, attached to 1999-07-20

Review by TimberCarini

TimberCarini WE... THE NORTH
After a blistering hot weekend at Camp Oswego, the band came Up North to cool off and get back on point.
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Set 1
The band started with a tight set of fun fan favs. Saving the jams for the back half, Trey stayed in type 1 mode until they hit Ghost. Clearly the pent up energy and funk inside their soul needed to be released, and Ghost was the perfect platform. Trey laid down the loops and then laid back the gas pedal on the guitar, while Mike Gordon stepped up and took over. Thumping his way to a groove built around Fishman's driving beat, Mike was all over this jam early and often. Louder than Trey in the mix, Mike was able to carve and craft a punchy line that at times sounded like Crosseyed and Painless and at other times was just straight funk. Mike's tone is gorgeous. Full and punchy without a treble edge. Round but not flat. This was Mike's house. Mike never let's go and finally Page realizes this is the new normal. Page starts flicking and stabbing notes and chords over top of Mike's unstoppable groove. Trey builds some feedback swells reminiscent of the intro to 2001, but Mike ain't buying it. He wants this Ghost to go the distance. He squashes Trey like a bug on his windshield and sets up the next part of the jam while Page acquiesces with some wobbly chords held out longform-style using the wah pedal. That's when Trey flips the switch. Fuck this. I want in. He cranks both tube screamers, dials up the Leslie amp, and unleashes notes in a fit of fury unheard of up to this point in the show. He goes machine gun Trey. Aiming right at Mike. Mike responds by thumping harder...but this can only last so long. Exhausted, both men fall back on Fishman who swings it back into the original Ghost beat and then end the song on a whimper. Clearly Trey was fired up as he tries to back into the Ghost riff while starting Wilson, but quickly slides down to the solitary ba-Bump, ba-bump notes and then off they go.

Set 2
They don't make 6 song sets like this any more. Twist is always a good sign. This Twist goes chilled out Santana style early, and drops into ambient goodness late. Trey works in some oddly shaped loops and feedback swells as the band drifts into the ether (for a short time). They return to the main theme of Twist and move right along into a funky Moma Dance. The band is listening. Having fun. Loose but focused. This Moma comes to it's traditional close as Trey gets "What's The Use?" dialed up. Another great version of this Siket Disc tune, during the only tour full of these ambient adventures. This take is slow and methodical, gorgeous and encompassing. Patient. Otherworldly. This is a prime example of a band at it's most powerful. Filling a summer shed with textures and delicate notes while capturing the attention and imagination of everyone in attendance. You cannot tell if you are going to be abducted by aliens or infused with some super human power. A flash of light to your soul lasting almost 9 minutes.

Comparing this to today's 3.0 versions that last less than 5 minutes... literally, what is the use?

Summoning the voice of God to start the 2001.... Everyone in the band (aside from Fish) creates a golden glow in the key of C. Build, build, build until Fishman drops that signature beat and the crowd drops 4 on the floor. Ambient funk time. This is as good as any version in '99, albeit more concise (which plays to it's favor in this set). The tempo stays up and the intro doesn't last 10 minutes (ala Charlotte '99). Page drops some ethereal tones in the jam over Trey siren loops, while Mike summons the space funk gods with his tone for the jam (almost like LCD Soundsystem's 45:33 intro). Eventually cascading into a set closer version of Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop - which was the first and only performance of this Zep funk jam. The crowd goes insane. Literally singing every note with Trey and Page. The best band ever harnessing the energy of the greatest rock gods ever. Classic Phish.

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