, attached to 1999-07-10

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I remember leaving this show relatively annoyed because I thought the second set was unquestionably short, and poorly paced. I wasn't too into the concept of "Fluffhead" as a set closer (although I might feel differently now as it hasn't been played since 2000), and two Trey ballads in a sixty minute set? It's not like Deadheads complained when Jerry broke out "Stella Blue" or "Black Peter", but nobody really wants to hear them played within fifteen minutes of each other (added to the fact that "When the Circus Comes" hardly represents the pinnacle of slow Phish tunes).
The poor pacing of Set II can almost make one forget that the "BOAF" therein is an extremely cool, experimental version featuring an uncharacteristic jam in F major akin to a post-tramps "Mike's Song" segment. The less said about the opening "Tweezer", which was both sloppy and molasses slow, the better.
But the show is still considered to be a Gordon favorite, included in the first batch of Live Phish releases, and Set I goes a long ways towards explaining this. The "Chalk Dust" is one for the ages, featuring an atypical, and extremely upbeat melodic jam that clocks in around twenty five minutes, and holds its own against other experimental versions like 6/20/95 and the infamous "Wipeout" laden version of 11/27/98 (also a Live Phish pick, and incredible fun). I seem to recall this winding down into a relatively standard version (but aren't they all?) version of "Roggae" made rather appropriate by a sunset over the Philadelphia skyline off to the left.
And while I used "Water in the Sky" to take a very necessary bathroom run (and I was not alone in this endeavor), the tapes bear out that this was actually an excellent version of a song that is otherwise usually apropos for such a break. Next to the "Chalk Dust" however, the highlight of the set was easily the "Bathtub Gin", not unlike the famous Went "Gin" with plenty of fluid soloing in C major. This one stands on its own, however, with a unique ending jam; the final five minutes featured a considerably funky instrumental take on the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man" before a "Golgi" set closer (for more unbelievable Jersey "Gin", check out 6/28/00 I. Yikes.).
In sum, 7/10/99 seemed relatively characteristic of the handful of shows I witnessed in July of 1999 in that the first set was unquestionably more enjoyable than the second. Should you desire further examples of this phenomenon, check out 7/13/99 II, in which a long "Wolfman's Brother" will cause all but the most caffeinated Phishhead to nod off, and the intriguing 7/15/99 II, which may serve as the best anti-drug public service announcement the band has whipped up since 7/12/96. And while my longtime friend and permanent Phish buddy Ben Williams was able to depart beautiful Camden with the hubcaps on his old-school Volvo intact, many were not as lucky.


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