Latest Entries »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

Advertisements

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…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


**Edit to Add:  See the comments  from a reader, the first track may not be from Wendell session.  I am looking into it.  Anyway, I’ll leave the post up so the tracks can be heard, but I might be fully wrong on the source.  Stay tuned!**

**Edit to Add Part Deux:  Please disregard original post.  The first track, now amended to read 1995, was recorded sometime in early 1995, not 1990 as originally posted below.  Thanks to Kevin Hollo for bringing my lack of fact checking to the forefront!  Either way, I think both versions are worth a listen or two.**

Here’s another quickie post from the Wendell Studios session….This is the Strange Design from that session, 5 years before it made it’s debut on stage.  I never realized it was such an old song.  While we’re on it, I’ve included the studio version of Strange Design that was recorded for the Billy Breathes album but was cut from the LP and only made it onto the “Free” CD single… This song really hit home for me on New Years ’95…Other times, not so much, but depending on your mood it can be great (kinda like Waste)…I think the studio versions are pretty interesting (I especially like the ’96 version) and it’s cool to hear the progression…

Studio Version 1995:

Studio Version 1996:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

20 years later, I’m still upside down….Boom! Time to break out the big guns.  This show  takes no prisoners.   A complete and total onslaught straight to the dome.  A psychedelic hoedown of astronomical proportions.  There are certain shows that demand inclusion in anyone’s Top-5 Attended list: New Years ’95, Amy’s Farm, Big Cypress, Binghamton ’92 (or ’95), Halloween ’94, the list goes on.  There are about 10 shows that make the rotation in my Top 5 attended list, but this show is never, ever, excluded.  Can’t believe it has been twenty years.  I am being 100% truthful when I say that this show, particularly what I experienced during the strobe lights of Mike’s Song, changed my life forever. Mike’s Sanity Sloth Mango?  Are you kidding?  It’s a miracle I made it out of the show alive.  It sounds like I am joking, but I’m not.  The Forum was a pretty nondescript venue but intimate and the sound was incredible.  We were in the 11th or 12th row, dead center, and it was just a sheer wall of deafening sound.  This show was loud as fuck. This show happened to take place on the Vernal Equinox (which today is too).

Set 1Wilson > RebaBrotherGlide > RiftFluffhead > MazeThe LizardsMound >Run Like an Antelope

Set 2Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug GrooveSanityThe Sloth,The Mango Song > CavernUncle PenHarry HoodCold as Ice > Terrapin > Cold as IcePossum > Secret Language Instructions > Possum

EncoreLawn BoyFire

Out of the gate, the Wilson is highly psychedelic.  Next the band slams into a tight Reba, playing like they’re out to prove something. The Reba jam is to put it mildly, glorious, albeit short.  The perfect blend of that early discordant funk, with drive and melody.  So tits.  Every song in the first set offers more of the same.  Highly charged playing that left everyone short of breath.  The “alligator pit” Brother is probably my favorite all-time version and was the real start of the the brain bludgeoning.  In my opinion, the song really came into it’s own in on the Spring ’92 tour.  Glide and Rift are both spot on, really well played.  The Fluffhead is letter perfect.  Fishman shines throughout this whole show, and I really love his playing on this Fluffhead.  The Fluff jam pwns.  The segue into Maze is glass and gravy.  Maze continued the slaughter and enters Brother-type jam territory  and I think everyone was happy to get a breather with Lizards and the fourth ever version of Mound.  A lot of people consider the set closing Antelope to be the crown jewel of this set and I won’t argue with them.  Unbelievable.  All I could see in front of my face during the set break was a bunch of pimento olives dancing with hot pink mexican sombreros. It ruled.

