, attached to 1997-07-30

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez on 7/30/97 in ventura, ca, phish put forth one of their all-time great jam sequences. beyond that though, they also brought west-coast phish fans their first taste of '97 phish. all four shows on this run, ventura, shoreline, and gorge x2, complimented each other well, giving west coast heads the full array of what phish was capable of.

well, you can tell phish is feeling a little funky right off the bat. nicu was quick and to the point, but it set the mood well. the boys had begun to tap into the potential that lied in wolfman's brother while in europe. obviously, they had not gotten to the point where they had played this song every 3 shows for years, so the exploration in this tune in '97 is still very fresh. this version is very patient and laid back. i feel like now they have some need to drive this to a fiery climax, which i often enjoy, but they were much more willing to sit on a groove here. eventually, they found themselves in a somewhat rocking jam that inventually came to a crash, before springing into a nice chalk dust. trey whips in a little funky rhythm guitar on this one, but otherwise, it is pretty straight forward. water in the sky was a nice up beat filler before the boys spread out again. they really give this stash a nice little ride. they veer away from the funk and find some nice dark spacey realms here before trey leads the band back into the meat of the song. while the jam factor goes down in the end of this set, weigh and cars trucks and buses are welcome additions. an early piper is a fun listen, but this song was still a couple months away from being a force to be reckoned with. not big zero fan, but if you like the song, this is a pretty decent take.

now for the meat of this show. u.s. fans were clamoring to get a look at the '97 overhaul of pyite, and they got a fine look on this evening. gordon and fish really sit on that punch groove while trey and page just dig deeper and deeper on the intro. eventually they bring this one to familiar territory. this pairs well with free, which like many songs in '97, was going through a bit of a transition. the mini drum set was gone, and this song now received the funk/blues treatment. they explore this one nicely, but i would not describe it as an all-time keeper. trey does take some nice leads in the middle section, but i think this one, more or less, sets us up for what's to come. after a spacier jam out of free, the boys start to dip into bowie. they throw some simpson's secret language fun in there for good measure, but after that, it's all business. after the bowie intro, they work some familiar territory before finding themselves in a quasi reggae'ish groove. gordon and page quickly turn the corner back into the more familiar bowie jam. now, the boys pace this one perfectly. the climb up this bowie is so patient. at no point does anyone rush through this dark meandering jam. as they appear to be moving into the bowie climax, trey finds a very melodic groove and latches on. it sounds familiar, but it doesn't. next thing you no, you are smack dab in cities. there were 3 versions of cities on this tour, and these versions all vary dramatically. deer creek's is more similar, at least at first, to hamburg's/slip stitch's. of course, they take that one places that weren't even imagined yet in hamburg. then the went's is the super slow funk/groove rendition. on the ventura take, the tone on trey's guitar is almost similar to his '87-'88 tone, giving this version almost a poppier feel. it is also a touch more uptempo. well, the fans certainly agree with the first north american cities since '94, and this works its way out of it's funky jam moving into the anticipated bowie coda. trey just burns through this section. after one of the best jams of the year moved through soooo many dark passages, i will say, the boys kind of phone it here from here. batr, uncle penn, caspian, and fire are well-executed, but aren't really high-light reel material. my soul had not been played to death yet, so it was a nice addition in the encore slot. despite a slightly weak ending, the best jam of the west coast run and one of the best of the year certainly is enough for a set to hang it's hat on!

if you like this show, check out the rest of this west coast run. shoreline features a little tribute to jerry g in weekapaugh and great versions of ghost, run away jim, yem, vultures, and mike's. the gorge night one features another best of the west jam contenders in the dwd>tweezer>johny b. segment. trey quotes night 2 of the gorge as his favorite show of the first half of this tour, but personally, it is my least favorite of the west coast run. although, twist>jjlc, fluff head, and simple are all very good.


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