, attached to 1997-07-10

Review by n00b100

n00b100 This is the textbook definition of an underrated great show. Essentially the entire European summer tour has been shunted into the background of the almighty Amsterdam shows (and not totally without cause); still, there are some damn fine highlights outside those shows, mainly brought on through Phish playing in smaller venues and being able to take a few more risks. This, the ostensible tour closer (I don't think a festival show counts as such), is probably the finest non-Paradiso show of the tour.

Set 1 starts in standard fashion until we get to Gin (kudos to @westbrook for getting this added to the chart), which quickly begins grinding down in tempo and enters a wild music-on-helium loop space, then (at Trey's prodding) moves into a funky jam that shows the group showing off its budding minimalist chops (Fish's beat is a bit more plodding than I'd like). This might not be as strong as what would come in the fall, but it's damn exciting all the same, and the band seems clearly chuffed with this jamming style (Trey's excited "oh!"s at the end of every bar is great).

And then, just as Page starts going to the synthesizer, Trey starts playing the main Gin theme again, and we get a crazy funk version of the usual Gin jam. The band then leads themselves into the usual Gin jam, which slows down and morphs into a brief ambient interlude, a preview not so much of the fall tour as of the '98 and '99 sound, then segues into Llama, which also gets its own funky and weird jam (Page leans on the synth even harder here), before smoothing out and leading into Velvet Sea. The jam afterwards is fun, if not particularly essential, and Olivia's Pool is cool by dint of how rare it is. So that's the first set, right there.

Set 2 opens up with 2001, always a damn good start in the late 90s, and this version, if not as tight a dance-floor machine as it would become by the hiatus, still packs a nice wallop, with Page in particular doing fine work both on the synth and the organ (and Trey tossing in James Brown teases to show he means business). Julius comes next, and it's Julius, but it segues nicely into Magilla. Next comes Ya Mar, with its "vampire child" references, and it's a really frisky version that allows everybody to get at least one chance to shine (thrilling the small, intimate crowd), before very neatly segueing into Ghost. This Ghost has some extra stank on it by dint of the tempo of the previous jam, and its jam picks up steam before a *tremendous* segue into Take Me To The River, which turns into a stop-and-start grimy jam that bumps and grinds and crawls across the floor (Trey's guitar tone here is particularly nasty), then enters loop-land as the jam goes molasses-slow, before Trey starts shouting "Take me to the river!" and the jam comes to a glorious close. Funky Bitch, with the amusing trumpet teases, is a fun encore.

This has always been a hidden jewel in a year with no shortage of treasures, mainly due to the AUD of the show being so rough, but the new @KernelForbin remaster makes the show totally worth seeking out. This is Phish at their funkiest, raunchiest, and most fun; in other words, this is a damn party, and we all love Phish parties, so what's stopping you?


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