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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2008/01/24
by Dan Alford

Phish: From the Archives

Quick Picks:
JB- Solo acoustic at Planet Bluegrass in 2000
Christian McBride Ban, 5/4/02
The Beatles, 1/30/69, Rooftop Set
Band of Gypsys, Band of Gypsys
Mahavishnu Orchestra, Berkeley1972
A quick note that Im now dishing out tunes for Stormy Mondays in the Hidden Tracks section of Come check it out.
Live Phish, 10/21/95, Lincoln, NB
Another in a long string of fall 95 releases, this show from October has a great Reba with a deconstructed heart that quickly shifts into a bright, funky little groove that blossoms into the finale. Later in the first set is a Wilson > CTB thats a bit darker and more open, in tone, if not in length, than usual, especially in Pages central solo. Its followed immediately by a long, creepy Kung full of spooky shouting and eerie, streaky sounds, but that in turn rises beautifully into Lizards. There is also an very smooth transition from GTBT back into Tweezer Reprise, which also opens the show, for a nice bit of framing.
The second set has a hot Bowie that goes dark quickly, winds around to a still piano place and valiantly climbs back out, pulling on guitar strings and brightly percussive keys. By the time the heart of the show, YEM, hits, the band is in the second set place- time is elastic and they stretch at moments and snap back at others. The Tramps section is superb- ahead of its time really- with mothership buzzing that almost loops and tweaked out keys that eventually unveil a funky piano core. Its awesome, and Trey arrives to set it off, riding the heat way into a wild, deep funk groove that eventually morphs into an absolutely must hear Fish/Gordo duet.
The Vox jam is to cap it off fun, and the set ends with a true mid nineties, late second set classic, Purple Rain > Harry Hood. The CD version of this gig has a 20 plus minute sound check from the same night, a slow, funky jam with Dog Log sung over it early on. Its a fun piece of music, not to die over, but worth hunting out.
From the Archives, 12/20/07
Kevin Shapiro recently offered up a rare From the Archives webcast to celebrate the fifth anniversary of, and while the event was a bit heavy on plugging and what a great resource it is, it was definitely a fun listen and had the same sort of scope, generally speaking, as festival show. The bulk of the early material was sampled from shows available at the website, including 11/30/94s My Friend, Jim from NYE 95, and an 88 Sanity, along with cutting room floor filler for Vegas 96, Dog Log over Funky Bitch. The great material, however, is the famed Halleys Comet from 11/22/97- a really unbelievable piece of music from the Must Listen category, and an incredibly funky 30 minute AC DC Bag from 9/14/99. Its a remastered recording that sounds superb and Shapiro hints pretty heavily at its upcoming release. After the show officially closes, theres another long treat- the nearly 45 minute Tweezer from 11/28/94- the territory covered here is vast, and again it falls squarely into place with AC DC and Halleys- you just gotta hear it. The only problem with this webcast is that the recordings circulating pretty widely are all MP3 format and definitely sound lossy. It would be nice if FLAC files were leaked, even if only for those tracks that havent been released.
Live Phish, 8-14-93, World Music Theater (Volume 7)
The earliest of the many shows from the 1993-1994 era in the original Live Phish series when the technical precision of early Phish combined with the loose, open jamming of later Phish to create the music that made the band, this show from Tinley Park, Illinois is just about perfect. It has something for everyone. Early in the first set Divided Sky showers down light and beauty, followed by a nice Horse > Silent in the Morning. In those days Trey did Horse (and My Friend, My Friend) on an acoustic guitar set on a stand (much like Tony Markelliss bass) and the results were stunning, as they are here, except for the feedback. Its Ice is also a standout, with inventive, potent piano from Page, as well as a solid dose of B-3 groove. Next up is a great Split Open and Melt, Mike firmly in control. The jam is very textural, Mike playing a speedy Dog Log style line that gives way to a heavy drone, and eventually snaps back into a raging climax. The second disc includes one of those jams, where a song is perforated not by free form jamming, but by other Phish tunes, classic rock numbers, or any number of other incidentals. As Mike says in the liner notes, All of the songs weve ever heard on the radio are part of the storehouse of knowledge we are starting to use. Opening with 2001, still in its infancy at the time, the suite moves into an Antelope that quickly looses shape. By the end of a Dixie tease from Trey, the song is replaced by snippets of spontaneous composition, including a section of downbeats and screams, and a heavy, rock-star passage. A full, if somewhat loose, Sparks transitions effortlessly into Walk Away and off into a blistering, dramatic jam, Page and Trey pushing each other and ultimately riding back into Antelope. But before the climax, the music goes squirrelly and eases into a rare Have Mercy. While still in the weightless reggae drift, Trey calmly speaks the lyrics to Antelope and the quartet crashes to a finale. Disc three includes a great chunk of filler from 8-11-93, Mikes Song > Great Gig in the Sky > Weekapaug Groove. The Mikes Song is nothing short of bombastic, with Cactus establishing a thematic breakdown that carries through the first jam section. Its an excellent choice, a treat from the same tour to cap off a first rate release.

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