot shreddy. This Maze is pretty long, and having a few extra minutes is definitely perceptible, especially in terms of how drawn-in you are to the jam. Recommend version, for sure. Dirt hits next, reminding me that these ’97 versions are so fresh and pure; this is a great place for the set to settle and find its way ahead. LxL comes next, building and upshifting into bliss, really getting going. “This is popping off!”, a friend remarks, a perfect description. This is my favorite LxL of Fall Tour. Loving Cup hits as what seems to be the big, cathartic set closing rocker, for the second time in two shows. Its not really the closer, though, as a Rocky Top comes charging forward to add one more to the set, topping everything off. Solid first set, with highlights in Disease, Maze, and LxL. Set Two Notes: Drowned kicks off the second set, and it’s nice to see this classic called up the be the decisive Set Two opener on this legendary tour. The jam really gets going on its way to a first peak, starting to break free of the Drowned-structure, maintaining intensity, before settling down into low bump-space, slowly turning its way through clouds of murky, low key groove. Sirens start flying around, musical clouds opening as rays of melody and floating chords come through, vibing for a while until Roses Are Free smoothly emerges. The debut version, I have always found this to be one that could be easily mistaken for a Phish original. Soon, Roses segues into BBFCFM, an unexpected turn for sure. I love this Phishy weirdness, and this version’s extended pause gets big crowd approval. Soon, the song dissolves into swirling abduction music, an absolutely freeform towering musical pummeling blob rolling over the audience. Pounding Sabbath-style riffs begin to loom over the arena. A ceiling shattering guitar pitch-up occurs, leading the way for truly Transylvanian organ stylings. The jam then falls into a pit of goopy seemingly-whammied clav and guitar, floating on a droning, deteriorating, octave-down guitar note. All-time version. Ghost suddenly jumps out. Page becomes Mr. Clav-man, stepping up and taking control of his solo section in the beginning of the song. The jam soon lowers itself into a pit of low-groove cowfunk. Mike lays down popping octave punching, then settles back as the piano and guitar riffing start, Fish 2K totally locked-in. Synth searchlights strafe the crowd, and the jam soon builds momentum on the riffing. Fish is laying down the “one-and” disco eight-note beat, building up to a high-energy dance party, soon finding itself in a Trey-shred focused space, very slippery and wah’d-out. The DWD solo-theme gets reprised, though DWD is never truly finished in terms of the vocal refrain returning. The jam segues into Johnny B. Goode, serving as the big, rocking close to a fantastically dark, weird, and certainly Phishy second set. Waste puts a finishing touch on the show as a very low-key encore call, heartfelt at that… and that’s all, folks. Could’ve used one more on the encore. Other than that, I really enjoy this show. Hit those first set highlights, but don’t miss a moment in that second set. Or just hear the whole show. Can’t recommend this show enough. One more reason to listen to this entire tour, if you can swing it.
, attached to 1997-12-09

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Mike’s Song kicks things off, and you know that a Mike’s opener usually means a good show is in store. Mike himself gets that bass bumping right off the bat, before the groove starts to widen, with Trey floating triumphant lead lines over it. It builds to a peak before settling into a low-key wah-groove, and the clav gets cranking before Trey’s wah-spotlight moment hits, winding things down into Chalkdust Torture. Energy comes bursting through, a fast, tight, and knotty version, Type-I, crowd approved, with some rock and roll peaking action. My Soul is next. At this point, really? Overplayed. Stash shows up next, in a promising position to add some exploration to the set. As the jam progresses, Trey steers slithering lead lines through a cave of piano note droplets, bass bumps, and tribal-jazz drum pounding. Stash continues to wind, tangle, and build, before peaking and finding its way to its proper ending. But it is not finished, as dissolution into warm ambience occurs, the music flowing through the arena. Hydrogen emerges from the ambience, a fantastic transition, reminding the listener that we are, in fact, still in a Mike’s Groove here. Hydrogen is calm and serene, contrasting with Stash’s tension. Weekapaug hits next to close the Groove, and this is a rocking, full-sail version. “They’re fucking moving quick tonight!” a friend comments. Paug transforms into a very rhythmic groove on which Page lays his piano commentary, Mike playing lead under Trey’s wah-groove, before the true Paug jam re-emerges, really raging into a nice peak. Dogs Stole Things is up next, relaxing the energy for a bit, Page doing work on the organ. Beauty Of My Dreams fills the “bluegrass” spot nicely. Horn shows up next, once again, a great cold-weather, indoor tune, with the beautiful composed middle section erasing any late-fall blues. Loving Cup finishes off a good Set 1 with a big cathartic rocker. Set Two Notes: Julius, the high energy big-band tune, kicks things off to get the place moving again. A solid Type-I version, it just keeps building and building on its way to a peak, Fish (?) crying out in approval. Once Simple hits, you know that it is time to settle in for The Show, who knows where we will go? The traditional Type-I “floating jam” is especially energetic, reflecting the energy of the show thus far, but it soon evaporates into a low-key, blissful progression, pushing forward into space towards a new solar system. Mike starts bumping a new riff as the new star system is finally reached, orbited in total calm. The jam then dissolves into nearly freeform playing, Fish tapping the highest toms. After some time spent on the freeform planet, a new sunrise appears in the form of Trey’s distorted, effected guitar chords, presenting new energy, heat, and light. The jam really gets galloping, Mike getting active, the baby grand coming alive, Trey shredding over a locked-in Fish, before the jam descends into a low cave groove. Trey is laying down menacing riffing, Page mastering the Rhodes-space, laying out stereo-swirl chords. The groove picks up as Trey gets plucky with chord hits, Page moving to the wah-clav. Trey soon deploys the wah as well, Mike absolutely bumping along, Fish riding the ride cymbal like a clock. Synth beams and sirens soon emerge until the jam melts into what seems to be a beautiful close. Alien abduction beams persist along with sirens, modulating their frequency, a truly weird ambiance, slightly menacing at that. Fish’s hi-hat emerges, sounding a bit like the Bowie intro. Deep space noises continue, Trey using the whammy pedal to accelerate the stage upwards through the roof, glitching and swirling, before Trey dive bombs some notes into the basement as Mike drops his own bombs. Soon, the Bowie-style beat expands to reveal itself as the Timber beat. Timber-proper emerges, its jam winding the tension up and down as it builds, a solid, contained version, in a great position after that monster Simple. Contact serves as a funky, weird little interlude, a great return to foundational Phish silliness after space-cruising for the last 40 minutes. Axilla has a sloppy intro, where nobody is really sure how many hits there should be, but who cares, it provides high energy to continue the set with. Hood comes next to close the set, but it doesn’t proceed without a Phishy return into Axilla during its intro. The Mr. Miner section rages, and the jam is very calming, bouncing its way towards a gently rising peak, the hose slowly but surely turned on, the dam bursting as everyone feels good about Hood. Fire, in the encore slot, burns the place down as Rockstar Guitarman gets one last chance to conjure his Hendrixian spells. I think State College is a great show in an all-time tour, with a must-hear jam in the form of Simple. If you asked my friend, though, he would call it “the sleeper show of the tour.” You might as well hear it and decide for yourself.
, attached to 1997-12-09

