, attached to 1993-08-26

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ The penultimate show from a legendary tour, 8/26/93 serves as an excellent sample of summer '93. Both sets contain some ridiculously awesome jamming, though Set 1 is a bit more consistent and filled out (as is the case with a few other big shows from this month). This distinction is largely due to the amount of set real estate left for Baby Gramps' sit-in and the HYHU performance, a touch akin to many of the other August '93 shows that featured HYHU, Purple Rain, or acoustic/a cappella sessions that demonstrate novelty over prowess. While moments like these are certainly central to the band's character, and I would never wish them out of this transitional phase into a more matured group, the gag loses some of its initial luster after one listens through enough of the tour--especially when these moments consistently close otherwise fantastical shows and rinse away the taste of the more jaw-dropping jams. Regardless, this show has plenty to unpack and is a fantastic representation of the band at this stage in their career.

Set 1 is fully loaded with noteworthy performances, including a playfully climbing Runaway Jim opener, another Reba that grips the heart in August '93 fashion, a Fee that includes a heavily Type II outro, a SOaM that demonstrates a maturing approach to improvisation involving the entire band with true direction (my god the end of this jam is so fucking sick), and a Harry Hood that really milks the ascent before reaching its glorified acme. The whole band stays on point through the whole set, but I'll give a special shoutout to Page, who shines exceptionally bright--especially on Esther and It's Ice.

Set 2 starts off with that beloved 2001 opener before diving right into David Bowie. Summer '93 has produced many incredible Bowie jams, and this example is no exception. The jam here sticks a little more strictly to the recognizable Bowie elements than the uber-exploratory performance from 8/17/93, with only a few moments that break free of the usual groove and harmonic movement (though Trey works in plenty of nice improvisational riffs that build atop the foundation). That said, any dearth of adventure is easily made up for with an insane ferocity. The energy behind this jam is fucking high octane, and the band definitely deserves the easy breezy Lifeboy that follows. Surviving a somewhat rough Rift, the band dials back in for a KILLER JJLC. Once again, Page is operating on another level, delivering those ZZ Top vocals with grit and swagger before absolutely commanding the room during his piano solo. Trey follows suit, taking the band sky high and then crashing back down to earth. As stated before, the rest of the set's highlights come from the goofy HYHU>Nothin' But>HYHU, not quite as praiseworthy in my book. A strong CDT and Free Bird encore closes the show with an appropriate juxtaposition of pure musicianship against a goof that caters to the band's burgeoning in-group community.
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