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Friday, April 4, 2014

Phish 1994: 20 Years Later 04/04/1994 Burlington, VT

Been anticipating this for some time.  We're so good in this community at recounting anniversaries of important shows and tours any given year, but probably don't put enough into the milestone kind of years.  I remember 2004, 10 years later.  Celebrating by listening to the shows on the particular date, or reliving them with a friend over the phone.  No twitter then, or blog.  But forums were fun.  They were a serviceable way to share your thoughts but were terribly impersonal and did nothing for preservation of your comments.  Then came Myspace in 2005 for me.  The first time the internet got personal.

So I feel somewhat obligated to pay tribute to this collectively wonderful year of Phish shows.  The year the band REALLY arrived and with serious force.  Like hello all, we are definitely here.  These rooms are big, the crowds are amped, we worked hard for this, we earned this, we are not passing up this opportunity to show who we are.  And they did just that.

20 Years Later and I have this little tiny spot on the internet that's received 27,000 some hits based on postings of mostly my audience recordings, and several other old DAT transfers that I've shared with the community.  This is somewhere though where I can have at it.  Talk about something that's important to me and not really worry about it.  While this place has been reserved for mostly cataloging the live music I share with the community, it will now be leveraged for sharing my thoughts about the music.  Most importantly, the most important music to me; 1994 Phish.

Not sure what I'm going to do or how I'm going to do it.  I just know I want to talk about the music.  Can't promise I'll cover every highlight or lowlight.  But I will reflect, share and certainly always welcome discussion on any topic that spawns from this deep dive into what I consider to the the single greatest year of Phish music that ever was played, or ever will be played.

So a few things to be aware of...

I am not a trained writer.  My time is extremely limited (I have a wife, 4 daughters and a very full time job, in addition to a taping and music sharing hobby).  I'm not going to spend much time on proof reading and I'm famous for typos.  Please forgive grammatical errors as well.

I will have an opinion.  It will sometimes be strong.  I encourage you to share yours.  I can talk about the music all day, every day.

I'm going to try and cover every show on the anniversary.

I'm not out to write a review.  There are plenty of reviews of almost every show on if that's what you want.  I may even just talk about the source that exists.  etree is my favorite place on the interwebs.  I will give my opinion as best as I can though.  I may sometimes forget something but I'll likely post in the comments any addendum's to my writing.

This is the only post that will include this long introduction, as I didn't want to create a post under this blog label that wasn't focused on the show at hand.

1994 means a ton to me.  It was an amazing year on many many levels.  As a child of the 80's and a teen of the 90's, well I love the 90's.  Start to finish.  Amazing decade and right before the world really got screwy.  I was in my late teens in 1994 and made my way with no car to 5 Phish shows.  Sat home for several others like 4/9/94 and 11/13/94 pouting cause I couldn't find a ride from Buffalo.  I knew very much what was going on however.  The power of Phish was very much evident.  The music was piercing and the number of epic performances is high.  This year single handedly propelled me into a super phan.  Wanting to hear every note and see every show I possibly could.  Grabbing Hoist on the release day 6 days before tour was an absolute thrill.  Having amassed a decently small size Phish tape collection at this point, a few studio CD's, an obsession with the album Rift and an avid Schvice reader, I was pretty stoked from afar for this tour to get going.  My first real tour as a self declared Phish Phan.  Even with my first show (8/7/93) under my belt.

Phish history has generally proved one thing though.  Even in the most legendary of years, tour openers are almost always soft.  They're often shows that are used for the band to find some traction, work out the kinks, set up the audibles, work through the motions.  This show a perfect example of that.  I've always called this one the Hoist show.  The hometown tour opener that allowed them to work out the new material from the just released album in prep for the tour.  If I remember correctly, I want to say this show was tacked on possibly at some point after the initial dates dropped, but I could be wrong.

Since there will be plenty of shows to dissect from this year and seemingly endless musical highlights, I won't get into any details on this one.  Additionally, I've used my space to really set the stage for the year.  A standard first set with the expected Reba highlight otherwise served as a relax on your couch warm up.  Nice work outs of staples and one new tune.

Second set began with a couple more Hoist debuts and appearance of the Giant Country Horns.  A playful show to friends and family before the boys would hit the road for a record number of shows on 3 major tours was exactly what the band delivered.  Even in the year of the Hood, this version pales in comparison to the commanding versions that lay ahead.

We could almost do an entire blog entry on the standard run through of Phish tour openers.  This one no exception.  Wet your whistle for what is to come.

A soundboard is a available for Set II only.  Disregard the Phishtracks indication that Set I is SBD as it is not.  The B&K 4011 source sounds nice and was recorded (I suspect) by legendary Phish phan and sometimes taper Mikey Perrot.

stream 4/4/94
download 4/4/94

setlist courtesy of

Link Monday, 04/04/1994
The Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT

EncoreHarry HoodCavern[7]
[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] Giant Country Horns; horn introductions.
[7] Old lyrics. Carl Gerhard on trumpet.

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Recordings available on the Live Music Archive:

Recordings available via Bit Torrent on etree:

Live Music List in Excel Format:


A few of my reviews from years past:

Phish 10/7/94 Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, PA

Phish 11/4/94 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, NY

Phish 11/29/03 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA


Edited and published Page 683:

Internet Archive - Collection: etree