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Mike’s Song kicks things off, and you know that a Mike’s opener usually means a good show is in store. Mike himself gets that bass bumping right off the bat, before the groove starts to widen, with Trey floating triumphant lead lines over it. It builds to a peak before settling into a low-key wah-groove, and the clav gets cranking before Trey’s wah-spotlight moment hits, winding things down into Chalkdust Torture. Energy comes bursting through, a fast, tight, and knotty version, Type-I, crowd approved, with some rock and roll peaking action. My Soul is next. At this point, really? Overplayed. Stash shows up next, in a promising position to add some exploration to the set. As the jam progresses, Trey steers slithering lead lines through a cave of piano note droplets, bass bumps, and tribal-jazz drum pounding. Stash continues to wind, tangle, and build, before peaking and finding its way to its proper ending. But it is not finished, as dissolution into warm ambience occurs, the music flowing through the arena. Hydrogen emerges from the ambience, a fantastic transition, reminding the listener that we are, in fact, still in a Mike’s Groove here. Hydrogen is calm and serene, contrasting with Stash’s tension. Weekapaug hits next to close the Groove, and this is a rocking, full-sail version. “They’re fucking moving quick tonight!” a friend comments. Paug transforms into a very rhythmic groove on which Page lays his piano commentary, Mike playing lead under Trey’s wah-groove, before the true Paug jam re-emerges, really raging into a nice peak. Dogs Stole Things is up next, relaxing the energy for a bit, Page doing work on the organ. Beauty Of My Dreams fills the “bluegrass” spot nicely. Horn shows up next, once again, a great cold-weather, indoor tune, with the beautiful composed middle section erasing any late-fall blues. Loving Cup finishes off a good Set 1 with a big cathartic rocker. Set Two Notes: Julius, the high energy big-band tune, kicks things off to get the place moving again. A solid Type-I version, it just keeps building and building on its way to a peak, Fish (?) crying out in approval. Once Simple hits, you know that it is time to settle in for The Show, who knows where we will go? The traditional Type-I “floating jam” is especially energetic, reflecting the energy of the show thus far, but it soon evaporates into a low-key, blissful progression, pushing forward into space towards a new solar system. Mike starts bumping a new riff as the new star system is finally reached, orbited in total calm. The jam then dissolves into nearly freeform playing, Fish tapping the highest toms. After some time spent on the freeform planet, a new sunrise appears in the form of Trey’s distorted, effected guitar chords, presenting new energy, heat, and light. The jam really gets galloping, Mike getting active, the baby grand coming alive, Trey shredding over a locked-in Fish, before the jam descends into a low cave groove. Trey is laying down menacing riffing, Page mastering the Rhodes-space, laying out stereo-swirl chords. The groove picks up as Trey gets plucky with chord hits, Page moving to the wah-clav. Trey soon deploys the wah as well, Mike absolutely bumping along, Fish riding the ride cymbal like a clock. Synth beams and sirens soon emerge until the jam melts into what seems to be a beautiful close. Alien abduction beams persist along with sirens, modulating their frequency, a truly weird ambiance, slightly menacing at that. Fish’s hi-hat emerges, sounding a bit like the Bowie intro. Deep space noises continue, Trey using the whammy pedal to accelerate the stage upwards through the roof, glitching and swirling, before Trey dive bombs some notes into the basement as Mike drops his own bombs. Soon, the Bowie-style beat expands to reveal itself as the Timber beat. Timber-proper emerges, its jam winding the tension up and down as it builds, a solid, contained version, in a great position after that monster Simple. Contact serves as a funky, weird little interlude, a great return to foundational Phish silliness after space-cruising for the last 40 minutes. Axilla has a sloppy intro, where nobody is really sure how many hits there should be, but who cares, it provides high energy to continue the set with. Hood comes next to close the set, but it doesn’t proceed without a Phishy return into Axilla during its intro. The Mr. Miner section rages, and the jam is very calming, bouncing its way towards a gently rising peak, the hose slowly but surely turned on, the dam bursting as everyone feels good about Hood. Fire, in the encore slot, burns the place down as Rockstar Guitarman gets one last chance to conjure his Hendrixian spells. I think State College is a great show in an all-time tour, with a must-hear jam in the form of Simple. If you asked my friend, though, he would call it “the sleeper show of the tour.” You might as well hear it and decide for yourself.
, attached to 1994-05-17

