Category: 1993


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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: 


2/6/93 Roseland Ballroom, NYC, NY


I freaking love this show for some reason.  I think it is super solid throughout.  Third show at Roseland and the best of the four times they played there in my opinion.  Could have been the four-way  paper (well, you can’t just eat a part of a strawberry, right?), but the tapes support my claims.  In my opinion Roseland is a pretty meh venue with poor sightlines and a kind of generic feel but it is certainly a historic venue having hosted some of the greats back in the day (Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Glen Miller).  Found out while doing this blog entry that Roseland was originally opened in Philly in 1917, but relocated to NYC in 1919.  Huh.  My first time at Roseland was seeing The Kinks and Cyndi Lauper on 12/31/84 which was a pretty rad New Years show for the time (for a fifteen year old).  I had also been to the 3/14/92 show the year before.  The night before (2/5) was pretty good and featured the just brought back Punch You In The Eye.  I also caught my first Lovin’ Cup which had debuted earlier in the week.  The 2/6 show has some great stuff.  Somewhat pedestrian setlist, but lots of surprises and standout versions:

Set 1Golgi ApparatusFoamWilsonMy Friend, My FriendMazeHorn,Divided SkyLawn BoyThe WedgeBouncing Around the Room > Run Like an Antelope

Set 2Chalk Dust TortureMoundStashSweet AdelineAll Things ReconsideredMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug GrooveLifeboyUncle PenBig Ball JamHold Your Head Up > Lengthwise > Buried AlivePossum

EncoreFire

First set started out innocently enough with Golgi, and was pretty well played.  Set highlights are Divided Sky and The Wedge (which was brand new and my first version), but it is not until the set-closing Antelope that we really got a hint of what was to come.  Antelope is sick.  I was basically worthless by the time they came out for the second set.  I planted myself on the edge of the tapers section and instead of my usual freaking out, I just stood there and stared at the stage drooling on myself. Really.  I distinctly remember wiping my own drool off of my chin and chest during Lifeboy.  Chalkdust gets things going and then we have one of my favorite versions of Mound.  It’s an excellent version.  By the time they all the surrounded the microphone for Adeline, it looked to me like their heads kept rolling off of their shoulders over and over.  It was pretty cool.  All Things Considered is very well played as well.  I love the Mike’s Song and the extra effort and alternate lyrics make this an all-time version.  The Hydrogen is great and features the “walking through the fog” bit that used to be so killer.  Weekapaug rips.  Possibly the set highlight.  Next up is the second Lifeboy and by this time I was on another planet.  As they kept saying the God never listens lyrics (which I was hearing for the first time), I kept seeing Trey as the devil, horns and all, coming out of his red hair.  It was unforgettable. Next up is a solid Uncle Pen with a great Mike solo and smooth playing throughout.  Gordo shines on this version.  When they started Lengthwise, the whole crowd held up lighters (prompting some funny banter from Fish) and it was very cool to see.  The whole place was a sea of flame.  Super dope.  As they wound down Lengthwise, they push this giant covered box out onto the stage.  Nobody knew what it was.  As they started Buried Alive, the box started to move around and as they enter into it full blast, it is uncovered and we see Popper in his wheelchair (from bike accident) and when he rises up from the wheelchair and starts to blow, the crowd went nuts!  Awesome song for Popper to play on and another set highlight. Possum with Popper was cool as well.  We got some more shenanigans during the encore with some “fake” flubs from Gordo who is promptly replaced by Noel Redding for Fire.  Sick!  This second set is monster and well worth seeking out if you have not heard it.  I listened to it for the first time in a long time while doing this review and it still delivers.  Big time.  This was a killer night.  After this show we went down to the Wetlands to see Shockra and Fish came out and made a surprise appearance on stage with the vacuum, which was cool.  Left there around 4AM and since the strawberries were still kicking, headed to an insane Lalalandia party in Brooklyn that was still going strong (really strong) when we left at 7AM….Epic night…..

