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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Phish 1994: 20 Years Later 04/06/1994 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Let's be honest... the band was really still warming up 3 shows into this spring tour (the last true spring tour to date it should be noted).  There was still a little 1993 going on here, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Say some 1993 mixed in with the Hoist stuff and a little hung over from the layoff from New Years all mixed into one.  Well, and finding their feet as I referenced in the Burlington and Montreal 20 year posts.

Not that there's anything wrong at all with this show, just like Montreal the night before.  But it's certainly far from a good example of the year collectively.  Not too many 1994 features can be found here.  But this IS a nice little Phish show.  Solidly below average for the year comparatively, or maybe the bottom fourth of the year.  But a good sound show still at that with nothing terrible going on, just lacks the setlist quality of Montreal in addition to the low quality second set in comparison.

A really run through first set with a nice Llama, set highlight Stash and Antelope closer.  Pretty standard really but I always found this to be a comforting listen.  Let's also be real about Down with Disease.  This was a raw new tune at this point still that no one really knew how to take.  I actually distinctly remember someone writing into Mike's Corner pleading for the band to not change and that he was so heart broken by this new material, particularly DwD, that he was giving up the band.  Pretty crazy.  Wonder if that guy ever came back to realize what became of that song?

It's a fair concern.  With every new record or batch of new songs I think everyone takes a collective step back to figure out what's going on, even today with Wingsuit.  Every phan's great phear is the band is going to take this huge sideways turn and completely abandon their roots, maybe fall off the rails.  This was definitely a wait and see thing for those on this tour but the material was truly received well.  Another Hoist selection was to follow with Wolfman's and then Sparkle, not lending a good feeling to this show at all.  Then drops the Mike's>Lifeboy>Weekapaug.  Nice transitions but a short wrap up this only real moment of the show.

The un-amplified encores included Fish announcing he is using his Madonna washboard.

Sites are definitely set forward at this point in the tour, 3 relatively below average shows in and a lot to be desired.  The band is loosening up, getting their chops down and hopefully set to stir things up.  In my opinion from a historic perspective, the first 3 nights of the spring tour 1994 were somewhat of a  deliberate rehearsal period for the band as they knew there was a long schedule ahead.  Nice smaller shows in Burlington and Canada off the grid somewhat whether by design or not probably made it easier for them.  Whatever cliche you can come up with, it seemed to work for the band.

This show for years and years was only available in the form of an unlabeled digital audience recording.  I was however lucky enough to unearth a sourced AKG recording (one that I can 100% confirm the source of the tape, meaning the equipment used and sometimes the taper him/herself).  This was just recently released on etree and posted with links on this blog.  Marcus Thunich, my longtime buddy and savvy  Canadian Head was able to seed this tape and confirm this for me.  We strongly suspect the original unlabeled DAUD was this AKG source all along.  I recommend this source as we know not only what it is, but one of the very best on etree Jeff Mitchell handled the processing for me and removed the pre-emphasis on this recording which is an EQ curve setting on the Teac recording deck that actually compromising the sound of the recording.  So an upgrade for sure!  Thanks Marcus, Jeff Mitchell and Jason Sobel for your efforts in getting this one out to the community!

stream 4/6/94
download 4/6/94

setlist courtesy of

Link Wednesday, 04/06/1994
Concert Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

[1] Vocal jam.
[2] Acoustic; without microphones.
[3] Without microphones.

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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


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