This was a huge organic growth period for the band. 92 to 93 saw a considerable jump to larger venues similar to 91 to 92. But 94 saw some real deal 5,000 - 10,000 capacity venues, particularly college basketball gyms and small to medium size outdoor amphitheaters. With this brought a bevy of new phans onto the scene. Even down south where the guys from Vermont were less popular.
The first of 2 shows in 1994 at the Patriot Center at George Mason University (second later in October) opened with the first Loving Cup of the tour and the 10th ever performed. Foam sitting comfortably in the two spot again in at 9 minutes is nice to see but hindered by a slight hiccup or two. Surprising due to the frequency of play.
As I mentioned in my first review of this adventure (4/4/94), I really don't know what's going to come of this 140 shows in. My goal was not to review each show as there's plenty of other reviews of each show available in different places on the internet. But my goal is to cover and reflect on each show on the day or so that it happened. I'm not exactly relistening to each show in their entirety for the purpose of composing these posts. Mostly relying on the heavy listening I've done the past 20 years on this year. I have however spot checking certain parts of interest to me to refresh my memory, but I'm mostly going off the overall vibe of the show, direction of the tour and as many notable moments positive or not that I can draw light too.
On that note I would be remiss if I didn't draw attention to a fantastic blogger doing something way better than what I'm doing: http://20yearslaterblog.net
This blogger is actually listening to each show in it's entirety and writing a very nice detailed review of each show adding some excellent perspective drawn upon his 22 years of seeing Phish. Not to mention his writing is very professional and the Wordpress blog is very easy on the eyes. I have made a commitment to not read his entires before mine as they go up first, making it very interesting to read his perspective for me after my reflections. Please check it out!
Set two is very much where it's at with this show. No real segues but top tier versions of Bowie, Wolfman's, Reba and Maze. Another second set Wolfman's clocking it at just under 9 minutes really offers the first meaty version of the 4 played thus far. I really enjoy these early semi-experimental versions, especially the young 29 year old Trey vocals with not as much vocal harmony backing which I usually love and especially on this soundboard. This music has always for me been about allowing the songs to develop a life of their own on stage. Wolfman's over the years is no exception.
Not going to dig in much further again as I'm really focusing on a big picture understanding of how 1994 played out. As always, please feel free to comment to further the discussion and break down any of the particular playing as you may see it. Otherwise I think the first Patriot Center stop was surely a good one. Really solid first set with excellent song selection, and a more of a laid back chill second set with some well played songs.
This show is famous for the (Assisted Listening Device) soundboard that has circulated probably since shortly after the show. So we've been spoiled with that leaving the aud's with little play. Without an AB comparison of the two AKG sources available, my pick is to almost always go with the Flaschner/McMinn combo. First set was FOB (bust?) and second set was back in the section. Wonder how many tapers covered this show and chose to never circulate due to the generous soundboard widely available? Such a shame.
stream 4/17/94 http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1994-04-17
download 4/17/94 http://db.etree.org/lookup_show.php?shows_key=3047
setlist courtesy of Phish.net
Set 1: Loving Cup > Foam, I Didn't Know, Divided Sky, Mound, Down with Disease > If I Could > My Sweet One > Cavern
Set 2: David Bowie, Wolfman's Brother > Uncle Pen, The Sloth, Reba, Big Ball Jam >Maze, Contact > Golgi Apparatus
 Random note signal.