This show was webcast live by the House of Blues. During I Didn’t Know, Trey noted that Mr. "The G is soft" Michael Jordan would be turning the mic over to “Flagina” Fishman, who then took a vacuum solo. During Meatstick, Trey noted that the band was going to try to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by having the most people perform the dance simultaneously. Trey, Mike and Sofi Dillof then taught the crowd how to do the dance. Split Open and Melt began as 2001 and was unfinished; the ensuing Kung launched into a dissonant jam. The jam subsequently contained Shine (Collective Soul), Meatstick, and Melt teases from Mike.
Ryan is bang on, here. I saw Great Woods through Starlake on this tour, and this show, with the possible exception of Oswego, was definitely the highlight. There's not much to find fault with in the first set when you get a hot PYITE>Ghost to start things off. But when the first 50 minutes of Set II read Meatstick, SOAM->Kung->Jam, you gotta figure some special shit has gone down. I really love the style of melodic ambient jamming the band winds up partway through the Meatstick, which you could argue was their forte in '99 . The 12/7/99 Bathtub and Big Cypress Sand->Quadrophonic Toppling come to mind as analogous examples. I too have wondered when the boys will turn Meatstick back into a jam vehicle, it just works. The SOAM->Kung->jam is almost the inverse of the Meatstick, straight-up fierce and aggressive, but still relatively purposeful. The wall of sound they end up in before Kung is heavy and awesome, and then the raging ensues. SOAM had a kind of renaissance in 99, and this is certainly one of the better versions ... a precursor maybe, to the 12/31/99 SOAM->Catapult that should need no introduction. Don't go expecting THAT kind of groove here--that shit only happens once a millennium. Still, 7/15/99: you're alright. I've yet to track down a great sounding copy of this show; get on the archival release Live Phish!
Can't really fault the first set, with a reasonably good (and surprisingly fast-played, given how often the band tends to luxuriate in the jam) Ghost, some nicely played versions of Phish standbys, and a gigantic, propulsive YEM that zips along as though Wile E. Coyote tied his rocket skates to it. The second set, though, is something special and one of the best sets of the summer. Meatstick starts things off, which doesn't normally augur well for my enjoyment of a set, but then Trey starts talking about the Guinness Book of World Records, and then the song finally gets interesting with a foggy, ambient-laden jam that you would naturally expect to flow out of Meatstick. The jam peters out, and in a fog of white noise 2001 appears to be kicking off (Fish's beat is quite obviously 2001), but Mike launches into the SOAM bassline and that's what we get instead, and this SOAM is a monster, one of the best ever played.
The SOAM jam starts out in typical fashion, albeit with more zip than usual in keeping with the energy of the entire show - it's like the 1994 Phish was playing 1999 style, if that makes sense - and then starts whipping back and forth in tempo, before finally settling on the usual, loop-heavy dreamy jam of late-90s SOAMs. Then, entirely out of nowhere, the band rolls into Kung, with a heavy and squalling accompaniment behind it, then launches into another fast-paced jam, with effects aplenty from Trey to really add some weirdness to the affair (Mike's bassline really keeps everything glued together here - and that Shine quote is a hoot). The jam slows down at about the 20 minute mark to let everyone catch their breath, then explodes into a wild peak, Trey really letting loose with both the manic solos and the high sustaining notes, Page clanking away on the piano and keeping pace. After a few minutes of said peak, the jam slows back down and becomes both more contemplative and more like the usual SOAM jam, an intense counterpoint to the previous high-octane jam. This is such a chilled-out, almost beautiful jam, and it practically demands attention (and good headphones) from the listener. From that jam comes Bouncin', this show's "let's all relax now" equivalent of Number Line following Carini at 12/30/12 II, and then an extended Chalk Dust that flies along with just as much speed and energy as the opening PYITE (with an Antelope-like trill-off for good measure). Between that, the extended Meatstick, and the SOAM madness, this is a high-class second set. B&R/Frankenstein is just fine as an encore.
To me, the choice for show of the summer is basically between 7/25, with its wide-ranging and always surprising second set, and this show, which is as focused, energetic, and of a piece as 7/25 II was a bunch of great parts stitched together into a great show. This is one of the shows of the summer, and of the year. Absolutely recommended.
