Ten Tunes For Worcester

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , , on December 10th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

The Worcester Centrum

Phish has only played three shows on December 10th since 1992. The 10th was an off day for the Fall tours of ’95 and ’97, while the band played in Kalamazoo in 1992, Santa Monica, California to close out Fall ’94, and a stumbled through a rather off night in Philadelphia in ’99. So instead of going with December 1oth jams today and in the interest of sticking with the numerology theme, today we turn our attention to the “Top Ten Moments in December History at The  Worcester Centrum” (now affectionately known the DCU Center). With two more New Year’s Run shows at “The Centrum” around the corner, let’s look back at the best Phish had to offer in their December visits of ’93 and ’95.

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10. “Slave to the Traffic Light” 12.28.95 II

10.20.10 (C. Boire)

This solid ’95 version closed out the first night of Worcester ’95.

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9. “Split Open and Melt” 12.28.95 I

The opener of the entire New Year’s Run in 1995.

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8. “Antelope” 12.31.93 I

10.31.09 (D.Lavery)

A vintage ’93 rendition that closed out the first set of New Year’s Eve.

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7. “Tweezer” 12.31.93 II

Tight, ’93-style jamming.

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6. “Harry Hood” 12.31.93 III

10.10.10 (C.Klein)

A scintillating cap to New Year’s Eve, Trey just about blows a gasket leading the band to a sublime mountaintop vista.

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5. “Stash” 12.29.95 I

A harrowing trip into the underworld early in the show.

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4. “Tweezer” 12.28.95 II

10.31.10 (G.Lucas)

A year that featured so many gargantuan “Tweezers” finished off with one more monster.

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3. “Reba” 12.31.93 I

A gorgeous slice of Phish’s New Year’s Eve legacy.

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2. “Auld Lang Syne > Down With Disease Jam > Split” 12.31.III

Live Bait 3

Perhaps the most cathartic moment in Phish’s midnight history, the genius debut of “Down With Disease’s jam” was followed by a crushing version of “Split Open and Melt” to kick off the New Year. Here is a  newly-remastered upgrade from Kevin Shapiro’s most recent “Live Bait” compilation!

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1. Bathtub Gin > The Real Me > Bathtub Gin” 12.29.95 II

A classic jam sequence that easily grabs top billing. Pure fire.

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Weekend Nuggets: August ’93 Encore

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 27th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Carrying Friday’s focus into the weekend, here are two more complete shows from August ’93. Once I get the archive caught up (hopefully next week,) most of August, and much of July will be available for download in one place. Until then, enjoy a couple more from this phenomenal era.

*****

8.16.93 American Theatre, St.Louis, MO < Torrent

8.16.93 American Theatre, St.Louis, MO < Megaupload

American Theatre - St. Louis, MO

I: Axilla, Possum, Horn, Reba, Sparkle, Foam, I Didn’t Know, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil

II: Mike’s Song > Faht > Weekapaug Groove, Mound, It’s Ice, My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, Big Ball Jam, Take the ‘A’ Train, Good Times Bad Times

E: Amazing Grace, Rocky Top

Source: Nakamichi 300 Omnis

*****

8.17.93 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS < Torrent

8.17.93 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS < Megaupload

Memorial Hall - Kansas City, KS

I: Wilson, Llama, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Weigh > Maze, Fluffhead, Fast Enough for You, Daniel Saw the Stone

II: 2001 > David Bowie, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Rift, Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, My Sweet One, Cavern

E: Memories, Fire

Source: Unknown

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Jam of the Weekend:

YEM > Halley’s > Slave” 8.6.93 II

This classic segment of the Cincinnati Zoo’s second set featured a “Cocaine” jam in “YEM,” and the first “Slave” since October ’91.

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

“Glide” – 7.21.93, Middletown, NY (H.O.R.D.E.)

“Fast Enough For You” – 8.8.93, Cleveland, OH

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The Virtuosity of Summer ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on March 26th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

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.

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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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Weekend Nuggets: December ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 25th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Phish Circa '93 (Unk)

Phish Circa '93 (Unk)

Without a fall tour in 1993, fans were ready and waiting for December’s New Year’s Run.  Salivating since a scintillating summer circuit, everyone filled with joy for the holiday season with. The epic shows on the 30th and 31st have been posted on this site, but these are the two gigs that led up to the climactic end of the year. Hitting up Washington, DC and New Haven, CT before heading north, Phish was still in the days of four-city Holiday Runs. Enjoy the relics.  (Due to being away from home, torrents won’t be available until I get back on Monday.)

