, attached to 1994-05-29

Review by Miguelito

Miguelito I love hunting for underrated gems and my hope was that this show would fit the bill. This being 1994, and following the more famous show from the day before with its top notch Reba and Les Claypool's guest appearance, this show has all the makings of hidden treasure.

I'll begin by noting that the recording is a soundboard with a pretty good mix. Opening the show, we get Divided Sky. I love this tune as an opener. It happened a few times in '94 but in general it's not too common. And what a powerful way to open things up as this version delivers. I'm a huge Guelah Papyrus fan, ever since my first listen on A Picture of Nectar, so this was nice to hear. Halley's, DWD, Sparkle, Julius, and I Didn't Know fill in the rest of the middle of the first set solidly, without any of them being remarkable.

And this leads to Bowie to close out set I. There are numerous excellent Bowies in '94, and while this one isn't quite on par with the grandest of them (see, e.g., 6.18.94, 11.26.94, 12.29.94), it holds its own. It patiently builds to its peak, exploring several places along the way. Mike is particularly prominent in the mix here. And then we do get the build, and it's fantastic and a prime example of Phish's tension and release jamming style during this time of their career.

Nellie Kane as a set II opener is an unusual and unexpected choice that is noteworthy for being the only time it's served in the set II opening slot. Things really get rolling with Melt. As with Bowie, '94 was a peak year for Melt and this version exemplifies this. It's a fairly standard take on the tune, which is to say it's excellent and is pretty nasty, just the way they should be. It includes some screaming and other vocals mixed into the heart of the jam and it's during this tune that having a soundboard to clearly hear what's going on is a bonus. The build up to the end is quite stretched out, with more screams coming in. And then it kind of disintegrates before concluding. It's quite an interesting version, worthy of a listen or two, or ten.

The following Esther is lovely, getting a well-deserved noteworthy notation. Chalk Dust comes next. This short version packs a punch. Horn is a treat. As is McGrupp, an always-welcome venture into Gamehenge. The Oh Kee Pah > Suzy combo is nice to hear here, even if the versions are merely solid. It reminds me of when I first started seeing the band and will always be my preferred lead in to Suzy.

Suzy ends and drops deftly into Antelope. While this one starts off a bit quietly, it quickly builds in intensity. Once going, this version smokes. Closing out the set is their fun a capella take on Free Bird.

It's always nice to have multiple tunes in the encore. But multiple encores? That's extremely rare. We get Wilson > Golgi > Rocky Top for Encore 1, all played admirably with a little misstep by Trey in the vocals during Golgi.

And then we get Encore 2, which starts off with a brief jam while Trey was off stage, followed by Hood and GTBT. The Hood is the highlight of the encores and this is solid version.

Overall this is a very solid show, with a few standout tunes but everything is played very well during one of the band's prime eras. This one is definitely worthy of your time.


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