, attached to 1998-04-04

Review by ezzy16

ezzy16 Been looking back at a number of shows seen during the '95-'98 halcyon days of college and carefree phish shows. And upon review, this goes down as the best show I ever attended. Now, mind you, I missed the Fall '97 tour, and only caught a few shows during the summer of '97 (good, but none matched Deercreek 8/13/96). But, with the quality flowing from that Fall '97 run, and the immediate buzz from the 4/3/98 Nassau show (which I did not attend), the expectations were high for that Saturday night in Providence. So here goes ...

Walked down college hill from my home in providence after a nice dinner and drinks/partying with friends. Strolled into the civic center, and the place was electric already. Sat down five rows behind the stage with a beer, waiting a half hour before the show started. Out came phish and bedlam ensued.

Tweezer>Taste was all power and seemed a natural continuation from the night before. Long, effortless powerful jamming, and real joy coming from Trey and the boys. They clearly were having a hell of a good time, and, with just four shows in four days, they weren't holding anything back.

After a quick Bouncin', a solid if unremarkable Funky Bitch, and a nice bluegrass interlude with Ginseng, the power got ramped back up with Limb By Limb - and man what a LxL. The powerful song pushed farther and farther before it came crashing down beautifully. A breath was certainly required.

Lawn Boy gave that breather, and a playful one at that. again, the boys were clearly at ease and the height of their powers, as Page serenaded the audience. Then, back to the power ... Character zero closed the set in anthemic fashion giving 65 minutes or so of powerful playing and pure pleasure.

Now, a quick note, the first set was very good, but not great for sure. Though more balanced than the next night, the 4/4 first set probably had more beef with the Oh Kee Pah>YEM, McGrupp, Cities, Gin, and SOAM. However, it was what came next that made this show, the second set was the best set of phish music I've ever heard and seen ...

BOAF was new, and it was the only repeat over the four days, but the intense spiraling jamming in this version certainly made it the best version of BOAF I have heard. Damn, if I didn't start to think the set was gonna take off from there ...

2001 - the unfinished funk masterpiece that it was -- did launch from there. It kept building, bubbling and bouncing with the beautiful light work. Just couldn't believe it ... 16 minutes of unfinished funk. Truly made the set for me. then into ...

Brother, and a sinister Brother at that. The waves kept coming and another unusually long version with a radio friendly edit to boot. God, it was ecstasy at this point. This was clearly gonna be a special set.

Then another newer tune with Ghost. A funked out, soulful romp (theme for the weekend). The I Can't Turn You Loose Jam was nice and again another great version.

Lizards gave a nod to the early days, and was played impeccably. Just Awesome. Followed by a spacey intense intro for David Bowie. And, yet another jammed out, balls out tune. They were not letting up, just pouring it on.

So, onto the encore, and man was Harry Hood perfectly placed and perfectly played ... again, best version I've ever heard. It was pure joy and a great capper to a hell of a show.

Some shows stick with you and some don't. Then there are those that change your fandom. This one was a game changer. The confluence of playing, performance, visuals, and all-around fun made this a truly special night.

I've seen other shows before and after ... The next night was pretty fabulous, but the second set didn't quite compare. 8/13/96 Deercreek changed me from a guy who'd seen phish 3 or 4 times to a true fan. And there have been others ... But 4/4/98 was the pinnacle, that's all I can say.


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