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AHolla , attached to 1993-05-03 Permalink
I originally wrote this review three years ago, on the 20th anniversary of my first show. I wrote it for friends, but have decided to share it here because the show means so much to me. Here it is:

It was twenty years ago today.

Nope- not a Sgt. Pepper reference. Twenty years ago today was my first Phish show. The It was twenty years ago today.

Nope- not a Sgt. Pepper reference. Twenty years ago today was my first Phish show. The State Theater- New Brunswick, NJ. The night that changed my life. Iíve been reflecting on this a lot this week- how much of my time, resources and devotion has been spent seeing, supporting, and most importantly- listening to this band. Itís fair to say that my relationship with Phish is a defining part of my life, for better and (infrequently but it does happen) worse. My brother has said to me at times that some of our favorite memories are around Phish, and I couldn't agree more.

It was my senior year of high school. I had been listening to Phish for the better part of a year before this show, but it was only a few months removed from me learning of their extensive touring, and that they allowed and encouraged fans to tape and trade shows. I was not really into the Grateful Dead at this point, so this concept was foreign to me. Sometime around February of 1993 Lloyd (great man then, great man now) gave me my first tape- July 21, 1991 Set II (Arrowhead Ranch with the Giant Country Horns). This tape- roughly 70 minutes of music impacted me deeply. I heard a band that was having fun, and a band that was doing things to their own music that I didn't think bands would do. I wore out this tape and acquired others, each time knowing this was a band that I needed to see- and soon.

We scoured for the tour schedule (no one had the internet yet or really knew what it was), and found a show that we could go to- Monday night, May 3 in New Jersey. Thank goodness for being a senior in high school with good grades who already had gotten into college. Thank goodness tickets were $17 and not sold out three weeks before the show. Thank goodness Lloyd had a car. Thank goodness that we left early enough to get lost once but still make it there in plenty of time for the show.

A Phish show is not just about the show- itís about getting there. Itís almost like youíre traveling to a secret that those who know, know. If I mention Phish to people who donít listen to them, I get some stock answers, like- ďOh- aren't they a drug band?Ē or people make assumptions about me and my lifestyle. Iím not going to deny that there can be (and increasingly more through the years) some shady activities and characters at Phish shows, but if you define your experience and your attitude just based on that, youíre missing out.

On May 3, 1993 all I wanted to do was hear my favorite band play music.

Going to the show in Lloydís car was myself, Darren, and Andy F. Andy F. didn't have a ticket, but got the last one at the box office and ended up with some ridiculous orchestra seat. Lloyd, Darren, and myself were sitting in the balcony, a few rows up. The State Theater remains the smallest venue Iíve seen Phish in, but when itís your first show itís still the biggest.

Another thing about Phish shows is that they bring people together. I have had more random run-ins at Phish shows than anywhere else. Sometimes I donít learn about these run-ins until months or years later. On this night Mike - one of my closest friends from a college I had not yet started was also at his first show. Mike gave me for my wedding an amazing gift- a framed ticket stub from the show (I stupidly lost mine).

I had spent a lot of time trying to imagine what the stage would be like. I also did not know which band member was which. In May 1993 they had four albums out- Junta, Lawn Boy, A Picture of Nectar and Rift. The problem was that although the liner notes had pictures, none of them said who in the band was who. My first surprise of the evening was learning that they didn't have the traditional band staging- that they were lined up in a horizontal row- from left to right: keyboards, guitar, bass, drums. The first of many things learned that night.

Before the show began I saw a taper setting up a microphone rig at the front of the balcony. I eagerly approached him and asked if I sent him tapes later on if he would send me a copy of the show. He said yes. He did follow through too. Tapers are generally an incredibly honorable group.

Then the lights went out.

