Do The Evolution: 200 Essential Phish Shows

Furthermore, the list is not complete by any means. I have no doubt missed a show that had an incredible influence on your musical consciousness, or one that the band would consider to be “IT.”

I’ll read your mind and answer a logical question – 95% of the list has recordings in circulation on the Phish Spreadsheet. Recollections from listening were supplemented by the Phish.net set list database, and the incredible efforts of the Mockingbird Foundation to produce and publish the Phish Companion. Special thanks also go to one kind phan who will remain nameless, who several years ago gave me a copy of the magical Phish hard drive – a 500 GB beast with every Phish show known to be in circulation at the time.

So let the debate begin. If there’s something missing, add it to the comments section. I’m always looking for new companions on this ride.

  1. 12/2/83 – University of Vermont (the 1st show)
  2. 12/1/84 – Nectar’s, Burlington, VT (well-circulated show documenting infant PH)
  3. 5/3/85 – University of Vermont (Page’s debut)
  4. 10/30/85 – Hunt’s, Burlington, VT (the beginning of PH Halloween festivities)
  5. 11/23/85 – Goddard College, Plainfield, VT (Mike’s epiphany)
  6. 10/15/86 – Hunt’s, Burlington, VT (Paul Languedoc’s 1st show as sound man)
  7. 12/6/86 – The Ranch, Shelburne, VT (awesome early-era PH)
  8. 4/29/87 – Nectar’s, Burlington, VT (they crush all 3 sets)
  9. 8/9/87 – Nectar’s Burlington, VT (1st Curtain With, Fee, Harpua, Divided Sky, La Grange)
  10. 8/21/87 – Ian McLean’s Party, Hebron, NY (probably the most-circulated show of the early era)
  11. 10/31/87 – Goddard College, Plainfield, VT (1st Halloween performance)
  12. 3/12/88 – Nectar’s Burlington, VT (1st known live performance of Gamehenge w/narrations)
  13. 7/23/88 – Pete’s Phabulous Phish Phest, Underhill, VT (the name speaks for itself)
  14. 7/28/888/5/88 – The Roma & Fly Me To the Moon Saloon, Telluride, CO (later released as Colorado ’88)
  15. 9/24/88 – Full Moon @ The Zoo, Amherst College, Amherst, MA (very well-known early era gig)
  16. 1/26/89 – The Paradise, Boston, MA (1st “major” gig in Boston)
  17. 5/28/89 – Ian McLean’s Party / Connie Condon’s Farm, Hebron, NY (three very fun sets)
  18. 8/26/89 – Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT (later released as Live Phish Vol. 9)
  19. 10/20-22/89 – The Front, Burlington, VT (stellar multi-night run @ The Front)
  20. 10/26/89 – Wetlands Preserve, NYC (two long sets)
  21. 10/31/89 – Goddard College, Plainfield, VT (Halloween)
  22. 12/31/89 – World Trade Center Hall, Boston, MA (1st PH performance on NYE)
  23. 2/23/90 – Haverford College, Haverford, PA (well-known gig from early 1990)
  24. 3/28/90 – Denison University, Granville, OH (1st Tweezer, Runaway Jim and Cavern)
  25. 5/4/90 – Colonial Theater, Keene, NH (smoking show, very tight playing from start to finish)
  26. 6/1/90 – Cotton Club, Atlanta, GA (lots of banter/crowd interaction/on-stage hi-jinks)
  27. 9/13/90 – Wetlands Preserve, NY (well-circulated show with many 1st time played tunes, incl. Tube)
  28. 10/31/90 – Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO (Halloween)
  29. 11/4/90 – Fort Ram Nightclub, Fort Collins, CO (Mike’s>Hydrogen>Weekapaug)
  30. 12/31/90 – World Trade Center Hall, Boston, MA (NYE)
  31. 2/1/91 – Brown University, Providence, RI (1st Tweeprise, Guelah & Chalk Dust Torture)
  32. 2/15/91 – Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH (widely-circulated ’91 show)
  33. 2/19/91 – The Bayou, Washington, DC (Fish’s birthday; lots of banter & high points throughout)
  34. 3/16/91 – Ten Mile Room, Breckenridge, CO (solid set list from start to finish)
  35. 4/6/91 – Evergreen College, Olympia, WA (best show of the band’s 1st west coast run)
  36. 4/27/91 – Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY (just one of many classic PH nights @ this venue)
  37. 5/3/91 – Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA (Cam Neely narration during Harpua)
  38. 7/12/91 – Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH (later released as Live Phish vol. 19)
  39. 7/14/91 – Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT (Giant Country Horns)
  40. 7/20-21/91 – Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY (exceptional playing, outstanding venue/scene)
  41. 8/3/91 – Amy’s Farm, Auburn, ME (free show; famous night in Phistory)
  42. 10/6/91 – Macalester College, St. Paul, MN (hysterical stage banter; Fishman hates HYHU)
  43. 10/13/91 – North Shore Surf Club, Olympia, WA (Gamehendge)
  44. 10/31/91 – Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO (Halloween)
  45. 11/15/91 – Trax, Charlottesville, VA (the “Mrs. Pizza Shit” show)
  46. 12/31/91 – Worcester Memorial Auditorium, Worcester, MA (3 sets of NYE greatness)
  47. 3/6-7/92 – The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH (many debuts from what would later become the Rift album)
