Trey teased Makisupa Policeman in Ya Mar. Gumbo included a Manteca tease. This unfinished Weekapaug included syncopated jamming and a tease of the theme that signals the closing of the jam segment of Taste by Trey.
I mentioned in my 7/6/98 review that I consider this one of the shows of the year; honestly, the more I think about it, the more I feel comfortable removing the "one of the" qualifier, and yes, I've heard the Island Tour shows. This one, to me at least, feels like the strongest show top to bottom, even without a massive year-defining jam like the 4/3 Roses Are Free; the second set, in particular, feels like something out of the laser-focused Fall '97 (I'm not totally sure any of the Island Tour shows do - they feel more their own animal IMO), and that is enough to win it the prize.
The show starts off in an interesting manner with Makisupa (never my favorite song, but it's chill enough, and most other fans do like it quite a bit), before heading into an always welcome, joyfully upbeat Ya Mar and a molasses-slow Gumbo that tells us something special's in the cards for tonight (as the first three songs have given us a good half hour of really nifty, groovy jamming); a panoramic Divided Sky just adds to that feeling. The rest of the first set is standard enough, but that's nearly 50 minutes of high class music right there, which is hardly anything to complain about for a first set.
The second set, though, is where things get rather tasty indeed. After a couple minutes of almost ugly white noise, the band kicks into a supercharged version of 2001, overflowing with pulsating energy from the word go, and slowing to a mellow groove before finishing with a flourish; no short list of best 2001s ever is complete without this bad boy (along with 11/19/97, 12/29/98, and the Went). Next comes Mike's Song, a growling and snarling midtempo beast that sweeps aside everything before it before hitting the usual closing sequence, then moving into a more open, blissful jam that gives the band more room to breathe (and Page more of a chance to shine) and climaxes in a really sweet ending...
...and then Fishman starts up the drumbeat to Weekapaug Groove, and what has been a really top-notch set so far enters a brand new dimension. This Weekapaug Groove brings some outrageous, powerful funk, never letting up in terms of straight energy - this is the kind of jam that feels like a shot of adrenaline straight to your brain, especially when the band starts going double time en route to Character Zero. Zero is Zero, of course, but at this point it makes no difference - this is a set to stash away on whatever music player you've got for as long as you listen to music. PYITE/Rocky Top is just icing on the cake.
LivePhish released the show two days earlier, which is certainly fun enough (I greatly enjoy that Tweezer, and the Simple, and the Horn Jam, and...), but is a mere lark compared to the monster show Phish dropped on the Gorge here. 1998 was not exactly the most consistent of years, but when '98 Phish was feeling it, shows like this were the result. Give it a listen, won't you?
This is a great show from the early part of the Summer 98 tour. Makisupa, Ya Mar, and Gumbo immediately set the summer time mood with their nice grooves. Ya Mar and Gumbo are both very good, and the following Divided Sky is a great choice for the dramatic scenery of the Gorge. The latter part of the first set has a good version of Waste and average versions of My Mind's Got a Mind of its Own and My Soul. The mellow first set is solid, especially Ya Mar through Divided Sky, but the second set is phenomenal.
The 2001 that opens the second set is the longest one ever played and is a surefire contender for best version ever. It's a 24-minute funk fest. The following Mike's Song is must-hear. After a powerful, rocking first jam segment, the jam turns beautiful and melodic in the second jam. As the jam dies down, Fishman starts up the drum beat to Weekapaug and Mike quickly comes in with the opening bass solo. The jam in Weekapaug is great and really funky. Character Zero may not be the most exciting set closer, but, FWIW this is a pretty good version. I'd take a PYITE and Rocky Top encore any day. This is quite the show with a laid back first set and a ridiculous, must-hear second set.
Yes I am biased. This show would get the same rating had I not been there. This 2nd summer visit to central Washington's Gorge Amphitheater repeated the '97 heat conditions closely enough that it felt just the same (over 100 F both days) but this time the second show of the pair fell on my 37th birthday. The core of my PHiSH crew and I had been serious fans since their first trip to Seattle in October of '91, and had grown steadily until our camp numbered in the dozens. One of the core was my friend Shari who SHARes the same birthday as mine, July 17.
Set I was fine, if not sonically striking, how many shows open with Makisupa->Ya Mar, Gumbo, Divided Sky (with sunset during pause for those of us eye-level with the band).
