1999 really got this one going quickly. it was widely speculated that this song would, at the very least, be heavily teased tonight, but they came right out of the gates with it. they tacked a nifty little funky jam that is more fun that it is explorative before they dive into mike's song. this was a very strong groove. trey and page were really on fire here. for the 2nd song of the show, they hit some real nice hard peaks in this one before meandering into hydrogen and a good but straight forward weekapaugh. after that, they crank up the delay loop for ghost. this one was not all that long, but the jamming was a nice layered, textured, tight jam. the focus that phish brought to the table on this evening was evident in this ghost jam. as they bring it up, they find themselves in a harder jam that works into one of my personal favorites, hahaha. this then works into a nice set closing cavern. what a first set!!
after a rediculous first set, they came out with a solid nicu>zero combo. zero was a little more exciting than normal and landed in a really nice funky tweezer. like the ghost in the first set, the jamming on tweezer was very tight and focused, but this jam still maintained a loose funky feel. finally, it works smoothly into a good solid version of cities. this pailed in comparision to some that they had played the previous two years, but it was a welcome addition to the set. velvet sea provides a quick breather before cranking out a wild antelope/frankenstein. antelope, particularly, was strong. trey really drove the bus on this one. while this set was really strong, this is one of the rare occasions where a first set was stronger than a second.
runaway jim was a nice rowdy opener. it was good to get away from the midnight/down with disease thing for a year. it's good, but two years in a row is enough. the runaway jim hit some rocking moments with some fun aul lang syne teases mixed in before they moved into the countdown/auld lang syne. a nice explorative midnight version of simple really does the trick. there are some magilla teases mixed in here and there. this simple finally starts to meander out before popping into a very inspired harry hood. this is one they always seem to play well at the garden, and tonight is no exception. after feeling good about hood, we roll right into the reprise. they get,as they always do, nice and rowdy on the tweezer reprise before ripping off a red hot llama closer. while my guitar gently weeps is does not dissapoint in the encore slot.
what a show! I don't think any jams from this show are quite as awe inspiring as the 2001 from 2 days earlier, but as a whole, this is one of the better shows out there. the theme for the night is sharp, focused, and precise jamming. every jam seemed to have a purpose and direction. trey really was the driver on this evening and he did not lead the guys astray.
unfortunately, in my opinion, phish's music would really start to lose focus the next year. as outside forces begin to act on the band, the precision seems to go out. there are several good fun shows, but as for precise, focused jamming, i can only think of a few shows off the top of my head, memphis, columbus, boise, and a few others. deer creek was good. all in all though, those shows did not have the sharpness that was present on this night and some of the other fall 98 shows like worcester and hampton.
1999, mike's song, ghost>hahaha
jim>auld lang syne>simple>harry hood