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The thing that sucks about the Phoenix airport is that the rental car facility is like 400 miles from the airport so unless you leave an extra 3 hours to return your car you will miss your flight.  If you leave your wallet in the rental car and have to take the shuttle twice, like I did, you might need 5 hours.  The good news about missing my flight is I finally have time to do a blog post.  The Front is one of the most storied venues in Phish’s history.  After graduating from Hunt’s and Nectar’s, The Front became the band’s home away from home in Burlington.  According to phish.net, the band played The Front a total of 53 times with Nectar’s and MSG coming in second and third with 43 and 31 times respectively.  I was only able to see the last two shows ever played at The Front, May 11 and 12, 1991, but very grateful that I at least saw those.

The venue itself was fairly non descript.  It was right up the street from the Flynn (if I remember correctly).  Walking in, there was a small area where they would check IDs and take money (no advance tickets), and then you would go to the left and enter the actual performance space.  The room where the band played was a dark rectangular room, maybe 100′ long by 50′ wide?  When you entered from the front area, you entered the back of the room on the side, the stage was to your right.  Stage was only about 2 or 3 feet high (knee height) and the ceiling was fairly low too. Definitely one of the smaller rooms I have ever seen Phish in, but not quite as small as Nietzches or The Haunt.  If you went toward the stage there was an exit to a connected (and related?) place called (I think) the Outback, and it was a small bar that also had an outdoor patio.

The first show of the weekend, 5/11, was a 21 and over show so a lot of people couldn’t get in, including The Duck.   There were a bunch of people hanging out on the curb outside that couldn’t get in.   As a result, it’s the only Phish show I ever actually taped as Duck asked me to bring his equipment in since he was only 20 (even back then I was old).  It’s a good thing as I was the only taper in there that night, and in talking with Shaps a few years later, it appears there wasn’t a board tape in the archives either.

I got in there early to set up the gear in the back behind the soundboard and the place was empty.  It stayed empty for most of the first set.  I would guess there were maybe 50 people tops which surprised me as I figured the hometown folks would fill up the venue.  My first Burlington show a couple of weeks earlier (UVM 4/22/91) was jam packed.  I finally got the tape rig going and this is how it went:

Set 1The LandladyLlamaThe Squirming Coil > Cavern > Divided SkyGuelah PapyrusMy Sweet OneFoamTweezerGolgi Apparatus

Set 2Chalk Dust TortureYou Enjoy MyselfPoor Heart > Reba > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Tweezer Reprise

EncoreTerrapinBig Black Furry Creature from Mars

A pretty standard Spring ’91 show, and nothing too much sticks out for me.  YEM features Tom Baggot on harmonica and the first set Tweezer is pretty good too.  The highlight for me was the encore, which I have featured below.  The show ended up getting more crowded  by the end, but I would still be surprised if 125 people were there.  I’m pretty sure this is the least attended Phish show I ever attended, even smaller than Sessions at West 54th, which isn’t even really a show so I’ll just shut up.

The encore was my favorite part of this show.  Check out the BBFCFM with “Eddie Van Anastasio”: 

After the show it seems like all 125 people ended up back at Fishman’s house that I think he was sharing with Kuroda.  It was a fun party and I got to sit down on the couch with Trey and make a fool of myself while we listened to the Ninja Custodian demo tape.  Later on when I was in the kitchen, somebody came up to Page and handed him a cheap ass Casio keyboard which he proceeded to goof around on and subsequently brought on stage the following night.  I also smoked hash in Fish’s bedroom which smelled really bad (the room, not the hash).  Good times.

The people I was traveling with were more psyched for the next night, because they could actually get in (this night was All Ages).  This proved to be a way more crowded  show even though it was a Sunday.

Set 1Chalk Dust TortureBouncing Around the RoomDinner and a Movie >StashThe LizardsThe Landlady > Destiny UnboundLlamaFee > Foam,Runaway Jim

Set 2David BowieBathtub GinPoor Heart > The Curtain > Golgi Apparatus,MagillaMike’s Song > I Am HydrogenWeekapaug GrooveThe Squirming Coil > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag > Rocky Top

EncoreRun Like an Antelope

I really like this show.  For one, it features Dave Grippo throughout and it’s well played with some funny moments. Landlady>Destiny is  one of my favorite combos and every time the played Landlady in ’91 I was pulling for the Destiny.  Add a horn to Destiny and I’m a happy boy.  Llama also featured the Truth and it too is a barn burner. I’ve featured both of those below.  Second set also had some great stuff.  The Dude of Life came out during Mike’s Song to sing some alternate lyrics which just served to confuse me, but I was super psyched to see Page bust out the Casio from the previous night’s party.  Good stuff for sure.  This would be one of the last shows I would see before the just announced Horn Tour so I made sure to live it up during the final 5 tracks (saw The Marquee and Salisbury the next weekend).  Probably why I don’t remember too much from this show.  I do remember we had to drive back to NYC right after the show to get the Duck to work on Monday morning.  That part kind of sucked but I am pretty sure Duck did all the driving.

