Little makes me more excited or provides me with more memories than multi-night Phish shows in the summer. Although Jones Beach isn’t on our list of favorite venues, its two-night stand in the summer of ’95 (like the song) accomplishes a task of epic proportions: stands out in a month where nearly every single show is a complete throwdown.
June of 1995 features some of the freshest jamming and most explosive playing. Last November I made the weekend show Lakewood ’95, from 6/15/95. Nearly every show from that particular month is good enough to write about.
Set 1: Axilla (Part II) > Foam, Fast Enough for You, Reba, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, Fluffhead > Chalk Dust Torture
Set 2: Sample in a Jar, Poor Heart > Tweezer -> Dave’s Energy Guide -> Tweezer > Gumbo > Sparkle > Suzy Greenberg, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise
Encore: Sweet Adeline, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
After teasing Ha Ha Ha, Trey started the double header of concerts with heat as he launched into Axilla II and then impressively meandering into Foam. The soulful mid-set Reba precedes an unusual mid-set PYITE before launching into Stash that also proves to prove quite a bit of soulful playing from Trey. The explosive Fluffhead segues right into CDT to end the set on a high note. The only slower song in the whole set was FEFY–Trey was ready to play.
The second set had two major highlights. The Tweezer held the room together with its extended improvisation. The jam reached a bright oasis that was Dave’s Energy Guide in the middle. This would be the first DEG since 5/8/91 before slipping back into Tweezer. The Tweezer jam featured all sorts of jamming; the most interesting style to me was the wah-pedal funk, foreshadowing two years into the future. Pages fills are something to look for too.
The late-set Hood blew the water out of the moat with Trey soaring into the summer sky–probably one that could stand up to the two Hoods debated in Tales of Mental Tangle #8: Twin Hoods (with Scott Bernstein).
Set 1: Runaway Jim > Taste, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Divided Sky, Cavern > Rift > Simple > Split Open and Melt, Carolina
Set 2: Free -> David Bowie, Strange Design, You Enjoy Myself, Acoustic Army, A Day in the Life
Encore: Theme From the Bottom
The following night opened with an energetic Jim, almost as if they were making up for removing it from the usual Jim > Foam combo the night before. As the dust settles from Jim, Taste begins. Some of these early versions of Taste are overlooked because of the consistently impressive versions of ’97–this one shouldn’t. Trey rips up the jam like no one’s business. Like the night before, this set opened up with an energetic song > a soaring/pretty song before taking a break by playing a slower song. Also, like the night before, the first set contained only one “breather” (Horse > Silent).
Although I claim 6/18/94’s Divided Sky to be my favorite version, this one comes in close second. The Split is quite noteworthy due to its intense tension built towards the end. The song has a string of other Phish staples leading up to it with the quirky Cavern > Simple > Rift threesome.
Although the YEM is one of the weaker points over the course of the two nights, the massive half-hour Bowie makes up for it. The set-opening Free eerily segues into the opening of Bowie. The ensuing jam features some of the year’s best improvisation. Along with a few segments that are almost classified as stop/start jamming, everyone gets to take center stage at some point. One of my favorite parts is when the jam settles down and Pages comes through with some impressive fills. (Video below)