12.28.93 Bender Arena, Washington, DC < Megaupload

I: Peaches en Regalia, Poor Heart, Split Open and Melt, Esther, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Ya Mar, It’s Ice, Fee, Possum

II: Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself, My Friend My Friend, Lizards, The Sloth, Fast Enough for You, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Highway to Hell

E: Memories, Golgi Apparatus

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12.29.93 New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, CT < Megaupload

phish93I: Runaway Jim, Peaches en Regalia, Foam, Glide, The Divided Sky, Wilson, Sparkle, Stash, The Squirming Coil

II: Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, Fluffhead, Run Like an Antelope, Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars > Walk Away > Big Ball Jam > HYHU > If I Only Had a Brain > HYHU, Sweet Adeline, Chalk Dust Torture

E: Nellie Cane, Cavern

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In Case you missed em:

12.30.93 Portland, ME < Megaupload

12.31.93 Boston, MA < Megaupload

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Weekend:

Yamar” 7.25.98 I

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One of the occasional beasts to rise from “Yamar,” this played to the sunset in Austin during the summer of’98.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Stash” jam Red Rocks, 7.30 I

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Jamming With The Aquarium

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 4th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

If you have been reading this site for a while, you’ve probably come to know how I feel about guests stepping onstage with Phish- more often than not it doesn’t really work.  Most of the time the improv is diluted by the band trying to cater to their guest by laying back musically; and other times they just don’t gel.  Yet there have been those special times when guests have not only fit in with Phish, but have pushed them and made the music better.  On this date sixteen years ago at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY, long-time friends and touring cohorts, The Aquarium Rescue Unit, stepped on stage with Phish during “You Enjoy Myself,” resulting in the craziest, and one of the best, guest sit-ins of Phish’s career.

Aquarium Rescue Unit

The Aquarium Rescue Unit

A large part of the reason that these two bands gelled so well on stage, tapping into the same wacky psychedelic energy, was that they had a close friendship.  In the early ’90s, as both bands were trying to extend their fanbase into each other’s region of the country, Phish would open for ARU in the South, while they would return the favor and invite ARU to open for them in the Northeast.  As the two bands shared bills around the country, they developed a friendship and an affinity for each other, sharing an eccentric sense of humor.  In addition, the two bands were founding members of the H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992, an acronym for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere.  Inspired by Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza the year before, they sought to put a foot forward for the second wave of the “jam” scene.

Oteil Burbridge

Oteil Burbridge

Another reason why this guest spot worked out so well was the sheer musicianship of Col. Bruce Hampton’s crew.  Combine Phish with Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, and Jeff Sipe, and you had some serious chops on stage.  Subtract sixteen years from today, and you had a youthful, zany energy behind the collaboration, driving it at a breakneck pace in very exploratory directions.  This is the Phish of old, with like-minded friends, absolutely tearing shit apart.

19930508ph_adi_6_6

May 1993 (A.Dines)

With several added layers to the jam, members of both bands took liberty to improvise vocally, as well as musically, lending a bizarre psychedelia to much of the jam.  All the musicians onstage, while having a blast, were simultaneously taking their improvisation incredibly seriously, creating some insane music.  Page absolutely slaughtered it as the lone piano player on stage, leading some of the early parts of the jam.  Gordon and Oteil, two of the best bass players on the planet, were crushing it, while there was incredibly dynamic interplay between Trey and Jimmy Herring.  Jeff Sipe added some tight percussive tabla rhythms to Fish’s beat, and took over the drums as Fish moved to vacuum for a bit.  Following the Electrolux-centric section, the groove resurfaced as a quasi-ska beat, but almost immediately moved out of it as Fish hopped back onto the kit and Trey began to get loose.  If the madness of all these virtuoso musicians wasn’t enough, this jam also featured The Dude of Life carrying on with his antics and “singing” some nonsensical lyrics.

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

Before coming to an end, the improv turned the way of jazzy textures with some straight up scatting over top.  Touching on so many different musical feels, all with incredible coherency, this was one guest spot that certainly did not disappoint, and goes down in history as one of the most outrageous “YEMs” ever played.