Destiny Unbound is one of my favorite tracks.  Add Dave Grippo and you’ve got one of my all-time favorite versions.  

Llama with the brass is great too: 

Lastly,  here is the Mike’s Groove with DOL on vocals and Page on the aformentioned Casio during H2.  Grippo kills it on the Mike’s too: 

As mentioned earlier in this blog, the summer of ’92 was a little bit of an exercise in patience as the majority of shows played that summer were short (45 minute) sets opening up for Santana (besides HORDE and 3 or 4 headlining shows).  While I saw just a handful of these Santana shows, there were only a few standout moments for me as the short Phish sets didn’t allow for a lot of improv or stretching out beyond an 8-10 minute Tweezer or YEM set closer.  Stowe is obviously a highlight with Carlos sitting in and there is that cool Oye Como Va with Fish on vacuum (Hoffman Estates?), but I didn’t attend either of those.  There might be other cool stuff but since most of the Santana sets don’t circulate (they were strictly anti-taping), I’m not familiar with everything that went down on the tour.  So for me, easily the two highlights of the 7 or 8 Santana shows I saw were my first birthday show (8/15/92, Greek LA) and the Finger Lakes show which was a hometown show for me.

I don’t remember a lot about the Finger Lakes show, probably because I drank two 40’s of Crazy Horse malt liquor before the show (remember that stuff?!)  In fact, I remember almost nothing of the Phish set besides the idiot rednecks sitting behind us who kept telling me to “make my ‘girlfriend’ sit down and stop dancing” in reference to my friend Dave (The Duck) who had a pony tail.  Anyway, what I do remember was an unforgettable sequence of the Santana set where Trey, Fish and Page came out for a killer sequence of “Exodus”>”Elmore’s Boogie”(Elmore James)>”The Healer” (John Lee Hooker).  By that point we had moved up 10 rows from the ass hats and were now dead center on the floor.  The whole place came alive during Exodus and both the crowd and the band(s) on stage were just feeling it.  I looked and looked for a copy of this show for over 20 years without luck until about 6 months ago I found a source (two actually!) on dimeadozen.  I was almost in shock when I came across it as I had given up searching so long ago.  Does the tape live up to my memory?  Well, it’s obviously not as sick as watching Trey and Carlos trade licks on a Bob Marley track right in front of you (on Crazy Horse), but it is still super solid and worth a listen in my opinion.  Check it out:

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I couldn’t let the the 20th Anniversary of the first Red Rocks show go by without a quick post.  Spring of ’93 had some great shows,  but when we saw Red Rocks on the docket for the summer, we were overjoyed.  As most are aware, Summer ’93 was a breakthrough tour and the Red Rocks show is one of many highlights from what still proves to be one of the high marks of the band’s career.  I was able to catch the first three shows of the tour, plus Stowe, Jones Beach, Darien Lake, Wolf Trap, Chicago and my birthday show (Kentucky) but due to moving out to California at the exact same time, I wasn’t able to see as many of the shows as I would have liked.  In hindsight, missing the Murat is the one I regret most.  Every show from this tour has something killer to offer, but everyone was looking forward to Red Rocks as the show of the summer, and it didn’t disappoint.

We got to Denver a day or two before and set up camp at my friend Randy’s house in Boulder.  This house had been our home base for all the Colorado shows since ’91.  I had never been to Red Rocks before and so we went mountain  biking around there the day before the show.  Riding around the surrounding area got us even more stoked!  We woke up on show day and it was pouring.  Ugh.  We kept listening to the radio as the show was rumored to be moved over to McNichols Arena due to the rain.  Fuck.  Still, with no word from the radio or otherwise, we made our way over to the venue around 2PM.  It was still gray skies and off and on rain.  We pulled in and parked and even though this was the show of the summer, there was a little ticket shack in the parking lot still selling tickets 3 hours before showtime.  That’s probably the last time there were tickets available at Red Rocks on the day of.  We walked all around meeting up with folks and trying to stay dry and got to hear the soundcheck which was cool.  I don’t remember any songs being played but I remember Page trying out all these really cool synth sounds, some that I still have not heard again to this day.

