SET 1: Possum, Bathtub Gin, Divided Sky > The Sloth, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, Golgi Apparatus
SET 2: Reba, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag, The Squirming Coil, Harry Hood, Carolina
ENCORE: Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove
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Review by Penn42
Clocking in at only an hour and fifty minutes, this is a somewhat truncated show, even for the era. However, there is still some good early Phish for our listening pleasure. Solid Possum and Gin to open. Gin still had the stupid ending at this point, but that is pretty easy to look past. The Divided Sky > The Sloth is strong. The transition is a little shaky, but it ends up working out nicely. The vocal jam out of YEM is one that I actually really liked and the Golgi closes up this set nicely.
The 19th Reba ever opens set II. It's obvious that they're not completely comfortable with the song yet; it's not bad, per se, it just feels forced. That said, the jam is actually pretty strong. The Bag that follows is nothing spectacular, but I am going to spend a disproportionate amount of time on it because it highlights something that hadn't fully developed in the band yet.
If I had to narrow it down to one thing that amazes me most about this band, it would be how locked in all four of them are when it comes to the direction of their energy. Starting somewhere between Summer '93 and Summer 94, they were always on the same page, as if they all had one mind. They could (and still can) build or naturally fade more fluidly than any other band I've ever heard. All it would take is a couple notes from one of them and the other three would immediately follow higher or lower or where-ever. It's so quick and uncanny at times.
Well, what does this have to do with the Bag? There is a point in this Bag where Trey is obviously building tension toward the top of the phrase. When the phrase comes around he hits the root up in the stratosphere and the other three don't drop the energy. Mike and Page don't drop lower and Fish doesn't lay into the beat harder. The classic formula for release of tension for non-melodic parts is playing dissonant sounds in the mid or high range and releasing it by dropping lower consonant sounds. Both Page and Mike do the first part, but not second. It was obvious Trey was going to release and when he hits that high release it doesn't have very much impact. I make it sound worse than it actually is, but it is the little things like this that separate this well above average rock band from the world class rock band just a few years later.
The rest of the show is fine. The piano solo at the end of Coil is only about fifteen seconds long, the ending of Hood momentarily falls apart, and the Mike's Groove is short and powerful. 3 stars from me.