RebaReview#8: 12-8-94 Spreckles Theater
        Tim Wade <>

SCUBAReba (RebaReview #8)
12-8-94 Spreckles Theater
San Diego, CA, set II
Time:   17:29 (w/ whistling)
After exhausting my meager personal stash of Rebas, I had the
task of selecting a few (seven, to be exact) that I wanted to
check out next.  I looked primarily for shows close to home (New
England, that is), certain dates ('Weens, New Years, stuff from
December), as well as a bunch of other indicators.  One thing I
kept in mind was that someone pointed out recently that Phish
often plays especially well in venues with weird names (Mud
Island, Coral Sky, etc.).  To make a long story short, besides this
show being in December, the name "Spreckles" caught my eye, so
I decided to test the theory.  You be the judge.
Set two opens with a rockin' Possum that includes a nice silent
jam...My Mind's is up next, followed by Axilla II with some
humorous banter in the appears Fish botched the
end of My Mind's a little, and is taking some crap for it.  And
now...ladies and from the Motel tub...Reba!
THE DIRECTIONS (0:00): Starts inside the ending of Axilla II,
meriting a >; off on the right foot, IMHO.  A little stutter from
Fishman at the end of the first chorus.  Second verse sees muted
strumming from Trey, happy work from Fishman, and Page
hitting chords only for selected emphasis.  Sounds like some
good acoustics at Spreckles... that quiet intensity in the second
verse is a good sign...
THE SIP (2:24): Movin' right along...good sip...mmmmmmmm
chloroform coconuts...the build up to the swallow is extra good,
thanks to the playing Page and Trey _don't_ do right at the
beginning...that silent jam during Possum is still creating cool
effects here...everyone lags a little bit toward the end of the
build but catches up quickly.  Weird effect.  Odd taste to that sip.
Everyone ready?  Time for
THE SWALLOW (4:43): Minor glitches...once again, I gotta say
that I think this is the most complicated part of the pull
it off well, Page and Trey need to stay *almost* right on top of
each other, but not quite, and not too far back, and not let one
drift ahead of the other...when they do it with even average
accuracy, I get chills.  That said, it's time to gulp this down and
get to
THE CHILL (6:04): Eerie feedback from Trey at the start, nice
snare flams from Fishman...standard Reba high-pitched squeak
to get Trey going...he noodles downward, but on the way he finds
a pretty's nice enough for him to try again, and at that
same point on the way down Mike joins him in the groove.
Fishman is there shortly after, lightly keeping the beat.  Page is
still lurking away in the shadows, adding electric notes here and
there.  It seems that Reba decided to toss _us_ in the tub tonight,
too, and we're sinking to the bottom, softly blowing a few
bubbles.  A slightly ominous tone drifts in and out around 6:55.
Trey starts to swim up, wanting to see where the bubbles are
going...soon he's pretending that he _is_ a bunch of bubbles.
Page starts adding some Christmas-like chiming.  Trey is on to a
theme of sorts starting around it the song of the
Bubbles.  In trying to noodle away from it Trey gets caught
bubbling on one exposes the beat Mike and Fish have
going...Trey comes to rest on this beat, letting it carry him
down...down...out of sight.  Page returns to vague hints.  We're
soon in _ultra_ quiet mode.  The crowd can't contain some
rippling cheers, and it isn't until now that I'm noticing how good
they've been being.  They quiet down quickly.  Trey bubbles up
again at 8:38, and Mike begins to bop _quietly_.  Page comes in
with a chord, and then...then...what can I say here.  Picture
yourself floating just above the floor of the ocean, in a deep part
where light just teases you with it's presence.  The water is more
or less calm, but there are these pulsating currents that nudge
you this way and that, gently...I don't know how else to explain
it.  Someone is doing some vocal bubble support...the crowd is much so that the next time I will mention is 9:50,
when _one_ fan hollers loudly.