Finally it was time to head in.  We had a group of about 10 of us and we walked in with a giant tarp.  We were in pretty early (there was no “mad dash” back then) and we walked to just behind the soundboard and claimed our space.  At this point it was POURING and windy so we made a shelter with the tarp and we all sat underneath it and hot boxed for like an hour.  It was all we could do.  Finally we got word that the show was indeed going on as planned:

 Set 1: Divided Sky, Harpua, Poor Heart > Maze, Bouncing Around the Room > It’s Ice > The Wedge, Ginseng Sullivan, Rift, Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light > Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, My Friend, My Friend > Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Cavern

Encore: The Mango Song, Free Bird

As the opening notes of Divided Sky rang out, the skies parted and there was not single drop of rain for the rest of the show.  It’s an amazing version and everyone was in a state disbelief at the beauty of the venue.  The always welcome Harpua was trotted out in a rare second song slot and when they got to the “Look!  The storms gone!” line, the crowd gave a collective cheer.  This show was full of energy from start to finish.  I am not sure how much of it translates to tape but the place was just going off.  I felt like I was hanging on to the back of a rocket ship for the whole show.  There is great playing throughout.  The Wedge is one of my all time favorite versions and was fairly rare at the time having not been played at all on this tour (and not again for another 2 years).  The 4th ever version of Ginseng Sullivan was also great, once Trey got his guitar in tune!  The Rift and Antelope (listen below) was a solid way to close the set to say the least.  The band was obviously loving the venue as much as we were.

The mood during set break was festive and everyone was soaking up the atmosphere and tripping out on the lightning storms we could see over Denver– still, the weather was holding out for us.  The band came back on to open the set with 2001 which had debuted earlier in the tour and was already a crowd favorite.  This is a short and funky version that leads into my personal highlight of the show, the Slave.  An all-time version, this track had eluded almost everyone and was recently brought back the previous week at the Cincinnati Zoo.  I had seen almost 125 shows up to this point and had only seen one Slave so I was DYING for it.  When they dropped into it from the 2001, I was as happy as I have ever been at any show.  It was  true moment of bliss.  They nail the version too.  The rest of the show is great and has some amazing moments but the Slave was really where it peaked for me personally.  The YEM>Purple Rain is very, very good and I even liked Cavern on this night.  It was one of those shows that they could have come out and played only Cavern and it still would have been amazing (in my opinion).  Free Bird sent everyone into the night, giggling down the stairs in amazement of what we had all just experience.  This first visit to Red Rocks is a true highlight of all the Phish shows I have seen and I would easily put it anywhere in my Top 10.

Not too long after the shows, maybe in the Fall, a very low gen soundboard popped up.  The board is a little sterile in my opinion and does not convey spaciousness of the venue but it was still pretty crisp and we were happy to have it.  An MP3 download of that can be found here:  http://www.mediafire.com/?8et51aqmw8yob  Lossless here: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=562929

For years and years I tried to track down an audience version of this show without success and I always attributed it to all the rain and wind and figure nobody got a good pull.  Well, one B&K source did finally pop up in the last few years and it is surprisingly good.  I think a matrix of the two sources might be a winner if someone took the time to do it.  The audience source is my personal choice, and it can be found here, in lossless: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=551745  Sorry, no MP3 link for that one.

Even the flatness of the soundboard can’t tame this Antelope: 

And the Slave deserves a listen any time this show is discussed: 

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OK…contrary to popular belief, I have not been abducted by aliens. While I thought I was for a second during 11/24/90 and I def was during 12/31/95,   this time I don’t have that good of an excuse for my lack of posts (unless kids and a job are what constitutes alien abduction these days).  Also contrary to popular belief, I have not run out of olden times shows to write about- in fact, I have been having a hard time deciding what show to feature next.  I figured I would ease back into it with a short post about the first show of  1995, Lowell Memorial Auditorium.  While I like to generally focus on earlier shows than ’95, this show was attended by so few people (compared to other ’95 shows) that I think it qualifies.

This was kind of unique show for a couple of reasons .  Number one, it was a Pro-Choice benefit and number two, it included some opening acts which is/was pretty rare.  Due to the fact that this was a pro-choice benefit, there was pretty major security.  It is the only show I have ever been to with a picket line and metal detectors.  Because of all of the nutty pro-lifers, you had to show up with ID and your ticket and get a bracelet at the box office.  There were no ticket transfers so you could not get a ticket outside the show, even if you wanted to.  Luckily, we went to the super secret NYC Ticketmaster (Rite-Aid on Delancey) and scored first row tickets (peep the stub above) when they went on sale.  The drive up to Lowell from NYC seemed to take forever. The Duck and I got there and met up with our friend Brooke (RIP) to all go in together.  The scene outside was crazy with the picket line, but we got our bracelets and made it through the metal detectors and into the show. We made it down to our seats on the right hand aisle of the first row in time for EBN (Emergency Broadcast Network).  EBN was actually kind of cool.  They were from Rhode Island and came put with a whole multimedia thing, big screen behind them and stuff.  I remember thinking it was pretty cool and interesting.  Kind of political if I recall.  Jennifer Trynin, I don’t remember too much of.  I think she came out and did a pretty benign acoustic set, but I could be wrong.  After that, it was time for the Phish, and in line with the day up until then, the set unfolded unpredictably:

