Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA
Soundcheck: Back at the Chicken Shack, Come On (Part One) > Wipe Out, Louie Louie, Jam (with HYHU and Louie Louie), Ginseng Sullivan, Funky Bitch, Jam (with Lifeboy, Limb By Limb and the Barney Miller theme teass), Jam
Set 2: Buried Alive > Wipe Out > CDTChalk Dust Torture -> Mirror in the Bathroom -> CDTChalk Dust Torture -> Dog Log -> CDTChalk Dust Torture > Sanity > Buffalo Bill > Mike'sMike's Song -> HydrogenI Am Hydrogen > WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove -> Wipe Out -> WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove > Weekapaug RepriseWeekapaug Groove Reprise > AntelopeRun Like an Antelope
 Alternate lyrics referencing a streaker.
 Phish debut.
 Unfinished; Blues version.
Noteworthy Jams: Ya Mar, Birds of a Feather, Chalk Dust Torture (highly recommended), Mirror in the Bathroom (highly recommended), Chalk Dust Torture (highly recommended), Dog Log (highly recommended), Chalk Dust Torture (highly recommended), Mike's Song, Weekapaug Groove (highly recommended), Wipe Out (highly recommended), Weekapaug Groove (highly recommended), Weekapaug Groove (highly recommended)
Average Song Gap: 87.55
Notes: Ya Mar contained I Dream of Jeannie theme teases from Mike. Carini included lyrics about the streaker from three weeks earlier. Mirror in the Bathroom (which was subtly teased by Mike in Chalk Dust Torture) made its Phish debut and Wipe Out was played for the first time since April 27, 1991 (722 shows). Chalk Dust included more Wipe Out teases. Dog Log was unfinished and sung over a more bluesy progression than usual. Weekapaug contained a Nellie Kane tease from Trey. Some funny banter ensued during the encore, as Fish and Trey took verbal jabs at each other. The soundcheck's Back at the Chicken Shack contained a Layla tease from Trey. This show was officially released as Live Phish 06.
Songs by Debut Year:
FUNKY BITCH was a rocking opener, got everyone dancing and YA MAR followed suit. I don't necessarily remember a segue into CARINI, but it's entirely possible that there was one. Carini was great, with the typical heavy metal riffing by Trey. It's one of my favorite songs. I have seen it posted that this Carini included the lyrics about the naked person...I didn't notice this, but there was a part of the lyrics that I thought was flubbed, so this may have been the changed part. The energy was very high up to this point, and the crowd was really psyched.
RUNAWAY JIM evoked memories of last year, and I was hoping for a repeat performance of last year's odyssey. Alas, it was not to be and we were treated to a relatively straight-up, Trey-led jam, which was not very experimental at all (although still quite good). At this point, after New Haven and the first few songs of this set, I felt that the band was heading in a 94-ish Machine-gun Trey direction, and getting away from the funk and whole-band exploratory jams. As if responding to my concerns, the band brought out MEAT which was a welcome return to the sparse funk. Similar to what you hear on the album, but with either 1 or 2 more false endings, and probably a bit slower. Definitely better than any ballad which they might put after a high energy opening; and very much a *whole band* effort. Mike was *much* louder tonight than at New Haven, possibly because of the weird shape of that crappy New Haven venue. It added considerably to my enjoyment to be able to really hear Mike spanking the bass.
Next up was REBA, and a nice Reba it was, too. This song and me have a strange history...it started out as one of the songs that got me into Phish, moved on to a song that I didn't really like at all, and now is a song that consistently gives me a transcendent experience. This version was no exception, and contained some great tension-filled guitar work by Trey. Not the "best" Reba, but I have a hard time comparing Rebas in much the same way I can't really compare Hoods.
