, attached to 1998-11-20

Review by n00b100

n00b100 There's always a little extra scrutiny that gets paid to officially released shows, especially when they get the super-deluxe treatment the way that 11/20-21/98 did. For my money, it's not really hard to see why this run got the official treatment - the shows are tons of fun to listen to, clearly meant to be events (why else bring in a Giant Country Horn or do the big Tubthumping fooferaw on Night 2?), and still manage to throw in enough musicality to satisfy the die-hards. I've always thought @waxbanks was a tad harsh in his mini-reviews; sure, I'd take 11/22/97 over either of these in half a second, but the nice thing is that you don't have to make that choice, AND there are certainly some tasty musical jams for people that want Fishman to take that stupid Viking helmet off and the band to get down to the Type II already.

Set I is a nice set-up to the run, with some cool covers (I really enjoy Rock & Roll Part 2 for some reason), a dark-as-night Stash, and a host of energy. Set II, though, is where the real meat lies. A really great Gin opens things up, never straying outside the original melody but doing some really cool things within it (Trey's mellifluous soloing is a real treat), leading to a wicked-fast and woefully short Piper, taken at '95-level intensity. The Gettin' Jiggy Wit It is probably my favorite Fish moment ever, made the more fun because this time we don't have to take the song seriously (Trey and Mike laughing through their "na na na" backups is a hoot). Hood takes things down to a nice and mellow level after the composed sections (Page's twinkling notes are a highlight), and then Zero/Cavern close things out on a rocking high. Not an all-time classic set or anything, but fun to blast in the car on a summer day.

Night 2's the better night musically, I'd say, but this show is great fun to listen to. Give that Gin a listen at the least, as well as GJWI if you enjoy a good chuckle during your Phish time.


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