Soundcheck: Tweezer -> I’ll Come Running -> Tweezer Reprise

Set 1Don’t You Want To Go?Ha Ha Ha > Spock’s BrainStrange Design,RebaTheme From the BottomHold Your Head Up > Lonesome Cowboy BillHold Your Head UpFreeGlide IIYou Enjoy MyselfSweet AdelineSample in a Jar

EncoreI’ll Come Running -> Gloria

It was kinda weird in the first row and nobody was dancing at first, plus we didn’t know any of the songs.  I might be remembering it incorrectly, but the security guards might have been asking us to sit.  Still, Ha Ha Ha was cool and it was great to help pick the name for Spock’s Brain. When they started Reba, people finally got up and started moving.  Recognized as one of the top Rebas ever played, this version is note perfect.  You can listen to it over and over and still be amazed by it.  The first ever Theme From the Bottom kept it going, and it’s a great version.  Lonesome Cowboy Bill was a welcome surprise in the Fish slot and more debuts followed in the form of Free (which I loved instantly) and Glide II (so killer).  A sweet trifecta of  YEM, Adeline and Sample brought the show to a neat close.  I wish I could say that I knew I’ll Come Running when they started it, but it was my two friends, Vinnie and the Duck that went nuts.  They were/are huge Eno fans and they called it in about 3 or 4 seconds.  I’ve really like it and wonder why they only played it this one time.   And Gloria Steinem came out on stage and they played Gloria for her which was obv sick too. People were digging it. All in all a very fun and memorable show.  This show was the launching pad for the next month’s Summer Tour and it got everyone primed for that and the monstrous Fall tour to follow. Back with some more posts soon!

Glide II might be my favorite track from this show: 

I love this debut version of Theme:  

And here is the encore, worth a listen if only for the rarity of these tracks:

MP3 Link to the whole show here:  http://www.mediafire.com/?4g3j6bx9jrp1a

10/7/89 Bates College, Lewiston, ME.

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope everybody had a great one.  I did for sure (and was paying the price for it the last few days…).  Had a blast at MSG and just landed back home after a 6 hour cross country flight (ugh).  Anyhoo, this was not a show I went to so I don’t have a lot (anything) to say about it but I have been wanting to throw this track up on the blog since the second Phish dropped this bomb on NYE.  Without further ado, have a listen to the Fly Like An Eagle Bowie.  Not as earth shattering as the 2012 full version, but still pretty cool.

 

5/10/91 Colby College, Waterville, Maine

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This was a really fun show.  We got to the venue super early in the afternoon and it was a beautiful sunny day on campus. We got there and met up with the promoter of the show who was a student and lived in a teepee back up behind the venue in the woods.  It was a sweet teepee and we hung out there for a good part of the afternoon.  I always thought it was cool of Colby to let a student live in his own teepee on campus.   Earlier in the day, on the way to the show we were listening to a tape we had called “Private Party ’87”.  It was also labeled by some people at the time as 1/1/87. It turned out later to actually be the widely circulated and classic Ian McLean’s Farm show from 8/21/87.  We were listening to this on the way to show, blazed I’m sure, and the McGrupp comes on.  At about the 5:30 mark in McGrupp the song changes to what I was positive was a 1987 Chalkdust Torture jam.  Listening back now it is a little bit of a stretch but not entirely.  An hour or so after we get to Colby I find myself standing next to Trey at the urinals.  Being the loudmouth I am (and the noob that I was) I tell Trey all about the “Chalkdust” jam in the middle of McGrupp.  He just kind of looks over and says, “Huh? Chalkdust and McGrupp…” and walks off.  That night, what do we get during the middle of the second set but a McGrupp>Chalkdust!  The Duck and I bugged out!

