The Virtuosity of Summer ’93

Pollock Summer '93

In interviews these days, Phish consistently discusses the importance of striking a balance in their lives during this era of their career. Combining Phish, families, side-projects, and some down time, the band members, thankfully, seem to be prioritizing personal sustainability in round three. But this is not the way it always worked. For the first decade plus of their career, Trey, Fish, Mike and Page dedicated their entire beings to the entity of Phish. Virtually every waking hour was spent pushing, practicing, and refining their skills. Phish, unquestionably, represented the most important facet of their lives. Notoriously intense practices and improvisational exercises drove the band’s single-minded musical communication, as they lived, ate, and breathed Phish 24 hours a day. And when listening to their sublime musical output during their first massive peak of Summer ’93, one can hear the hours of intense dedication; one can hear the complete and total focus on the mastery of their music; one can actually hear their burning desire for excellence.

Laguna Seca Daze - 5/93

The summer of 1993 represented a crucial phase in Phish’s development. After touring the summer circuit in 1992 as an opening act for Santana, in ’93 the band began headlining larger amphitheatres, themselves. At the same time, Phish sought to distance themselves from the first wave of “jambands” with whom they co-billed a couple of July’s H.O.R.D.E. tour stops. At this time, the music industry grouped, and often dismissed, Phish with other neo-hippie acts such as Blues Traveler, Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Spin Doctors, and Widespread Panic. But combining a youthful exuberance with a dedication and passion rarely seen in modern music, Phish forged ahead, breaking down boundaries of live music. Ensuring that every night provided a wholly different experience for their fans, the band held themselves to rigorous standards, playing with a life-or-death urgency every time they hit the stage. All the while, Phish shows grew more adventurous then ever before; the music began to take on a life of its own.

Durham, NH - 5.8.93

The intense drive that Phish possessed in this era never wavered, in large part, due to their lack of distractions. Not yet rock stars on any level, the totality with which the band dedicated themselves to their craft crossed the line of obsession, and simply became part and parcel of who they were as people. Yet to marry or to start families, Phish – the band – was, without a doubt, the singular, most important entity in any of their lives – and it showed. Over the previous four years, they played 532 gigs – an average of 133 per year – and going into Summer ’93, Phish carried the momentum of a torrid four-month winter/spring tour that had ended only a month before. Add that run to the scorching year of 1992 in which they played 121 shows, and the band had a full head of steam. While their early years fostered the band’s burgeoning virtuosity, Phish sat on the brink of Summer ’93, primed and ready for their first massive musical peak of their career.

The band displayed drill-bit focus and overwhelming creativity throughout the summer, resulting in nothing less than superlative, transcendent improvisation all season long. With their roots firmly planted in both the jazz and rock traditions, Phish crafted sublime, original music nightly, launching into vastly different universes with nearly every jam. One simply didn’t know where the music would travel each time out of the gate; their improv had zero predictability. Similar songs got different treatments on different nights, as the band explored completely divergent musical territory. The meticulous musical conversations that characterized this tour were indicative of the telekinetic connection, and unity of purpose, the band members felt at this stage of their lives. Jumping into the void multiple times per night and playing with calculated vigor, Phish locked into each others’ ideas and responded to them subconsciously, playing with a style of wizardry that would dissipate in their later years of groove to the chagrin of many fans.

Laguna Seca - 5/93

Laguna Seca Daze - 5/93

During this summer, Phish sounded like they were playing for their lives every time they hit the stage, and essentially, that is exactly what they were doing. On the verge of breaking from of the pack of H.O.R.D.E-style bands, Phish dedicated the entirety of their lives to making Phish the craziest live experience and most enticing music in the scene. The scintillating surreal adventures that characterized their entire tour, solidified Phish as the preeminent force in improvisational rock. With fewer jam vehicles in their catalog than later days, each time out, songs grew more unique, moving away from previous incarnations and into uncharted domains. Open, or type II, jamming became the norm rather than the exception, as Phish explored all corners of the musical cosmos with white-hot intensity.

Also of significance,The Grateful Dead kept on truckin’ during 1993, leaving the Phish community protected from the masses with a youthful  innocence that would be lost come Fall ’95. Summer ’93 still held a certain intimacy, like everyone shared a secret from the rest of the world, and secret power of Phish. Possessing shining skill sets and incredible enthusiasm, while constricted by few other cares in their lives, the band, themselves, raged Phish harder than ever before. The band never came out flat or careless. Each time they performed, the show immediately transformed into the most important event in the world, and this relentlessness pushed and pulled their musical exploits into fantastically ludicrous, mind-expanding planes. The psychedelic unknown became the defining quality of their improvisation; one took the leap of faith with Phish each time a jam dropped, trusting that whatever mania ensued, the band would, eventually, lead the way home. Giving oneself to this experience held a different meaning when there was no predictability where the music would go.