I wonít do a song by song detail of the show, though I encourage you to listen to it. Phish just released the show as part of their Live Phish series at, with proceeds from the sale going to support Sandy relief efforts in New Jersey. Here is what I have to say about the show:
ē Everyone says that their first show was amazing, and mine was no different.
ē The only two songs I did not know were the first one (Buried Alive) and one in the second set (McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters).
ē The lights!
ē Trey! (I play guitar and worship him.)
ē The narration in the first set where they told us they flipped the building and took us to Gamehenge. Phish (and especially Trey) are expert storytellers, and they know how to keep a crowd rapt with anticipation.
ē Ending the second set with Cavern, which was my favorite song at the time. I did not have any live tapes with Cavern and was not sure that they played that song in concert. The balcony shook during the chorus, and I was as happy as I could be at a Phish show.
ē In the second set, Tweezer with an ďI Feel the Earth MoveĒ jam that went into Manteca and then back into Tweezer.
ē Fishman!
ē The first two songs of the encore- completely a cappella; no microphones. Everyone got quiet and was able to hear the band.
ē The closing song of the encore- Highway to Hell!

The music was amazing. The band was tight and could turn on a dime. They explored, they jammed, they had fun- and thus, so did I. I didn't want it to end.

After that show, things were different. Some people have life changing moments happen instantly. Mine happened over the course of three hours, but it happened. I needed to see more of this band. I bought a t-shirt (which is lost- the one of caricatures of the band on the back with Page holding a pitch pipe). I cursed that I wasn't going to be able to make their summer shows. I waited anxiously for tapes of the show so I could relive the night.

I've gotten so used to instant gratification in the internet age. The last Phish show I saw was on December 30th at MSG. It was up online, available for download by the time I got home. Back in 1993 if you wanted a show, you had to send someone tapes in the mail (Maxwell XLIIs with the MaxPoints with a SASE), and hope that they would send the tapes back. When you copied tapes, no high-speed dubbing. Label things correctly. Treat these tapes as historical documents- show them respect and dignity so that when our ashes are dug up in a thousand years they will know that on the Gregorian calendarís date of May 3, 1993 a kick ass rock-and roll show was played.

I could write a lot more about Phish, the music, and myself. But I canít right now. Iím older, have more responsibilities, and it becomes harder and harder to work Phish in to my life. Donít get me wrong- theyíre my favorite band, and as long as I think theyíre making the best music of anyone out there, I will still see them and listen to them; itís just harder now. But today I've got the memory of a lifetime- Iím going to listen to my first show, and remember what started it all.
Score: 0
DARKH0LL0W , attached to 1999-07-17 Permalink
DARKH0LL0W A tube first set opener! yea we were in for a hot night.Camp Oswego was already burning up due to the heat, but the band thought it would be a good idea to melt us a little more.Boogie was big hit for those in attendance opening a fest with funk is good. the birds is blast, great 99 version.Geulah is one of those songs that boost an entire set! a couple of cool off songs later Tweezer took us where we wanted to go i love the peak in this version. Then i lost it
Have Mercy, no shit i said, i thought i would never get to bask in the greatness of this song. I could have left after this because this was, and had been in my top five from the beginning.Taste keept the feeling going
great song.
great like Mr seals
Second set is a classic

Any time you get Phish with a guest is special, but a blues master like son Seals, now you are shitting me.

I have gone back and listened to the 2 songs and the nice little jam a million times.great great stuff. part of Phish history.
The DWD>wolfmans>sally is as bad ass as it looks. I had a tape with sally, have mercy,and a timber ho on it and only dreamed what it would be like to be at a show with these three songs, well i got my wish.
Timber ho is dark just how i like it oh and they played yem also. Damm!
some nice 99 funk in this one.

the always great coil>reprise was a perfect ending to one of more underrated fests. Who needs a third set, when you have a Son Seals?
Score: 0
CaptainYuk , attached to 1998-11-20 Permalink
(Day 4: Random Setlist a Day Challenge. I will be listening to and reviewing a Random Setlist a day for as long as I possibly can. Hopefully my review can be helpful to you. If not, oh well...)
*Please note: I was in attendance for this show. My review is based on my personal memories and re-listening to the show as per my rules of my challenge.

