, attached to 1993-08-17

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ August '93 has got to be one of the band's hottest and most consistent months. The musicianship, deep repertoire, and exploratory spirit represented in each show on the tour speaks to the phase of development Phish was in at the time. Most notable is the regular prevalence of Type II jamming, which results in dozens of notable and formative performances over the course of a few weeks. The improvisational approach is noticeably still maturing (as it would continue to do so through the next few years), and often comprises of a decomposing / fragmenting a jam, riding along with some harmonic dissonance and rhythmic interplay, and then capitalizing on some new idea that's birthed out of this less structured section without a very fluid transition. While this methodology no doubt produces some awesome music and leads to extremely creative jams, it can also sometimes feel a bit like the band is lost in these liminal segments, looking for some idea with more substance to inspire further jamming.

8/17/93 provides two examples of tunes that I think really demonstrate more thoroughly developed Type II jams: David Bowie and YEM. Sets 1 and 2 both contain some really awesome performances of other tunes: Wilson transitions into Llama with a cool improvisation that launches the show at high velocity from the get-go, Divided Sky and Maze showcase Machine Gun Trey's chops, Fluffhead and FEFY produce some very powerful solo sections, and Page goes balls-to-the-wall on Suzy. But the main focus of this show should be on Bowie and YEM.

Hot off a 2001 set opener, David Bowie dives right into the composed section, forgoing a more unique intro like the one from Murat. However, once the jam begins, it's clear that something special is about to take place. Sections of this jam transition together with such natural fluidity that it's hard to draw distinct lines between them. Through rhythmic variations and key changes, Trey does a particularly phenomenal job changing seats between a soloing guitarist and a band leader that contributes more directly and explicitly to the groove of the moment. Along with Stash 8/15/93, this is one of my absolute favorite August '93 jams. YEM brings a similar improvisational prowess, breaking free of the traditional YEM groove during Trey's solo to develop on a few different cadences, including an utterly blazing jam inspired by Frankenstein. The following BnD jam is swanky and laid back, giving way to an extended VJ. Definitely check these two tunes out.
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