While Phish played outstanding shows throughout July, in August 1993, Phish achieved one of their all-time peaks. Alongside other career high-points of April ’92, June and November ’94, December ’95 and November / December ’97, and December ’99; August ’93 possessed a separate musical quality all to itself. Boiling down to hunger, desire, and stretching the possibilities of live music, Phish absolutely annihilated their two-month, bi-coastal jaunt. Every show during August contains genuinely outlandish moments of improvisation, pieces that one must hear to believe and digest. Providing a portrait of Phish at one of their highest musical mountaintops, Summer ’93, though seeming like ancient history, lives on 17 years later through memories, recordings, and in the hearts, minds, and souls of the Phish community.

To honor this incredible summer and the exploits within, I have compiled “Miner’s Picks: August ’93.” Because Phish had less vehicles in their repertoire at the time, I have split up the compilation into two “sets,” each with similar songs. (I left out the LivePhish releases (Murat, Tinley Park) for which I only have the official SBDs.) These selections paint a vivid, six-hour picture of a band centered in the moment, while careening towards the future. It’s truly an era that is not to be forgotten.

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MINER’S PICKS: AUGUST ’93 < Torrent

MINER’S PICKS: AUGUST ’93 < Megaupload

Set I:

1,2. “2001 > David Bowie” 8.17, Kansas City, KS

3. “Split Open and Melt” 8.26, Portland, OR

4. “Reba” 8.16, St.Louis, MO

5. “Stash” 8.21, Salt Lake City, UT

6. “Run Like an Antelope” 8.20 Red Rocks, CO

7. “Tweezer” 8.15 Louisville, KY

8-10. “Bathtub Gin > Makisupa > My Mind’s…” 8.2, Tampa, FL

11-13. “Mike’s > Faht > Weekapaug” 8.16, St.Louis, MO

14. “Harry Hood” 8.26, Portland, OR

15. “You Enjoy Myself” 8.3, Miami, FL

Set II:

16,17. “Buried Alive > Tweezer” 8.6, Cincinatti, OH

18. “Stash” 8.15, Louisville, KY

19,20. “Split Open > Glide” 8.9, Toronto, ON

21. “Reba” 8.12, Rochester, MI

22. “Runaway Jim” 8.21, Salt Lake City, UT

23. “Run Like an Antelope” 8.28, Berkeley, CA

24-26. “Mike’s > Great Gig > Weekapaug” 8.11, Grand Rapids, MI

27,28. “2001 > David Bowie” 8.26, Portland, OR

29. “Slave to the Traffic Light” 8.20, Red Rocks, CO

30. “You Enjoy Myself” 8.28, Berkeley, CA

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1993 Rift Promotional Video  (Great Footage!)

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Jam of the Day:

2001 > David Bowie” 8.17.93 II

This selection opened up the second set in Kansas City, and also kicks off the above compilation.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Track-01-21.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Track-02-31.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.15.93 The Macauley Theatre, Louisville, KY < Torrent

8.15.93 The Macauley Theatre, Louisville, KY < Megaupload

The “Stash” and “Tweezer” were worth the price of admission alone.

I: Sample in a Jar, All Things Reconsidered, Caravan, Runaway Jim, Fee, Paul and Silas, Stash, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Rift, Tweezer, The Lizards, The Landlady, Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Glide, Sweet Adeline, Ginseng Sullivan, Nellie Kane, Free Bird

E: Harry Hood

Source: Unknown

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1,037 Responses to “The Virtuosity of Summer ’93”

  1. Robear Says:

    frankie, any summer plans in motion?

  2. halcyon Says:

    Just got home from a great trip to California….to see in my inbox that there will be no local Colorado ticket sales at any of the ticket outlets. All Telluride ticket sales will be either through the internet or through the phone….kind of sucks for us Colorado folks who are not Telluride residents that were hoping to use a ticket outlet….
    D’OH

    Not cool, but that is my .02

  3. butter Says:

    so the app “remote” for the iphone is the absolute shit

    i serve my itunes library wirelessly to my denon thru my imac

    “remote” lets you use your iphone (my wives, i rock blackberry)
    to control your itunes

    i now have my entire library in my hand, serving up my denon wirelessly to 6 speakers

    rockin the Ike and Tina from AW

  4. Frankie Says:

    @Robear!
    Great to catch you here… 🙂

    SPAC for sure if I get tickets and am not planting trees and Jones Beach in August. For now… 🙂

    And I just got four tickets for the 4/20 Phish 3D movie in Burlington!! Can’t wait!

    I wanna save for a festival or another Gorge trip though as i’m sure Phish will reward the western fans with something huge in the fall…

    How about you?

  5. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Loser 3.24.90 Beautiful late Jerry version

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvZJZkJi1g8

  6. voopa Says:

    joggerz,

    That IWMTLH is top shelf, for sure. I used to squeeze into my Acid Jazz show on occasion, at the local NPR station…

  7. jdub Says:

    Hey Halcy, funny you’re here… I’m laying out your vanity this evening. I’ll send you an email over the weekend

  8. jdub Says:

    Nice link Palmer, I love me a good Jerry “Loser”. He does them with such conviction it hits you in the gut.

