I’d Meet You In Between — Vail, CO 03.12.1993

Phish — Dobson Family Arena — Vail, CO 03.12.1993

I  Buried Alive>Poor Heart>Cavern>Possum, Guelah, Rift, Stash, Fluffhead>Horse>Silent>Bowie

II  Bag, MFMF, Sparkle, YEM, Mound, BBJ, CDT, HYHU>Lengthwise>HYHU, Hood, Golgi

E  Adeline, Carolina, Rocky Top

So after a few days off to regain their health, catch their breath, and perhaps get a bit of skiing in (they totally did) the boys are now up in Vail at Dobson Arena. If you have never been to this venue before it is essentially the town skating rink where they have open skate, various hockey leagues, horse shows, all sorts of events, and of course concerts. I never saw the phish there since I got to CO well past the time when they could fit this size room but I enjoyed more than a few shows here. It is a decent place to see a show (with a capacity of around 2,500), particularly in the winter and has the benefit of a wide open floor, being a hockey rink and all. Anyway, on this night phish would take the stage for a show pretty loose and full of teases but clearly high on energy and intent as was the norm on that path in Spring ’93.

The first set kicks off admirably with another Buried Alive opener, our eighth such opener of the tour and ninth overall Buried of the year (can you imagine??). This one is white hot and leads right into a fast-paced Poor Heart that still has that extra lap to the end solo. From here they head right into Cavern and I am shocked to hear myself write it but this one is at least engaging as Trey seems to be starting to work on his ‘jedi speak’ (something we would get to know a lot better later in this year but really in the open psych of ’94 Bowies and such). Again, they head right into another tune, this time Possum which while expected is pretty fiery as well, showing once more the energy the band has brought on this night. Guelah (with Simpsons SL) provides a bit of a breather in a nicely played version (outside of its standard second song of the set slot) that includes a ‘Lively Up Yourself’ tease before Rift gives us what we expect out of the tune in its 19th appearance of the tour — only Poor Heart matches it at this point without also counting HYHU (26) and BBJ (20). This is followed by Stash which stays mainly in the box except for the last minute or so where they essentially devolve the song in bringing it back to the ending. It is a nice departure from the norm. I like it and would subscribe to its newsletter. Then comes Fluffhead and this one is pretty well okay with a few rough patches but somewhat notable in that Trey picks up the acoustic for the end, allowing him to transition right into… Horse! Yay? So, yeah, Horse>Silent gets us to the set closing Bowie which has something to say before it is time to load up on the nachos and beer, you stoner. In the intro there is a bit of SL (Random Note) as well as a slight tease of the end of Silent as they transition into the Fish intro. Then once things get going we get a Popeye tease, a Jeopardy tease, and a nice little action packed shred psych jam packaged up for easy consumption. This is what your typically out there ’93 Bowie sounds like in case you were wondering. Now go get those nachos!

Setbreak ends and apparently (according to the show notes on both .net and .com) there were a bunch of kooky kids up front with brown paper bags over their heads with ‘AC/DC’ written on them in an effort to get the band to play that classic and [then rare] number The AC/DC Bag. Remember, the song had only just been played on this tour once after being on the shelf for over 150 shows and here it had been 14 shows since that one bustout (which is a lot of shows between songs on this tour, quite frankly). The cliché of putting bags on your heads to get a band to play a song based on a bunch of clichés is quite ironic, don’t you think? So they do and it rips (with Page even teasing the old intro a bit) before they head into MFMF (and Trey again picking up the acoustic for the intro here). The notable thing here is that in the end as they are heading towards the “myfe” section they catch on ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’ for a bit. The missed opportunity is that they could have capped it with the ending peak to THAT song but instead it fizzles into the MFMF ending instead. Sparkle comes next (still no FMS) and then we get YEM which ends up being a quite nice version. There’s some Low Rider flavorings, the ‘Beehive’ lyrics are referenced by Trey, and an interesting VJ (if that can be said) but really just stick around for Trey’s solo as he goes off for a bit in that way he can. Mound, BBJ gets us to a rocking CDT (are there any other sort at this stage?) before Fish Fun Time for Lengthwise. Then there’s a nice Hood with nothing really special to mention before the Golgi closer. Adeline, Carolina, Rocky Top are your encores and we are off to Boulder.

So overall this one is not bad by any means but definitely suffers in comparison to the shows that surround it. The energy is there, the band is playing well, and the crowd is clearly willing but there just aren’t any jams here that make you want to spin this one time and again. There are a few nuggets that I like and maybe one or two things that would make the first draft of the Spring Tour 93 Highlights Extravaganza Playlist Extraordinaire* but really this show is probably one we won’t talk about much going forward. Takeaways? Spin the Stash (maybe), Bowie, MFMF, YEM.

