, attached to 1997-11-22

Review by Fathership

Fathership Any review of the '97 Hampton run (or, rather, the entire Fall Tour) is futile, as words cannot do justice to the sheer chemistry of the band as a unit at the time, and the only way to fully understand is to listen for hours on end, rewinding, replaying, and sharing in the neverending groove the band established in the later months of 1997.

The second night of the Hampton stand is on fire from the starting gate, opening with one of the tastiest Mike's Grooves ever performed. A lesson in space funk, the Mike's displays incredible patience in the minimalist dance grooves, BEK teases, and spacey loops. At 10:15 the monster rears its head and the music is propelled forward without glancing back and we are thrown into an alternate dimension with the Languedoc as our only guide. Space that resembles the deepest fathoms of the universe as well as the previous night's Emotional Rescue jam seeps slowly into a stunning reading of I Am Hydrogen. Weekapaug delivers a wonderfully quick, sharp, funky, and perfectly SOARING final blow to this killer 35 minute show opener.

What comes next is a huge, more than welcome surprise: Hood. Harry Hood! It's clear the set isn't going to let up any time soon. Haunting Halloween-like music stretches across the song like a tree's roots and the entire composition is nailed with pristine accuracy. The jam here is patient and serene, and it's a slow climb to the mountaintop. The end result is a marvelous peak and rush of euphoria near the journey's end, as most good Hoods explode into. Very nice stuff here, and a jaw dropping way to open the 2 night stand.

Train Song > Billy Breathes is a more than welcome breather, and one that is well deserved. Both songs are treated well here, and Frankenstein > Isabella is a fine way to end this ride.

After a futile attempt from the crowd to get the band to bust out Destiny Unbound, Mike starts to sing Halley's and the rest is simply history. Incredibly danceable and exploratory funk takes over the coliseum and slowly shape-shifts into a different beast altogether, weaving in thick grooves with ambient space. Mike is really the star here, laying down bomb after bomb until the song dissipates into a brutal head on collision with itself. Out of the divine wreckage comes Tweezer, as fierce as ever. The jam heavily teases Black-Eyed Katy and doesn't really seem to go anywhere other than the inevitable segue. But boy is it fuuuunky. BEK keeps the trend going, delivering a mind melting solo and climax from Trey. I wish this song didn't get Moma'd so early.

Piper's build is lengthy and moving, as it should be. It hadn't broken the mold yet, but this is a great standard version. Page sounds great, as he has for the duration of the show. Trey goes off and destroys an absolutely ferocious Antelope that closes set two in excellent form. What a damn show. Bouncing > Tweeprise is standard but sends everyone home happy.

If the set list isn't enough to sway you, just dive in head first anyway, every single note played this night is pure magic, and only a fool would pass up such a remarkably heady and revered show. 5 out of 5.


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