I admit that in my early days touring with Phish, I was spoiled. My first shows featured that oh-so-famous 97 Hampton greatness. Fast forward one year later and I fancy myself something of a "vet" at this point (laughable, I know) but not jaded enough to be psyched for this Hampton run!

I will say this, it's not a terrible show. Does it deserve the special remaster treatment it has got? Maybe. Most likely not. I can think of many other shows in 98 that deserved it. But it's a fun show. It's a light show. I remember when I was seeing it, it felt "fluffy". Without substance. The next night was absolutely better, in my opinion...

Set I: Rock and Roll Part Two was a funny and cool way to start the show. Get the crowd HYPED like a sporting event! Hahaha no jam on Tube, but it is tight nonetheless. The Quinn The Eskimo bust-out at the time was mind blowing to me. Nothing really remarkable about this set. The Possum is pretty much a screamer. Yup. A Possum screamer-
Check it out!

Set II: this was a rough set for me. So much potential. Great on paper, but just too two-dimensional in its execution. Maybe I'm bitter because I felt Piper was cut short. I am not the kinda guy who likes his Piper cut short! Gettin Jiggy Wit It is hilarious. Although, I remember at the time, there was a group of people who were around me and my phriends who were very visibly upset. Taking Phish too seriously, ESPECIALLY during this very light outing is absolutely ludicrous. Hood and Character Zero are strong finishes.

E: Cavern had a special guest and horn. The horn sounded great here. Makes me wish they did a longer encore.
Oh well.

A show so light and frothy, you can call it Diet Phish.

Score: 0
CaptainYuk , attached to 1993-08-02 Permalink
(Day 3: Random Setlist a Day Challenge. I will be listening to and reviewing a Random Setlist a day for as long as I possible can. Hopefully my review can be helpful to you. If not, oh well...)
*Please note: I was not present for this show. My review is based on an AUD recording of the show.

What can be said about Summer '93 that hasn't been said yet? It was clearly a musical peak for the band, and this show (and all August 93 shows, in fact) is a clear example why. Perfect song selection, absolutely smoking execution. The only downside of this show for me was the extremely poor audience recording that I listened to, but that has nothing to do with the band's actual performance. My hopes are that someday we get treated to a remaster of this absolutely blistering show!

Set I: The Chalk Dust Torture opener is a scorcher. Trey is already hitting licks like a demon. Guelah Papyrus is executed with glee and an almost manic energy. The Brother bust-out is a perfect example of that amazing, mid-1.0 Phish weirdness that brought many of us to love this band in the first place. From All Things Reconsidered to La Grange is seriously some of the most absolutely smoking, tight and beautiful minutes of music Phish had played in their earlier days. The Bathtub Gin is super slowed tempo and goes into a jam that can only be described as epic ecstasy. Dog Log is funky and bluesy as always. La Grange is so hot, it sounds like at one point their instruments may have melted.

Set II: 2001 is a awesome set opener, as always. Mike's song is just fire to say the least. Then comes maybe the best version of Sparks they have ever played. Weekapaug is filthy. Run Like an Antelope is like the beautifully delicious "burnt end" in bar b que that is oh so savored and sought after.

E: Awesome solo on Sleeping Monkey, beautiful resolution with Amazing Grace.

I cannot talk the show up enough, in hopes that it gets an Audio makeover in the future. All of Summer 93 deserves it, really.

5/5 Stars (how could it be anything else?!)
Score: 0
CaptainYuk , attached to 2012-08-25 Permalink
(Day 2: Random Setlist a Day Challenge. I will be listening to and reviewing a Random Setlist a day for as long as I possible can. Hopefully my review can be helpful to you. If not, oh well...)
*Please note: I was not present for this show. My review is based on the SBD recording of this show.

This show seemed to be one where the boys were enjoying themselves. As stated by Mike at the end of the show, they really like playing this venue.

