This show marked the Phish debut of Trench Town Rock and the return of Time Loves a Hero (first since November 5, 1988, or 1,021 shows). Runaway Jim included a tease of Maria from West Side Story. Trey teased Dave's Energy Guide in Limb By Limb. This show is also available on DVD from Phish Dry Goods.
I only caught the day after in Vernon Downs and Lemonwheel on this tour. Great times, as the band was having fun with new covers almost every night. I wish I had hoped on a show earlier and caught this night, however. I'm not sure why it doesn't more attention, but this Runaway Jim is probably the best jam of '98, and I'd wager the best Jim ever. About 30 minutes of pure bliss that sees Trey pull off a few of those magic galactic licks that sound better ever time you hear them. Definitely one of the record books by the time they bring it back to the Jim finale. I haven't listened to the rest of the show in a while.
I'm reviewing this show based on the 2-DVD set as well as the LivePhish download, not having been in attendance. I rate this show a 4/5, but a 4/5 Phish show is still quite a recommendation.
The Trench Town Rock opener is historically interesting, but otherwise merely "neat" for a Bob Marley fan such as myself, who prefers the original, complete with indecipherable(?) patois that Trey replicated with admirable aplomb. Julius is a particularly stirring version, with some high-fretboard action from Trey that really excites me. Wolfman's funks it up funkily before seguing into a Little Feat bustout that has a tropical feel and lyrical theme; I'm not a big Little Feat listener. Bittersweet Motel has a nice lyrical coincidence, but the Reba that follows is to me the highlight of the show, Runaway Jim included. Stratospheric heights are reached, which is made all the more astounding by watching the close-ups of the band in the DVD that show them intensely focused but lithe listeners, one of the most attractive aspects of Phish in my consideration and really what collective improvisation is--or should be--about.
Runaway Jim is one of the longest versions ever played of that quintessential Phish classic, and the run(away) is well worth the exertion, even reaching a passage that was memorialized in the 30th-anniversary audiovisual/Phishtorical montage on 12/31/13, I think. After the Jim, anything else is icing on the cake for me. They had me at "Reba sink a boulder in the water." They had me at "Danger, I've been told to expect it," in fact. Sometimes highlights alone make a show worth at least 4 stars, even though every Phish show is cohesive in its own way, a canvas that *can* be dissected but is perhaps a dish best served whole. I'll revisit this show for years to come, I hope... thanks to JEMP and Phish, Inc. for the valuable and generous keepsake, and to Phish as musicians for the content.
Great news! This morning's news inspired me to write a show review.
As I've written before here on .net, fans on tour were all riding a huge high coming off the madness of maryland/virginia beach (and a great tour). This show was alot of fun as a result. The lots were extremely positive ... more than normal random high fiving and lots of "can you believe it" conversations. Kinda like the Phish community had turned a corner, and we all knew it.
The debut cover of Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock" to open the show was just perfect. Followed with a standard but nice version of Julius set the mood for the show. The Wolfman's jam into the bust-out of Little Feat's "Time Loves a Hero" (over 1000 shows) was awesome. To date, the only version of "Bittersweet Motel" I actually don't mind listening to (the crowd's reaction to the line "halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh" always makes me smile). The remainder of the set was a mix of standards in Sloth and the closer Sample, some nice bluegrass in Ginseng Sullivan, a nice distinctly summer '98 take on Fee, and soaring versions of Reba & Maze.
The second set opens with a very exploratory Runaway Jim, including a sublime tease of "Maria" (by Trey) from the musical West Side Story - which I had absolutely no idea what it was at the time. It's similar in ambition to the Worcester '97 Jim. Although I prefer the Worcester Jim, this one is unmistakably summer '98 and was/is a wonderful listening experience in extended open improv (35 mins). The return to the Jim theme is glorious after the sonic journey. The boys follow it up with exactly what is called for: a couple new tunes (Meat and LxL) which would later be featured on Story of the Ghost (Fall '98). The start/stop of Meat was playful and the crowd appreciated it. For a few moments it threatened to get elastic in that summer '98 kind of way, but coming off the monster Jim, a straight ahead version was called for. I especially like how it finished/went into LxL (which I used to say at the time was Reba dressed up in a Taste drumbeat). If you like Reba and Taste (who doesn't), it's hard to dislike LxL. A gorgeous "When the Circus Comes" (Los Lobos cover) fit in well after the SOTG tunes in what was emerging as the mid/late second set ballad position in the setlist (think Bug, Mtns in the Mist, Velvet Sea, etc.). A straight-forward rocking version of DwD closed the second set in similar fashion to Atlanta, five days earlier.