  9. Frankie Says:

    I knew i had heard this Reba Jam before…

    It is from the From The Archives show that Kevin Shapiro did in August ’08 for the release of Walnut Creek. I think it is amongst my favorite From the Archives for the jams choices and you can grab it here. Courtesy of Mr. Miner once again.

    Check out the setlist, every jam is a must hear IMO!

    Reba 8.16.93
    Gumbo 7.29.97
    Bathtub Gin 6.28.00
    AC/DC Bag 12.30.97
    Brother 5.17.92
    Halley’s>Bowie 11.26.94
    Ghost>Slave 7.4.99

  10. Kevin Says:

    I was just looking over the tour dates one last time, and damn if this doesn’t remind of those lazy drug tours in 1999 or 2000. Made me a sad for a second. But then, Miner posts that Red Rocks pic from this last summer. Damn, I was hoping they’d play another 4 nights this year. What a great time.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    so far added Akiwowo and Ollin Arrageed from the ’87 show

    great stuff

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    ““I was born to love her” from the 72-02-06 Pacific High Recording Studios is the jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam. ”

    word, man

    great funky shizzle

  13. jdub Says:

    8.16.93 Reba is the tits. Real creative jamming that meanders and ends up with Trey at his best, just soaring guitar work.

  14. voopa Says:

    Word C

    You can hear by the way Jerry bites into those first notes that it’s gonna scorch…

  15. voopa Says:

    So for some reason, I’m just now listening to the ’03 Shoreline shows…I attended these, and I hardly recollect them. The only thing I took away from these shows is the excellent SASS from 7/9, but there’s so much more! Reba, Gin…I must have been boozin’ it real hard in those days, because I can remember Sting from fucking 1987 better than this run. Ah well, another vote for less alcohol at shows, I guess…

  16. (Formally Known As) BrandonKayda Says:

    The David Bowie from the JOTD today is very interesting. Gets into a very slow, menacing jam before finding its way back into the Bowie finish. I was very surprised to see that they were jamming that deep in 93′

  17. Frankie Says:

    I hear ya jdub…

    They deconstruct the jam at the very beginning of the classic Reba jam, just to see where it goes, fearless pioneers of uncharted musical territories, go into some scary places before goin’ back to the Reba jam, but they don’t stay on course, Trey builds it to a peak with that great little riff, they slow down and then speed it back to the classic Reba peak without hesitation…

    Pure Phish!

  18. jdub Says:

    8.26.93 Hood gets so quite and patient it makes you want to crawl inside it and sleep. An then wake up from a long nap as the jam blossoms. Thank you Mr. Miner comes to mind.

  19. halcyon Says:

    Sweet Jdub….

    we were just talking about that on the drive back up from the airport…looking forward to it.

    @ Miner

    Great write up today. Can’t wait to listen to Miner’s Picks tomorrow at work.

  20. jdub Says:

    I really am enjoying this ’93 mix miner put together, as well as the 93 music being talked about recently. Their exuberance is contagious, creating an explosion as they finally became the musicians that would allow them to master the songs they been developing for years. I may have to go on a bit of a 93 run to prepare for the onslaught come summer.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    torrenting this Miners Picks, looking forward to it

    Things I Learned On the Blackboard:

    – Download every Miner’s Picks compilation.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    that sounds perfect Butter

    I’ll get there eventually

  23. Frankie Says:

    I love how the music in ’93 is not ON TOP of the rythm… it feels as though they are really trying to move forward as 4 in the music… it makes for some really unique music that requires trained ears…

    It reminds me of when I first turned my friends onto the 11.2.94 ALO Tweezer… Some of them didn’t get it at all… this is not background party music, you have to give it your full attention for it to be rewarding… the journey is it’s own reward…

    Can’t wait to see where they take the music in 2010 but if MSG and Miami’s BOTT and 12.31 II are any indications… watch out!

  24. jdub Says:

    I’ve been leaning on Miner’s choices for a while now. With Phishows.com I can quickly listen and determine if I want to DL. With so much phish music I haven’t heard and so little time I mostly rely on his picks for digging around.

    I have to start writing down recs that you guys post because I forget so easily what show had a killer jam in some forgotten song.

    @AW I gave Royal Trux a spin on lala.com and I liked them a lot. That was the type of music I looked for in the late 90s. Edgey rock that wasn’t commercial or overtly grunge or metal or alternative.

  25. jdub Says:

    @Frankie, nice assesment of the 93 style. They were like a 4 headed beast, always working together and pushing limits. Whether it was a challenge to see how quiet they could get without stopping, how loud they could push it without losing control, and everything in between.

    And yes, 2010 will be special. No expectations but you can just feel the excitement.

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