  48. 4/16/92 – Anaconda Theater, Isla Vista, CA (perfect example of 1992 Phish)
  49. 4/18/92 – Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (“squirt-gun break!”)
  50. 5/14/92 – Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY (last 25 minutes of set 1 make this show a keeper)
  51. July/August 1992 – HORDE tour and opening act for Carlos Santana (7/25/92 – famous Carlos sit-in)
  52. 11/19/92 – St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT (later released by LivePhish.com for Haiti relief)
  53. 12/5-6/92 – Vic Theater, Chicago, IL (nice 2-night run in Chicago)
  54. 12/31/92 – Matthews Arena, Boston, MA (broadcast live on WBCN; radio audience freak-out instructions)
  55. 2/3/93 – Portland Expo, Portland ME (debut of Page’s baby grand…and, as a result, Loving Cup)
  56. 2/19-21/93 – Roxy Theater, Atlanta, GA (3-night run later released in its entirety)
  57. 3/2/93 – Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA (Mardi Gras Phish)
  58. 3/14/93 – Western State College, Gunnison, CO (2nd set is why we listen to Phish)
  59. 3/22/93 – Crest Theater, Sacramento, CA (Gamehendge)
  60. 3/28/93 – Humboldt State College, Arcata, CA (Arcata + PH + awesome Antelope & YEM = must-hear show)
  61. 4/14/93 – American Theater, St. Louis, MO (YEM>Spooky>YEM, Harpua, Runaway Jim to close the show)
  62. 5/5-6/93 – Palace Theater, Albany, NY (outstanding 2-night run in a great venue in Albany)
  63. 7/16/93 – Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA (debut of 2001, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav and Purple Rain)
  64. 7/25/93 – Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ (fun 2nd set)
  65. 8/2/93 – Ritz Theater, Tampa, FL (several bust-outs, including Brother, Dog Log, La Grange & Sparks)
  66. 8/7/93 – Darien Lake PAC, Darien Center, NY (classic ’90s era 2nd set)
  67. 8/13/93 – Murat Theater, Indianapolis, IN (GIN!)
  68. 8/14/93 – World Music Theater, Tinley Park, IL (later released as Live Phish vol. 7)
  69. 8/20/93 – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO (first Red Rocks show)
  70. 12/28/93 – American University, Washington, DC (start of the holiday run; 1st Peaches since 1989)
  71. 12/30/93 – CCCC, Portland, ME (outstanding show, high energy start to finish)
  72. 12/31/93 – Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA (NYE, amazing YEM & Tweezer, debut of DWD jam)
  73. 4/4/94 – Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT (many debuts, including the complete DWD)
  74. 4/13-15/94 – Beacon Theater, NYC (amazing 3-show run)
  75. 4/24/94 – Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC (Bathtub Gin > Jump Monk > Bathtub Gin)
  76. 5/4/94 – State Palace Theater, New Orleans, LA (Cosmic Country Horns for most of 2nd set)
  77. 5/7/94 – Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX (Tweezer-fest. Live Phish vol. 18)
  78. 6/17/94 – Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI (The OJ Show)
  79. 6/22/94 – Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, OH (wow, what a 2nd set. Live Phish vol. 10)
  80. 6/26/94 – Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, WV (GameHoist)
  81. 6/30/94 – Classic Amphitheater, Richmond, VA (stellar 2nd set includes Harpua)
  82. 7/8/94 – Great Woods, Mansfield, MA (Gamehendge in set 1)
  83. 7/16/94 – Summerstage @ Sugarbush, North Fayston, VT (“comet crashed into Jupiter,” LP vol. 2)
  84. 10/31/94 – Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY (The White Album)
  85. 12/30/94 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (1st show @ MSG)
  86. 12/31/94 – Boston Garden, Boston, MA (Tropical Hot Dog Night)
  87. 5/16/95 – Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA (Voters Choice benefit; many debuts)
  88. 6/22/95 – Finger Lakes PAC, Canandaigua, NY (40-minute “Fleezer”)
  89. 6/23/95 – Waterloo Village, Stanhope, PA (John Popper for Harpua during 2nd set)
  90. 6/28/95 – Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY (Tweezer > Dave’s Energy Guide > Tweezer)
  91. 9/30/95 – Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA (start of 1st band vs. audience chess match)
  92. 10/31/95 – Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, IL (Quadrophenia)
  93. 11/9-11/95 – Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA (great 3-night run; classic 1995 playing)
  94. 11/25/95 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (1st show @ Hampton Coliseum)
  95. 12/9/95 – Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY (Best YEM ever?)
  96. 12/14/95 – Broome County Arena, Binghamton, NY (later released as Live Phish vol. 1)
  97. 12/29/95 – Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA (Bathtub Gin > The Real Me > Bathtub Gin)
  98. 12/31/95 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (arguably the best PH show ever played)
  99. 6/6/96 – Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY (The Third Ball)
  100. July 1996 – European Tour, opening for Santana
