, attached to 1994-05-22

Review by Northernghost

Northernghost I was at this show twenty fucking six years ago today (damn). It was my second show and I thought I had prepared well since my first acid soaked show at the Commodore nine months prior. I was wrong.
I had obsessively listened to everything I could get my hands on. Which turned out to be a lot. Nevertheless the boys treated me to a magnificently unexpected experience. Everything from the humour, Greasy Fezique for chrissakes to the absolute commitment of laying it the fuck down every time they sang or touched their instruments. Mike-less acoustic performances (with emotion solos!), and majestic electric jams.
The first hint that we were going to have a really, really good night was when they turned on the smoke machine 15 minutes before showtime so we could all light up and just blend. So goddamned civilized you know?
Anyway the show.
Demand. Totally unexpected and one my favourite weird Phish tunes I was floored. Then out of nowhere comes this golem of a song The Sloth. Played with utter conviction and completely flawlessly it was the first time I’d heard it. Damn.
Then (oh bliss) Divided Sky in all its glory and grace. Things are going really well. Then Peaches! A song off of my favourite Zappa album! Split open and melt, a repeat from my first show. It took me away then and it took me away now.
And then...
My one and only Fluffhead.
What else is there really there to say?
Then the acoustic hijinx. My Sweet One, Ginseng Sullivan, and Dog Faced Boy. This brings me to one of the things that is absolutely lost to the scene. When they were performing unamplified, if anyone obstructed the sound with Yeehaw‘s or woo woos they were unapologetically shushed until they shut the fuck up and let the rest of us hear what the boys were doing. I really, really miss it.
All three songs were performed with such warmth and humour I was in tears with the biggest smile on my face I’d ever had. Hearing Fishman introduced as Greasy Fezique killed me.
Crazy ass heavy metal set closer Axilla II, I’ve heard many Axilla’s only time I’ve heard part II.
Down With Disease Single version! No jamming but so much fucking fun. Then, and I have to say this, one of my all-time favourite Phish tunes, Bouncing. Right off the bat, no pause, no break, no hesitation. The beat and the bass and then the lovely, lovely harmonies building up to one of those crazy Trey triplet climaxes that never cease to amaze me.
Then, it’s ice. What can I say, the way the whole band interacts on this track every fucking time they play it is crazy. I love how much piano is played in this period, Paige lays it the fuck down and challenges the whole band. It was so beautiful I could hardly stand it.
And then we come to the purely Phishy weirdness that is Gamehendge. McGrupp and all his pathos. I have to say, it really appealed to the mushrooms that were having just so much fun in my system.
Ok.
Tweezer.
An absolutely insane series of peaks and valleys specifically tailored to my state of mind. These cats knew what I wanted and needed. Finally tailing off in an absolutely magnificent bit like a broken clock slowly ticking off it’s last bit of energy. I was helpless.
A cool down with Lifeboy, I love this song. Paige’s piano work is just so beautiful, I was so happy to be where I was in the moment that was happening.
Rift to get up back to speed, and then, Slave.
My first Slave to the Traffic Light.
I... I don’t really know where to go go here... it was, almost total silence when they started the build and... what can I fucking say? There were tears, there was laughter, there was joy and there was, amazingly, a building certainty, that it was going to finally, work the fuck out.
Then, just to make goddamn sure… Back to Tweezer and yet another, another fucking peak to end off on.
And then they brush us off, told us we were OK, gave us a smile and played Sleeping Monkey. Fishman doing his falsetto and making us all collapse with laughter, and then Paige and Trey being as Beatle-y as can be bringing us all to our knees. It was fucking perfect.
26 years ago, and they bring me to my knees every single fucking time. Thanks for all the bliss Jon, Mike, Paige and Trey, you made my life better.
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