, attached to 1997-12-30

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Probably the fan favourite of the runup to NYE '97, and for good reason. The Sneakin' Sally opener sets the tone: light on its feet, celebratory but not anthemic. And it segues right into the Best Version of Taste Ever Played. This is easily Trey's finest Taste solo: patient, spacious, well-organized, climactic, empathetic, and closing out with a riotous group suspension and crescendo as Mr Anastasio wails on that octave. And yeah: Harpua, ADITL, fine Chalkdust, Tom Marshall, the whole works.

But the sheer scope of the thing is what'll bring you back. The Hood tumbles into My Soul, alas, but prior to that (excellent) segue it's a charming, chiming, complicated performance - a great Hood despite it all. The AC/DC Bag is a top-3 version (maybe you'll take 9/14/99 over this one; maybe I will too), pure late '97 dance-machine badness. Then there's the encore: they were gonna get fined anyhow, so they played a half-hour suite of four songs including, for the love of all that's holy, a Sneakin' Sally reprise to raise the roof. Is this a great BEK I see on the setlist? Heavens no. It's an event: muddy midnight porno-funk to close out a celebration. It's like the joyously unnecessary farewell funk groove on 4/5/98: if you can throw down that kind of nastiness off the cuff, for the sheer unadulterated hell of it, you have permission to rock the stage however you damn well please.

12/29 is maybe a deeper show (check out both SBD releases and decide for yourself), but this is Phish in Cinemascope. Wholeheartedly recommended.


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