Phish Plays One To Remember In Binghamton In 1995
In 2001 Phish announced an innovative live archival series of releases called LivePhish in which they would put out batches of classic shows. The initial batch of five shows was led by LivePhish Volume 1 which featured a phenomenal show that took place twenty years ago tonight at the Broome County Arena (BCA) in Binghamton, New York during one of the best months in Phish history.
If ever a show deserved to kick off a series of Phish live albums, it’s the band’s visit to BCA on December 14, 1995. The first set starts off innocently enough with “Foam,” “Split Open & Melt” and “Makisupa Policeman” among the highlights. Yet the second set was an all-killer, no-filler affair with one impressive segue after another. “The Curtain” gave way to a high octane “Tweezer” based on a powerful riff that would surface later. Just as “Tweezer” reached a peak, guitarist Trey Anastasio started up “Timber (Jerry).” Wild jamming emerges out of “Timber” and eventually Trey re-inserts the “Tweezer” riff and picks up where he had left off about five minutes prior. Keyboardist Page McConnell then shows off his handiwork on synth before an impressive course of full-band improv. After a few glorious minutes, Phish takes it down a notch and all head to McConnell’s rig for “Keyboard Army.”
The only break of the closing stanza is a few seconds between “Keyboard Army” ending and bassist Mike Gordon starting up “Halley’s Comet.” At the time “Halley’s” wasn’t known as a “jam song,” but Phish connected on a frenetic chord progression they rode to glory during this first-ever jammed out “Halley’s.” Fans consider glorious moments of Phish improv “the hose” and the jam out of “Halley’s” was all hose. Drummer Jon Fishman kicked into a reggae groove which paved the way for a spot-on transition into “NICU” that also featured a riff they had been jamming on a few minutes earlier. “NICU” also isn’t a Phish song known for birthing impressive jams, but it most certainly did so on this night. Fish, Trey and Mike pulled out of the mix after the “NICU” jam leaving McConnell to lead into “Slave To The Traffic Light” with a solo. A cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love” served as encore in response to a fan with a sign, though Anastasio told the crowd “when fans bring signs, it has to be for a song the band wants to play.”
When Phish announced the LivePhish series, they created a mini-site to promote the releases that included some videos. In the montage below, watch the only footage Phish has shared from Binghamton ’95 – portions of “Makisupa Policeman” and “Bold As Love” which start the video:
Listen to LivePhish Volume 1:
Here’s an audience recording via From The Aquarium: