On Sat, 6 Dec 1997, Mark Hutchison wrote (in reference to Friday night's
> tonight's show will be completely overshadowed by what's going to happen
> in Detriot. :)
And it happened. :) As I said before, Phish played a spectacular show in
Detriot last Saturday. It was pure magic. Moments like those are so hard
to put into words; the moments were an energy so intense you can feel it
all around you connects the band, the audience, you, and the music. I've
heard more than one person say "I didn't think that they could put on a
good show at The Palace..." but the 21,000 people that turned out surely
saw the error in that thinking.
I've already posted the setlist, so I'll get right to the "meat" of the
SET I: Hmmm...the preshow music selection was Bitches Brew by Miles
David. This album has a great history: it pioneered Jazz-Fusion in 1968?
and I've heard it as pre-show music at least twice before. Once was the
first night of Deer Creek this year, and the other was in Pittsburgh.
BOTH were incredible shows, so I had high hopes.
The boys came out at 8:02 to a roaring near-capacity crowd at The Palace.
It was so loud, and you could tell the band was as excited as we were.
This was probably (and I'm not sure so correct me if I'm wrong) the
biggest place they'll play on the tour, and I think they were warming up
for NYE. After letting the audience scream for a half a minute or so,
Trey counted it off and they hit the downbeat to...
GOLGI: Solid opener. Not necessarily a song I'd want to hear in the
middle of the set, but everyone was definately. This song was just lod
and spastic enough to get the energy off to a great start. Plently of
energy was built up in the rising passage before the reprise of "I saw
you, with a ticket stub in your hand" into the end of the song, and they
used this energy to feed them for...
ANTELOPE: Wow. This was something I could not believe. I did not expect
to hear this tonight. This jam shredded through all the gears and was
brought to a screaming climax and held there while half of us cheered and
the others looked onto the band with disbelieving eyes. This was a fierce
Antelope, and for the second song in the first set, it was unbelievable.
Totally out of control. Then the wall-of-sound vanished, and left the
pre-marco groove in its wake. The Palace was so loud, both from the
cheering and the music, that I could not even hear the groove for about a
measure and a half. They played around a bit in here, and Ry-Ry-Rocco was
greeted warmly with a cheer. "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your
soul" evoked it's usual rapturious respomse, but it seemed to have more
life this time. I have said many times that this is our [meaning fan's]
National Anthem. This is why we go to shows, to "Set the gearshift." This
sentiment was right on tonight.
TRAINSONG: This was a perfect let-down from the raging jam that preceeded
it. The reason I like this tune over, say, If I Could or Billy Breathes
is because it's a downer, but not a slow song. It's simple, but it's not
empty. It tells a story, it's not a ballad. Trainsong rocks. ;^)
GIN: Another first-set Gin? Phish was supposed to know that we were all
at Champaign and we already heard this one! This was no monster, clocking
in at 12 minutes, but it certainly was good. Looking back, I can't really
say that it was revolutionary other than the fact that you usually don't
hear a first-set Gin after you have heard a raging Antelope. But it was
nice and funky, and featured *nice* work by Page in the beginning that
everyone cheered for. The evil that lurks in Page's soul that is always
revealed bit by bit in Gin...
FOAM: Pretty much a suprise to us, even though we'd seem the omen on the
way to Cleveland (we passed a semi with red letters stencilled on the back
reading "Foam -- Foam"). I'd heard it at Alpine this summer, so I was
able to more listen to the layers in this tune and how each part acts to
create this effect. It really is a great composition. It was definately
nice to hear.
SAMPLE: It had to happen. Oh well, at least there was only one
"whatever" in this set, and for that matter, the whole show. This isn't a
*terrible* song, though...well, yes it is. But alot of the crowd got
pumped, so I guess that's good.
FEE: Hmm...they did it again. It's really odd, we saw this one in
Champaign, too. They hadn't played it since 2/25/97, and now twice in 2
weeks? All things told, though, I really didn't mind hearing this. Since
I knew everyone would sing along with this, I was expecting it. But it
didn't happen as badly, I didn't think. One thing I was able to tune into
was Page's Piano playing in this tune. A lot of really nice runs when he
had the lead. I was excited to hear another jam out of this a-la
Champaign, and they didn't let me down. This time the jam disolved and
went into Fishman's hi-hat opening which can only mean one of two things,
both of which are good: Bowie or Maze. This time it was...
MAZE: This version had the energy of 5 typical Mazes. It was just over
the top. I love the intro of this song; the way each part falls on top of
the rest until Trey's ultra-comples line caps it all off and they nail the
double stops after "The overhead view is of me in a maze..." A nice B-3
solos from Page that seemed to go on a bit longer than usual and then Trey
took over and really began to shred on his guitar. And the energy
never let up until the wind down where they go beck into the layered
part from the intro. And I love the little ditty tha tthe song ends
with, only Phish could do something that quirky after such a serious
jam. This version came in at 16 minutes, a nice healthy Maze.
CAVERN: Yup. I knew when they started this up that the set was over.
It's just got a perfect place to say "Thanks a lot everybody, we'll be
right back" or whatever. This was another song for everyone to sing along
with, but not a weak set closer by any means. Maybe it's just me, but
everything in the set seemes to have a special energy that kept it from
getting lame (except Sample ;-p).
The Setbreak was 41 minutes long, and was filled with me basically sitting
there and going "wow." I did meet Andy Gadiel, which was a pleasure, and
got to visit with Dave and Tim in the taper's section.
SET II: At one minute after 10 the lights went down again...
