, attached to 1995-11-18

Review by melt_the_tek9

melt_the_tek9 Today is the anniversary of my very first Phish show, and I feel really good finally getting to write a review of this baby!

Let's see, where to begin...ok, with friends. That's how it started, that's how it ended, with my very best friends in the world. Tickets by mail (ah, the good, good old days) were a lock, I think we paid under $20 back then for seats. The ride to Charleston from Hilton Head was simple: NO PHISH ALLOWED IN THE STEREO!!! You know, don't want to jinx any songs that we might hear. We had no idea what the band was doing on the road, what songs were new, any of that. Back then if we wanted to know about a show, we had to ask someone who was there for details. Again, like I said, the good, GOOD old days.

Got to lot, got down to business. Got my first dank, but saved it for after the show. No need for chemical influences, this is THE Phish!! The funk was so deep in the lot, heads dancing getting down. Parliament, Funkadelic, James Brown, new funk, what have you, it was a funkified throw down. We got inside, first time in that place, first time in Charleston, first Phish, first chance to really freak out! In the back corner on first riser, not bad, saw everything from there.

Set 1: Dinner opener. Wow, what an opener! Classic early-mid 90s. If I knew that was going to be the last time I'd ever hear it live, I would've paid more attention. The > into Bouncing was predictable, a standard 1>2 punch, and even I knew it was coming even at my first show (too many tapes in the car back then, too much Phish knowledge in the ole' noggin). But then, the Reba. My first Reba. My first phish song ever heard. I was so excited I couldn't even remember what song it was, what was the name of this? My pen on folded up envelope clutched tightly, I searched for the name. My friend hit me, "Reba man, fucking REBA!!!!" What a blast, what a jazzy version too, Trey nails a theme at the rip and develops it so well. Still one of the best I've seen live. Lawn Boy was fun, so glad to have heard that one. Then, my fav at the time, Punch. Everyone I knew there said, "hell yah, Tek got his song!!" Followed with Slave, what a soaring first set. There was no talk of "bad" or "slow" or "boring" first sets back then, unheard of. This Slave really goes the distance, epic if you will. Then one of the rarest I've still ever seen: Blue and Lonesome...acoustic!!!! Sample nailed the set 1 closer and we went outside for fresh air and my friend needed a cig bad.

Set 2: BAG!!! What a fucking party, holy shit, everyone please listen to this version, it rages so very hard. Sparkle, can't complain (although a few years later I did, I think I got a sparkle almost every show). But the highlight 19 years later, for me, still, is this Free. Really the only one I consider seeing, after they rewrote it almost completely for Billy B's, I pined for the original dark, thick evil nastiness that this version exudes so well. Trey annihilates his drum kit and then played his guitar by hitting the strings with the sticks, so Trey, so mid 90s, so Phish. Loved it!!! Goosebumps, here they are, that Free does it to me every time. Rarity #2 or 3, can't count anymore...I'm so Tired!?!?!! A White album song?!!? How did Mike get this one approved?! Last time ever played too, how cool. The highlight, for obvious reasons (aka, jam), is the YEM. But at 30 some odd minutes, this one kills as soon as the funk gets so so deep, they rip into Brickhouse. The parking lot vibe swept into the venue with us all and the band took note. Or, Mike heard it in his golf cart earlier, haha! After that, I was so tired (pun, oh yah) that the show could've ended. We had seen so much, but so much was still in store.

This next part of the show gets a new paragraph, its one of the most unique Phish happenings I've still ever witnessed at a show before. Contact midway into 2nd set would be so strange today, back then, who knows, the song could've been anywhere, but the dissolve into Furry Creatures was so hot and scorching, and really scary. I have to honestly say I was a bit freaked. Mike really got his way in this show, especially this set, didn't realize that before until reviewing it here today :) There really should be a > between BBFCFM and Acoustic Army, there was a continual of insanity as the band took their stools and blissed the crowd into quiet solace. Again, the only time I ever saw this fabled gem. Then, BB kicked back up again, and Trey madness ensued. He had his megaphone and was running all around the stage with it, back behind the amps and the projection screens (I think?), he was so all over the place we weren't sure he was even on stage anymore. Loops and Page, Mike and drums, and megaphone siren or whatever mixed to create a most evil and terrible cacophony of fun. We were laughing and crying and jumping and dying, what a freaking blast for a first show. If you ever could have been hooked on this band after a 1 show deal, this one would've done it to any person out there. Finally, that crazy shit ended, and a classic Cavern seals the show.

The encore, with Page's dad, was so fun because a lot of us knew Doc from Hilton Head (my friend who came with us but got floor seats near stage, his mom worked for the Doc at the time!!), so it was like seeing someone we knew on stage with Phish. It made them feel local, like they weren't so big and huge in the music world. But, it also made us feel like we had a personal, family-like connection with them too, that for a few minutes, they were playing to only us, like in a living room. We hadn't met them, but felt like we had.

I was so damn tired and so sober leaving the show, but I felt like I had taken a drug I never tried before and it made me feel something new and different from anything I had tried up to then. I took a big fat dose of LIFE that night, I think I dropped it during Reba. And I was still buzzing hard from it as we walked out into the cool Charleston fall air, and off to downtown to my best friend's house for a little party before hitting the hay for the night. Great times, one of the best shows I've still to this day ever seen, and one of the best groups of friends I could've asked for to spend my first Phish show with.
Thanks Phish, thanks friends, thanks North Charleston Coliseum, and thanks .netters for reading!


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