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Link Saturday, 04/04/1998
Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI

Soundcheck: Jam, Shafty, Roggae

Set 1: Tweezer > Taste, Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room, Funky Bitch, GinsengGinseng Sullivan, LxLLimb By Limb, Lawn Boy, Character Zero

Set 2: BOAFBirds of a Feather > 2001Also Sprach Zarathustra[1] > Brother[2], Ghost -> LizardsThe Lizards, BowieDavid Bowie

Encore: HoodHarry Hood

[1] Unfinished.
[2] With short instrumental reprise.

Teases:
· Dave's Energy Guide tease in Brother
· Can't Turn You Loose tease in Ghost

Noteworthy Jams: Tweezer (highly recommended), Taste, Birds of a Feather (highly recommended), Also Sprach Zarathustra, Brother (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 11.93

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

Notes: 2001 was unfinished. Brother included a brief Dave’s Energy Guide tease and was followed by a short instrumental reprise, which was announced as the “radio-friendly version.” Trey contrasted this with the normal version, which was deemed un-radio-friendly due to its length. Ghost, which Trey jokingly remarked was also not radio-friendly because it is long and slow, included a Can’t Turn You Loose tease. This show is available as an archival release on LivePhish.com.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
3 The Story of the Ghost
2 Billy Breathes
2 Lawn Boy
1 Stash
1 A Picture of Nectar
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

ColForbin Phish.net Staff , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
ColForbin [Posted to rec.music.phish shortly after the show]

The Scene: Many, many, many, many ticketless, and many cops to make sure no one had too much fun. I swear, providence has more unmarked cop cars than any city needs. But this doesn't really matter that much.

I got into the show really early, and Ann and I decided to walk around and check out the t-shirts and all that fun stuff. Then we made our way over to the Waterwheel table where were made a purchase that lead to us being awarded the Holy Grail - Aftershow Passes! I'll get to the description of the "party" later...

The Show:
[Timings are for the START of the songs and are not completely accurate] Set I: Tweezer [8:05]> Taste [8:25], Bouncin' [8:35], Funky Bitch [8:38], Ginseng Sullivan [8:45], Limb by Limb [8:49], Lawn Boy [9:00], Charcter 0 [9:04] [Set ends at 9:11]

Set II: Birds of a Feather [9:53]> 2001 [10:10]> Brother [10:25], Brother Outro [10:38], Ghost [10:48]> Can't Turn You Loose* [10:55]> Lizards [10:57], David Bowie [11:10] [didn't write down end time]

E: Harry Hood

*aka "The Blues Brothers Theme"

[you'll notice that songs divided by segues are written about in one paragraph, if you don't like this, let me know]

Set I:

TWEEZER as an opener got me pretty damn psyched, and was quite fitting seeing as they finished up Friday's show with Tweeprise. I got the feeling throughout this whole show that the funk was being toned down a bit, and while Tweezer is always pretty funky, this one had some spacier elements to it as well. Being the first song on my two night run, I unfortunately don't remember as much as I wanted to, but I was delighted to hear the jam degenerate (in a good way) to some funk out of which sprang a Trey-lead segue into TASTE. Let me just say right now that Trey was definitely in rock-star mode the whole weekend, hamming it up on stage, and taking several waka-waka solos during the run. Taste had a very nice solo by Trey, but it is one of those types of solos that I have a tough time judging at shows. I think it was probably above-average, if that means anything. I just felt a lot more emotion coming from Trey than I usually do in Taste.

BOUNCIN' was next, and the singing of my section mates was oh-so-enjoyable.

FUNKY BITCH, the rock favorite of jaded men everywhere, came up next, and we were treated to one of the longest EHHHHHHHHHHH-very from Mike that I have ever heard. The other parts of the Bitch were unremarkable (but fun nonetheless).

GINSENG SULLIVAN is a song that I've been seeing a lot lately, but luckily it's my favorite of the bluegrass songs. This actually got a smile out of the unhappy parents that were sitting next to us at this show. Phish really has something for everyone.

LIMB BY LIMB followed, with a jam that I was VERY impressed with. While I haven't really latched on to any Limb jams before, this one seemed to have direction and melody in Trey's solo that I think others have lacked. Most of the time when Trey starts up the high-pitched effects in this song, they start to lose me a bit, but this solo was VERY tight.

