, attached to 1993-07-24

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Been listening to a ton of shows from August '93 over the past few days, digging through the month that most Phans agree marked the regularity of Type II jamming and, in a way, the birth of the Phish we know now. Out of curiosity, I decided to step back just a week to this 7/24 show to get a comparison point as I was wondering just how stark the August line was. Reading through some of the other reviews on the site though, I learned that this show was unique for the time: Great Woods '93 was the band's biggest show yet, selling out to a "hometown" New England audience roughly 12K strong. With this context in mind, I think it might be best not to draw too close a comparison between 7/24 and the back half of the summer tour but rather to view this as the gateway show that proved the bands' chops had a community to back it up. Performing a rock solid (even if straightforward) show in a setting like this, Phish earned the confidence that would drive deeper exploration and invention in the coming weeks and follow them into '94 (and beyond). Would I revisit? Probably not frequently, but I'm glad I checked it out to help fill in my picture of summer '93.

Most of the tunes in Set 1 are pretty cookie-cutter, but all are super strong and devoid of flubs. Mike and Fishman are great during Trey's solo on Llama (some similarities between this one and 8/7/93). Stash rips hard and dark as the band dives into the jam section with a descending motif, later pulling us out with an ascending ladder and booming peak. The Squirming Coil outro closes Set 2 in grand fashion: the band sticks around for a bit longer than usual, for a moment seeming like they'll enter full band jam territory (a la 5/8/93), but then opts to let Page rock out solo--a decision not regretted.

In Set 2, we see a little more bravery as the band digs into a Mike's Groove and takes the unbeaten path more than the rest of the show. Mike's Song jam has some nice floaty jamming that resembles a calmer Simple mixed with a 12-bar blues harmonic structure. The a cappella Yerushalayim Shel Zahav grants a beautifully eerie intermission before Fishman picks things back up into Weekapaug and the band pulls off some nice noodly improvisation, a swing blues break, and closes things out in standard fashion. The rest of the set--like the first--contains some pretty standard versions of a bunch of fan favorites. Standouts in my opinion are a very strong SOaM and Maze.
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