, attached to 1998-07-29

Review by Piper72

Piper72 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.


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