MY OLD HOME PLACE pleased me in that it wasn't Ginseng, which I've heard a lot of lately. DOGS STOLE THINGS at least doesn't have the Mound drumbeat at the beginning anymore to piss me off, but still doesn't excite me at all. VULTURES is one of my favorite of the 97 crop of songs, and I was glad to hear it. This version was rearranged, but without a tape of both of them next to me, I can't really say how, since it's been 4 days since the show. WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES I could really do without, and would rather hear any number of Phish-authored ballads (FEFY in particular!) before it. I guess it kind of means something when they start a multi-night run in a city but I just get bored with it. BIRDS OF A FEATHER was nowhere near as good as the Providence version from earlier this year and I've heard this song on the radio a few too many times to really get into it if they aren't going to take the jam places. I figured Birds would be the set closer, and I was right.
Set I recap: Carini was great, Meat funky and fun and Reba transcendent. Not much to say about the rest of the set, and overall, I give it a 4 on the SJCRS.
BURIED ALIVE is one of the greatest set openers, IMO, and was great to hear at the Centrum since it was the location of my only other Buried on 12/28/95. Really a great song, and it shows off Trey's chops big time. MIke's bassline during this is nice too. Not very different from the versions you've heard on tape, however. WIPE OUT was such a complete and total surprise that it took me longer to recognize than it should have. Fishman was great with the drum solos and yells; Trey introduced him as Bob Weaver at one point during the song, but it wasn't very clear what exactly he was saying.
After the amazing debut of Wipe Out, I didn't mind hearing my second CHALKDUST TORTURE in one week. As soon as I heard the Wipe Out teases by Trey in the beginning and nearly every break between the lyrics, I REALLY didn't mind. Then the jam segued into MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM, which sounded very familiar but is a song that I don't really know at all. I could place the decade, but beyond that, my mind was drawing a blank. This is something I'll want to hear on tape. They sang a couple of verses of Mirror and went back into Chalkdust. Then what I would describe as a
hard blues jam evolved and the band started singing..."Walking cross the lawn lawn lawn lawn lawn..."
Whoohoo! My third DOG LOG! (I was at the Dog Log show This was much different from the straight up white album version or the slow lounge lizard version. I'm not entirely certain that they got all the way through the lyrics, I was too excited to file these things away in my head, but the music was soon headed back into CHALKDUST. By this point the audience was nuts, and nearly everyone joined in the "Can't I live while I'm young?" singing. The segue into SANITY was definitely of the start-stop variety, and thus I wouldn't even call it a segue, but that's the way notation works on Phish.Net (and in the Mockingbird Book as I understand it, so get used to it!). Sanity was classic, as always, with unbelievable energy from the band during the "Boom....boom...." part at the end. They were screaming like the world was exploding!
Fishman's favorite song, BUFFALO BILL, started up next. Looking for owls? I certainly was, and it was at this point that I realized the set had entered the realm of the Old School. The jam kind of slowed to a stop and Trey played (and flubbed a bit) the guitar opening to MIKE'S SONG. The jam started out normally enough, but then entered a somewhat spacey territory. It continued like this and I was praying for a Hydrogen, which was the song I was least likely to have not seen, according to ZZYZX. Not to disappoint, Fishman started the drumbeat to I AM HYDROGEN. The Mike's hadn't ended with the driving bass/guitar like Mike's of old, but Fishman was playing Hydrogen anyway. The rest of the band layed down some space on Fish's beat which bore no resemblence to any Hydrogen I've ever heard. After at least 3 minutes of spacey jamming, they started to actually play the song, which seemed a bit rusty, but was beautiful as always. I think it just may be the prettiest Phish song. Anyone want to argue?
Pretty standard segue (which isn't that standard anymore, now is it?) into WEEKAPAUG GROOVE. Mike spanked out a solo and they were off. I would say that they segued into WIPE OUT completely during this tune, rather than just jamming on it, but that's a matter of opinion. The jam got a bit spacey and then sort of died out. Trey then walked around to the rest of the band and they started up the jam again, leading off with the main Weekapaug riff and then quickly heading into some space, and this was by far the most experimental thing I've heard out of Phish this fall. Very cool, and a great contrast to the machine gun Trey jamming of the first set and New Haven. If I was writing the setlist I would have called this WEEKAPAUG REPRISE, but it probably would screw up ZZYZX that way, so I won't. This is the sort of thing that I hadn't seen too much of this year at all, and it's glad to know they still have some Type II up their sleeves!
