, attached to 1988-03-12

Review by kipmat

kipmat @SlavePhan's review is great, as usual. I had this tape back in the day, but I just downloaded the spreadsheet version and listened to it for the first time in at least 7 years. McGrupp is a favorite tune of mine, I like how the piano solo blends into what would become the bridge to "Esther", and cues Trey's narration. His first narration is hesitant, but after Lizards, he sounds increasingly confident. ("Icculus, the great and knowledgable - [sings] ahh-ahhhhh - we all know who he is"). To my ears, Tela sounds "new", but the rest of the material is played well, in typical 1988 Phish style.

Check out the jam-ending to the Sloth in an 11/16 time signature! Each member of the band plays a repeated figure, all with different rhythmic accents, and ascending diminished chords. It strikes me as a kind of theoretical bridge between Dave's Energy Guide and the "Fishman Dance" section of It's Ice. Before they start The Sloth, it sounds like the band is trying to remember this part, which excites an audience member or two into thinking that Phish might play the Grateful Dead's "Eleven". Probably another example of the band messing with their audience's "GD cover band" expectations. :)

I hear background music on the spreadsheet version as well, although it sounds to me like a dub over another recording on a deck with a faulty erase head. Even if I am wrong, I still hope a better source for this show becomes available.

I disagree on the date of this show: it is my personal opinion that Phish would not schedule a gig on the same night as a local Frank Zappa concert, as the band (Trey and Fish particularly) would have made attending the concert a priority. I think the debut of Tela on 5/21 is correct, and therefore the date of the first Gamehenge show would be after 5/21. My guess is Sunday 5/22/88, for which there is no setlist. However, as with many things Phish, the element of mystery makes it more interesting.


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