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Link Wednesday, 11/11/1998
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

Soundcheck: Drum Jam, Brian and Robert, Blues Jam

Set 1: PYITEPunch You In the Eye, Gumbo, If You Need a Fool, Sleep, Tela, BOAFBirds of a Feather, ThemeTheme From the Bottom, Julius

Set 2: Halley'sHalley's Comet > Simple > Walk Away > LxLLimb By Limb, CircusWhen the Circus Comes, Ghost

Encore: Contact > Rocky Top > Funky Bitch

Noteworthy Jams: Gumbo, Birds of a Feather, Theme From the Bottom, Halley's Comet (highly recommended), Limb By Limb

Average Song Gap: 13.88

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Song Distribution:
3 The Story of the Ghost
1 Farmhouse
1 Billy Breathes
1 Stash
1 Hoist
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1998 Fall Tour."

n00b100 , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
n00b100 Fall '98 is such a weird tour to me - there are many shows that have seen official release, far more than other (perhaps more deserving) tours like Summer '95 or Fall '99*, as well as the legendary 11/2 DSOTM show, but the quality *wildly* fluctuates from show to show and the music is not quite the drop-dead wicked funk of '97 nor the float-on-a-cloud ambiance of '99 (think My Left Toe, or the December tour). There are certainly strong shows, but the hit rate is not as high as the best tours. This tour is as transition as transition gets; that said, the best of the year deserves as much attention as anything else.

This show is one of my picks for best of the run; I might make the argument that it's *the* best if the wind's blowing the right way. The first set is reasonably good, with the highlights being the one-two PYITE/Gumbo punch (with the latter entering loop-and-organ chillout land, to really beautiful effect) and a cool Sleep/Tela mid-set combination, plus a pretty gnarly Theme to boot. The second set, however, is where the action's at - Halley's charges into a strong uptempo jam out of the gates, then about 5 minutes in things get more relaxed and streamlined (think the 11/17/97 YEM), then Mike starts really doing some work as Trey goes into "throttle my guitar" mode and the jam builds to a wicked, snarling climax. This is a great, great Halley's, a song with no shortage of great jams, and would be nearly enough for a listen-worthy set by its lonesome.

Simple comes in pretty much out of nowhere, and it's a perfectly fine version, as is Walk Away. But the Limb that follows is rather nice for a Type I version, with Page getting a chance to shine Squirming Coil style before everybody joins back in and finishes with a flourish. Then, as a fine close to the set, we get a very strong Ghost, half bouncing funk (a la the '97 Ghosts) and half sheer atomic-powered explosive jamming (a la 7/6/98). There's a surprisingly long encore, as well, which makes for a nice capper to the night. Give this show a listen - this is as good as Fall '98 gets.

* official count: 10/30 II, 10/31, 11/20-21, 11/27. Four full shows, a (great, btw) set from a fifth. That's more than December '95!
Score: 4
King_Williamson , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
King_Williamson Being that it was my first show, I didn't know what to expect, but I had only three expectations or hopes/wishes.

First, I was hoping to hear Halley's... check.

Second, I was hoping to hear Limb as it was one of my favorite tunes at the time... check.

Third and most important, I was hoping to see my musical heros on stage for the first time, and reaffirm everything I've heard to that point on bootleg and CD.

From this point forward, I knew that I had found my band. I've only atttened a few shows since this one, but there has not been a day that has gone by since 1998 that I have not at least listened to Phish if only for a few minutes.
Score: 3
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
MiguelSanchez This show was overlooked by a lot of people, mostly due to the fact that it followed the weekend run at the UIC. Anyone that sleeps on this show is making a huge mistake!!

PYITE: Punch is always a great way to start the night. This one is par for the course for a '97-'99 version. Of course, that means it was dark, funky, and it got the room moving.

Gumbo: This was a great pick to follow Punch. It also offered the firs jam of the night. It was a complete 180 from the one that I caught at Deer Creek over the summer. It was a great taste of '98 ambient funk. Gordon and Trey had some pretty nice playing as this jam progressed. They bounced off each other all the way through.

If You Need A Fool: This snappy bluegrass tune picked the crowd back up after a nice swim through the abyss. Good version.

Sleep: A bit of a cool down here. Nothing much to write home about.

Tela: They kept mellow for another tune. No complaints. A nice Tela is always welcome, especially in the first set.

