The Finest in the Nation – San Francisco, CA 03.27.1993

Phish – Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CA 03.27.1993

I  Llama, Guelah, Rift, Stash, Reba, MFMF, Uncle Pen, Sample, IDK, Bowie

II  Buried Alive>Halley’s>Ice>Bouncin’, CDT, TMWSIY>Avenu Malkenu>TMWSIY>Mike’s>H2>Weekapaug, HYHU>Rosie>HYHU, Poor Heart>Golgi

E  Coil, Carolina

After that first night fun time show at the Warfield, the band was back at it again for a night full of highlights and big jams in a time when that wasn’t exactly the norm. Now, I say ‘big jams’ but that doesn’t mean some 20+ minute escapade into mindfunking space darkness or something because that is just crazy talk but there are several vehicles to be found on this night that have some extra stank on them, much like the highly lauded Roxy second night (but not in the segue/tease vein of that one). You’ll get what I mean as we go along here…

First up is a let’s-get-these-people-moving Llama and then that all-but-ubiquitous second slot Guelah. Rift slides into the three hole tonight and this one is crisp and energetic like a pull off of a freshly poured ::insert your favorite summer beverage here::  Next up is a rather straight forward but rocking Stash that doesn’t really go anywhere new but builds some fine T&R before the resolution. And then we have our girl Reba. If you do not know this version, I implore you to go spin it. The band is all on board for this one from the start, running through the composed section cleanly before patiently working through the jam, adding new ideas along the way and working towards a wonderful build and peak. Trey really shines in this one but listen to what Mike does too. Actually, you should know this version already so I’ll just move on here. If you are sooooo busy that you don’t have much time, at least check out the jam. Next up is MFMF (with acoustic intro, natch) then a quick run through Uncle Pen, that ‘new’ song Sample in a Jar, and the Trombone Greasy tinged IDK complete with the “message of love” solo. But that’s just getting us to a captivating set-closing Bowie that has some SL in the intro (All Fall Down), a little ATR tease, and a very patient-almost-plodding jam that eventually comes around to a solid peak that puts a nice exclamation point on this set. As far as first sets in ’93 go, you really can’t get much better than this one.

So then the second set starts up and you are thinking, sure, I guess it’ll be good but can they sustain it? And you would be correct in answering ‘yes’ because from the Buried Alive on it is another solid set that begs to be listened to all the way through. This Buried has some drawn out notes from Trey but is otherwise pretty standard before they pull out the second Comet of the tour (after its very long wait). This then gets to Ice>Bouncin and from here the set then starts to take off in earnest. First we have a fiery CDT that brings the energy level up several notches and then the ol’ TMWSIY>Avenu Malkenu>TMWSIY sandwich pops up to get the people really moving. That’s all nice and all but it is the Mike’s that follows that really takes this set above the board. For the most part, Mike’s Song at this stage is largely straight forwardly jammed with the tramps being a limiting factor on the band being able to open things up for a lot of its history since Trey and Mike were obviously focused as much on their choreography as anything musical. But on this night (and more as we go forward from here) the band starts to play with the theme – with Trey even doing some creative playing underneath the lyrics before they drop into the jam segment. But what you really want to listen for in this one is the proto-Simple-esque jam that emerges for a bit before they go into a full breakdown ahead of the transition into H2. The song is still more than a year from being debuted (at this venue, no less) but here you can plainly hear the rudimentary elements of what will become the classic Mike’s->Simple->Mike’s>H2 nugget we got so used to for quite some time. Go enjoy that why don’t you. And then after H2 we are treated to a very high energy Paug that goes into some ‘On Broadway’ jamming that then departs Paug fully for a bit before returning to resolve in fine fashion. This is elemental phish. This is the band firing on all cylinders, starting to push the boundaries of their catalog and coming through on the other side sticking the landing. As earlier Mike’s Grooves go, this one is a shining example of the form. And then after that is over we have Fish Fun Time for Rosie and a Poor Heart>Golgi pairing to close the show. A very purty Coil and Carolina are your encores — with Carolina having a little a cappella slow Suzy tease at the start similar to 02.21.1993 — and it is now off north to Arcata for the last Cali stop on this tour at Humboldt State before they would enter the PNW and Canada for a few shows and the end of the Western Run portion of the Spring Tour.

This show has a lot to take away from it from both sets and you could easily just hit play on the Llama and let it run right through if you have the time. But if not, focus on the Reba, Bowie, and the Mike’s Groove at the very least. If you want to expand that a tad just add in the Stash and Coil. Next up we get to hear a crapload of teases, some memorable jams, and that classic tune about everyone’s favorite chalky sweet candy that comes with the collectible heads.

One thought on “The Finest in the Nation – San Francisco, CA 03.27.1993

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