Mid-jam "break," another jam segment, and then another break that led into Albuquerque.
Gin contained a San-Ho-Zay tease from Trey. During a glowstick "war" in Hood, Trey caught a few glowsticks and threw them back into the crowd, eliciting a huge cheer from the crowd. Mike’s Song contained a mid-jam "break," another jam segment, and then another break that led into Albuquerque. If I Could was played for the first time since July 31, 1998 (123 shows).
This show starts off with a pretty nutty Chalk Dust, with a guitar-as-siren breakdown in the middle, then chugs along until the band hits Gin, a jaunty classic-rock Gin that has a jam that could probably have been made its own song if the band so wanted (credit Fishman for some great drumming leading into the jam). I try not to use "hose" too often in my reviews, but if this isn't hose, then I'm not really sure what is; the music just pours out of the group with monstrous energy and abandon. I've been listening to a lot of Gins lately, and I can safely say this is the best non-Went one I've heard yet. This jam is about what a *powerful* jamming unit Phish can be, and the sharp turn back into the main Gin theme is something to behold. Piper (which gets played with vicious speed) and If I Could are a decent close to an okay set with a towering jam.
Set II leads off with DWD, which rocks along in standard DWD fashion before slowing to a crawl, Trey going to the effects pedal to wring some weird noises out of his guitar, Mike and Fish holding down a steady DWD-style backdrop, and then just when you're lulled by the low-gear jam the band explodes back into a DWD reprise and then immediately goes into Hood, which is also good but not a standout to my ears (although the crowd roars at Trey hucking the glowsticks back at the crowd are fun). Jibboo and Circus are whatever. Then comes Mike's Song, which brings a muscular energy right off the bat and locks into a Mike-driven jam (seriously, the bass will stick in your throat, it's so thick), with some of those techno-flourishes the kids were talking about back in the day (see: the next show). Then comes a sudden full band stop in the jam, a pause for cheering, and an equally sudden, fluid return into the jam...for about a minute, before another full band stop, upon which Trey starts up Albuquerque. Albuquerque actually makes a lot of sense as a palate cleanser (dig the harmonies!), and Weekapaug catches fire at the end, nearly on par with the greats (12/31/95, 7/17/98) for sheer intensity. A nice two-song encore sends everyone out happy.
I don't know if I would call this a classic show or anything, but the opening Gin definitely begs to be heard and the Mike's Groove is excellent, so I can recommend a download without hesitation.
YES!!!!! Finally after six full months since Big Cypress, I was seeing Phish again. 6/28/2000 was my first of four nights in a row on this tour and I was chomping at the bit by the time this day rolled around.
After a debacle involving a friend bailing on a ticket at the last minute and picking up another friend to take it even more last minute, I was finally at PNC with my game face on. PNC is fifteen minutes from my parent's house and for all intents and purposes is my "home base" venue. My Uncle Kerry had secured us with two VIP seats for this show, but because of the size of our group, we decided to split the show locations up. For the first set, I was on the lawn with my sister and other hometown friends.
The venue played the Star Spangled Banner before the start of the show, and why not! I love America. Chalkdust started the show with energy and purpose. It wasn't crazy insane like the 7/15/1999 version the year before, but it was still a lead-off home run on the first pitch.
A perfect version of The Sloth came next followed by a great Taste. The jam out of taste is very strong and overlooked because of what happened next. When I think about some of the greatest moments of my life, the 14:00 minute mark of this Bathtub Gin jumps to the top of the list with only a few exceptions above it. The build up and peak were unbelievable, building off of the previously played epic Gin on 6/23/2000 in Atlanta with shadows of the 7/29/1998 Riverport Gin built in. I'll take this one over Atlanta though. Kuroda was on fire with the bright white lights spinning at full speed, as the band finally climaxed at that incredible high-C note that gives me goosebumps today as I type. I also loved how we all yelled "WE LOVE TO TAKE A BATH!!!!" during the last verse, this is one of the first shows that this started happening. The first foreshadowing rain drop I felt happened at this exact moment. Anyway, the recording is just as good today as when it happened, it's an absolute must hear version.
So how do you follow that up? With a 100 mph Piper that I have never heard a rival of. There have been epic pipers before and since, but none that have shredded right off the bat like this one does and sprints for almost ten minutes. I'm sure I could check the chart but I feel like I don't need to bother. Must hear like the Gin. If I Could felt heartfelt and warm, like Trey and Page were playing it just for us. Short set, but I would still give it a biased A+.
Set 2, Page Side Rage Side, row 12 with my sister. And what timing! Everyone else we were with was getting soaked from the rain on the lawn during this set. Disease was raging, especially since we were so close. I couldn't believe I was hearing the Harry Hood drum roll intro out of Disease! I was counting my lucky stars. Gibboo was good, Circus was good...Boom! Pow! MIKE's. What a Mike's! Evil, intense, (not as evil and intense as Big Cypress Mike's but along those lines), stop and go jamming, LOVED IT!!! A nice Albuquerque pops out in the middle of the groove followed by a raging Weekapaug. It was time to head back to the lawn before the exiting chaos ensued so we could find our group. As our backs were turned walking up the stairs Fishman hit a single snare and kicked off First Tube. YES! This was my first First Tube and I really wanted to hear it played during this show. I actually predicted this as the show opener, but I would definitely take it in the encore. The Loving Cup was a cherry on top bonus and we were heading home happy. One down, three nights to go.
This is a fun little show that doesn't really flow that well. I'm not one to be super picky about song placement, but a couple choices in this show rub me the wrong way. First, I think that If I Could is a really odd way to end the first set. A Golgi or Sample tacked on afterword would have made the first set so much better. Second, Hood in the second slot of set two? I'm sorry, but that just didn't do it for me.
Whatever merit those complaints might hold, however, is counteracted by several awesome jams. This is an all-time great Bathtub Gin. For me, it falls in fourth place, right behind Riverport, Went, and Paradiso 7.1.97. We've all got Fish to thank for it too. He falls into this great little disco-funk groove shortly after the jam starts, and the rest is history.
Aside from the Gin, which is undoubtedly the single greatest part of the show, there are well above average versions of Mike's Song and Taste to be had here. Mike's is dirty, really dirty. Shit's gross. And Taste seems to me to be much more patient than most versions. For my money, those are the top three songs of the show, though CDT, Disease, and Hood are all fine as well.
This show is far from all bad, but as a whole, it just doesn't make very much sense to me. There are plenty of shows with weird setlists that I think work, this just isn't one of them. The jams are great though, and I'm always open to Albuquerque, it's such a great song. If I could give half stars I'd give this show 3.5 stars... I'll be nice and bump it up to 4 since I can't.
P.S. I noticed while I was proof reading that, in the last paragraph, I used the phrase "if I could" colloquially. Kind of ironic, and completely unintentional.
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