Review by SplitOpenAndMule

SplitOpenAndMule While I agree with the first reviewer in that this show isn't that special compared to the rest of this month, I'd also like to provide a counterpoint. Mound, If I Could, and Lifeboy are all played with extra feeling and focus, especially the ending of all 3 songs. Lifeboy uniquely alternates volume in the outro jam. The birthday tease in Maze and cake and crowd song in Coil all feel great. Also in Coil, listen for Fishman to tease Peaches En Regalia before the final chorus. Tweezer has an impressive tempo shift towards its end as well. My point is that even on what may be an "off night" compared to other "on nights" around this show, Phish was playing so well in May '94 that even a show with very few highlights can still take you on a delightful journey of the senses. The current rating of 3.82 feels right to me, but even still, I had a great time listening to this one.
, attached to 1993-03-08

Review by dreamed_a_dream

dreamed_a_dream shapiro with the heady “no aud exists” kickdown. brand new lp release. sounds amazing. oh kee pah > llama = sick. they should do that again. solid forbins mockingbird. the bowie has some extra hot sauce. my friend/ kung mashup is just classic. tight yem. ripping cdt encore. plenty of goodness here to keep you coming back.
, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by DownWithSteam

DownWithSteam This was just my 2nd show, I didn't know the opener was but ended up liking it midway through. Meat was an awesome first set treat, and I honestly think this first set is pretty solid the whole way through. The 2nd set is a little underwhelming I will admit. After swept -> steep the crowd needed something big and although hurrah really wasnt bad, it wasn't enough in that slot. Fuego is a personal favorite but again,. couldnt ressurect this set to greatness. The closest attempt comes with the gin -> possum to close, which kept you salivating for tomorrow night. I remember the encores being underwhelming as well. Average show but better than any show in town and still one hell of a good time.
, attached to 2020-02-23

Review by TwiceBitten

TwiceBitten The last show of 3.0 was nowhere near as tragic as the last show of 2.0 or as uncertain as the last show of 1.0. In fact, at the time, none of the attendees or performers knew that the Covid-19 virus would all but put an end to their touring operation for a year and usher in the 4.0 era. Superb Golden Age.
, attached to 2018-08-03

Review by DownWithSteam

DownWithSteam Watched tonight for Dinner and a Movie. This show starts hot in the first set and doesn't stop. Ghost a suprising early jam and it shows how locked in the band is. Above average first set for sure. Then in the 2nd half, we get a great tweezer to start us off into a blaze on with another great jam. Caspian kills the set in a way, as it wasn't a great version, but boy do things kick right back into gear with the carini, which has an unbelievable jam that gets out there. Highlight of the night. Every version of Hood is solid but you can chock this one up as above average. And I like More and think its a great encore. Solid version, very solid show. 1st set way above average and 2nd set just above average. Great jams in Ghost, Carini
, attached to 1997-12-07

