, attached to 2021-08-08

Review by MikeP

MikeP Salley, the policeman and the Martian monster are throwing a party, but they'll need to sneak Sally thru the alley to get her to the spot. Then they'll Maka some soupa, some bathtub gin, twist 1 up and read some ghost stories! You don't wanna miss this! The next time there's a party this punky might be 20 years later, who knows? Most events aren't planned!
, attached to 2021-08-27

Review by Midcoaster

Midcoaster I really, really dig this second set. For some, this may be too effervescent or light, but that's why I actually dig it. I can't think of another Phish show that has as delicate of a touch. The jams in Camel Walk and CDT are basically of a piece. It's as though CDT was a song interlude in a single jam. (Love it when that happens.) There's an echo of the December album's gentler noodling with Page wandering all over the Rhodes and Trey following with smooth flourishes. You know, when life kicks you in the teeth (looking at you 2020-2021), sometimes it's okay to space out and dream. One doesn't have to drop into the meat grinder of rawk for a bloody cleansing [i]every[/i] time. This show might have gone over in MSG like a weak handshake. In the context of the Gorge, however, it must've been transportational (for those willing to hear it). It's amazing, really, that there can be fresh takes on such tried and true material this late in the game. I even dig Sigma Oasis and the stoned-ape epiphany: "You're already there." We've got what we need folks, the rest is gravy. Let's enjoy our scene while we have it! That's the message I hear, anyway.
, attached to 2021-10-30

Review by Lemmiwinks

Lemmiwinks An outstanding show featuring many bright colors after the historic performances of N1 and N2. Creature themed and anchored by Harpua, this show is a song-chasers dream. While it doesn't feature the jamming magnitude of the prior two evenings, the highlights and creativity are present nonetheless in glorious pockets. Run Like An Antelope, Wombat, I Am The Walrus, Your Pet Cat, Runaway Jim, Piper, Harpua, Vultures Maybe the best Antelope I have personally witnessed. And I completely lost my mind during Walrus.
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by qushner

qushner So, this is a funny one, and for all the obvious reasons. I'll cut to the chase: it's not a great show, but it was a marvelous gesture. After making the decision to cancel four nights at Madison Square Garden, the band performed, without compensation, just for us. Wealthy as they are, it's not unremarkable that they worked for free that night—especially under such strange circumstances. Phish is a band that thrives on stage and feeds off of an audience. While many other musicians, especially those more reliant on income from concerts, livestreamed their way through the pandemic, Phish stayed away. Yes, Trey did his two-month virtual stand in Fall 2020 (a fundraiser!), but the main act stayed far away, sharing archival footage, taking to Zoom only to offer an awkward press conference upon the release of [i]Sigma Oasis[/i] and to play a strange game of chess. But on this night, they played for us. That's pretty special. Special as it may be, it was clearly not a good format for Phish. The telethon-style interludes, which worked well-enough with a bunch of hired hands for the Beacon Jams, were stilted and sapped any momentum that the band gathered. Things went best in moments where the band ignored the chatroom and just played. Let me tell you how I really feel: I'm glad they did this, and I hope they never do it again. And, if they ever feel compelled to do it again, I hope they just resolve to play music. Unlike most acts, Phish has figured out that there's little to be gained by addressing the audience: they let the music do the talking. Under the circumstances, they were using a facility in Amish Country where bands typically do their tech rehearsals before a tour. The equipment had presumably all been set up in advance of the MSG run, and then, when the run was cancelled, arrangements were made to leave everything in place and webcast a show from there. In the future, there's not really any need for the huge stage and the big light show. If there are to be any further webcasts, put the four of them in a room, facing each other, as in a rehearsal, and let the cameras roll for a couple of hours. But, once more, with feeling: I hope they never do this again. As far as I can tell, all the Big Moments came in the first set. The second set had the most interesting YEM vocal jam in ages (and I'm old enough to remember when YEM didn't always have a vocal jam), but not much else of interest besides. And that third set was enough of a mess that you might actually think it was from a "real" New Years Eve show, where the third set is, traditionally, a disjointed mess. All that said, there is one thing that is worth discussing in this show: the return of Time Turns Elastic. I thought this was [i]the[/i] huge highlight. It felt a bit snappier (great decision: it finally didn't drag), and Trey tried some vocal passages up an octave (a mistake, I thought). There may have been some alternate chords under one of the submarine lines, and there was a mistake somewhere else, where at least Trey went to the wrong chords. Just before the final movement, there were some big, emphatic unison hits—I don't remember these, and I caught Trey looking back to Fish to make sure they happened. But the major work had to be Trey relearning the song in standard tuning. This is no small feat, as it's a complex piece of music, and it meant a few little adjustments: an accent note here and there, some harmonics that no longer worked and had to be fingered. Those newly-fingered passages helped quite a bit, allowing Trey to play the lead melodies in the song's opening more expressively. Other than that, it all sounded pretty close to me—that's impressive! This song, finally, sounded [i]good[/i]. There was, however a brutal error of judgment in the lack of explosive solo at the end, about which I'm still upset. It's going to take me a while to get over it, but all will be forgiven if they are willing to cut loose next time. (Worth noting: Mercury got a similar treatment in the second set). Not only was it frustrating, it was downright confusing. One of the major problems with TTE (and, oh, how there were many!) was that when the triumphant climax arrived, Trey was stuck with a guitar around his neck that he basically didn't know how to use! That tense chord progression, which has "awesome" written all over it, always ended up a mess in 2009-10, because Trey literally couldn't find a major scale in an alternate tuning. I saw the song a few times in those early years (didn't we all!?), and it was always a disappointment. I was at the UMass show where the song last appeared (10/24/10), and Trey switched from one guitar to the another—good idea!—and, after sacrificing a bunch of momentum, it kind of worked. But, by then, the experiment had run its course and the song disappeared. Now, after going to all that trouble to translate the piece for a guitar that Trey's well-known for playing brilliant guitar solos on (and convincing Mike, Page, and Fish, who let out a whoop when the thing was over, to relearn it as well), they get to that climax and... Gee, did you hear Betty White died?!?! Look, I think it's was sad news, too, but do you know what would really have done honor to her life and work? A guitar solo! I'll get over it eventually, and all told, this is, to me, a clear example of Phish being a better band than they were a decade ago. They're more mature, better able to handle delicate passages, more comfortable playing emotively. I never hated TTE song as much as most did, but I certainly didn't love it, and I wasn't sad to see it disappear. But I'm very excited to hear it sounding the way it did, and I can't wait to hear it again. My instinct is that it had something to do with the New Years Stunt that wasn't, and it was clearly the most interesting thing that happened on a very special and very mediocre webcast.
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by themayor