Next up is a Saturday night special from CU and we all know those kids were probably studying so clearly there wasn’t much energy or a crowd to speak of that night. Heck, maybe some of the band would even wear semi-formal wear to match the prevailing attitudes of the conservative crowd here. I’m sure it will be a quite dull write-up.

*yeah, I’ll do it but not until I finish up working through the whole tour

I’m Gonna Go Up to the Mountain — Colorado Springs, CO 03.09.1993

Phish — Pike’s Peak Center — Colorado Springs, CO 03.09.1993

I  Jim, Foam, Bouncin’, Maze, Esther>Divided, Glide, PYITE, IDK, Antelope

II  Axilla>Rift, Tweezer, Reba, Lawn Boy, Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug, Horse>Silent>BBJ, HYHU>Terrapin>HYHU, I Walk the Line, Coil, Reprise

E  Grace, Rocky Top

So after the one (mythical) show in New Mexico the band headed up to Colorado for a small run of shows starting in The Springs. This is the 26th show of the tour (in just 35 days, no less — and now practically 2/3 the way across the country). The band is definitely quite warmed up by now, hitting their stride just in time for the warmer weather of the western climes. But first there are mountains to be conquered.

The first set here starts off with a rather patient Jim where they don’t just dive right into the jam after the lyric section but give it a few more bars. It is a nice change of pace and sets the song up for a deserved payoff in the end. Foam follows with capable version that sticks the ending rather nicely. Bouncin’ gets us to Maze and this one goes to eleven. Both Page and Trey get to work on this one in their respective solo spots. The always welcome (to me, not my wife so much) Esther (with random note SL) is next before a decent Divided, Glide, and PYITE all which are just fine and dandy with the crowd really seeming to enjoy themselves even through the SBD. IDK gives us more of that Fish nickname fun and the trombone solo before a ripping Lope (with Simpsons SL and a little playfulness from Trey in the intro as well as an All Fall Down SL at the breakdown) closes shop for the set. All things told this is a solid affair that would be a better Tuesday than most of us could hope for these days.

The second set kicks off with the Axilla>Rift pairing which really fires things up but hey why not get it higher by throwing Tweezer out there next? Trey is clearly feeling it on this one which I will definitely say you should check out. They take this one out pretty well right away, first playing with the Tweezer theme before Trey just goes ahead and lays down the Julius lick (listen again. It is definitely there at around 6:40 and on for a bit) which Mike picks up on and they deconstruct (a full year plus before the song would be debuted) before heading into more abstract ground and then circling around to the ol’ slow down ending. Nice ride. I recommend. Oh and then they bring our girl Reba out for a quite interesting version. Trey is all over the first half of the jam and then he holds Note for the back half (about 2 and a half minutes) which allows Page and Fish to go nuts for a bit before the whistling. Pretty different than typical with that. Another one to check out here for sure. Then we have a respite for Lawn Boy (Trey gets the solo here) before a nice Mike’s Groove. This is notable because this show once again throws off the standard format of Tweezer/YEM show followed by Mike’s Groove/Junior Vehicle show, much like the 02.20.93 one from The Roxy that is so heavily lauded for obvious reasons. This Groove has some playful bantering in the early Mike’s section before they drop into the jam (which takes a unique turn for a bit before heading into familiar territory and the drop towards H2). H2 does what it does before a rocking Paug gets the joint really going once more. They capture some nice space early on in keeping it slower then ratchet things up for a smoking close. Horse>Silent>BBJ is next, then Fish Fun Time for Terrapin (complete with a Star Trek tease from Page after Fish asks the balcony crowd if it looks like the mothership down there) before a stand alone I Walk the Line aaaaaand the tape is done! WTF! C’mon, man!! Eh, the setlist shows Coil, Reprise to close with Grace, Rocky Top in the encores so maybe nothing to worry about here but STILL. and the show notes on .net mention some ‘tenor’ in the crowd (i.e. a wook) singing The Eleven a capella prior to Grace which would be interesting to here for humor if nothing else, but alas and alack… Oh, and Trey also supposedly told a ‘rowdy member of the audience’ (again, wook) who’d been threatening to stage dive all show to go for it. So that must’ve been fun for him.

Let’s sum it up, shall we? First show in Colorado for the year is a solid affair with a receptive crowd and a band clearly feeling it. Just another example of the band showing their love for Colorado. The playing is overall pretty darn good and we have a couple of solid takeaways here. I definitely recommend that Tweezer, Reba, and the Mike’s Groove. Lope is fun too but nothing too crazy and Jim and Maze are better than decent if you are sticking around for more. I wouldn’t kick this show out of bed for eating caps. If you are looking for a full spin maybe you could do worse than this one.

Next stop is Vail a full three days later (!!!) for a tease-ful affair from Eagle County. Even Phishies need to get their spring skiing in when in ‘Rome’ I suppose…