As if taking a cue, the groove shifts and starts to move out of the
space-at-the-bottom-of-the-sea.  A brief steadiness returns to
the rhythm, but they quickly back away from this...more
bubbling, and some whispering from Trey (I think).  More
definition is starting to appear...a dissonant, slightly syncopated
pulse comes in and out, causing a shift at 10:28, with Trey
picking at a chord, repeating it and fading away.  Trey revisits
the effect a few times while Page drips electric notes again.  Led
by Fish's hi-hat, Trey plucks his way through a slow, muted,
descending slide, hitting a "swallow chord"* at 11:07...but instead
of noodling around it, Trey continues the's a
weird effect, rising and falling on the 'doc...everyone gets into
the act, trading shots at that swallow chord...moments like this
are exactly why I don't want to be extremely intoxicated at a
Phish show...this would make me sea-sick!
Thankfully, Fishman has still got his fingers around the beat,
however lightly, letting it bounce on the hi-hat.  Trey grabs on to
that, recognizing that it's time to build toward the surface of the
ocean.  The other two flying Phishes circle we go,
boys...Fish gives the cue with two tom beats, and we break the
surface at 12:04.  The crowd says "Yay!", and I am in total
agreement!  Page moves to the baby grand...Trey starts in on
some tension building, repetitive noodles...the boys in the
rhythm department are starting to hint at some stop/start
action...they work up to a hard shift at 12:42. Trey noodles
upwards, then sustains and stops, giving an opening for the
stop/start...again, I'll have to resort to that shift we
get our feet firmly on the surface of the water, but then hit a
jump and just sail through the air...floating...hitting the water
again a few seconds later...when Trey sustains again, we hit
another jump...four jumps in all, hitting the water the last time
at 13:20.  We're right back in the groove, like we've been water
skiing and Reba's been driving the boat.  Trey gets repetitive,
very repetitive, gathering in some tension for a shift at 13:58.
Page, Mike, and Fish swell up in support of Trey's noodling...Page
is playing with soul...Trey sinks down then switches back
upward...not really a good shift, just a change to higher register
repetition...seems like he's kind of impatient...he digs down and
there is a shot at release at 14:54.  Trey ends up just pushing
things up a notch...he dwells for a few moments then pushes
upward again.  A third attempt culminates at 15:32 with a
s u s t a i n...a loooooooong sustain...hell, is he even going to come
out of this??  Bah, no way...yeah, there's the toms, Trey's sustain
screeches into a brick wall at 15:51.
THE WET WHISTLE 16:04: Trey goofs a little bit while the crowd better believe there's some whistling here...after
that ending, I'd _better_ get some whistling!   The final blap
sounds at 17:29.
* (The swallow chords are what they hit at the end of "The
Swallow", surrounding Fishman's drum fills and leading right into
"The Chill".  For other examples see 5-27-94 Warfield and 5-16-95
After listening to this Spreckles version, I gave NYE '95 a few more
listens, and the version is still growing on me, for precisely the
reason that many fans of this fabled Reba have expressed to's *smooth*.  It all flows very nicely, and therefore leads
up to some real fiery jamming at the end.
However, that (NYE 95) version lacks something that I _crave_ in
a Reba, something that this (Spreckles 94) version has: Beautiful,
creative exploration in the beginning of the Chill.  I absolutely
_love_ how this jam begins...skimming along at the bottom of the
ocean...finally working up and out, and then those sustained
jumps...all wonderful!
>From that point on, though, I'm nowhere near as excited.  I am
especially _not_ fond of that final sustain, and in that respect
this version is the opposite of NYE 95, which doesn't make me hold
my breath in the beginning, but lights a fire under my ass at the
end.  This one is pretty damn neat to begin with, but they just
can't seem to come back with any energy at the end.  This grade,
then, reflects my bias towards the body of the jam, as opposed
to the end.  That is the only reason that this one gets bonus
points over NYE '95.  Don't like it, post about it. =)
Finest in the nation?  B+/A-