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LISTEN to the 5.5.93 “YEM” NOW! ^ LINK (Roll over, click play)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < TORRENT LINK

The Palace, Albany, NY

The Palace, Albany, NY

Although this is a repost from months ago, I figured it would be appropriate given today’s sixteen year anniversary of the show.  Beyond the absurd “YEM,” this show is filled with oddities, including “My Friend > Manteca > My Friend,” and “Cavern > Take the ‘A’ Train > Cavern.”  If you didn’t grab it last time it was posted, grab this SBD recording of a great show.

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*25 min jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

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The Definitive “Split” of ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on April 20th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Trey, 1993 (A.Dines)

Trey 1993 (A.Dines)

Sixteen years ago today, Phish was in Columbus, Ohio playing the second show of a two night stand approaching the end of their Spring 1993 tour.  The setting was the ornate Newport Music Hall, and one of the jams from this show would live on forever as a part of Phish history.  The band busted into “Split Open and Melt” as the third song of the second set, and soon engaged in some incredibly compelling improvisation.  The jam stood out to the band so much, that they decided to bring it into the studio.

Most everyone is familiar with Phish’s 1994 official release, Hoist.  The last track on this album, “Demand,” is a brief musical poem with elusive meaning, ending with the lyric “Driving home to Mom and Dad / To spend a weekend with no cares.”  Then, as the music ends, we hear someone get into a car, shut the door and pop in a cassette tape.  As the subject starts the engine, we hear a ridiculously ripping “Split Open and Melt” jam playing in the fictional car.  And here is where our stories intersect- that jam after “Demand” was plucked directly from our show in Columbus sixteen years ago.  The car drives off to the soundtrack of the intensely building jam until we hear it crash, giving way a layered live mix of “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,” and thus ending the album.  Creating a sonic collage, and juxtaposing their stripped down studio work with their layered live psychedelia, Phish clearly chose this jam with intent.  On its anniversary, let’s take a look back at a jam so utterly breathtaking that the band decided to add it to an album.

41075wa00kl_aa240_At the onset of their 1993 “speedjazz” era, Phish engaged this “Split” jam like a lioness attacking an innocent zebra, proceeding to tear it to shreds.  This was a time where jams didn’t take time to settle, but started, earnestly, before the lyrical refrain even ended.  Trey’s licks began firing early and often as Page was all over the piano like a madman- both being held together by a lightning quick groove.  Fish and Gordon provided the super-glue for this stunningly tight musical conversation.  Trey’s licks became more condensed, often referred to as his “machine gun” playing, as his guitar acrobatics pushed the jam forward.  This amphetamine-laced music was led by Trey’s absolutely shredding guitar; far moreso than later Phish.  Moving at such a break-neck pace, this was the day where Phish left your jaw on the floor in a whole different way.

phish-hartford-4-30-93Building the momentum of the jam behind Gordon’s strapping basslines and Fish’s masterfully absurd beats, Trey progressed from notes to screams of tonal terror, creating a terrifying balls-to-the-wall soundtrack to an intense sci-fi movie.  The band slaughtered this jam, all four at once, like four lionesses shredding that poor zebra until there was nothing left.  Trey’s dissonant wails led the mission, as the band tore through the jungle, never missing a collective hit amidst the maddening psychedelia.  Mike’s playing was equally impressive as he molded basslines to complement the melodic themes while also leading the insane rhythm.  Page’s piano work was that of a true jazz player, using his instrument to achieve a drone effect in the jam while simultaneously playing dizzying right-hand lines. This was a piece of improv where all four members absolutely clicked during an era when the result was completely mind-bending, “can -you-handle-this” type of music.

Mike has referenced this jam as a moment where the band “got it” and figured out what they were trying to do musically.  It is no coincidence that after this spring tour in 1993, which finished only two weeks later, Phish went on to crush Summer ’93; a tour that is still revered to this day as the epitome of an era.  Taking Mike at face value, this “Split” jam- sixteen years ago today-kick-started one of the most well loved eras in Phish history.

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LISTEN TO 4.21.93 “Split” NOW! < LINK (Roll over, click play)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

4.21.93 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH < TORRENT

Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH

Newport Music Hall

Here is the complete show in which this famous “Split” was performed.  A classic show of Spring ’93, this one was definitely a high point of the tour.  On-point jamming characterized this evening and it featured many other highlights beyond “Split,” including a raw “Mike’s Groove” at the end of the night.