Check it:

Set 1David BowieCavern > Ya MarDinner and a Movie > The SlothThe LandladyBathtub GinBuried Alive > The LizardsPossum

Set 2Golgi ApparatusHarry HoodWilson > Poor HeartFoamMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Chalk Dust TortureHold Your Head Up > Love You >Hold Your Head UpMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

EncoreTake the ‘A’ Train > Highway to Hell

Pretty much a dream setlist in my opinion, I mean it’s almost irresponsible of the band to play that many sick songs back to back!   The venue itself was very cool.  Super small with a wrap-around balcony off the floor and a higher one that Duck attached his mics to.  Bowie is one of my favorite openers and this one has a long drawn out intro.  At the time it seemed like the longest intro ever.  By the time Golgi started the second set we were out of our heads and needed some fresh air.  The Duck and I headed outside and laid on the ground outside of the venue listening to the music and watching the stars spin.  It was during Harry Hood that one of two girls walked past us as they were leaving the show and uttered the uber-classic line “I wish they would play some music you could dance to.”  We majorly cracked up for a good five minutes and headed back in for the rest of the show.  It was shortly thereafter that they dropped the McGrupp>Chalkdust and of course I made sure to take full credit for it.  The rest of the second set was awesome and I remember the Weekapaug bass intro being particularly nasty.  Back then an A-Train>Highway to Hell encore was just another day at the office for the Phish but we still soaked it up for all it was worth.  A great night and worth a listen for sure.  That night we all camped out before driving to Burlington for the last ever shows at The Front.  Sleeping in a field under the stars (which were still spinning) was an amazing way to finish the night even though we woke up with soaked sleeping bags and freezing.

Check out the “bucket of lard” Mike’s Groove: 

Also check out the McGrupp from 8/21/87 with the purported/imagined “Chalkdust” jam.  Even if it is not a Chalkdust jam, it’s bitchin': 

The Duck had borrowed our friends DAT deck and Schoeps and got amazing pulls of this night and the following two.  Of course, his mom threw them away by mistake (my mom only ever threw away my 10th  row Halloween ’96 tickets).  I still have the analogs and should transfer them but at this point there are not a lot of great AUD sources for this show (that I know of).  The soundboard is OK, but a little sterile in my opinion.

MP3 (sbd) can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/?qxyc8mediyy96

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There’s been a lot of chatter on the interwebz this last week regarding the upcoming New Years run at MSG with everyone getting their lottery results on Wednesday and subsequent slap in the face from TicketBastard on Saturday.  Hope you all had better luck than I did!  Back in olden times, New Years tickets were not always as hard to come by because  every year the New Year’s show was generally played in the biggest venue they had played to date.  1992 was no exception when the band held their NYE show at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena which with a capacity of 6300 was a big venue for the band.  I purchased a ticket on the day of the show at the box office for $24.50 (roughly the price of a cocktail at MSG!)

Matthews Arena was/is your typical ice rink/basketball stadium but it carries its fair share of history:  Opening in 1910, Matthews Arena (formerly Boston Arena) was the first home of the Boston Bruins (pre-dating the old Boston Garden) and is in fact the oldest indoor hockey arena still in use in America.

1992 was a groundbreaking and solid year for Phish and after a great November and December tour they wrapped it all up with a killer New Years run.  The first two shows at the Palace in New Haven are classics in their own right and the night before’s show in Springfield (with the epic Timber Ho! bust-out) is an all-timer.  After three great shows it might have been understandable if the New Years show wasn’t up to snuff, but the boys delivered what I feel to be a great, somewhat underrated show:

Set 1Buried Alive > Poor HeartMazeBouncing Around the Room > Rift >Wilson > Divided SkyCavernFoamI Didn’t Know > Run Like an Antelope

Set 2Runaway JimIt’s Ice > Sparkle > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > My Sweet One > Big Ball Jam > StashGlideGood Times Bad Times

Set 3Mike’s Song > Auld Lang Syne > Weekapaug GrooveHarpua-> Kung ->HarpuaThe Squirming Coil > Diamond GirlLlama

EncoreCarolinaFire

The 1992 NYE show upheld the 3-set tradition that started the year before and continues to this day (thankfully).  As we were going into the show, they passed out some leaflets with some new secret language symbols that were to be used throughout the show to confuse the folks listening at home on the radio (show was simulcast on WBCN).   Opening up with Buried Alive (always a good sign), it is a fairly straightforward version that switches gears into a Poor Heart that picks up steam after an initial gaff in the beginning.  Maze follows and delivers the goods.  1992 was the year of the Maze and there are so many great early versions from this period.  Other set highlights include a typically good (read: great) vintage Divided Sky, a really sweet Foam, and my pick for set highlight, the Antelope closer which is a rager.

The second set opens with a great Runaway Jim, a song that really started coming into it’s own in 1992.  After a typical It’s Ice>Sparkle combo the band starts the centerpiece of the set, a twenty-minute Forbins>Mockingbird during which they hoist Brad Sands above the crowd dressed as the Famous Mockingbird.  A very good version with a cool narration that makes this one worth checking out for sure.  The rest of the set is good too with a tight Stash and wraps up with a raucous Good Times Bad Times.

