How Faint the Tune — Santa Fe, NM 03.08.1993

Phish — Sweeney Center — Santa Fe, NM 03.08.1993

I  Golgi, Rift, Guelah, Oh Kee Pa>Llama, Forbin’s>Mockingbird>How High the Moon>Mockingbird, Sparkle>Ice, Glide, Bowie

II  Poor Heart>Cavern, Uncle Pen, Stash, BBJ, MFMF->Kung->YEM, Lizards, Grace

E  Terrapin>HYHU, CDT>BBJ Reprise

Well, this looks like it might’ve been a fun one on paper but until a source surfaces we may never know except by anecdote as there are currently no tapes in circulation. There is a huge bustout in How High the Moon which was played in honor of the Super Moon (the largest/closest such until 2008 — and the next such one will be 11.14.16 if you want to put that on your calendar…) even though it is highly doubtful most people in attendance even knew what that was at the time (or now for that matter). Terrapin might actually be Love You, depending who you ask. There’s also the oddity of the BBJ Reprise at the tail end of the encore but according to Timer that might be overblown. The .com summary for this one provides some solid insight on the night so let’s just go ahead and get that in here because what else can we talk about?

This show took place during a Super Full Moon, at a ballroom inside the former Sweeney Convention Center with a capacity of about 1,200.  Wipe Out was teased during Llama.  Trey’s Gamehendge narration during Fly Famous Mockingbird started with an explanation of a strange growth on Fish’s arm and building a human chain to the moon “until we all are standing on the moon” and included teases of Hold Your Head Up, the 1st performance (albeit partial within the narration) of How High The Moon in nearly three years (since 5/28/90), and an Iron Man tease.  This was the only time the 3-song Ice Sequence of Sparkle > It’s Ice > Glide was ever played.  David Bowie’s intro included another tease of How High The Moon, which was also woven subtly into the jam.  As the band came on stage for set II, Trey asked “did everybody get an apple out there?”  Like most this tour, Big Ball Jam ended with Trey, Mike and Brad creating a human hoop onstage to collect the balls.  After the Ball Jam, Trey introduced Brad Sands as “the third section of the basketball hoop.”  Trey played the beginning of My Friend My Friend on acoustic guitar, which was mashed up and paired with Kung for the first and only time.  The You Enjoy Myself vocal jam included a repeated SuperMoon magic word, “perigee.”  Amazing Grace was performed without microphones.  The encore began with a Dog Log tease into Love You, during which Fish thanked the crowd for coming out on “a beautiful perigee of a night” and introduced the band and himself (“I am a mutant”) before an extended vacuum solo.  During Hold Your Head Up, Fish wished a “happy perigee to you all!”  Chalk Dust had a blues ending giving Trey a chance to say thanks and “go out and enjoy the full moon and we’ll see you this summer at that great outdoor place everybody keeps telling us about.”  This is one of few shows from this era for which no known audience recording circulates.

So maybe there were some fun teases throughout the show, an interesting Forbin’s story leading to that HHTM bustout, a Kungy Myfe mashup, super moon related VJ stylings, and more. I like the note about it being the only time Sparkle>Ice, Glide ever happened which is pretty nerdy for the .com summaries to get. But it is interesting when you consider Sparkle has preceded Ice 20 times and Glide has followed it 12 (out of the 228 total times Ice has been played) yet this is the one time all three combined in this way. Maybe that’s just me. Ahem.

Anyway, on to something we can actually listen to ourselves…

In Fancy Oft Appearing — Austin, TX 03.06.1993

Phish — Liberty Lunch — Austin, TX 03.06.1993

I  Llama, Horn>Curtain>Melt, Mound, PYITE, Bouncin’, Maze, Golgi>Jim

II  Rift>Tweezer>Reba, Paul and Silas>BBJ>FEFY, YEM, HYHU>Cracklin’ Rosie>HYHU, BBFCFM

E  Adeline, Poor Heart>Reprise

Here we have the second show of two in Texas on the run through up towards Colorado and eventually the West Coast on a tour that is really starting to amp up quite nicely. Tonight’s show feels like a bit of a throwback to the bar band days (though this venue held close to 1,000) with a slightly sloppy feel that might have arisen from the patronage or could have just been one of those nights along the course of the tour.

First set kicks off with a rocking Llama (and most tapes out there cut in to this with the sound improving greatly by the end of the song). From there we get a three pack (Horn>Curtain>Melt) and everything is played well, particularly the Melt which is a raging little beast version that goes off the rails for a bit with Trey taking charge from the start. A fine enough Mound comes next followed by an extra stanky PYITE. Nice to see considering this song has been just picked up again this tour and seemingly alternates with Landlady. Bouncin’ gets us to Maze which is pretty fiery yet in the box. Pay particular attention to Page in this one. Golgi>Jim caps the set (nice peak on the Jim in particular) and we are off to setbreak. Nothing major to note in this set really but a good rocking bar-type set that’ll get you moving for sure.

Second set starts off with Rift>Tweezer and this Tweez is fairly straight forward with Trey working his shred out on top of everything. We do get the slow down ending which is always nice. Honestly, the tapes of this one don’t really help as it is kind of hollow and very low on the bass so you lose Mike a lot of the time (and Page to a lesser degree). Anyway, that gets us to Reba which is a nice little version with a good Trey soloing in the jam before an odd P&S>BBJ>FEFY trifecta. I get the bluegrass to big ball jam combo as they often pair BBJ with MSO or another of the speedier, grassy tunes but the drop into FEFY afterwards is always a bit of a head scratcher. Granted, they only did it five times ever out of the 73 times BBJ was performed, but considering that four of these are on this tour it kind of keeps coming up in my mind. There weren’t a whole lot of ballad-y type tunes in the repertoire back then so perhaps it was just a way to slot in the cool down ballad. That leads to a biggish mid-set YEM that really cranks up the energy level in the room before Fish Fun Time kinda robs that as he laments HYHU, forgets the second verse to Rosie, and rants about it all quite hilariously. Trey then fires into BBFCFM and we have our closer for the night. Adeline is funny to listen to for the drunk chick on the tape decrying the ‘god damn barbershop quartet’ before a decent (and somewhat extended) Poor Heart brings us to the expected Reprise and the encores are over and we are on our way to Santa Fe!

