Today, LivePhish officially released another archived show from their vault, 6/20/95 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Although the 6/20 show can stand on it’s own (incl. the 1st ever Mikes -> Contact -> Weekapaug) the REAL gem of this release lies within it’s filler, a show two days later on 6/22 at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center. The bonus material being Phish’s entire second set from that show, containing just three songs: Theme From the Bottom -> Jam -> Tweezer -> Tweezer Reprise. The 41-minute “Tweezer” dubbed The Fleezer by Trey is one of the band’s hallmark moments and sits a-top the 95′ shelf. Take a listen to the Spock’s Brain sample and a memorable foreword from Phish’s archivist Kevin Shapiro then go download/listen immediately!
Words by Kevin Shapiro (@Shapsio):
It was hot and humid on Tuesday June 20, 1995 – the night after the Summer Solstice – when Phish played their first headline show at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The venue was a wooden, natural parabolic amphitheater designed by Peter van Dijk and set inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland. Phish had played Blossom once before in 1992 opening for Santana but this time they sold more than half of the 18,000 tickets to the eleventh show of a 22-show summer tour.
The band’s first live record, A Live One, was to be released the following Tuesday and Trey had recorded his experimental jazz project, Surrender To The Air, during the spring. Phish and their management had begun the move from Boston to Vermont. Adding to the atmosphere of change, the Minkin backdrops that had been used onstage since 12/31/91 were replaced with a new set of Minkin-designed fabric scrims better suited to amphitheaters. The band was playing new material too, including a cluster of songs debuted a month before at a one-off show in Lowell, Massachusetts like Spock’s Brain, Theme From The Bottom, Strange Design and more. The ten summer shows between Lowell and Blossom saw the first live performances of Taste, and Prince Caspian as well as new covers like A Day In The Life and Johnny B. Goode. Most of these originals were eventually recorded for Billy Breathes, which hit the streets more than a year later in fall 1996.
Blossom ’95 was a barn burner, kicking off with a Llama opener followed by a killer Spock’s Brain – the 4th of of 5 played in summer 1995 before the song was shelved until 2000. Set I also featured Bathtub Gin with a pogo-stick tension jam that the band rode right over the cliff. Taste and I Didn’t Know followed and Trey introduced Fish during I Didn’t Know as “the only living layer that’s fueling this living layer.” A deep and crazy Split Open And Melt closed set I as Fish deconstructed the beat, breaking up the jam in a demented tick-tock vibe that led to a taste of Dave’s Energy Guide and some huge drums and bass. Set II opened with Halley’s Comet > Chalk Dust Torture, with some incendiary full-band jamming (and another taste of DEG) during Chalk. The major highlight of the show was centered on the jaw-dropping, first-ever combination of Mike’s Song > Contact > Weekapaug Groove. This Mike’s is must-hear, primal Phish that culminated in a spooky pulsating drone accentuated by sirens and Fish’s maniacal giggling. The pure insanity of the Mike’s ending formed the transition into Contact. Weekapaug Groove finished the suite, with Trey focusing on rhythm leaving Page free to shape the jam and foreshadowing the addition of Trey’s percussion rig in fall. Weekapaug ended in a deep, tribal section that melted into Hold Your Head Up as Trey took over the drums and Fish sang Cracklin’ Rosie. A possessed Highway To Hell capped the set. The encore was Slave To The Traffic Light, with some nice improvisation that bumped between huge arena-rock and a minimalistic, almost ambient work from Page’s Rhodes to Fish’s cymbal rolls. Amazing Grace closed another Ohio show for the ages.
The icing on the cake of the 6/20/95 Blossom release is the filler from the next show – the entire second set from 6/22/95 at Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, New York. This outrageous 3-song set picked up where the band left off at Blossom and rocketed through the stratosphere so fast and far that it even left some veteran fans confused about the band’s new direction, which was clearly OUT. Set II from FLPAC was based around a giant 41-minute Tweezer that was instantly known by all present as “The Fleezer”. Theme From The Bottom opened set II and led into perhaps one of the weirdest Tweezers in Phish history. This Tweezer spun its way into a bluegrass detour through My Generation (in the style it was played at Blossom’s soundcheck and eventually on 10/31/95 when the band covered Quadrophenia), some bent jazz complete with screaming, vacuum accompaniment and even a quick Rift tease. The Fleezer departed its free-form psychedelic roots just in time to segue into Tweezer Reprise by way of a piano interlude. Trey acknowledged the magnitude of what just transpired with his refrain of “Step into the Fleezer” as the band laid waste to the first Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise combination in more than four years. To call this segment Filler is to do it an injustice – Blossom and FLPAC are forever connected.
6/20/95 Blossom was created from Paul Languedoc’s stereo soundboard/audience mix, mastered by Fred Kevorkian and contains three and a half hours of music totaling just 25 songs. The 3-CD-length set is currently available as a FLAC and MP3 download at livephish.com and is slated for release by JEMP Records on April 30, 2013.
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