I: Buried Alive, Poor Heart, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Maze, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Rift, Punch You in the Eye, I Didn’t Know, Run Like an Antelope

II: Possum, Mound, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Big Ball Jam, Mike’s Song > Great Gig in the Sky > Weekapaug Groove, Gumbo

E: Sweet Adeline, Cavern

Source: Unknown

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Rift – The Concept Album

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 4th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Almost 16 years to the day it was released (2.2.93), Phish’s fourth studio album, Rift, still holds a unique place in their history.  It was this album that began to lift the band from college gymnasiums and their own van to the long sought-after success of tour buses and a legit crew.  Though many of the songs on the album had been played already, when Phish put them into a particular order, coupled with symbolic cover art, representing every song on the album, their first “concept” album emerged. (“The Horse” was not depicted on the cover, though they would intentionally take of this with their next release, Hoist.)

pnt-4Narrating a restless night’s dream sequence of a man in a strained relationship, Phish took their studio intent to a whole new level.  While future albums would include more production value, Rift’s conceptual collection of songs still holds the trophy, in many fans’ minds, as the quintessential Phish album.

As the man on the cover falls asleep, he drifts into a first dream thinking about the “Rift” that has come between him and his love.  Via tense, driving music and lyrical symbolism, Phish recreates the frayed nerves and impassioned thoughts of the strained lover.

I spied wings of reason, herself taking flight
And upon yonder precipice saw her alight
And glared back at me one last look of dismay
As if she were the last one she thought I’d betray

As he describes the physical separation of the two, the man comes to understand what has driven her away.  As she looks at him with disdain through in his fantastical dream state, the man assumes the blame of his betrayal.

b000002hc5The second verse shows him futilely trying to convince himself that his life is “So much better” without her, yet he is still “struggl[ing] with destiny, and “gasping” as “defeated he f[alls] of the edge.” Clearly showing signs of second guessing his decision, the dreamer is consumed by “moments like these,” remembering back to that “terrible night that shocked and persuaded [his] soul to ignite” for her.

“Fast Enough For You” is his second dream of the evening, and finds the man wishing things were different and as they once were.  “If time were only part of the equation,” he wistfully laments.  The album’s two interludes of “Lengthwise” are to be taken quite literally, as the dreamer is lonely, sleeping diagonally trying to fill up the physical and existential space she has left in his bed and in his life.

As the night moves on and he moves into a deeper sleep, his dreams get darker with the onset of “Maze.”  With music that perfectly matches the hectic lyrical confusion of the song, the man feels himself as trapped, while others laugh at his utter dismay.  To be taken in the context of his relationship, the man is “embarrassed with failure” and “tr[ies] to reverse the course that [his] tread [has] already traversed.”  Burdened with regret and plagued by helplessness, he is completely overwhelmed by his emotional state, hearing voices inside his head telling him he’s lost it” and he’ll “never get out of this maze” that he has created for himself.  His inner struggle mounts.

“Sparkle” brings in some musical relief, but when looked at lyrically, the song isn’t so happy.

The pressure builds, you buy a gift
You’re hoping that your dread will lift
It glitters on her like a glass
You shudder as it comes to pass

Circa 1993

Circa 1993

These are desperate thoughts of someone trying to rectify a wrong, possibly with a “glass” wedding ring, hoping this could be the answer.  The lyrics expound on the topics of  apology, confusion and shame- emotions that plague our cosmic dreamer, while he hopes for the best.  Phish was clever here, creating a dynamic where, ostensibly, people think it is a happy song about laughing endlessly, when in fact it’s not.  The laughing is of the self-defeated nature.  As things don’t pan out as he’d hoped, he can no longer can think of words to express himself and he is left hopelessly laughing while he emotionally “falls apart.”

“Horn” is a beautiful composition, yet tells a story of bitterness and retribution.  Our dreamer seethes:

Now that you’ve deceived me, and played my name around
And hung those nasty flyers, on all the buildings in town
Dribbled my possessions in a ring around the earth
And bought and sold my self-control for less than it was worth

We are brought into yet another fragile mind-state of the man, this time resulting from frustration and anger.  Self-control gone, this dream represents the emotional roller coaster of his recent life.  He thinks of how she has beaten him down, yet he still yearns for their mundane past, wishing to tell her, “I’ll pick you up at eight as usual, listen for my horn.”

