, attached to 1997-08-16

Review by ColForbin

ColForbin [As posted to rec. music.phish in 1997, including the incorrect statement that Trey said "Blue Balls" in Makisupa, instead of "goo balls."]

Set 1:

Makisupa: You can all imagine the reaction from the crowd when the boys walk out at 4:20 and start playing Makisupa. Trey gives a little reminder that Phish can still pull out the locker room talk when he sings "Woke up in the morning...blue balls." A quick little jam takes us halfway into...

Harpua: the segue from Makisupa started Harpua at the point where Trey usually says "Look, the storm is gone" He didn't say it this time, but as the sun started to burn through the clouds everyone at the show thought it. They did the goldfish dog stuff and finished out the song in standard fashion. I had finally seen a complete Harpua! The fact that Phish played this song just shows that they really care about us fans and that they felt bad that the encore last year confused some people and left them with a bad taste in their mouths. Thanks guys!

Chalkdust: Was damn good, with the exception of some flubs by Trey. He apologized for these afterward, saying that they hadn't had a chance to do a soundcheck and that was it. There was definitely some GREAT jamming in here, if you can ignore the flubs, I heard the NC Chalkdust (must hear) from this summer on the way up, and I think this one is almost as good. Members of PLM will want to check this out!

Theme from the Bottom: Was jammed out nicely, with some tasty melodies in the jam. Not the best ever, and it ended in a piercing wail of feedback that lasted at least 3 minutes. Then...

Punch You in the Eye: Trey hit the opening chord on PYITE just as the feedback kicked out. It seemed like perfect timing. Then the feedback was back. They jammed over it a little bit (don't get excited the feedback was too annoying to enjoy it) and when the feedback kicked out the rest of the song went off without a hitch. At the end of the song, Trey gave everyone a welcome to the Went, said we were the biggest city in Portland, said Fishman was had been naked in the Portolet Piazza bathtub and that we were going to hear the story of the Ghost.

Ghost: This song, of all Phish songs, has the thickest groove. Dancing to it I felt like I was wading through molasses or the tar pits. The bass line just overpowers you and MAKES you move. Mike was spanking the bass like there was no tomorrow. There were times when I felt like they could easily go into Lucy. It's a sweet song, and it's only going to get better. Listen to an early Tweezer if you don't believe me.

Ginseng Sullivan: My favorite of the bluegrass tunes. I love to sing along to it. I could have sworn this was the end of the set. But no!

YEM: My first YEM!!! It was definitely unplanned; Trey walked around the stage to discuss it before they started up. Having waited 13 shows for my first YEM, I was in sheer ecstasy. It's like going on 13 dates with someone you really like, but not being able to kiss her. And boy are Phish great kissers! :-) Everyone was ON in this YEM. It wasn't the longest version around, but it had some DAMN fine jamming. Mike was LOUD and laying down the funk. Page was dancing on the keyboards (not literally). The tramps came out and Trey and Mike did some stunt moves. They were incredibly tight in the jam that follows the tramps section. It went on for a good 10 minutes. I really can't get over how tight it was. I just can't. I'll lose all faith in our esteemed YEM reviewer if it doesn't get at least an 8.5 (or A- or whatever you use for YEM, Charlie). Trey gets a little bit spacey over a hard, driving bassline. It kicks ass. The vocal jam is short and fits the mood of the last part of the jam PERFECTLY. One of the only vocal jams I've heard that has a steady beat to it.

Trainsong: Standard, non-acoustic version. I really like the imagery behind the lyrics of this song, and it was a welcome break from the funk.

Character Zero: A loud screaming rocker to close out the set, I thought. Apparently Page did was well, since he stood up to leave the stage. Trey would have none of that, however, and ran around the stage telling people what to play next.

Coil: followed, as if to "punish" Page for trying to leave early. It was beautiful as always, and the piano solo was a great way to wind down from the 2 hour first set!!! "Stick around" Page said as he finished his solo. I don't think anyone was planning on leaving after a set like that, which so obviously fed off of the tremendous energy of the crowd. I am firmly convinced that this set would have ended with Trey's comments at the end of PYITE if he hadn't felt the power of 60,000 people.

[Setbreak music: New Alison Krauss CD (the one where she looks like she is on Melrose Place as my girlfriend puts it)]

Set 2

Wolfman's: Starts out as always, then headed into uncharted waters. I don't like to put "Jam" on setlists, but if it was ever justified, this might be the case. The other Wolfman's jams I have heard have seemed lacking in direction, but not this one. It was EPIC. You know how you get the FEELING of other jams in the Providence (12/29/94) Bowie like Hood and McGrupp, but they aren't quite teases? That is exactly what this Jam felt like. I get a YEM feeling, a DWD feeling, a Tweezer feeling. I think I may have to use the word HOSE, which I don't like to use lightly. This is one of those GLORIOUS moments in Phishstory. This Jam felt like it couldn't be improvised. It was just too perfect. You could tell that the Hey Hole exercises were paying off. The listening among the members of the band is unbelievable. At the end of the jam, Trey gives a slide up the neck of the Doc and kicks in with the riff to...

