AC/DC Bag

, comment by n00b100 , attached to 2013-08-05
n00b100 I was going back through my early posts, and it's weird to think about how much of my fandom w/r/t Phish both has changed (less high on '94, much higher on '99) and hasn't (my Cypress opinion has been unwavering), as well as what it was like when I was just some random newbie on the board stepping into this wide, wide world I had no idea was quite so all-encompassing. And it made me think about my first live experience, also, and how much it helps set me apart from lots of others in the community - that it's in 3.0, that it's after years of immersing myself in the band via having scads of free time during law school, and so on. And it's wild - like, nobody really has a good thing to say about this show beyond the Hood (I don't, really, either - the Mule's pretty cool, and they hook up nicely in Disease for a bit), but it still has *so much* meaning for me, especially in the camaraderie I shared with fellow .netters, just as much as when I saw the band walk out on stage or when I realized Hood was heading out into uncharted waters.

I suppose that's what draws us so deeply into the band (and, as well, the parts of the band we stump hardest for) - that deeply ingrained nostalgia, as deeply ingrained as our nostalgia for anything else (like, for me, Star Wars or Calvin & Hobbes or Picasso), and so often instilled during exceptionally meaningful times in our lives. And, I suppose, even when we argue about how our perceptions and our memories and our biases should be shaping the music that we all hear in so many different ways (Phish's live catalog is essentially a Rorschach test - I always think about someone with no affinity to the band listening to it and experiencing it in a way we would scoff at but ultimately has just as much weight as any of the ways we do), we ultimately have that pull of nostalgia that brings us together, that realization that it's memories like Fish pounding away on Mike's bass with his mallets during that Mule (or, for others, something like that dumb old giant hot dog, or "Hey Mike, stay on F", or - if you're REALLY lucky - watching the band move from Twist Jam to Walk Away in person) that bind us together. We're all in this together, as some dude once sang.
, comment by coral_sand_below , attached to 1999-09-14
coral_sand_below The Boise Bag seriously delivers. File this next to 12/30/97 as my all time favorite.
, comment by CreatureoftheNight , attached to 1999-09-14
CreatureoftheNight Since the hiatus, this has continued to been my all time, #1 Phish jam. It's interesting to hear some of the themes explored here in the Portland Ghost, like it was a dress rehearsal for Boise. As good as the Ghost was, this is one of those rare occurrences when every note from each band member fits perfectly into the whole.
, comment by Runaway_Jay , attached to 1999-09-14
Runaway_Jay A winding journey of introspective spacey-bliss that is given shape by sharp waves of sound from trey, meandering ambient playing from page, soaring bass by mike and grooveacious drumming by fish
, comment by CreatureoftheNight , attached to 1999-07-04
CreatureoftheNight As far as type I Bags go, this one is hard to beat. A high energy peak that keeps building and building and the dissolve comes at just the right time.
, comment by Palmer , attached to 1998-11-07
Palmer What an excellent 2nd set opener> Begins in the original standard, quickly picking up tempo as Fishman lays down some quick -stick -cymbal riding. Trey noodling throughout as page begins to hold rhythm down with mike. Around the 9 minute mark it quickly escalates and moves forward pumping in a sprinting motion. Around minute 11 Trey begins playing around with some uniqueness, trying or plotting what to do with this monster they created. Around the 13th minute of this epic masterpiece begins to fade into a tranquil space like jam. Page going full Unsolved Mysteries with this one, keeping things mysterious and opting not to return to the standard Bag played in so many prior shows. This is just another reason 1998 is my year for phish, such space and ambient like music. Great version!
, comment by Pinhead_Larry , attached to 1998-11-07
Pinhead_Larry Funky and ambiently textured, this Bag is my one of my favorite Bags ever. Slightly behind Boise '99 and slightly ahead Hampton '97. The jam breaks into an upbeat and light funk groove early on and doesn't let up. This section is highlighted by Trey's repetitive single-note playing and Page's funk keyboard doing most of the solos, though at times the two solo over each other which makes for a cool dual-action melody.

And then, the second movement. This is where things just go straight up into the air. Straight bliss and euphoria-jamming. Everyone is in perfect harmony. This is my favorite part of the jam, and quite possibly one of my favorite moments of Phish, though to be honest I probably have a list of 1000's of favorite moments of Phish.

Check it out NOW!
, comment by n00b100 , attached to 1997-12-07
n00b100 If you link this to Psycho Killer (and everybody does, because of that all-timer segue), that 1-2 punch constitutes one of the greatest openers in the band's history. By itself, it's okay.
, comment by Pinhead_Larry , attached to 1997-11-21
Pinhead_Larry I have mixed feelings about this jam. Overall, I think this is an excellent piece of improvised music from one of Phish's most notorious and well-known tours, but it is far from flawless to my ears.

The first couple minutes of the jam is standard Bag fare; really just blues-rock weaved with shredding solos. But what comes next is something more than just a "solo." The band leaves the hard rock behind for a laid-back groove eventually giving way to a nice and textured, almost serene haze of layered music. Jon lays down a low-key funk beat, while Page and Trey create dual melodies that complement each other quite well to say the least.

What comes next is an entrance back to the hard rock mode (brought in so subtley that you may not even notice when one section is left behind and the other starts), but this time it is a little bit different from the first section jam. This section is more of a build-up to the climax, but is really just a lot of nonsensical noise to my ears. Others may hear beauty, but I hear Page hammering random notes, and Trey playing with his wah-peddle. Of course, this section is probably needed for the climax (around the 18-minute mark), which is quite glorious. The climax lasts maybe a minute, but is a more-than-fine example of all 4 members playing music that intertwines so perfectly with one another that it makes you wonder just how they can do that, especially given the disjointed buildup that came prior to it.

The jam could have ended there and everyone would still be happy, but alas we get one final section, because Phish is such a generous band. This section (starts around the 20 minute mark) starts out as a very delicate ambient section that wonderfully contrasts what came before it. I always liken this section to seeing the sun for the first time after a storm, or like a calmness the next morning after a night of thunderstorms. Of course, the "storm" in the jam was raging funk and rock, but this section feels more optimistic than the previous sections. And it includes a VERY nice segue to Slave.

Overall, this Bag is great, and I think the band was toying with certain ideas that may not have worked out exactly how they wanted, but this was the first truly big Bag that opened the floodgates of possibilities for all future Bags. And really, the entire second set sequence of Ghost-> Bag-> Slave should be listened to as one big piece of music. No improvisation is flawless (though some may argue against that, and I may agree with some counterpoints), and the whole second set is Fall 1997 gold, and gets my pick for one of the best second sets of the tour, maybe even of the year.

The Bag is good as a standalone jam, and it may not be as structured or as smooth as other Bags, but it is very multi-layered and improvisational, with each section (I count 4 in total) flowing into one another with great precision. But if you can spare 27 more minutes, check out the whole sequence. Each song, while totally different in style, flows into one another similar to how composers in the classical or romantic era created different movements to pieces of music that while very different, work well with each other, creating a singular whole piece of music that is greater than the sum of its parts.
, comment by kipmat , attached to 1990-05-24
kipmat The YEM vocal jam earlier in this set included plenty of “Baaa!” sheep bleating, so when the band gets to the chorus of this song, you can clearly hear Trey singing, “AC/DC Baaaaa-g”. Funny guy :)


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