, attached to 1992-07-16

Review by LookTheStormsGone

LookTheStormsGone The Flood Zone was located in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood where a few blocks of clubs & bars could scratch almost any musical itch. In the 90s, holding about a 1000, it was the primary Richmond venue to see big time regional & national touring acts. As a converted tobacco warehouse, it was typically lacking in any comforts. There was a sticky concrete floor, a folding table bar in the back, and an upstairs cat walk. The bathrooms were horribly placed right off the main floor, so if you were at a GWAR show, for example, the likelihood of getting kicked in the face almost made a trip not worth it. The Flood Zone was also well known for a DMB weekly residence that had the little known band alternate between Trax in Charlottesville and Richmond. Phish played here a couple times in '92 before graduating to the Classic Amphitheater the next couple years & then never to return.

What I remember about this show... Place was way oversold. It was hot & humid & back then everyone smoked, usually Camel Lights for the Head crowd. Although it was my first show, the Richmond crowd was more than familiar with the band's music. This is a good time for a shout out to a Deadhead zine called "Unbroken Chain". Before the internet, this is how we learned of the Dead's setlists from the previous tour. It was a lovingly produced zine that could be picked up at a few head shops in the area & was also an important source of info about other bands, local or national, that played in the vein of the Dead. I'm not sure we even used the word "jam bands". Phish was likely to have been featured on the pages of Unbroken Chain, as well as New Potato Caboose, Headstone Circus, and maybe at the top of heap, Indecision. It's probably likely that this is how I first heard of the band in high school.

Back to the show... to my ears on playback, the energy is still palpable on the audience tape. I was immediately taken back by the musicianship, the clean but in your face sound of Trey's guitar, the (seemingly) impromptu dance moves, especially on Guelah, and a style of jamming that I had always dreamed of hearing. If I wasn't addicted by the time David Bowie came around, then that was the lethal injection. Sometimes 1st Sets can almost overwhelm the circuit boards & this is what happened at my first show. I recall bits & pieces of the 2nd Set, but those first several songs of my first Phish experience still have juice.

Overall, it's classic '92 Phish & where I jumped on board. Flood Zone is long gone, but the tapes are still around. Give this one a listen if you're looking to hear the band in lights out, take no prisoners mode (pretty much their mode of choice for all of '92). For jam seekers, the Bowie & Mike's Groove stay in the box, albeit a really sweaty smokey concrete box. I especially enjoy the Weekapaugs of this era. 5 stars minus 1 star for 1st show bias.


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