Something has been compelling me lately to go back and listen to some of the older shows that I was at and in doing so, of course (in most cases) a flood of memories roll in… Thanks to the keeper’s of the music and the tapers – I had a really bad copy of the show, but the one I pulled off of the spreadsheet was head and shoulders above. This was not my first show, but it was my first show. Being young and noob-like in 1995 I lived by the too much too fast motto and don’t remember much of my first show (Niagara). The lot = yes. But the show = no. When I got word that my friends had gotten me a ticket for the Buffalo show I was bound and determined to be at the top of my game for this show. In the ensuing year since the Niagara show my love affair with the Phish had truly begun and as we barreled down the i90 in an old beat up CJ7 my excited mounted. A friend of ours who was going to the show had an apartment in the city and we gathered there before making our way to the subway. This was my first anything at the Marine Midland Arena, which was pretty much brand new at the time… The lot was rocking and I remember that the cops were being pretty cool. It was cold for October and everyone was bundled up pretty good. My friends had dosed before leaving the apartment but I stayed free and clear as per my plan. This comes into play later on in the evening… Eventually we wandered into the venue – my first time there as it was brand new (replacing the old Buffalo Aud). Our seats were Page side, not too far up and I was on the end of a row – so I had some space to get my groove on.
Set I – the lights went down and the strains of My Friend floated up to us and we were off. Solid and well played and then right into Rift. A raucous version – again straight ahead and it kept everyone moving. Up next was Free. I dig this tune – dark subject matter – around 4:45 or so it starts to go out there a bit. No crazy Type II but a nice jammed out version. A quick break in the action and then that circus intro could only mean one thing – Esther was up! A flawless version in my humble opinion – Esther never goes way out there in the jam department, but it’s still one of those songs that makes up the nucleus of Phish… Out of Esther and into Llama. Llama was well played and fun for all. This is when I notice my friends – they looked scared as shit and were standing stock still… Something was up with their trip and I was damn glad that I was not on it. Beside’s Gumbo was up and it was (and still is) one of my favs. Again – a solid version – nothing crazy out there. Out of the Gumbo and into Disease – this rocked out pretty good – not Fall 97 good, it stayed within the confines of Type I, but full of heady jamming. There was a good Page part at 8:22. The end did seem a bit rushed though… Out of Disease and into Caspian, which worked – other than Esther, it was the only slow down for the first set. A rocking Frankenstein – the place went nuts (except my friends) and that ended set one.
Set break my friends seemed to relax a bit, but they were still on a different wave length than most of the other folks in the building… Not exactly 15 minutes, but before long the boys took the stage and so started the second set.
Set II – it’s not on the recording that I pulled off of the spreadsheet, but I’m fairly certain there was an audience chess move in there. A Floyd tease and then into Bag – good stuff here and it got the second set off to a great start. Everyone was getting down – then Sparkle kept us all moving. Sparkle into Slave – a very solid version indeed – well worth the price of admission alone and another song that only Phish could do. Next was Bouncing – a nice quick, tight version. Split Open was very good – weirdness ensues at around the 10:12 mark and then is reeled back in pretty quick… Fluff was in the next slot – Fluff came to New York – the only Fluff I’ve ever seen – again, another well executed song in Set II. Swept Away and its companion Steep brought us down for a few minutes of rest and then some screaming at the end woke us all up and the melodic note of Antelope came gently out of said screaming. At the 5:20 mark they go out there a bit – and I thought for sure that would be the end of the set, but they came back out for some acapella magic – HMB and then they made their way off stage… ….for a few minutes and then for the first encore – Fee with megaphone!! Despite a lyric flub it was fun to hear/witness. After Fee into a quick, ripping Rocky Top and it was over… A solid show all around – not much in the way for you lovers of Type II, but nonetheless a good show.
Back into the cold night we made our back down Main Street. Somehow we ended up at a TGIF’s (or some sort of chain place like it) – not a good place for the freaked out, but after a few beers everyone seemed to come down a bit and eventually we trekked back out into the cold, found a cab, stuffed all five of us in and then made our way back to the apartment…
An ordinary Fall '96 Phish show in every way; nothing wrong but nothing essential. This was my second concert - headed up to Buffalo with a handful of friends and managed to win some converts, as I recall. The band wasn't pushing the envelope at this point, though a major creative breakthrough occurred just two weeks later in Atlanta (the 'Remain in Light' set), which would start the band on the expansive-minimalist path that dominated their late-90's music. How's this for a jerky suggestion: if you're just assembling your Phish collection for the first time, skip 1996 altogether, or grab the Ball and 12/6 and be done with it. There's plenty of fine music in there but it's all transitional stuff - the kind of material you'll hear differently, knowing where it's leading.