LAWN BOY was up next, and Page did his usual routine of standing up and crooning like Perry Como. Speaking of Perry Como, does everyone here know that he did an album of heavy metal favorites in his signature style? Or maybe the heavy metal bands did Perry Como favorites in their signature style. I forget...

CHARACTER 0 closed out the set nicely. It was nowhere near as good as 12/31/96, which set the standard for "Phish Arena Rock"

Setbreak: I finally got to meet Bill Marconi and Matt Frankel. We chatted for a while, and it was finally great to see people who I only knew by their words. Bill looks a little bit like Don Glasgo (trombone for ween '96 and professor at Dartmouth). I found out that rmp people are as cool in real life as they are here (and reaffirmed this at the gathering the next day :)

Set II

BIRDS OF A FEATHER started up with some guitar riffs by Trey and then a driving bass line by Mike which continued throughout the whole song. The chorus, in case you want help recognizing the song, is "Birds of a feather/are flocking outside." From that, one would think that the song is about conformity, although I can't be sure, since it was kind of hard to hear in there. I'm pretty sure I heard the words "ritual drum" which gives a vague hint that the song is about the conformity WITHIN the Phish "community" (drum circles). The other lyrics were pretty cool as well (and supportive of my theory), although I can't remember them. But I'm probably completely off with my ideas about this song. It definitely has a Talking Heads feel to it, like everyone was saying on the net and at the Gathering on Sunday. The jam was pretty cool, but it didn't really go too far, IMHO. It seems to be grounded in the same driving bass line from Mike throughout, with very few, if any chord changes (I'm probably going to catch hell from a music major here). Trey and Page did some great soloing over the essentially static rythym section in this song, but my favorite Phish moments are when songs break out of their molds. I suppose the mold for BOAF isn't hard enough for them to break out yet, so I'm just being a jerk. Anyway, the end of the song degenerated into space, and after 17 minutes (did I just complain about a 17 minute new song? somebody slap me), the drum beat for 2001 started up. This was one of the great 2001s that we've been hearing lately, lots of funk with a little space thrown in. (Jeremy Goodwin has a nice name for this, but I'll let him share it with all of you). Kuroda was NUTS on the lights. I thought I was seening some new effects, but I think I was just seeing virtuosity on the lights that was above Kuroda's usual greatness. Of course, when he tones them down a bit, people decide that it's time to throw the glowsticks. A lot of them ended up on stage, which is not too cool in my book. After 15 minutes of 2001 mahem, Trey started a percussive vocal jam, sort of playing cymbals with his mouth. It sounded REALLY cool, and the rest of the band joined in with their own percussive sounds. Trey still had the delay loop going, which is why I indicated a segue into BROTHER when he played the main riff. This was by far the spaciest and coolest Brother I've heard, although I have only heard a few. It got REALLY spacey, with Trey hopping all over his pedals and Page on the clavinet. Trey kind of ripped the band back into reality by playing the main riff, and this listener thought it was an ugly transition.

I can only assume the band thought so too, because they did the whole thing with the "radio-friendly" version, which was essentially the BROTHER OUTRO that they had just screwed up.

Then, they decided to play something "radio unfriendly" and "very long and very slow." I had no idea what it might be, but they ended up playing GHOST, which certainly isn't that slow in my book. This was a typically great Ghost, and I love this song every time I hear it. My memory is failing me here, but the segue into CAN'T TURN YOU LOOSE was nicely done, and it was great to hear a cool tease/jam like this one. Amazingly enough, this jam found its way to LIZARDS without stopping. I remember thinking that it should have gone into something else (maybe "Walk Away") but I forget. I usually think of Lizards as a fun song, but not particularly moving. I actually LOVED this Lizards, mostly because they were putting a lot of emotion into the jam, like they were actually trying to make it sound better than usual. I thought this song would end the set, but...

The hi-hat for DAVID BOWIE kicked in. I couldn't believe they were starting Bowie at 10 past 11! This was a nice Bowie, with the ending being repeated more often than usual, all with digital delay from Trey. I think they even fooled Chris! I know the description here isn't that great, but...