So they come out for the second set and Trey wishes a happy birthday to “Mike”.  Everyone screams because they think it is Gordo’s birthday.  Trey then goofs on a fan’s t-shirt before starting the Roundabout tease that leads into possibly the heaviest Mike’s I have ever seen. I know that is a bold statement, but this is a bold Mike’s and in my opinion, there are only a handful that approach the intensity of the 3/20 Mike’s.  Keep in mind also that this was back  in the day when they still used the tramps on Mike’s Song.  The combination of ferocious jam, blinding strobe lights and Trey and Mike bouncing up and down like their lives depended on it is something I will never forget.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I think I was seeing spots for like a week after this show.  The way the snap out of it is so tight it needs to be heard to be believed (although I can’t believe anyone reading this has not heard it at least 500 times).  They melt into Hydrogen with Trey doing that sweet volume knob swell thing and Page and Trey link up for a beautiful version.  Weekapaug…again, another top-5 version for me, attended or not.  Mike’s distortion for the opening bass solo is nasty as hell.  I was still trying to get myself together from the Mike’s but there was no time for that.  I had to go with it and worry about finding my brain after the show.  The vocal interplay in this ‘paug and throughout the show just gets to me.  This track is about as hooked up as you will ever hear any band get. Sanity was a welcome surprise and pretty fitting considering I  really was losing my mind.  I don’t think I really started to pull it together until somewhere around Cavern or Hood. Once again, the vocal jams and shout outs to band and crew make this version an all-time great.  The vocal segue into Sloth, and Sloth itself only made things worse (or better depending on how you look at it).  Mango probably helped smooth things out but I don’t really remember.  It is great version.  The rest of the show is solid, with a great version of Hood.  The Possum gets a little drawn out with explanation of the Secret Language, but it was cool to hear it.  The Fire is super solid too, but the set really peaked with the opening barrage of Mike’s through Mango.  It was all good though, nobody was complaining by a long shot.  A sick, sick, sick show to attend.

There is one main source of the show that circulates, and there has been lots of discussion over whether or not the source is a soundboard or a really great audience source.  I think it is just a really great AUD as the venue/room sound is really apparent.  As well, the person I went to the show with, The Duck, taped the show and his pull came out decent too.  The links below though are of the usual source that gets passed around.  It sounds great, regardless of whether it is a board or audience.  We were in the 11th or 12th row and were sitting right behind B*g Ph*l (name changed to protect the innocent) who videotaped the whole show.  He gave the Duck a copy a few weeks later and told him not to trade it so I am not sure if it ever really circulated widely.  It is a great vid though and I would love to get my hands on it again.

For sample tracks, it was impossible to really single anything out from this show, and most people have probably heard it a zillion times anyway, but here is the Antelope and the Sanity.  Enjoy!

Antelope: 

Sanity: 

Full show MP3 here: http://www.mediafire.com/?5v3sxystwifo8

Full show lossless here: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=543399

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 1Buried Alive > Poor HeartThe LandladyRebaRiftWilsonAll Things ReconsideredFoamMy Friend, My FriendBouncing Around the RoomDavid Bowie

Set 2Suzy Greenberg > It’s Ice > Tweezer > Esther > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug GrooveHorn > Hold Your Head Up > TerrapinHold Your Head UpTake the ‘A’ Train > Somewhere Over the RainbowCavern

EncoreThe 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:

http://www.mediafire.com/?cr244hyyid6vq

This lossless source would sound decent but it is a hair too fast.. Only lossless source being seeded now though:

http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=547692

2/14/91 The State Theatre, Ithaca, NY

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Phish in Ithaca.  At the State Theatre.  On Valentine’s Day.  It almost sounded too good to be true.  Those of us who had caught the last show at Smith College knew the band was en fuego.  For the rest of the folks in town, the chance to see a local favorite go from playing our little town bar to our local movie theatre was a no-brainer.  We were stoked.  The State Theatre was a run down little movie theatre right downtown, and most of us had only been there for movies.  I don’t remember any gigs there before this one, but there were some good ones after this (Taj Mahal comes to mind.)  Phish played the State a second and final time on 9/26/91.   Ithaca’s State Theatre first opened its doors on the evening of December 6, 1928 . Originally not a theatre, the building had started out as a security garage and automobile showroom in 1915, but this business moved out in 1927.  You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about the State Theatre here: http://www.historicithaca.org/about/past-projects/state-theatre/ 

