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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/c80d8bc6022384ce54c103af1f98fdc5323030d4.jpg At the Roxy (Atlanta '93)

Phish

At the Roxy (Atlanta '93)

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November 27, 2008

Recorded in 1993 during a three-night run in Atlanta, this mammoth eight-disc box captures Phish right when they were putting a spit-shine polish on the live improvisation that would make them kings of the Nineties jam-band scene. At the Roxy is a must-have for one reason: the second show on February 20th, where Phish unleashed their most experimental set to date. On Disc Five, guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman play for 60 nonstop minutes, weaving sharp funk grooves ("Tweezer"), virtuosic bluegrass-esque ditties ("Glide"), mellifluous instrumentals ("I Am Hydrogen") and goofy covers (Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Nite") into one big, glorious mess. There are moments of genuine transcendence: Dig Anastasio's soaring solo on the modal jam "Reba" and the effortless way Phish weave "Tweezer" into the organ-powered groove of "Mike's Song." Phish tried to pull off a similar feat the next night, with a set anchored around the bebop-inspired "Stash." But that performance never reached the same heights — proof that the best jams are the most spontaneous ones.

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