Set I: The classic Cars Trucks Buses opener sets the tone for this set. Throughout the boys are playing tight. Some sets get loose, some get tight; this set falls into the latter camp. Nothing incredibly special, but an absolutely solid set. This Alaska was actually pretty solid, and the Maze, Roses are Free and Number Line appears to be the peak of the set. Compact, concise and blazing solos from Trey fill the jam sections of these songs. Type I abounds.

Set II: The boys seem to veer off from the Type I- Greatest Hits Fest that was the first set. Here we see more Type II spaciness (ever-prevalent in the KDF>Golden Age>Free>Light sequence). In this set the jams get some legs, but nothing too epic. The real interesting part of this set are all the segues. Most of them are brilliant and show that a good segue can be as interesting as one long jam. Antelope is a scorcher, as usual, but I felt a little let down by the A Day in the Life encore. A good denouement, I suppose. Just a bit too calm after all the spaciness and the Wading in the Velvet Sea and Joy sandwich towards the end of the set.

Overall, a solid but fairly average show with occasional flashes of brilliance. The contrast between Set I & II is what stands out most here. Nothing to write home about, but I would not deter anyone who would want to listen to this set.

3/5 Stars
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2004-08-15 Permalink
fhqwhgads Coventry: Day Two. Just kind of continuing my ramble from within my review of 8/14/04, I have to remember my place in this. I have loved Phish for a long time, and will always have a place in my heart for them. To curtail something that meant--and thankfully, means again--so much to Jon, Ernestasio, Mike, and Page must have been immensely difficult. I hope that if God forbid although the pattern weaves as the pattern wills a time comes that the Phish saga is concluded forever, we in the phan community left nothing but gentleness, meekness, and sincere awe at the life-affirming force that generated all these memories for us.
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2004-08-14 Permalink
fhqwhgads Coventry: Day One. I'm gonna take just a brief, cursory, overview-type perspective in reviewing Coventry. I was not actively following Phish during the 2.0 era, and that era of my life was a haze, anyway, but I'm thankful that we have recordings of these shows. There are grand heights to Coventry: huge, blowout jams that humble me. I particularly enjoy the sincere, effusive nature of the banter at Coventry, as elucidating as it is on some of the origins and milestones of Phishtory. There are people who won't listen to Coventry. I am not one of them.
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2004-08-13 Permalink
fhqwhgads This Sound Check may be (to put it in seemingly unphriendly terms, but this is meant academically) the most lucid performance of the Coventry festival. It's definitely worth listening to. I'm a hog for long jams, and Check 1 (as it's named on, where you can buy the show) is about 36 minutes long, definitely satisfies. I'd like to think that this soundcheck was a kind of group focussing exercise before the bittersweet bacchanalia of the festival proper, but saying that robs Coventry of some of its poignancy. Emotions are mixed about Coventry, but I personally hold it near and dear.
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2003-08-03 Permalink
fhqwhgads IT: Day Two. How Phishy to open with Daniel Saw the Stone (perhaps a nod to terrhards that had been present a few days earlier at Bustout, Inc. a.k.a. 7/29/03?) Phish can be profoundly loyal; I wouldn't put it past them. The It Chalkdust roams through several sections in a manner similar to the 7/31/13 (Tahoe) Tweezer, in this phan's opinion, though with nothing occluded by woos. The vibe alone seems to have been sufficient for crowd participation; no noise necessary. Weekapaug Groove works really well here as a set-closer. Recall that it previously occupied that position at the Clifford Ball! Mellow Mood is another somewhat queer but welcome choice for set-opener. It would've had me wondering what was coming next, as one pretty much always must with Phish. I remember my first show, a more experienced phan who I'd ridden to the show with encouraged me to help clean up the debris left by less considerate--or forward-thinking--phans, partly upon the basis that "who knows, they might come out for another set!" This was revelatory to me. "You mean lights out doesn't necessarily mean lights out?" I thought. Ghost takes a more peaky approach in its jam, but still boasts the agility that was a hallmark of 2.0 and the It Festival. The ever-lauded stop-start jamming even comes into play--again, the phans were equipped with Woo-X! The tender moments of It seem somehow more compelling to me