As he drifts into deeper sleep, the music constantly shifts, representing the various dream states that permeate one’s full nights sleep.  “The Wedge,” comes next, with him reminiscing about days gone by, and thinking:

That it’s the ocean flowing in our veins
Oh..that it’s the salt that’s in our tears
Oh..cause we could have come so very far
Oh..in at least as many years!

hw77Albeit melodic and bouncy, the lyrical path is still one of a love almost lost, and the bittersweet emotions that surround this delicate time.  Looking back over their relationship, he can’t fathom it has come to this.

The subsequent nighttime interlude comes in the form of the paranoid nightmare of, “My Friend, My Friend,” formerly titled, “Knife.”  With the opening verse, we see a picture of someone who believes his friend will murder him and marry his love.  Rife with Shakespearean overtones, and parallels the deceptive plot of betrayal in MacBeth, this song is the darkest, thematically, on the album.

My friend, my friend he’s got a knife
A statement from his former life
When he was easy but alone
Beside him was an empty throne
But what of silver silken blade
Affix his gaze, his features staid
Grasps the handle, clips the cable
One steps up, sits at his table
My friend, my friend, he’s got a knife
My friend, my friend, he’s got a wife

Musically, this song is a memoir of Phish’s composition-focused days, as the intro was composed as part of a whole with passages that would later become “Guyute.” The composition gives way to an eerie groove, darkening the texture of the dreamer’s subconscious, and illustrating his self-imposed paranoia.

“Weigh,” one of two Gordon scribed songs on the album, brings an episode of comic relief to the night of terror, as the dreamer ponders the absurd notion of beheading his lover so he can weigh her head.  His other wish is to:

…gather all your razors and pick all the
Little prickly hairs so I can weigh them

Leave it to Gordeaux to consistently redefine the absurd.

hw99“All Things Reconsidered” is a semantic and musical play on the theme of NPR’s show “All Things Considered.  This lyric-less piece’s symbolism comes shining through in its title.  The music brings us on a meandering path of introverted thought through the head of the dreamer as he rethinks his relationship from an internal perspective.

“Mound” becomes a glimpse into his bleak future reality that will exist without his love.  Foreseeing himself as a “broken old man” who “burie[s] all his memories of home, in an icy clump that lies beneath the ground,” this represents a self-prophecy of what he might become if he doesn’t reconcile his relationship with the woman he loves.  Approaching the mysterious mound, potentially symbolic of his future grave, and looking back over the happier parts of his life, the song goes:

He went over to the mound
Reclining down his final thoughts
Were drifting to the time this life had shined

“It’s Ice,” one of more musically and lyrically complex songs on the album, narrates the deep inner struggle going on within the dreamer.  As he looks at his his reflection, he confronts his alternate self.

He meets my eyes, to my surprise
He laughs in full light of my frown
My double wants to pull me down

The song continues to chronicle a fierce battle with himself as to which way his life should to go in light of his current circumstances.  Each part of him is personified.

Slipping on the friction slide, my skin peels to the bone
The flesh I leave behind, is something that is not my own
I beg my mirror image for a moment with my soul
He’s leaning back, time to attack, to see who’s in control

Potentially sparked by the grim foreshadowing of the previous dream of “Mound,” our character engages himself in a struggle for his destiny. This represents the most significant part of his part of his sleep and the album, as he will emerge from this inner-battle with the revelation that is “Horse > Silent.”

The lyrics of “The Horse” speak for themselves, though they can have two very different meanings:

It’s time I sling the baskets off this overburdened horse
Sink my toes into the ground and set a different course
Cause if I were here and you were there
I’d meet you in between
And not until my dying day, confess what I have seen.

Despite all the subconscious madness he has persevered through the night, he ends with revelations.  He can’t live without her, he must “set a different course.”  Or, alternately, he realizes that his efforts have been in vain, and that his desperate nature has led him to cling to a lost love.  The “different course” he must set is without the woman plaguing hus dreams. Regardless of which meaning you ascribe to the song, he realizes his destiny, which is foretold in “Silent In the Morning.”

