From: Christian Ullsperger 
Date: 24 Mar 1993 19:37:37 GMT

My friend went to the recent Phish show in Phoenix at my urging. Here is
his review. Bear in my mind that he (like me) is a big fan of The Dead,
Zappa, Dinosaur Jr., Buffalo Tom, Sebadoh, Bob Dylan, My Bloody
Valentine, etc.  No previous Phish experience for him...

This first thing is from a letter that John wrote to me immediately after
the show.
Phish, 3/16/93, Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix AZ

The show is over.  What do I have to say?  Well, I was tempted to leave
in the
first set, but didn't.  Your description of them as somewhat 'fusiony'
was very
appropriate.  Perhaps they require more than one listening, but I felt
very often there was little synthesis of the chords that each individual
was playing (either instantaneously or over time).  It was as though
start something for a brief moment, but it would seldom go anywhere. 
Lots of
quick changes, and the band was very tight, but I felt somewhat
listening to them.  In the second set, however, they did some pretty
shit.  The analogies to the Dead hold very strong, particularly when
playing some sort of standard-type beat and then each member, or all of
in unison, will vary what they're playing to the point where the former
and chords have almost disintegrated, but then they'll bring the whole
back and then do it over again.  I was never thoroughly blown away except
when the lead guitarist gradually took over the drums and the drummer
out his vacuum cleaner.  I imagine that they did the same thing when you
them.  The guy on keys was just milking the clicks off this Hammond
sound, the
bass was popping in some sort of counter-beat with it, the
was playing some funky back-beat, and then this guy starts rhythmically
on the fucking vacuum cleaner.  It was truly out of hand.  I ended up
going by
myself, which was definitely the best situation, as I didn't end up
having to
babysit someone through the 'uncomfortable' parts, of which there were
All in all, it was worth it.

(Comment on the 'uncomfortable' parts. John is referring here to the fact
that while he is used to being 'musically challenged', others are not. It
always sucks when someone else can't go with the flow...)

And here is the actual review: 
(Phoenix 3/16/93)

I had nothing to go on except the advice of a friend and a shitty ASU
paper.  Comparisons to the Dead abound, misleadingly so in my opinion.
(Although I could easily see the Dead stooping to 'Sweet Emotion'
My general impression of the first set was positive, but I found some of
tunes difficult to follow melodically, as though the band was constantly
to stretch the boundaries of a musical framework which they never
bothered to
establish.   But there was some sweet, funky stuff in there... lots of
change ups- really tight.  It appears they knew what they were playing,
even if
I didn't.  I can remember a song which I beleive is called 'It's Ice'
they jammed nicely.  They exhibited pretty decent crowd control, getting
one to shut up during the quiet parts (well, almost).  The lead
abandoning the mike during one song started off as novel, but became
increasingly annoying (even the bass player appeared to mock him for it).

The second set far outweighed the first for this neophyte.  There was
many a
great moment improvisationally, and everyone seemed to know the words to
songs except me.  That is, until 'Bike' came on.  Then I seemed to be the
one.  What's the deal- no Syd fans among the 'heads?  The drummer
was classic- I think I actually preferred the lead guitarist's drumming.
The vacuum cleaner solo was long, but at that point I was ready to accept
thing.... it put me in a trance.  And they actually got the audience to
up for an a-capella 'Amazing Grace'.  Impressive.  Overall a great time,
though it was rather costly (except for the guy I sold my extra ticket to
$10- who says altruism is dead?).

So there you have it, for what it's worth.

Take it easy,


"Distant ships sailing in through the mists, 
You were born with a snake in both of your fists
While the hurricane was blowing..."   B. Dylan, _Jokerman_