The show itself is pretty solid, check the setlist:

Set 1My Sweet OneMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Buried Alive >RebaDestiny UnboundCavernThe Mango SongStashLawn BoyThe Oh Kee Pa CeremonyGolgi Apparatus

Set 2Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug GrooveFoamThe Squirming CoilRunaway JimEstherAlumni BluesBouncing Around the RoomI Didn’t Know,The LandladyPossum

EncoreUncle PenLa Grange

The song selection definitely delivers.  Opening up with the obligatory My Sweet One, McGrupp was an unexpected surprise in the two slot.  The show was packed (even the balcony was pretty full) and most people seemed to be digging it.  I did hear some grumbles from old school fans that were not happy with the move from frat parties and bars to a theatre, but you can never please everyone (nor can you stop progress).  We had met up with the band before the show and my friend Vinnie had given Mike one of those electric plants that dances to the music, except for he had put a fish on top of it.  Mike put it on top of his amp and we could see it jamming the whole show, it was funny as hell. This was the “original” Couch Tour show.  My friend Ben Weinstein, who was at Cornell, directed (live!) the show for Ithaca Public Access so the whole show was simulcast on regular TV for those that did not make it.  The video circulates widely now, but in pretty poor quality.  Even my low gen copies have degraded over time (VHS sucks it).  It’s still cool to have a multi-cam shoot available from this era and considering it was directed live and not edited in post, it came out pretty good.  While the show was not mind blowing, it was still a great time and a good launching pad for the nationwide tour.  After Destiny Unbound (which was a first for many of us), Trey announced that they would be giving away their old tour van to someone in the crowd as they had purchased a new one and had both vehicles at the show.  I, for one, had forgotten about the  giveaway, until during I Didn’t Know when they brought out Fish in a blindfold, turned him around a bunch of times and had him throw the keys into the audience.  I was way in the back, but I will never forget hearing my good friend Toast yell “Yes!” as the keys hit his hands.  You can even hear it on the tapes.  I reached out to  Toast (now a dad named “Eric”) last week and asked him to share his recollections of this all-time classic moment:

“I went to the show with Kellaine and my buddy Sean. I think I had eaten shrooms before the show, my recollection of the show is hazy. I was on the floor with Kellaine when Trey announced they were giving away their touring van. Fish turned his back to the stage and threw the keys in the crowd. I didn’t see them, I just put my hand up and the key fell right into my palm. It took a second to realize what happened, when I did I shoved the keys into my pocket. Then the spotlight found me, they pulled me up on stage, congratulated me, and told me to come see them after the show. The rest of the show is a haze, I was so freaking psyched! I pictured this school bus parked out front of the State that me and my friends could tour around in.

After the show I went backstage with the band. My buddy Adam Fells was working security at the show. Adam, Kellaine and I ended hanging out with the band for a while after the show. The band was really into the novelty of the giveaway or maybe they were just psyched to get rid of the van. They  told me it was the first vehicle they had and it had taken them to every show up until then. They gave me the other keys to the van. No paperwork, just the keys. They joked about returning anything that they left in the van, I promised I would. I had no idea what the van was.

About an hour after the show Kellaine, Sean and I walked out of the State Theater to see an old Dodge minivan parked right in front. The band took one more look through the van for anything they may have forgot, took the license plate off the van and walked off.

I didn’t try to start it, we all went to Micawbers Bar and celebrated with some beers.

After Micawbers we went back to the State to look over the van and get it home. The van had over 170K miles on it (the odometer stopped working at 170K), there were no seats in the back, just a queen mattress. It smelled really bad!

The van had no plates, and I had no papers saying it was mine. It took a jump-start but the engine turned over and started. Driving from theater back to our house was a long winding uphill drive, almost immediately I knew there were major issues. The van wouldn’t shift out of first gear. Turning was as bad, and the van swayed back and forth as we climbed up Hudson St. I later found out both sway bars were broken, the transmission was shot and the engine was running on two cylinders.