Depending on your point of view, nothing too exciting tonight for the encore (pretty much impossible to top Sabotage/Terrapin Station), although Wilson had some lyrical variations from Trey which I can't identify, but it's clear, he was in good spirits. Golgi ended a very satisfying show that well represents Phish in Summer '98: well played yet playful, occasional bust-outs, debut covers, rocking out and taking risks. There's better shows in my opinion from Summer '98 but as an overall document on the tour, Burgettstown '98 is a solid, yet welcome/unexpected choice for the next official dvd. Looking forward to the December release!
The Jim from this show is the type of Phish jam that makes doing homework fun. Captures the peak of Phish in terms of band intercommunication. Also, a very overlooked AMAZING type I DWD in my opinion. Set I opener covering Bob Marley is also very special.
One of my favorite shows of 98 and ever for that matter.
TrenchTown ROCK opener!! need I say more?? This was a really good show, don't know why some people have rated it so low. The Wilson Golgi encore was sick, Runaway Meat LxL and DWD in the 2nd set!! yes the first set was a little relaxed beside the encore.. but the show overall was really good!!
This was my second of 5 Phish 1.0 shows I attended, and four of those were at Star Lake. I think Star Lake 1997 was a better show overall but this one has aged really well. I recall thinking that Wolfman was well done, and listening to it now, it only gets better. At the time, I lived in a town that is almost exactly halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh, so Bittersweet Motel caused quite a response, and this has to be my favorite recording of it.
But of course it's set 2, with that marvelous Jim, that gets and deserves all the attention. LxL was every bit as good as Runaway Jim, so don't skip it. I had never heard Meat before and everyone was looking at each other trying to figure out what Fish was doing.
Now, here's the thing about Circus: I have never understood why Trey changed the lyrics. It's one of my favorite Los Lobos songs, and it's so evocative of heartbreak that it's hard for me to stomach any alteration. Originally, wheels were "rolling" on the ground. Trey has them "flowing," which is more tranquil and not, to my mind, in keeping with the tone of the song. A rolling wheel brings things in and gruffly rolls them away, whereas a flowing wheel is like some gentle stream, which wouldn't make someone want to burn the whole place down. And then, for some reason, Trey repeats the second verse instead of going to the third, which originally was "I'll scratch your name out on that tree / I'll chase your heart right out of me / it doesn't mean that much / it doesn't mean that much." That lyric perfectly closes the arc of that song. Maybe it's too melancholy for a Phish show, but somehow it always bothered me. Anyway, glad I got that off my chest. I should point out that the playing is absolutely perfect throughout this 5-minute, succinct statement of the song.
So ANYWAY I was really not a fan of DwD at the time I heard this, which is a shame, because this is a really enjoyable version, though nobody would call it a defining moment for that song. A very solid set all around.
Wilson is always a favorite encore for me. As for Golgi, unless and until the band says otherwise I will always believe that the reason this was tacked on to the encore was to make up for the Golgi at the end of Star Lake '97, which featured some sloppy playing by the band as a whole and by Trey in particular. I can almost hear them saying backstage, "alright, we can nail it this time." And I think they did.
It's awesome they were able to release a Summer '98 show on DVD (but a bit unfortunate this was the only one available). That said this is a perfectly great show.
Set I opens with Trenchtown Rock which is a cool choice of cover in a summer tour known for them. Well done.
>Julius kicks in and is nice and fiery. Trey has some great phrasing in the solo and the final chorus is really solid, with Trey wailing of the refrain.
