Ghost contained a Sand tease from Mike and Weekapaug contained a 2001 tease from Trey. The soundcheck featured the impromptu Dickie Scotland Song in reference to Phish Tour Manager Richard “Dickie Scotland” Glasgow, who attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. The song included a theme about the school’s mascot, the Aggie, referenced fellow NMSU alumnus David “ZZYZX” Steinberg (a.k.a. The Timer) with the lyric "Timer is an Aggie, too," contained a Hava Nagila quote from Trey and ended with a How Many More Times tease from Trey and Mike. This debut performance was included in Kevin Shapiro’s “From the Archives” radio show at Big Cypress.
First of all, I love that Phish played in such an out of the way venue; sure, they didn't sell it out (or even come close, according to the other reviews), but I like that they'll a) head to venues like this or Chula Vista or West Valley City, Utah and b) reward those that do show up with kickass shows. You Snooze, You Lose, indeed.
Set 1 immediately gets on my good side with a sweet 2001; Trey cranks out some nastiness in the first half, and lays back in the 2nd half so Mike can play some burbling notes. The band then knocks out a few "song" songs, all well-played to be sure, before we get to the next big highlight - a Gin that carefully makes its way into a "Classic Gin" upbeat jam that doesn't quite reach the hallowed heights of 7/29/98 or the Went but still features some joyfully sweet Trey soloing and is worth the listen for those that enjoy "bliss" jamming. I also like the Sand in this set; the band hadn't quite developed the lockstep groove of even three months later, so the jam is a bit looser and therefore more interesting to my ears, kind of like what they did with Antelope in the late 90s. So that's a thumbs-up first set right there.
Set 2 starts with Jibboo, and I'm tempted to give away the points earned by the 2001, but this version at least has some spaciness to it that helps me like it a little more than usual. But then in comes Ghost to redeem things, and halfway through the jam starts heading towards slightly darker waters, Trey really making his guitar walk and talk, the groove sharp and muscular (Mike really makes his presence felt as well), until things slow down and things get ambient and spooky. Such a delicate coda makes for a natural lead-in for Taste, and this Taste is not spectacular but features some nice band interplay. Brian and Robert serves as a breather, then comes Mike's Song, and it brings some funky guitar licks (with loops fluttering around in the background) and Page's added color on the organ as the groove stays more mellow than angry (see: 7/17/98). You will want to dance to this Mike's, believe me. Mike's leads into Simple (kinda odd it's not a ->, as it sounds a lot like every other Mike's/Simple transition ever), which is standard but leads to a pretty ending as it so often does. Train Song is next, then Weekapaug, which teases *something* early on (Trey does, I'm sure of it, but I can't tell) and is perfectly fine (the jamming chart's analysis seems a bit harsh), maybe not as massive as one would like but still full of nifty guitar playing. It's a fine way to close a pretty strong set, and La Grange is one encore song I have yet to tire of hearing (probably because it's so relatively rare).
Shows like this are why I think Fall '99 is better than December '99 - there's spaciness and thick grooves and moments of hushed beauty like the December shows, but greater consistency (at least in terms of sets, if not full shows) all around. Along with 9/14 and 9/18, this is the third part of Fall '99's Holy Trinity. Big thumbs up.
After seeing the 2 Gorge and Boise shows earlier this tour, I was hoping to finish out 1999 with one more epic Phish show (FYI, this is still the goal and it will never change). I'll never tire of re-listening to the 1999 tour and this show is right up there with the best of the year IMHO. The talk on the tiny lot scene pre-show was mostly about some terrible tour-rat fight that happened the previous evening in Tucson. Not sure what went down, but people were definitely on edge and eager to get back to what's most important, Phish!!!! Standing in line at will-call, several people asked me if I had seen Mike earlier in a golf cart. I thought they were full of shit, but after the 3rd person brought up this story, I couldn't help but inquire further. Apparently, Gordo was driving around asking phans if they thought a weather/military blimp floating over the venue was an alien UFO?
Sure, go ahead and don't believe me. But this story was being repeated all around me up until the lights went out for the 1st set!!!! Then BOOOM, we get a 2001 to open up!!!!!! Can't make this stuff up. The 2001 comes complete with the obligatory Crosseyed and Painless tease from Trey early on in the intro and, needless to say, rocked the house. Other big Set 1 highlights included the Bathtub and Sand. Both were extended and well played. The Gin is one of my all-time personal favorites and has hints of the explosive Trey licks prominently featured in the 9/12/99 version from two weeks earlier.
Set 2 continued great vibe inside this 3/4 empty indoor basketball arena. I can remember having my own row of seats to dance in at one point this set and I was only a few rows up from the floor!!!!! Similar to the Boise show, the crowd had become so entranced by the band that between songs the venue would become eerily quiet. It took great restraint not to yell something obnoxious at Trey in between tunes. I remember thinking the stage was going to levitate through the roof during the Ghost jam. My favorite musical moment of the was early on during the Mike's Song jam where we finally got our first funk session of the night. Back in 1999, you weren't always guaranteed any cow-funk but this Mike's delivered a wonderful (though short) funkathon. Just to add some sprinkles to the sundae, Trey break out his machine gun during a RIPPING La Grange encore. Pretty sick encore choice if you ask me.
This is one of my favorite shows. I did this whole tour and this along with Boisse were special unheralded shows. Trey's Brian Eno influence heightened at this stage in his career. I love ambient phish. Great show! Check it out!
This was my first show in my home state. My brother's dorm room was a nine-iron shot from the arena. Can't beat that. My buddy Dave and I drove from Tucson the night before. Weird scene in Arizona and the rest area halfway between Pima and Cruces was full of wooks. But the Cruces show was smokin'. Anytime you got a 2001 and a Mike's Groove in the same show during this era, was epic in the truest sense of the word. The Gin was great too, and Mozambique...what the heck ever happened to that one? I was also at the Nassau show in '98 where this jam originated.
I lost my shit right off the bat! 2001>Chalkdust. We went early & got the rail in front of Trey. I head banged so hard during Chalkdust I blew my neck out & Trey gave me a thumbs up. Sick show all the way.
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