RUN LIKE AN ANTELOPE came next, and I was shaking my head in disbelief as it was already 10 past 11. This set just doesn't quit, folks! The energy was so high at the end of this set that the Antelope blew everyone away. I would rate this above 5/4/94 New Orleans, the Antelope dedicated to the baby of Trey's friend that was being born during the show. And I had never heard a better Antelope than that one.
Set II recap: One of the best Phish sets I have ever heard. Almost as if they transported 2/20/93 to 1998 and kept all the improvement they've made as musicians. Without a doubt, a perfect 10 on the SJCRS. A "must have" set, without question.
My friends and I were really expecting to hear Destiny. If there ever was a time where I thought they would play it, it was tonight. The crowd was EXTREMELY loud during the wait for the encore; when the band did come out, the crowd was the loudest I have ever heard anywhere. It was almost painful! You could tell what everyone thought of that amazing second set. So, when Page started playing WADING IN THE VELVET SEA, I was a bit disappointed since I just heard it at New Haven. I really like it as a song and all, but I expected something special. GOLGI APPARATUS followed, and is a song that I really enjoy in spite of the lack of jamming/short length. The segue into WIPE OUT was a perfect way to end the evening, and was by far the best of the three Wipe Outs played. What a great show!
Full show recap: First set started off with a lot of energy, cooled down some. Second set left me speechless and was among the best ever! Encore great on balance, would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gone to New Haven. I give this show a 9.25 on the SJCRS. (I know the average doesn't
work, but if you felt the way I did after the show, you would give it the same grade.)
The first set is pretty standard for 1998; Ya Mar briefly steps out towards the end, Reba is nice enough (as it generally is, unless it's an all-timer or a noodle-y version), and Birds has more pizzazz to it than it does in 3.0, but this set is just fine. The second set gets off to an always-promising start with Buried Alive, then takes a sharp left turn into Wipe Out (it'll always be anybody's guess as to why they decided to break it out 2 songs into the second set), before getting down to business with CDT. This is one of my favorite versions, even though there's no real jam to speak of; both Wipe Out and Mirror in the Bathroom are heavily teased from the start, and the actual segue into Mirror itself is buttery smooth (thanks to Mike, who's got that bassline locked down pretty good), as is the even sharper and even less expected segue into the blues version of Dog Log. You might not be too impressed if Type II is your only reason to listen to Phish, but if you enjoy happy fun times as well, then you'll love this CDT.
Sanity and Buffalo Bill are interesting palate cleansers, then comes a massive Mike's Groove for the record books. Mike's brings us into the land of loops right out of the gate, as the band locks into the usual late-90s chilled-out Mike's jam, Trey ripping off a particularly *ugly* solo as the jam reaches its climax. We get a lovely segue into Hydrogen (seriously, why don't they do this anymore?), which is longer than usual, and then the real highlight of the set in Weekapaug. Weekapaug wastes little time going into a sharp, funky breakdown, with Page and Mike taking the forefront as Fish drops a skittering beat, then gloriously bursts back into plain ol' Weekapaug - that is, until Trey rolls back into Wipe Out, which the band jams on for a few measures, before double-timing Weekapaug to its close. Or so you'd think - upon finishing the song, Trey leads the band back into a *ferocious* reprise of Weekapaug, which then dies away as we enter an ambient zone, Mike's basslines alien-sounding as Trey (apparently) goes to his mini-kit, a thick slice of the messier ambiance that Phish traded in at the end of the decade, before the jam comes to a powerful close. A lovely, jazzy Antelope is the icing on the cake.
Final thoughts - a truly fun, exciting show. There are a few better sets in Fall '98, but only a few, and none of them feature as much pure thrills as this second set here does. Highly recommended.
Friday November 27
Woosta Centrum - Woosta, Mass
Old Home Place
Dogs Stole Things
(hold on to your hats...)