You could call this one a Saturday Night Special, if those existed back then. The playing is fine enough but they definitely seemed to be playing a bit to the level of the crowd – and I say that with all due respect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this show but not a whole lot to take away either. Maybe check out the Melt, Reba, YEM, along with the funny Adeline crowd thing but otherwise save your energy for the Colorado shows to come. There’s a couple of doozies headed our way…

From One End to the Other — Dallas, TX 03.05.1993

Phish — Deep Ellum Live — Dallas, TX 03.05.1993

I Buried Alive>Poor Heart>Cavern, Foam, Sloth, Rift, Stash, Sparkle>Ice>IDK, Possum

II  Landlady, CDT, Guelah, Uncle Pen, Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug, JJLC, MSO, BBJ, HYHU>Love You>HYHU, Coil, Grace


After another night off for travel between New Orleans and Dallas the band is at Deep Ellum Live for the only time they would play the venue. This was also their first time back to the state since Fall ’91 so their sound had definitely matured a lot in the intervening 16 months or so. It is also notable that their next visit here would be for one of the famed shows in Phishtory, one you only have to mention by venue name to know, The Bomb Factory. That one is another evolution beyond where we are today so we’ll just leave that for the spring ’94 tour recap, okay?

First set kicks off with another Buried Alive opener. I guess I forgot that this tune was fairly standard and not such the once-a-tour-if-that bustout it has become (this is the 8th in just 24 shows). This starts a mini run of runs including Poor Heart (notably, these spring ’93 versions have some extra spark and a slightly longer end solo from Trey than the ‘modern’ version) and Cavern (yay?) before we hit the first meaty tune of the night. Before we get to that though, let’s talk about that three pack a bit. Buried Alive has now opened four shows on this tour with three other times being preceded by Suzy… which opened the show. The outlier is the late set version from the Roseland (02.06.1993) with John Popper on board. Of these eight appearances it has been followed by Poor Heart five times (the other three are Possum twice and PYITE). This night makes the second time that Cavern follows Poor Heart to complete this trifecta but the bigger point to be made here is that they had a well worn habit by now on this tour of using some combination of high energy, relatively straight forward and in the box tunes to open the show. Suzy, Buried Alive, Poor Heart, Rift, Golgi and a couple of others were typically slotted in here with the outlier shows having openers like Bowie or MFMF. The pattern continues that after these opening numbers they would throw down a minor vehicle (Maze, Stash, etc.) or other more complex song like Foam to kick things up another notch. Tonight that would be Foam as it comes through very well played with a quite patient solo from Trey. This song isn’t quite a ‘vehicle’ but they do some interesting things with their individual parts within the structure at times and this is a good example of that. A dirty (the the good way) Sloth comes next and then a nicely executed Rift pops in (obviously, it gets played almost every night this tour so they better have it down by now). Stash fills the jam space midset and in a relatively tightly packed version Trey does well in playing with the T&R around the Stash theme, not to mention a little Sloth tease folded into the outset of the jam. This is followed by some fun banter about Page’s return to his old stomping grounds since he first attended SMU before making that move to Goddard we all know about already. They play Sparkle and then a somewhat darker than normal (for this time) Ice before IDK which has Fish on trombone for a “love solo” in honor of Mike at the Greenpeace table. Possum rocks out for the closer here (with a Simpsons SL that marks the first SL in five shows) in a quite well played though largely not notable first set.

Second set starts off with Landlady that does what she does before yet another raging CDT brings the energy up in spades. This one has some great high speed Oye Como Va phrasing from Trey that is worth your time to check out. It’s only seven minutes so you will be able to get back to that new hammock catalog you have been perusing very shortly. Guelah and Pen get us to Mike’s (woo! every other show! yay!) which is a perfectly serviceable version that precedes a nice enough H2. The Paug is where things take off here though as the band connects on a jam that elevates masterfully after going off the reservation for a bit. Not for nothing, so far this tour it is clear that of the Mike’s Groove suite it is Weekapaug that holds the most promise on a (bi)nightly basis since Mike’s is not quite there yet with the jamming aspect. Then we get a very nice JJLC with Page on top. This is notable as well considering it had been 153 shows since the last one and they nailed it all the same. Perhaps they busted this one out as a nod to their recent New Orleans visit. The common MSO, BBJ pairing precedes Fish Fun Time for Love You then we have a fairly average Coil and the almost ubiquitous Grace (17 times in 24 shows – tops for any song at this stage of tour) to close before a rocking GTBT encore sends everyone out into the night.

Overall this show is spring ’93 in a nutshell. quality playing, lots of energy, a bit of jamming to be found in various places (and some of that of the more compact variety like the CDT), and just a fun time clearly coming through on the tapes. It is somewhat notable that after the Florida run the secret language and teasing seemed to die out for a few shows as noted above but this one has a Simpsons signal in the Possum intro and that Oye Como Va tease which I think is indicative of their comfort level with how things are going. This isn’t to say that shows without such things are better or worse in any way but that the presence of such teases and SL just goes to show they are loose and having a good time which is a great sign. From this one I would check out the Foam, Stash, CDT, Paug, and maybe JJLC if you are a fan of that bluesy thing. Next stop, Austin for a drunken Saturday night crowd!