  101. 8/6/96 – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO (great show; near-riot in the town of Morrison gets PH banned)
  102. 8/13/96 – Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN (later released as Live Phish vol. 12)
  103. 8/16-17/96 – Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Plattsburgh, NY (The Clifford Ball)
  104. 10/31/96 – The Omni, Atlanta, GA (Remain in Light)
  105. 11/2/96 – Coral Sky Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, FL (Crosseyed & Painless, Antelope)
  106. 11/15/96 – Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO (“brought to you by the letter M and the number 420”)
  107. 12/6/96 – Aladdin Theater, Las Vegas, NV (later released as “Vegas 96”)
  108. 12/29/96 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA (incredible 2nd set w/Bowie, Gin, Lizards, YEM and Harpua)
  109. 12/31/96 – Fleet Center, Boston MA (Bohemian Rhapsody w/Boston Community Choir)
  110. 2/21/97 – Tenax, Florence, Italy (YEM in Firenze)
  111. 2/26/97 – Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany (outstanding show from the very 1st note)
  112. 3/1/97 – Markethalle, Hamburg, Germany (portions later released as Slip, Stitch & Pass)
  113. 3/18/97 – Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT (show to celebrate release of Phish Food ice cream)
  114. 6/6/97 – Brand Sands & Pete Carini’s house, Charlotte, VT (The Fourth Ball)
  115. 7/1-2/97 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands (classic 1997 2-night run, in Amsterdam taboot!)
  116. 7/6/97 – Spiaggia di Rivoltella, Desenzano, Italy (Soundcheck Limbo Karaoke Contest)
  117. 7/21/97 – Virginia Beach Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA (crazy 2nd set)
  118. 7/22/97 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater, Walnut Creek, NC (later released on DVD)
  119. 7/31/97 – Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA (Trey pays tribute to Jerry Garcia)
  120. 8/10-11/97 – Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN (Summer 97, 2-nighter @ DC. Perfect.)
  121. 8/14/97 – Darien Lake PAC, Darien Center, NY (Merry Pranksters)
  122. 8/16-17/97 – Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME (The Great Went)
  123. 11/17/97 – McNichols Arena, Denver, CO (later released as Live Phish vol. 11)
  124. 11/21-22/97 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (famous 2-night funky run in Hampton)
  125. 11/29/97 – Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA (Longest Runaway Jim ever)
  126. 12/6/97 – Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI (incredible 2nd set)
  127. 12/7/97 – Ervin J. Nutter Center, Dayton, OH (1997 perfection)
  128. 12/11/97 – Rochester War Memorial, Rochester, NY (DWD, Roses; featured in Bittersweet Motel)
  129. 12/13/97 – Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY (“Bring in the Dude!”)
  130. 12/29-31/97 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (maybe the funkiest 3-night stand in Phistory)
  131. 4/2-3/98 – Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (part 1 of the Island Tour)
  132. 4/4-5/98 – Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI (part 2 of the Island Tour)
  133. 7/5-6/98 – Lucerna Theater, Prague, Czech Republic (great 2-night stand. Ghost from night 2)
  134. 7/15/98 – Portland Meadows, Portland, OR (Excellent Tweezer. Live Phish vol. 17)
  135. 7/20/98 – Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA (outstanding Gin to open the show)
  136. 7/21/98 – Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ (2nd set is a keeper)
  137. 7/28/98 – Sandstone Amphitheater, Bonner Springs, KS (very fun set-list; solid playing throughout)
  138. 7/29/98 – Riverport Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO (best Gin of all-time, imo)
  139. 8/1/98 – Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI (debut of Ramble On & Been Caught Stealing)
  140. 8/7/98 – Walnut Creek Amphitheater, Walnut Creek, NC (“lunar eclipse” Forbin’s narration)
  141. 8/8/98 – Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD (more fun on the summer 98 jukebox tour)
  142. 8/9/98 – Virginia Beach Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA (Terrapin Station encore)
  143. 8/11/98 – Star Lake Amphitheater, Burgettstown, PA (bust outs – Trenchtown Rock, Time Loves a Hero)
  144. 8/14-15/98 – Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME (Lemonwheel)
  145. 10/3/98 – New World Music Theater, Tinley Park, IL (Farm-Aid; “Down by the River” w/Neil Young)
  146. 10/31/98 – Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV (Loaded)
  147. 11/2/98 – E Center, West Valley City, UT (Dark Side of the Moon)
  148. 11/20-21/98 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (later released as “Hampton Comes Alive”)
  149. 11/27/98 – Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA (Wipe Out 2nd set; Live Phish vol. 6)
  150. 12/29/98 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (best night of the holiday run; outstanding 2nd set)
