, attached to 1998-08-11

Review by jvman

jvman This was my second of 5 Phish 1.0 shows I attended, and four of those were at Star Lake. I think Star Lake 1997 was a better show overall but this one has aged really well. I recall thinking that Wolfman was well done, and listening to it now, it only gets better. At the time, I lived in a town that is almost exactly halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh, so Bittersweet Motel caused quite a response, and this has to be my favorite recording of it.

But of course it's set 2, with that marvelous Jim, that gets and deserves all the attention. LxL was every bit as good as Runaway Jim, so don't skip it. I had never heard Meat before and everyone was looking at each other trying to figure out what Fish was doing.

Now, here's the thing about Circus: I have never understood why Trey changed the lyrics. It's one of my favorite Los Lobos songs, and it's so evocative of heartbreak that it's hard for me to stomach any alteration. Originally, wheels were "rolling" on the ground. Trey has them "flowing," which is more tranquil and not, to my mind, in keeping with the tone of the song. A rolling wheel brings things in and gruffly rolls them away, whereas a flowing wheel is like some gentle stream, which wouldn't make someone want to burn the whole place down. And then, for some reason, Trey repeats the second verse instead of going to the third, which originally was "I'll scratch your name out on that tree / I'll chase your heart right out of me / it doesn't mean that much / it doesn't mean that much." That lyric perfectly closes the arc of that song. Maybe it's too melancholy for a Phish show, but somehow it always bothered me. Anyway, glad I got that off my chest. I should point out that the playing is absolutely perfect throughout this 5-minute, succinct statement of the song.

So ANYWAY I was really not a fan of DwD at the time I heard this, which is a shame, because this is a really enjoyable version, though nobody would call it a defining moment for that song. A very solid set all around.

Wilson is always a favorite encore for me. As for Golgi, unless and until the band says otherwise I will always believe that the reason this was tacked on to the encore was to make up for the Golgi at the end of Star Lake '97, which featured some sloppy playing by the band as a whole and by Trey in particular. I can almost hear them saying backstage, "alright, we can nail it this time." And I think they did.
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