November has always been an important month for our musical heroes from Vermont. Some of the bands more memorable shows have occurred in the 11th month of the calendar year. One in particular jumps to the forefront of the discussion rather quickly — November 1994.
At midnight on November 1, 1994, Phish had just finished performing the Beatles The White Album completely redefining what a Halloween concert should and could be. One could say THE adventurous streak of “we can do anything” really caught fire in November ’94 resulting in some of the more adventurous jams and set list decisions in their history. Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.
Phish’s first show in November ’94 (11/2/94 Bangor, ME) set the tone for the rest of the month. The obvious highlight, “Tweezer” clocked in at over 30 minutes and was so unique Phish included it on, A Live One. You could actually argue this is the first time “Tweezer” got experimental. While it had been jammed on in the past the version on 11/2 gets way out there laying groundwork for above-average versions on 11/23/94 and the 45-minute Tweezefest on 11/28/94.
Notable Shows / Moments from November ’94:
11/02 – Maze and (at the time) the most ambitious Tweezer ever played.
11/03 – The best Split Open & Melt ever?
11/04 – Curtain > Mike’s Song > Simple > Mike’s Song > Tela > Weekapaug
11/12 – Down with Disease -> Have Mercy -> Down with Disease [PLAY]
11/16 – First show with the Reverend Jeff Mosier. Bluegrass numbers aplenty. [PLAY]
11/19 – YEM is top notch as is Harry Hood [PLAY]
11/22 – Funky Bitch > Yerushalayim [PLAY]
11/23 – Simple > It’s Ice & Tweezer [PLAY]
11/26 – David Bowie [PLAY]
11/28 – Tweezer [PLAY]
11/30 – Antelope > My Sweet One > Antelope > Fixin to Die > Antelope > Ya Mar > Mike’s Song > Catapult
Going over all these show highlights makes me wonder, not if tigers sleep in lily patches, but if 1994, specifically November, was THE often debated — turning point for the band. Where “everything came together” as they say. Psychedelic improv followed by slowed-down bluegrass tune, a jammed out cover, then an original arena-rocker. Phish took everything they conjured up from their breakout and very underrated year of 1989 and the magnificent month of August 1993 and broke through in creating a diverse catalog that some may say can’t be topped.