, attached to 1990-05-06

Review by Roofless_Sheds

Roofless_Sheds this show is Grade A pre-'93 Phish, and serves as both the tape i give to curious newcomers when they wonder what 'early' Phish sounds like, and the show i force doubtful jaded vets to hear when they feed me a bunch of rubbish about how 'dispensible' 1990-92 Phish is.

one glance at the setlist should be enough to get any fan excited. SO many 'big jam' songs... and what's better, every one of them is totally nailed. Hood and Reba are their sparkling, transcendant selves, while Possum, Bowie, Mike's and Weekapaug each rage face with an unfamiliar youthful abandon.

this Tweezer warrants special mention. it was only the fifth or sixth time played in front of an audience, and the jam is spectacular, somewhere between the knotty avant-metal of '93-94 and the legato Hendrixian grind of '96. however, some listeners may be put off by what i can only describe as one of the band members WHINING into his microphone through the majority of it, a rather unpleasant wounded animal sort of noise. after the song ends, a sheepish Fishman mentions, "That one was called The Tweezer Song... I think."

the rest of the show is filled out by technically-challenging crowd pleasers like Uncle Pen, Esther, and (a refreshingly vocal jam-less) YEM, each slaughtered in turn. The Jagermeister Song must be heard to be understood - i DARE you to try and wipe the grin off your face while you do so.

i'm going to paraphrase something i read on the fantastic Hidden Track blog a while back... every time i go back and listen to early Phish, i expect it to sound WORSE in a way, but it never does. it merely sounds DIFFERENT, just as any true artist simply exploring another period in their own artistic evolution. it's enough to make one wonder... maybe these guys just always had IT!

outstanding sound quality throughout (direct from the spreadsheet) is icing on the cake.


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