Steal Away Before the Dawn — New Orleans, LA 03.03.1993

Phish — Tipitina’s — New Orleans, LA 03.03.1993

I  Rift, Foam, Bouncin’, Maze, Guelah, Paul & Silas>Sample, Jim, Lawn Boy, Cavern

II  Axilla, Curtain>Melt, Mound>Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug, Glide, MSO, FEFY, HYHU>Terrapin>HYHU, Coil, Adeline

E  Fire

Here we have the second night of the two night run in New Orleans, the final show Phish would ever play at Tipitina’s as they would graduate on to larger venues such as the State Palace Theatre and McAlister Auditorium over the next two years before their Jazzfest appearance in ’96. This one is a marked improvement over the night previous as the hangovers appear to be gone but the colds remain somewhat, impacting the singing on a few tunes. But the playing is not at risk with that and the band came out with energy and vigor, bringing an old friend out for a couple of tunes as well during a fun if not exploratory show.

The first set kicks off with a well executed Rift that precedes a Foam that continues to bring the energy level up before Bouncin’ gets its turn. This continues the trend of this tour where they would play three-ish crowd pleasing tunes to get the room moving before hitting the first more involved song musically. Tonight that fourth song is Maze and that turns into a shred factory for Trey and at this stage you can tell both band and crowd are feeling it. Guelah, P&S>Sample fills the mid set here with exactly what you expect out of those tunes. Nothing bad but nothing of note either. Jim runs away next with a very spirited version that stays mostly at home but provides another opportunity for Trey to flex the shred muscles for a bit before they wrap it up and bring out a guest for the second night in a row. And who might that be but Gears himself, now residing in New Orleans! He takes the solo turn in Lawn Boy (much more engaging than the small solos Trey has been taking in this tune of late) and then adds his trumpeted flavoring to the set closing Cavern which makes that at least tolerable in its ubiquity. Always nice to have a GCH member join in. Then it is off to the setbreak to catch our breath after that energetic first frame.

The second set gets off to a rocking go with Axilla which leads to a decent Curtain that heads into a very frenetic Melt. We are still not quite to Eureka Moment for this song but it is getting oh so close. Mound bounces in next before the expected Mike’s Groove (remember, we got Tweezer and YEM last night so in this tour that means Mike’s Groove and a junior vehicle – tonight being Melt – gets the call for the second set heavy lifting). Nothing major in the Mike’s or H2 but Paug has some extra sauce on it in a slightly extended version. This is really mostly about what Trey and Page do in a bit of a breakdown section in the middle as well as everything around it as they come back to the peak. Eh, just go listen to it already. It really rages quite nicely. Glide, MSO, FEFY get us to Fish Fun Time time for Terrapin where he once again expresses his great distaste for HYHU and does some band shout outs. Coil is mainly about Page as he takes a bit more of a solo than usual here (and the composed part is a little rough getting there) before an [unmic’d] Adeline closer and a Fire encore take us home.

Your takeaways from this one are the Weekapaug and perhaps the Melt and Maze. But definitely the Paug. Outside of that is is mainly just standard fare for the tour which is not to say it is bad but just not really notable in any particular fashion. As a whole, this is a show you could do worse than to listen to but it won’t jump out as one to spin simply because there aren’t any major highlights to point to here. Of course, you have the sit-in from Carl Gerhardt but being that it is just for Lawn Boy and Cavern there isn’t anything here that you haven’t already heard on a full GCH set such as from the Summer ’91 tour. So I guess we just chalk it up to another solid night along the path and move on to the next thing. And now we get another day off for another 500 mile drive before the band heads into Texas for a pair of shows on their way to Colorado and points further west (by way of New Mexico).

Water Your Team in a Beehive I’m a Sent You — New Orleans, LA 03.02.1993

Phish — Tipitina’s — New Orleans, LA 03.02.1993

I  Buried Alive>Poor Heart>Stash, Reba, Sparkle, Ice, Fee>ATR, CDT, Horse>Silent, IDK, Bowie

II  MFMF, Uncle Pen, Tweezer>Lizards, Llama, YEM, HYHU>Love You>HYHU, It’s My Life, Loup Garou, Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie, Hood, Grace

E  Golgi>Reprise

After finishing up the Florida run, Phish hugged the gulf coastline to make their way to New Orleans for the tail end of the Mardi Gras proceedings that year. They had a few days off to make the trip across and apparently took full advantage of that in ways that will become apparent as we work our way through chronicling the show from this visit. This would be their fourth stop at the venue but their first since 1991 when they played a pair of shows (one in March and the other in November). That November one had a bunch of ARU folk sit in with ten tracks included as the filler for the Katrina Relief release several years ago.

For this stop, the first set kicks off with Buried Alive>Poor Heart>Stash which can really serve to get the crowd going — and would help keep them from singing too much considering Trey now sounds afflicted with the cold Fish had in Florida (along with the fact that the band overall seems a bit… off). This Stash is well played and peaks nicely in a short but sweet version. Reba is next and she does well for herself while not necessarily dropping any jaws. But then, she’s a coy gal and doesn’t get too flashy very often but people still notice her beauty. The set then takes shape with a run through a bunch of stuff where you know what you are getting starting with Sparkle, Ice, and Fee>ATR. Trey notes those aforementioned issues with his voice during the ATR intro right after Page had thrown in a clever tease of Manteca in the Fee coda section. This is followed by (yet another) fiery CDT, Horse>Silent, and IDK (with multiple nickname fun and Fish on Madonna washboard along with Trey and Mike adorning his head with Mardi Gras beads during his solo). Interestingly, there is a note on .com about a sit-in for this version of IDK but I cannot hear it on the tapes and Trey never mentions it… Which gets us to the Bowie set closer. Probably the most notable thing here is that Trey asks the crowd if everyone is still hungover (with the implication being that he is) before they dive into what will be a rather unmemorable version that meanders a bit before coming back to close. Then it is off to the break to nurse those hangovers or maybe get a bit more hair of the dog going prior to the band’s return.

