Phish – Luther Burbank Center for the Arts – Santa Rosa, CA 03.24.1993
I Llama, Foam, Fee>Poor Heart, Maze, IDK, Sample, ATR, Jim, Grace, Cavern
II Landlady>Melt, Sparkle>Tweezer>Mound, BBJ>FEFY, YEM, Horse>Silent, HYHU>Prison Joke>HYHU>Terrapin>HYHU, GTBT
E Carolina, Coil
After a night off following the goings on of The Crest Theatre show in Sacramento the band would be some 75 miles west in Santa Rosa for the only time in the band’s history. This is the 37th show of the tour and the 6th (of ten) along the Cali portion of the tour which makes this the longest stretch in any state so far this tour. In some ways this show suffers a bit existing between that legendary Sacramento affair and the Santa Cruz show that follows (more on this to come, naturally) but it does have its moments…
The first set starts off with a ho hum white hot Llama, Foam pairing where we get warmed up and it is clear the band is ready to rock after the night off. Next up is Fee>Poor Heart and nothing special to note here except that Poor Heart still has the slightly extended end section (compared to the modern versions) and Fee did not have Trey on the megaphone. Maze fills the midset jammer slot and Trey takes his time, toying with the theme throughout while offering his typical shred in a version that stays close to home but engages nicely. Trombone “The Missing Link” Greasy takes his solo in the subsequent IDK and then Sample and ATR do what they do before a slightly extended Jim where Trey seems to be starting the process of drawing more out of this jam. It is wholly in bounds (i.e. ‘type I’) but rocking and pays off in the end. A somewhat oddly placed Grace fills the penultimate slot before Cavern starts up. Normally I just skip over talking about this tune entirely but this one has Trey playing some different phrasing throughout, working downward as he accompanies the lyrical section. Interesting and worth checking out for its variety. After that we have our setbreak as is typical and not ever the fifteen minutes that Trey loves to tell us it will be.
Second set kicks off with a bit of a shaky Landlady before the drop a second song Melt. Yeah. So this one is borrowing a bit from the previous version in Ventura and still not quite where it will get in a couple of weeks but Trey leads the band into frenzied waters, almost going off the rails completely more than once. This one begs to be explored more deeply but alas they come back to the Melt theme and we are on to Sparkle. Whoopee. But okay, that’s all right because we get a Tweezer next and while definitely in the box and not pushing any major boundaries this one relies on great tension-building before resolving into the old school meltdown ending. Maybe not an all timer but worth a spin. Mound, BBJ>FEFY follow from here – and just a quick note that the seemingly odd pairing of BBJ>FEFY has now happened four times this tour, which shows it clearly works for the band if not for anyone else. Next up is YEM and this one is… okay. The composed bits aren’t exactly nailed and the start of the jam seems to go nowhere but dang it if they don’t keep trying to push through and eventually they hit a tiny little bit of space at the peak that is worthwhile. But really this one is more notable for the VJ which is rather extended, has some ‘Under Pressure’ elements, and then arrives at the band all chanting “shut up” to the acquiescing crowd. Creepy. An acoustically meh Horse gets us to Silent and then it is Fish Fun Time where there is the request for the telling of the Prison Joke which Fish does not want to oblige. But rather than move on they bring a person up out of the crowd for the telling and it is exactly what you know the Prison Joke to be before they get to Terrapin. Assuming you know the Prison Joke, that is (I’m linking that one because it is shorter and “performed” by Fish. And let me just say that this has always been one of my favorite Fish Fun tunes since there actually is a bit of a lift in the playing from the band when he takes his vac solo. It’s a small thing but it does offer more than just the diseased wailings of the Electrolux Viking. From here we get a GTBT closer and then it is off to the encores for Carolina, Repri… hey wait! They didn’t play Reprise! They threw a [quite lovely, actually] Coil in there and left Reprise Nation hanging. And no, this one doesn’t come out in a subsequent show. It is just… not. there.
So the tale of the tape is that this one is a tad uneven but you do have a few things to spin if you are so inclined. The Jim, while slightly extended, is really not that different than other versions this month (excepting that quiet jam Jim from Redlands) so we will skip that but (and I can’t believe I am typing this) check out the Cavern. And then in the second set the Melt and Tweezer are your meat. If you have never heard the Prison Joke I suppose that is something to hear but your reaction will probably match that of the crowd.
Next up is the Thursday night show from Santa Cruz for the last time the band has played that lovely seaside town. There’s a bit more to chew on with this one as we will see.