themayor There are some fantastic little nuggets in here. It was really great for them to do this for us, and I'm sure they had a blast. Those guys just love playing music together. They probably would've been playing even without a stream. But I'm glad we got to see it. YEM had a post vocal jam which is insane and so cool. Everything's Right to lead us into 2022 was really perfect, and the jam eventually got to a great bliss. If anything, these are great studio quality recordings of some fantastic tunes.
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by The_Ghost

The_Ghost Attendance bias is a real thing. For me the Ghost>Slave, cavern 2nd set close was amazing. Some of my favorites all together. Second set was a rough start for me but then YEM>Frankie>Mercury>Possum. How could anyone complain about that run. Kept waiting for a gag that didn't come, unless you count the sleeping monkeys tease or the wardrobe changes in general. I found it humorous that they played twist with no crowd. Divided Sky wouldn't have worked considering they wouldn't have known when to restart. Very solid of them to do something for the fans, I enjoyed it as a charity telethon feel more than a phish show feel, but not in a bad way or a negative way. If that makes any sense.
, attached to 1998-10-31

Review by buffalo_716

buffalo_716 An excellent review of the 3rd set I read: There’s a lot of aggression in the Piper but that may have just been an attempt to get straight. That room was completely upside down. I saw the light rig smash through the ceiling and reveal a starry sky above. One of my most memorable sets for sure. Also, I remember this, and I can imagine it getting inside Trey’s head while the portal was wide and weird during Wolfman’s: “There was a dude, second row or so, right in front of Trey in a full on space alien outfit with what looked like a professional Hollywood, good enough for the movies mask and gloves and a metallic coat. That dude DIDN'T MOVE the entire night. Just stared at Trey while the rest of the room boogied. I caught Trey staring at him few times, it looked to me that it was kind of freaking him out. I remember laughing with my buddy about that guy. I mean he was committed. Never even bobbed his head, just stared at Trey with big black alien eyes... s***, maybe he was a legit f***ing alien, I don't know... would of been a good place to hang out if you made the intergalactic trip. “
, attached to 2012-09-01

