, attached to 1985-05-03

Review by aybesea

aybesea And here we have another embryonic release from Phish. Like the others I've rated, this is certainly worth listening to, and this one has wonderful sound to boot. The music here is starting to firm up a bit, and their playing is getting more interesting.

Mike's (the earliest that I've found) is pretty much fully formed. It is slightly slower in tempo, and a tad clunky here and there, but basically this is the same song that we've all grown to know and love. The transition to DEG is smooth and DEG itself is very ethereal and eclectic. Just the way I like it!

I could live without the anemic Scarlet B's and the downright sleepwalking Eyes... I love Phish, but their GD covers are not exactly their forte.

The Whipping Post is pretty good and the segue to McGrupp is really wonderful. McGrupp, for me, is the highlight of the show. It is really compelling and constitutes one of the earliest "performance ready" songs I've found.

Makisupa is filled with pseudo-reggae silliness. Lots of ad libbed words and just general nonsense. Of course, current Makisupa's are pretty silly too. Then they get all political on us jiving about rasta nation and South Africa.

The song that I was most interested in hearing was Antelope. This is the earliest Antelope that I've had an opportunity to listen to, and it's one of my very favorite songs. The intro is more "chord based" (less noodling) than mature versions, and while the structure is there, the delivery is very loose and not yet well formed. The intro just kind of "falls" into the jam at about the 2.5 minute mark. This section too, is not yet mature. Most of the shifts are right, but it's really clunky and just kind of lopes (see what I did there) along. More interesting than compelling. At this point, I would not have identified this as the beast that I would worship at so many shows! Still, Trey's shred at the tail end is indicative that something good was happening here. The segue to The Other One is seamless and makes Antelope seem like an extended jam more than a standalone affair.

As for The Other One, this is probably the best (or one of the best) Dead covers that I've heard from Phish. Unlike some of the heads, I'm not ashamed to love both the Dead and Phish, nor do I mind mixing the two in conversation. Occasions like this are a great reason why!


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