Here’s a partial list of the items I found in the van:

Several books – Sean has them all, don’t remember what they were
half oz of leaf shake
lots of clothes
sage
picture of Fish from Senior Prom w/ date

The van sat for weeks at our house on Kendall. I couldn’t register it, it could barely drive and I wasn’t about to pay for insurance. Summer was coming, we would be moving out of the house and I need to find something to do with the van. If I had I the foresight to put the van in a storage unit, I would have done it. I’ve been told I should have done that a thousand times. But I didn’t. I sold the van to a farmer who was going to use it to carry hay on his farm so it didn’t need to be registered (yeah, kills me), but he had the cash, I needed to move the van, and I sold it. I got $600 and was happy. I could buy some weed, pay some bills and start packing up for summer tour with the Dead.

A few weeks later I received a hand-delivered summons to our house on Kendall Ave. I was being sued. I guess the farmer didn’t think the van was worth $600 and wanted his money back. The problem was, I had spent the money. I tried explaining to the farmer what had happened but he was pissed and wanted his money (understandably). The funny thing is I actually drew up a contract when I sold the van stating the van was of unknown origin and included a bunch of other declarations, and it held up in court!

For a while I had copy of the show from later that tour where my buddy Al told Trey I was being sued and he announced it at the show.  Trey said something to the extent, “remember that guy that won our van, he sold it, spent the money on weed and is being sued.” Pretty accurate.

For the next few years I would go to shows and tell the crew I had stuff from the van I needed to return to the band (like they said!) and I got in (and backstage) to many shows.

It’s been twenty years and I still regularly have people ask about the van. I guess it’s my 15 minutes of phame which I have always been grateful for having.”

I remember being out in front of the State when the band was getting the rest of their stuff out of the van and we were all out there congratulating Toast.  I remember them walking away and then Trey coming back and saying he forgot something and going under the dash and getting a bag of brown stems and seeds.  We were all like “homey, we’ll hook you with the good” but he just laughed and left with his schwag.  While the show is not one I go back to listen to, it conjures up a ton of great memories.  We skipped the next night in Keene (mistake) and headed straight to NYC for the 2/16 show which is deserving of it’s own post in the future….

I couldn’t find a copy of the audio being seeded on etree and there is not one on the google mp3 spreadsheet either sooooo……I am going to post a video.  Below is the Destiny Unbound, after which, Trey talks about the van giveaway:

The video of the whole show (at least what circulates) can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvhCw7LG-7E

1/28/90 The Front, Burlington, VT.

This isn’t a show I attended, but it was one of the earliest tapes I had.  This was one of the very first shows that both sets circulated widely as a soundboard.  Usually we had one set or the other, so it was great when the soundboard of the complete show came around shortly after the show.  Unfortunately, the analog tapes we got back then sounded better than the multi-gen source that ended up getting digitized years later.  Since it is coming up on the 22 year anniversary, I wanted to do a short post to highlight a track I wish they would bring back.  I will do a complete review of the Front when I showcase a show that I attended there, but here is the setlist from this night:

Set 1Suzy GreenbergSplit Open and MeltTela > FluffheadLa GrangeCarolina,Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > Communication Breakdown

Set 2Wilson[1]Run Like an AntelopeBouncing Around the RoomCaravanThe Squirming Coil > You Enjoy Myself > Bathtub GinMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove

EncoreLawn Boy > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars[2]

Obviously a hot setlist and this show is worth seeking out.  It was one of my favorites back in the day and showcases a band in transition (tons of youthful energy, not too much polish). Some good olden times banter too. Of note is the first ever “heavy metal” Wilson to open the second set and a very early (3rd ever version) of Bouncing Around the Room.  It is the first set closer that got me to put this show up, Communication Breakdown.  Only played four times (three of them in a row from this week) they tear through it.  While it is definitely a little sloptastic, they make up for it with raw energy.  You know the pit at The Front was popping off when they dropped into this one.  Check it out:

MP3 of the whole show can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/?lcc0nv3p5dt5r

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