, attached to 1991-08-03

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Five years before Clifford Ball, Phish and their loyal cronies made the trek out to Auburn, Maine for what one could argue was the first ever Phish festival. Videos of all three sets are easily found on YouTube and worth checking out. Something about watching the dozens of in-frame fans, all shirtless to boogie, and the beaming smile on Trey's face is extremely heartwarming. Obviously the band had been on a steadily upward trajectory in terms of expanding their footprint, deepening the repertoire, and defining/refining their sound for a few years at this point, but this destination festival-esque show seems to mark a turning point where the career acceleration kicked up a notch. From a retrospective point of view, the band was hot off the heels of a great summer tour with Giant Country Horns and would soon hit the road again for a great Fall tour that would introduce many soon-to-be fan-favorite tunes, put on a killer New Year's show, and release a third killer album, A Picture of Nectar. Perhaps I'm projecting, but I love to think of this show as a way to celebrate all the accomplishments of *early* Phish and usher in the next major chapter.

Musically, the show boasts a fantastic setlist that covers most of the regular heavy-hitters in rotation at the time, plus a special Dude of Life encore set. From the top of Set 1, Trey's having a blast and carries Wilson, Foam, and Jim to great heights. The Divided Sky here (available on Live Bait Vol. 5) is an excellent early edition with ancestral ties to later 94 craziness. In Set 2, we get a really cool and groovy Reba jam that evolves into an emotional blaze very quickly. YEM begins a little rocky for Trey, but man all four boys absolutely rip the jam, including a super memorable VJ. From here, Fluffhead and Harry Hood standout for their phenomenal outro jams, each full of the vigorous joy I associate with this show and this chapter of the band's journey.


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