Chalkdust Torture ->
Mirror in the Bathroom (?) ->
Chalkdust Torture ->
Dog Log (sort of) ->
12-Bar Blues Jam ->
Chalkdust Torture ->
Buffalo Bill ->
Mike's Song ->
I am Hydrogen ->
Weekapaug Groove ->
Weekapaug Jam ->
Pink Floyd-like Jam ->
Run Like an Antelope!!!!
Or, at least, that's the best I can come up with. This is the one set I
did not get taped, and you can imagine how horribly I am kicking myself
for it. Therefore I'd like to insert my obligitory grovel...
I sat here and stared at the screen for about five minutes just now,
looking at that setlist again. I'm not going to even try to say anything
about it. It was _that_ good.
And all I'm really gonna say about first set is REBA. This was probably
the best version of REBA I've heard since sometime before Dayton (meaning,
yes, that this was better than that one - simply amazing. I didn't think
Trey had another great Reba like this in him. See also 12/4/96 San
The encore was a bit of a letdown I felt - did we need ANOTHER Golgi?
Eh....Wipeout is obviously incredibly fun, Fishman begrudgingly taking
what will withstand the test of time as the most HORRID drum solo ever.
One noteworthy thing is that Trey actualy reffers to Fish as "Jon Fishman"
for what is the only time I can recall (as opposed to "Hennrietta," "Bob
Weaver," "Sammy Hagar the Horrible," or whatever he is these days).
they kick things off with a really nice funky bitch. trey gets nice and bluesy, gordo nails the vocals. yamar cools things off for a minute before they rip into a really nice carrini. runaway jim keeps the momentum rolling. after the hour long jim the year before, the boys didn't really bother taking this one out too far. meat works well hear, but reba works even better. this gives the boys their first chance to really take off, and they really nail reba. this one stays in the normal "reba framework," but they work nice and precisely in that frame work. old home place is nice and snappy, and dst's is well executed. vultures really shines. this is a great tune that needs to be played more. this is a typically nice dark version. circus serves as a really nice cool down after a pretty fiery set. birds closes this one out in fine form. this one was not much of a jammer yet, but it was coming along.
then there is the second set. buried alive is absolutely, positively the best set opener around. trey kills some very nice santana'esque guitar licks through out this one. then out of buried, trey rips into wipe out. this one is nice and fun. after that one, they start up a rare second set chalk dust. trey litters wipeout teases all over the first section of chalk dust. then in trey's solo, him and fishman start to push the band in a slightly different direction. next thing you know, trey is belting out "mirror in the bathroom," between chuckles, of course. out of the mirror jam, they quickly shift back into a rowdy chalk dust jam, that quickly makes a bluesy turn. then, we are walking across the lawn! dog log is well-played. especially, since it quickly jumps back up into a very rowdy chalk dust closing. chalk dust closes with more energy, mostly built from the momentum of mirror and log, than any chalk dust closing i've heard. so, of course, the boys need a little cool-down, right? sanity! this always rare treat works oh so well after the chalk dust mayhem. keeping it mellow but with some oh so rare treats, they drop right into buffalo bill. i remember being so pissed that the centrum got buffalo bill in consecutive runs, but then, my home town deer creek dropped 'ol buffalo bill on us in '00 and '03. anyway, as if this show was not hot enough, they delve into a pretty solid mike's song. this one is pretty average for '98 with a slightly extended spacey jam before drifting into hydrogen. hydrogen is pretty straight forward. while the mike's song was pretty average, the weekapaugh was not. of course, gordo storms into the song like a champ, but the way they jam on this one is incredible. they drop it down twice, building it back up into storming weekapaugh jams both times. trey and page just dance around each other on this one, while gordon slaps away, and fishman keeps the beat like a mofo! great 'paugh, best of the year. now, that's the last song right? it's late... nope, antelope! trey nimbly brings us out of weekapaugh and into antelope. this draws a few cheers, to say the least. trey goes onto light this one up, and don't skip fishman's playing here. good antelope, especially being king of a free bonus on an already rediculously sick set/show. the encore leaves a little to be desired, but after that show, how much can you bitch about a 3 song encore. velvet sea doesn't do it for me, and golgi is one that i've grown weary of. they do tack on a bounus wipeout, sending everyone home extatic.
