Debut of new arrangement.
 Phish debut.
 Fish on vacuum for portion of intro.
The usually short Buried Alive was jammed for almost fifteen minutes. This show featured the Phish debut of If You Need a Fool, as well as the debut of the new arrangement of Vultures. A portion of the intro to Antelope featured Fish on vacuum. Bathtub Gin from this gig was included as filler on Live Phish 17.
Ahhh, as the 12 year anniversary of this amazing show approaches, some great memories begin to flood back.
We stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the venue and I was bringing 3 Phish n00bs to their 1st show.
We had decent pavilion seats in the back center. Great sound and sight lines.
The show opened with what is widely considered to be one of the top Bathtub Gins ever. 24 minutes of pure HOSE! Gordo locks down a serious disco groove that just pulsates and drives the band to amazing places. Just a breathtaking start and the crowd is going ape shit at the end of the song. I remember turning to my Phish virgins (they had a major 'buzz' going) after this Gin and they WERE HOOKED!
Dog Log follows and it is still to this day the only one I have seen. Super rare and very well played.
Foam starts out a run of 3 'F' songs and Trey is very on point in his solo. The now uber-rare Fikus ensues followed by Farmhouse.
The debut of the reworked Vultures starts out, and the intensity is just mind blowing! Lots of peaks to end. Vultures is a very ominous song, and at this point I was speechless as the quality of the set.
Then another super rare song Glide! Keep it coming!
Set closes with a fiery Birds which was still relatively new. They hadn't explored the possibilities with Birds yet, but it was pure octane.
WHAT A SET!
2nd set opens with some spacey ambiance before Fishman starts the Buried Alive drumbeat and within a couple of minutes it was apparent this was no ordinary Buried Alive. They explored the boundaries and then some. Lots of Type 2 in Buried Alive??? Are you kidding me? This might be the only jammed out version ever! It was 15 minutes of amazing exploration. As they are winding down the version with repeated runs by Trey through the spaced out Buried Alive theme they pulled a major audible by going into a new cover, Call Me If You Need a Fool. This is the start of a trend in '98 that runs through nearly every single show through the end of the tour of debuting a cover. After the debut it segues into AC/DC Bag(which normally would've come out of Buried Alive! Outside of Atlanta 7/4/99, this is my favorite Type 1 Bag. Super high energy and lots of peaks before ending.
>Lizards! Super patient! If not for a lyrical flub in the 3rd verse, this might be a candidate for best ever. Super emotional.
>Tube---YES!! The funk is DEEP!
>Kung---whacko! Golf Cart Marathon!
>Antelope complete with Vacuum solo? are you kidding?
I was FLOORED by this set again!
The triple encore with Bittersweet Motel to close was the whip cream and cherry on the Phish sundae!
Amazing show. My n00b friends looked @ me with their flying saucer eyeballs and were slack jawed!
This was actually my last show for 12 years. I checked out the shows at Riverport in '97 and '98 just to sorta keep up on what they were up to after sorta losing interest in '96. I remeber not being all that into it at the time but now I have a recording and I'm getting back into it. The next show I saw after this one was Jones Beach in 2010.
I basically missed 2.0 but the beginning of 3.0 got me back into the mix. I'm glad I'm back.
Alright, so most fans know the Riverport Gin (and if you don't, listen to it immediately), but you should do yourself a service and listen to the rest of this great show, as well. It's one of the best shows from the strong Summer tour.
