As Phish’s popularity began to grow in the U.S.A. during the early 90’s, Canada was listening closely. On December 12, 1992, Phish decided to give America’s hat their own double-dipped cream-dream thrill-ride of their life. Phish chose to close out 1992’s fall tour with two shows in Canada. Their first of two, in Toronto, boasts some of the cleanest guitar work and group improvisation of the year.
Set 1: Llama, Foam, Sparkle, Cavern > Reba, The Landlady, Split Open and Melt, Poor Heart > All Things Reconsidered, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope
Set 2: Maze, Glide, The Curtain > Tweezer, Rift, Guelah Papyrus, You Enjoy Myself, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up, The Squirming Coil, Golgi Apparatus
Encore: Ride Captain Ride > Tweezer Reprise
The Llama opener is bliss to turn on nowadays. Trey’s pristine tone was unmatched back then. Llama shreds as it comes to stabbing note after stabbing note. The Foam will take you back to when Foams were full of piano/guitar soul. This is how the song should be played, folks!
The highlight of the first set is undeniably Split Open and Melt. Lately, SOaM hasn’t had much behind its jams. I miss versions like this–the ones that build off of that throbbing Melt beat going into the jam. This version is a rollercoaster of controlled chaos by Trey. Fishman does a great job keeping up with him too. This version is a must-hear.
This concert also reminded me of how I miss straight-up Curtains. I wish they changed it up on us so we would never know what to expect when it starts. The abbreviated version (without ‘With’) is perfect for popping into songs like Stash, Sample, or, in this case, Tweezer!
This is an interesting year for Tweezer; the song is still relatively new and they are still testing the waters of what is possible with their open-ended jam machine. This version contains a playful vocal jam before heading into wonderful improvisation. It’s apperant that the entire band is listening to each other carefully throughout. They go through quiet movements and loud/thunderous movements. The jam eventually comes to one of the slowest Tweezer endings I can remember, mimicking a coal-powered train running out of fuel and coming to a crawling stop.
The mid-second set Guelah Papyrus provided for some interesting moments too. Trey adds some delicate guitar work between the lyrical segments that are not normally there. Perhaps it was Trey saying he wanted to jam more–they started up YEM shortly thereafter.
This YEM is laced with Davy Crockett teases that persist all the way through the vocal jam. It’s not the most impressive YEM, but it’s certainly fun.
The encore really lifts Canadian spirits for those traveling to Montreal the following day. Ride Captain Ride finds itself at its epicenter; it’s the sixth time played in its lifetime of 11 times total–the last time being at the Centrum last month. Trey sounds magnificent in this version–string-bending peak after string-bending peak at the end. Trey sounds so clean and Page sings with such a young voice. It’s really a fun thing to listen to. The song leads right into a fast-paced Tweezer Reprise.