Second set kicks off with another tune with Trey on the acoustic (remember, of course, that Horse was Trey on acoustic back then) as MFMF sets the mood preceding Uncle Pen and then Tweezer>Lizards. The Tweezer has a couple of interesting ideas but doesn’t really flush those out too much with some over-noodling from Trey going on before they end up in Lizards. Trey’s vocal issues are on display a bit as he ‘speaks’ the lyrics for one section but otherwise this one is just fine. A kinda shreddy but sorta uneven Llama gets us to YEM (which has the ‘water your team’ lyrics) which is a pretty decent version with a nice jam. It isn’t a world beater but you get a nice building Page organ solo and then the requisite Trey hose-y takeover and a relatively mellow D&B section as they bring it home to the VJ which has a section that almost sounds like wolves howling (which is apropos to one of the sit-in covers to come). Next up is a relatively quick Fish Fun Time for Love You (though Page does give the opening HYHU a little extra sauce tonight) and then we get a sit-in from Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes for It’s My Life (Junior Wells tune), Loup Garou (a Willy DeVille tune about Bayou werewolves that Sunpie and his band also recorded about five years after this sit-in), and Choo Choo Ch’Boogie (a Louis Jordan original that Sunpie recorded much later than its 1940s heyday). All of these are fun tunes for the locale and were one-time performances by the band. Incidentally, the connection to this fixture of the New Orleans music scene was just starting with this sit-in as Trey would join his band for a whole set on 04.28.1996 (two days after the initial Phish appearance at Jazzfest – which was the bulk of that Katrina Relief release – in what would be a busy day for Trey as he and Page sat in for the whole Cosmic Krewe show too). Then on 04.30.2005 Sunpie came out to join the 70 Volt Parade for a couple of songs in a show highlighted by the “New Orleans Superjam” that deserves your listen, particularly for the second set and encores which include Trey, Cyril Neville, Gregory Davis and Roger Lewis of The Dirty Dozen, Dave Grippo, Michael Ray, Gordeaux, Ivan Neville, and the 70 Volt Parade band members. Oh yeah, Dave Matthews was there too. A fine enough Hood then gets us to the Grace closer (unplugged and not included on most tapes in circulation) and finally a Golgi, Reprise combo for the encores so that everyone can go revel in the last hours of Mardi Gras before doing it all again once more the next night.

In the end, overall, really not much going on here that you don’t hear in other shows. The sit-in is interesting if you like that shuffle-y cajun-ish music but it doesn’t really go anywhere very creative. At the least, it is different than most of the cover fodder Phish gets into and Sunpie is a massive personality with great stage presence that just grabs you and brings you into a happy place full of smiles, dancing, and good times in general. The Reba, Tweezer, and YEM are nice enough but there’s not much meat on the bones of anything in this show, quite frankly. Maybe it was the illness, or the hangovers, or just one of those nights after a couple off where they didn’t really connect. But you would hope that by the second night of the run they’d hit form again and we will find out about that next time…

I Cast Down the Ash — Gainesville, FL 02.27.1993

Phish — Florida Theatre — Gainesville, FL 02.27.1993

I  Golgi, Rift, Guelah, Maze, Bouncin’, Ice, Sparkle, PYITE, Lawn Boy>Antelope

II  Curtain>Stash, Poor Heart>Sample>BBJ, Ya Mar, Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug, HYHU>Terrapin>HYHU, Fee>Llama

E  Monkey, Grace, Rocky Top

And we finally come to the last show of February on this early portion of the spring tour, the 21st show in 25 days, during a tour that has followed the lines going south from the frigid Northeast to the not so cold Southeast and the first dip into the toe (or other appendage as your mind goes) that is Florida. This night’s show finds the band in the college town of Gainesville for what would be an overflowing affair of high quality fast-paced playing, some notable jams, and more of that youthful energy early ’93 Phish that got so many of us hooked for life. This would be the last show on the “Florida Run” before they had a couple of nights off to make their way west along the gulf for a pair of shows in New Orleans at the tail end of Mardi Gras… but we will get there soon enough.

The first set kicks off with Golgi and a pretty well nailed Rift before a nice Guelah takes the third slot. The Maze that follows is compact but smoking hot with Trey tearing it up and Fish backing him up along the way. Bouncin, Ice, and Sparkle are what they are at this point before a solid PYITE. This song is getting better the more they play it (shocker) which is nice considering it had been shelved for quite some time prior to this tour. This is followed by a little banter preceding Lawn Boy thanking everyone for welcoming them on their first visit to Florida. This one again has Trey taking the solo. From here they head straight long into the Lope closer and quickly take things next level with a raging jam that easily evokes the imagery of the song – pay particular attention to Fish here as he simply goes off — and sends everyone to the intermission on a very big high note. Overall this set is not one you may spin often but it is well played and the energy of the band and the Saturday night crowd is palpable even on the tape.

The second set, though, is where most of the real fireworks lie in this one. The always welcome Curtain opens things up before dropping us into Stash. Trey seems ready to play on this one right away and starts to get going over the “maybe so maybe not” section, playing with the Stash theme while drawing that T&R out mightily. The band shifts out of the major mode around 8:15 and rides this for a bit in further building that tension before bringing it all back around. Good stuff there. I also like that on this version Fish played the ‘claps’ on his tom rather than the woodblocks (as this was all pre-crowd clapping). Interluding with Poor Heart (complete with the slightly extended solo section), that “new” song Sample (not very well played here, I might add, but you aren’t really going to go listen to yet another stock Sample so who really cares, right?), and BBJ, the band eventually gets to a quite amusing Ya Mar. Trey has some fun with Leo and the lyrics in general and a quite bouncy version that ends with the Mike scat/fake patois thing. Mike’s Groove is next and it is pretty straight forward for the most part though Trey sure seems to be working on something in the Mike’s jam before they hit the transition and drop into H2 (where Page throws in a little tease you may know from your childhood). When they get to Paug things crank up a bit for a fiery jam (Trey is all over this) that eventually goes sideways a bit for a breakdown before ratcheting back up for the end peak. Fish Fun (now with a head cold!) comes next for Terrapin (more Pete Schall love here) then we get Fee followed by ho-hum another shredded Llama closer. Monkey, Grace, Rocky Top encore and we are out of America’s Wang on this tour.

