C’mon, this show deserves some love! Granted, there’s nothing monumental here. But there’s joy in precision. And this show has energy and precision right through. The band sounds so dialed in.
‘96 is considered a transition year. For some that’s a way of calling ’96 not very interesting. But there’s something exhilarating about transition. Trey in particular is playing with what I can only describe as a kind of shrug of the shoulders virtuosity at this point. It’s something to marvel at. His solo in Gumbo (with great support from Fish) somehow sounds both beyond compare and routine. Similar feel in Bag and Theme for me.
Great fun to listen to this show. 4 stars from me.
This show is a Phish rarity: a show where the first set outshines the second. Trey was stretching the outro solo in AC/DC Bag to it's limit towards the end of Fall '96, and this one will have you standing on your tiptoes by the end. The tramps jam in YEM is plenty funky - the band was practicing James Brown grooves around this time. After Trey blows the roof off with the 'doc, he steps to the percussion rack, and Page adds a little piano to the usual Bass and Drums section. The vocal jam is quite percussive as well.
Ya Mar has a lengthy Trey solo, a tad noodle-y, but there are a couple of fun full-band rhythmic hookups. The Billy Breathes songs sound great here - Theme, Taste, and Free are all worthy Fall '96 versions. The second set is solid, nothing is particularly subpar, but to these ears the flow seems a little rushed. Perhaps they were running out of time, which would explain the short-and-fiesty Fire encore. All in all, the best moments of this show fail to match the peaks of the earlier Pac-NW and West Coast runs just before, but the clear AUD still makes for a nice listen in any environment.
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