  151. 7/17-18/99 – Oswego County Airport, Volney, NY (Camp Oswego festival)
  152. 7/25-26/99 – Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, IN (lots of highlights over the 2-night stand)
  153. 9/10-11/99 – Gorge Amphitheater, George, WA (several late era debuts)
  154. 9/14/99 – Boise State University Pavilion, Boise, ID (classic “you snooze you lose” show)
  155. 9/17/99 – Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA (Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes)
  156. 12/11/99 – Spectrum, Philadephia, PA (funk-filled 2nd set)
  157. 12/18/99 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (Strong last show before Cypress)
  158. 12/30-31/99 – Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, Big Cypress, FL (no explanation needed)
  159. 5/22/00 – Radio City Music Hall, NYC (Ghost)
  160. 6/14/00 – Drum Logos, Fukuoka, Japan (Fukuoka Jam; later released as Live Phish vol. 4)
  161. 6/29/00 – PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ (best show in 2000, start to finish, IMO)
  162. 7/11-12/00 – Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN (Moby Dick 2nd set; Curtain With mega-bust-out)
  163. 9/8-9/00 – Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY (great kick-off run to the last tour before hiatus)
  164. 9/14/00 – Darien Lake PAC, Darien Center, NY (Suzy Reprise Jam; Live Phish vol. 3)
  165. 9/29-30/00 – Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV (quality of Kid Rock appearance hotly debated)
  166. 10/7/00 – Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA (last show before the hiatus)
  167. 12/31/02 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (not the best playing, but the reaction as lights went down!)
  168. 2/26/03 – Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA (1st “great” show post-hiatus)
  169. 2/28/03 – Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (the return of Destiny Unbound & Soul Shakedown Party)
  170. 7/13/03 – Gorge Amphitheater, George, WA (insane Seven Below in 2nd set)
  171. 7/15/03 – USANA Amphitheater, West Valley City, UT (another “you snooze, you lose” show in Utah)
  172. 7/29/03 – Star Lake Amphitheater, Burgettstown, PA (great set list punctuated by Harpua)
  173. 8/2-3/03 – Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME (IT)
  174. 12/2/03 – Fleet Center, Boston, MA (the 20th Anniversary show)
  175. 12/28-31/03 – AAA Arena, Miami, FL (fun 4-night stand to close out 2003, P-funk on 12/30)
  176. 6/17-18/04 – KeySpan Park, Brooklyn, NY (Jay-Z; movie theater simulcast, Live in Brooklyn DVD)
  177. 6/21/04 – Ed Sullivan Theater, NYC (PH performed a mini-set on the façade outside the Letterman show)
  178. 8/14-15/04 – Newport State Airport, Coventry, VT (a train-wreck by all accounts, but historic)
  179. 3/6-8/09 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (the return! We felt the feeling we forgot)
  180. 6/12 & 14/09 – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN (late-night PH; Springsteen on 6/14)
  181. 7/31/09 – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO (best show of the 4-night run; 2nd set is stellar)
  182. 8/8/09 – Gorge Amphitheater, George, CO (Rock & Roll > Makisupa Policeman)
  183. 8/14/09 – Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT (Icculus, iPhones and a “pong” jam)
  184. 10/30, 10/31, 11/1/09 – Empire Polo Club, Indio, CA (Festival 8; Exile on Main Street; acoustic set)
  185. 11/28/09 – Times Union Center, Albany, NY (Seven Below > Ghost)
  186. 12/30-31/09 – AAA, Miami, FL (best 2 nights of the 4-night NYE run in south Florida)
  187. 6/20/10 – Saratoga PAC, Saratoga, NY (fun Father’s Day show; Brother, Makisupa, Piper>2001>YEM)
  188. 6/25/10 – Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ (Michael Jackson 2001, Alumni Blues)
  189. 6/27/10 – Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD (Saw It Again 2nd set)
  190. 7/1/10 – Time Warner Pavilion, Raleigh, NC (very clean performance; several major bust-outs)
  191. 7/2/10 – Verizon Amphitheater, Charlotte, NC (best-played YEM in the modern era, IMO)
  192. 7/4/10 – Verizon Amphitheater, Alpharetta, GA (Harpua>Killing in the Name>Harpua)
  193. 8/6/10 – Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA (Cities > Jam)
  194. 8/14-15/10 – Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI (later released on DVD)
  195. 10/20/10 – Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY (Guyutica)
  196. 10/26/10 – Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH (After Midnight, Alumni Blues, Night Nurse)
  197. 10/30/10 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ (Tweezer Zeppelin craziness)
  198. 10/31/10 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ (Waiting for Columbus)
  199. 12/31/10 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (global Meatstick dance party)
  200. 1/1/11 – Madison Square Garden, NYC (first show ever played on 1/1)