Overall this is just a well played show with no major highlights except perhaps the Lope and Stash and maybe Ya Mar for the fun stuff and the Paug if you want to hear that slightly different jam. Other than that it is simply a quality Feb. ’93 show along the path. Which means it’ll probably be the next LP release. This is the second show in a row with no Secret Language which is downright odd for the time period. Some say that this show sounds “rushed” assuming that the band simply wanted to get on the road to New Orleans after this one (they did have a 550 mile drive ahead of them…) but it is more likely that this rushed feeling is due to the interactions they had with the club staff as this show came to be known as the “Pre-Techno Rave Gig”. Apparently, this theatre-cum-nightclub had a Techno Night scheduled for after Phish and used that as the impetus to push the band and crew to break down very quickly so that they could execute the changeover. If only they realized what they had available to them for what could have been an epic crossover event matching the live stylings of this band Phish to the DJ(s). I know I would have been up for that postshow! Instead we have the end of the first leg of the tour and a few days to wait before the band would grace a stage once more. So it goes.

Thoughts Follow My Vision — Tampa, FL 02.26.1993

Phish — Ritz Theatre — Tampa, FL 02.26.1993

I  Jim, Foam, Fee->Melt, Fluffhead, Llama, Horn, Divided, IDK>Cavern

II  Cup>Paul & Silas>Tweezer, Glide>CDT, Mound, BBJ, YEM, HYHU>Lengthwise>HYHU, Coil, Reprise

E  Bold as Love, Adeline

Here we have a lightly regarded or possibly lesser known show that hides a few gems to be unearthed. This is the first of two stops at this venue in the year with the August visit being more widely known considering the cache that August ’93 holds. But this show has energy, high quality playing, some real live takeaway jams, and that youthful exuberance of the band on the rise. None of these factors on their own make the show a must-hear experience but as a whole it works and as such this is one of the first shows on this tour not part of a run at a major venue (i.e. The Roseland or Roxy shows) that really comes together to be greater than the sum of its parts.

This commences from the get as they open with a fiery take on Jim where Trey takes charge in moving the jam alomstbutnotquite outside of the boundaries of the song. You can tell they are starting to want to jump off the deep end with this song and even though the massive versions of Jim are still more than two years away starting with Raleigh, NC 06.16.1995 — to say nothing of the longest version of any song ever that is the Worcester Jim from 11.29.1997. The seeds are being sowed here though and in just about a month we will start the hear more from this tune. Foam follows with a straightforward and punchy version that piggybacks off of the opener in getting everyone up and moving. trey again shines throughout this one. After a cleanly played Fee we get a Melt where Trey unloads a few clips from the machine gun and Fish backs him up with some insane fills while Page and Mike throw in their own flavors for a version that really points out how quickly they could connect on songs at this stage as at the peak all four seem to be going in different directions at the same time together… which I know makes perfect sense to you. Seriously, check this version out. This is straight fire in under ten minutes. A pretty well nailed Fluffhead comes up next (which is maybe the best version of the song to date this tour) and, once again, the addition of the baby grand piano brings a new life to the vibrancy of tunes like this one. It is a much cleaner sound than the electric piano me thinks and adds to a nicely peaked out version. The shred clinic continues for Llama and then Horn takes it down a notch before a real purty Divided with a pause that seems to last an eternity and Trey and Page combine to fillet the resolution. IDK pops up again tonight for more Fish nickname fun and the Madonna’s “sister” washboard solo in the 9th appearance for the song here in the 20th show of tour. We then get a Cavern closer (woo?) bringing us to a well deserved break to discuss just how hot this first set was. Interestingly, there are no Secret Language or other teases to be found here giving weight to the notion that they were just head-down-going-for-it without much outward thought involved. I approve of this set and wish to subscribe to its newsletter.

The second set starts off with a fun trifecta of Cup>P&S>Tweezer that carries over the mood from the first set. They are starting to really take Lovin’ Cup as their own now even while staying very true to the songs original form. After that quick grassy interlude for Paul & Silas we have a pretty much in the box Tweezer that elevates into a well developed jam. Trey finds an interesting line to follow and Fish goes with him, Page tags along, Mike says “sure, why not”, and they are into something not quite but still kinda tweezery before bringing it back around for the big peak. It’s just a fun ride. A crisp take on Glide provides the breather before a positively raging CDT (so unusual for the time period, huh?). They follow this up with a rather fast paced Mound before bringing out the balls for the all but ubiquitous BBJ before heading into YEM for the second night in a row. This one is very well played (I do love me some of that beautiful nirvana section action. It just amps up the anticipation.) with Page taking a nice solo on the organ where you can almost feel Trey just biding his timing thinking “just wait, yo. be patient…” before he takes over and, oh boy, does he ever. Out comes the gun for another attack. There’s the shred, an Oye Como Va tease and then is goes to a quite quick B&D breakdown before the VJ gets all Pete Schall’d. It might be one of the shorter takes on the song but there’s a lot packed into those sixteen plus minutes. Fish Fun Time is up next and tonight we have that classic ‘sing-along’ (according to Fish) Lengthwise. After a lovely take on Coil we get the booming Reprise closer we knew was coming. The encore is a bit flipped with Bold as Love (Trey nailing the solo here, naturally) preceding the shush-ful Adeline but, seriously, how do you overcome the drunken lovelies?

This one might not make it on the big board at the end of the tour but up until now this is one of the better total shows they have played. The show works better as a complete thing than in picking out individual highlights but I will note that if you are strapped for time or something you should focus on Jim, Melt, Tweezer, and YEM. BUt do yourself a favor and play this show at high volume straight through. You won’t regret it.

Just a note on content:

I had thought about doing another “stats so far” summary for this post being that this is the 20th show of the tour and round numbers are nice but I’m going to wait until the 25th show (Austin, TX 03.06.1993) since that will put us with Florida, Lousiana, and Texas in the rearview mirror. So we have that to look forward to which is nice.

