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:
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