than the huge jams, upon this relisten (Cf. -> Mountains in the Mist, Pebbles and Marbles.) On the other hand, 46 Days is a kind of transformative, transcendental experience that at the moment is bringing to mind images of the Monolith from Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Phish kind of "breaks through" in a very intriguing way in this jam, kind of dividing the jam pretty much into two distinct halves. My last word on this show (and festival) will be to relate an experience I had with The Lizards from 8/3/03 not long after some friends had returned from It: I "saw," in a Castanedian, Toltec sense (look it up) the limber and pliant nature of a woman's soul dancing to this version of The Lizards as we stood outside friends' house, and well, it's something I'll never forget, and something that I can't honestly say any other band's music has ever inspired my mind to do. God, grant me the serenity to accept the shows I cannot attend, courage to be good phamily at the shows I can, and the wisdom to know that I can always spare some kindness.
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
fhqwhgads IT: Day One. Ya Mar gets to some pretty extraordinary places for an ordinarily Type-I tune. The Reba is one of my top 5, also including 12/31/95, 8/11/98, and 9/14/00. I'm a sucker for Two Versions of Me; it's really a beautiful song whose sentimental yet quintessentially Phishy nature seems to have been carried forward into 3.0, perhaps peaking with Trey's composition of Time Turns Elastic (the parallels are there.) Waves is just an utterly compelling improvisational statement. 2.0 seemed to be very fertile while also very fragile, necessitating (Demand-ing, if you will) a respect on the part of the "scene" that maybe wasn't fully committed to. I don't want to speculate on the breakup, or depending on whether you're a glass-is-half-full person, second hiatus, but IT really shows what we have to lose if we're not carefully kind. Rock and Roll -> Seven Below -> Scents and Subtle Sounds is an amazing near-hour of music, and particularly titillates me because if pressed to declare two favorite songs from 2.0, I'd likely pick Seven Below and Scents and Subtle Sounds, which are here--obviously combined by a patient(!) segue. The Tower Jam is quite more traditionally psychedelic than the Sound Check, although they're comparable in length, consisting primarily of synth palettes and textural ambience that I certainly would have been bummed to have slept through, had I been present. I'm reminded again of @waxbanks' coinage of the term "mycological languor," which leads me to wax philosophical upon whether 1997 and 2003 are somehow more closely related than I had previously pontificated upon. Thank God for Phish.
Score: 0
fhqwhgads , attached to 2003-08-01 Permalink
fhqwhgads Some pretty, nice, ambient swirly stuff before segueing into Skin It Back, then Fishman getting his monitors adjusted before more ambient swirly stuff with a harder edge. Trey's tone, as has been documented thoroughly, is kind of harsh, whether due to the lack of the Ross compressor or what, but this is a monumental achievement that would be the highlight of almost any other band's professional gig, let alone Sound Check, and makes me almost giddy thinking of the krakens that will be unleashed in phans' fragile deemster trenches once Phish resumes releasing soundcheck stuff in soundboard (as with the iTunes Live Phish bonus tracks.) This soundcheck is IMO representative of IT as a cohesive experience--I wasn't there, unfortunately--but in a more raw fashion, even perhaps being let to grow more organically from the band than the 46 Days jam on 8/3/03, but I'll have to review the Tower Jam again before I can compare or contrast it with the Sound Check.
Score: 0
ymhelvetican , attached to 2015-08-15 Permalink
Just want to write a short review on this one. Summer 2015 was a strong tour for Phish, and I think this was one of the standouts of the period. Set 1 was strong, and Run Like an Antelope was an energized closer. Opening Set 2 on Halley's Comet was a great choice, and you can really feel the energy keep up into 46 Days and Bug. The classic Trey antics on the megaphone during Tweezer(s) only solidified this one as high-level for me. If there is any weak point it may be that the encore, while strong, didn't knock me off my feet like some can. Still, quality, quality show. Merriweather seems to always bring out some good jams from the guys, and this was no exception!
Score: 0
CaptainYuk , attached to 1988-06-15 Permalink
(Day 1: Random Setlist a Day Challenge. I will be listening to and reviewing a Random Setlist a day for as long as I possible can. Hopefully my review can be helpful to you. If not, oh well...)
*Please note: I was not present for this show. My review is based on an SBD recording of the show.