I Stumble Into View — Miami Beach, FL 02.25.1993

Phish — The Cameo Theatre — Miami Beach, FL 02.25.1993

I  Buried Alive>Poor Heart>Cavern, Maze, Forbin’s>Mockingbird>Rift, Stash, Bouncin’, IDK, Bowie

II  Suzy>Ice>Sparkle>Wilson>YEM, Uncle Pen, BBJ>FEFY>HYHU>IIOHAB>HYHU, Golgi>BBFCFM

E  Grace, GTBT

After taking a night off to enjoy Wally World and get down to the tip of Florida, the band finds themselves in Miami Beach for a show at a venue that maaaaaaay be a little different now than it was BITD considering it was once a place to catch hardcore and punk acts before transitioning to a disco night club in the 90s. Now it is apparently… something else… what with the stripper poles, DJs, and such. But for one night in the early 90s this was a venue that hosted Phish and I’m here to dive into what happened that night so let’s just get to it already, okay?

Before we get too far along here I’ll just get it out there that the available recordings that circulate for this show are really not that great. Basically you get a Frankenstein of patched sources (unfortunately this does not mean they played Frank that night though) with some jump cuts, tape flips, and whatnot thrown in there to keep you on your toes. We get this right from the start with the opener Buried Alive which fades in not too far from the start of the song. Nothing special here as we head into Poor Heart and Cavern with this three pack of tunes to get the crowd moving. The Maze that follows seems to wake Trey up as he tears apart his solo quite effectively. Forbin’s>Mockingbird fills the meat of the set after that and the story is quite lovely with a big wave (the biggest surf wave ever!) carrying the crowd (with their feet planted firmly on the floor) to Gamehendge. Page teases the theme to Gilligan’s Island and Trey adds in some hurried detail about GH, noting that there will be a quiz at the end but I’m still waiting for that quiz and all of the other ones from other shows where he has mentioned this so what gives, Trza? Where’s the follow through on that? C’mon, man. Maybe that’s why mainstream never took these guys seriously. What’s that? Oh. Right. Trey moves on from this (as I clearly should have) to nail the end solo in Mockingbird and then the band pretty well nails Rift which by this point they should considering this is the 12th Rift in 19 shows. Next up we have Stash and this one stays mainly in the box during its compact course, being more of the punchy clean variety with a nice peak rather than going into deeper waters. I know I already covered this but there is an absolutely brutal tape cut at the end here that kind of throws one off for a sec. It is a little unnerving, frankly, but we will get by. We will survive. After a standard Bouncin’ we have IDK which gives us a whole host of Fish nicknames from Trey, the trombone solo, and our first indication that Fish needs to be on his better behavior since Trey notes his parents’ presence in the crowd. This brings us to the Bowie first set closer which includes a full nod to Fish’s parents being in the room, some SL (Oom Pa Pa, Simpsons), and a full band tease of the theme to Jeopardy before they head into a solid jam that builds to the end peak quite well. After that we are left to wonder about how different the crowd for some of those classic shows in the late 80s here were from the one in the venue this night and to wonder what they would have thought of these moheads from Vermont.

Right about when we have finally begun to grasp that hetty concept the band comes back for the second frame, kicking it off with a five song sequence of Suzy>Ice>Sparkle>Wilson>YEM. Those first four are about what you’d expect though the Wilson does have some SL (Random Note) and a bit of an extended end section (for the era)… but let’s just move on to the YEM, okay? The composed section is fine enough but then Trey takes charge and elevates the jam segment before they head into a VJ that includes the typical for this tour ‘choir’ ending. After a pretty rough Uncle Pen we have the odd pair of BBJ>FEFY which occurred more than seems correct but for our purposes doesn’t really demand much conversation about that. This brings us to Fish Fun Time and tonight we are treated to a special guest as Mimi Fishman graces the stage for her sixth ever guest vac appearance. I suppose if you make the drive from Syracuse to southern Florida to see your boy’s weirdo band perform at some small club they let you help out with the non-traditional music instrument section of the show. Knowing that Mimi apparently really loved doing this just makes the fact that Fish uses a vacuum that much funnier somehow because you know they had some epic vac jam sessions together. Mother son bonding is amazing stuff. Everyone say “aaaaaawww” now. A quick dip Golgi and a raucous BBFCFM closer take us to yet another Grace, GTBT encore pairing (third already this tour!) and we are off into the Art Deco night to enjoy the sea breezes and people watching of Miami Beach.

This is a fairly uneven show with a few rough patches in a couple of songs but the Maze, Bowie, and YEM (particularly the jam segment) are all worthwhile. These first Florida shows must have been odd considering that they went from playing theaters in the Northeast to some college venues in the MidSouth to The Roxy run to these small clubs which is quite the change of scenery in only a week or so. There is definitely a lot looser feel to some of these shows but when they connect it really doesn’t matter what size the room is. And while they didn’t always connect I feel comfortable in saying that on a nightly basis they found enough points of connection to be able to further develop their sound while also growing the fanbase seemingly one blown mind at a time.

I Walk Awakening on the Misty Fields of Forever — Orlando, FL 02.23.1993

Phish — The Edge Nightclub — Orlando, FL 02.23.1993

I  Golgi, MFMF>Rift, Bouncin’, Melt, Reba, Lawn Boy, CDT, Wedge, Paul & Silas>Antelope

II  Axilla, MSO, Stash->Lizards, PYITE>ATR, Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug->Nelly Kane->Weekapaug>HYHU>Terrapin>HYHU, Possum

E  Adeline, Poor Heart

If you were an up and coming band on a big tour and you hit a town you had never played before for your seventh show in as many days and on Mardi Gras, there is a good chance that you might have a bit of an interesting night. Your energy at being in a new town and on a night where people like to party might be just enough to help you overcome the fatigue setting in at the tail end of this longest run of shows to date on the tour (which is not saying much considering they had already played a couple of five night strings). Or maybe you ride the momentum of the crowd and the overall vibe of the nightclub within which you are playing and find what you can in the music you make… which is pretty much what we get here: a somewhat uneven show with some really high highs and some other stuff that isn’t quite there. In the end it is a Phish show though, so no matter what we will find something to discuss amiright?

Things get going with a Golgi opener and a fun MFMF>Rift pairing before we go Bouncin’. None of these is overly notable (well, MFMF had the acoustic intro but that was par at this time so I’m not sure why I am even mentioning it again) but they do their job in getting the room moving before the real fun starts. Next up is a pretty maniacal Melt that has some quite evil sounding cackling from the band as well as a proto-Melt jam that hints at where this song is headed in a couple of months when the “aha” moment hits and everything changes for the band in performing this tune (don’t worry, we will spend ample time dissecting that). They then go into Reba, pairing up these two lovely vehicles for the last time, well, ever. Reba has preceded Melt twice (11.02.1989 and 03.29.1991) and Melt has preceded Reba twice as well (12.28.1992 and this show). I suppose it shouldn’t be expected for two of their more reliable second tier vehicles to be paired together but you would think that over the years (especially back then) it would have happened more often. Whatever the count, this pairing works as they go from the dark and dirty grime of Melt to the uplifting, floaty jam of Reba. Next up is Lawn Boy which again has the Trey solo tonight and afterward Page thanks the crowd and dedicates the song to this Orlando crowd. They bring things back up for a rocking CDT before a bouncy take on the [slow] Wedge. This song is starting to find its form but is still now quite the version we know today even with a little extra Page in the gravy on this one. Paul and Silas (with Trey calling out to Page to highlight his solo) runs right into the set closing Antelope you could see coming a mile away and this one has some SL (Simpsons, All Fall Down), a supposed ‘The Price of Love’ tease (it could be the Everly Brothers song or the Bad English song but… ok, it’s the Everly Brothers song but that gave me the chance to link that crappy hair band tune so there!), along with one of the earlier instances of Trey telling the crowd not to do anything they wouldn’t do before hitting the break. Now there’s time to talk about what Disney rides everyone will enjoy the next day on the off day as we wait for the band to come back. Incidentally, the band did go to Disney the next day and, man, would I love to see the pictures from that one!

After the break the band comes out firing with Axilla and MSO, using the two quick energy numbers to get everyone moving again. MSO again has Trey giving Page the solo callout in a quite speedy rendition of the tune. We then get our first vehicle of the second set with Stash and this one has an early example of what will become known as Trey’s “Jedi Speak” jamming where he intones along with the music along with a somewhat different overall feel as it kind of hints towards where Wedge will end up before they move on (there is also a HYHU tease in here). This Stash is also the fifth one of the tour to be paired with Lizards (out of the nine total in eighteen shows) and the third one where the song goes unfinished into that bit of Gamehendgery. The Lizards here is nice enough without much to mention before they move on to another ‘Hendge tune in PYITE which on this night is still a tad sloppy in the execution though still well received. A quick ATR bridges us to the expected Mike’s Groove we knew was coming but it is a bit different tonight. The Mike’s Song is pretty well straight forward but then we have a bustout of sorts with the lyrics to H2 being performed (“I walk awakening on the misty fields of forever” if you didn’t know it from the post title) for the first time since 1990 (the exact date is debatable as .net shows the 11.26.1990 show from Ithaca as having it while .com notes the 10.05.1990 show from Saratoga Springs as being the last). The last one appears to have been 04.21.1994 in Winston-Salem, NC in the midst of a quite solid Mike’s Groove but that is another conversation entirely. After that lyrical addition the H2 itself is a little rough but it does its job in getting us to Weekapaug and this one has a surprise of its own in store. About midway through after getting to the jam part they go into what will be the debut of Nellie Kane. It isn’t a full version but it is there and now we have another ‘bluegrass slot’ tune to add to the rotation. They bring things back to Weekapaug to wrap up this Groove but end up seguing right into HYHU for Fish Fun Time. Tonight that means a lot of banter, a bevy of Fish nicknames (really these are in the space between the closing HYHU and the start of Possum but whatever), and a relaxed take on Terrapin. Next up is the closer Possum (not bad but nothing great here either) before the Adeline (mic’d up tonight!) and Poor Heart encores send everyone off into the Mickey Mouse night.

One of the first things you notice about this show is the high number of grassy tunes in the setlist, more than what would be typical of this era before the mini-stage and Rev. Mosier tour stuff where several grassier songs might get played each night. In fact, of the seven “bluegrass” songs they had played on stage to this point four are here (Paul & Silas, My Sweet One, Nellie Kane in its debut, and Poor Heart) and the other three had been played recently (Pig in a Pen got debuted with Rev. Mosier two shows prior, Uncle Pen was played last night, and Rocky Top was [obviously] played in Knoxville a few nights before that). The only other potential bluegrass song in their entire history up to this night is only noted as “bluegrass” on the setlist for 09.27.1985 (Page’s second show with the band!) in what appears to be a setlist taken from someone’s notes. And since that tape is not readily in circulation we are left to assume it is either one of the songs above or something we will never know about until that tape pops up. In truth the tape is out there as the .com notes for that show talk about tape flips and such but I have yet to hear it. So where was I going with this again? Oh yeah. I think it is notable that these grassy tunes are all coming out right after the Rev. Jeff Mosier sit-in as it points to the interest the band had in expanding their repertoire to include more of this music, culminating in that Fall ’94 mini-tour he did with the band. Yet another example of the band wearing their influences on their sleeve. The fact that they are/were so adept as to be able to fold the grassy side of things directly into one of their bigger (at the time) rocking vehicles says a lot about how they sought to incorporate this ‘old timey’ music into their sound. And in wrapping this all up I’ll say your highlight takeaways from this night are that Mike’s Groove (particularly the H2 and beyond), Melt, Reba, and maybe the Antelope. Not bad for the back end of seven in a row.

