, attached to 1997-11-29

Review by n00b100

n00b100 The following is a review for the Runaway Jim only (the rest of the show, IIRC, is fine but not must-hear the way much of Fall '97 is, although the Foam really is quite good):

Out of the usual Jim jam, Trey starts busting off some loops (with that Fall '97 tone in full effect) and switches to wah-wahed chording as Mike hits on a nice roaming bassline - Fish keeps the Jim tempo, but this is clearly something different. They more or less stay in this zone for the next 5 minutes, the temperature occasionally rising and falling, Page moving towards major key on the piano, then Trey really starts to go off. The bottom drops out and things get contemplative as a fog creeps over the music; this is probably my favorite part of the jam, as the gang go bluesy and almost R&B-ish. Trey finds a sparse guitar line as Mike steps to the forefront, with Fish rolling across his toms nicely.

Fish suddenly decides "enough of this dreamy shit" and kicks things back into gear, Page staying on major key, and Trey goes off again; it's a upbeat jam reminiscent of the latter half of the 11/17/97 Ghost. We return to the Jim tempo (Fish must have thought it was over - we ARE 26 minutes in) and things get weirder and off-kilter - I can safely say that I started to lose a bit of patience here, as this is the sort of thing they did more than once in 2.0, and I didn't care for it then, either. Trey's effects creep in again as the jam puddles into a dark, nasty morass, Mike pushing things along this time, until Trey hits upon another contemplative and sparse series of notes and we enter outer space.

But this doesn't last long - Mike finds his own sparse bassline and we get dark and nasty again, slightly adjacent to the heavy-metal that would plague the 11/30/97 Wolfman's (sorry, everyone, but that segment sucks, and is all the worse for following one of my favorite jam segments ever). They nearly give in to that temptation to just stay heavy-metal for ten damn minutes as Trey just hammers away on chords, but he gets back to firing off squalling solos as the jam lurches forward like a monster pulling itself out of a swamp. It sounds like the jam's died away at the 42 minute mark (which would already leave it one of the longest jams ever), but Fish taps on his cymbals to keep things alive, Trey and Mike have a weird mini-duet, and suddenly the Jim tempo re-emerges and the band rebuilds to a weird and atonal jam space, Page playing seemingly random notes, Mike's bassline roaming hither and thither.

And then, just when you think things haven't gotten weird enough, they suddenly snap into a combination Weekapaug/Runaway Jim jam (Trey and Page are Weekapaug, Fish and Mike are Jim), before Fish shrugs and goes to Weekapaug proper, a moment as thrilling as when Weekapaug popped out of the Murat Gin. I'd probably call it Jim -> Weekapaug Jam, too, since that's really *all that it is* - essentially what they play in Weekapaug, minus the lyrics (or whatever lyrics there are), Trey spitting hot fire over the whole thing, Page hammering away on the keys. The Weekapaug jam dies away, leaving the roar of feedback and the cheering of the crowd.

Final thoughts: A good portion of this jam is some of the best music they'd played all year (which is saying something). A lesser, but not insignificant, portion of the jam is mainly there to push it to 59 minutes. A truly classic jam, but not one I'd consider one of my favorites or anything. YMMV.


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