Ambient Alarm Clock: Analog Classics
On Friday, Scotty B’s YEMBlog twitter discussion question centered around fan’s first Phish tapes. This spawned an interesting discussion and got me thinking of a way to revisit some of the “classic” Phish tapes. Prior to the spreadsheet and the world of online downloading, tape trading was the central method of sharing and obtaining shows, whether they be Dead or Phish. It was magazines such as Relix, or online discussion groups like rec.music.phish that provided forums for fans to share tapes with one another until around the time of the first hiatus. Over the years, certain tapes gained popularity—either they were particularly good shows, or they had particularly good sound (aka the “Cornell ’77″ effect)—and through this they would become more heavily traded and well-known.
Today, much of that has been forgotten, or is simply unknown, by Phish fans today, as a result of the sheer wealth of shows available online. Many fans today might not have even owned tapes, or might be oblivious to the difference between a cassette and a DAT. So for today’s installment of Ambient Alarm Clock, let’s turn back and revisit a few of these classics from the days of tape trading.
A DAT soundboard recording emerged shortly after 7.21.91 was performed, making it one first high quality tapes to become heavily circulated. This was the first tape for many fans, including YEMBlog’s own Scotty B, and is one of the most famous horn shows to date. This was the second of a two-night stand that really doesn’t require much introduction—or at least it shouldn’t. Scotty was kind enough to share a few words about his very first Phish tape:
“I think starting my live Phish exposure with 7/21/91 was good for me in retrospect as the soundboard source of that show was one of the best tapes out there at the time. Not only was the quality of the recording great, but the band kicked ass that night. Of course, thanks to the Giant Country Horn’s participation at that show, I’ll always hear their horn lines for classics such as Cavern, Suzy and Gumbo in my head when Phish plays those tunes.”
4.16.92 from the Anaconda was the first Phish cassette I ever owned, and one that I have listened to probably close to a million times. Toronto fans will probably be familiar with Edward’s Record World and Vortex Records (which sat above it) both of which used to be run by Phish/Dead fans. I scored my first tape at Ed’s and the rest, as they say, is history…By the time the band arrived at the Anaconda Theatre on their Spring ’92 tour, they were beginning to hit the note from all angles. Starting on 4.16 and spanning the next five nights, the band anhiliated every show with a noticeable determination. Again, this was the first tape for many fans, including myself, and there’s no surprise as to why.
“Split Open and Melt” (4.16.92)
Another landmark performance by the band that eventually became a staple in most fan’s tape collections, 3.14.93 from Gunnison, CO is well-known for it’s standout version of “YEM” that features a medley of various teases and quotes. It’s tapes such as these that are often overlooked these days, but were once fixtures in almost every fan’s listening cycle.
“You Enjoy Myself” (3.14.93)