TWEEZER: Ok, come se dice "INCREIBLE!" Whern they came out to open the
set, Trey teased the first few notes of Tweezer to let us all know what we
were getting, then they played around with some crazy, spacy effects for
at least a minute or two before launching into Tweezer right out. I said,
"What are they doing?" to which Josh Zelkowitz replied "Crazy shit!" It
was really funny, but I guess you had to be there :) Upon reaching the
jam section, they dove into a deeply funk-laden jam that had me grooving
_hard_. At one point they all took solos and the band dropped out for a
couple of measures. After long sections of funky jamming that they'd build
up and let settle down again, they reached a driving section with a faster
tempo. After this new groove settled in, Trey began a gloriously soaring
solo over the top of it. It was truly a beautiful moment. Up until
tonight, the Tweezer of 10/22/95 Champaign [The show where I decided I
like Tweezer] was my favorite, but not any more. This glorious, beautiful
melody morphed into a driving hard-rock anthem, and shortly thereafter I
noticed Phish had begun playing...
ISABELLA: If you say the Tweezer ended when this song started, you still
have a 23 minute Tweezer. But Isabella was really just a topping on this
Tweezer jam sandwich (More on that later...). Isabella is a great Hendrix
tune that Phish has not been playing all that long, but it has rocked from
the start. (I believe it began in Dublin in June, and I saw it before in
Pittsburgh) Pure arena rock here. This was so so so so sooooo full of
energy and so intense; it was just great. It was placed perfectly in the
set, and perfectly in the Tweezer Jam. After this song was over it
quickly wound down and settled into more funk, which I labeled "Tweezer
Jam" when I sent out the setlist. It only lasted 3 minutes by my watch,
but there was some crazy, amazing stuff going on in those 3 minutes. My
mind was blown by whatever went on there. I cannot wait to hear it again.
Anyway, the instruments began to drop out till it was just Trey and Mike
playing very empty contrasting lines, and they were into the beginning
TWIST AROUND: If you haven't yet heard this song, you are missing out.
Check the Sugarmegs homepage or get a tape with this song on it, because
it _rocks_. I really don't think it's pop-friendly as Rob stated in his
review in the Michigan Daily this morning, because it is, really, a quite
empty song. What I love about it, though, is the way the parts overlap in
the instrumental and vocal lines...kind of like Bouncin' only not lame. ;)
It builds to a great, energetic ending, and they used that plateau and
took it into an entirely new level with...
PIPER: This had to have been the absolute high point of the show. Again,
if you have not heard Piper, _do_. If you're one of those people (and I
know you're out there) who say "all this song really does is build..."
Ecaxtly. That's exactly what Slave does, that's exactly what Hood does.
They build. And Piper takes an already energetic jam, and slams it into
the stratosphere. Or, at least, it did tonight. Great, great, great
song, and a great way to peak the evening. This went back into an
Isabella-sounding jam, which rocked very hard.
ISABELLA JAM: Yes, this deserves its own section. After rocking quite
hard for a few minutes, it began to truly sound like they were jamming
Tweezer, Isabella, Piper, and Twist Around all at once, passing
effortlessly through the funk, gloy, hard driving arena rock, and
excitation all at once. It was incredible. This all went on for about
six minutes, and then this amazing jam (do your self a favor and HEAR this
again, I know I need to...) disolved into...
SLEEPING MONKEY: "Huh?" is always your first reaction when you hear rhis
coming up, because it is completely out-of-order, no matter what had been
going on. But once you realize that performing this song is all about
having *fun,* (why else would Fish stand on his drum stool to belt the
last verse in falsetto?) you realize why it typically comes after some
amazing jams (see 11/15/96 Keil Center and 8/13/97 Pittsburgh) and why
Trey was dancing around like he was. He was incredibly active Saturday
night...never have I seen him bop around the stage like that. I mean, in
Cleveland he got down, but he was not prancing all over the stage and
doing his funky walking/dancing that he was doing in Detriot. I think he
just had a blast, as did Page, as you could tell during the Tweezer jam as
he laid back and groved to Mike's solo, as well as back in the first set
during Gin (he was _really_ feeding off the audience) and during his
little solos in Fee (after which he's creen back and smile). Fishman was
also having fun, which I first picked up during his extended "Woo!"'s in
Twist Around (Fish usually screams when he's excited...that's what makes
11/30/96 Arco Arena, Sacramento one of my favorite PYITE's). Sleeping
Monkey is just a tune to have fun on, and it was a great way to sort of
end the set...a real treat to say "thanks for coming." Although Monkey
didn't really close the set. Right on the heels of Monket's last notes
(ie, it would be a > as opposed to a ->) was...
TWEEZER RERISE: Played as usual, except with an arena full of totally
crazed energetic fans who didn't want this show to ever end screaming.
When Trey went up to the highest octave, the place (or at least I did)
erupted. And the lights at the end were just crazy.
ROCKYTOP: If you asked me on a typical day, I'd say "Eeeh," as by best
opinion of this song. But I think it was the perfect encore to the show.
plenty of energy, and a good way to send us off into the night with high
spritis. Granted, a Hood or YEM encore would have been choice, but I
almost think that's asking too much. And, yes, I do think you can ask too
muh when it comes to Phish. :)
I was completely overwhelmed by the Palace show. When it was done, I had
a similar feeling to the one I had after the Went. "What do I do now?" I
thought. Luckily, that was already answered for me...I went to Steve's
house and had a party till 4 am. After Champaign I though "Wow. I really
have to say that's the best show I've ever seen." But I have to think
long and hard about how Detriot compared. Such is the beauty of Phish
2000. It's really incredible to be at this stage right now, where I can't
decide which of 2 shows that I saw about 2 weeks apart was the best show
I've ever seen. I just with I could have been in State College tonight,
then Rodchester, then Albany...
Oh well, watch for the Dayton review later tonight!