Phish — Roseland Theater — Portland, OR 03.31.1993
I Jim, Foam, Sparkle, Melt>Mound, PYITE, Sample, Reba, IDK, Bowie
II Lengthwise->Maze, Bouncin’, Uncle Pen, Hood, BBJ, Ice, YEM, Harpua, CDT
E Bag, Adeline
Further up I-5 and on the following evening from their stop in Eugene the band was in Portland for the start of a two show stand at the Roseland Theater (nee Starry Night before an ownership change in 1991) and their fourth of five total times playing the venue (the last would be the following evening). This one comes off like the hot, sweaty affair it assuredly was as the playing is loose and free throughout both sets. Sure, there’s some feedback to be dealt with on this tape but there’s also some fun jams, a bunch of teases, and a couple of other little oddities to cover with this one so let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Things get off to a good start with another solid Jim jammer, as they are continuing to be patient with this one, letting Mike and Fish play a bit after the drop before the full band comes in for the rousing finish. We are still in the sandbox on this one but the inklings are forming. Next we get an energetic Foam and then Sparkle before they drop into Melt. While this version stays mainly true to form it is a very energetic, up tempo version that’ll make you yearn for the precision of years gone by. A manageable Mound, a punchy PYITE, and a suitable Sample get us through the midsection of the set before our girl Reba pops in for a quite lovely version that is oddly undervalued in everything I have seen about this show. The composed section is pretty well nailed and then the jam is just one of those beautiful uplifting hose peakery sections with Trey throwing out all sorts of ideas along the way. Maybe I’m overselling it, but maybe not. You decide. Then in IDK we have Madonna on the washboard for a slightly different take than the trombone stuff before they kick off a set-closing Bowie that is also fairly under the radar when looking at this show. You have the standard SL in the intro (AFD, Simpson’s) and then they just take us on a patient journey through the Bowie world, departing around 7:00 with some clever leading from Trey that carries through to the end which resolves in fine fashion. This is definitely a Trey Clinic Bowie if you are into that sort of thing which you should be if you are listening to ’93 Phish cuz that’s kinda a big part of the deal back then.
After the break they come out with a tune that isn’t new exactly but that had never yet been played as a set opener. Fish starts up Lengthwise and by the time he gets to the last couple of rounds the crowd is right there with him, allowing for a perfect segue right into that song’s album brother Maze. It is interesting that this pairing had yet to occur before this show considering their placement on the then recently released album but here we are. And from here it would become a more common thing, as of the fourteen times the song has been played since 03.31.1993 Maze has followed in eight of those. Additionally, eight of those fourteen have been to kick off a set or encore and six of those headed right into Maze. So the Maze. Right. This one is just another fiery shred heaven version with Trey really out front for most of the jam and then we are off to happy time with Bouncin. A quick stop for Uncle Pen and then the first jam highlight of the second set is upon us as Hood starts up (if you are counting at home that is quite the high number of Fish-started tunes on this evening). This Hood starts out with some SL (Simpson’s) and then once they hit the jam they throw in a couple of teases (Odd Couple, Pink Panther) before bringing it all back for a nice finish. Not the biggest version ever but nice and clean and sticks the landing. Next there’s a quick BBJ before we have what seems to be a standard Ice but wait! I read in a couple of places that this one had an ending that one would know from another (future) song but until I listened to both I thought it was probably a stretch. So go cue up Axilla II and listen to the coda/outro and then come back to this Ice, focusing on the part at the end right before they go into YEM. Yup. It’s there. You might have to DL the show because some of the streaming sites elide some of the end bits on some of these tracks – which is relevant to some funny banter later on in this show too, but we’ll get to that. So yeah, that’s a neat little thing. Then we have YEM and for this one Trey rides rhythm for the majority of the jam, allowing Page to shine on the organ for the bulk if it before he comes in strong at the end right before a quick D&B that precedes the VJ. And looking back, that is clearly one of those sentences that taken out of context would make absolutely no sense to the uninformed reader. But I digress. Next we have our second Harpua of the tour and this one is a nice “I remember…” story that harkens back to his times in Gamehedge, some mention of submarines (the roots of TTE, perhaps?!?!) and eventually gets to Jimmy watching Beverly Hills Cop (cue the Axel F tease – definitely a nod back to the 03.28.1993 show where it popped up in the soundcheck and again in the Antelope) before Trey tells him to turn it off so he can get his Stones on with a little ‘She’s So Cold’ quote before they come back to the fight and bring it all home. Throw on a rocking CDT closer for good measure and your set is complete. Your encores are Bag and Adeline tonight and along with the Bag being a rare treat at this stage Trey tells a funny thing between songs about how one of his heroes Bonnie Raitt is playing in town that night and how he has a crush on her. Ginger love knows no bounds, for sure… Adeline gets a dedication to Nina as she lost and had found her ID which Trey returns to her from the stage. Nice Guy Trey helping out!
So what’s the tale of the tape here? This is another one that I can’t rightly recommend you go spin top to bottom because there’s a lot of stuff that just doesn’t really do much. But when they hit here they hit well. And with that in mind I’ll say check out the Melt, Reba, Bowie, Hood, YEM, and Harpua (if you are into the whole story time Trey thing). If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m finding more nuggets to share in these shows as we progress through the tour. Sure, many are of the same song time and again but overall the fact that the level of playing and cohesion has improved is easily evident and I’m just reflecting that as well. It’s a win-win for all of us!
Next up is the second night from this venue from an April Fool’s Day gone by where rumor and speculation led to some typically phishy humor.
As a site news note, once I hit the end of the West Coast run on this Spring ’93 tour I’m going to shift to something a bit more recent. That’s four more shows if you are keeping track at home. Not gonna spoil which tour just yet though…