, attached to 1998-08-11

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads I'm reviewing this show based on the 2-DVD set as well as the LivePhish download, not having been in attendance. I rate this show a 4/5, but a 4/5 Phish show is still quite a recommendation.

The Trench Town Rock opener is historically interesting, but otherwise merely "neat" for a Bob Marley fan such as myself, who prefers the original, complete with indecipherable(?) patois that Trey replicated with admirable aplomb. Julius is a particularly stirring version, with some high-fretboard action from Trey that really excites me. Wolfman's funks it up funkily before seguing into a Little Feat bustout that has a tropical feel and lyrical theme; I'm not a big Little Feat listener. Bittersweet Motel has a nice lyrical coincidence, but the Reba that follows is to me the highlight of the show, Runaway Jim included. Stratospheric heights are reached, which is made all the more astounding by watching the close-ups of the band in the DVD that show them intensely focused but lithe listeners, one of the most attractive aspects of Phish in my consideration and really what collective improvisation is--or should be--about.

Runaway Jim is one of the longest versions ever played of that quintessential Phish classic, and the run(away) is well worth the exertion, even reaching a passage that was memorialized in the 30th-anniversary audiovisual/Phishtorical montage on 12/31/13, I think. After the Jim, anything else is icing on the cake for me. They had me at "Reba sink a boulder in the water." They had me at "Danger, I've been told to expect it," in fact. Sometimes highlights alone make a show worth at least 4 stars, even though every Phish show is cohesive in its own way, a canvas that *can* be dissected but is perhaps a dish best served whole. I'll revisit this show for years to come, I hope... thanks to JEMP and Phish, Inc. for the valuable and generous keepsake, and to Phish as musicians for the content.
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