Threw in a box of Mac 'n' Cheese... (RebaReview #2)
5-27-94 Warfield Theater,
San Fransisco CA, set II
I'll sing the praises of this set later on. Your openers are Suzy>
Peaches> My Friend My Friend. All of them made me go wow on
the first listen. I must mention now, the sound quality here is
great, due in _large_ part to the incredible acoustics at the
Warfield. So, with that in mind, we get the opening notes of Reba
out of the cackling at the end of My Friend...Myf...
THE DIRECTIONS (0:00): Nice fills from Fish in the first verse,
nothing noticeable in the way of lyric/music flubs...pretty hot,
actually. Second verse gets really quiet, but crystal clear. Nice
strumming from Trey! Nice fills from Mike! We are really
hopping through the directions tonight! Bag it, ow!, tag it, ow!
THE SIP (2:25): With the exception of maybe one slightly off-key
shot (Page?), no mistakes. All's I can say is "uuuuhh!" Check
that, I can also say..."gaaaaah!!"
THE SWALLOW (4:41): Our first gulp is a strong one, thanks to
one Jonathan Fishman who knows how to work his tom-toms and
other toys. The second one is even fatter...that was a big sip we
took! I think Fishman is trying to get us punch-drunk. Finally
we get it down, and thanks to Tubbs, we got the beat, and we got
THE CHILL (6:01): Mike and Fish lay it down, and Page tinkles
gently. Trey stays more or less silent here...actually, the whole
damn crowd is more or less silent. Yay!!! Trey softly looks for a
note, and eases it in...wait a second. What the heck is he doing?
Trey comes in with a sustained high note in response to Page, but
but quickly it's as if Trey is playing the violin. Haunting is
probably a good way to describe it...as if the ghost of some
classical violinist has possessed him. Some mild audience
clapping, but nothing too intrusive. At a high point on his
guitar/violin, around 7:05, Trey starts to noodle a bit (oh, yes, it's
a guitar), and then...gosh, for a few moments everyone gets soooo
quiet, like they don't want to scare this apparition away. The
crowd is hushed, and Mike, Fish and Page add only the barest of
touches behind Trey, who also seems to be on the verge of
disappearance. Trey flits in and out of existence, then finds some
notes to follow, and the others start to gather around. Around
7:52 Mike leads them through a repetition of a couple of notes, a
descending lick, building energy. Popping through, they drop off
again on the other side, Fish now keeping time with the hi-hat
while Mike gently slaps that Reba "bup-bup, bup-bup, bup-bup".
Just Mike and Trey (Fish, too) for a moment, Trey still noodling
eerily with his guitarolin, and Mike adding some higher fills.
Page finds his electric piano just as Mike and Trey pass each
other, Mike headed down and Trey headed up. Trey then trills(?)
waaay up high, giving me little shivers, at 8:15. He decides to
dance around up here for a bit, and with Page adding little
accents, Fish throws in some tom fills that work quite well. More
violin-noodling along, nice noodling at that, nice thumping from
Mike, then Trey seems to locate the pulse of this Reba, using a
bent lick starting at 8:42.
The best way I can think of to describe it is like a slow-motion
heart beat. "Luuuuub duuub" goes Trey, releasing a pulse of
music with the others. More nice drum fills during the pulses.
There are seven distinct "beats", increasing in intensity and
space. After the seventh, around 9:12, Trey finds an odd little
phrase, three sustained notes...for a moment it seems he could
follow it down from the heights they are at, but happily he allows
it to develop on the short end of the 'doc, increasing in
complexity. It leads naturally into some syncopation at 9:28...you
can sense that this is stirring up some serious energy. A
movement towards a steadier, faster tempo at 9:50 precedes a
clearer statement of the developing theme by Trey. He plays it
four times, then everyone begins to tighten up. A nice build
here, Fish pushing to speed things up, resulting in another
syncopated release at 10:28. Trey has the theme/phrase clearly
in mind now, and repeats it again strongly, before beginning to
work it towards a shot at release. Great, great build this time,
nice release at 11:05. Trey plays with his theme, tests it's power
at the top, then begins a hammer...that becomes a trill(?)...that
becomes a build...and I'm about ready to tear my hair out around
11:43! Trey isn't holding back any longer, letting the soul of this
eerie Reba come screaming out. Maybe it was me screaming, I'm
not sure...the last few moments of this jam are intense! Fish rolls
out the toms to close things up (before someone has a heart-
attack or falls down weeping) at 12:20.
THE WET WHISTLE: Ain't no way. A moment of silence, before
Lizards dreamily fades in.
In a phenomenal set, this Reba is the first of a host of many
treats. There is also Nellie Cane & My Mind's, acoustic, no
amplification, with Morgan Fitcher on fiddle, then a Mike's Song
featuring the first Simple, jammed into a solo performance from
San Fransisco opera singer Andrea Baker of "O Mio Babbino Caro".
Possum, and the Fire encore, are accompanied by the audience on
a whole lot of boxes of Flinstones Mac and Cheese. But back to
The lyrics and composed sections are not only right on, they are
well above average. The great acoustics at this place let you
_hear_ the look on Trey's face as he sings. A pristine, colorful
start is then followed by some "You've gotta be kidding me"
guitar work from Trey and inspired jamming from Mike, Page,
and Fish especially. A very tight and unique jam, and the last
two minutes are powerful.
Me, I had a near-spiritual experience when I heard this...just the
kind of stuff that I listen to Phish (and this song) for. It's got a
special place in my heart...and yet I still have the audacity to
assign a grade. =p So for Reba's violin lesson...
Finest in the nation? Survey says:
A great Reba, a great set, incredible acoustics...what more do you
need? Pasta? Got that covered too.