At this point, I could have left happy, but then I would have missed the Mike’s Song opener.  When Mike’s opens a set, it’s a treat.  When it opens a third set, it’s even more awesomer.  Especially on New Years.  I think this is the first modern-era Mike’s that was played without Hydrogen in between Weekapaug, instead substituting it for the New Years Countdown and Auld Lang Syne.  The Mike’s is short but sweet with Trey telling the audience to make the most of the last minute of the year.  People were getting the fuck down.  Auld Lang Syne is well played and the celebratory Weekapaug is just pure cream.  I love the transition between the two as well.  As if this was not enough, it’s followed up by Harpua>Kung>Harpua?  Really?  It was my first Kung ( I was a noob once too)  and the first version in over 400 shows.  I was pretty delirious.  This is followed by a gorgeous Squirming Coil with a sweet Page piano outro that is enhanced with some very pretty guitar lines from Trey.  From out of the ashes, the Dude of Life bounds across the stage pushing a lawnmower as the band goes into the Seals and Crofts classic, Diamond Girl.  I for one did not know it was the Dude of Life because he was dressed up as an old man, but it was pretty cool, in a comic relief kind of way.  Llama closes the third set and the band comes back for a Carolina>Fire encore that sends everyone out smiling into the night.  This is a very solid New Years show in my opinion, and it is a little bit overlooked.  In listening back to this show for the first time in long time for this post, I realized that it is packed with quality playing.   After the show, I had the greatest falafel I have ever had in my life (surpassing Mamoun’s even) from a truck outside.  It was so bomb.  The next day as we were driving around looking for an open restaurant we popped on WBCN and they were replaying the whole simulcast so we got to listen to a soundboard of the show the very next morning.  While not at all a big deal by today’s standards, we were totally bugging (and psyched)!  Of course everyone had taped the live feed or the simulcast as well so this show was widely available in high quality directly after the show.

 

Here is a link to a lossless audience source (Neumann RSM 191’s).  I have never heard this one but downloading now.  Seed comes from KS so I am guessing this one sounds good.

http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=556990

An MP3 of the great sounding matrix is here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?uy5i1ffu96y69

The first set Antelope is a burner:

Also, check out the Harpua>Kung>Harpua:

9/28/91 The Rink, Buffalo, NY

Seems like a zillion years since my last post.  Not to worry, I’ve got some good stuff on deck coming soon.  Been a crazy busy summer, so the blog was left twisting in the wind a bit.  Just figured out Twitter too (thanks LawnMemo), so you can follow me now at @backinmydaynet and be alerted when I get a new post up.  Just a super quick one today to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Rink show in Buffalo (and get some new blood up on the blog):

Set 1The Landlady > Bouncing Around the Room > Chalk Dust TortureThe Squirming Coil > My Sweet OneStashEliza > Foam > BrotherGolgi Apparatus,Memories

Set 2LlamaGuelah PapyrusSparkleCavern > Run Like an AntelopeLawn BoyThe LizardsPoor HeartMagillaMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

EncoreContact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

A pretty classic show, this one is most well known for being the show where Trey rollerbladed through the audience  during Weekapaug Groove. I couldn’t find any pictures of The Rink and don’t have a stub for this one because we helped carry equipment in to get on the list.  However, through the miracle of the interwebz, you can peep the venue here. We had hit Ithaca on the 26th and the Warehouse the night before (with Glide debut) and this was third show we had seen before I turned around.  The Duck continued on to Cleveland.  We got to The Rink around 11AM so we could help the band load in the equipment in exchange for a spot on the guest list.  In fact, I almost took Page’s finger off trying to push the load ramp into the back of the JEMP truck.  Glad that didn’t happen!  We were there so early, there wasn’t much to do.  I went across the street to a bowling alley to play some pinball and Gordo came in to use the pay phone.  I remember staring at him like a mental patient, he probably thought I was maniac.  Anyway, we got back into the venue for soundcheck somehow and sat on the floor in front of the stage playing Pocket Boggle while the band soundchecked.  Sometime during that afternoon, Trey had borrowed some Rollerblades from a fan at the show and was trying them out in the rink and outside in the parking lot.  I forgot about it until later in the show.

The Rink was exactly that:  A classic olden times roller rink.  Pretty nondescript (inside and out) with your basic snackbar and maybe a few games.  That was it.  No bleachers or anything.  You walked in, and the stage was right on one end of the rink (by the entrance) and the whole floor was the rest of the rink.  It was a pretty big rink and the whole back half of the floor was pretty empty.  It was kind of run down, but it was actually a pretty awesome venue.  I don’t remember a ton from this show and need to give it a good listen (shoulda listened to whole thing but wanted to get this post up).  They gave Henry from Palo Alto an award for traveling from California to Amy’s Farm the month before (longest distance traveled to a show).  Funny thing, is after that show, I never saw him at any others except NYE 91, I think.