The Gin opener is a fan-favorite and, in many peoples' eyes, the band's best jam ever. Maybe I won't go that far, but it is my favorite Bathtub Gin and sits firmly on my list of top 10 jams. It begins with a soaring opening section led by Trey, while the second half of the jam features a fantastic funk jam. This is a great example of the 4- headed monster doing its thing, where it seems like the whole band is being controlled by one brain. Each member plays awesomely in this jam, but I gotta single Mike out because he just fucks shit up, and I mean that in the absolutely best way possible. This is one of Cactus' most groovealicous moments. The seldom-played Dog Log (dedicated to Paul) makes a great landing pad for the epic opener, and then we enter the portion of the show brought to you by the letter F, featuring the first Foam since 12/6/97 and the second appearance of the SOTG rarity, Fikus. Farmhouse serves as the final breather of the set, before the fan-favorites Vultures and Glide liven things up. A short but hot BOAF ends the set. There is not a whole lot of jamming in the first set besides the Bathtub Gin (and that's a BIG besides), but several lesser-played songs are present, and I can't imagine rating this first set as anything but a 5. I mean come on, any set that contains a contender for best Phish jam ever doesn't need a whole lot else to deserve a 5 rating.
The second set doesn't have any moments that contend with the Gin, but this is still an excellent and balanced set. The set opens with Buried Alive, but this is not the typical short,high-energy tune it usually is. For whatever reason, the band decided to give it the treatment on this night, and what results is a high-quality, dynamic jam that keeps hinting at returning to Buried Alive, only to swerve off in another direction. If you Need a Fool is a fun bluegrass tune, and Trey rips in the following AC/DC Bag. This is a straightforward version, but it is definitely above-average and has an explosive build up and release. Lizards fits right in as Bag's jam winds down, and Tube>Kung>Antelope ends the set on the right foot. This Tube gets my vote for best of the summer. Its jam is a great blend of ambience and funk and is representative of the band's sound at the time. Waste>Golgi>Bittersweet Motel makes for a nice closing suite.
Long story short - Come for the Gin, stay for the rest of the party.
I truly wish that instead of releasing the 7-15-98 Portland Oregon show as a "livephish" release with this Bathtub Gin filler that they had just released this entire show instead.
The Bathtub is famous and I think it's easily in the top 3 with the Great Went and 7-21-97 Virginia Beach.
But this second set was a BEAST! The Tube>>Kung>>Antelope is one of the highlights of my phish career.
I have no idea who gave me a ride to Wisconsin after the show, but thanks so much. Your van was very, very comfortable and I needed sleep so bad my kidneys hurt.
5:29 jam LIFTOFF-Standard stuff, Page on piano, Fishman working the ride cymbal
6:45 Trey finds a melody and plays 'around' it, eventually settling on trills/triplets at 7:10...Mike follows with a SICK bassline, including some slides that really funk it up. Fishman throws in a splash or two and Trey's trills and patience help to build the sound.
8:00 Trey continues on trills but throws on some effects. He goes for the "release" at 8:30, though he quickly returns and continues to play around the riff.
9:00 Sweet release, Trey hits the resolve. It seems like he's going to solo but then he continues the trill an octave higher. At this point, Page is matching him, absolutely going off and destroying the piano.
9:52 Another peak. Great interaction with Trey and Page. Trey can't seem to get off the triplet pattern he has been noodling around with but he uses it to his advantage, creating several mini-peaks.
11:15 Jam gets nasty. High energy, Fishman is hitting the splash and Trey is bending some high notes.
12:05 Here is where a typical Gin would end. If it resolved here, we'd be happy, it'd be a standard '98 Gin, nice peak, good tension, happiness all around. But no, this jam fizzles into a funk breakdown.
12:40 Trey puts on some effects, Page switches to his keyboards. Trey eventually gets on the wah, Page layers his keys and his piano to set a nice soundscape, aka, the funk scratch.
13:30 Band drops to minor. Funk is deep, total patience shown by all members.
14:10 Here is where I lose my shit. Fishman changes to the cowbell(or block?), you know something nasty is gonna happen.
14:40 Mike drops some bombs with a delay. Ladies and gentlemen, the Cactus Show.
15:35 The bombs Mike drops here remind me of a Pink Floyd sound. Page switches to the organ, Trey comes off the wah and adds some rhythmic sound before releasing into a solo. Meanwhile Mike keeps dropping bombs with the delay.