…you’ve found your voice
It brings me to my knees
The volume just increases
The resounding echoes grow
Till once again I bask in morning stillness, I love so

The imagery of bringing him “to his knees” can symbolize in devotion or helplessness.  The final lines are the emotional peak, as he is resolute in reuniting with his estranged love, or conversely forcing himself into more promises he knows he can’t keep.  Ultimately, he knows he’ll be better without her; he’d rather “brush her off” and move on.  The poignant final lines of the song are sung in a round.

I will not dismiss you, shelter you, speak with you
Smile at you, trust in me, he’d like to brush you off, and I’d agree

The “morning” is not only symbolic of the end of his dreams, but also the dawning of his newly intentioned life, one way or the other.  Through the darkness the dreamer quests for a new beginning with hope and redemption.

Though Phish has created quasi-concept albums after this in Billy Breathes, Story of the Ghost, and somewhat less so, Undermind;   Rift remains the strongest example of perfectly executing a coherent musical narrative.  Lyrically rich and musically diverse, the album remains as the last relic of the “old” Phish.  Starting with “Hoist,” Phish would put much more money and production into their albums, working with famed producers from Steve Lillywhite to Bryce Goggin.  While each of their future albums took on a certain character of its own, you will find few that will argue with Rift as the most intriguing Phish album of all time.

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1993 RIFT PROMOTIONAL VIDEO (Must see!)

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PHISH THOUGHTS TICKET EXCHANGE:

0af84b4652dadb9e49d12904a54de7e14gOK!  We’ve worked out a few kinks, and the PHISH THOUGHTS TICKET EXCHANGE board is ready to roll.   The board is something that the public can look at, but you must send an email request to ticketexchange@phishthoughts.com with your email address in the subject line, and a funny joke as the text in order to add an entry.  An invite to the board will be sent to the email you provide. Remember this is a trading board, but also a place you can buy face value extras from fans who have them!

If and when you complete a successful transaction, please, as a courtesy, send an email to ticketexchange@phishthoughts.com with “Great Success!” in the subject line and the details of the transaction in the text.  This is so we can track transactions.

I must make a disclaimer that I am not responsible for any of the transactions that go awry on this board.  It is a community resource that must be used with respect.  If we do so, there should be no problem. You can click here or the link above until I find a place for a permalink!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.25.97 L’Aeronef, Lille, France < LINK

phish-prague-97Out of the of many adventurous outings that made up Europe Summer ’97, this one was one of the best.  The first set was filled with new songs that had yet to make their US debut, while the second set is one of the best of the entire summer.  The first half was dominated by a monstrous and funked out “Disease” that became the norm for Summer ’97, with a pre-US “Piper” wedged in the middle.  This show marked the first ever appearance of “Meatstick,” with the band improvisationally chanting/singing the chorus over a tight chugging jam.  The set ending Antelope also smokes.

I: Oblivious Fool, Dogs Stole Things, Taste, Billy Breathes, AC/DC Bag, The Old Home Place, Theme From the Bottom, Wading in the Velvet Sea, I Saw It Again, Limb By Limb, My Soul

II: Down With Disease > Piper > Down With Disease > Meatstick* > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Makisupa Policeman > Cecilia^ > HYHU > Rocko William > Run Like an Antelope+

E: Guyute

*New original.  ^Simon & Garfunkel cover, sung by Fish.  +Trey introduces the whole band and crew.

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Weekend Nuggets: The Palace Theatre ’93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

img_0645This weekend we have two soundboard copies of a classic two-night stand in Albany during May of 1993.  Both are beautiful relics of a bygone are; standout shows from the “speedjazz” era of 1993.  Enjoy!

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*Jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

5.6.93 The Palace Theatre, ALbany, NY SBD < LINK

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Mound, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, All Things Reconsidered, Llama, Fluffhead, Possum, Lawn Boy*, Why You Been Gone so Long**, Tennessee Waltz**, Fast Train**

II: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer, Tela, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam, The Squirming Coil, Mike’s Song > Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da jam* > Rocky Top*, HYHU > Cracklin’ Rosie > HYHU, That’s Alright Mama**

E: Sweet Adeline, Contact, Tweezer Reprise

*With Dick Solberg on fiddle. **With Dick Solberg on fiddle and Jeff Walton on acoustic guitar.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Mike’s Song > H2″ 3.31.92 Columbia, MO

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“Weekapaug” 3.31.92

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Relix From the Roxy & Weekend Nuggets

