, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by aybesea

aybesea Continuing my march through the early years, here are my notes on this show:

First off, as others have mentioned, the sound on this show is solid... really solid! Languedoc + Phish = Aural Ecstasy. This one is a pleasure to listen to. Also of note, there are a bunch of [at least recording] debuts on this tape. This is also the first full length performance that we have been treated to, so... let's get this show on the road.

Alumni & Makisupa are played competently, though there is nothing of particular note.

Skin It Back is a sweet addition to the set list, and Page does an admirable job of capturing that Little Feat charm. And then we hear Trey knock it down... nice! I wish that they'd play this more often as they do it well. At least we get a few of these in this primordial age of Phish.

Segue to Cities and it's a pretty good one. TBH, I've never liked the lazy pace that Phish likes to play this amazing song at, but this one is a bit less anemic than many. The bass work here is really good.

There was supposedly a previous H2, but this is the earliest one that circulates. It is every bit as beautiful as it is in its current incarnation. This lilting melody is so very welcomed to the expanding repertoire. I have to admit that as they sound the final chord I am just waiting for Weekapaug to explode, but alas... not yet.

The McGrupp that follows is a really good one. This track has matured just beautifully and the musical portion is basically together at this point. The lyrics are still spoken (and double tracked). I don't understand the jam charts GD-like comment, but the jam itself is really very compelling.

Next up is Bag without the modern opening sequence. Instead they just do an ambling jam into the first verse. Also of notice is that in this second reading of Bag, we get the over the top lyrical inflection that would land squarely in TMWSIY. Most of the prepared musical bridge is intact at this point. Also of note is that the ending used here is jarring... so much so that most of the audience doesn't even clap for a few seconds.

Next up is YEM and it just seems to keep getting better with every outing. Except for the lack of the trademark opening, much of this song seems to have been worked out... at least up through the jam segment. They also include a VJ section for the first time.

The elusive Lushington makes it's debut to close the first set. It is complete and well played... even the tricky, intricate parts. I don't know why this one has been shelved. It seems to be a quirky fan favorite and I, for one, would love to see it make an occasional appearance. Not likely, though.

The second set opens with the Phish debut of Peaches. I'm a huge FZ nut from way back (true story... this is the song I had played at my wedding reception at midnight... you should have seen the crowd!), so I am geeked that they must have practiced the shit out of this! It is flawless, though brief.

Golgi makes its second recorded appearance and is much more comfortable on this occasion. There are a couple of gaffs with the playing, but nothing major. Segue to a Dixieland jazz version of Swing Low. Oh my, shades of Phish to come!

The first post-Jeff Camel Walk is relatively uneventful.

The Shaggy Dog debut features well practiced vocal harmonies. This is another gem that deserves to be placed in permanent rotation. I love this version. Page tears up the honky tonk bits of this song, and Trey's chicken pickin' is a delight.

Mustang Sally sounds like typical bar band stuff.

The last recording of Fluffhead comes almost two years earlier on 12-1-84, so it is really great to hear it again here. And wow has it ever matured! With Page this song absolutely comes to life. It's so much fun to listen to these things evolve. The bridge is played impeccably.

Sneakin' Sally sounds amazing on the grand piano and it features an a capella jam near the end.

The Wilson is, unfortunately, just a fragment. But the Slave that follows is complete and sounds just great. This really isn't surprising since this song has been polished for a while now.

Mike's is a really energetic version and the first one to truly space out a bit. It's nice to see this cornerstone of the canon taking some risks.

Quinn & Have Mercy are both performed well enough, but there is nothing of particular interest in either of them.

Hood, on the other hand, is becoming quite the magnificent beast. Except for the intro, it sounds very much like a modern Hood. Granted, it hasn't yet developed the jam that would make it a show piece.

Set 3 is 100% silliness. I'm up for a little silly every now & then, but this set grates on my nerves. Canteloupe would have been a pretty strong Antelope, but Trey goes over the top on his vocals while playing the gag and kind of messes it up. Sanity and Anarchy are just ridiculous and I'm not a fan.

Finally, after hearing Fluff earlier, we get Clod... the missing piece of the puzzle. Here it is far bluesier and more languid than it is typically found in its normal environs. Page takes the reins and almost makes this cocktail lounge music. Cool by me!

So, conclusions? First off... get this one... it's well worth the listening time.

As far as a rating, the sound is really good (5 stars considering its vintage and location). The performance ranges all over the 3-5 scale, so I'll call it a solid 4. The song selection is incredible because of all the debuts, so I'd like to bump things up a little. Overall, I'd call this show a 4.5, but can't because we don't have 1/2 stars (hint, hint).


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