The summer of 1992 was kind of a dry one for the fans. The band made their first foray into Europe opening a host of festival dates for the Violent Femmes and then came back to the US as the support act for Santana on their national tour (after some HORDE dates). Besides three headline shows in VA, the Coach House was the only other full, two set Phish shows we got to see. The Santana tour was decent and had some good/great moments (Stowe rules as does the Exodus from Finger Lakes), but for the most part the Phish sets were way too short and the 30-40 minute sets left little time for exploration. I saw a bunch of the Santana shows and while I fully appreciate Carlos and company, I think I saw enough Santana to last me a lifetime. No doubt that the guy is the man though.
I flew out to California to see my first Phish birthday show at the LA Greek Theatre and was then planning on heading to the Dead shows in Eugene. I hopped onto the plane, opened my USA Today and saw that Jerry Garcia was sick and the shows were canceled. Major bummer. At this point, I did not know the Coach House show was going on. I hit the Greek Theatre show with my friend Cliff and it ended up being pretty solid. Phish (who NONE of the California Santana fans knew) played a good set and I particularly remember jamming out to the Tweezer. I think I was the only one in the venue dancing. All the Latinos were looking at me like I had three heads. Between the Santana and Phish sets I ran into Kuroda on the way to the bathroom and he told me about the Coach House show that was happening two days later– I was stoked! The Santana set ended up being decent too– John Lee Hooker came out to play “The Healer” with Santana and it was pretty epic. I was hoping at some point Trey would come out and wail with Carlos and John Lee but no such luck. It was still a great birthday show. Better than Coventry but not as good as The Lemonwheel…..
Two days later, Cliff and I drove down to the Coach House from his place in Santa Barbara. On the way there I totally hit this old man with the car and knocked him down in the crosswalk, but that’s a whole other story. His wife was screaming but I think he was OK. Sorry. We got to the Coach House around two in the afternoon and there was already a pretty good crowd of California heads. Talked to the folks from the venue and they told me the shown was fully sold out. I begged and pleaded and pulled the “I came all the way from New York” bit, but they didn’t go for it. I ran into Andrew the tour manager and gave him the whole sad sack bit and I was in +1. Thanks Andrew! We milled about the parking lot a bit and I ran into Trey and started talking to him about the Santana tour and stuff….Interesting fact (to guitar players, I guess) was that we were talking about Carlos and his tone (he used a Boogie too, just like Trey at the time). Trey told me that Carlos had turned him onto some Russian amp tubes (Sovtek) and he was trying them out for the first time at this show. I like to think I can hear a slight difference in Trey’s tone but can’t be sure. I am pretty sure he went back to his old tubes shortly thereafter though, but who knows. It was still about two hours from showtime and Cliff and I needed to find some supplies. We met the scuzziest looking guy in the lot and he hooked us up with some sperms. Cliff was a little wary of the scuzzy guy so we met up with some preppy kid who gave him some recycle symbols. Surprise, surprise, the sperm knocked me on my ass. The recycles from the preppy kid were fake. Yeah scuzzy guy!
The Coach House was a pretty small place that hosted a lot of dinner theater but they moved all the tables out for the Phish show. The place was packed and I would guess there were maybe 400 people or so there. Ninja Custodian opened up with their fun brand of rock. I had seen them in Burlington and did not know they had recently moved to LA. Ninja Mike is a funny dude, so I always liked seeing them. Their set was decent and not too long. Phish came out with both guns blazing and you could tell they were psyched to finally play a headline show. The setlist sounds as good as it looks:
Set 2: Suzy Greenberg > It’s Ice > Tweezer > Esther > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Horn > Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin> Hold Your Head Up, Take the ‘A’ Train > Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Cavern
Encore: The Squirming Coil
The show itself has a lot of nice little twists and turns. Just about everything is really well played and has a little something extra. The Buried Alive opener was hot, natch, and the Poor Heart has some really cool stuff inside of it too actually. Landlady is “for Carlos” and the Reba jam is a must hear. Rift is also one of my favorite all-time versions and the Wilson is also a unique version. Really, the whole first set is dope, ending with a solid Bowie. A lot of the California crowd were pretty new to Phish at this time and were just sort of finding their groove with the band. I think nearly everyone was a convert by the end of the first set. The second set is solid too with Tweezer and Mike’s leading the charge. Ninja Mike sits in for Terrapin, prompting some good banter and although everyone was yelling “Flintstones” for some reason, a short Somewhere Over The Rainbow gets dropped on the crowd. The previously mentioned sperm had me bugging the whole show but one thing I remember being so funny was when they played the All Fall Down Signal. Just as Phish had originally planned it, when they played it, I dropped to the ground. All of the people around me started crowding around me, asking me if I was alright and someone went to go get security to help me. It was pretty classic. Not a very under the radar show, but a classic nonetheless and worth revisiting if you have not heard it in a while. The drive home was very amusing and we made it back to Santa Barbara in one piece. Since the GD shows were cancelled we hiked into the Los Padres for an awesome camping trip and ate the rest of the sperm. It was a great time for sure.
The All Things Reconsidered is dead nuts on:
The first set closing Bowie is the goods too:
That is just a small taste though. If you have never heard this show, check it out for sure, it’s a worthy listen.
There are a lot of sources floating around for this show, including the soundboard. I got an amazing Schoeps source after giving blanks to a guy after the show. It was his first show and he taped over some GD masters (Vegas 92) to get the Phish pull. I had forgotten all about it and they showed up at my door like 3 months later. Sounded killer, I should probably transfer them. Anyway, this MP3 source sounds pretty good too though:
This lossless source would sound decent but it is a hair too fast.. Only lossless source being seeded now though: