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.