Subject: Skyballs&Saxscrapers: The First Time!
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 1997 02:32:00 -0500 (EST)
From: benjy eisen

Simples in the Summer '94 were still in their infancy..back then, Simple was still a *wild child*!! Who would've guessed
this tune to turn out the way it did? When it was first born, it had near BBFCFM potential, as we shall see in this review of the
FIRST SIMPLE EVER. Of course, the musical base for Simple had already become a sub-standard part of Mike's Song jams
by then, just dropping the jam into the key of F, where you find the Signature Simple Lick. And what's more, they reportedly
recorded this tune for Hoist and it ended up on the cutting-room floor. I can't imagine what *that* version would have sounded
like! Anyway.... SKYBALLS AND SAXSCRAPERS: 5/27/94 Warfield Theater; SF, CA Total Time: approx. 3:73 by
itself. (ends 6:23 into Mike's) Mike's Song starts up after Morgan Ficher lends fiddling skills to Nellie Cane (fwiw, Ficher
was a member of Camper Van Beethoven and has leant fiddling skills to Janes Addiction and 10,000 Maniacs.) At a mere 2:32
into Mike's, we have a glimpse of the first Simple licks, with Trey blatantly working around it, incorporating much, but not all, of
it. Shortly thereafter, at 2:50 we have the onslaught of the Full Force Simple Licks. "We've got it Simple" is sung by Trey at
3:09 - so weak so weak. He just seems like a cowering kid, unsure of himself, saying "excuse me...?" No confidence here
whatsoever, but he compensates for that with some extremely confident and bold wailing that at 3:41 Trey lets the 'doc go
ahead with. 3:54 - Fishman yells "*What* is a band without CYMBBALLS?" in a real evil BBFCFM voice and persona. It's
actually really amusing now, in retrospect, to anyone familiar with a Fall '96 Simple. The other band members also all chime in
with their respective yellings, screamings and evil blood-letting. "We've got a saxaphone!" says Page! Around 4:28 Trey is just
CHANTING "Skyscrapers" over and over again...YELLING "Skyscrapers." On summer '94 tour, since I hopped on too late
to see these Simples, "Simple Dave", Kyle&Kate (some veteran tourheads who have since pursued their own lives) explained
this song to me as "A Wall of Sound with them freaking out, chanting 'Skyscrapers!'" And sure enough, Trey is indeed chanting
this over a rough wall-of-sound that they've since carved a more refined Simple out of. 5:00 - "Simbop and Beebaphone,
Skyballs and Saxscrapers", repeated chanting and yelling of this theme. Kinda funny, actually, though not exactly pleasing to the
ear :) :) I would have *loved* to have seen this at the time - if you didn't know what it was (nobody did, obviously). If there is
one major change to the song though, which I miss, it's got to be the "vocal-jam" of this theme present in much of the Fall '94 ->
'95 versions and which has since disappeared At 6:23 the closing segment of Mike's comes in. At 6:38 the Simple theme is
revisited...this is the place where they traditionally let other songs segue in, including Simple. But here the "Simple Lick" is still
really just a part of Mike's. It's 6:48 and Fish lets out a GROWL...but it's now Mike's Song and likewise a whole 'nother
tale....I will say however that by 8:30 it's fading out into a soft cushion of serenity, the lick from the DDLJ makes a *very* brief
appearance, and from there Trey goes on to noodle with the melody to "O Mio Babbin in Caro" before Andrea Baker starts to
sing it. Both the band and the audience remain gloriously silent throughout this Puccini Aria. "Phish Goes to The Opera" And
then the Macaroni and Cheese boxes get passed out to the audience for the Possum Mac and Cheese jam...what a crazy show!
What a crazy band! What is a band without Trey, Page, Mike and Jon? :) SETLIST CORRECTIONS: The setlist should
properly read, "Mike's->Simple->Mike's->O Mio Babbin In Caro" SIM-BOP: It's completely unfair to rate this Simple,
and quite frankly I have no desire to. If you wanted a rough guideline, or a one sentence summary (since, after all, that's sorta
the purpose of ratings) I would volunteer this much: 5/27/94 is the raw material from which Simple was built. Not the most
musically enjoyable by ANY means, but certainly highly amusing. Walk with light my friends, Benjy