Wolfman's Brother is reliable in the 3 spot. This version is really cool. It has a good slow funky section and some awesome improvisation with Trey just hitting soft rhythms and building into incredible cathartic blues rock releases with the full band right in sync (yea Fishman!).
-> Time Loves a Her with the nifty segue led by Fishman! Cool cover, good playing.
Bittersweet Motel for any locals from Eerie or Pittsburg. Cool.
Reba is up next and this one has a good long jam and solid composed section. It's not my favorite version, but it's definitely good. Trey fires off some incredible fast runs in the jam. It's a wonder to watch. Awesome.
The Sloth! Great choice.
Ginseng Sullivan is a fun romp.
Fee>Maze is a stellar pairing, with Fee containing a great outro jam and Maze being absolutely incredible. A truly great moment.
Sample send us to setbreak smiling.
Great first set, very good song choices, abundant jamming (keep that Wolfman's-> Time Loves a Hero segment and the Fee>Maze for sure).
Set II opens with the big long jam of the day in Runaway Jim. I know people who don't care for this jam at all. It certainly is patient and spacey and does wander a bit at first. I personally love it, because it's textured and jazzy and open. When it finds direction the release is amazing as well with a notable nod from Mike. It also moves into a cool ryhmic sort of dark jam prior to the Maria tease. The return to Jim proper is glorious as well - it would have been easy to forget where the heck you were during this one. For me, this is great and is certainly worth relistens.
Meat is a great choice funky and fun. Perfect.
Limb By Limb is also a nice version and pretty strong. I like it here after the big Jim and funky fun Meat. Good jamming.
Circus is gorgeous truly. What placement. So nice.
DWD is the set closer and fills the role admirably with a blistering type I version that delivers on some heat, while also containing some good themes from Trey. I like this a lot.
Encore is very cool with Wilson>Golgi, both well played and a good atypical encore.
For me, this entire show is icing compared to this incredible journey of a Jim. Before I review Jim, I'll mention I always listen to Trench Town through Time Loves a Hero before Jim if I don't want to listen to the whole show. Julius is never not fun and I love it early on. Wolfmans is a dance party and the transition into Time Loves a Hero is fantastic. You're wondering why no Reba or Maze? Reba is a good solo but a bit sloppy on the composed section. I know this opinion isn't a popular one but I have a hard time saying one Reba or Maze is better than the next. They're good songs but typically pretty standard jams never moving too far.
Jim: GOD DAMN. First listened to the version after a long tee break so I could get a job. You can imagine how entranced I was. Trey absolutely tears up this first kind of bright kind of ambient section that slowly fades away and grows darker. Great patience and listening by the band during this switch. The jam progressively grows more ambient and spacey until Trey starts ripping a signature "lets make it a happy jam" riff and off we got with an upbeat jam that gets rocking right around 22 minutes. The fast paced funky section that follows just adds to how good this jam already is. Trey switches on some cool effects at this point and Fishman kicks in a driving beat to keep things moving. West Side Story tease. Return to Jim. The crowd goes wild. The end. One of my favorite jams wish I was 20 years younger so I could have been there.
I know Jim gets a lot of publicity from this show, but damn what a tight Julius and Wolfman's! Reviewers are quick to point a "standard" Julius, but to me this one and the Coral Sky Julius really stand out as tight performances. Fisherman's drum kit just had the perfect sound for such a tight show.
This funk dripping Wolfman's is a lesson in communication, patience and booty shaking. The segue into Time Love's A Hero is the icing on the cake. If you wanna instantly have a good day, check this show out. 1998 is a great year for the phunk. Bootsy, Mr. Brown and Hancock would all approve this show.
I was there about two deep off the rail...I went to college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and I believe my entire heady-ass class was there; great time. Arguably the best Jim ever played and the Starlake lot scene back then was nutz! This is worth anyone's collection. LISTEN NOW!
I was in attendance but the tapes play better than my memory. The highlights include "Trenchtown," "Wolfman's>Hero," "Jim," and "Meat," but "Fee" stands out in particular for the weird little minimalist jam that closes it. I haven't heard every version "Fee," but I've never heard one anything like this performance.
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