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: AC/DC Bag opens, and let’s get this show on the road. Great call as an opener, as the jam develops, Trey decides to hang on one chord, and Mike follows, leading a buttery segue into Psycho Killer, the first since ’93. Who would’ve predicted this one? It quickly moves into that classic Fall ’97 soaring groove-space, and, in time, Mike starts to digitally jumble his bass, and the whole band moves to hover above that strange energy before another buttery segue into JJLC. Page takes it for a ride on the baby grand, Trey patiently builds his solo, its Phish playing the blues, take it as you will. MMGAMOIO is a nice little “bluegrass” tune, always feels more on the rare side, catchy tune. It’s Ice emerges, the first of Fall Tour. It’s one of my favorite Phish tunes, so I always want it to pop up, and this time, Page’s Jam melts into a gentle musical rippling, leading into Swept Away, the crowd loving what they hear happening. Steep arrives, the slightly foreboding partner in the duo, “an amazing composition” a friend comments, the imagery of the lyrics floating by. Soon, Trey strikes a particular chord, and we are right back into It’s Ice to finish it off, a very cool Ice sandwich. Theme From The Bottom brings the anthemic catharsis to the set, arriving as the jam grows wings and glides upwards, hovering over the top of the mountain before dropping into the ending. “Tube?” “Make it funky!” A classic moment, dropping into this Tube, the first of tour. It’s time to get sucked into the funk tube, then. Page’s clav and organ carry the slap/pop cowfunk, a swirling disco ball groove-space. Trey vocally approves of the jam before he is caught in the wah-spotlight, soon calling for the blues-shuffle ending, wrapping up the tune. “Start that jam again?” Tube Jam restarts, this time quickly going the direction of cow-abduction-funk spaceyness, sirens rolling, Page swirling synth tractor beams, Mike bumping octaves, Fish 2K keeping rhythm like a dancey atomic clock. Mike’s bass starts to get tubular, man, the music spreads out and becomes a cloud-top dance party soundtrack. Slave comes in out of the dreamy Jam outro, great energy and power to close a strong set. Page gives swirling stereo-therapy as the jam builds on top of melodic Mike, Trey shreds slippery plasma guitar lines up to the peak. A great first set wraps up, a strong contender for the top first set of tour. Set Two Notes: Timber kicks things off, always a promising sign, as you know that it’s set up to jam. This one immediately goes for murky, chilly waters. At times, the Jerry-beat totally dissolves, only to reemerge having gained momentum, before it melts into nothingness, just for Timber-proper to reemerge to get finished off. Wolfman’s gets it funky, starting the second set dance party off after that light/dark, tense/loose Timber. The Wolfman’s jam heads straight into a funk session, with full 3D slap/pop action. Soon, the jam shifts into up-tempo cowfunk, Fish playing with the beat at times. Fish and Mike start to push forward into something new, Trey and Page hop on, and Mike drops the Boogie On bassline. A huge bust out, Boogie On heads straight into its own simple funk session. Fish is totally locked-in, the baby grand pounding away on the opposite side of the stage to foundation-shaking Mike and plucky Trey. It’s an indica-groove if I ever heard one, and it has really set in by the time Page starts wah-ing the clav over the crowd. Reba comes out of nowhere, certainly welcome, though. Reba just hits different in the second set, not necessarily better or worse. The knotty composed section is traversed pretty cleanly, and the opening of the Reba-Jam Space feels great, peaceful and enveloping. Trey drops melody lines to bounce on top on the lilting groove. I am reminded that nature and the universe tend towards balance and equilibrium in the long run, no matter what may be occurring in the short run. This Reba soars beautifully, a truly great version, with a clean ending, with no whistling. Guyute is called by Trey across the stage, an interesting call in an interesting second set that has felt a little different that most second sets in this tour. The ugly pig brings the weirdness and energy, though, staying pretty tight through its tangled center, bursting through to the end in full glory. Possum has lots’a messing around to start before Possum-proper bursts through, making most of a long, slow build to a big, raging peak. A Day In The Life in the encore slot is unexpected, a nutty meltdown to a nutty show. Mayhem builds and swirls, finally crashing to send the crowd into the Ohio night. I’ve heard some discuss this as the best show of tour. All I know is that it is certainly a five-star show in a five-star tour.
, attached to 1997-07-02

Review by Xpanding_Man

Xpanding_Man What Waxbanks said....read his review :) 1st set is par for the course for 1997 (i.e. it's extraordinary), but the 2nd set achieves a lift-off rarely seen in the states simply due to crowd noise. The intimate setting allows Stash to go VERY deep into various jams, including a hint of mind-left-body-like jamming, and into Mike-led ambiance bliss. And then the Llama, which is itself a "blues with a twist", gets even more twisted than most. Menacing describes it perfectly. And the Wading...sometimes that song in the right place can be transcendental, and this is one. It's a set closer, it's that good. The encores are like the dosed icing on a cake. Insane night; wish I was there.
, attached to 1997-12-06

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Golgi kicks things off, taking a roll call of the ticket holders in the arena. Antelope hits next in an interesting set position. Where the jam would usually begin to build, Trey leads the band off into the deep end. The sirens get going, the beat dropped down low, wah-chucking in full effect. The jam starts making upshifts, gaining momentum into a more traditional Antelope-style build, heading for a melty peak, crashing into digital mayhem, with a clean drop into the Marco-section. Train Song remains the perfect interlude after a jammed out rager segment, such a calm and collected space. Gin starts with some nutty, hammering Page, the jam orbiting the Gin theme for a while, before it starts to gain in elevation, eventually soaring its way to a peak, before settling into a mellow return to the Gin-jam, emerging into a little bit of funkiness with a not-quite-Manteca flavor. This is a great placement for Foam, mid-first set, a slot in which I love to see an instrumentally complicated Type-I jam, like a Taste, Reba, Divided Sky, or, of course, Foam. This Foam has a strong peak and clean execution. Sample In A Jar keeps that energy up. I will always take a Fee, just thinking about how amazing it is that a song like this is getting played at the big Saturday night arena rock show. Clean execution. Maze gets lots of squiggly guitar/siren weirdness during its foreboding intro. Pages’s organ solo is haunted by growls that accelerate into guitar chords, before Trey’s solo builds into a swirling storm. A well-played version, for sure. Cavern serves as a strong closer to an all-around solid first set. Set Two Notes: Tweezer starts with a lot of messing around, Phishy for sure, “Tweezer or Possum?” a friend jokingly asks in regards to the big build-up before the Tweezer drops. The jam embarks as low-slung cowfunk, Trey yelling in approval at the sparsity of the jam, Mike laying down spot-on slap/pop to wah-chunked clav-crunch over disco ball Fish beats. This jam really pushes into top-quality, textbook Fall ’97 funkiness, sirens rolling, totally fulfilling the promise of shows built “for your dancing pleasure” made a few weeks ago in the Rockies. Gears start shifting into double time before the wah-spotlight hits Trey, the jam then beginning to ascend into galaxy-cruising music. Trey’s guitar is a comet flying through nebulous clouds, Mike and Page setting up floating chord pads on Fish’s cymbal dancing. The jam evolves into swirling three-dimensional waves of music, spiraling on the Axis, dead serious, not quite a groove, crashing over itself by design, Fish 2K manipulating the beat at will, never losing the rhythm. Trey is dripping molten guitar lines out of a coiled ball of plasma, before making the push into Izabella. The song itself is a short orbit of the gypsy sun and its rainbows, delving straight back into the cowfunk. Trey is enthused for sure, Page doing work on the organ, with a great Fish + Trey dropout, Trey gleefully re-entering the jam. This is pure, 100% organic Vermont dance music. Page transforms into Mr. Clav, wah-Trey gets the lights, then Mike and Fish get the floor as a single, locked-in unit. Page lays down some malfunctioning-alien-disco-melody-simulator music, segueing into Twist. I like the old intro, and I wish that the arrangement stayed interchangeable, using whichever lead-in works best for a smooth segue. This is a contained version, with a quiet, gentle outro into Piper. This is a classic slow-build Red Worm, but it begins to dissolve into Trey shredding, pushing outward into a jam. Soon, the jam falls into a swirling cloud, before igniting and exploding upwards into peaky shreddyness, then imploding into ankle-deep wave-space. Sleeping Monkey is a very Phishy call, after the trip of the last four songs. This is the landing pad, but the set is not over, with Tweezerprise called up to close Set Two and the Tweezer loop. This version definitely rages, very loose Trey. This band conjured a new musical world and explored it during this second set. Rocky Top is the high energy, short and sweet closer, Trey being very encouraging towards Leo’s Playing It, the band really had a good time, goodnight. All-time Set Two, all-time show, all-time tour. Hear it if you like Phish.
, attached to 1994-06-09