BOAF: This got everyone geared up for the first set home stretch. At this point, they had not turned birds into a jam vehicle, but it did offer Trey an opportunity to deliver a tight, explosive solo. This is one of the better versions you'll hear from '98. By the fall tour, they were really starting to get a handle on this Talking Heads inspired tune. I really like to listen to the evolution of this song from summer '98 to fall '98 to summer '99. There's a lot of growth there.

Theme: Another sharp solo by Trey. He really turns this one inside out. There isn't any "type 2" jamming here, but this one is a must hear for Theme fans.

Julius: Another Trey centered tune to close down the set. He gets some good backing from Page too. This one is not my favorite tune, but it was a nice rousing set closer.

Set 2 (Here's where the real action starts):

Halley's Comet: I'll lead with saying this may be my favorite version. It is definitely top 3 for me. This jam offers up a little bit of everything- space funk, a touch of ambience, and barn burning rock and roll. Fishman holds this one down well, and Trey paves the way for everyone else. Trey really sinks his teeth into this one the last 6-8 minutes. They are deep in a very serious rock groove when this jam slams into...

Simple: Some would call this a rip chord, but I feel like this transition works well. It is a bit sudden, but everyone is in sync as Trey starts the opening riff. The Simple jam fits real well here. It balances out the balastic Halley's jam very well. As a stand alone Simple, it's fairly standard, but it keeps a nice flow going.

Limb by Limb: Limb is a song that developed pretty quickly, and this one offers up a nice cosmic jaunt before returning to the song. Page really takes over, offering up some beautiful playing in the middle section.

Circus: This very well may be my favorite slow song they do. There is no real side excursion to speak of here. It's just a beautiful take of Circus.

Ghost: Coming out of Circus, most people were thinking Antelope or Hood. Well, they don't always play what you expect, and that's why we go to the shows!!

At first, this felt a bit odd in the show closing slot. By the end, i felt just right. The first half of this jam is a very easy going funky groove based excursion. Around the ten minute, Trey hooks onto something and just takes off. You will think this jam has reached it's peak 2-3 times, and each time, Trey kicks it up another level. By the end, he is absolutely shredding, bringing the house down. WHAT A CLOSER!!

Enc:
Contact->Rocky Top->Funky Bitch: After such a strong, jammed out second set, this three song encore was just the icing on the cake. Anyone that thought the ghost set closer was unorthodox definitely felt that way about walking out the door to funk bitch. Musically, there is not much to seperate these versions from other versions, but they closed this show down in style, with tons of energy.

Overall:
I would not describe the first set as "must hear," but there are certainly things there that are worth checking out. Now, the second set is one of the best sets of the Fall '98 tour. I would definitely pull this one down and give it a spin.

Highlights:
Gumbo, Theme, Halley's, and Ghost
Score: 3
mcgrupp81 , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
The Gumbo has a nice finish. Nearly 25 minute Halley's which is one of the strongest jams of 1998. The Ghost closer is no joke either. Any jam that has synth is good yes?

Debate which Halley's is the greatest but don't forget to enjoy the ability on display!
Score: 1
HighNote , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
HighNote This show from Fall '98 is packed with standout versions of Birds, Theme, Julius (as always, ha), Halley's, Simple, LimbXLimb, Ghost...

But seriously, Trey is juiced for the second set here. I laughed when he closes the first set saying "We'll be back in 5 min...10 min.....20 min..." Trey absolutely shred's in Halley's Comet for a good ten minutes straight (check out from 11:00 on).....Halley's clocks in at over 25 minutes and is followed up by a quality version of Simple, which Trey and Page improv off each other on the main theme quite nicely type-1 here....Ghost closes the 2nd set followed by a pretty sweet selection for a THREE SONG ENCORE ....def worthy of being in a collectors' stash...

Stream the show at:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1998-11-11

Download the show at:

http://www.phishows.com/
Score: 1
andrewrose , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
andrewrose Hello Halley's! This is a monster, and probably the best Halley's Comet out there next to 12/7/99 and 12/14/95.
Score: 0
theothr1 , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
theothr1 for best ever "Halley's Comet" see 8-3-98...
Score: 0
andrewrose , attached to 1998-11-11 Permalink
andrewrose Yeah, not sure one spaces on the 11/22/97 Halley's... (thought I'd still give the edge to 12/7/99). 11/11/98 is is still a fine version. Typical for late 98 jamming, and maybe a bit more aggressive at times. But a Fall 98 highlight to be sure.
Score: 0

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