, attached to 1994-11-22

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads This review is occasioned by the LivePhish archival release. At this point, nearly 3 weeks after the conclusion of my favorite post-breakup (or 3.0) Phish tour, Summer 2015, listening to pre-hiatus or 1.0 Phish, and perhaps especially Fall '94 Phish, is in some ways a different enterprise. You might've heard the Funky Bitch -> Jam -> Yerushalayim Shel Zahav as filler on Live Phish 18, and I suppose that's the meat of the show if you're a jamhound, but when I'm with 11/22/94, it enjoys myself.

Type II had become a phixture by August '93, but some of the Type I songs in the first set seem to blur the boundaries between Type I and II, referring specifically to Foam (which has what I would contend is a "silent jam" portion--replete with "shushing.") Guyute has a slightly atypical intro, not to mention a seemingly different timbre to Page's clavinet than what we hear circa 2015. The vocals in this show are finely tuned, though we get some typically Phishy embellishments and variations that don't crop up quite as often in the "Common Era," if you will. Bouncing Around the Room has a zip to it, and Down with Disease boasts some fine machine-gun Trey.

Now to business: the aforementioned sequence that appears on Live Phish 18! The Funky Bitch jam covers a lot of territory even considering its near-30-min. length, veering from blues, to pre-97 funk that seems truer to the "cow funk" moniker as bestowed in The Phish Book than that of '97 and onwards, at least in the synaesthetic sense that the term conjures up images of a perhaps less streamlined--or professional--variety of the polyrhythmic grooving that wouldn't be as musically goofy again by the time Phunk became the theme of arguably that entire year.

The Beatles covers are very appealing to me as a big Beatles fan and a big fan of Phish covering the Beatles, and the bluegrass segment of the show that somehow segues out of Big Black Furry Creature From Mars is accomplished both musically and vocally. I think if I'd been seeing Phish in '94, I wouldn't've tired at all of the frequent mini-hootenannies that popped up in a lot of the shows that year. Harry Hood displays hallmarks of this era of Phish, and is in my opinion one of the signature songs that best exemplify the spirit of '94, along with probably Reba, You Enjoy Myself, and Tweezer, among others (though Tweezer proved representative for different reasons.) Highway to Hell serves as a fun, irreverent, but seemingly effortless victory lap, and oh yeah, this show also has a Lizards encore. ;)

Overall, a 5-star show to my ears that certainly merits official release, and one in which a different stripe of phandom may be on display. We know that Phish shows form out of a potpourri of factors, not least of which is the attentiveness, energy, and courtesy of the audience. It's nice to hear how appreciative phans were on this Tuesday night almost 21 years ago: how aware they seem to be that they were witnessing magic that would continue to evolve through the genuine joie-de-vivre that most characterizes Phish music--to me, at least--and the kindness of fellow music lovers who at this point in Phishtory were in on what was still part secret, part invitation--or even dare--to take the highway to the great divide of one's youthful enthusiasm for adventure, be it solely musical, or for many of these adventurers, something much greater than the sum of its parts.


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