Review by life_boy

life_boy Judging by the fact that I am, so far, the only one to review this who wasn’t physically at the show (and only the 41st rating for the show overall), no one cares much about 6/9/94 Salt Lake City. But as Phish was prone to do in the mid-90s, they were just plugging along playing great shows, creating new fans, giving great experiences to those who showed up wherever they played, even a small venue like this (according to Pharmer’s, it held 3,000 but only 2,304 were in attendance). Even Pharmer’s doesn’t have any fan recollections on this one. I love the seemingly inconsequential shows because it shows just how consistent Phish was as a musical unit at this point. The playing at this show is great. “Llama” and “Guelah” are awesome, as always. “Down with Disease” is not super extended and jammed out, but as I was listening I could easily picture this version living on [i]A Live One[/i] as an illustration of what it was like live. It’s a fantastic, high-energy song that is amazing even in a short form like this (as opposed to the massive Type II vehicle it has become). “It’s Ice,” likewise is brilliant, with an interesting jam emerging in the middle of it. One of my favorite versions of that tune. The other highlight is a very intense “Mike’s Song” that weaves into the conventional but wonderful “Mike’s Groove” suite of “Hydrogen” and “Weekapaug”. “Golgi” closes out the second set, where Trey really plays with the dynamics, taking the jam all the way to absolute quiet before blasting it out. Like I said, the whole show is well-played and a lot of fun. It doesn’t have any breakout moments but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a dud. If you want to soak up the Summer ’94 vibes, this is a great lead-in to the more heralded Red Rocks shows.
, attached to 1994-10-21

Review by life_boy

life_boy Weird story. This show was the first set of Phish tapes I ever got and I sought it out very intentionally. It had no sentimental value to me and no one had recommended it to me. Most normal people would seek out a Halloween or NYE show, maybe Clifford Ball or Lemonwheel or something. But when I first learned of Phish tapes from a friend-of-a-friend, I didn’t have any guidance to just “get a great show” and figure it out from there. I sought out this obscure and unacclaimed show from 1994 because it had the perfect setlist according to my very specific parameters. [b]What on earth…why 10/21/94??[/b] I had just gotten back from my first show (9/29/99 Memphis) and learned about the whole tape trading scene shortly thereafter. I spent hours combing through websites where traders posted their collections and sought out a couple of online traders who said they were willing to do B+P (blanks + postage). I took their list of shows and compared it with the setlists, looking specifically for the “perfect” setlist that combined some songs I loved from the 9/29/99 show (“Down with Disease,” “Mike’s Song,” “2001,” and “Stash”) with some songs I had never heard before (“Old Home Place,” “The Lizards,” “I am Hydrogen,” “Sleeping Monkey,” “The Curtain,” “Foreplay/Long Time”). By that logic (and based on whatever the trader I found had in his collection), I settled on 10/21/94 Sunrise, FL. I copied those tapes a lot, as I recall, I guess because few other people had the show in their collection. That was part of the weird beauty of tape trading. Sometimes you just wanted to hear a certain song and so you went to the trouble of tracking down the tapes. Sometimes you based your choice on acclaim, sometimes the setlist, sometimes a guy’s recommendation. I’ve come to kinda of love that this was my first show on tape. It’s odd and idiosyncratic and totally part of that whole tape trading era, long gone now that everything is easily available digitally. The show itself is fine. I just listened again today and had a great time. Though there’s nothing to write home about, there’s nothing really off about it either. It’s a fine show, front-to-back. “Run Like an Antelope” has an insane build that just goes nuts at one point, and that’s probably the best single moment in the show. The “Mike’s Groove” is a well-contained suite of music that introduced me to “I Am Hydrogen,” which I immediately loved. A nice “Slave” closes out set II. The playing is fine throughout, the setlist is well-constructed. But it will always have that little edge to it for me because of the tapes. And its weird little connections like that that make me love Phish and their music all the more.
, attached to 1997-11-17

