, attached to 1994-12-01

Review by n00b100

n00b100 The first set is a typical first set, other than a wicked Maze and a SOAM that explores some dark recesses in a very '94 way with some nasty guitar work and clanging piano playing and a jam that *feels* arrhythmic and off-kilter but actually isn't (and, fine, I Didn't Know is a guilty pleasure). The second set is a monster, one of the finest sets of the latter half of 1994, and the second half of a devastating one-two punch with the previous night's show. Peaches and Mound are a fine start (Mound is another guilty pleasure), then Tweezer gets down to business with a burbling Mike and Fish-dominated stripped-down jam. Things smooth out and Page begins asserting himself with some great piano work as the jam gets a little bluesy, then things start swinging between dissonant burbling-riff grooving and near silence, like the band's playing peek-a-boo with the audience. The jam sections start getting more ominous and grungy, which makes the measures of near silence all the more off-putting.

Finally, the game of cat and mouse ends and the band slides into a powerful rock jam, Trey finally playing some standard rock riffs instead of the low-key weirdness he'd been giving us up to that point. Then, as though regular old rock was boring them, a weird mishmash of noise emanates from the stage, Fish howling in his mike like one of the Mothers of Invention, the jam sounding like all four instruments were smushed together somehow. Everything coalesces into feedback and noise, Fish pounding on the toms, and then the jam gets weirdly majestic, like a less propulsive Horn, a perfect late night jam...and out of nowhere, Trey plays the riff from Norwegian Wood, and riffs off of that as the band continues their relaxed accompaniment.

But, typical of Phish '94, it's time for another musical idea, and the jam brings in some stabbing chords that can only mean one thing - BBFCM. BBFCM's ending somehow leads into Makisupa (they play in a different key for the first half, which should tell you the segue was definitely on the fly), and from there the Makisupa chords bring a wonderful segue into NICU (it's really quite nice and relaxed), which gets frenetic at the end (Trey is playing *something* classical at the end, I can't tell, but it's there IMO), and just because they can Trey leads the group back into a Tweezer jam for a brief few minutes. Then, in a testament to how good these guys know each other, as if by kismet the jam slows down and they segue marvelously into Jesus Just Left Chicago, a super-cool version that caps off a tremendous segue-fest that gives us everything you'd expect out of a 1994 Phish segue-fest. Hood and Golgi are a nice set-closing combo (Hood is really delicate and beautiful in the middle portion; got to love a band that can find that kind of floating on a cloud space after all the sturm und drang of the Tweezer jam), and the encore is an encore. Not much else to say about this one - it's a great 1994 show, one of the top 10 of the year, and fully deserving of its LivePhish.com release.


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