The Moral Seems A Little Bit Obscure — Vancouver, BC 04.03.1993

Phish — 86th Street Music Hall — Vancouver, BC 04.03.1993

I  Landlady>Rift, Guelah, Sparkle, Melt, Coil, MFMF, Reba, Horn>Antelope

II  Suzy>Stash, Mound, ATR, Sloth, YEM, JJLC, MSO, HYHU>Love You>HYHU, Cavern


Taking advantage of their proximity to Canada, Phish next took the stage in Vancouver, BC for the first time ever before dipping back into the US for the rest of this run out west. This would be a fun show on several fronts with the band throwing in secret language, teases, and some humor amidst two sets full of high quality playing. This is a great example of the type of Phish you could expect in Spring ’93 with all of the youthful swagger and bravado of the band barnstorming their way through this 71 date tour.

The first set kicks off with a straight forward combo of Landlady>Rift, setting the table with some energetic playing that kind of gets a bit ahead of itself in that Rift which is a nice way of saying they didn’t really nail that one so much. They collect things with an expected Guelah and a punchy Sparkle before dropping into the first meaty dish of the evening with a compactly jammed Melt. We are oh-so-close to this song really taking off but they are still reined in a tad here which is not to say that there is anything lacking in the execution with this version. Coil provides a bit of a breather with a lovely Page outro (as always) and Trey then picks up the acoustic to bring in MFMF. This one stays mainly to form without some of the second set dementedness the song has enjoyed this tour. It ends up being a bit of a table setter as well since we then get our girl Reba in her favorite third-to-last-song-first-set slot. There’s nothing overly special about this one but being Reba it deserves a listen at the very least. A somewhat shaky Horn bridges us to the rocking Antelope closer (with Simpsons signal, of course) and we are off to setbreak.

A quick note here, as if you go looking for this show to stream online you will note that the most common resources will only have the Antelope from that first set. Really not sure why this is, except that they are all pulling from the same source which lacks the majority of the set. Go to The Spreadsheet, however, and you can grab the set easily (or you can find better copies on etree and other torrent sites. Now back to the music…

The second set kicks off with a fun time Suzy that includes a little Spin Doctors tease (Jimmy Olson’s Blues, I believe, though my knowledge of their catalog has slipped in the last 20 years or so…) and provides ample opportunity to stretch those dance muscles a bit after the break. We then get the somewhat rare second set Stash (less than 25% of the 400 times played ever) and this one delivers on the promise with a divergent jam that keeps coming back to the main theme to help build that T&R. The payoff here is great from this example of jam density in action. After a run through Mound, ATR, and Sloth we get the next biggie with a midset YEM that begs to be heard. The build in this version is huge and almost feels like something off of Pink Floyd’s Umma Gumma. Once the jam takes off Trey elevates the music to a wonderful peak after playing around with riffs reminiscent of ‘Walk This Way’ as he shows off his ridiculous dexterity on the fretboard. I don’t know that is a full tease, necessarily, but the idea is there and it won’t be the last time we get a taste of it this evening. This leads to a somewhat minimalist D&B section and then, finally, they bring in the humor with a My Girl-tinged VJ and a nod to their April Fool’s shenanigans as Trey whispers an introduction for “Mr. Neil Young”, which works on multiple levels considering the country of origin for that fine performer.

After that all resolves we get the third Jesus Just Left Chicago of this tour. Page shines brightest here with a fiery solo on the organ that pushes the song to great heights even in staying within the structure. Then we are left with the backside of the set which means MSO… but no BBJ tonight! before Fish Fun Time. Tonight the selection is Love You and we get band intros with Fish noting that they are called Fishbone (!). Trey pays him back with the nom de plume Henrietta Tubman that seems to be his go to this week and we are on to the Cavern closer. Tonight’s version is mainly notable for the Walk This Way tease in an otherwise typically fun take on the song. And then before the encore Trey placates some in the crowd by playing a bit of Weigh before they throw down a rocking GTBT to send everyone out to prepare for their second border crossing in the same 24 hour period.

Once again we have a classic example of this band in the speed jazz era pushing the boundaries where appropriate and otherwise flooring fans with their prowess and high energy playing. Tonight’s highlights are plenty with the Melt, Reba, Stash, YEM, and JJLC being the songs I would recommend you spin if nothing else here. This one will never be on anyone who wasn’t there’s Top Whatever list but it is a fun show to spin and shows how far they have come since the start of tour two months and 46 shows ago. One more to go before this leg ends (and we divert into a completely different flavor of Phish…)!

4 thoughts on “The Moral Seems A Little Bit Obscure — Vancouver, BC 04.03.1993

  1. First Canuck show ever? This needs more reflection, and a Canuck or two to chime in. Will send DF a pelt and get his .02 cents of funny money. Seems like a decent first foreign outing! Thanks for the posts, T3, we may have to invade this space someday.


  2. close. first show in Vancouver and western Canada. They had long been going over to Montreal and Toronto (first was 07.01.1989).

    and I’ll be getting into a tour that should be more up peeps’ alley soon so perhaps it will more than me talking to myself around here some day…

    thanks for stopping by!


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