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on November 22nd, 2008 by Mr.Miner

l85470k65maIn recent news, Phish has just released an 8-CD box set chronicling their amazing three-night stint at The Roxy Theatre in Atlanta during February of 1993.  Most everyone is familiar with the famous 2.20.93 show containing the classic second set segue fest, melting tastes of many songs within a Tweezer and a Mikes Groove.  With teases galore demonstrated the band’s playful direction and exuberance at the time, this one is a true relic from the analog age.

images5However, few are familiar with the two shows surrounding this classic.  For a taste of the first night and a sampling of the sound quality on this release, Relix Magazine is sponsoring a free download of “Funky Bitch w/ Jimmy Herring” from 2.19.93.  Grab it now for a SBD copy of this special guest appearance!

2531310729_779cfb7cbfOnce digging deeper into the first show, one will discover a smoking “Split Open and Melt” as well as an entertaining “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” during the first set.  Yet, the set highlight is certainly the closing “David Bowie,” including a “Moby Dick” jam in the intro and frighteningly tight section of grooving improv.  The second set unveils an extended YEM excursion and a guest appearance from guitarist, Jimmy Herring on “Funky Bitch,” “My Sweet One,” and “Llama.”

The third show, 2.21, also includes its share of standout jams.  The front-runner is the second set sequence of “Stash > Manteca > Stash” with the first set closing Antelope right behind.  With a bluegrass-style “Good Times, Bad Times” encore, Phish continued their silliness before Reverend Jeff Mosier joined them on stage to close the show with a bit more bluegrass.

With crystal clear sound quality, and eight full CDs (including the 6.24.00 Atlanta Tweezer as filler!), this proper box set will not disappoint.  Jump over to Relix’s download to check out the free “Funky Bitch” and decide for yourself!  Expect more archival releases like this in the near future as the Phish business is having a comeback of their own.

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rumorSUMMER TOUR RUMORS: They keep rolling in from multiple sources.  In addition to the Bonaroo and four night Red Rocks run that I previously reported, word has it that Phish will be visiting The Gorge for three nights and Shoreline for three nights this summer.  These additional rumors enhance the credence of my theory that we will see a tour comprised of multiple mini-runs.  If we are to believe what has been floating around, Phish is up to 11 shows this summer already, and we haven’t heard anything about the east coast yet!  The excitement just keeps coming- stay tuned!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEKEND:

7.31.93 Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta, GA < LINK

Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta, GA

Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta

Following Phish’s legendary run at The Roxy, they next returned to Atlanta that summer on 7.31, standing on the brink of their hallowed month of August.  A standout Mike’s > Leprechaun > Weekapaug provided the centerpiece of the second set.  The Mike’s features prominent jamming on Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker,” while Leprechaun was played for its third and final time ever. With some ripping classics like Split, “Foam,” and “Mound,” and some old school ’93 covers of “Daniel Saw the Stone” and “Highway to Hell,” this show will be a nice addition to your digital collection. Enjoy!

I: Rift, Sample in a Jar, Ya Mar, Split Open and Melt, Mound, Foam, Nellie Cane, The Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Wilson, Runaway Jim, It’s Ice, Maze, Sparkle, Mike’s Song > Leprechaun > Weekapaug Groove, Purple Rain > HYHU, Daniel, Highway to Hell

E: AC/DC Bag, Freebird

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:
“Split Open and Melt” 7.31.93 Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta, GA

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Classic Phish: 12.30.93

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on September 15th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Once upon a time, there was one analog tape- one set- that I played twice as much as all my others.  It was just that good.  Forward, backward- I played it over and over and over again.  This is the story of that tape.  After stepping up their game in August of ’93, concluding a very successful summer tour, Phish took the fall off from touring.  The next time the band hit the stage, they embarked on their customary December New Year’s Run tucked into the Northeast.  It is this New Years Run that produced 12.30.93, one of the best Phish shows in history, and the outlandishly over-played analog tape of my yesteryears was the second set of this show.

Coming on a brisk snowy night in Portland, ME, this show cemented Cumberland County Civic Center as an ultimately Phishy venue.  With the stage designed as a massive aquarium for the New Years’ Run, Phish dove deeply on this evening.  Still regarded as one of the marquee performances of the band’s career, 12.30.93 was an instant classic, and its absence in the Live Phish series boggles the mind.  Wasting no time at all, the band opened up with a thick and grooving David Bowie that incorporated some masterful teasing of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”  This initial jam of the show was so locked and patient, clearly illustrating the level of synchronicity the band felt on this night.  The show would only grow from this point forward.