17:15 Fish switches back to the ride cymbal, Trey takes the lead with the solo.
18:30 Page is doing some nice work switching up his keys. Trey goes back to his wah and Mike once again, takes over.
19:15 Page switches to piano, Mike drops some awesome double note bass riffs. Page's switch to the piano really adds a new dimension to the jam. Fish picks up on this and starts doing that thing he does where he just abandons his "beat" and plays fill after fill.
20:00 Holy mother f-er, shit goes down. The band locks in and vamps on a nice groove.
22:50 Return to major and the Gin theme.
Overall, the version doesn't have a raging peak but it does have a lot of funk. The first 1/3, which is typical Gin jamming style, doesn't feature the straight ahead rapid fire soloing from Trey, rather it relies on layering.
Well I see this has already been done, man I should've checked here first. Oh well.
All timings correspond with LP version.
:42-1:17 Page Fill 1
A little rhythm and a lot of power, but overall pretty standard
1:52-2:08 Page Fill 2
Pretty subdued actually…
2:44-3:00 Page Fill 3
Stylish playing around Rhapsody melody, very nice.
Pretty clean take, some rhythmic caps on the end of the runs with muted strings.
4:01 "Singing with the Faucet"
Mike seems excited about…"Bathtub Gin!" On-key (for the most part) harmonizing with the guitar lines from Trey.
5:19 Jam segment
Immediately Trey starts a theme that he runs through and repeats in a higher tone. Slides down the neck and up with this beautiful motif, clearly he has an idea where this is going from the get go. Back and forth he goes with nice rhythm 5:45 starts sustain, 5:56 great sustain, 6:01 more sustain. Just nice and patient soloing with long sustaining clean notes. The band settles into a coasting pocket behind this that has all the signs of becoming a *soaring* jam.
6:29 Glorious little run from Trey here, 6:36 repeat, 6:45 so ridiculously melodic. Just point, counterpoint
6:58 It's trill time for some nice tension (rhythmic rather than melodic tension, we're still thoroughly in the light here)
7:10 Great Mike lines as Trey steps back melodically (still trilling) allowing Mike to step forward with gorgeous lines
7:38 Phase shifter effect, hazier sound to trey. Leslie phase shifter? Back and forth with the trills.
8:20 Release! and back to more trilling. Power peak chord at 8:37 and we are PICKING UP STEAM release 8:52 for sustain
9:07 up the neck sustain and release! 9:15 Page pounds out a counterpoint . 9:38 glorious note sustain from trey.
Just great, great jamming in here, coasting on the ride leading to that soaring feeling. This is still punctuated by peaks of sustain and trill, peaks of sustain, trill. But the sustain isn't quite a release because really the whole thing is just building. Trey speeds up the sustain/trill pattern and we are left with very quick trilling emphasizing rhythm while a note peaks out melodically, then more trilling then a different note. So the trill is really just added rhythm to an interweaving pattern where the melody is those notes that 'peak out' from behind the trilling. Sorry this is hard to describe…but you would instantly recognize this method of playing from Trey. The rest of the band is just providing a solid pocket of melodic base that promises HOSE TO COME.
10:11 High peaking from Trey
10:32 High notes from Mike in counterpoint
10:44 Beautiful Page run
10:15 1st BIG peak from Trey, proceeds to rock star just glorious stuff with a new harder edge.
11:20-11:35 great runs of sustain
11:46 power chord landing, serious trilling after.
12:22 new effect turned on, Page adding some effects as well, things cool down just a bit, tempo slowing as well.
12:53 wah chords by Trey, Mike handling some serious groove BUT with that glorious melody
13:18 clav added by Page
13:36 Mike getting really funky in here.
The whole transition from a soaring jam with amazing peaks to the more funky rhythm is handled incredibly gracefully, without anyone needing to drop out to re-gather themselves and hit the funk. It's just gradually that you notice we are in beat-land instead of teary-eyed hang gliding.
