, attached to 1992-03-13

Review by DemandOpener

DemandOpener Another of The Phish Companion 3.0's Top 100 shows, this is one I can't really get my head around as a legitimate inclusion in the Top 100 Phish Shows Ever Played, an illustrious distinction that should be reserved for shows more...well, distinct, than this. Nevertheless, this show is extraordinarily well put together, full of fun antics, great setlist picks, and a couple of must-hear Phishy musical moments.

The Curtain is always a fantastic, tone setting opener. This Curtain is impeccably played and followed with a trio of SOAMelt, Poor Heart, and Guelah that were all well played as well. Following the classic opening salvo is only the fourth Maze ever played, and it shows, as the band doesn't seem to be incredibly comfortable with the nuances of the composed section yet, flubbing some notes and playing at a considerably slower pace. Things pick up during the solo sections, though, as the Page and Trey duel delivers some truly melodic playing not usually found in Maze. Unfortunately, this version doesn't quite have the epic build up of tension that Maze has today, but it's still a good listen. As such, I would definitely recommend this Maze, mostly as a curiosity piece but also as a genuinely enjoyable bit of pre-1993 Phish to listen to. Dinner and a Movie followed right behind Maze, and featured some hilarious audience participation. I enjoyed this Dinner while it lasted, it wouldn't be long until America's favorite pre-nuptial ritual would become a rarity at Phish shows. (1992 was the last year Dinner and a Movie has been played more than four times.)

Divided Sky feels rather truncated (the length of the infamous 'pause' is negligible at best, despite the fans' best efforts to get them to play Possum), but is never underappreciated. Trey customarily rips this Divided Sky jam, and provides the first bona fide highlight of the evening. An early, weak Mound >s into Fluffhead, a welcome surprise given the band's infrequent propensity to play multiple composed songs in the first set. This Fluffhead is right in the pocket, and totally hits the spot at this point in the set, and features an amusing "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" tease at the end that carries into the start of Antelope.

You've almost certainly heard this incredible Big Black Furry Antelope From Mars (it was released on Live Bait 6) and if not, I (and everyone else) highly recommend it. It's certainly a rip-roaring good time, featuring dissonant playing up the wazoo, a great -> BBFCFM, hilarious Hawaii and Three Stooges antics, secret language of the Get Back, Complete Stop, and Simpsons variety. I mean, damn, this Antelope is something special to behold. This is Phish at their at their most wild and uninhibited! They are completely out of control here in the best possible way! I can't talk this Antelope up enough, just go listen to it!

The second set of this show is undeniably songy, and if it were played today everyone would almost certainly hate it due to lack of jams, despite the incredible song selection (a thought which amuses me greatly). Seriously, the big jams are nowhere to be found, but there a myriad of interesting things going on in this set. One of the longest versions of Wilson ever has "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" teases and gets so quiet at times you can barely hear it. The Brother that follows is a beautiful mess. Similarly to Maze and Mound, the Horse > Silent combo features a bit of early-version jitters. A sentence beginning with nondescript versions of Landlady and Lizards and a new tune, My Mind's Got a Mind of Its Own follow, is punctuated nicely by The Sloth. (I take back what I said earlier, by the way, phans might be s**ting their pants for the privilege of adding Brother, Landlady, Lizards, MMGAMOIO, and The Sloth to their stats!)

The second half of the set brings us the newly (and mercifully) redone Rift. It's hasn't quite reached its blazingly fast peak yet (and honestly, they've play it faster in 2016 than they play it here), but if you've heard the old version of Rift, you'll recognize what a relief it is for the song to finally be up to speed. More antics follow this pretty well-played Rift in the form of Cold as Ice, Henrietta's new walkup music. The ensuing Love You features Fish introducing the band members and taking a hard-earned bag-vac solo, which is something you don't see every day!

The centerpiece of the second set is the final song, a Possum that includes instructions to all the different secret language signals the band was using at the time! Absolutely nobody who considers themselves a phan should go without hearing these instructions, just in case Phish ever decides to bring back secret language. Be prepared, everybody! A fitting Contact with Mike on accordion/Fire combo sends the Campus Club crowd home happy.

Killer early show, one of the best examples of how great Phish was becoming before our (your, their) very eyes.

Highlights: Maze, Divided Sky, Antelope, Wilson, Possum
My rating: 4.5/5.
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