Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tour Opener #3 - 04/04/1994 The Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT

Set 1: The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar, Scent of a Mule[1], Maze, Fee > Reba, Horn > It's Ice > Possum

Set 2: Down with Disease[1] > If I Could[1], Buried Alive[2], The Landlady[2], Julius[3], Magilla[4], Split Open and Melt[2], Wolfman's Brother[3] > I Wanna Be Like You[5], The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony[2] > Suzy Greenberg[2]

Encore: Harry Hood, Cavern[6]

[1] Debut.
[2] Giant Country Horns.
[3] Debut; Giant Country Horns.
[4] Giant Country Horns; more of a shuffle beat than usual.
[5] Phish debut; Giant Country Horns.
[6] Old lyrics. Carl Gearhard on trumpet.

Notes: This show, a benefit for The Flynn Theatre, featured many debuts, including Scent of a Mule, If I Could, Wolfman’s Brother, Julius, and the full Down with Disease. I Wanna Be Like You also made its Phish debut. The show kicked off with one a cappella line of My Hometown. Buried Alive through Suzy Greenberg featured The Giant Country Horns: Mike Gallick on baritone sax, Carl “Geerz” Gerhard on trumpet, Dave “The Truth” Grippo on alto sax, Don Glasgo on trombone, Chris Peterman on tenor sax, and Joey Sommerville on trumpet. Cavern, which contained the old, alternate lyrics, also featured Gerhard. Magilla was played slightly differently than most versions, with more of a shuffle beat. Trey updated the crowd throughout the show on the score of the Duke - Arkansas NCAA championship basketball game.


A show that served as a bridge between what was and what would be, sandwiched between perhaps their greatest show up to this point (12/31/93) and a spring and summer of virtuosic performances.

As many tours had begun in these earlier years, we were introduced to new songs, these recorded for Hoist. Most, if not all of these tunes became locked into the regular rotation for years to come.

This period of immense focus and creativity that we were about to embark upon started in their hometown with old friends on stage and off. While new songs these days are often greeted with skepticism and indifference, the audience laps up every last drop. While its not hard to imagine instantly falling in love with Disease or Wolfman's, this show reminds us of a time when all of the new music was fully appreciated and eagerly accepted.

Kicking off with an a capella line then Divided Sky, the band immediately jumps headfirst into one of their harder compositions. Followed by one of the only Hoist songs known to fans before the album's release, Sample in a Jar keeps the energy high.

One thing that is already apparent, and continues throughout the show is the pace at which they continue to fire off song after song. While today's shows often have the vibe of a well paced excursion, shows during this period exhibited rapid fire release of songs before the previous song had fully finished.

These set-lists were tightly composed novellas, stringing a new story together night after night.

The first debut of the night came with Scent of a Mule, a quirky tale with dueling solos that has launched more than a few incredible moments of music throughout the years.

Out of the smoke of Mule, the frenetic beat of Maze rises to our ears. Tinged with arabian themes, this version is straight ahead fire.

Again, without taking a moment to breathe, the bass drum kicks of Fee begin our tale of the weasel. One of those songs that never gets old and is never out of place in any set, the end of this one dissolves to one of my favorite Reba's.

Maybe the very hardest of Trey's compositions (sorry Guyute), Reba was already a fan favorite and jam monster by this point. Immediately upon landing in the jam section, we are taken on a short ride out of the song structure before returning to familar territory and even given a treat during the bag it tag it reprise with improv whistling. An incredibly fun version all around that deserves a slot in the discussion of great Reba's.

A beautifully executed Horn precedes a blistering It's Ice, complete with some really interesting jamming in the middle section. This is one of those sections that doesn't really get drawn out too far anymore that has always held some absolutely incredible potential.

Continuing the trend of taking the music out of the song structure in Possum, we were treated to some playful interludes after its raucous beginning, and before its glorious peak and ending.

Though a tight set with many great moments, the 2nd set debuts would come to dominate this show.

Lacking the spacey ambient intro that would come to signify Down With Disease (or confuse it with another!), the band ripped straight into this now classic tune for the first time after giving us the "peak" at the stroke of midnight during new years so Mike could get footage for the music video.

A rendition that pretty much stuck to the album version, albeit with a slightly extended jam, faded into another new one, If I Could. This tender tune is one that really sticks out on the album, but mostly doesn't do it for me live (see Jones Beach 09). However, on this first take in front of a live audience they nail it.

Buried Alive, The Landlady

Then came the Giant Country Horns, a welcome addition to any show, and the whole crew proceeded to spit fire through these well known tunes. Though the Landlady would be swallowed by PYITE for good shortly, that big band/jazz quality of the tune that i think was lost during the incorporation is something that i hope we get to see again, whether on this song or another.

Breaking out another new song, Julius, the band locks in with the horns and delivers a stellar debut.

Magilla, Split Open and Melt

A slightly revised Magilla came before a fantastic Melt. I love this song with horns. It adds a dimension that we rarely appreciate since for the most part we dive headfirst into some mind numbing "fill the hole" jamming with this song.

Upon dropping their first Wolfman's we can see the very beginnings of funk infused, groove jams. This song was made for it. As well, another great song for horns, I continue to come back to this version time and time again.

After Fishman's glorious rendition of I Wanna Be Like You, yet ANOTHER debut, the band gets back in place for OKP>Suzy. Maybe the best known "combo" of theirs (eh...probably Mike's Groove actually), i guess let's call it a reliable combo, this evening's version does not disappoint.

Hot page solo and of course, the horns.

For the encore, the band treats us to a powerful, if shortish Hood and a Cavern with the older lyrics.

As mentioned earlier, this show followed a pattern of many tour openers of the early years of new debuts, some favorites sprinkled in and here we got the HORNS.

The band continued to tour almost non stop through July familiarizing themselves and the fans with the new songs and bringing the music to a new high. Countless "best of" versions of songs like Stash, DWD, Wolfman's, Maze and Tweezer would be dropped in the coming months.

Legendary shows such as the Beacon Run, the Fox, the Warfield, Red Rocks, and of course, Sugarbush can all trace their beginnings to the Flynn.

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