this is one show, along with the 95 show in the same venue, that if i had a time machine... well, anyway, the guys poor it on in the second set like i have never heard them. buried through chalk dust or the mike's groove would have really made any other show worth hearing, but to have all that, plus sanity and bill in the middle, really makes this one a contender for one of the best shows ever. it's in my top 10 for sure.
funky bitch, reba, vultures
buried>wipe>chalk>mirror>chalk>log>chalk, weekapaugh>antelope, hell gotta throw sanity and bill on there too...just get this show....the second set is must hear for any phish fan!
I heard the soundcheck before I listened to the show proper. Lemme tell ya, if you're interested in all the mad interplay of how unconstrained the quartet was on that night then you should really do yourself a favor and find the soundcheck if you haven't already.
-This Review Is Not About The Second Set!
If you WERE at the show I suspect you'd have known to buckle your seatbelts already by the ROCK Bitch they dropped as an opener, in opposition to the funky Bitches that were coming out at the time. You could take a few clips from near the end of this Rocky Bitch and stick them in the middle of a Llama and they'd fit. They'd fit well. Seriously. Or if you were a "Page Side Rage Side" type like I am and you came to the show with a nice shiny sports car that you keep very clean, you'd certainly have noticed Good McConnell asking you "Roads?" when Leo starts telling Ya Mar like it is.
"Where we're going we don't need roads!"
Ya Mar is so chill I would have expected it to segue into a Billy Breathes or a Prince Caspian. But no. Out of such peace and comfort Carini bashes us over our lumpy heads, which would have been rude except I would have been so full of excitement to hear an Axilla, BBFCFM, Led Zeppelin mad metal show. But no. Runaway Jim. No metal show.
Runaway Jim would have further discombobulated me, especially because it blisters the way a hyper Maze or a rip roaring Rift does. This Jim would have had me thinking about some of those early SOAM Your Face Off Jams but that's about the only foreshadowing I would have been somewhat correct about. I read another review here that hearkens this show to those of 1993 and I find such an assessment apropos. With the exception of Izabella, it's almost seems as if the Autumn of 1997 never happened. This whole show does kinda have an early 1990s thing to it, pre-Hoist.
But by the time Meat would have rolled around I would have been in free fall, totally confused and without a map. They did warn early that I was unprepared for what they had prepared for me but I guess I don't take advice well. And Meat doesn't really end here, does it? It unexpectedly keeps on going until it just kind of gets interrupted by...
Well, the Meat gets bagged, tagged and sold to the butcher in the...
Old Home Place? Wow.
But Wait! Wait.
I feel like I am in that Pixies song Where Is My Mind?
Did I just skip Reba? Yes. There is a reason for that. It's because this Reba is nearly nameless. It's subtle. What I mean is that this is a subtle performance that transcends its form and composition. What I mean is that there is nothing obtrusive about it, nor is there much with which we are familiar and comfortable onto which we can grab hold. While there's nothing here to give you a lumpy head, it's true, there's also not a not a lot of what we'd call "Reba" here. It's kind of a vehicle for this other... thing that's happening onstage. This is a lullaby! It's okay, I slept through it the first time, too. And it was a good thing, I think we were supposed to. Like the long, dark mist sequences that nobody seems to notice the first time they watch Battleship Potempkin, our brains pleasantly check out for a much-needed moment of respite and reflection until we give the material a second visit. Except for the peace that Ya Mar offered, this Reba is not in line stylistically with any of the rest of the concert up to this point. The tender rhythmic feelings of this lovely "Reba" are to be reprised in tone in Vultures (strangely enough), when Fishman forces Yo Soy H and finally in Velvet Sea.