Hello! In an attempt to relive my many Phish adventures I have decided to write a review of every show that I have attended to keep me busy this summer. I began to listen to Phish in 1997 when I was 16-17 years old, being more interested in metal/alternative/punk rock through that point of my life. I truly didn't understand Phish until I was a freshman at Rutgers in 1998 and met some amazing phriends that showed me the way. That being said, my first Phish show was this one, 7/15/1999 at PNC, fifteen minutes from my parents' house.
I attended this show with my younger sister, cousins, and some hometown friends. With the exception of my older cousin who had seen Phish a few times before, this was the first show for the rest of us. We had a great spot on the lawn, dead center and near the bottom railing. PYITE blew me away right off the bat. I had been to many concerts in my life from the time I was eight years old, and at least twenty at PNC before this one. However, I never experienced the collective groove that I witnessed at this Phish show and I had a genuine awakening about music and my place in the universe! By the time Ghost rolled around I was dancing with a girl named "Jingles" who had hundreds of keys sewn into her sundress and they jingled as she danced. By the time the vocal jam ended during YEM, I was left wondering if that was the greatest version Phish had ever played?...
The Meatstick second set opener was hilarious in my opinion. My sister and I had never seen the Meatstick dance until that point and thought it was totally awesome and creative. SOAM melted my face right off, I had no idea what Kung was all about but I was hanging in deep suspense, the jam out of Kung melted any part of my face that didn't melt off before, and finally BATR delivered me back to Earth once more. But then came that Chalkdust...I still argue that this is one of the best CDT I have ever seen. The band was flying, Trey was shredding like a metal solo, and they were screaming "CAN'T I LIVE WHILE I'M YOUNG!!!!!" by the end of the song.
I left PNC that night as a different person then when I had first arrived several hours earlier. I went home and wrote a song that night called "Above the Trees," which was about how I had a different perspective on life and could "see" (in my nineteen year old wisdom). We even took a parking cone while we were driving out of the parking lot that night, scribbled the date on it with a marker, and to this day it still resides in my mother's attic. That was my first of many Phish adventures and I can remember this show like it happened yesterday.
This show contains the single largest spur-of-the-moment missed opportunity in all of Phish-dom. That moment would be, of course, if they had ended Chalk Dust Torture as Run Like An Antelope. Chalk Dust Torture goes into a full-on pull-all-the-stops peaking Antelope jam that extremely precariously finds it’s way back into Chalk Dust. The first time I heard this I almost shat bricks thinking they were gonna Chalk Dust (Beginning) -> Antelope (End). That right there, folks, is the single largest missed opportunity in all Phish-dom. However, it doesn’t detract from this awesome show, it just would have been crazy cool if it had happened.
I suppose one more treat atop this already uniquely stacked show would have just been too much! We’ve already got arguably the peakiest YEM post ‘95, the longest Meatstick ever, a 2001/Split Open and Melt fake-out thanks to Mike, and Kung into jam craziness -> melty jam -> jaminess -> awesome jams for days segment. If you count the whole thing as just SOAMelt it’s over a half hour long. And the Fishman led tempo changes in the split jam proceeding Kung are silky smooth. I can’t recall hearing improvised abrupt tempo changes this smooth from this band before. They do tend to speed up gradually in many Ghost or Gin jams, though those are certainly far less conscious than these tempo changes. If nothing else check out Melt preceding Kung just for those.
Plus, for us non-jaded’s out there, the first set Farmhouse is probably the best one ever played.
This is right up there with the best of that summer. 7.10 and 7.25 make way, we got another badass in da house!
The jam after Kung contains a really long take on a Split Open & Melt jam, which seems to start up around 7 minutes with the band starting to weave towards a "normal" Melt ending, which then mellows out- but from 8 until 11 minutes (on the really nice source thats on the spreadsheet) it's unquestionably a Melt jam. This then continues to sound "Melty" to varying degrees until about 15:00 in.
I'd write this setlist as
II: Meatstick> Split Open & Melt -> Kung -> Split Open & Melt*> Bouncin
Maybe ->Jam -> Melt2 -> Jam> or ->Jam-> Melt Jam or just Melt Jam? Not sure how Phish.net would notate it, but i'd say it's worth a relisten to see how you guys would treat it. Amazing improv all over this set, I really like the way it flows as a cohesive whole. The Kung is super intense! Interesting but perfect Bouncin' placement!