Bowie’s greeting gave way to a typical first set series of non-improvisational songs, with a Curtain > Sample, and a Forbin’s > Mockingbird both highlights of this string.  Before closing the set with an a capella Freebird, the band stopped off for a short Bathtub Gin that featured some thematic and flowing improv before moving into some chugging uncharted territory.  Peaking pretty wildly, this Gin balanced out the dark Bowie that opened- but in reality, this was all just warm up.

Improving exponentially each year in the early ’90s, Phish commanded your attention every night at the end of 1993.   Something to behold and now listen to, with a total commitment to the entity of Phish, the band blossomed so fast, like one of those scientific time-lapse clips, from the years 1991-1995.  Coming at the end of a huge year of growth for Phish, they were about to play one of the best sets of their lives.

Like they did for almost every single Summer show in 1993, Phish came out for set two and opened up with their newly discovered instrumental cover of Deodato’s arrangement of “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”  Coupled with a new light rig that debuted over the summer, allowing Kuroda to both move and change colors of lights for the first time, people were getting the first glimpse of the new, more futuristic look of Phish.  These new lights, now contained indoors for the first time ever, upped the ante of the Phish experience.   “2001,” as it became known, was simply a three minute intro to each set during 1993- a little space-funk to get things moving.  This time, the band immediately launched into the New Years Run’s Mike’s Song.

Crisply moving through the initial couple minutes, when the jam dropped, the place exploded, and Phish moved into one of the greatest Mike’s ever played.  Period.  Enough cannot be said about the quality and sheer perfection of this jam- pure Phish.  With the classic focus on the second jam of the song, (inexplicably dropped in later years), it was here that the Phish tapped into existential forces and simply channeled the universe’s energy.  With all band members just going off as one, this Mike’s defines the ethos- the fundamental spirit- of Phish.  Ranging from bliss to terror, this jam does not let up for one second, before it seamlessly moves into Horse > Silent.  Only twelve minutes long, this Mike’s is potentially twelve of the best minutes of Phish’s career.  Listen yourself before you tell me I’m exaggerating.  It’s amazing how “compact” Phish jams were back then, so much madness in a short amount of time- no nonsense playing.

photo - wolfgangsvault.com

Phish 1993: photo - wolfgangsvault.com

The dream setlist continued with a mid-set Punch You In the Eye.  Coming in an unexpected slot, Punch picked the dark energy in the building right back up again.  Directly following the tightly executed version, the band dropped right into McGrupp which dissolved into the beginning of Weekapaug, closing the “dream” Mike’s Groove.  This Weekapaug features prominent Trey shredding throughout, and the band members just firing like the pistons of a automobile.  This is some full-on no-hesitation jamming that illustrates the style of Phish at the end of one of their greatest years of improvement.

A then typical Fishman segment of Prince’s Purple Rain came next before the band closed the set with a rare and majestic Slave to the Traffic Light.  Busted out in Cincinnati on August 6, of ’93, Slave had been tucked away for two years and 241 shows.  Played only one other time, at their first Red Rocks show on 8.20.93, the band, supposedly responding to a front row request, played their delicate jam vehicle as the emotional crescendo of this set of pure Phish fire.  The song, being so rare at the time, got the full treatment with one of the more emotionally intricate and directed builds of all-time. This is ten minutes of sonic bliss.

After sets like this, encores mean nothing, but if you’re keeping score, they played a Rocky Top, and a Good Times, Bad Times to end this version of 12.30- the best night of the year.  So you can see why I kept listening to that analog tape over and over and over again- this set will hold up to any set ever played to this day.  If you’re not yet convinced, download it below and let Phish convince you.

LISTEN TO THE 12.30.93 MIKE’S SONG NOW!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.30.93 Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME <<LINK!

This is an amazing matrix recording of one of the best Phish shows of all time.  If you don’t have this, grab it now!

I: David Bowie, Weigh, The Curtain > Sample in a Jar, Paul and Silas, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Rift, Bathtub Gin, Freebird

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Punch You in the Eye, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Weekapaug Groove> Purple Rain, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Rocky Top, Good Times Bad Times

(The songs aren’t labeled by name, only track number.)

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