Which leads to the conclusion of my synopsis of this show, fully understanding how rude it may be to say it: For me, November 27th, 1998 is a "Fishman Show." Sometimes, albeit rarely, one of them just seems to musically declare, "I'm on fire tonight, fellas." The rest are all are respectful and professional enough to ALWAYS respond with a collective, "Go, we got your back. Do it." If you were to do some surgery and open up the insides of most of the songs in this show and eliminate the keys, guitar and bass, you might be left with what virtuosic jazz / progrock percussionists play at drum clinic master classes. No exaggeration. I don't usually focus so much on any one instrument and even more rarely do I (or can I) focus strictly on the drums but after listening to this show a couple of times, that's where my ears are pulled and it's there that they stay. After trying really hard to wrap my head around what's happening in this mad show, I think I found the key. And I think it's Jon Fishman. And the following musical moment may elucidate why.
Suddenly and from out of nowhere, about ten minutes into Reba they get stuck as if a single rotation of a scratched record is playing over and over. And over again. It's weird. I urge you to give this strange short moment another couple of focused listenings to ask yourself, "Were I playing that, up on that stage, behind any one of those instruments, responsible for such an odd magical loop, how in the hell would I be able to UN-SCRATCH the record?" Personally, I would likely stay tied up in it as most of us would but if you concentrate I'll bet that you too can hear how Jon Fishman unties the knot with all the subtle skill of a true master. Furthermore, I'd like to say, he infuses it with a whole lot of confidence and joy.
There are many comments about the setlist, about how Chalkdust appears thrice, how Weekapaug also appears thrice, and so emphasizing these oddities yet again would not serve this review well, especially because I believe I've found a longer arc, spanning just about the entire show. So allow your attention to fall upon the cohesive thread that runs through the innards of:
Ya Mar = Reba = Vultures = Yo Soy H = Velvet Sea.
I was swimmin' in Massachusetts
Vultures were hiding behind the ROCK!
Except the little Fish
But they told me,
Chalk Dust Torture me, Dog Log...
Where is my mind?
Wipe Out in the water, see it swimming...
To add, I'll say that the Jim, while being standard, is probably my favorite of the standard Jims ever played. The Mike's, while also standard, is my favorite of this tour, due to the high degree of funk and ESP happening on stage.
It's highly tight, trey wails.
Get this show.
First song I ever heard by Phish, the studio version of Wading, I thought that was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard... fortunate it enough and to come to find, Phish plays live beauty
This is not my favorite show from Fall '98 but nonetheless there's no mistaking why it was chosen for the official release treatment. This 2nd set is probably one of the most energetic and fun of the tour and also contains one INCREDIBLE but oft overlooked jam in Weekapaug Groove.
The first set is pretty standard, with a tight opening run of tunes. Nothing special, but well played and energetic. Can't go wrong with any of the song choices either. Ya Mar had particularly beautiful outro soloing from Trey, and Jim had a ferocious peak. Meat's a welcome addition to any set in my opinion. It's a neat tune that I wish saw more action. The Reba is phenomenal - I'm a sucker for any Reba soundboard, so I'm admittedly biased, but this is the clear highpoint of the set for me. Mike is especially strong in this version. Vultures also smokes, another song that I wish got more attention. Trey's guitar tone was unbelievably crisp and smooth in 98 - I think it is my favorite year in terms of his tone. An energetic Birds of a Feather closes out the set. It's a 'Type I' by-the-numbers version, but definitely features some dark and ominous playing. On to Set II.
Set II is where the craziness and fun begins. Buried Alive is the perfect opener, a blast of energy. This version seems to have some added dissonance in the middle. Next up: WIPEOUT!!! The classic surfer tune made it's first appearance since having been played and teased in the early 90's. As Trey begins to repeatedly tease Wipe Out in the following Chalkdust it becomes apparent that this is going to be no ordinary second set. During the verses Mike begins to tease an infectious bass line, becoming more and more distinct with each subsequent tease. (Later revealed to be the bass line to "Mirror in the Bathroom" - a song by the 80's English ska band The Beat) As Mike continues to tease this song Trey eventually picks up on it and begins to play along and even sings along! This set is becoming out of control!! Trey eventually leads the band back into an energetic Chalkdust jam with some fierce soloing. This is an awesome Chalkdust jam, definitely above average. It eventually morphs into a choppy, slowed down bluesy groove and the band starts singing Dog Log! This is quickly becoming a very old school set, full of segues, teases and bust outs. An abrupt ending leads into Sanity, another old school rarity! I love the opening marching-band drumbeat to this song. This is a very creepy, odd song, and I love it. They must've been really into the rarities that night because it's one after another after another…. Buffalo Bill is next. This a fun tune.