Between the second set and encore, Ann and I made our way "backstage," which was actually the lounge at the very rear of the venue, above the 200 level.

Encore:

Watching from the lounge, HARRY HOOD didn't receive all of my attention, since I was so psyched to be at the Aftershow Party. I do remember liking it a lot, and I've been VERY impressed with the recent variation in Harry (12/30/97). It seems that no song is too sacred now.

Aftershow Party:

Anyway, Hood ended and the lights came up. I was disappointed to see people *paying* for beer at the party. I had always assumed that that sort of thing was free. We couldn't find any food either! Ann and I did snag a glass of water for free, and sat down at a table. As we were sitting down, who came from the back elevator but Mike! He went and sat a couple tables away from us. Before I got up the nerve to go say hello, he walked back into the room with the bar, where most of the people were gathering.

After a few minutes, I realized that I wouldn't have many more chances to talk with the members of Phish in my life, so Ann and I went to the other room to seek him out. There were only a few people around him, and there were a LOT of people at the party. I was glad to see he wasn't being mobbed. After watching him talk to a few people, I finally got up the nerve to introduce myself. "Hi Mike, I'm Dan," I said, holding out my hand to him. He said "Hi Dan." I told him "Great show tonight, and he said thanks." While I had his attention, I decided to ask him a question that I had been wondering about for the few days before the show. I recently found out that Jan Kerouac (daughter of Jack) had written a book called "Trainsong." (It's out of print, so I unfortuately have yet to find a copy). So I say to Mike, "I have a question about the song Train Song." "Sure, go ahead." he tells me. So I ask him if it is related to the book by Jan Kerouac, and after a clarifying who Jan is, he tells me "I don't know. That's interesting, I'll have to check that out." I told him "Thanks again for the show." and left, because at this point I had no more planned questions, and spontanaeity would have been a disaster at this point. He also had somes friends with him, and I didn't want to bother him that much.

Mike is the NICEST guy, and if he was being patronizing to me or anyone else, I had no idea. He seems to really enjoy talking to the fans. He is shorter than I am (5'11") which was pretty surprising to see.

Sorry for all of the minute detail here, but it was an amazing experience for me, and I just wanted to share it with all of you. If I had to sum up the aftershow experience, I would say that the party was a lot LESS cool than I thought it would be but meeting Mike was MUCH cooler than I ever imagined.

Stay tuned for the review of Sunday night (and the gathering!). Right now I have to go catch up on homework that I neglected to see these amazing shows. (and to write this review!)

To sum up: You probably want the second set (8), and maybe want the first (5). You definitely want to meet Mike :) The whole show gets a 6.5, if you can't handle averages.
Score: 7
waxbanks , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
waxbanks Deeper than the following night in Providence, brighter than the previous night on Long Island, and consistently exciting. You can't go wrong with the Island Tour shows. Tweezer > Taste is a great way to open a show (and both tunes are treated well here), 2001 and Ghost are standout versions, but everything's pretty much spic'n'span. If you like the band you're pretty much guaranteed to like this run of shows, so what in the world are you still reading this review for? Download, baby. Download.
Score: 4
hiddenaway , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
This show stands out as one of my all time favorites. Yes, I went to college in Providence and there's certainly a bit of nostalgia thrown in seeing the Island Tour when I was at the height of my college dreams, and Phish was also at the height of their game. Nassau 4/3 a night earlier maybe one of the best shows all time, and Phish brought the juice right back in this one.

First set Tweezer was very good - not the best one of 98 (that would come soon after at Den Gra Hall in Copenhagen), but pretty solid. Clearly the guys just had their groove in a very very good spot for the island tour, as none of the shows are bad, but this one is the 2nd best in my opinion. Solid versions of Taste, Funky, Ginseng and Limb made for a feel good first set. The Zero was a bit of downer for the set closer, but maybe it's just b/c I hate that song live.