At setbreak, Shari arrived on our 4-square of around 25-30 fine Northwest PHiSH phreaks, which as always is Dead Fucking Center, 2/3 back toward the SBD - THE ZONE for sound, and you're EYE-LEVEL with the band (Oh yes Trey watches us). As we sat awaiting set II, I heard the words "Happy Birthday" from just behind me. The guy sitting with his back to mine was the recipient of the wish. I turned and confirmed it was his birthday as he sat by myself and Shari. As we shared a group hug, the band walked out and eased into the deepest, funkiest groove I had ever heard until that time. We three birthday kids were busting moves I had not known possible. People still talk about the aliens landing during this LOooooong, patient groove of a 2001 or ASZ that really was unlike anything I had experienced. Every body around us was twisting and dipping to the nasty greasy grind.
The Mike's ->Weekapaug that follow ended with some of PHiSH's best stop/start skank-funk-clavinet riffing ever captured. I still get confused when listening to the recordings because it feels like a LP release or some reference version everyone ought to own. Phenomenal. The Ch Zero set cap was just a fine rock-n-roll icing on a fat cake of insane cow-funk. Punch->Rocky danced at the top of the steps with fists held high as in the movie poster, celebrating a triumphant set few will ever forget.
This show is the third of the 1998 US Summer Tour and the second night at The Gorge; the tour started in Portland. This tour commenced with the Lemonwheel Festival. I have never been to this venue, but I know this is one of the most beautiful venues in the world. It would be amazing seeing a Beiber show here, let alone the greatest band in existence today. The show kicks off with a fun and playful Makisupa that gets the crowd going. Nothing like a goof ball song to get things started, but the Phish from Vermont BRING THE HEAT the next three songs. Ya Mar is great and Trey is weaving around until the Phish brings it down low and then slowly fades into my favorite jam of the set, GUMBO. This version is all funked out and goes all type II after a few minutes; again the HEAT HAS BEEN BROUGHTEN. No really, the show reviews say this show was incredibly hot. My words won’t do justice, just listen to it. Next is The Divided Sky. I tend to skip this song when listening to shows, but even I listen to this one. The show review says the sun set during this song which I know made TONS of people’s days. The rest of the set is nothing to crazy but good stuff all around.
Now, the first set was like a good appetizer, but nothing really stands out except for the bacon that was wrapped around the stuffed figs, AKA Gumbo. Now the waiter has just brought out some huge chunk of meat on a bone and is carving it right in front of you. This set is really just four songs long, but I am pretty sure anyone in attendance would have been completely content with it just being a three song set. A monster 2001 starts things off right and rivals the version from The Great Went for best ever of ALL TIME. 2001 is followed by Mike’s Song > Weekapaug Groove > Character Zero. I am pretty sure this is one of the few times the played Mike’s without a buffer between Weekapaug. This Mike’s goes places that I would rather not try to write about so just listen to it. But, this Weekapaug is in my personal top 5. Trey brings the FUNK and the band is really on fire. For me, sometimes when I have a bad day at work, I come home and l blast this Groove to get me in a better state of mind. IT JUST RAGES, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Character Zero is Character Zero, nuff said. The encore features Punch You in the EYE which is only the second time it has been in that slot. This is followed up by Rocky Top which is always fun.
Overall this show is awesome and everyone shouldn’t take my word for it, just listen.
The sun was so hot this weekend and there was nowhere you could go to get out of it.
This was one of the coolest feeling at a Phish show was watching the sun set behind the gorge
to Divided Sky and it felt like the band was jamming to the sun and everyone cheered like crazy when the
sun fell behind the gorge. It gave me the hebejebeez and it still does thinking about it.
This was such a great weekend. It felt like we were walking to mecca heading into the show.
In the middle of the dessert following this string of people to this big black box of a stage.
Whatsup with the Weekapaug > Character transition ? I can understand the point that its not about the specific change or bridge being nailed, but that certainly does add to the fluidity of the music. The groove that was hit in Wkpg was great, but it wasn't played out and the band stumbled akwardly with Trey clearly calling the shots into CZ. It really left me begging for me. I wish the band had played through what they had heard, and gone to the next song, where the music natural resided. I hope that this was not my recording and that it did in fact transition a bit better. But at the least the start of my CZ shows jumble. No organic transition from one place to another, IMHO. 2001 !!!!!
Super rare Makisupa opener. Good -> into Ya Mar as usual and Ya Mar is played very very well. Gumbo has a fantastic solo and quickly goes into some very fluid mucky funk. Divided Sky is excellent and very well played. These sets are so good even Waste is a noteworthy version. My Soul has killer solos not just by Page but also Trey, one of the best versions.