Simple: I love hearing this song at shows. It just tells me that the band LOVES what they are doing. Trey did the screaming guitar riff at the we've got be-bop part; I loved it. So, they get to the end of the lyrics, and here I am thinking that they are going to keep it pretty short because of the monster jam they just came out of. But no. They keep it going. Another tight jam. I'm looking at my friends in disbelief. They are looking at me in disbelief. The jam slows down a bit and Trey and Page start to fool with a familiar riff...

Odd Couple Jam: I couldn't quite place it at the time, but one of my friends filled me in at the end of the set. This wasn't an all-out playing of the theme song, but they just played with the riff and did crazy things with it. This was not necessarily a space jam, but it was a little out there. Then Trey starts to play...

My Soul: The intro to this song has Mike playing the Odd Couple theme still. Then the lyrics start up. All I have to say about this version of this song is that it is as far away from "lame" as almost anything I've ever heard. It ROCKS. It rocks HARD. If you think this song sucks, you obviously haven't heard this version. People were dancing like crazy. Sheer FUN.

"Off to the Carnival": Okay, so I named this myself. You know that part on the ALO tweezer where Trey uses some sort of weird effect to make his guitar sound have a circus-like feel? Well, this was about a 5 minute song that was played like this, and I felt sure that it would go into Esther (Hence the name). It's really tough to describe this, and I'll let you all hear it for yourselves.

Slave: Slave has usually played second fiddle to Hood in my book, but this version may have just changed my mind. I think it is safe to call this one of the best Slaves ever. An amazing build up; great guitar work from Trey.

Rocky Top: FAST!! This felt like it had to be the fastest Rocky Top ever. I'm not so sure anymore, listening to the tape, but it is still DAMN fast. And fun as always, if you enjoy bluegrass Phish like me.

Julius: Pretty standard, until they break it down into a quiet little jam for Trey to talk over. He says that they are going to play "a lot more strange and weird music for you" and "to not forget to go to the disco." (WHY DIDN'T I GO I'M SUCH AN IDIOT!!!!!) Then they get back into a normal Julius jam to close out the set.

[Setbreak music: Charlie Hunter Quartet "Natty Dread" (Buy this album!!!)]

Set 3

Halley's Comet: I thought we got a great jam out of this song at the Clifford Ball. Well, the jam out of this Halley's puts that one to shame. It is, and you won't believe it until you hear the tapes, a Type II jam. They finish up with the chorus (I'm going down...) going over a dark jam rather than the real Halley's. Then the jam keeps going into...

Cities: I've only heard one other version of this song, from 3/1/97. Suffice it to say, this version blows that one out of the water. It is slower and funkier and way more improvised. Trey, when speaking of London says that "Fishman sleeps...he sleeps in the daytime" The lyrics seem to come out of nowhere on this song, which I find very cool. I didn't miss the symbolism about finding yourself a city to live in, either, because that's what we all did this weekend. The jam out of Cities starts to sound like...

Llama: After a neat segue, this is a pretty typical version of Llama. But the first two songs MORE than make up for one standard song.

Lawn Boy: Page stands up with the microphone and croons Barry Manilow style on this one. Hilarious! Mike then proceeds to sit down on his monitor and put his feet up for his solo. This is one thing I love about Phish. They can blow your mind one minute and have you ROTFLYAO in the next.

Limb by Limb: Having heard only one other version of this song, I can't make a comparison to other versions. However, it is a damn cool song with a fun jam in the middle.

Funky Bitch: This was a fairly standard Funky Bitch, but what made the song was the fireworks during it. Luckily I was in a position to see them. At this point in the show, I was loving life.

Encore

Contact: I'll always love this song. It was one of my first favorites. And it doesn't hurt that I really did wake up one morning in November and realize I loved my girlfriend :-) It was an amazing sight to see 60,000+ people waving their hands at the request of Trey and Mike.

Lovin' Cup: This is my friend's favorite cover song, and it was great to see his face light up when they started playing. I normally don't like it when people sing along at shows, but for this song we all had to. And it was a beautiful buzz.

I'll give my review of Sunday night in another post, but I just want to say right now that after this weekend, I have come to the conclusion that Phish is what IT is all about. They have their finger on the pulse of my existence. Their music transcends description, regardless of what I wrote here. Give your soul to Phish. It will be in good hands.

-Dan


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