Second set is where the nastiness gets started. I'm calling it right here - best Birds of a Feather > 2001 ever. Best Birds ever, best 2001 ever. Done deal. The Birds was so abstract, ambient and techno with high energy throughout (the song was so new and fresh to the guys and it was so pre-Trey doing the whack out bullshit rock guitar, much of what Birds has become today). It was just pure, full-band destruction, with tons of space techno and ambience throughout. 2001 followed it up with one of it's best versions ever, very extended in the beginning (took them 16:41 to finish it and they never even did the second Chorus!). Fully synched up, the band is just killing the entire song, and from what I remember Chris was killing the lights - he blacked out the Provy Civic Center and simply had the strobes and white lights going for about 6 mintues straight. Trey's nasty riffing begins and this 2001 just shoots into space funk heaven. My favorite of all time, I could listen to this 2001 in my sleep. Rest of the set stayed strong with a hilarious Brother that also included the famous "single" version, led into definitely a top 3 Ghost of all time. This Ghost, very famous among fans, really was brilliant, centering in a lot of the 97 cow phunk, but also achieving transcendence thorough multilayered movement and jamming from all four guys. Mike's bass work is outstanding and Trey's quick riffing at the end, is truly inspiring. In fact, the only Ghost that might top this was the 5/22/00 Radio City Ghost. A strong Bowie closed maybe one of the best sets in Phishtory. There's not many out there that can beat it folks, considering it contains (IMHO) a top 5 of all time Birds, Ghost and 2001. Hopes and stars....
Score: 3
JOEB7891 , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
Unfortunately I was not able make it to this show. I did have a tape of the 2nd set though and it was played all the time. I have to say that the Birds>2001>Brother >Ghost is just great. The jam in Birds get pretty far out there and I love it. I have had many long nights on crazy adventures driving around in MI with this tape playing in my car.
Score: 3
markah , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
(posted to rec.music.phish in April 1998 - part 3 of 4)

Saturday 4/4 -

Ok, so we knew the Tweezer opener was coming, and many of us were hoping
for horns with that Tweezer opener, but alas, all we got was a kickass
funk jam for almost 20 minutes. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. :)

The Taste and LxL in this set were both good, and probably better played
than I'd seen before, but I still don't like both of these in one set.
The Limb was good enough to let it slide though.

Seriously, a lot of people (including the ones I was with) are going to
deem this "the worst hour of Phish ever - but don't let them dissuade you.
True, there are some pretty crappy songs in here (including the Bitch - it
was quite poorly played) but this set is not without it's merits. The
in-concert highlight that I'm not sure will transfer onto tape (since
the Tweezer definitely will) was the Character Zero, which featured Trey
soling a-la Jimi Hendrix remaining as true to form as possible with his
foot planted firmly on the wah pedal. One of the first Zeros I really
liked hearing at a show.

Set two's highlights include the Birds of a Feather->Also Sprach
opener...two great jams encompassing the first 35 minutes of the set. I'm
telling you, people, Birds of a feather rocks! It was the only song
repeated in the 4-night run (unless you count the ASZ jam from 4/2) and
I'm sure Phish decided that the people in Providence needed to hear it as
much as the people on Long Island did. Wise choice! The segue into ASZ
was super...we never saw it coming.

The Brother breakout was definitely worth noting, especially the look on
Page's face when they finished - grinning from ear to ear. This song is
so asinine, I think it's hysterical to see people go nuts for it (not that
I don't!). Page was obviously amused, and Trey shared his joke. The
reprise was nothing more than Trey saying "thanks...we're going to play
that one more time" and hitting the riff one more time.

Next came the "radio unfriendly - cause it's really long and really slow"
Ghost (20 mins) which to tell the truth didn't do anything more than it
usually does, except it had a "I Can't Turn you Loose" tease/jam in there.

The Bowie was great, really really great, and the Hood encore was what I
at the time termed "the return of the good Hood." after there had been so
many lackluster ones this fall.
Score: 1
98ghostphunk , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
98ghostphunk Much has been said about the music--song by song-- so I'll just say what it meant to me, a 15-year-old kid at his 2nd show.

Hartford Fall 97 was my first show, which I attended because Billy Breathes seemed like a rad album. I didn't understand what this Phish was all about; the Hartford show seemed like one weird Jam. I immediately got the tapes in the mail and listened to those every night until this Providence show the following spring. My parents probably thought I was nuts.

