, attached to 1993-03-22

Review by n00b100

n00b100 It's always kinda funny to me how long of a torch people have carried for the return of The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday (semantics, schmemantics - Baba O'Riley isn't called Teenage Wasteland, either); not only is the song cycle inextricably tied to Early Non-Improv Phish - it's a bunch of songs with no jamming and lots of between songs talking, and yet Hands on a Hardbody is the one that bombed - and not only is it almost certainly not a big thing for Trey anymore (it's hard to imagine anything you did when you were 23 interesting you as much at 50, rock opera or no rock opera), but it isn't like they dragged it across the country like The Who did with Tommy, as there's only been 5 performances of the song cycle in Phish's long and glorious history. That being said, there is an unmistakable charm at hearing all the songs tied together, Early Phish has all sorts of charms that aren't tied to 20-minute jams, and it's hard not to imagine anything that would bring older fans more joy than its return. I used to be more adamant that I wouldn't really care if TMWSIY made its return; these days, I think I'd enjoy it for the one show, so long as we got some ripping Type II in the next one.

The first set does not hold a *ton* of interest, but the three big Set 1 vehicles - a whirling dervish of a Stash, a Reba that takes 'em down and brings 'em up Kent Hood style, and one of those tease-a-riffic early-90s Bowies that just spits hot guitar solo fire during the jam segment - are quite listenable, and (per @phishcrit on Twitter) may have earned the audience their special prize due to their respectful treatment of those numbers. As far as the second set goes - I mean, I don't even really know how to review the set, other than if you're interested in Gamehendge and TMWSIY it's an incredible treat and if you're not you might find yourself tapping out somewhere around AC/DC Bag (although you'll miss Forbin's > Mockingbird, and what kind of ass willfully misses a Forbin's > Mockingbird?). There's nary a jam to be found, as you'd expect, but it's hard not to get jazzed at the crowd yelling with joy when Trey begins story time, and everything is played with typical early-90s verve and joyfulness. And, really, it's kind of amazing how Trey manages to keep everything straight in his head while he runs down the entire tale *all by himself*. The Mike's Groove tacked on at the end is just icing on the cake.

Final thoughts: I mean, you like 7/27/14, right? Or the OJ show? Or Moby Dick? Or Tweezeppelin? They don't play wild and crazy shows every time out, and any time you can hear one of them in reasonably good SBD, you should take that chance. This isn't just a portal to Trey's magical world, but a portal to Phish before 1994 changed the game, when they were younger and crazier and more theatrical and less about big-time jams. That, more than anything else, is worth the download and the listen.


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