, attached to 1999-07-15

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Can't really fault the first set, with a reasonably good (and surprisingly fast-played, given how often the band tends to luxuriate in the jam) Ghost, some nicely played versions of Phish standbys, and a gigantic, propulsive YEM that zips along as though Wile E. Coyote tied his rocket skates to it. The second set, though, is something special and one of the best sets of the summer. Meatstick starts things off, which doesn't normally augur well for my enjoyment of a set, but then Trey starts talking about the Guinness Book of World Records, and then the song finally gets interesting with a foggy, ambient-laden jam that you would naturally expect to flow out of Meatstick. The jam peters out, and in a fog of white noise 2001 appears to be kicking off (Fish's beat is quite obviously 2001), but Mike launches into the SOAM bassline and that's what we get instead, and this SOAM is a monster, one of the best ever played.

The SOAM jam starts out in typical fashion, albeit with more zip than usual in keeping with the energy of the entire show - it's like the 1994 Phish was playing 1999 style, if that makes sense - and then starts whipping back and forth in tempo, before finally settling on the usual, loop-heavy dreamy jam of late-90s SOAMs. Then, entirely out of nowhere, the band rolls into Kung, with a heavy and squalling accompaniment behind it, then launches into another fast-paced jam, with effects aplenty from Trey to really add some weirdness to the affair (Mike's bassline really keeps everything glued together here - and that Shine quote is a hoot). The jam slows down at about the 20 minute mark to let everyone catch their breath, then explodes into a wild peak, Trey really letting loose with both the manic solos and the high sustaining notes, Page clanking away on the piano and keeping pace. After a few minutes of said peak, the jam slows back down and becomes both more contemplative and more like the usual SOAM jam, an intense counterpoint to the previous high-octane jam. This is such a chilled-out, almost beautiful jam, and it practically demands attention (and good headphones) from the listener. From that jam comes Bouncin', this show's "let's all relax now" equivalent of Number Line following Carini at 12/30/12 II, and then an extended Chalk Dust that flies along with just as much speed and energy as the opening PYITE (with an Antelope-like trill-off for good measure). Between that, the extended Meatstick, and the SOAM madness, this is a high-class second set. B&R/Frankenstein is just fine as an encore.

To me, the choice for show of the summer is basically between 7/25, with its wide-ranging and always surprising second set, and this show, which is as focused, energetic, and of a piece as 7/25 II was a bunch of great parts stitched together into a great show. This is one of the shows of the summer, and of the year. Absolutely recommended.


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