, attached to 1993-02-12

Review by SonicYouth

SonicYouth A Sort Of Homecoming
February 12th, 1993 - œ Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

Before Phish had taken the stage in my hometown hall at around 8PM in a raging snow storm, I had never seen a picture of this band, had no idea what they looked like or what their stage show (or lack of?) was like. I knew some of their music, I had two cd to cassette copies of Junta & Picture Of Nectar. I knew these two albums well, real well, and that was it. Having just moved back to my hometown after Art School in Ft. Lauderdale, I was searching for something new musically and these two albums got me thru that winter of '92 -'93.
I grew up in the 70's and 80's. My musical tastes started with pop music of the 60's - 80's, on both AM & FM New York City radio stations in my pre teen years. I then moved onto heavy metal, punk, The Kinks and the early alternative/college radio music scene during my middle school/high school years. In art school, I was discovering the Grateful Dead, jazz, folk, reggae, industrial / more alternative and digging deeper into classic rock heavily. The newly exploded grunge scene I had liked, and it seemed to come from similar influences as in my life, but nothing really got in my head sonically and made me head-bang, fist pump devil sign style, dance, pogo, kick, sing and get ME like Phish did and STILL does.

The Mid-Hudson Civic Center is very special and personal venue to me. I was born blocks from there (pisces), it is where I started seeing concerts. From Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons w/the parents to my first without adult supervision concert KISS to Motley Crue/Ratt tour to Iron Maiden to Alice Cooper to Ace Frehley to The Kinks and few others. I always did know the sound in that venue was horrible but I also knew that a general admission show at MHCC can be crazy and a lot of fun on the open floor. I knew I could get close and be in a good spot sonically and visually. The night of the show, it was in the middle of a 8'-12" snow storm, but my friends and I were determined to get there. I had 3 tickets for the sold out show, but we had 5 in our group. OK, there should be no problem getting two tickets at the venue before the show. So, as I'm hanging out front of the venue in the snow, I'm asking everyone who walks by if they had any extras.
All the while, my friend and I are talking with a phan from Vermont who had come down for the show. I was familiar with bands who have traveling fans, and was impressed he had made the drive down in a snow storm, so I said welcome to my hometown and shared how excited I was for my first Phish show.
He then says to me, "Mike Gordon just walked by all the people here and no one knew it." I then say, "Isn't that the bass player in the band?"
Phan from Vermont then tells me, "You just asked him if he had any extra tickets."
Wow I'm thinking, how cool is that? A musician in a band who is starting to make their way up to the big time is walking around outside the venue before show time! We get the 2 tickets we need, take a tab and head into the show"..."..."......
First thing I notice when I walk in is the stage. This is not your typical stage set up that I was used to. First off, the drums are not center back stage, but over to stage left. That's different I think as I scan across to see the bass rig, then guitar rig, then a grand piano, Hammond organ w/Leslie speaker and Fender Rhodes set up over on stage right. All in line center. I like that. Behind the instruments are these ten large glass rectangular boxes with paint scribbles across them. This is going to be fun I think to myself.
The band walks out and I'm thinking, look at these geeks, cool! The drummer is wearing a moo-moo with goggles, the bass player, yep that's the guy I asked for tickets, the guitarist looks like a nerdy Chuck Norris and the piano/organ player looks like a GQ preppy guy. This does not look like a rock band?

GOLGI APPARATUS: "I look into the finance box just to check my status, I look into the microscope see Golgi Apparatus!" Yeah, I know this song!! Wait, a song about a ticket stub, right after asking one of the band members for one? Whoa"...weird"..."...All around me people are dancing, so happy, passing me j's and this actually sounds real good in this room 15' back from the stage! This is where I belong.

MAZE: I love me rippin' hi-hat and cool bass lines"...I never heard this song until this night, and I'm dancing and digging it like I knew it all my life. Wow, listen to that organ, this is how boards are supposed to be played! Then here comes Trey".....out of the organ solo and bam".....sling me across the psychadelic plane that I'm on. Holy shit, fist pumping, head-banging at lighting speed. Now this IS metal. Fuck Yeah!

GUELAH PAPYRUS: Nice, I know this one too! What a perfect place for a cool down, tripped out reggae style song. The band seems to be really upbeat and real tight too I'm thinking. What's this trippy Oom Pa Pa signal break?? That was interesting. I'm floored already.

SPLIT OPEN AND MELT: This also is a debut to my ears tonight. What a great beginning to a song with a cool drum start and heavy funky bass line! I love this song from the get go. The piano line in it captures me immediately, one hand is playing the bass line and the other hand is playing a "lead". This guy is genius. Never before since seeing The Kinks in this same venue had I loved piano in a band. The guitar is shredding and still got me head banging.

