, attached to 1997-11-21

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads I'm reviewing this show based upon the recording from the Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 box set; I was not in attendance. Emotional Rescue is a Phish debut here and is funked mightily, in a manner that might appease both George Clinton *and* the Rolling Stones, an interesting parallel that I won't elaborate on but which certainly provides food for thought. I love the contrast between Mike's falsetto and his baritone. I'm not particularly fond of the sustained "Ffff-" from 5:00 to 5:03, but Mike's just being Mike, and if he ever met me, he might find some of my embellishments a bit *ahem* pretentious, as well. For the next 13 minutes or so, Phish proceed to go entirely a camera, with the carnivalesque, not-quite-noodly leads from Trey dancing across the rhythm section before a > into SOAM. Split is delightfully dark and dank. Emotional Rescue is briefly "reprised" before the closing phrase. Beauty of My Dreams is a lovely song, one I wish would be played more often in these heady days of 3.0. Punch You in the Eye is rendered as capably and expertly as it might have been in earlier times, with the added benefit of the extended palm-mute funk intro. There is an actual -> into Lawn Boy (tempo-changing segues are one of this phan's favorite varieties of segue.) Chalkdust features some phun interplay and is in some ways reminiscent of early versions, at least with regards to energy. Caspian is notable for ending with the Digital Delay Loop Jam.

Ghost is given a more expansive reading here than the legendary version from 11/17/97, in the sense of leaving more open space in the jam, which concludes with an abrupt shift into AC/DC Bag but which could've resolved into Cities or even Weekapaug, in my opinion. Phish could simply do no wrong this tour. AC/DC Bag is one of the huge versions, 25 minutes that veer from laser-guided funk to freakout-style, coliseum-filling heroics, finally concluding with a melodic but queerly disorientating segue into Slave to cap it off. Slave is not a particular favorite among favorites of mine, but I think you can hear a premonitory moment or two of the Siket Disc and especially What's the Use? in this version. Loving Cup is nearly obligatory here, but does not fail to appoint. One of these days Phish is gonna cover Yes into little pieces, but alas, we settle here for a tease before the Guyute encore. Guyute has yet to really step outside itself and be taken for a long ride, but it's one of my favorite Phish compositional epics, and is nothing to sneeze at. You can whistle, though. Though I rate the next night at Hampton more highly, it's by a slim margin. Opening the show with 30 minutes of improvisation--and of such quality as this--is enough to merit 4 stars, to me, as long as the rest of the show is enjoyable, and this one delivers above and beyond.


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