2001 kicks off the short 2nd set. This is the only version that I believe rivals the legendary Great Went version. While I'm not a huge fan of long Type 1 jams this one is excellent and very easy on my ears. Mike's Song comes ripping in. The initial jam just rips as usual, but the 2nd is quite peaceful and beautiful. Fantastic cohesive and well played Weekapaug. It goes all over the place, yet it all works so perfectly. This is one of those sets where you truly feel the guys could do no wrong even if they tried. Character Zero is incendiary and one great zap to the brain to end this excellent set.
PYITE Encore? Sign me up! And Trey just nails it!
This show arguably displays the very best of '98 its exploratory. They nail every note. And everything is thoughtful. 5 Stars!
I can't believe that no one else has noted that Trey plainly teases "Close To The Edge" twice in Ya Mar. To me it's plain as day.
Otherwise, an incredible show (and the recording on the spreadsheet is really nice). First set is good, but second set is really great. Love the 2001 > Mike's Groove. It doesn't get much better! And PYITE for an encore is a real treat.
I have overlooked this show in the past, the Gumbo and Divided Sky in set one is ellegant and well performed. I like the funky breakdown gumbo transforms throughout, from slow motion to full speed before returning to a nice smooth closing. Set 2 is one long jam, 2001 25 mins of pure 1.0 phish play > Mikes > trey improv jam > weekapaug > zero was classic, nothing more here than sure brillance.
The mikes is the highlight for me, my favorite version.
All I can say is: WEEKAPAUG! Mother of Gawd - this jam is the best I've ever heard, one part blissful Trey and one part ass shaking grooves. The way things come together at the end for the stop-start full band funkathon is jaw dropping lunacy. They just don't build'em like this anymore, boys. 2001 is OK, but Went smokes this version IMHO. Still, a killer set 2, and another monster summer '98 show. What a great tour.
Summer of 98! What a great tour. I remember checking out the setlists every night and thinking to myself “Holy Shit! They played Ramble On!”, “Oh my god! They played Sabatoge!”, “ What the fuck! They played Terrapin!” Needless to say, I was very excited to catch my little run of shows which consisted of Star Lake, Vernon Downs (La Grange!) and The Lemonwheel. None of those shows disappointed in the least. Funny little story…my friend Justin dropped acid and drove a van filled with 10 of us up to Lemonwheel right after the Vernon Downs show. Drove the whole night. I remember him telling me his idea earlier in the day and making sure that I didn’t mention it to anyone. If anyone could do it, Justin could. I actually slept quite well on the trip up.
Well then, on to The Gorge! You know when a show opens up with Makisupa you’re in for a treat. The entire first set is perfect (although not really a fan of Waste…perfect time for a bathroom break!). It’s even more perfect when you imagine the setting of the show. One of the most amazing venues on the planet, the sun setting, smiles all around and the best band in the world to play soundtrack to it all. Love the video of Gumbo, I wish there was more crowd shots. Look at all those dreads! Where did they all go?! I always feel really embarrassed for myself when I see videos of people dancing at Phish shows. Uhgg. Anyway, this version of 2001 is the reason why 2001 is a top 5 Phish song for me. Or...WAS a top 5 Phish song for me. I could listen to this forever. Love the HEAVY Mike’s with Trey doing his chunky guitar playing. They have total patience during this Mike’s and just go for it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to always work. I wish they would let loose like this again. I guess they still do but…you know what I mean. Such a SUPER fun ‘Paug to follow and no Simple? I sounded to me like Simple was gonna be the middle of this sandwich. The fact that there isn’t something inside this sandwich is another reason why this set is great. I have to say that I don’t really like Character Zero. It can totally rock balls at the end and all but I’ve seen it too many times and I fucking hate it. There, I said it. It’s the song that follows me around. PYITE is a great encore. I prefer it here than at the beginning of a show. Then there’s the Rocky Top. Isn’t it said that you know it’s a great show if they do a Rocky Top encore? I would say that this Rocky Top was well deserved and placed.
I have to admit a possible bias when rating this 2001 jam as the second best version ever. I was at this show, and that always makes things a little more special. Still, this version of 2001 clocks in over 23 minutes. It's not a really fast version, it's a chilled out, slower west coast funk. I really, really love it.
Overall, the 3 Gorge runs over the years 97-98-99 were progressively worse musically. I remember 99 kind of just sucking and 97 being simply amazing- this run of shows fell in between.
They did get tweaked out and nuts during Weekapaug though. Fun to listen to still.
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