Review by life_boy

life_boy Things 11/17/97 taught me about Phish: ==“Short” Setlists== Early in my tape trading days (1999) when I discovered that the funkiness I loved about [i]Slip Stitch and Pass[/i] was actually baked into the band’s live shows throughout 1997 and 1998, I came across this tape for McNichols 11/17/97. I really didn’t know what to make of the setlist. It looked so strange and short. The tape for set I was something like: “Side 1: Tweezer, Reba, Train Song” // “Side 2: Ghost > Fire.” What? 5 songs? And then I listened. So I learned that a seemingly shorter setlist isn’t a bad thing. ==Tweezer== This is one of those shows I have returned to so often over the years it feels second nature. In the same way that [i]A Live One[/i] set my “standard version” idea for each song on that release, 11/17/97 ended up establishing that for the funk era jams for “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” and “YEM.” “Tweezer” sets the tone for the momentum groove jam built around a clearly sustained beat, a clear departure from some of the multi-rhythmic epic “Tweezers” like 5/7/94. It is such a contrast that when I first heard it I didn’t realize how much I fundamentally liked the song—I had always been scared of some of the odder, less accessible moments of the Bangor “Tweezer” on [i]ALO[/i]. So, 11/17/97 opened up a whole world for me in that regard. I began to seek out and ingest “Tweezers” like crazy. ==Slow songs== Another thing I learned was the power of the short, slower “cool down” song in a set. After “Tweezer” and “Reba,” set I gives us “Train Song,” one of Mike’s tunes that was always lovely on [i]Billy Breathes[/i] but finding a wonderful spot here in the first set. I learned to love these moments, not just rushing on to get to the jams, but to appreciate how a set comes together, how on this night in 1997, “Train Song” is the perfect bridge between “Reba” and a galaxy-altering “Ghost.” But it’s not just a “breather”—it can be a chance to just calm down and listen. Phish is more than jams and the thing that got us into them probably wasn’t simply an epic jam but some tonality, melodic hook, guitar riff, chorus, or some other piece of a song they never “took for a walk.” I needed those reminders in my younger, hungry days as a tape collector. Actually sit back and take it in. Remember why I liked the music to begin with. The songs are great and add dynamics to the set. ==Ghost== The “Ghost” is definitely an all-timer. It is still one of my favorite Phish jams of all-time, top 10, maybe top 5. I’m not 100% sure but I think this was the first “Ghost” I ever heard live. Before that, I liked the song on the album okay but it didn’t mean a whole lot to me. But after this, I realized the song gave the band a canvas to paint all kinds of things upon. It made me listen to [i]The Story of the Ghost[/i] album in a different way going forward too. Funny how a great live performance can do that for you. ==The Setlist Doesn’t Say It All== I remember being highly skeptical about the second set. “Johnny B. Goode” is okay as an encore but it’s never a song you just seek out. But here, Phish engaged in a one-time-only insane rock jam coming out of the song, proving that there was always the potential for more than what it looked like on the j-card. Never underestimate Phish’s ability to surprise you. ==Conclusion== Of course the show is a classic. Deservedly so. It has a 4.615 rating on 839 ratings as of this writing. It continues to resonate with fans and the availability from [i]LivePhish[/i]’s official release helps. It was an instant purchase for me when it came out on CD in April 2002 and I got to live it all over again.
, attached to 1994-05-07

Review by life_boy

life_boy This is, of course, one of those legendary tapes. It never worked out for me to get my own tapes of the show when I got into tape collecting in 1999 and by the time the official LP release came out I wasn’t really into Phish at the moment. So it took years for me to come back around to listen to this historic show. There are many jokes out there about how people forgot there even was a first set for this show but I think there’s a lot to like about Set I. The “Horn > Divided Sky” in particular stands out to me. I just love the pairing of those songs. “Split” is great, of course. It’s a solid set of music and it is a wonderful context for just how UNEXPECTED the second set would be. Because this show arrives to me by way of acclaim, it was shocking to learn that a 70 minute block of interwoven, set-dominating “Tweezer” was actually the third song in the set and not the opener. I admit that on my first couple of listens years ago, I didn’t really get it. This wasn’t “the definitive Tweezer” I had imagined in my head. It had its moments but seemed to get lost at times too. It was all over the place. But a couple of nights ago (5/7/2020) I decided to give an anniversary listen and see if I could finally “get it.” I think I did. The thing is, there are just so many ideas swirling around in that second set. It is an experiment so not everything works to craft a perfectly composed singular version of “Tweezer.” But even when it feels clunky for a bit the boys find their footing and build in an interesting direction from there. It is all about how the song morphs from moment to moment, the micro-decisions the band is making as the music progresses. They would have these moments in some of these 90s “Tweezers” that I only know how to describe as “the train breaking down.” That song deconstruction moment was heavily part of the Bangor “Tweezer” on [i]A Live One[/i], or at least it lives heavy in my memory of that version. Here that moment is part of the shift into the next phase of the song about 10 min in, perhaps the moment when it truly becomes Type II. One reviewer described this set/“Tweezer” as a musical adventure and when you can set yourself there, listening in the moment rather than trying to hear “the definitive Tweezer” or something, this show really comes alive. The interplay between the band members as they jump from idea to idea, as “Tweezer” morphs from Phish song to heavy metal oddity to blues jam to all kinds of other things before finding its way into “Sparks” and then “Makisupa” and “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk Away.” It’s not an easy one to just grab without that commitment to actively listen—this is definitely not my background-while-I-work “Tweezer.” But I understand why it was such a historic moment for the band and why they wanted to honor part of that “playing without a net” legacy with the Bangor “Tweezer” immortalized on [i]A Live One[/i]. It's not my favorite show of 1994 but I like it and can definitely understand its place in the legacy of that era and the formation of the band.
, attached to 1994-10-29

