This week’s video is from New Haven’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum on 12/29/93. The 1993 New Year’s run is memorable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the shows were outstanding, particularly the 30th and 31st. Nearly as remarkable was the aquarium stage set-up that is still recalled fondly by fans almost twenty years later, but those are the obvious points. It’s some of the less obvious parts that make this video particularly interesting.
1993 was a period of significant change for the band. They had started headlining amphitheatres for the first time during the Summer Tour. There was no Fall tour in ‘93, as Phish was ensconced in L.A. recording Hoist!, so the New Year’s Run marked their first time playing several of the arenas that they continue to book today. It also seemed like every tour Kuroda would have a few new lighting toys to play with. Check out, for example, the spinning wheels during “Contact.” They're almost charmingly primitive in 2012, but were remarkable in 1993. The lights that spin around the arena were another new 1993 development (and would be used to great effect in the following night's "Slave").
Additionally, the 29th has a nice looking setlist, yet it was probably the least exciting show of the run. That said, one of the highlights of this show comes from a decidedly unlikely place. During the part of “BBFCFM” where they usually launch into a chaotic, thrash-metal jam, they immediately drop into an almost reggae jam that smoothy resolves into the then-rare “Walk Away” (unfortunately, partially cut on this vid).
The rarities would continue with the always amusing “If I Only Had a Brain,” where Fish tells the crowd about his new haircut. Other highlights from the show include “Antelope,” “Fluffhead” and a strange “Stash.” And, by all means, if you haven’t ever heard either of the following two nights, make like Mike vis-a-vis the Creature From Mars and RUN over to @hoydog23’s Spreadsheet and grab them both.