, attached to 1996-12-29

Review by MDosque

MDosque What can I say? This was my first show. I was 15 and cruised down 95 from Central Bucks County with six friends, one of which included the daughter of "Johnny Z". He is the music biz guy that started Metallica (you can see him interviewed in the very beginning of the Behind the Music). Anyway, he is old school Haight guy morphed into a metal head in the 80's and again morphed into the fella that helped start the Biscuits and others on the backs of the Phish jam band wave. Anyway he escorted us to prime seats in that crazy old Spectrum and I am forever grateful to him for it. I had been into Phish from the moment I heard Hoist and A Picture of Nectar and had no idea I was getting myself in a 15 year and counting love affair. After a little green that our silly high school asses sneaked into our lungs during a "walk" through the lot, we walked into that great deceased building next to a guy dressed in a full-length green gumby suit and a girl with dreads down to her ass. I was scared and thrilled. Got to the seats, immediately hit the J that came our way and we are off.

First Set:
Poor Heart set the tone, don't remember Caravan, loved Cavern, and I recall looking at the old head during Taste and him shooting a surprised look back that said...Holy Shit..this band really is the real deal. GP is still an all time fav and "Maybe I Can be a fly" is a moment of bliss for me everytime I hear it. This is old school Phish at their finest with Page tinkling away. My memory of the set gets hazy from here, but I was baptized indeed.

Set Break: Quick note...if you are reading this review, then you sought it out on purpose and will of course know how insane the bathrooms were in the old Spectrum. Wow. Going down those stairs...classic.

Second Set:
I was young to see a show and my friends that are my age did not really jump into it until 99 (unfortunately when the band and scene suffered when you look at it in hindsight). I was lucky. This set makes them jealous...it should. Bowie was screaming, A Day in the Life was perfect and Gin was tight. Lizards is another one of those "Phish sound" songs for me. No other band can make that music and it is so unique and distinct. Fuzzy memories every time I hear the song. Good version. Here we go...YEM. Pure Phish magic and fun. Tramps, and great crowd energy. The rotation jam was something special to see live and I am sure the majority of fans have never seen such a thing and never will. Lucky me. They executed it just right. The Oasis spoof was hilarious and true. They suck. They finished off the set with Harpua, which is another classic old school song that gets played less than often nowadays. Encore was simple and icing on the cake after the second set wackiness.

To sum it up, I was lucky. This show is fantastic. I just listened back to it for the first time in a while and was inspired to take some time to write this. I will always think of Phish like this and that is why the expectations are always so high for our band. They were different and we relished it. I will never forget standing there as a 15 year old wannabe hippie who got this first taste of a truly special band. I knew I was in for the long haul.
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