Review by dankpants

dankpants I was going over my favorite shows that I've been to, and this one cannot be skipped, listening back over it is just fantastic, love the energy, this is one of the uncommon phish shows where the whole show carries second set vibes, and I absolutely believe that Fish pushed himself to the limit this show, I remember leaving dicks positively beaming with optimism, inspired by the wonderful show and experience I had
, attached to 1988-12-17

Review by thelot

thelot This first set might just be the perfect starting set for a newcomer to Phish. The sound quality is top notch for the time period and it’s an entire set of Phish originals played note perfect. It’s a shame set 2 and 3 are lost to time. :( I’d venture to guess this is an On Stage recording or possibly a Matrix…there’s too much room ambiance to be a straight SBD imo. Although we just have Set 1 to review here I find it interesting that like their gig at Red Barn we see another entire set full of originals. Makes you wonder what the rest of the last show of year looked like. It’s pretty clear after listening to everything up to this point that 1988 was the year Phish truly came into their own. What a treat it’s been listening to everything unfold up to this point! This set is definitely worth a spin if you haven’t heard it before. The quality of this recording alone will bring you back to the Old Stone Church! ;)
, attached to 1992-12-10

Review by Squirrel95

Squirrel95 29 years ago today this was my first show. I don't remember much but 330 shows later it obviously made an impression. I do remember still being high in high school the next morning. I had just seen my first Dead show earlier that summer and Phish was a completely different animal. The drummer in a dress playing a vacuum, trampolines, big ball jam, secret language, this band was fun. So glad I got to see them early before the fame. My friends and I bought Rift and were hooked. We graduated high school and went on the road.
, attached to 2021-10-23

Review by jespolegit

jespolegit Incredible show , said it was the best show phish show. After I finally caught my breath and was able to speak again . Major rager on the lawn , oven never danced my ass off so much at a phish concert . Free was so much fun . When they came out of the jam and Trey delivered the finishing verse I get like I survived a journey and was flying on an eagles wings . Pure art flawless execution. I went ape shit to sand and Piper was beyond perfect . perfect alien vibes . Glad I came out west #phishlove
, attached to 1989-12-09

Review by jerrymcsendy

jerrymcsendy Phish at Castleton! I'm not sure why it took me so long to find out that they played here, but it was fun eating lunch at Huden today to this heater. Definitely made the food a little more enjoyable. Don't really see all of the hate for this one, these are all great songs played well. Sure there's a few moments where someone falls off a tiny bit, but that's how live music goes. Would have loved to be at this one if I was 30 years older!
, attached to 1988-12-10

Review by thelot

thelot Aside from the vocal flub in Fee this show is well played. The recording itself isn’t great but it’s an enjoyable listen. A couple notes from the show…Weekapaug featured a cool groove jam before kicking into ‘Paug proper. I believe this is the very first time we hear the infamous Wilson chant. It may’ve appeared at Hamilton College (11/5) but unfortunately that intro to Wilson is cut. Set 2 cuts into Alumni, unfortunate because this is a great version with some additional lyrics! AC/DC starts with no introduction. This segues nicely into Possum for the first time since Beecher Hill Farm (5/15). There was more than a handful of beautiful Bag->Possum segues from earlier this year and throughout ‘87! Another solid Western Mass performance here! Don’t sleep on this one.
, attached to 1988-11-11

Review by thelot

thelot Not much to review with this one as only a small portion of the show circulates. The SBD source leaves a lot to be desired as there is multiple cassette generations in it’s lineage. I listened to this one through the Relisten app, I’ll have to see if I have the audience recording on my hard drive to compare sound quality. A few notes…The Bowie to close Set 1 is decent. The very end of Weekapaug was reworked again to it’s current format. The Mr. PC was great! Obviously more cohesive than what we heard in Telluride. The second jam in Whipping Post was short but very cool. Almost reminded me of some of the ambient stuff they’d later get into.
, attached to 1988-11-05

Review by thelot

thelot This recording starts out a little rough but improves quite a bit during the Slave jam. The pitch seems to be a hair sharp for Possum and A-Train but works itself out. The rest of the show sounds decent overall. It was neat to have a reference photo to look at for this show. Cool to see the picture hanging on the wall behind the band that Trey points out in this humorous version of Icculus. Unfortunately there’s a good portion of Set 3 missing. The cut takes place during the ‘Gus the Christmas Dog’ section of Divided Sky. A couple other notes…Wilson has the “blap boom” but also features the vocal drum roll into Peaches…that’s a first, Bag had no introduction and Weekapaug has a reworked ending from previous versions. Overall a fun vibe throughout the show but pretty run of the mill for the time.
, attached to 1988-11-03

