, attached to 1996-12-06

Review by ND61400

ND61400 At this point it's cliche to say that 1996 is an overlooked year in Phish history. As I was only 11 that year, I'll let the vets speak to whether 1996 was truly just a "meh" year. Sandwiched as it was between December 1995 and the year-long 1997 dance party, maybe that really was the case.

However, if you judge the year solely by the official releases - Deer Creek, Omni, Coral Sky, Rupp, and Vegas - there is an awful lot of meat on those 1996 bones. This Vegas outing has one of my personal favorite Mike's Grooves. The Mike's drops neatly into Simple, and the last several minutes of Simple contain this blissful, ambient haze that foreshadows what the band would do a few years on. The Hood is super strong and peaks gloriously before Fish smoothly ups the tempo into Weekapaug. It's a fantastic suite of music that holds the listener captive all the way through. Oh yeah, and you also get a first set that contains a Peaches, 2001 (with legs!), YEM, and DWD. And I'm going to stump for that 2001>Llama that reminds me of the Gumbo>Llama from Fukuoka.

So, looking back at the 1996 official releases, you can really see the band laying you a trail of breadcrumbs for what was to come in 1997 and beyond. Maybe the year as a whole is overlooked, but this release, and the others, shouldn't be.


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