, attached to 1993-08-28

Review by theghost

theghost 25th Anniversary!

A strong and worthy finale to their greatest month so far in their career... and still a high water mark for the first "style" of Phish. The SBD out there is very clean and should be grabbed while it's free. (I wrote this before noticing that ChavaUT and Raible said the same thing...we're right...get it.)

Things start out pretty vanilla, although the Foam deserves a bit of recognition for being very well executed with some extra August 93 mustard. I recall the gist of a fan's story I read somewhere...he grabbed a few words with Trey as he was going somewhere (maybe in the golf cart). He told Trey his band did YEM... or tried to... it's really freakin' hard. Trey laughed and said "that's cool!...try Foam" and went on his way. I noted that Trey offered up Foam as his example of one of their toughest. And then you get a 1-2-3 punch of heavy hitters...Maze/Fluff/Stash...almost enough notes for an entire set right there. I'd say the Maze is a notch off the best of the tour but still hot. The Fluffhead, like Foam, is about as well executed as is practically possible for that composition. The Arrival finale is the euphoric release you always crave after the long journey. The Stash is another very intense, psychotic 8/93 version...pretty hardcore for a first set but a good one. It's just occurring to me that I think Page jumped to a new plateau this month. His Coil solos are more relaxed, fluid, and creative all of a sudden. I've always liked Coil as a first set ender, with a sweet walkoff Page solo easing things into the setbreak. Doesn't quite happen here... they throw out a 6 minute bone to an old buddy. I've got no problem with that.

The basic, early 2001 precedes another song that strikes me as a real brute to play, Rift. They nail it. The Antelope is true 93-style. It quickly gets into that abstract, slightly abrasive, weird noodling that pops up somewhere in most every August show. It ends with a full throttle, crazy-running-antelope finale. Timely Horse/Silent cool down with the acoustic intro...I love it that way. The Ice tails off before much of anything happens and we drift into a double novelty segment. Honestly, we're in a very skipable stretch here. I give you my permission to jump from Antelope to YEM...which smokes. High energy with a Santana spirit beyond the tease. I love this one.

It's not the best show of the tour (faint criticism), but it's a good synopsis of where they were, before heading off into a pretty long break. They'd finally mastered their whole early catalog... an epic 5-year accomplishment. They'd kicked off a prolific run of new, slightly less complicated songs...the Rift, Hoist, Billy Breathes period. And then the jams had finally busted open...anything goes now...Stash and Antelope showcased that. Very good show. Wish I was there right now.


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