ESTHER: Another song I know and a chance to catch my breath. They like the Simpsons too? The musicianship continues to blow me away. Well played.

CHALK DUST TORTURE: Hell yeah, I'm thinking as they launch into this song, I had been hearing it on WNEW over the winter and really love a good rocker. I was like a Mexican jumping bean on the floor. I'm locked in with the band and they seem to be locked in with me.
I DIDN'T KNOW: What's this, acapella? Ok, this should be interesting"..."...here comes the drummer in moo-moo, steps up to the mic with a vacuum cleaner? What the $^?? Fun song.

TAKE THE A TRAIN: As soon as those piano notes start I yell, "WOW, Duke Ellington???!!!! Very cool!" I always loved this song and now seeing my new favorite band play it live is really blowing me away. Thank you! Into"..."....

RUN LIKE ANTELOPE: Another debut to my ears, and once again I'm dancing and getting down like I knew this song all my life. These guys are the best, it's like they know what I want to hear, what tempos and notes to play and the dynamics, oh the dynamics. Once again head-banging and jumping around like a possessed nut. This is where I belong.

SETBREAK: All I can think is where has this been all my life up to this night? I have never felt so connected with a band before. It spoke to me on so many levels. It had the hard rocking roots that I grew up with, the improvisational music that I came to like and the humbleness of everyday heroes. The light show also impressed me very much. Kept simple, yet so effective. The lights seemed to be perfectly in synch with the music like I had never seen before. I knew these were not all rehearsed lighting cues, there was a sense of improve to it too. Like the lighting director was part of the band. I had never heard music so clearly before in this room. The FOH sound guy knew not to crank it so loud like heavy metal, yet it was loud enough to rock out on! The venue was letting people go outside for set break, and I wanted to see what snow was like on acid since it was my first time tripping in the snow. For set 2 my friends and I grab a spot on the floor just to the right of the soundboard area. This was a magical night and it was not over"..."..."..."....

MY FRIEND, MY FRIEND: Debut to my ears,I liked how this song started with Trey playing the acoustic guitar propped up on a stand. I liked the feel of this set opener.

ALL THINGS RECONSIDERED: Another debut to my ears, great music, Man this band is so talented. Dig this song.

REBA: Another debut to me, yet here I am feeling like I know this song. Love the composition, the chill plane nirvana segment. Trey is really taking me places on this song I have never experienced before. This is sick.

POOR HEART: All right, a song in the set I now recognize. I am enjoying this, the band seems to be very playful, yet some serious musicianship there.
BIG BALL JAM: More quirky phun here, yet interesting musically. The band seems to be "playing" with the way the three large beach balls are bouncing around. Then the crowd shoots 3 for 3 thru the giant hoop that Mike, Trey and Brad made.

FAST ENOUGH FOR YOU: Another debut to me, a chance to cool down. I love these ballads that Phish play. This song is of pure beauty on my ears.

YOU ENJOY MYSELF: Yes I do! This is great to hear for your first show and I knew it too! One of the quintessential Phish songs. What, they jump around on trampolines?? This is cool, never seen this before at any other concert. Great bass solo and this vocal jam is very interesting and fun. Great improve once again. The vocal jam leads right into a nice"..."....

YA MAR: This was a fun calypso to hear as the snow was falling outside. I really had a good time dancing to this one too.

HYHU>TERRAPIN>HYHU: More silly antics by the drummer in a moo-moo with some vacuum jamming. Hey, the guitarist plays drums too, cool.

HARRY HOOD: Now when this started after the crowd up front kept chanting for it, I had no idea what I was in for. This was religious to me. It was the first time this song was gracing my ears. This seemed like the right song for the right moment in time for me. Pure magic once again. The "heavy metal" thank you Mr. Minor part had me thrashing and stomping the floor like one of those metal shows I saw in this same hall many years earlier. The dynamics of this song took me on an incredible journey like I had never went on before. Thank YOU Mr. Phish!

HARPUA: It's amazing to look back on my Phish career now and see how lucky I truly was to get this at my first show. Throw in a little Michael Jackson and you've got one outrageous story. As the story winds down you hear Trey say, "Look, the storm's gone" I truly felt like things had calmed down outside, even though I was still inside the venue.

ENCORE: AMAZING GRACE/GOOD TIMES BAD TIMES: This was truly the icing on the cake. First, Fishman gets the hall dead quiet and the band sings this beautiful song acapella with NO microphones. Take that shitty acoustics Mid-Hudson Civic Center!
Now, for the Good Times, Bad Times. This was the perfect conclusion for me personally.
In the Hudson Valley, Led Zeppelin always has been and always will be god on radio station WPDH. Zep was a very big part of my high school years and all walks of life love Led Zeppelin. It was the great equalizer. I could not have asked for a better encore for this magical night.

Thank you so much Phish.


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