, attached to 1994-06-11

Review by theghost

theghost Giving this one an anniversary listen tonight...it's been a long time. I got the tapes of this not too long after the show ("not too long" meaning a month or two in the days of snail mail tape trading). It was a really hotly traded show, as there were very few soundboards getting out anymore. I guess Paul had literally "pulled the plug" on soundboard patches to the tapers as things started getting crazy. In fact, the majority of the 94 SBDs that are out there today didn't leak out of "the vault" and get into wide circulation for years... in most cases, not until music started moving around the internet post-millenium (you youngsters may not understand the utter thrill of finally being able to get Phish recordings without the post office involved, btw). So this show had the benefit of a much better sounding recording than most of the other amazing shows that kept coming out, one after another, and it was clearly a strong one with a killer setlist for the day...all their best ones at the time imo...Stash, Antelope, Split, Fluff, YEM. I ended up trading these tapes a lot, but I deemed the show to be a bit too "safe" and kept searching for the shows where they took more risks and hit greater heights. I could live with some rough spots if my mind was sufficiently blown in the end.

Listening back 28 years later though (yikes, that's a whole lot of years), what I heard as "safe" back then sounds more like "mature" now. This marvelous show is just SO listenable. Maybe it's like my opinion about figure skating (of which I have few) that if you fall in a competition you should be disqualified. Staying on your feet is kind of the fundamental part of skating and I don't see how you can call yourself a champion/medalist (that competition anyway) if the whole world saw you flopped ass-down on the ice. If you think that's harsh, then stick with moves you can do. I don't love figure skating and my tolerance of crappiness is correspondingly low. My love for Phish, of course, is huge, but as the years have gone by, my patience for moments I don't love has waned a bit too. Too many ragged minutes scattered throughout a show (or even a long track) seem to temper my joy for the high points these days, like a skater's fall ruins an otherwise flawless routine (imo, again). It's live improvisational music so I totally forgive the band for glitches, but my listening preferences have become much more selective.

So this has gotten pretty long winded, but my point is...this show is just so strong and consistent from start to finish. There isn't a dull or clumsy moment anywhere. Nothing abrasively experimental. Nobody's on auto-pilot...all four members on top of their game, throwing out fresh ideas with energy, confidence, and control. Other reviewers have covered the specifics well. I agree that Mike is particularly awesome in this one... I give him the MVP award for the night. Trey gobbles up most all of the MVP awards in '94 but Mike gets this one. He reeks of confidence and swagger... F's your face with bass all over this show. Definitely an excellent show for a newbie due to the lack of "challenging" moments for new ears.


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