, attached to 1997-11-26

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Dan's got it right: this is a gem. It feels weird to say DOWNLOAD THIS NOW about nearly every single show of Fall '97, but it's hard to find fault with any of Phish's music of that period - even the noble failures and mixed successes (cf. 11/29 Jim). This distended, wholly unexpected Character Zero jam is typical of that time: raging guitar rock that seems to exhaust itself and transform into some unforeseen, unforeseeable thing according to rules not inherited or preconceived but invented on the spot. There's funk here, sure (from note one of Tweezer!), but also a dizzying Ya Mar, another cavernous indoor Caspian, a spotlit PYITE late in the second set...

The boys were taking formal and stylistic risks aplenty then (starting with Trey's attempts to abdicate onstage leadership!), but playing also with open-hearted fluency and empathy, integrating their decade-old musical tricks and nerd-rock games with brand new dance-pop expressivity. They were still more aggressive and complicated and outright weird than the Dead, but the chaotic/algorithmic noise had smoothed out into accessible post-techno dance music. 1995's roar had faded; the ambient textures of 1998-99 hadn't yet oozed in. Damn, it was a great time for Phish fandom.

It's enough to say: This show is on par with the rest of the best.

So I'll say it again. If you have any interest in Phish, you can feel safe downloading Fall Tour 1997 in its entirety. It's bold, polymorphous, rainbow-coloured music, populist but not pop. It's...well, it's fucking great. Yeah.


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