This show is interesting in that it a great representation of classic Phish. As was stated by another reviewer, it is completely standard fare. That being said, it is completely SOLID standard fare.

Set I: You get the intimate feel of the the Phish Famous "The Front" venue right off the bat. The Suzy Greenberg is reserved, but tight. Alumni Blues is fun and heats things up a bit. YEM is the peak of this set for me. The jam is epic in a non-epic setting, which makes it very strange, but interesting to listen to. Fluffhead cuts the first verse out in my recording, but it is basically jamless by comparison of other Fluffheads.

Set II: The boys started getting loose and goofy. Fee>Timber is a really great transition; especially for early Phish. I Didn't Know is where all hell breaks loose! It becomes so fun, crazy and disjointed that their are fits of giggles from each band member throughout and you can hear someone in the audience scream "anarchy!" before they head into The Lizards. Funny stuff! First time Contact was played, and it fits perfectly into this jazzy, playful set. 'A' Train also makes the case for this being a real "jazz" set. Whipping Post started out as Run Like an Antelope and veered in another direction. Not sure what happened there, but it wasn't terrible. Not great either. GTBT and Dear Mrs. Reagan were nothing to write home about, but a decent way to close a decent set.

The audio quality of the recording was not terrible, but like this show, it was not spectacular either. Hisses and static are laden throughout. Fluffhead is clearly cut off, but other than that, solid recording for an early venture at a small venue.

3/5 Stars
Score: 1
RobotHeart , attached to 2015-11-06 Permalink
Set One had a pretty good Sand, and the rest of the songs just flowed well. Everyone on stage was having a great time and the moved between songs quickly without much downtime.

Set Two has a great Clint Eastwood, with a goofy segment, and Dazed and Confused just had a lot of umph behind it.

The encore has a very touching moment where Trey talks about Chip Hooper.

I love seeing everyone have so much fun, and the Fox Theater is a great venue to have fun at. Very relaxed inside, with great sound, and I think everyone had a mutually wonderful time.
Score: 1
RobotHeart , attached to 2015-07-05 Permalink
Since nobody else has reviewed it, I might as well...

This show has a really touching moment you can find if you go and find the pro-shot video of the encore, or one that shows the band well.

If you recall, there were large video screens that were showing individual pictures of each member of the Grateful Dead over the years, from Pigpen through Vince. After this, the screens started showing the band on stage individually - Bobby gets a huge scream, so does Phil, but perhaps the loudest one is for Trey. At the moment when the crowd is going nuts for Trey, he turns around and looks at the screen and kind of has a quick moment.

This video should take you to right before the moment, I hope it continues to work.

Anyway, none of the Fare Thee Well shows were particularly spectacular, but each show had moments where IT came out and visited us.

I think it is worth it to listen to each show once, pick out a couple of the jams to revisit, and then put these to bed because none of these shows were particularly tight. It was more of an experience than a musical revelation.

China Cat -> IKYR and MotM > TS are the two segments to remember here. Great stuff.

Set Two has a better Truckin', very happy Trey on Althea, a great Terrapin, another Drums -> Space, and a very morbid song triplet of Unbroken Chain > Days Between > NFA.

The Attics of my Life has the aforementioned nice moment with Trey.

Overall, 7/5 is a good cap for the celebration that was FTW, and it's about on par with the rest of the performances. It has inconsistent moments, brief moments of brilliance, and a mutual feeling of celebration between the musicians.
Score: 1
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