On Thursday, Phish Archivist, Kevin Shapiro, broadcast live via Livephish.com, and bust out some crispy gems from the archives. His archives show always take me back to the festival days, and the Phish radio stations that broadcast 24/7. They remind me of the placid puffing of a spliff near our tent at the Lemonwheel- on the night before the show- and watching the sunset while the “Runaway>Free” raged from our boombox- what a great slice of life. The archives shows always provide top-notch definitive chunks of Phish history; some we’ve heard a lot, but never in the pristine form of a soundboard; and some more obscure pieces. A recent “From the Archives” conjured up such crispy classics as the Hampton ’97 Halley’s, the Worcester ’95 Real Gin, and the Dayton ’97 Tube>jam. This newest broadcast had incredibly diverse offerings- let’s take a look–
1. Limb by Limb 7.22.97 soundcheck: Kind of a random selection thrown in the lead-off position here. WIth the newly released Raleigh DVD from this date, this is a glimpse of the calm before the storm- literally. Having just come back from Europe, this was a song yet to debut in America- and was the band getting in some practice. Possibly a preview of what was to follow the first set closing Taste, had a lightening bolt not got in the way. This song was the only song, Shapiro says, that was played in soundcheck and not in the show.
2. Reba 8.16.93 St. Louis, Mo.: A first set improvisational masterpiece, this Reba gets dark and practically beat-less before slowly building to a unique and triumphant groove. This type of way-out creative improvisation typified much of ’93, and more so ’94. There is nothing “traditional” about this Reba, as the band, again, brings the jam back to virtually nothing before slowly building the familiar Reba groove back, gradually speeding up the tempo. This is a delicate and gorgeous piece of music that really benefits from the soundboard recording. This is a can’t miss.
3. Gumbo 7.29.97 Phoenix, Az.: An emerging funk jam in the Summer of ’97, Gumbo was amidst a transformation when they decided to explore its jam at Desert Sky this evening. A version made famous by Trey, who has since mentioned that he holds this jam in high esteem, this Gumbo was certainly a highlight of the summer. Featuring big bouncing bass lines of Gordon, and both lead lines and wah-funk from Trey- this jam screams Summer ’97. This was definitely what this tour was all about! Trey’s tone gets into some different ranges during the jam as the band is locked in grooveland for about ten minutes. Straight Phish crack.
4. Bathtub Gin 6.28.00 PNC, NJ: Good to see ’00 getting some love here. This Gin is a masterful piece of first set improvisation that was a major highlight of a great two-night PNC stand. 2000 is a year that gets way more flack than it deserves, and I’m glad Shapiro picked out one of the many reasons why. This Gin begins in a very uptempo place, grooving hard right away as Trey noodles out of the Gin melody into some classic licks. Some great Trey and Mike interplay pops right out at you on this soundboard copy! Before long, Trey begins a melodic chord progression that the band hops on, sailing their ship into blissville. Upon arriving, Trey disembarks and begins to shred heavy lead lines to the crowd awaiting ashore. The band and Trey completely tear apart the ending of the jam with a massive peak. A great nugget from Summer ’00!
5. AC/DC Bag 12.30.97 MSG: In a MSG-dominated New Year’s Run, capping one of the greatest years in Phish history, this Bag stands out as the best jam from the 30th. This multi-faceted twenty-plus minute Phish-fest passes through so many improvisational feels and segments, putting the jam on par with several “best-ever” jams in the fall of 1997. Allowing us to hear the intricacies of the quieter sections of the jam, the soundboard gives us a whole new appreciation for the second half of the Bag! Showcasing many styles of Phish music, this Bag jam is a definitive representation of Phish at the end of 1997.
6. Brother 5.17.92 Union College, Schenectady, Ny: A truly ripping ’92 version of this song; the whole band is absolutely crushing on this one. Bringing out Trey’s fast and furious side, he wails through the entire song, bringing out a side not seen these days. The music sounds like it is about to burst at the seams as there is so much energy pumping through it. Within its first year of existence, this Brother represents Phish going for its juvenile jugular.
7. Halley’s > David Bowie 11.26.94 Minneapolis, Mn: Everyone loves “A Live One” ‘s Slave, but far fewer know the massive set that led up to such a triumphant ending. It is this near 40 minute magnificently exploratory Bowie that brings the band, and the crowd, to the depths of their souls and back again. This jam is characteristic of the insane and historic month of 11/94 in Phish history, and goes to excessively deep places. This is the stuff they just don’t do anymore. It was these type of Bowie’s that Fall ’94 became famous for, and this one, from the Orpheum in Minneapolis, is one of the greatest. Complete with a tripped-out vacuum solo in the depths of the jam, this off the wall risk-taking and genuine adventure in this improv is what defined this era of Phish music. After sitting through this dark journey, one can understand the incredibly cathartic nature of the Slave everyone has loved for years. This jam is yet another piece of music that defines the band at a point in time. This is a special gem that is gift to have in a soundboard after listening to it via audience copy for so long.
AND MUCH THANKS TO cyanidebreathmint who ripped, tracked, and posted these links to PT!!!