I can hardly believe it--both that it happened and that I heard it--but I just want to add here that at about the 1:40 mark in the Jam in the 2nd set (after Kung is complete), you can plainly hear Mike quote Collective Spirit's "Shine."
Summer 99 was my longest tour to date. Of those shows, this was by far my favorite. The band was loose, experimental and ready to freak out the House of Blues webcast audience. I was lucky enough to have seats Page side about 12 rows back and survived a run in with the NJ State Police earlier in the day (sorry Corey!). Any show that opens with Punch has a lot of potential. When Ghost followed, we knew the band was motivated. Ghost had a hurried pace, a sense of urgency that continued in jams the rest of the night. Instead of letting the band gallop through a long repetitive jam, Trey's spacey effects told a chilling story. Even the slowed down ending (ritardando) showed the band was moving together as a unit. This was just a warm up of things to come, but the Ghost set the tone for the rest of the night.
The set continued with a song based theme (thanks for The Sloth) until the opening notes of YEM. This is still my favorite version I have ever heard in person (Thanks for releasing the sbd!). Trey was on a mission to shred and peak after peak threw the crowd into a frenzy. The vocal jam that followed was much better in person. The recording can't replicate the lights, dynamics and vocal experimentation that the band engaged in. I have heard vocal jams that I like more, but none that were so much better in person.
1999 was the year of the Meatstick, but by this point, I didn't want to hear it again. How does the band remedy this? By playing the most jammed out version to this point. 9 minutes of inspired Meatsticking made me rethink my opinion of the song. Slow, methodical and breezy, I had a grin from ear to ear. The SOAM that followed was one of the craziest musical roller coaster rides I have ever taken. About 5 minutes into the jam, after Fish had changed tempos about a million times, Corey says, "This sure ain't the blues anymore," in reference to the web cast. When the dust finally settled, I actually needed a BATR to find my way back to Earth. The Chalkdust wasn't 7-10, but along with Frankenstein, provided a rock and roll ending to a show that was all about outer space.
7/15 Will Never Lie To You & Take Your Money & Steal Your Car.... She Loves You.
Punch You In the Eye > Ghost is just a killer 1-2 combo to start any show in any era. This Ghost is a bit faster and more energized than your usual Ghost and it gets the crowd going early. The spacey ambient textures that Trey was putting into the mix seemed to drive the jam in the more aggressive ambient jam style that had been seen in various other jams that tour. Instead of a slower, mesmerizing "What's the Use?" style ambient jam the band was looking to tap into the variety of ambient jams available in their growing arsenal. As the band slowed down the jam at the end - as if an animal running in slow motion - you could tell they were locked and loaded as one propulsive unit. The remainder of the set was fun and high energy - no letdown - and it was capped off by an explosive YEM that allowed the tension and release of the whole first set to burst through everyone's synapses.
Highlight = Meatstick > Split Open and Melt -> Kung -> Jam
This is the only Meatstick that I put on regularly. This ambient Meatstick jam picks up right at the end of the shenanigans around the 11min mark and just drops into an ambient groove with hovering spaceship sounds by Page, staccato slaps by Gordon, and Fishman working to stay with the crowd claps as a time signature. Trey just sort of floats above with ethereal runs and harmonics from the Whammy. A really nice drone that builds on the Page keyboard weirdness and is the combination of ambient and funk that phans really love. Why have one without the other? Phish says you can have both... The jam simmers down and feedback builds and Fishman drops into 2001. Then Mike says, "No!" and drops the Split Open and Melt baseline within a few measures of Fishman's 2001 beat. Fish doesn't care, he's just going to make the 2001 beat work for SOAM. Trey thinks it's hilarious and cannot stop laughing, can't keep up with the lyrics, and is clearly distracted by Fishman refusing to change the beat. Eventually they get to the chorus and Fishman yields. They race through the composed section and just all want to get to the jammy weirdness as fast as possible. But even as the jam starts it feels rushed, then it stalls, they seem undecided and locked into a mediocre-at-best groove. Then about 7 mins into SOAM they flip a switch. Fuck this. They are not going to plod along in some non-directional jam. They are going for it. GOING FOR IT! Trey gets nasty and weird and the band follows. They rage for a couple minutes and find a deep ambient blanket to pull over everyone's eyes. Get inside. Everyone come closer. KUNG! FROM THE HILLS! FROM. THE. HILLS!!!! It gets super weird inside the blanket and the band finally releases the tension into a screaming jam over an ambient base of fuzz and feedback and uber weirdness. The JAM that comes out is an incredible example of the ambient jams of that era. Trey gets on the keyboard for some Peruvian pan flute for a brief interlude, but quickly recognizes that he needs to be on the guitar. The rage builds for a bit, but drops into a dark and creepy place akin to the 12/30/12 Carini. Although, not like the super low tones of the NYE12 Carini, but more of a horror movie creepy. Trey creates a "rusty swingset" loop over Fishman and Gordon's reprise of the SOAM coda. Then Page goes Thelonious Monk on the piano... it just breathes.... it is ambient, yet directional and defined. Trey adds some Wes Montgomery to Page's Monk. The ambient textures swirl. Gordon and Fishman keep it in the SOAM space. It's as weird and beautiful as it looks on paper.... the opposite of a Paper Tiger. Epic in the actual sense of the word.