Review by life_boy

life_boy I missed this show in my tape trading days (1999-2001), never read anything about it, never even noticed that it was mentioned as an underrated 1994 show to seek out in my Pharmer’s Almanac (Vol 6). Even now I just listened to it because I wanted a show leading up to Halloween ’94, not because I had read anything that mentioned it. This show is phenomenal, front to back. There really is no weak part. It starts off hot with a wicked “My Friend” that gets countered by a bubbly “Sparkle” which moves into a blistering “Simple” that overwhelms with its everything-is-loud aesthetic. It’s not a major jam but it gives a lot of color and I might have liked the song more initially as a young fan if this were the version on [i]A Live One[/i]. “Runaway Jim” is a breathtaking excursion into building tension. “Foam” works as a false cooldown song, where the middle jam descends into a quiet section that and slowly builds up from there into an intense ending. “Lawn Boy” cools down legitimately before “Split” opens things up again. “Split -> Buffalo Bill -> Makisupa Policeman -> Rift” is another incredible section unto itself. These latter segues are somehow even smoother than the great ones earlier in the set! I am in love with this show. The song choices here are fascinating in themselves and the playing is focused and on point. It’s hard to listen to just a single song without listening through the rest of the set. It flows that well. There’s greatness in the second set as well: I love the “Sparks,” “Uncle Pen,” “YEM” and the weirdly perfect mashup of “Run Like a (Sleeping) Antelope.” Then there’s a gorgeous “Hood” to close out the night. I definitely need to dig into some more Fall '94.
, attached to 1997-12-05

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Ghost gets the funk flowing right off the bat. Sirens get fired up, the band crawling into the groove. Mike is dropping liquid bass hits, Fish getting assertive with the beats, Page hovering the synths over the crowd. The jam develops into fantastic, sparse, danceable groove. Trey starts getting assertive with his guitar work as Page fires up the baby grand. Fish starts playing with the groove, which eventually stretches and rises, getting airy, a great start to the show, a return to the opener jam piece trend. Wilson is straightforward, keeping the energy high. Funky Bitch completes the 1-2 punch after Wilson, keeping the Friday night crowd moving. Fish is prominent, Trey’s solo has some sauce on it. BEK hits, and it feels like it’s been a minute, though they just played it in Woostah. This version is competing to be my favorite alongside Winston-Salem, as it gets into this patient, wide, bottom of the canyon, towering yet subdued groove, pushing towards a soaring peak, thunderous rhythm pouring over the waterfall, with a clean return to the Katy coda. Sparkle gets fired up. What a creepy, kinda messed up song, truly horrendous descriptions, the manic-upbeat-grass musical pairing feels like dark sarcasm, “It’s just a joke, relax…” The reappearance of Jim after totally running away, never to come back in Woostah is welcome. This is a truly uplifting version, high elevation clarity and transcendence. The jam soon transforms into a ray of light parting the clouds, total Zen space, before Trey begins to lay bluesy licks on top of it. The jam becomes very Hydrogen-like, then Taste-intro-like, before rolling over the top into a molten peak, into MFMF. MFMF keeps the late-set energy up after that soaring Jim, with the craziness of its ending always welcome. Ginseng Sullivan remains my favorite “bluegrass” tune, but at this point, the bluegrass spot could use a little more diversity. LxL is a high reaching, triumphant peaking version, before Zero hits, a Hendrixian evocation, ground-pounding Mike near the peak, closing the set on a strong note. Set Two Notes: Stash gives a subdued start to Set 2, always holding promise. The jam gets of to an extremely quiet start, soon building and getting knotted, bursting open, before getting tangled again, it hits another peak, returns to Stash-proper, a relatively contained version. Bouncing is an interesting call, maybe some kinda weekend-crowd-vibe read or something. Julius appears to be another straightforward call, working its way into a solid rocking Trey solo jam as it usually does. Soon, though, they take it down-low, and I think, “Are they gonna jam Julius?” It sure sounds like that’s the case. It jumps back into the Julius jam, Page extending things with his organ solo, Rockstar Guitarman pulling it back into Julius, Fish yelling out in approval at the arrival of a thematic build-up into a shredding peak. The jam settles back down into a jazzy Julius vocal refrain. The groove gets jazzy-funky, low-slung, Fish 2K in full rhythm-machine mode down in this pit. The organ sends waves washing over liquid bass, Fishman giving more approval, the jam moving to clav and guitar raindrops onto rippling seas of rhythm. This is certainly the best and most jammed version of Julius I am aware of. Slave is always great in its role as an “arrival” song, this one being of the classic patient, slow-build Fall ’97 vintage. I start to drift out into the realms of abstract thoughts in the music’s warm embrace. Suddenly, I realize that Slave has totally gone Type-II, wow, this is awesome. Soaring Hendrixian playing by Trey surfing waves of sound on low pounding foundations, a beautiful outro into The Lizards. Lizards is its warm, friendly, storytelling self, a great vibe here in the late second set, the first time it had been played that fall. Loving Cup is a nice way to end the rock-focused Friday night set two, a solid Trey-lead outro jam, really raging. So, when Chalkdust starts up, it’s a definite shock to be getting one more. This is a rocket ship version, twisting and soaring upward, bursting through the atmosphere. Fish 2K is on fire, the Trey Wail in full effect to end the set. Bold as Love is a big cathartic ending as the hardest working band in rock and roll’s Friday night Cleveland Experience comes to an end. I found this show, and especially its second set to be extremely engaging, well-within that upper 20% of Phish shows all of Fall ’97 sits in, even if it doesn’t quite hit the peaks of some of its cohort. Ghost, Jim, Julius, Slave, if you hear anything, hear those four. But listen to the whole show, as you listen to the whole tour. Best way to hear it.
, attached to 1997-12-03

