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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Phish 1994: 20 Years Later 04/23/1994 Atlanta, GA

This was always a widely circulated show in the trading circles.  Just about everyone had it on their tape list.  That's usually due to the either the amount of tapers at a particular show, an overzealous single taper who felt the need to mass distribute their source, or the show was flat out great, everyone wants it and it aggressively makes the rounds in the trading circles so everyone can hear it.  I think one and three are the case here.

One year after one of the bands all time great runs at the Roxy Atlanta in February 1993, the band returns to the ATL at the Phabulous Fox in Atlanta for a single night stand, only to return a year and a half later in November 1995 for a 3 night run.  This was a step up though

What a tour this really is.  Sure Fall 94 gets all the glory and lord knows I'm amped about the prospects of working my way up to it through these reflections.  But this is a really neat as well.  Day after day show after show and while pale in comparison to what happens later in this year, what's happening here still blows the roof off the joint and crushes anything they are doing today in Phish 3.0.  Precision, energy, fire, tension and release, blah blah blah.  Yea I said it.

Super rare Funky Bitch opens the show.  More treats abound this set with Peaches, Stash, a real 94 Esther, an excellent DwD and the guesting that ends the set.  One of the best first sets of the month for sure.  I wouldn't say this first set exceeds the second set in overall musical quality, but I would say the first set exceeds expectations over other 4/94 first sets, while set two (as I'll get to) doesn't.

Old Jerry Garcia collaborator Merl Saunders comes out to guest on keys for Caravan and Hi Heel Sneakers and is a real treat.  I personally got to see Merl play Waterstreet Music Hall in Rochester, NY 10/27/96 with moe. opening.  I think more than anything, those Dead-Phish Heads out there were just really stoked to see this guest spot.  Any connection between the Grateful Dead and Phish during a time when there was zero, even if it were Merl was a totally righteous thing!

Set two brings the house down with a 12 minute raging Lope.  It's these Antelopes, those Stash's, Split's and Reba's which really help make this year in terms of execution and compact jams.  SICK stuff.  Harry Hood is nothing short of a hot mess but ultimately just doesn't go anywhere good at all.  A super amp'd YEM with a Colonel Bruce Hampton guest spot and segue into a short but beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire accents the show.  Another very memorable YEM at 18 minutes and the signature jam of this ATL show.  All and all nothing terribly overwhelming in this set, but a novelty set for sure.

Linda Webster, Bob Brown, Doug Oade and Chris Cage all check in with sources for this fun show!  We are very lucky to have a fine representation of 4 quality tapers and quality rigs to choose from.  On paper, Doug Oade's Neumann TLM-170's are generally the go to mics almost any time and this is definitely the case here.  I doubt I'll ever have the time to AB all these sources though that would be a dream come true.  It's often best to take the recommendations of torrent comments and database entries.  Not only is this a high quaity Neumann as well as a legendary Grateful Dead taper and equipment builder, this source is a "Dankseed" processed by my old Phish phriend Jim Raras.  And it sounds killer!

Big props also to CCage for dropping his uncirculated master on the community over 17 years after the show.  I don't want to turn this into a taper blog post, but we do want every master we can find to be preserved for the future before the DAT tape is defunct and we cannot extract the music.  Please show love to the old school tapers who dig these tapes out of the closet to share with us!

stream 4/23/94
download 4/23/94

setlist courtesy of

Link Saturday, 04/23/1994
The Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA

EncoreFree Bird
[1] Trey sang verses through megaphone.
[2] Merl Saunders on keyboards.
[3] Phish debut; Merl Saunders on keyboards.
[4] Simpsons and Oom Pa Pa signals.
[5] Acoustic, without microphones. Fishman on washboard.
[6] Colonel Bruce Hampton on piano.
[7] Phish debut; Colonel Bruce Hampton on vocals.

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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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