Review by thelot

thelot There’s two different sources spliced together for this show. Source 1 has “ok” sound with a number of cassette generations in it’s lineage. The first source runs from Fire through Lizards. Source 1 cuts back in for the last song of the show, David Bowie (which cuts out during a nice jam) :( Source 2 sounds absolutely incredible! This runs from Whipping Post through Harpua. Unfortunately Shaggy Dog is missing on this recording. This was the first “on shore” gig the band played in Boston. Their first official gig in Boston took place on a boat in Boston Harbor on 6-1-86. There seemed to be a decent turnout at Molly’s that night. The show has good energy but is straightforward for 1988. Trey’s vocals on Whipping Post are very enjoyable. This may be due in part to the beautiful mix of the recording. Hearing DEG come out of the second jam is pretty cool. Unlike the debut of Foam at Goddard, the version here features the now standard middle jam. The Harpua story follows the same line you’d expect it would for this time period. This show is worth checking out if you want to hear a high quality recording of the band in the 80’s, particularly from Whipping Post through Harpua.
, attached to 2015-07-31

Review by KWdub24

KWdub24 This Twist is extremely powerful. Whole show is amazing, honestly, but something about the Twist speaks to my soul. It has pulled me out of some of the darkest times of my life and given me hope. At only 10 minutes too. Pure joy and euphoria. Give it a listen, then listen to the whole show all the way through. Truly special.
, attached to 2021-08-15

Review by TheFuckinBook_Man

TheFuckinBook_Man Best night of weather of the 3 nights- not as muggy! So it had that goin for it pre show. I was about 20 folks back from Fishman around 2 hours before showtime, just hanging and meetin' and talking with people i only see and new people i only meet at a show- and usually we only get to talk before the show! After it started we're all usually out there! And after we Phish off!! One guy and his wife were at the '98 Van Andel show and i told them i saw them 4 days later in Tennessee and it sucked in comparison. They laughed...how could any phish suck?? Some of it does. A tiny bit. Then about 5 or 6 people I knew showed up and made space next to the wiry, tireless, inventive, sun-craisin next to us who was scooping sand out of a 5 foot diameter circle so he would have a harder, more level surface to dance on- cuz about 2 feet under the sand is basically smooth, hard sand. The dude took up about a football teams huddle amount of space with all the excavated sand, but no one really cared. Except an ingenious fan who circled the dudes dancin' pit with glowsticks cuz sooo many walkers crumbled into it during the first set. Oh and the tunes. My friends showed up with paper so i had 1, which kept me up til I got home the next night at 2am! Good stuff. But i only was on it for an hour before the show, so of course whatever they played first was gonna be weirdish and it was to me, as this is how i saw things, how i felt'em, what i thought. Just me! The Landlady! My first time hearing it as it once was, so that was happiness in papers weird form, no matter how janky the song was played at times. Then the first "OMAHA"! of the night with the S&SS intro into Moma! WELL PLAYED S&SS intro, too! That intro could soundtrack a scene of Shakespeare, ya know? The show had its first unforgettable moment. And the Moma was a helluva effort- extended to new sounds that showed why I come to shows still- their supreme improv. They're the best at it! The greatest. And the longer they play together the better they can be at it. The Landlady nowadays is as slow as an elder landlady might walk, but the improv in Moma was as piercingly forthright as a landlady should be in order to be good at her job. The Final Hurrah sounded like Blaze On, and it mighta been at first, or they mighta just hit an incorrect note or two. I like The Final Hurrah. I think it's amazingly arraigned and the lyrics are great melodic humor. Hell yes it's Mike's. And a shimmering, gruff, worthwhile Mike's it was! So then the beauty of Hydrogen kinda reminded the drug to perform. What a song. Such eternal beauty!!! Off to Weekapaug for the Sock Hop! We danced. Phish is about the only music I will actually dance to. So they owe me something for forcing FORCING me to embarrass myself like I do. Fishman's "Yeaaa" vocal effect after Weekapaug was well timed. They did The Sloth well. Love it. Been feelin' real outcasty as this pandemic continues. Anyways, we now hear one of only two 1.0 songs I think have peaked in 3.0 and beyond. Roggae didn't have its best night on the swell Atlantic City shore, and neither did Carini (the other 1.0 song that got better- I feel hit it its peak at Dicks in '17. Idk which Roggae is my favorite, but it's definitely after 2008.) Back On The Train is a fav of mine cuz I heard it on the radio in '00, right after the station played Zero- I was just passing through Montana when I heard it, and back home in Tennessee I had only heard any twice- Free on our college station in '97, and in 2000 i heard Heavy Things on the same station (but I count that as a Hanson cover ;) BOY!! A real nice YEM- especially the beginning 3 or 4 minutes while on the paper... is like hearing the music of a bunch of dead yet immortal lords of composers. The dude who was at Van Andel and I looked at each other and I had a huge deafening smile going as we shook hands for some reason as I muttered, "THEY STILL HAVE IT!!" He nodded goofily and we haven't spoken since! Such as a setbreak is. My friends and I spoke though! What about, I hardly know. But i do remember laughing. Hell yeah. So then the best part of the show for me. The Carini jam put my mind in a nice space cuz the music was just so good, so damn goooood. I started to feel grateful. And lucky to be alive, unlike 3 friends I knew back home who died from Covid. One of them my uncle. I was surprised that I was feeling my way. But, this pandemic is unprecedented and being at one of my favorite places was quite the emotion. I took a chance even going, and everything worked out for the most part. I began to get some tears though, and they reminded me how powerful these guys' music is these days. Their art. Then during Set Your Soul Free, a song I'm not likin' yet although I do usually enjoy its improv, I began hearing consistent talking. No talking during improv, please. Especially 2nd set-I might die/I might pass on a disease that dies ya/i spent too much money- improv. So after 5 minutes of on and off talking I just, for the first time in my life, turned around and asked, "could you please tell your story in 50 minutes or an hour, please?" The New Jersey accent was torturing my acid soaked southern ears, and how could 2 "pleases" not work? As I turned around I put my hands together like I was praying they'd stay quiet, and they did! Thank y'all. My first time hearing Beneath A Sea of Stars was ok. It def needed quietness to work as a song. Being near the sound sweet section helped this tune- Mike's bass floated us around in a soothing bog. That Piper rocked! The show did, too. It was my favorite of the 5 shows i saw this year. Oak Mt and n2 Alpharetta being the others. If it sounds like I'm done rambling I am! Fluffhead was fine and dandy, but not as Phish because of their lack of flowing speed during the slightly impossible up and down parts in The Chase and Who Do? We Do! It didn't, to me, this night, have the same effect as it has in the past, but that's ok as can be! It's fuckin' Fluffhead! In the moment I wanted something besides Number Line to end it, but within 30 seconds I was into it and all that is behind its history. It just takes being there, as the song and the surrounding joy of the crowd and band pointed my mind into remembering the good times with my uncle... Thank you Phish.
, attached to 1996-11-16