My dad made the 90 min drive from CT to drop us off at the show-- me and a few friends who were also recently into Phish. Now, I'd seen a handful of real concerts by this point (Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Neil Young) but I knew Phish was different. My fondest memory of this show was Trey pumping his fist after Taste-- clearly getting off on the tension/release jam he had just led. I felt like Trey had connected with all of us, which blew me away; this place was full of people! Did everyone else just feel that too?

The monster jams mostly went over my head, but once again I mailed away for the tapes...and realized, even then, that this show was a monster. To this day, it is the benchmark against which I judge every show I attend or hear. It was my soundtrack for my junior year of high school. It made me love music. And I've never heard anything quite so good.
Score: 1
hervops , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
hervops Each of these Island Tour shows has it's own particular flavor. To my ears, 4/4 is somewhere in between the previous night's cathartic risk-taking and the next night's more upbeat swagger; throwing in a twist of deeper and darker flavor. With heavy-hitting and thick vibes, this second set might be the hardest one to digest of the run. That is in no way a bad thing because it is entirely golden.
Score: 0
ezzy16 , attached to 1998-04-04 Permalink
Been looking back at a number of shows seen during the '95-'98 halcyon days of college and carefree phish shows. And upon review, this goes down as the best show I ever attended. Now, mind you, I missed the Fall '97 tour, and only caught a few shows during the summer of '97 (good, but none matched Deercreek 8/13/96). But, with the quality flowing from that Fall '97 run, and the immediate buzz from the 4/3/98 Nassau show (which I did not attend), the expectations were high for that Saturday night in Providence. So here goes ...

Walked down college hill from my home in providence after a nice dinner and drinks/partying with friends. Strolled into the civic center, and the place was electric already. Sat down five rows behind the stage with a beer, waiting a half hour before the show started. Out came phish and bedlam ensued.

Tweezer>Taste was all power and seemed a natural continuation from the night before. Long, effortless powerful jamming, and real joy coming from Trey and the boys. They clearly were having a hell of a good time, and, with just four shows in four days, they weren't holding anything back.

After a quick Bouncin', a solid if unremarkable Funky Bitch, and a nice bluegrass interlude with Ginseng, the power got ramped back up with Limb By Limb - and man what a LxL. The powerful song pushed farther and farther before it came crashing down beautifully. A breath was certainly required.

Lawn Boy gave that breather, and a playful one at that. again, the boys were clearly at ease and the height of their powers, as Page serenaded the audience. Then, back to the power ... Character zero closed the set in anthemic fashion giving 65 minutes or so of powerful playing and pure pleasure.

Now, a quick note, the first set was very good, but not great for sure. Though more balanced than the next night, the 4/4 first set probably had more beef with the Oh Kee Pah>YEM, McGrupp, Cities, Gin, and SOAM. However, it was what came next that made this show, the second set was the best set of phish music I've ever heard and seen ...

BOAF was new, and it was the only repeat over the four days, but the intense spiraling jamming in this version certainly made it the best version of BOAF I have heard. Damn, if I didn't start to think the set was gonna take off from there ...

2001 - the unfinished funk masterpiece that it was -- did launch from there. It kept building, bubbling and bouncing with the beautiful light work. Just couldn't believe it ... 16 minutes of unfinished funk. Truly made the set for me. then into ...

Brother, and a sinister Brother at that. The waves kept coming and another unusually long version with a radio friendly edit to boot. God, it was ecstasy at this point. This was clearly gonna be a special set.

Then another newer tune with Ghost. A funked out, soulful romp (theme for the weekend). The I Can't Turn You Loose Jam was nice and again another great version.

Lizards gave a nod to the early days, and was played impeccably. Just Awesome. Followed by a spacey intense intro for David Bowie. And, yet another jammed out, balls out tune. They were not letting up, just pouring it on.

So, onto the encore, and man was Harry Hood perfectly placed and perfectly played ... again, best version I've ever heard. It was pure joy and a great capper to a hell of a show.

Some shows stick with you and some don't. Then there are those that change your fandom. This one was a game changer. The confluence of playing, performance, visuals, and all-around fun made this a truly special night.

I've seen other shows before and after ... The next night was pretty fabulous, but the second set didn't quite compare. 8/13/96 Deercreek changed me from a guy who'd seen phish 3 or 4 times to a true fan. And there have been others ... But 4/4/98 was the pinnacle, that's all I can say.
Score: 0

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