13:58 first rhythmic 'break' signaling new direction, repeated note by Mike 14:12-
We're settling into a new direction that is much more rhythmic, nice fills by Fish and envelope filter by Mike 14:50.
15:00 some whoo-ing from Fish who likes it.
15:12 just an incredible Mike 'solo' in here with some kind of effect I'm unfamiliar with.
15:38 Page on organ, Trey adding rocking fills
16:00 Mike with that weird effect and Trey rocking much more, Page adding organ swells...
16:30 repeating pattern from Trey with some GRIT to it, fish mixing the rhythm up much more, seriously sounding like this could come from '94 or something. A jam with fire and rock.
17:48 Trey peak with this dirty rocking fuzz effect, not just distortion something extra.
18:20 Some wah added to Trey's mix of effects sounding amazing, Page plays staccato 18:40
This is some serious Oye Como Va-ing type jamming sounding easily like it could come out of a fiery YEM. The difference here is that this somehow is found *after* the truly mesmerizing high-beauty passage that started out the Gin and yet fits together in a pattern of the tastes of melody then rock. If someone were to wonder how to achieve the best effect of emphasizing either, they could listen to this jam that has really three segments.
19:25 Trey killing it with wah's and palm-mutes WHOA
19:33 Repeating pattern of funky ass power chords from Trey minus the wah, Fish and Trey emphasizing the down beat
Well this is just non-stop freaking groove amazing jamming, but not at all laid-back, this is intense and powerful jamming but with the emphasis on rhythm. We are out of the rock-sounding harder edge and now are fully concentrating on rhythm.
21:00 Things cooling off a bit with a more low key feel, more soulful Trey going forward.
21:52 Page on the Rhodes, beat still fast but definitely more cooling-down sounding.
22:37 out of nowhere Trey makes the shift back to Gin with only minor shifting of gears by the rest of the band.
23:37 after extended outro, jam ends to the unbridled enthusiasm of the crowd!
I would have to say that this is just archetypal jamming of a) melody b) groove rock and c) rhythm--in that order. There are no passages of searching nor are there any awkward transitions into new styles of jamming. This mother was crafted to perfection and I have absolutely no complaints. This is one of those jams that there really isn't that much more positive that can be said about it other than simply hearing it for yourself. I've had to rely on just technical descriptions here more than anything about the soul of it because it defies words. The melodic soaring jam is my favorite section and one of my favorite passages of Phish ever.
I'm going to share a short story with you. We were on 98 summer tour. Portland. The Gorge. Down the Cali Coast and into Phoenix. My two best friends friend lost her dog in San Fran. After Phoenix, the three girls I was with went to Flagstaff to stay with a friend. I went to Tucson to visit family for a bit. While this happened, they found the dog and two of the girls drove back to san fran. On the way back, they got into a big fight, and the girl who was driving took off. That left my two best friends in Flagstaff and myself in Tucson. We skipped the Texas shows because F Texas But now we were stranded in Arizona with midwest shows to hit!
These were the pre-craigslist, internet days. We took the greyhound 36 hours to St. Louis. Holy cow. How many of you have taken an extended trip on Greyhound? I felt like they should have paid me! Anyways, I was lucky to get there, so I retract my complaint. Go Greyhound!
We arrived late afternoon at the St. Louis station. We jumped in a cab with our bags and got to the venue at Riverport. There we were: all of our gear from tour with no car and no ride home (home was Chicago/Milwaukee area). Thank Buddha we were at a Phish show, surrounded by thousands of kick-arse humans! We spent an hour or two arranging rides to our respective destinations. We got into the venue with lawn, but snuck into the reserved.
We sat down exhausted. The instant we sat down, the boys came out. I didn't have any energy. I needed to be properly motivated. And guess what? They played arguably the best Bathtub Gin to open the show.