Review by BlazedOn

BlazedOn my first show. bitter cold and icy outside. cops on horses checking out the scene but seemed like everyone just wanted to get inside. all GA and full but comfortable, and we were Mike side seats. Guyute and all of set 2, which was a full on rock show, were standouts for me. the Band seemed to have a blast.
, attached to 1988-10-29

Review by thelot

thelot This is a nice recording, although the pauses in between most tracks and during some songs is a bit annoying. I would imagine there was a lot of great stage banter that took place on this night, but unfortunately it’s all lost. The source info says this is a SBD recording but I believe it’s either a Matrix or a really nice On Stage recording. The quality seems to degrade a bit after the cut in Bag. There’s clearly a couple cassette generations in the lineage but it’s still a very bright sounding source overall. The audience comes through clearly and there seems to be quite a few in attendance! Probably the whole darn school!???? The show is rock solid throughout with a little sloppiness in sections. Set 1 is highlighted by the debut of Time Loves a Hero, a very loose Contact and the Costume Contest -> Harry Hood. Harry Hood was the clear winner of the contest. I wonder if there’s any photos out there from this night? I’d love to see what the costumes looked like! Set 2 kicked off with the first special guest of the night. I must say I’m not a big fan of Nancy on vocals for Halley’s, actually not a fan of what Halley’s sounded like in general in the 80’s. On a positive note, the jam out of Halley’s segues nicely into another short but hot version of Whipping Post! It’s great to hear Divided Sky back in rotation! Trey pulled off the ‘Gus the Christmas Dog’ section a lot better than his attempt at the “Full Moon at the Zoo” performance. Guest number two of the evening was another low point imho. Bobby Brown is no John Popper and definitely took away from this version of Curtis Lowe. This standalone version of Mike’s was pretty rockin’! More than half of Set 3 features Russ Remington on Sax. Some songs work better with the addition of the saxophone than others but overall Russ was a welcome addition to Set 3. I especially enjoyed his contribution to Timber, Slave and the debut of Donna Lee. Bag started with the introduction but cuts out shortly thereafter and starts back up midway through the jam. The debut of Foam came next even though it was introduced back in the Spring during their Earth Day performance (4/22) as “Marijuana Hot Chocolate”. This version runs straight through the verses with no middle jam. Although Fish debuted his vacuum cleaner at Sam’s on 9/13 he still has yet to bust it out again. Both Terrapin and I Didn’t Know feature him playing his bone. Fun show overall. This one is definitely worth a listen if you’ve never heard it!
, attached to 1997-12-07

