BLOSSOM '95 MARKS FIRST SUMMER '95 LIVE PHISH RELEASE
Nearly 18 years after their 22-show Summer '95 Tour, Phish has finally
shared an official
recording from that tour. Today, the jam titans have released their June 20th, 1995
performance via the LivePhish.com
The show is best known for the impressive "Mike’s Song" -> "Contact" > "Weekapaug Groove"
segment from the second set that was included in the fourth installment of the band’s Live
Bait series. There’s also the first "Ginseng Sullivan" in 58 shows, one of only five
versions of "Spock’s Brain" they played in 1995 before shelving it until 2000 and a
gorgeous "If I Could."
In addition to the entire 6/20/95 show, the release also includes an impressive filler -
the entire second set from the band's June 22nd, 1995 show at Finger Lakes Performing Arts
Center in Canandaigua, New York. This set is best known by the 40-minute-plus "Tweezer"
which fans refer to as the "Fleezer." Blossom '95 is currently available through LivePhish.com as a FLAC,
ALAC and MP3 download.
Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro has penned an essay about this new release.
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
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.
Update: We have added the audio embed of Spock's Brain that Phish has shared via Soundcloud