Yet another glorious from front to back kind of show.
You go from PYITE into a classic 99' style ghost with a touch of pulsing Trey shredding layered in. This show is so good you can you Axilla as an example as a standout. Just a powerful version, maybe the best I've ever heard. YEM is slightly longer than usual and the boys really start charging towards the end, just fast and intense.
And then you have the second set. Not too much to say here that hasn't been said before. Meatstick is standard with a little stretch on it (when you subtract the time Trey speaks to the audience). And of course the legendary SOAM/Kung Jam, that sounds like a squeaky weather vein with ambient layered goodness. And of course CDT just shreds.
This show is insane. I love the zippy warp speed Ghost here, a great example of the playing style. A bit of an old school feel in the first set from Horn on. The You Enjoy Myself is great and features more of a traditional rock jam than the typical YEM jam.
Once you get past the dance instructions in Meatstick, we embark on a 10 minute happy little jam, with some really cool work from Page. The Melt is the centerpiece here, 30 minutes of improvisation, including Kung. It would have been excellent for the "Jam" to come back to finish Split Open and Melt, all that time later, but they were probably a little too far out at that point to even make that attempt. In my mind, it's a top 3 jam of '99, behind the 9/14/99 AC/DC Bag and 12/2/99 YEM.
There's a kinda tease of Crosseyed at about 8:10 of Split Open and Melt, didn't see that noted anywhere.
I saw a ton of shows on this tour, and the first night in Jersey may well be my favorite Summer `99 piece. Simply put, the jamming starts early, and doesn't let up. The first set is littered with fabulous song selection and placement, from the slick "Ghost" to the lovely "Axilla" > "Theme" and the raging "YEM" closer. The boys had been playing great first sets up through this stretch, actually, from the Camden "Chalk Dust" and "Gin", to the "Foreplay/Longtime" and "Curtain", "Halley's" of the two Great Woods shows. But whereas the Great Woods shows had second sets with as many lulls as high points, this second set in Jersey was a thing of beauty.
"Meatstick" skeptics should hear this version. It clocks in at about twenty one minutes and has some of the best jamming Phish did in `99. Bar none the best one out there, and a great example of how good a jam vehicle this song can be. I've been waiting for them to take advantage of that potential like this ever since, to no avail. The early segment has some playful banter about setting the world record in Oswego, and then once the dance is out of the way launches into a really intricate, spacey and danceable jam that I've listened to countless times since. Fans of the epic 4/3/98 show at Nassau should hear this jam. Very much in the same vein as the "Roses" -> "Jam" -> "Piper" -> "Jam", if you get my drift. As if that weren't enough, the "SOAM" -> "Kung" -> "Jam" runs a full half hour without letting up. The "Melt" caught us off guard, having been just played (fantastically) in Great Woods, and sounded almost like a "2001" tease. But it leads effortlessly into the highest energy "Kung" you'll hear, with harmonic vocals towards the end that just push the boys in a balls-to-the-walls jam that last seventeen minutes.
Absolutely fantastic show.
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