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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Phish 1994: 20 Years Later 04/21/1994 Winston-Salem, NC

I've always sang the praises of Trey on special nights.  Really special nights for the band, sometimes unknown to us as it's sometimes personal.  Like when Branford Marsalis would join the Grateful Dead onstage in the early 90's.  Very special for Garcia.  Lifts the spirits of the artist beyond any understanding we may have from our side of the stage.  It gives everyone that little extra inspiration to dive in and dig a little deeper for that extra special kind of playing.  Winston-Salem 1994 is exactly that.

Who really knows anyway.  I've said from the beginning of this series of blog entries that I'm really looking at this brilliant year as a whole one night at a time.  Trying to get a feel for the band, the audience and the tone the music carries.  When I add it all up to this point, this is what I'm hearing.  I hear it in Chalkdust, I hear it in that second set, I hear it in just about every tune in this show.

No doubt Phish respected the success DMB garnered in the south in a short time, a market with a ways to go at this point for the boys from Vermont.  So Trey bringing his good friend Dave and his band along to open these two shows, this being the second, was not only a great marketing idea but it was just the right call for this band in this moment.  They would return the favor in the California by asking DMB to open some shows at the end of the year in effort to give Dave some much needed exposure out west

Hey the band likes Winston-Salem too right?  97 and 98 fall shows sure think so.  This particular 4/21/94 show is really spectacular and maybe only a very close second to 4/9/94 at this point in the tour but it depends on the day you ask me.  The attitude of the playing and what happens in the second set in stand alone top shelf Phish.

Some folks, particularly type II folks, may get bored with 1994.  These were the days when the band would practice a ton.  Trey would lock himself in a room and dream up ideas for shows and the music wasn't nearly influenced as much with drugs as it was a desire to get better and better each night, continuing to throw themselves into the flames live and without a net to just see what happens.  They were real serious about it.  Songs like Foam, Glide and Split Open and Melt are real serious with some extra juice.  Complete focus and precision rolling their way through this pretty straight forward but very high energy first set.

The first half of set II is a masterpiece and one of my favorite segments of the entire year.   2001>Maze, Fluffhead>Mike's>Hydrogen>Weekapaug.  Some of the darkest Phish music I can remember.  DMB fans had to have been mesmerized.  Utter insanity song after song and they knew it.  Not recommended listening before bedtime.  Maze, Fluffhead, Mike's.  One of my all time favorite Fluffhead's up there with Kent State and the Clifford Ball.

A key version of Possum ends this show, followed by an all time sit in for the encore to accent this over the top night of music.

3 standard AKG sources included one Bob Brown FOB comprise our offerings for this show.  I have not run an AB comparison.

stream 4/21/94
download 4/21/94

setlist courtesy of

Link Thursday, 04/21/1994
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC

EncoreDrums[4] -> Jam[5] -> All Along the Watchtower[6]
[1] "I walk awakening on the misty fields of forever" lyrics.
[2] All Fall Down signal.
[3] Without microphones.
[4] Carter Beauford on drums.
[5] Dave Matthews Band.
[6] Phish debut; Dave Matthews Band.

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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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