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Link Tuesday, 12/07/1999
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME

Set 1: Farmhouse, First Tube, NICU > Funky Bitch > PYITEPunch You In the Eye, Nellie Kane, Halley'sHalley's Comet > CoilThe Squirming Coil

Set 2: Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother, Jennifer Dances, Heavy Things, Bug, GinBathtub Gin > Simple, Free, SuzySuzy Greenberg

Encore: Walk Away > Rocky Top

· Gotta Jibboo tease in Halley's Comet
· Bathtub Gin tease in Simple

Noteworthy Jams: Halley's Comet (highly recommended), Bathtub Gin (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 6.56

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

Notes: Halley's Comet contained a Gotta Jibboo tease from Mike and Simple contained a Bathtub Gin tease from Trey.

Song Distribution:
4 Farmhouse
2 Lawn Boy
1 Billy Breathes
1 Hoist

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1999 Winter Tour."

n00b100 Staff , attached to 1999-12-07 Permalink
n00b100 The first set is fine, if entirely standard, but the Halley's Comet (now available in SBD form thanks to Kevin Shapiro) is absolutely worth hearing, as the band locks into an airtight, super-smooth groove right out of the gate, with Trey's solos spiraling around said groove like a DNA double-helix (Fish's work is invaluable here; it's remarkable how many different moods Fish can pull off with his drumming, including "Charlie Watts metronomic time-keeper" here). Trey's riffs start bubbling as the jam enters a lull, Page taking over as the digital loops circle overhead, then the jam coalesces once more and enters "bliss territory" ever so slightly reminiscent of the fabled Went Gin before the music seems to gently melt away, leaving loops and white noise in its place. That's a "best of the run" jam right there, and every bit the equal of anything you could find at Cypress.

Set 2 leads off with Wolfman's Brother, which is a nice dose of funk; the set basically nosedives from there (*man*, Jennifer Dances is a bad song), but then comes a strong one-two punch to save things. First up is Gin, whose jam books along at a sharp pace before heading into ambient waters, Trey and Page helping create a dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere, Fish and Mike keeping a foot in the real world (Fish, in particular, does some really interesting work). Simple then slides in to complete the combination, and while it's not the best Simple ever or anything, it's comes to a gentle ending and serves as a nice topper to the previous jam. The band throws out four straight rockers as set enders and encore.

A reasonably good show, with two must-hear jams, but (like much of this month) kind of uneven. Still, 12/99 has its own sound, and if you like it, you are pretty much guaranteed to like this show.
Score: 8
, attached to 1999-12-07 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

The two Portland, Maine shows from Fall `99 are high on my "all-time underrated" list. Walking into a general admission show at the historic CCCC on that first crispy December night, I remembered thinking, "Am I sure this is 1999 and not 1993?" I was fortunate enough to nab a spot in the first couple rows after leaving my friends, who had opted for seats. I spent the show solo and had one of my best Phish experiences ever.
The first set was highlighted early with a nasty '99 style "First Tube", a stellar version. I was just digging the intimate atmosphere, the relatively friendly and warm crowd, and playfulness of the set. Mike was full-on cracking up during the "Landlady" dance in the mid-set "Punch" (always a treat).
I'm a big "Halley's" fan, and have always been quick to praise its jam potential. The last one I had seen was probably from Great Woods earlier that summer (7/13/99) and it had been fantastic. This is my bar-none all-time-yes-I'm-familiar-with-12/14/95-and-11/11/98 number one "Halley's" of all time pick. It's about twenty seven minutes long, and launches right from the get go. It's got a slick electric groove (that would be visited in the stellar second set "Bathtub") to start things off, some tasteful rocking and some serious glory. It's one of my favorite Phish jams of all time, and I can't believe this jam doesn't get mentioned more often. Do yourself a favor and seek this show out so you can hear it.
Set II was also great. "Wolfman's" was typical of the time "... funky and groovy and getting out there just enough for you to be pleasantly surprised by the return to the theme to finish it. There's also a "Bug" that made me an early believer. Just beautiful on this one, and great placement.
The set following "Bug" is bliss. I liked the "Bathtub" at the time, but now I flat out love it. I've always been a huge "Gin" fan, and have always expected big things from it. What's nice about this one is that its completely atypical for a "Gin" jam of this period. Instead, its got a soaring ambient groove that the band hit really nicely a few times in this period; see also the "Halley's" in the first set, the" Down with Disease" from the following night, and Big Cypress. They really get out into space, but with a sense of direction. Great listening music. "Simple", "Free", "Suzie" was Mike and Page heavy bring-down-the-house kind of stuff. Fantastically fun and definitely a keeper. The goodness continued through the following night.
Score: 5
waxbanks , attached to 1999-12-07 Permalink
waxbanks Holy moley! Andrew's review is spot-on: this show features a death-defying Halley's and an unbearably pretty Gin > Simple. I can't speak to the rest of the show, but that's nearly an hour of blissful music right there.

Within a year of their 'Remain in Light' set Phish had mutated into something new; 1997's funk got spacey in fall and mixed with proto-electronic ambient textures in 1998; and in 1999 (particularly the consistent December run) the band's turn toward minimalist ambience found blissful expression in tunes like this Gin (and was perfected in shows like 12/31/99 and 6/14/00). The complex darkness of summer 2003 and 2004's monochromatic rock seem to work in a similar register with different intent. This was the period where a pure strain of delicate post-raver-culture texture/rhythm experimentation threaded throughout Phish's entire concert repertoire (check out how quickly the scary intensity of the next night's Piper dissipates into sweet ambient melodies, or how the 12/10/99 Bowie melts effortlessly into Have Mercy). If you don't need odd time signatures, pinwheel modulations, and wonky nerdgasms in your Phish tapes, then December '99 will surely have something to offer you - even if (like me) you'd rather not listen to all of it just to show how *much* you like it. I don't think this month offers the same variety as November/December 1997, but then the set of all apples contains fewer oranges than the set of all oranges, and that doesn't mean I don't like apples...
Score: 5
marcoesq , attached to 1999-12-07 Permalink
FTA16 brings the SBD love!

Great show, made it even better that we had to endure a 6hr snowstorm over Mt Washington en route from Burlington. Warm, cozy confines of the CCCC made it even more special. These other 2 guys have pretty well described the highlights, can't wait to hear this on sbd over and over again! The interplay of these guys is remarkable all throughout these glorious 27min.

Thanks, Shapiro!
Score: 1

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