Super hard to pick a track from this show, every track from the second set is worth showcasing.  Since I have yet to feature a Mike’s Song in this blog (!?!), I’m gonna go with the Mike’s>Hydrogen>Weekapaug, it’s an all-time favorite of mine.  Enjoy:


Also, check out this Buried Alive. It rules face:


There is a new source for this show that popped up recently, an Elliot Byron source no less.  If you are into having the lossless version, get it here: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=518582

For lossy/MP3 (not Elliot’s) go here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?87b87qfv1by9m

4/23/93 Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

This was a good show.  Pretty small for the time, it was held in the school gym/basketball court.  I had caught the beginning of this tour, then some of the middle stuff in Colorado and this was the first one back on the east coast for me.  Again, this was another marathon tour that started in the beginning of February.  Almost 3.5 months, culminating with the masterpiece that is 5/8/93 (Hi Carlotta!).  This show was the “Spring Fling” concert for Colgate and as such, there were a wide variety of attendees, only about half of which were Phish heads.  I do remember getting into this show was one of the greatest squish-fests of all time.  I think I may not have even had my feet on the ground when I was crushed through the door.  Same thing happened to me for Pink Floyd in ’87 at Giants Stadium, but that’s to be expected at a stadium show, not a Phish show on a college campus.  By the time we got in, we were mostly all the way back on the floor, which was still really close to the stage.  Phish was basically playing under where one of the basketball hoops  would be and the back of the floor was pretty much the other hoop.  It was small and packed. This was not the kind of college basketball arena you would find at a larger university, it was a small gym.  Incidentally, the Dead played this same room in 1977 which is pretty unbelievable.

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Weigh > Sparkle, Split Open and Melt, Fluffhead, My Friend, My Friend> Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Lawn Boy, Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2: Golgi Apparatus, MazeThe Ballad of Curtis Loew, It’s Ice > Paul and Silas > Big Ball Jam, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove[3], Hold Your Head Up > Lengthwise >Hold Your Head Up,The Squirming Coil, Highway to Hell

Encore: Fire

The first set is very well played but fairly pedestrian.  Highlight for me was an acoustic guitar ending to Fluffhead that lead into the acoustic intro to My Friend, My Friend.  It’s butter.  Second set starts with a typical Golgi that launches into a pretty smoking Maze.  After Maze came the first show highlight for me, the rarely played Curtis Loew.  I had seen 106 shows up until this point and had still not seen the Lo-Lo.  It was my white whale.  Obviously, I was freaking the fuck out when they played it.  Great, great version too with Page giving it his all vocally…  And, unless you count the Big Cypress Soundcheck (which I do, and don’t), it was the only time I have ever seen it in  320 shows. A very  well-played version  of  It’s Ice follows with the EZ-gliders which was always pretty cool.  All Spring ’93 It’s Ices are choice IMO and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Worth seeking out.  I was enjoying this show for sure and honestly could have left happy after the Curtis Loew.  Next, we get a Paul and Silas which is pretty much my cowboy tune of choice.  After a ball jam we get to the meat of set, a sweetly placed mid-set Mike’s.  The Mike’s has a killer intro and the Hydrogen is money, but the highlight of this is by far the Weekapaug.  It is the the pinnacle of the show for sure and one of my top all-time Weekapaugs.  There are so many great ones out there, but this one goes places I have not heard before or since.  Do yourself a flavor and check it out below.  The rest of the show does not reach the heights of the Weekapaug, but it is still great.  Mimi Fishman comes out (as was an upstate tradition) and does a great job playing the vac with Jon on Lengthwise which also has some funny banter, and then a Coil and Highway to Hell to close the set.  During Highway to Hell, Mike picked up some of the team cheer signs (We Win In Our Gym for example) and held them over his head for most of the song.  It was then I realized that there is no bass part during the verse section of Highway, he only plays during the chorus.  Huh.  Fire topped it off nicely and we all left happy for the short drive to Potsdam for the next nights show at Clarkson.  All in all, this show has some very good playing and is definitely worth downloading and digging into.

At the very least, this Weekapaug Groove is a must-hear:


(Edit to Add:  The file for the Weekapaug keeps going missing for some reason– I am working on it and re-posting as it happens….sorry…If it’s gone, check back later, it’s worth it!)

For fun, here’s my one and only Curtis Loew:


MP3 of the whole show is here: http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=e64969679d601a07ab1eab3e9fa335caa5253c9a0cc788a6

Lossless version is here (thanks Superfreakie!): http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=549664

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