If K or N ever see this, it's A. Contact me. Let me know how you are
I didn't remember that I was at this very show, but I did remember a show in the late '90s where I met Mike for the first time; a small crowd formed around him as he pulled up a few feet away from me and stopped. I remember looking in his eyes and thinking of the line "His eyes were clear and pure/but his mind was so deranged" as that seemed to describe him perfectly: he was the essence of calm, holding multiple conversations at once and answering (albeit vaguely) the multiple fan queries. All I was able to get in was "Have a good show, Mike!" and a pat on his back as he drove away (which I hope he wasn't weirded out by).
A little later, I'm at my pavilion seats with whoever I was with at the time, the weather is gorgeous, and they open with this Gin. Being a phan about five years in at this time, I was familiar with some live versions of it, and was enjoying the groove and the nice arpeggiated interplay between Trey and Page after the sung verses and refrain.
Then-WHOA. What's happening. The tempo increases and the band LOCKS IN. They turn robo-funk, right before our eyes. Fish throws in a wood block, Trey strips away all but up-down muting, Page gets atmospheric with his keys, and Mike starts dropping this delay-bombs that both space out and propel the music. We are entering trans-dimensional space here, and dancing like complete FOOLS the entire time. The whole time I am amazed how four people can act as one, turning the music inside out and shifting on a dime. When Trey starts his porno-funk and Page adds his Hammond bursts, it gets unreal. THEN MIKE. MIKE MIKE MIKE! Tight, up/down octave funk slap. Fish switches to ride. Pure release, not from a melodic but a rhythmic tension. They've been tweaking this in practice, and have unleashed IT on us, whatever IT is. A perfection crafted from the hundreds of jams preceding. And then Trey announces the end with the re-introduction of the "theme" and we're out, back to earth. A ridiculous, sloppy, joyous ending (crash-landing) helps reinforce the reminder of both the journey, and the return.
The rest of the show is a blur, but that moment stands out in my mind. And feeling the direct human connection between me and one of my musical heroes immediately preceding that, just makes it that much more special. It was so direct, cause seeming to manifest directly to effect, that I even found myself thinking, "Did I do that??" But, in hindsight, I realized WE did that. The band was ready to deliver, and the crowd receive. And it wasn't till much later, finding the video on YouTube under "Best Gin Ever?" and confirming it by the discovery of the ticket stub from that very show, that I was able to relive that miraculous moment.
And if you haven't listened to the show, get yourself to phishtracks.com or phish.in, or at least find that YouTube video. You will NOT be disappointed.
At first I was a bit skeptical about everyone piling on so heavily about this Gin opener. To be honest, after giving it a listen I have to join the chorus. This performance is fantastic, a true achievement for the band. In fact the entire show is great and the opener definitely set the tone for a fantastic night of inspired music making. Now will they please announce the Summer 2013 tour dates already!
The Gin opener, the jammed out Buried Alive -> If You Need a Fool second set opener, and the Tube > Kung > Antelope combo platter are out of this world, making it the best show to that point on US soil in Summer '98.
This was my first show. I have such clear memories of this gig. I had no idea that this was such a heater. The gin is inarguably great as is the entire second set. Pretty great first experience with phish. I went to the next three shows after this as a result of this show. Ah 1998. You snooze you lose.
I'm not trying to be a hater, and I'm all for being in the moment of a show, especially when a completely unanticipated improvisational *moment* happens - that shit is thrilling, and this is a really good jam, but is this really seriously in contention for one of the best Phish moments of all time?
The most wildly popular versions of songs, shows, tours, etc kind of self-perpetuate: they are good, they get the most press, those in "the know" bump them as best-ever, the n00bs listen to them, and the cycle is repeated (the Tahoe Tweezer is a perfect example: yeah, it's good, but it's sure as shit not the greatest Phish jam ever). I have to believe this the case here. Solid show elevated to near-mythical status.
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