Next up for the band is that day off to explore Disney World before continuing to follow those southward leaning lines to Miami for a night that includes a Mimi Fishman appearance and much much more.

All My Plastic Melodreams — Tallahassee, FL 02.22.1993

Phish — The Moon — Tallahassee, FL 02.22.1993

I  Rift, Guelah>Secret Language Instructions>Guelah, Poor Heart>Maze, Fee>Sparkle, Foam, Cavern, IDK>Bowie

II  Jim, Ice>Uncle Pen, Tweezer>Glide, YEM, Oh Kee Pa>Llama, HYHU>Love You>HYHU, Coil, Reprise

E  Grace, Fire

Riding the swell of the preceding Roxy Run, Phish descended into their first visit to the Sunshine State with a Monday night show that looks pretty good on paper and comes off well in places even in being the sixth night on stage in a row for the band. This first run of shows in Florida brought the band back down a bit in playing some bar-type venues rather than the small theaters and music halls that they had begun playing in the Northeast and some other choice markets for fans that had figured out this was a band to check out whenever they were within striking distance. On this particular night that change back to the bar scene was evident in some ways as Phish took on a relaxed tone that is evident in the interactions with the crowd, the energy of the music played, and in some of the choices made in putting together this setlist. Along with being the first ever Phish show in Florida there are a few other notable ‘firsts’ here, particularly in relation to the sound check which includes the first [known] Guy Forget and the first Nelly Kane (which would debut on stage in the very next show down the road in Orlando, albeit in an abbreviated form within Weekapaug but we will get to that in due time), not to mention the first Oh Kee Pa of this young tour popping up midway through the second set. There are some other fun things to note here as well so we might as well get moving on that.

The first set kicks off with Rift tonight and most if not all circulating copies of this show cut in towards the end of said Rift so there’s not much to talk about with this one except perhaps that it is only the fifth show-opening Rift to date in seventy performances of the song since its debut. Yet another second song first set Guelah is up next and right after Trey throws in a Secret Language signal (Simpson’s) during the intro he begins the interactive portion of the evening by giving a brief tutorial on the Secret Language. I’m not entirely sure why he chose this show to do it, but here we are. These abbreviated SL Instructions include the Simpson’s and Random Note signals (not to mention a ‘Call to Post’ tease) while also being the penultimate time Trey would ever take time to explain the Secret Language to a crowd in the live setting (the final one is just over a month later in Phoenix on 03.16.1993). From here they go back and complete Guelah before hitting up Poor Heart. This gives way to a pretty hot Maze that gives the band the chance to get things cooking a bit. Fee follows here (which is interesting considering the somewhat common pairing of Fee>Maze in this era — Fee has preceded Maze 21 times while it has followed Maze 12) before a quite frenzied Sparkle gets about as close to hitting the mythical Face Melting Sparkle (FMS) territory that many have sought over the years only to be left with disappointment. They get going so fast in the final minute that they have to actively slow down to reel it back in for the final refrain. A punchy Foam follows this before a straight to form Cavern and yet another IDK here in the latter part of the first set. This one has Fish on trombone and he gets a few new nicknames along the way (the Friar, Little John, etc.) before the trombone solo folds into intro of the the Bowie that will close of our first set proceedings. They rip through this version (you know it is ripping when they tease Maze) without forging too much new ground but it is a rocking close to this relatively short first set.

After the break they come out firing with an energetic Jim that shows some of the seeds of beginning to stretch out a bit though that is still a little bit off from here. Ice comes up next and really the most notable thing here is that this is now the fifth time this tour the two songs have been paired together (with all but one starting the second set). They would do this a few more times on this tour before moving on from the pattern but in total the two songs have been played in this sequence 22 times, 12 of which were to start a set). We get a quick run through Uncle Pen out of that Ice and then the familiar tones of Tweezer kick in, bringing us to the first opportunity for some open music of the set. This one has potential but stays in the rocking-bar-band vein before sliding effortlessly into Glide. The midset jam slot tonight is for YEM and this one is well executed (very nice Nirvana section and the jam feels like there are teases being made, particularly from Page) and has a fun VJ that has elements of ‘How Many More Times’, ‘Frankenstein’ (a song they had played ten times up to this point but not since 07.26.1991), and the ‘Theme from Jeopardy’. Well worth your time in checking that one out. That aforementioned first Oh Kee Pa of the year is next before a quite fast paced Llama and then it is Fish Fun Time once again. Tonight we have some hilarity with the “hateful” band intros preceding Love You. A lovely take on Squirming Coil brings things back to form before a nice Reprise closer finishes it off. The encores are Grace and Fire tonight.

This show exists in an interesting place for the band. They are clearly on the rise in terms of building the fanbase, having graduated up from the bars and small clubs they started in to small theaters and other similarly sized venues, particularly on their home turf in the northeast as well as in places like Colorado and California where they already had established themselves. But here on the first visit to Florida they are back to playing a glorified bar room (okay, it is a “night club”. big deal) for an undersold crowd on a Monday night. The venues and crowds seem to get better as they make their way through the five shows of this mini-run within the tour but it is still a bit of a step back to an establishment phase from where they were. The music doesn’t really suffer except in that they may not have gone as far afield in some cases and overall the show itself is worth the time for listening. I doubt this one or any of the others that follow here are going to be archival releases any time soon (maybe when Fish needs to start shelling out for college for all of those kids he went and had) but it is a fun spin. The takeaways are the Guelah>SLI>Guelah, Bowie, Tweezer (kind of, but keep in mind this one is mainly rocking and not too exploratory), the YEM, and maybe the HYHU>Love You>HYHU if for nothing else than some fun banter. As is always the case, you could be stuck listening to Nickelback or worse so even ‘just okay’ Phish is better than the alternative. No one really wants to listen to Nickelback so just enjoy this one for what it is and realize how lucky you would have considered yourself to have been able to catch such a show (and to brag about it now).