Review by 0160mhsihp

0160mhsihp I took my dad to this show. It was his first time seeing Phish. He had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure if he's be overwhelmed or what. Long story short he loved it. After tapping me on the shoulder during JJLC saying "this is the best fucking band I've ever heard". Let's just say my inhibitions went away as I knew he was enjoying himself. He saw them another 6 times with me. A few with the whole family. Mom, Dad, brother, sister. I'll never forget those times.
, attached to 1988-09-24

Review by thelot

thelot The sound quality on set 1 is top notch! However, set 2&3 are a bit sped up making the band sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks. I’m sure it’s been corrected on one of the four sources that circulate, but alas the version on Relisten has this issue. The band was firing on all cylinders this evening! I wish the Bowie to kick off set 2 was available because I’m sure it kills…it was just one of those nights! The Amherst audience is absolutely eating it up! From what I know “Full Moon at the Zoo” were psychedelic parties. Set 1 highlights include On Your Way Down, YEM->Wilson->Peaches and the first full version of Divided Sky that circulates. It’s possible the first full version was played on 8/13 but no recording is known to circulate. Set 2 has a nice Whipping Post albeit a little short. The Curtain > AC/DC Bag from set 3 is worth checking out. The Bag has no introduction and is laid back. Trey takes a minimalist approach to his playing in the jam with some tasteful teases throughout. One of the best versions I’ve heard thus far. Unfortunately, the rest of set 3 is cut from the tapes that circulate. This would make for another fine release!
, attached to 1995-05-14

Review by gregehle

gregehle This was a fairly magical experience. I had attended a bunch of parties and such at the round house, and seen a bunch of jams, but this was phish with Paul L mixing in the front yard. Maybe 20-30 people there. I remember taking a leak in the bushes and hearing Camel Walk, which is not in this setlist so I think the setlist is incomplete. It was a summer '95 bust out as well.
, attached to 1988-09-13

Review by thelot

thelot Night 2 of Sam’s definitely improved on sound quality, however the pitch of the recording is a bit slow. Plus, there’s multiple cassette generations on this source. Still an enjoyable listen overall as this was another strong performance. Unfortunately, only the first two sets circulate. The 3rd set features the debut of the one off performance of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Andy’s Chest’ as well as the first known appearance of Fish’s vacuum. If Kevin is sitting on the masters of this one it would make for a great release!
, attached to 1988-09-13

Review by thelot

thelot Night 2 of Sam’s definitely improved on sound quality, however the pitch of the recording is a bit slow. Plus, there’s multiple cassette generations on this source. Still an enjoyable listen overall as this was another strong performance. Unfortunately, only the first two sets circulate. The 3rd set features the debut of the one off performance of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Andy’s Chest’ as well as the first known appearance of Fish’s vacuum. If Kevin is sitting on the masters of this one it would make for a great release!
, attached to 1988-09-12

Review by thelot

thelot The sound quality on this one is pretty bad. It’s a shame too because what’s available is great! Of course when the sound quality is this bad it really takes away from the performance. The recording starts out midway through set 1. The Axis closer is the highlight from the first set. Be sure to check out the ending on this version! Set 2 is where things pick up. Timber opens up set 2 for the second time since 11/19/87. TMWSIY through Esther is great! The debut of Esther with the original lyrics is a must here. I wonder if Kevin is sitting on the masters of this one? I’d love to hear a clean copy, if not for the Esther alone.
, attached to 1988-09-08

Review by thelot

thelot The recording on this one is phenomenal. It’s a shame the taper had to leave before set 3! However, the sets that circulate are standard fair for 1988. Apparently tGD were playing in Philadelphia. It’s a good possibility this had an impact on attendance at The Front for these three nights. These performances were certainly lacking tapers! Wild Child was a welcome treat! Bag had the introduction. DEG seems to have found a home in Cities since Telluride! They go together like PB&J! On Your Way Down > Whipping Post closed out set 2 nicely.
, attached to 2013-07-05