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35 thoughts on “Do The Evolution: 200 Essential Phish Shows

  1. Jonez Reply

    I agree completely that if you leave 6/18/94 and 12/29/94 off this list and include 13 shows from 2010 you should re-listen to those shows and reapply for your credentials.

  2. peek326 Reply

    Very solid for the most part. A great look back to be sure.

    Fully agree on the oversite of 12.29.94!!!

    I can’t believe I’m highlighting post hiatus shows but 6.19.04 & 6.20.04 SPAC were mental.

    A bit too much 2010 for me.

  3. Greg Reply

    All in all, a great list. One show that I think is horribly overlooked is the 2/14/97 Amsterdam gig. Soul Shakedown debut opener. Set II highlight is 17 minute DwD with super smooth segue into the Carini debut, which lasts 20 minutes before gliding seamlessly into Taste which explodes back into Disease. And no one ever talks about it.

  4. Spastic Reply

    99 & 09 Gorge runs included. 97 & 98 runs excluded? Think u got that backwards dude.

  5. Kahnja Reply

    Well done, sliv!

    Look forward to listening to those shows I don’t know on The Drive.

    It’s a tough task to pull a list together like this, thanks for the effort. As always, ignore the jaded vets. After all, if you were a commentor I could see you leaving similar messages! Guess we’re all jaded vets at heart:-)

  6. Brian Reply

    Did someone just put together a list of 200 essential Phish shows and not include 6/11/94, 6/8/94 and 12/29/94, even though those are heavyweight contenders for a list of “20 essential Phish shows” or perhaps even “2 essential Phish shows?” Wow.

    And, Terrapin was the encore at Virginia Beach, not Merriweather.

  7. Greg Reply

    Brian: Phish did not play a show on 6/8/94. June 94 is well represented on this list already and I don’t see how 6/11/94 warrants a fifth slot. I’ll give you 12/29/94 (over 12/30 for my money), but seriously, if you’re going to hate, make a stronger case.

  8. Tom Reply

    Ridiculous 12/29/94 is not on the list. Same with 8/7/10, one of the best 3.0 shows.

  9. john Reply

    The 12/29/94 Providence omission with one of the best jams ever in ”David Bowie” is pretty glaring.
    You also can sub out Keyspan Park/Brooklyn for SPAC, especially 6/19/04, from the next 2 nights.

  10. Alex Grosby Reply

    I would have put 12/1/03 on the list since it’s Holdsworth’s reappearance. Sure, his songs weren’t the best musically but set 2 was bonkers even before that but then they blew the place up with that move.

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