Qu’est-ce que c’est – Eugene, OR 03.30.1993

Phish — Hilton Ballroom — Eugene, OR 03.30.1993

I  Buried Alive>Poor Heart>ATR, Golgi, MFMF, Llama, Esther, Stash, Glide>Divided, Cavern

II  Cup, Rift, Tweezer>Lifeboy, BBJ, Weigh, Mike’s>H2>Paug->Psycho Killer->Paug, Horse>Silent>HYHU>IIOHAB>HYHU, Reprise

E  MSO, Grace

After a night off to successfully negotiate the border crossing into Oregon and make their way up to Eugene, the band again graced the stage for an evening of frivolity and fervor in a somewhat uneven show that vacillates between raging, open jams and slightly botched compositions.

Things get started fine enough with a Buried Alive>Poor Heart>ATR segment that while not anything special is sure to get heads bobbing and feet tapping. Then we have a somewhat oddly placed Golgi which, okay sure, before they start to take things in a darker direction with MFMF (even though this one has a Sesame Street theme tease and the acoustic intro). This one stays in the box before we get to a quite shreddy Llama where Trey even throws in a little Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ (CYHMK) tease just to keep everyone honest. After that we have Esther and this one starts off with a little SL (Random Note) and HYHU tease from Page before they dive into the song in earnest. It is a tad shaky at times but always nice to hear. From here we arrive at the first big highlight of this show which is a Stash that almost immediately departs from form once they finish up the verses. CYHMK is back again but played with a bit more before they dive deeper, eventually bringing it all down in building tension before ratcheting it all up towards a solid end peak. This Stash is notably one of the early examples of the band going completely type II with this song as it isn’t until the end peak that they really return to the main theme at all once the jam starts. This one would lead to much deeper explorations in the future but this is a jumping off point of sorts for the tune and well worth your time at that. The rest of this set just sort of glides along considering it plays out as Glide>Divided, Cavern and with that trio you pretty much know what to expect. Nothing bad, of course, but not much to speak of either.

Upon retaking the stage the band fired up Loving Cup and this is a punchy and on point one though not necessarily much different than others that precede it. Rift takes the two slot tonight and this one is fine enough before we get to Tweezer and for this one we have a big rocker version that stays mainly in bounds though is probably most notable for the fact that Page directs the path for sections of this jam unlike in many/most Tweezers of this era that are essentially Machine Gun Trey showcases. This resolves with the slow ending and into Lifeboy which is always nice and being only the fourth ever this one comes off cleanly (with Trey using the “she” indicating god’s lack of attention to listening to him, something that comes and goes with the song). BBJ is next and then we have Weigh which is mostly what you’d expect but for Trey throwing in some heavier licks that almost get to some Zep-ish ground (maybe it is just me but I almost hear ‘How Many More Times’). Trey gives a quick happy birthday to BBJ (which confirms yet again how closely he once watched the setlists) as well as to a guy named Bob turning 40 and that might be the biggest surprise considering at that time it seemed like there was no one “old” in the crowds at shows. Maybe that was just me too though… Anyway, from here the band introduces Mike’s song and he dedicates it to himself during the intro section before they head into a kinda dirty version of the jam that was sure to have the crowd moving. H2 is notable tonight for Trey throwing in a little ‘Call to Post’ tease and then we get to Paug.

Oh, Paug. Why were you once such a carrier of the jam flame only to now be relegated to being a rote rocker? Here we have a version that gets deep in a hurry, with several different layers emerging before, wait, are they? Could it be? Yup. Boom! They arrive in the debut of Psycho Killer and while it is a tad rough it is still worth the price of admission (and it would be another four and a half years before we’d get to hear it again). Honestly, probably the best aspect of this Psycho Killer is the segue back into Paug which is pretty much a flawless victory by the band (FINISH HIM!!). They wrap up the Paug in fine fashion and then Trey breaks out the acoustic again for Horse>Silent. Next up is Fish Fun Time for Brain and then we get the Reprise closer we all expected. MSO and Grace are your encores and it is off to Portland from here for a couple of shows and… more.

In all honesty, this is probably not a show you will spin top to bottom unless you are doing what I am or if you like Eugene shows or something. The band is playing quite well and trying out some new things as is evident in that Stash but there are just so many other shows that outpace this one overall. That said, the highs are high here and I’d recommend checking out the Llama, Stash, Tweezer, Weigh, and the entirety of the Mike’s Groove. You could probably skip the Weigh but why not spin it?

Next up is a pair of shows from Portland at the Roseland and these two each have some great things to discuss which we will catch up on soon enough…

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