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes: Punch provides a nice spacey groove to get the show going, Fish in the Flyers jersey, pounding away, Trey spinning yarns of kidnapping at the hands of Wilson, the crowd energy in the old Spectrum very high. My Soul hits next, yes, another My Soul in ’97. Fine song and version, just overplayed. I’ll leave it there. Drowned hitting is a turn in a really strong direction, the first version since the Flynn Theatre show that spring. Trey starts a ripping solo right out of the gate, the band continuing to build until they emerge into a true improvised jam space, Trey riffing the band into a clav-crunch-infused jam with pounding Mike and sirens. The band gets locked-in to a wide-open, punchy groove, Trey and Page bouncing all over on top of it, before wrapping up a seriously cool first set jam. Old Home Place does its job in keeping the energy up, with Trey getting in a nice short solo. Gumbo is a call to return to the funk, and drops into a low-slung groove, Fish hammering the snare, Mike ground-pounding, the jam slowly lowering itself into open space, deep and increasingly radiant, starting to sparkle and glimmer as 2001 arises. I could take a 2001 at nearly every show. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Fish 2K is smashing bones with every snare hit, before the first “chorus” absolutely blasts off. Superbad Trey emerges as they drop back into the groove, while alien signals project from the Chairman’s synths into the Spectrum. CK5 is bringing the scanning tractor beams over the crowd, sometimes catching the UFO itself hovering over the stage. The drop into YEM feels perfect, really, what other intro do you want to hear starting up at that moment? Clean execution throughout the composed section, always a happy, familiar journey, a song that you can feel cover distance. Trey goes straight to the wah, Mike to the slapping and popping as the lyrics hit, and after the trampolines, the jam embarks as a solid Trey buildup, a peaking solo, before giving way to Mike laying down waves of bass to Fish’s steady cymbal tapping. The vocal jam is relatively musical, with the band members settling into vocal roles and continuing the jam, closing the set. Set Two Notes: The Bowie beat starts up, with Page laying down an alien-infused teasefest in the intro. Noises from a digital jungle arise, Mike laying down ankle-level buzz saw bass, before Bowie-proper bursts forward. The jam begins low-key and wide open to possibility, starting a measured build, tension continuing to brew. Soon, the jam mellows into rolling waves of chording and open beats, before pushing upwards and coalescing as a raging Bowie jam, only to fall back out of the jam, with Possum then emerging from the unfinished Bowie. These ’97 Possums absolutely rage, this one totally exploding as its peak hits. Immediately, the Funk Jam gets started up by Trey, who is obviously in the mood for some cowfunk, cutting to the chase. Trey is head bobbing and hunching like a funk-hermit as he is caught in the wah-spotlight, soon leading Mike into a synchronized dance as the bass pounds. More stop-start, Page wah-chucking the clav, Fish 2K laying down straight disco-ball dance beats, a rhythm machine, through and through. We get more totally locked-in stop-start and synchro-dancing action, Page caught in the clav-spotlight, Mike ringing the fight bell in approval. Trey starts strutting with his guitar lines, pushing forward into upbeat territory, getting the sirens going. Mike starts levitating his bass lines over the pulsing groove before a sudden telepathically-conjured full-band stop hits. Right on cue, the band launches back into the groove, Page conducting a full audience abduction procedure with his synths as the groove starts to slow and crawl, winding down into Caspian. This is a grounding song, very Earthly, a contrast with what was just witnessed. Chord waves wash over the crowd, Trey laying into a satisfyingly sharp and somewhat slushy wah-affected solo. Mike is pounding and bumping real low-like, Fish hammering the cymbals and snare, baby grand coming alive on the opposite side of the stage. Trey is hyped, jumping around before hitting the big rock ending that I really like and wish that they kept. Frankenstein serves as a great late-set proggy rager, musically locked-in and tight, sending the Spectrum into a round of Kuroda-assisted crazy pulsating before giving way to Hood. Hood focuses the energy down and forward towards a strong finish, CK5’s beautiful greens and blues illuminating the space. Mike hurls lumps of plasma-bass out into the crowd as they thank Mr. Miner, before the jam builds into soaring ecstasy. Twisting and winding up, the jam finally peaks, and as Hood wraps up, Trey walks over to Mike and gives him a message, presumably to keep his bass on as they leave the stage, as Trey and Mike both take their instruments with them as they walk off. I speculate that they wanted to give the upcoming encore a bit of practice or review, as it hadn’t been played since that summer at Alpine. Crossroads, as the encore turns out to be, gets to raging very quickly, a really solid version, even considering that it was likely a spur of the moment call. Another great show to wrap up a truly all-time two-night stand in Philly, deserving as much acclaim as probably any other two nights along the Fall tour that year. I really mean that. I will boost Philly ’97 until we get the box set with the 12/11/99 tie-in.
, attached to 2017-01-15

Review by JMart

JMart Funny that a selection for Phish’s “Dinner and a Movie” should only warrant four reviews on the .net website. The first set features four fantastic jams out of boogie on, Tweezer, simple, and fluff. Trey unfortunately falls apart on the back end of Tweezer. Second set disease>no men’s is standard peninsula fare, with a forced > into sneakin sally, which Page still manages to dominate. It’s not that this show is “bad” by any stretch of the definition, but one wonders in retrospect why it was given the “Dinner and a Movie” treatment over literally scores of other more deserving 3.0 shows.
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