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!