, attached to 1991-04-27

Review by DudeOfMyfe

DudeOfMyfe This was my first show, so this will be my first review. I was a wee lad of 15 growing up in Westchester, New York who fell in love with Phish after someone played me the Lawn Boy CD. I was already a Zappa fan, so I was instantly 'hooked'. Our group of young troubadours took the train and got to the show a little early. The lot scene was small behind the venue. Mostly just people hacky sacking and hanging about. I remember looking up at the Cap building and a window opened - it was Trey. I'm guessing he was backstage, and he was leaning out and smiling as he checked out the scene below. I think he called over Mike or Fish to take it in with him. It was still new back then. We got to the small, legendary theater and walked right up front. Third row between Page and Trey. The scene was so mellow, the seating so fluid, people were dancing in the aisles for ARU. Aquarium Rescue Unit opened, and killed it. It was loud. Fast. The audience was hyped-up and me and my crew were shouting "Oatmeal" at Oteil, and Jimmy Herring was looking at us with that "you crazy kids" look. Phish don't have opening bands anymore; the closest they come to that friendly competition musical thing is when they play festivals. But walking onstage after ARU more than warmed up the crowd... the guys launched into Sweet Adeline. Why? ARU are amazing musicians, but they don't do A Capella. Jedi chess move. Then Phish played The Asse Festival as a separate piece, for the 24th time, possibly for the last time ever (1235 shows ago as of this writing). Again, ARU were hot, but they don't do fugues. The Possum and Tweezer are standouts. But the Reba is a bit of a dark horse in my opinion. Composed section is tight, but there's a funkiness to the instruments (especially the tight drums) on the SBD. The solo is where it's at: the interplay between Mike, Page, Fish, and Trey is pretty amazing. They are doing a lot more direct echoing and there's a lot of synchronicity happening. There isn't a wasted note by Trey, and Mike is there, listening, echoing, following along. For an example of this, listen at 8:00. Trey plays a descending lick, Mike sings it back, then Page and Fish echo that together. Harmonious playing. Mike is leading and comping at the same time, while being very funky with an octave pedal. It's hard to describe the cheer after that jam, which sounds dulled on the SBD. It was the sound of thousands of Phish fans being convinced this was IT. The cheer at the end of the tune gets a rare "thank you" from Trey and "thanks a lot" from Page. The response was that deafening, they had to respond, and they waste no time and go straight into a fiery Llama. It's a song Trey apparently wrote in response to all those fast ARU tunes. Checkmate. Phish has the crowd.

ARU @ Capitol Theater 1991-04-27


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