, attached to 2000-07-03

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

Why wouldn’t there be a torrential downpour for the one Summer 2000 show where I had lawn tickets?
Well, chalk it up to “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and all that crap, because being drenched during the first set sure made for a memorable night. As did the boys’ playing. While not the extravaganza that 6/29/00 was, nor containing potential “best ever” jams like the 6/28/00 “Bathtub Gin” or the 7/4/00 “Gotta Jibboo,” this show held its own in that company.
The “Down with Disease” opener was appropriate for all the wet souls dancing on the lawn. The remainder of the first half of the first set featured tighter-than-expected versions of “Guelah Papyrus” and “Foam.” But the band really hit its stride during the “Bathtub Gin.” While not quite the monster they dropped six days before in Holmdel, this version had plenty of hose and was more playful. (Trey teased "Philadelphia Freedom" three times!) It seemed that as the tempo of the storm increased, so did the tempo of the band. We love to take a bath, indeed.
The second half of the set went on much longer than expected, featuring a “Fluffhead” nearly as good as the one played in this venue the year before, and a raging “Antelope” with a Tom Marshall guest appearance.
The band played with confidence for the whole first set and felt comfortable enough to stay out for well over ninety minutes. That was a harbinger for experimentation, which we got in spades at the beginning of the second set. When they started up “Runaway Jim,” I pointed out to my friend that this had opened up the first show we saw together, 7/1/94, and said "they've gotten a little more experimental with this one since then." Boy, was that right. They got a groove going, and then they diverged into Zappa-esque trickiness, where it seemed everybody was playing something different, using strange time signatures, etc. The dancing on the lawn pretty much stopped and people seemed a bit confused. At one point Fish hit the hi-hat and I figured we’d see a segue to “Bowie” or “Maze”, but they kept going. But then, they started up another groove, and locked into a momentous jam, along the lines of Holmdel's “Drowned.” They brought this to a screaming climax and then returned to properly finish the song, thirty three minutes after it started. There was too much dead space in the middle for me to consider it a “best ever” version, but it sure as hell was memorable.
Then there was a long conference, and Trey and Mike had a heated discussion. I'm sure Trey was feeling the special vibes in the air and wanted to bring out a rarity. In that spirit we got a “Glide” that, like the “Foam” from the set before, was very tight despite being in mothballs for a while. Then they played with our minds again. They dragged out the pause before the final "GLI-IIIIDE" for over a minute. Then when we thought they were going to sing it, they did the "All Fall Down" signal and fell down! The ensuing “Theme from the Bottom” was very appropriate for the waterlogged crowd and concluded with a mesmerizing wall of noise.
The “Sand” that came next was one of my favorite performances of that tune to date, and by far the funkiest. It wasn’t as long or as wild as the 6/29/00 version, but Mike and Fish just attacked the beat from the start, and grooved really hard. There were no delay loops or Trey keys here, just pure unadulterated funk. Trey and Page kept pace with some mellifluous guitar and synthesizer runs, and then they got into the weird funk effects. Then, as with the 6/28/00 “Mike's Song,” the groove ground to a halt, they paused for about a minute, and then started churning the same groove again before stopping altogether. Surely “Meat” followed because the funk was too deep (and they got to do more false endings.)
“Chalk Dust Torture” raged, and was satisfying despite not getting “out there” like the version at this venue the year before. Then it was ballad time, as they closed the set with “Bittersweet Motel” and encored with “Waste.” I thought the latter was appropriate because I consider it one of Tom Marshall’s best lyrics, so it made sense to do it in his presence, and the show was a long one, so we did “come waste” quite a bit of our time with Phish! It was time well spent, and that’s an understatement.


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