-By Kevin Hogan (@radiator9987)
1993 was one of the most critical years in Phish’s development from a hopped-up Type I machine gun-wielding juggernaut to the looser Type II band they would become in a few short years. It is interesting as there is no Fall Tour, time the band took to go to California and record Hoist with Paul Fox. Also, only 2 of the songs that would appear on Hoist were played live before the album was recorded (Sample and Lifeboy).
What we can hear is a band looking for a way to break open the structured compositions they had written since the beginning of their career. This process is not an easy thing to do and the band took a unique approach. They decided to have fun and let the songs suggest where the group should go. What we end up with is Teasefests in some of Phish’s most beloved songs and groundbreaking jams in others, all sprinkled with that indelible Phish sense of humor.
Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, Washington, DC
What starts as a normal Reba degenerates into silliness with Mike and Trey singing Baguette instead of Bag It. We then get a Simpsons signal before the most exciting jam of Reba's short life. After a few minutes of the structured section post vocals, we find ourselves in a very early Type II jam that would flesh itself out over the next few months.
Roxy Theater, Atlanta, GA
Perhaps the most famous show from Spring 93 finds the band in one of the first extended segue fests. It is sloppy, and maybe not the best Mike’s ever, but it was a breakthrough on the bands part with Trey flying all over the map and the band scrambling to keep it together underneath. With Tweezer, Wilson, Reba, The Lizards, and Stash teases in Mike’s and a Vibration Of Life/Kung in Hydrogen all leading to a tight Weekapaug>Have Mercy>Rock and Roll All Night>Weekapaug, this show was an instant classic.
(*Mike's Song-> My Mind's Got a Mind of its Own -> Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen -> The Vibration of Life -> Kung -> I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove -> Have Mercy -> Rock and Roll All Night -> Weekapaug Groove)
You Enjoy Myself
Paul Wright Gym, Western State College, CO
In a year of ever-expanding versions of YEMs, this is not the longest but a standout. The all over the map tease fest of the Roxy Mike’s evolves here as the band weaves in Owner of a Lonely Heart, Low Rider, and Oye Como Va teases into the jam section. Spooky emerges from this tease fest and we get a sweet jam. They sing the chorus once before bringing YEM around to the vocal jam that has Mystery Achievement, We Will Rock You, and Welcome to the Machine quotes.
Hilton Ballroom, Eugene, OR
We find Stash here being deconstructed before our ears. This was the version where the song turned a corner with a jam that veers farther from the main song's structure than ever before. There is an almost Big Black Furry Creature From Mars section and Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ and Misty Mountain Hop teases.
Palace Theater, Albany, NY
This Tweezer is the longest Tweezer to date and was the point where the song broke through. Tweezer was opened to the possibilities the band would mine again and again for years to come. Mike locks into a Sweet Emotion jam not long after the vocals end; this morphs into Trey and Mike jamming on The Dude Of Life’s Crimes Of The Mind before winding its way back to the Tweezer theme.
Murat Theater, Indianapolis, IN
What can be said about this Gin that hasn’t been? Phish began taking Gin out for a ride in Summer '93, and this was the one where they were hitting on all cylinders. From the start, the band lets us know we are heading into unknown territory, teasing Tequila, Rift, Weekapaug, and China Grove. We again see the band's confidence as they embrace a Type II jam with wild tempo changes before reforming the song for a short jam that morphs into Ya Mar.
Run Like an Antelope
World Music Theatre, Tinley Park, IL
The night after the Murat Gin finds the band in a playful mood taking Antelope out for another segue fest. Trey shines, steering the group with a deftness not found in The Roxy Mike’s. This one seems to foreshadow the Bomb Factory Tweezer that appears the next spring.
Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS
People often mention the Divided Sky from this show, but Bowie is the real gem. Split Open, and Melt, Gin, Tweezer, and Antelope all found themselves deconstructed and extended for this tour. This was Bowie’s night. This is the one where they breakthrough, combining elements of the jams from the previous six nights and leaving the basic song structure behind.
Split Open and Melt
Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
Starting earlier on 8/16, Split Open and Melt began taking a different shape. This night at Red Rocks is when all the future paths SOAM would take were laid out, chaotic jamming, a dark edginess in the jam, and freedom from the song's basic structure. On top of that, it is flawlessly executed.
And here’s your +1:
Low Spark 11/11/1993
Sit-In w/Trey & Page
While in LA recording Hoist, Trey and Page dropped by the Widespread Panic show at the Roxy and sat in for this fantastic take on the Traffic classic Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys that includes a jam on David Earle Johnson’s Time Is Free that had been made famous by Col. Bruce Hampton and ARU.