Review by yam_ekaj

yam_ekaj A long story: This was my first Phish show. I had gotten into the band in 2012 through a friend at summer camp (not a unique path to Phish, to be sure). My first opportunity to see the band came in Summer 2013, but unfortunately I didn't know anyone else who could go with me (my friend was working that summer and unable to attend). But I was determined to go and convinced my parents to let young 16-year-old Yam attend the show solo. I took a train from NYC up to Saratoga alone and attended my first ever show solo. The show itself is a very solid show. The first set is pretty standard but I was excited to see Bowie as it was and is my favorite Phish song. The second set is great--I still listen to the Light from time to time. For a while this was also my only Mango Song (another one of my favorites, streak broken at Camden N3 2019). After the show, it began pouring rain. I needed to find a cab back to where I was staying, but so did everyone else, leading to a massive shortage. After a while, my very old phone died. Eventually, without much else to do, I wound up following a group of people who were walking along the highway once the rain had stopped, marching on back to downtown Saratoga. It eventually thinned out to a group of three wook-adjacent friends and myself, a 16-year-old in way over his head. They noticed I was following behind and turned around. One said, "hey man, are you following us?" I said, "well I'm just trying to get back into town and I think this is the way. Seems like you all have a GPS." He said, "we do! We're actually headed to my buddy Mike's house in town to huff gas if you wanna join." "I'm good," i said. I followed them the rest of the way to town and eventually found my hotel. I finally texted my parents, letting them know about the whole ordeal, but I'll never forget my last line of the text: "Despite all of that, this was still definitely the best night of my life."
, attached to 2000-06-10

Review by DemandOpener

DemandOpener [b]Set 1:[/b] With about as little preamble as one would expect from a band with nothing to say and nothing to lose (kind of like this review), Phish kicks off their second night in Tokyo with a monstrous Disease. Like the previous night's Tweezer, this Disease features a long vamp on the main theme (this time only about 12 minutes) before breaking off into 2000-style contemplative space. The space expands and contracts, probing the seabed of Tokyo Bay before triumphantly returning to Disease, similarly (again) to the Tokyo Tweezer's "burn it down" rocking jam segment after about 25 minutes of exploration. This Disease is a bit more successful; Trey's playing is more active and there is clearly more improvisational communication going on between band members. Where the Tokyo Tweezer felt lost at sea, the Tokyo Disease feels more focused and more determined. The evolution of a jam style in real time...very cool. After a brief, joyful Sample, Piper follows. It collapses into sonic dissonance almost immediately and then finds this kick-ass rocking groove that turns out to be...Trey and Fish steering back into Piper! As quickly as パイパー - さん resurfaces here for air, it departs back beneath the turbulent, type II ocean current. Trey and Page furiously whip up a sonic whirlpool that Mike and Fish punctuate with blasts of percussive debris. For most of it, this Piper is a demented, wild ride...as unsettling as it is intense (and is also a MUST-HEAR jam of this brief Japan tour). Finally though, as a welcome, calming coda, the jam cools off and sits at a low simmer; Mike/Trey empty their pockets of melodic and countermelodic ideas while Fish/Page are content to propel the thing along...obviously satisfied with how the night is proceeding. To close, a soothing outro reminiscent of a lullaby... Enter Lawn Boy: a perfect call at this juncture. Then Guyute. Unfortunately, Guyute is starting to leave its prime so it's not a super well-executed version (Trey). Its customary intensity caps the set regardless, and we excitedly await Set 2. What could be in store following an extremely memorable set 1...? [b]Set 2:[/b] After a brief plea to Japanese alternative rock radio (Heavy Things), things get underway with SAND. This is back when Sand was less of a celebratory anthem for the band that got everybody rocking...in 1999-2000, Sand always seemed to be an omen of evil portents to come. The droning guitar and delicate, watery keyboard backed by thumping bass and drums...almost make it sound like Phish's version of trance music. But instead of a bass drop...we get a JAM drop. In only its second appearance post-Big Cypress, this Sand gets trance-y early with whirling siren loops, crazy Page, and nary a fill from Mike nor Fish. I think you either love this type of Sand jam or you don't...and if you don't, you are wrong. The joy is in the subtlety, and thank goodness we had a crowd in this tiny Japanese club that was willing to really pay attention and not chomp all over it (mostly). Trey waits a little too long once the band is out of ideas to pull out of the reverie into the Sand coda, but maybe he was just trying to remember how to play Sparkle, which is next...but he doesn't really remember how to play the intro anyway. Oh well. Following Sparkle are a bunch more songs, all well played, but nothing too spectacular or out of the box. And...that's kind of it. Perhaps indicative of a band about to take over two years off, 6/10/00 is the second straight show where the quality of the first set eclipses the second, either due to a lack of energy, creativity, or both. 5 stars = All-time, transcendent show (there aren't very many of these) 4 stars = Great show (there are a lot of these) [b]3 stars[/b] = Good show with a few highlights or standout moments (there are a lot of these) 2 stars = Average show (there are a few of these, but Phish usually manages to be a bit better than the "average version of itself) 1 stars = Bad show (there aren't very many of these) This show is a [b]3/5[/b]. If you love the Tokyo Tweezer, don't miss the Tokyo Disease, and please don't miss the Tokyo Piper regardless. Check out this Sand, too, if you're into those giant early Sands that take a lap around type I and remain dark and slinky all the way through.
, attached to 2000-06-09