Offering a different take on this show, I found it to be fairly inspiring for an early '96 Fall Tour show. As tour developed, this show stands out with some very high moments. The entire first set is a keeper, and at the time left me pretty excited. Although we get a standard (at the time) MFMF opener, the rest took off with a heavy and welcomed Free, the rare Esther into a high-powered Llama, and the first hints of the jams that would come from the now classic Down with Disease. Of particular note for the first set is the Disease, in that, at the time, it wasn't known as a jam vehicle like it is now. I'm not sure of the timings of the jam for this show, but my memory reminds me how charged it got me, and I was left shaking my head at what had developed during this version.
Set II kicked off with a couple high energy crowd pleasers that I imagine had me feeling a bit jaded, but they were warm-ups for a beautiful rendition of Slave that had us on our knees. Again, they quickly moved to another sing-a-long, but dosed the kidz with a heavy Split that reminded us why we tour. Darkness enveloped the previously joyous crowd, and all was right with the world. Keeping the mindset of deranged fools spinning around the cement floor, they dropped a euphoric Fluff joined by the still fresh, and weird, Swept Away>Steep, the moving into a raging, full-throttled Antelope. This show is a keeper, and a perfect mix between the weirdness, and the crowd pleasing, as evidenced by the Fee, Rocky Top encore. Don't skip it in your research back into Phishtory.
i meant PINK FLOYD tease above lol
Solid AC/DC into sparkle. Very nice sign.in light of the sort of lethargic europe toru in the summer these earl fall shows leading unto the Garden the chicago on halloween are a blast to listen to. this fun pairing in Slave!
nothing earth shattering except the early placement of it.
Bouncin is just continuing the old hits theme.
Very yummy SOAM goes TYPE II and interesting ending ta boot! then continuing with the great pairings they bust out FLUFFHEAD!! buff said.
always awesome. They range in the jamming at the end of course but consistently delivers. Trey flubs a lick but its in rhythm so it doesn't matter. The check it out part is always fun. by the time we hear life is just a bunds of joy you are ready to take off....some jams make you just want them to play the song all night. This is one of them. nothing particularly crazy but the chords are so beautifully major you gotta love it. I compare all fluff jams to clifford ball. this was pretty close in terms of Trey's focus.
Swept away steep are perfectly placed in between the Antelope that makes this another clifford ball referenced set. The second set 8/17/96 is probably Phish's most realized vision of a Phish set. The slave in the early part of this set made this a humdinger . This Antelope has to be otherworldly to approach 8/17/96. actually trey starts this jam off with the same theme as the clifford ball version but in a lower octave. the band lon=ves it so we can enjoy it lol! this time there are no dancers spinning above Trey's head so they focus. wow Trey takes us type II with a '92 like ferocity. Fish just lays it down with the double bass and then when they bring it back to the antelope theme is just ' lite werk'. this is what they were born to do. easy. Phenomenal. Only reason this isn't better than the clifford ball version is because that was clifford ball and there was a dancer hanging above the stage and the crowd was going bonkers and so was trey.
The crowd deservedly goes crazy on this night though.
