first and foremost, i just pulled down the remastered aud off the phish spread sheet- sounds fantastic!
things start off nicely with a great cover of elton john's "amoreena." page does a fantastic job on this one, both on keys and vocally. poor heart picks up the pace, getting the boys a bit loose. stash is solid, but it doesn't quite "get there." it is always nice to see the boys try to open things up early though. a snappy version of water in the sky gives everyone a breather before phish buries the funk. gumbo is extended into slow funk oblivion. the whole band locks in. with a nice loose funk groove layed down by fish and gordo, page and trey are given ample room to explore. page has some hot clav licks, while trey alternates between some nice leads and some funky rhythm guitar. eventually, this jam gives way to a well-placed horse>silent. beauty of my dreams is one of my favorite bluegrass songs they do, and this version is played well. then we get our second big treat of the first set. for only the 3rd time in the u.s., phish belts out cross eyed and painless. this version is much slower than how they approach it now. it's not cities slow, but it's slower none the less. this is very much given the '97 treatment. i think part of the reasoning for the slower playing is a slight lack of confidence playing this song, at this point. they are not quite as forceful with it, but once they hit the jam, trey really takes control with some nice leads. after a hefty dose of some good 'ol '97 funk, they hit a slower, darker, murkier jam. if this was a '99 show, i would definitely expect them to hit "what's the use," but it's not... anyway, trey brings everybody out of this dark realm with the opening to wilson. they hit a home run with this one, bringing the crowd back to a rowdy frenzy. trey tacks on a little drummer boy tease at the end, and it sounds like fish wanted to crank up harry hood. i'm guessing some members of the band may have started to get up/remove instruments, because all you hear of hood is that opening drum roll. none the less, adeline sends everyone into set break happy.
now, there's the second set. run away jim kicks things off properly with. there's a slight lyric flub by trey.. kind of funny. once they hit the jam, trey just takes off and never looks back. by the time this jam hits its peak, trey is just firing off a cosmic flurry of notes. after bringing this one back into jim, trey thanks the crowd, and then they embark on what is possibly a dark horse candidate for ghost of the tour. while the whole band plays well, gordon really shines here. fishman is at his '97 best, trey and page are both hotter than hell on this jam, but gordon just gets locked into a slap frenzy, driving this band to a very funky peak. eventually, they head into the land of izabella. this transition pales in comparision to the tweezer>izabella from auburn hills in the fall, but hell, i'll take my izabella's where i can get them. this one is well played, but unlike auburn hills, they decided not to take this one for a ride. after a red-hot start, the boys slow it down for a rare midset sleeping monkey. mcgrupp works well out of monkey, as the boys really bring this set back to life. as usual, page really makes this song a highlight. from here though, this show starts to lose a little traction. 2001 feels slightly forced out of a rocking but typical sample. they didn't appear to have much of a game plan, so page steered them toward good 'ol also sprach. golgi and frankenstein are high octane but nothing out of the ordinary. i do really like theme from the bottom in the enc slot and could go for more of that in the future. i would say the back half of this 2nd set, while still being rock-solid, keeps this show from being considered one of the top tier '97 shows, but there are some very serious highlights here that should not be missed.
get on the spread sheet's remastered section and pull this one down. gumbo is '97 funktastic, cross eyed>wilson is a very interesting listen, and the opening sequence of run away jim, ghost>izabella in the 2nd set will just blow you away. they just don't make 'em like that anymore....