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).

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