Going into this one cold: haven't looked at the setlist or read any reviews, which I think is probably the best way to approach these things. If I've ever heard this show, it was long enough ago that I've forgotten everything about it. Here are my song by song notes, jotted down as I listened tonight (Yeah, I skipped the soundcheck. Sue me.):
LxL - Interesting opener choice. Unhurried, taking time to explore the space, not building toward a peak, everyone listening well. Lots of descending melodic lines from Trey. Near 13:00 or so, Page starts to steer us back towards earth, and we get some typical but well-executed LxL peak stuff to close it out, with a slightly extended vocal outro. Really nice version! Not your typical Trey shred fest.
GBOTT - noting much to see here. Standard shuffle-beat jam, much shorter than it's Fukuoka cousin.
Sample - is Sample.
First Tube - mid first set is atypical placement, but I like it. Sometimes the band has a tendency to play this song at a slower tempo than I'd like, but not here; high energy version, which is all you can ask for from this song.
Golgi - is Golgi.
Heavy Things - Nice soloing from Trey as per usual. In the grand rock tradition of songs with happy music paired with surprisingly dark lyrics, I dig this one.
Dirt - Love this song. Not sure the set needed a ballad in this spot, but I don't care because this song is awesome.
MSO - "Play it Leo, play it, play it!" Always surprised this song isn't more of a setlist staple for the boys. Impossible not to like.
Reba - Ha! You thought they were going to play Maze, or Bowie, didn't you! Fish totally trolled you with that high hat. Normally, I'd be like "hey, not cool, duderinos" but it's Reba for chrissakes. Some really nice inventive melodic playing from Trey in the middle. Doesn't peak really ostentatiously, but it's nice. Spoiler alert: the ending is of the whistling variety.
Char0 - is a song that was played.
Solid first set, highlights for me being the Limb, First Tube and Reba.
Jim - Meanders prettily until about 9:00 when it starts to cohere into something more focused. Trey throwing out some downright bouncy-sounding licks a few times. 12:00ish Trey teases the Jim theme. 13:30 Fish throws in some tom fills from the composed part, with Mike and Page throwing in hints as well, but they keep pushing the jam forward instead of heading back to Jim proper. 15:15 - Ok, we're firmly back in Type II territory, with Trey throwing some spooky loopage over a percussive beat from Fish & Mike. Page takes to the Rhodes to provide some color. About 2 minutes later, and they've found a cool groove, with Trey throwing out some high pitched, almost "plinko" sounding guitar noises over the Rhodes + Fish/Mike beat. Really digging this. Let's hope they keep exploring. 19:00 - crowd clapping along, and we've found a goofy but complex groove. 21:00 - what's this? Sounds kind of like Trey using a talkbox, but I think it's Mike with some strange effect. It's awesome whatever it is. 23:00 - jam dissolves quietly into feedback, then ambient space music, like a slightly busier version of something off a Steve Roach album. AWESOME. High hat sneaks in, taking us into...
Theme - Love this transition. Great placement to bring us back planetside after that Jim really got out there. Trey botches entry into the jam, starting to solo a bit early, but recovers. Nice, forceful soloing from Trey, but instead of the usual peak, Trey hits a sustained, low end power chord and repeats it, and Mike latches on, creating a thrumming groove for Trey to loop over. Page starts the ending chords over what has by now become a complete cacophony, then slowly quieting down, with Trey throwing some melodic arpeggios over it, elegantly segueing into...
Dog Faced Boy! - I used to hate this song. (Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either.) It works great as a breather in the middle of some jam madness (just ask the 11/14/95 Stash).
Driver - Not my favorite or least favorite song, it's OK I guess (though I love the "I'll be better-dressed" line). I suppose they've earned a second slow song after that monstrous Jim -> Theme combo.
Slave - odd placement; it's a little early in the set for a Slave, but you won't see me complaining. The intimate venue really works in the song's favor here. Crowd goes nuts around 6:00 for some reason not evident on tape. Mike really owns this jam with some beautiful work. Trey handles the peak fabulously, with some really heartfelt licks. Funny that it feels like the end of the show, but I'm sure there's more to come.
Julius - Nice! Way to bring the energy back up. Hah! Trey does the same thing he did in Theme and prematurely starts to solo. Oops! Ok, so apparantly we're getting an example of the "bluesy laid back walking bassline" variety of Julius. Personally I prefer the "O hai guys I'm Trey and I'm going to SHRED YOUR GODDAMN FACES OFF" variety, but I can deal.
Bug - Yeah, I love this song, complain all you want.
Bouncing: Another widely disliked song that I think is great. Just not great in the encore slot. Ouch.
Hood: Ok, that's better. Great way to close things out. Hah! Everyone throws in some cool jazzy solo licks in the lead up to the first "Harry" lyric, crowd totally eats it up. Possibly a brief tease of something that I can't place. Beautiful jam as always, excellent version.
Overall show notes:
Not just a solid show, a truly excellent one in my book. I'd give it a solid 4 out of 5. Some odd setlist choices and a few "filler" tunes like Golgi and Bouncing, but that's about the only bad thing you can say about it. The Jim -> Theme is jaw-droppingly good, and is the clear highlight for me.
Mike would be my MVP here. I didn't mention him that much, but he was consistently anchoring everything that was going on and effortlessly stepping in to complement things every time someone threw out an idea.