What I do remember (and maybe it just overshadows everything else) is the Weekapaug.  I was in the back and there was a ton of space, literally half the rink was empty and we were rocking out to Mike’s Song.  After Hydrogen, they went into Mike’s bass intro to Weekapaug and it just kept going on and on.  I wasn’t really thinking about it, just enjoying it, but came to realize that Trey was lacing up his Rollerblades.  All of a sudden, as soon as Weekapaug started, there was a handheld spotlight going through the crowd.  The next thing I knew, Trey was whizzing by me, like 2 feet away!  It was sick!  He was going in and around all the people while wailing on the Weekapaug.  We couldn’t believe it, it was so surreal.  At one point he bashed into a girl right next to me and you can hear it on the tape, but for the most part, he just kept skating around and around everyone while the rest of the band was laying it down from the stage.  It was almost like a dream, you could have literally reached out and touched (or tripped) him.  It was so cool.  They also did an awesome thing during Big Black Furry Creature where either Mike or Trey had their legs hanging down from the rafters while the other person was on the ground with their legs in the air going the opposite way.  That was very cool looking as well.  All in all, it was a really fun show.  I am going to spin the whole thing during my road trip tomorrow, and maybe I will report back with other highlights.

Until then, here is the Rollerblade Weekapaug Groove:

The whole show can be downloaded here (MP3):

http://www.mediafire.com/?qgerdib0l641w

While we were leaving town we stopped a gas station and the girl at the register asked if we were in town to see Jesus Jones.  I still get a laugh out of that…..

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I’ve been majorly slacking on this blog,  but I have good stuff lined up if I can find the time. I generally try to focus on older stuff than ’94, but this is such a good show and today being the anniversary, it seems appropriate.  I didn’t get to see a lot of shows on this tour (or 1994 for that matter) but I am glad I caught this one.  Pretty much everyone is familiar with this show, but it’s as deserving of a post as any.

Basically a hometown show, this show was only 25 minutes from my parent’s house (about 5 minutes closer than the Cap Theatre was).  Big Birch (now Thunder Ridge, lol) was a teeny little ski hill that had a concert tent in the summer.  I’d seen Phish there in ’92 on the Santana tour and grew up skiing there countless times as a kid. It was a small hill, but the surrounding area was beautiful. I was living with my parents at the time since I was broke as hell.  I drove to the show with my friends Cutty Sark and Cliff. Neither of them liked Phish or had any real interest in the show but came along because it was something to do.  You had to park at the very top of the ski slope and walk down to the base lodge (shack) area where there was a good size tent set up by the double lift.  It was like a smaller Darien Lake, except there were no seats.  We were walking down the main front slope to buy tickets when they started Buried Alive.  We went up to the lift ticket window and bought tickets, and you could pretty much see the band and hear them so clearly from the ticket booth.  Even though we had tickets, the only barrier to the venue was a yellow rope that was 18″ off the ground.  We stepped over that and were in.  The setlist reads like a dream come true:

Set 1Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample in a JarFoamThe Mango Song,Down with Disease > Fee -> It’s Ice > Fast Enough for YouI Didn’t Know,Split Open and Melt

Set 2PossumCavern -> Wilson-> Cavern > NICU -> Tweezer -> Julius -> Tweezer-> Big Black Furry Creature from Mars -> Tweezer -> Mound >Slave to the Traffic Light > Suzy Greenberg

EncoreMy Sweet One > Tweezer Reprise

The show was super empty because everyone and their brother had gone to Vermont for the first GD shows at Highgate.  We walked right to front of the stage during Sample and stayed there for a while, there was a ton of room everywhere .  Foam really drops down nicely and the Mango Song is super fluid as well.  The Disease is crushing.  A great (fairly) early version.  Burning and a definite set highlight. Fee is always good and the It’s Ice breakdown is a great one with Page leading the charge.  I probably complained about Fast Enough For You when they went into it, but listening back to it now, it’s pure candy.  Like Fee, I Didn’t Know is almost always a winner in my book. When it features Greasy Fizeek on trombone, it’s extra rad.  Split is a cool choice for a set closer and this one is charged from the start.  Another first set highlight and a foreshadowing of the madness to come.  They are so linked up and so disjointed all at the same time, it’s hard to even figure out where they’re going or where they are, but that’s what rules about it. 1994 was monster year for  Split.

