, attached to 1995-12-01

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Typically intense, complicated late-1995 Phish climaxing early in the second set, when the lucky swine in the audience (and 15 years later *we* lucky swine with CD/tape/mp3 players) are treated to a canonical 30-minute Mike's Groove. This version of Weekapaug is uniquely pleasant - played in an odd key all the way through (as I recall), which causes vocal problems but also opens up the improvisation, helping all four players fend off the temptation to fall back on Weekapaug cliché. After a quiet passage the boys come back in what sounds like two or three different keys; that's mainly Trey's fault, I suspect, but it makes for a gloriously awkward mishmash at the end of a thrilling jam. By late '95 the band had learned to stick with their ideas and see them through, and there's a fluid consistency to this Mike's Groove (and Phish's other playing of the time) that really sets it apart from the music of a year prior.

On the other hand, you *absolutely* need to hear (e.g.) the 11/14/95 Stash and 12/2/95 Tweezer and all of 12/14/95 II and NYE '95 if you're a Phish fan - all available in tasty SBD format, huzzah! - and you couldn't be faulted for tracking those recordings down first. But it might not be a bad idea to do 12/95 chronologically - in which case this Mike's Groove, and the overall energy of this show, will nicely set up that month's listening. It really is a spectacular run of Phish, wholly distinct from the band's other All-Time Great runs (8/93, 11/94, fall '97, the Island Tour, arguably summer '03 and 12/99...?).


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