, attached to 1998-11-02

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks I can't think of a 1998 show that opens more strongly than this one: Tube > Drowned > JJLC sends a hell of a 'We've recovered from Halloween and are ready to destroy you' message. That's also a gorgeous LxL in the first set. The second-set YEM features an unusual (and beautiful) extended ambient interlude in what the old-school folks used to call the 'pre-Nirvana' section of the song.

Of course this show's main selling point is Harpua > DSOTM > Harpua, which is a fine performance that plays to the band's late-'98 ambient-textural strengths. It's messy and feels a little slight compared to the rich production of the original album, but rumour has it the band learned the album the day of the show - certainly post-Halloween in any case - as the world's greatest consolation prize for fans who couldn't make it to Halloween. So you can cut them some slack. The encore is a sloppy mess but it's supposed to be. Is this a 'good second set'? The event was the event, and you might've found god(s) there. On tape it's a mixed bag. You're not likely to turn to this album cover in lieu of the original. It is some fans' ideal Phish set, regardless, and one of the best arguments for Phish's late-90's omnipotence. And parts of the cover are really great, the overpowering pretension and self-regard of Pink Floyd themselves notwithstanding.

And the sound of the crowd - the ecstatic cheering and constant buzz of excitement and mounting disbelief as each song flows into the next and the album approaches its newly-remade climactic line ('When the band you're in starts playing different tunes / I'll see you on the dark side of the moon') - is magnificent. Hell, the beginning of 'Time,' when everyone in the auditorium realizes that Phish really are going to play the *entire* album and not just the opening twofer - is reason enough to seek out these tapes. Er, CD's. Or mp3's. However you get it, you may as well get it.


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