The second set is almost beyond description.  While the playing is loose (some would say sloppy), the chances they take during this set are almost unmatched.   The opening Possum keeps building and building and a small misstep at the close of the song leads to a classic vocal jam that propels this version even higher.  One of my all time favorite Possums. I probably groaned again when they started Cavern, but as soon as they started the Wilson lyrics, my frown turned upside down.  When they went back to the Cavern vocal reprise, I was on cloud nine.  My friends of course, were unimpressed.  NICU is a great version that gets crazy at the end.  A solid vehicle to drive us up to the Tweezer.  Basically, this whole show dissolves into a massive Tweezer sandwich with a sick Julius, a C&W Big Black Furry, a Slave, a Suzy that is half Slave and a bunch of other awesome other stuff (like Mound) .  Just go play it.  Words can’t do it justice, so I won’t try.

We hiked back up the ski hill to my car but I was too drunk to drive.  I took off my backpack and laid on the ground looking at the stars and tried to wait it out until I could drive.  Finally, Cutty Sark said he could drive so we all hopped in and took off.  The traffic was still terrible getting out of there and we went about 1 mile in 30 minutes.  It was after 30 minutes that I realized I left my backpack in the parking lot.  Cutty pulled a u-turn and we headed  back to the venue.  When we got back up to the top parking lot, it was completely empty, not even any staff around.  My backpack was sitting in the middle of the field, untouched. Phew.  We pulled back down but decided to go right out of the parking lot this time instead of left because of all the traffic we had before.  I found out the next day the traffic was because of a giant DWI roadside check and people were getting fully yanked from their cars.  Phew.  Anyway, it was a great, great show.  A little ragged at times, but I never get tired of listening to it.  A classic for sure.

Check out this first set Split Open and Melt: 

The BBFCM is epic: 

I don’t know about too many sources of this show, just the FOB B&K, which sounds like a board, and the board, of which I have only seen the second set circulate.  The B&K might as well be a board though it sounds great and I prefer it.  There is some confusion out there though and some people think there is a matrix source.  They all sound good, so I don’t care.

The mp3 can be found at : http://www.mediafire.com/?f92yl448oj9xu

Lossless is here: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=556737


To wrap up their mammoth Spring ’91 tour, Phish played one final show on the UVM campus at Billings Student Center in the tiny Cooks Commons cafeteria.  This was billed as an Earth Day show (as was the previous day’s show at Potsdam).  My friend Brooke was organizing the show so we arrived in Burlington early in the afternoon and started helping her set up.  My job was to go get the hummus and bagels for the band room.  This was possibly the smallest show I have ever seen.  The place was PACKED but there could not have been more than 200 people there.  The place was a tiny cafeteria.  It was surrounded by windows but they had covered them all up so people couldn’t see in, I guess.  We set up our taping gear in front of the soundboard which was about 25′ back from the stage.  I think there was only one other tape rig there. As with the previous nights at the end of this tour, the band was primed from two and a half months on the road.  That said, I think everyone was a little tired from the long tour.  Still, you could tell the band was stoked to be home and the show was a good one:

Set 1The Curtain > Runaway JimThe SlothRebaPoor HeartLlamaGuelah PapyrusThe Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg,  TweezerTweezer Reprise

Set 2Chalk Dust TortureBathtub GinUncle PenThe Landlady > Destiny Unbound,The Squirming CoilStashMy Sweet One > The LizardsHighway to Hell

EncoreLawn Boy > Rocky Top

Phish.Net lists Tweezer and Tweezer Reprise as Encore 2’s, but that’s incorrect.  Tweezer was played after Suzy and then they brought the whole crew up to the stage and presented them with personalized bowling balls to thank them for a successfully completed tour.  Apparently, there were some heated bowling matches that occurred throughout the tour.  It was a pretty sweet gesture and once the crew had left the stage, the band closed the first set with a very early version of Tweezer Reprise.  This was a really fun show to attend and a great way to cap off a monster tour.  Of note is the first ever Poor Heart and a great Gin.  After the show, I went back to the band room to clean up the hummus and Mike was there macking on it.  There was pair of Fish’s drum sticks on the table but Mike seemed to be the last guy there.  I asked him if I could grab the sticks since everyone else had cleared out and he just kind of shrugged, so I have the sticks used to play this show in my closet.  The sources of this show that circulate leave a bit to be desired.  The source in the link below has a slightly too slow first set and a slightly sped up second set….I’ll have to grab the masters AUD’s from the Duck and transfer them.  I could not find a lossless source online.

Even with the lacking sources, this Chalkdust sounds good and was a hot way to open the second set:

And this Lizards remains in top 3 of versions I have seen.  It was amazing on this night and possibly the set highlight (which is rare for Lizards!):

Here’s a link to the MP3 source but it’s got some pitch issues.  Still, it’s worth a listen until the better source gets posted: http://www.mediafire.com/?buze652m2s6us


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