At the Roxy (Atlanta '93)

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Comprising material from a trio of shows in Atlanta, this eight-disc box set captures Phish's ascent to jam band glory in early 1993. The group had begun touring national amphitheaters one year prior, joining bands like Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler for the first annual H.O.R.D.E. Festival. 1993 brought about the band's first amphitheater-sized headlining tour, and At the Roxy captures the young (yet seasoned) musicians on their way to iconic status. Given this box set's length -- 78 songs, eight discs, and multiple hours of noodling improv -- At the Roxy is a fans-only affair; newcomers looking for a primer to Phish's concerts would do well to seek out the three-disc New Year's Eve 1995 instead. Those who crave a boatful of Phish will find this to be an indispensable collector's item, though, for the history it provides as well as its unique track list. Phish had yet to release a live album in 1993; accordingly, the band was still a relatively underground phenomenon, celebrated in some circles but relatively unknown in the mainstream. There's something pure about that, and the fact that Phish sustains its energy over these eight discs -- which brim with cover songs and musical cameos, including an unexpected sit-in with Gene Simmons (!!) -- only further justifies these shows' legendary reputation amongst Phishheads.

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