re: the Mound quote/tease in Antelope>>>@ 8:31 Trey starts a nice little scratching rhythm...as soon as he ends that (8:46) Page plays a quick lick from Mound followed by Trey (8:52) who, immediately following, comes in with the "rye, rye, rocco" lyrics....nothing huge but it's there...upon relistening to this entire show for the first time in AGES, it's clear that this show is the peak of the opening four shows of the tour...in an unparalleled event, i remember that every person in the group i went to the show with got every tune they wanted to hear (hahaha, because Frankenstein already has one built-in, my buddy even got to hear a Fishman drum "solo"!!!)...admittedly, my greed this night was a perfect set up for disappointment but Phish must've, somehow, been reading my psychedelicized mind as MFMF, Free, Caspian, Slave & Fluff were all on my wish list...the tour undoubtedly picked up steam in the later stages, ESPECIALLY after Halloween but, for only four shows in, this one is a keeper
I woke up the day after my first phish show a new man, and it had nothing to do with the chaotic events that occurred after the show. These events included: me going to a bar with a fake id, did i mention it was a nudie bar? Did i mention my girlfriend was waiting at a party while my friend took me to this bar with his roommates id that said i was a foot shorter than i was, or that the bouncer at the bar didn’t look twice at this id and let me in but hassled my friend for five minutes. I learned a few things at that bar, the one that i’ve kept with me was my love for Budweiser, my friend ordered two bud bottles and told me that i should always order bottled beer cause girls will think you had money and that Budweiser is the king of beers, it says it on the label and that is all you need to know. That same friend now drinks yingling because Budweiser sold out to a foreign conglomerate. Cracks me up thinking of this night. My friend Hippie Mark also broke my friend’s blender, it shattered all over the kitchen floor, good times. My girlfriend wanted to kill me but we survived, mostly cause we woke up and had that feeling. If you are a fan of phish you know that feeling. The feeling that you get to see phish play a concert that night. I had no idea about this before my first show but now i cherish this feeling and always will moving forward.
We drove from Pittsburgh, stopping in Erie, then heading straight to lot. My one lot memory is this dog that walked by us and Hippie Mark telling me that that dog is at every show. It really cracked me up. I was convinced that Mark knew this dog, had seen it at every show and maybe he had. God love lot dogs. I sort of felt bad for the dog though, it was cold, snow flurries in the air, we headed inside to the brand new hockey arena. I think it was one of the first events in the arena. That was the first year hockey took place there. The Marine Midland Arena was pristine. Felt like walking into a giant palace or something. We found our seats and soon the lights went down.
I really didn’t know any of the songs, and nothing struck me too hard in the first set, or rather, nothing stood out in the sense that i loved it all. Completely taken by this world. The band together are one, the music flying around, trying to catch up to it with your mind/body. I was still learning to dance, and still am, always on going. At some point in my phandom i put it together that dancing is just trying to move your body to the music, becoming one. I doubt it was at this show, happened much later i believe. The highlight of the set for me was the closer, again the only song i knew all night and this time a cover, my classic rock upbringing had paid off and i recognized Frankenstein by the Edgar Winter Group. It is a famous instrumental that was the quintessential example of “ping-pong” stereo as my dad called it. This was his definition of how when stereo became big, producers loved putting big back and forth moments to show it off. This song has one of these moments and that was why i knew the song so well.
I was in a hurry to get to the bathroom and beat the crowd to the concourse, i’ll never forget seeing a hippie girl flying towards me. She wasn’t flying but rather simulating this act arms as wings and screaming as she pingponged down the concourse. She also graduated with me from our tiny high school about two and half hours south of our current location. We recognized each other and had one of those great minute long conversations you have at set break, recounting the set and how great it was and then remembering you are on a mission to the bathroom. She was shocked to see me there as i wasn’t part of that crowd in high school. We’d run into each other a lot over the next few years and soon the second set was upon us.
The second set was another adventure and i fell in love with “Slave to the Traffic Light”. I didn’t realize it to a while later, stuck in traffic oddly enough a weekend later i asked my crew what was the song they played after the “laughing laughing fall apart one”, i went on to describe it as a long “guitar thing”, i guess this was also the beginning of my being a “TreyFan”. There is so much more to Slave but Trey’s guitar got to me that night and i was sad to learn in traffic a week later that there wasn’t a studio version of Slave. How silly was i that i thought studio versions of songs were superior. The Set ended with my first acapella experience which just made things even crazier. I knew the second encore song “Rocky Top” which was fun as all get out and i couldn’t wait to get to another show.
MY FRIEND MY FRIEND IS A HAUNTING TUNE IN ITSELF
when the boys lead off with it and lay into it like this it is downright scary. the crowd recognized this lol
awesome opener followed by a blistering rift
Free and esther is a nice pair. High energy surprisingly
Gumbo!! always awesome to hear.
This is a classic Down With Disease. Straight PHISH rock glory funk!! When Trey is at his best is when he shows that he can destroy a theme anywhichway riding the beat and allowing his friends to influence the theme he bounces off our ears. Mike deserves a lot of credit here for laying t=down the groundwork for a breathtaking jam that never hints of searching./ They were pumped!! a great glimpse into a great two week start of the fall tour.
Nice flog tease before A crowd fav AC/DC kicked off an anticipated second set
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