Back to relative normalcy with the opening chords of Mike's Song, but the night's music journey is far from over. Following the Wipeout/Chalkdust/Mirror in the Bathroom/Dog Log madness and the ensuing rarities there is still almost an hour left in the second set! The Mike's jam is funky and aggressive. Trey and Page really just tear the song apart, before an atypical ending without the usual final chords that signal a segue into I am Hydrogen. Instead, the band drifts into spacey ambience. This absolutely enchanting musical space bleeds flawlessly into I am Hydrogen proper, starting with Mike's gorgeous bass line. Trey soon follows suit. Not the cleanest I am Hydrogen but damn, I'd trade a crisper version for one this interesting any day. Trey's tone is absolutely stunning during his Hydrogen solo, as usual. (P.S. why why why??? is this not included in the list of unusual, interesting, or weird versions on Phish.net's song history of I am Hydrogen?)
As Hydrogen winds down, Mike kicks down the opening bass licks of Weekapaug and we're off! The jam immediately descends into its typical fast paced funk after Trey's energetically soloing slows into rhythmic chords and Page hops on the clav. Already the song shows hints of becoming a little spacey, with by Mike's strong bass leads, and Trey continuing his funk chords while Page adds accompanying effects. Trey starts to solo and the song begins to soar to a typical peak. But wait - the band starts playing Wipeout!! In the middle of Weekapaug the entire band makes a full reprise of their early set bust out, before returning to finish out Weekapaug in a speedy fashion. The song comes to almost complete close before reprising the ending of Weekapaug! What has gotten into the band during this set!? This is far more than just a brief re-ending of the song. Weekapaug slowly fades away as Mike takes the reigns with a driving bass line and Trey begins to lay down effects laden lead guitar lines. Mike continues to lead with a devastatingly addictive groove. Some of my favorite Mike playing of all time. This is an absolutely phenomenal "second jam" to Weekapaug. Definitely an early precursor to some of the Mike led jams of the 3.0 era. Page adds effects on the keyboard while Trey plays squeaky, screechy background licks. This is ambient groove at it's finest. Towards the end Mike begins to drop liquid bass bombs, and Fish picks up on his rhythm. Trey returns with growling chords to add to the building beat before it grinds to an abrupt halt. End set. But no…
Trey plays the opening notes to Run Like an Antelope! This set is relentless! Unfortunately, this Antelope is more of an afterthought to the craziness that ensued before rather than an exclamation point. It's fine, it just lacks inspiration and is rather dull and uneventful in my opinion. A standard Antelope, nothing special here. Besides the "wow!" factor of one more song (and Antelope no less!) after the Weekapaug slowly faded out, I think that this Antelope adds very little to a legendary set. The jam actually starts out with interesting staccato interplay between Page and Trey, before escalating to an equally uninteresting tension filled Trey solo peak. (Note: after a couple of relistens, I have found things to enjoy within this Antelope. Definitely more going on than my initial listen led me to believe. I still stand by my opinion that this Antelope is not on par with the rest of the set, however.) I think that the main fault of this version actually lies with its length believe it or not. A more succinct version would have given a more energetic stamp to the end of the set.
The encore also starts out relatively uneventfully with a Wading and a Golgi before a very fun (if not expected) final reprise of Wipeout.
All in all, this is a wonderful show and an excellent choice for the LivePhish series. It combines the maniacal spontaneity and youthful energy of the early 90's with the deeper musical exploration and expression of the second half of the decade. A very strong first set full of interesting playing and great song choices coupled with such a fun and musical important second set should warrant 5 stars. The Antelope and the lackluster encore hold me back. I wish I could give this one a 4.5, but I'll settle for 4.