Review by DemandOpener

DemandOpener [b]6/9/00 Set 1:[/b] No doubt about it, this is a winner of a set. On-Air East starts off strong and sloppy with an Axilla I chockablock with crowd energy. This energy manifests on stage as a Taste tsunami crashing on Tokyo shores. This Taste isn't jam charted, but finds some really nice space immediately and culminates in a torrential downpour of swirling guitar and crash cymbals. An "earned" Billy Breathes follows, perhaps a bit earlier than would normally make sense, but eventually wins over a chatty, excitable crowd with some watery effect-laden playing from Trey. Poor Heart, Golgi, and Funky Bitch follow and are effective as a punchy trio to whip the crowd back up into a frenzy again. A brief interlude into Moma showcases some atypical, quiet playing/singing from Fish and is a really nice way to kick off the final frame of the set. The enthusiasm for the moment spills over into a ferocious First Tube > Chalk Dust combo, which serves as the knockout punch to this "Japanese" Phish crowd. A lot of shows are described as "You had to be there", but this one on tape, you can really imagine what it might have been like: [b]エネルギー![/b] [b]Tweezer:[/b] I've made a few enemies discussing how I think that this Tweezer--all 30 minutes of it--is a bloated, overrated mess. In the car, on lot, during setbreak, at the urinal, any time a discussion about the Tokyo Tweezer pops up, I just HAVE to get involved. Is the Funk #49 tease awesome? Yes. Is Trey's incendiary guitar work enveloping the ploddingly-paced jam that takes FOREVER to go type II and lacks any major distinct features until about 18 minutes in enough to save this jam from being a hard skip from me every time it pops up in my "long jams" iTunes playlist? No. And yes, I still use iTunes for some reason. I'm not trying to be negative on purpose; I'm just not seeing what everyone else sees in this Tweezer jam. It collapses in on itself like a dying star at about 15 minutes in, manages to rebuild back into Tweezer, kind of collapses again, does some cool spacy stuff for a while, but doesn't [i]really [/i]"pay off" in a meaningful way like other long, challenging 2000 jams do (think Fukuoka Twist, Darien Drowned, etc.). It's not a terrible jam or anything, and is at least worth hearing because I think it does have an audience, but is nowhere near the tour-defining quality that one would likely apply to a 30+ minute jam. The jam [i]does [/i]finally start to peak at about 25 minutes in after a good 10 minutes of searching, and it's enjoyable. This peak isn't transcendent or anything, but it's a good one. [b]The rest of Set 2: [/b] Bouncing is actually about as closed to a jammed out Bouncing as you're going to get, as Trey thoroughly botches the end guitar part and decides to play a nifty little solo instead. Pretty cool! The rest of the set has some great song selection, some old, some new, a hauntingly gorgeous Coil outro, and a classic YEM. A great way to kick off the Japan 00 tour, and a great show to choose to debut properly my brand new ranking system: 5 stars = All-time, transcendent show (there aren't very many of these) 4 stars = Great show (there are a lot of these) [b]3 stars[/b] = Good show with a few highlights or standout moments (there are a lot of these) 2 stars = Average show (there are a few of these, but Phish usually manages to be a bit better than the "average version of itself) 1 stars = Bad show (there aren't very many of these) Anyway, this show is a [b]3/5[/b]. You'll want to seek out the entire first set if you can't get enough of high energy Phish, and the Tweezer (YMMV on how much you like it) and YEM from the Set 2.
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