, attached to 1985-11-23

Review by dr_strangelove

dr_strangelove The recording for this show is incomplete, providing snippets of only the four songs in the second set. The overall theme I would say is self-indulgent, yet confident stoner rock. It's definitely worth a listen, especially if you are looking to explore more of Phish's vast history (and if you are digging around these early 80's shows, I'm guessing you must be on your Phish vision quest). Highlights:

1) Whipping Post Jam: Having no context for the "Whipping Post" part of this jam due to the incomplete recording, the music starts in a pretty weird and murky place. Lots of self-indulgent jamming occurs before it takes some form at ~11 min, which sort of reminds me of an Allman Brothers jam. The Norwegian wood tease around 17 min is fun and at about 19 min, a pretty great relaxed, yet triumphant mood emerges, with Trey and Fishman charging ahead deliberately. Things dissolve back into murkiness for a minute or two but then around ~24 min, more of this triumphant jamming emerges before finally settling into a reggae-esque beat, which builds into a funky little riff that they have fun with before the recording ends. It’s a beautiful mess full of lots of compelling moments, including several where the band confidently coallesces into some powerful crescendos which explode. It's hard to imagine this jam existing in any other period of the band's history, but for that reason alone I would say its absolutely worth the listen. It's revealing to hear Phish jamming in this formative stage; their later work and classic jams didn't just magically happen! These guys spent a lot of time cutting loose in these early shows, exploring without restraint, before they learned how to reel it in and produce a more focused product.

2) Run Like An Antelope: The recording starts at the jam section of the song, but we get to hear the entire band build some really intense energy! Trey is raging hard, Mike's thick bass in the mix is amazing, and Fishman is going bezerk. Unfortunately, I don't really notice the keyboards too much in this mix, but its still a fun jam.

3) Dave's Energy Guide: Quintessential stoner rock at its best. The DEG riff that I've heard teased in so many later Phish shows is fun, but the extended song gets particularly far-out and space-invaders-like. Dissonance delight!
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