, attached to 1997-11-26

Review by LicentiousFunkGroove

LicentiousFunkGroove In light of my 16-year Phish-a-versarry yesterday (thanks .net!), I thought I'd give this show a re-listen. This was my first show and my first tapes. I wore these out, but oddly, only a few songs sounded familiar when I booted up the Phishtracks app last night.

1st person memories: I was 15, there with my girlfriend who was decidedly not into it, and I was mostly into smoking cigars that looked like twigs. I must have been insufferable to those around me. Extra kudos to the grown man who was very happy to smoke me up without pause.

Upon the re-listen: The PhishTracks aud recording sounds just like my tapes, albeit without the breakdown caused by 50 or so listens, and probably with a higher-gen pedigree. Treys guitar swells and fills the recording; some EQ tweaking on my ancient stereo made the other instruments clearer. For me, this is one of those times that the recording itself is part of the experience; a SBD release of this show would be too much of a good thing, like pulling the curtain back on the Wizard. Or redoing the original Star Wars.

Tweezer is slow to build to anything interesting, but once it does, it sets the pattern for the rest of the night's jamming: requisite funk, and a guitar-driven steady groove that is straining against Trey's concerted efforts to play less notes. '97 was not simply cow funk. "Groove" might be a more apt description. Anyway, the highlight for me (due mostly to nostalgia) is Dirt... it's beautiful and melancholy. Gumbo is well-delivered and features a neat little deconstructed jam that breaks down to one chord, then two. Melt follows the night's groove-centered jamming style but does reach back into some earlier 90's-style Melt madness, just a bit.

Set 2 starts with a rather monstrous Character Zero, jamming in the style of the evening, and delivering in a big way. A segue (sortof) into 2001 makes the first half of this set just about everything I want from Phish. The rest of the set, while fun and well-delivered (except the big flubs in Cavern), are a cooldown, as far as I'm concerned.

4/5, and if I were to attend this show tomorrow as a long-time Phan, I'd be happy. My hero didn't disappoint upon a relisten, though I'm certainly still not changing my vote for my favorite attended show-- 4/4/98, my 2nd.


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