, attached to 1995-12-08

Review by Campster

Campster Time for another review in honor of the Baker's Dozen (going to try and hit 5 of those...)

Set I opens with Sample in a Jar. While most people never look to get this pop tune, it serves well as an opener for my money. Good sing-along, fun upbeat start, and a nice energetic solo make this a good table setter. There's noticeable confidence in the soaring leads and a great little flurry upward from 4:10-4:15.

Poor Heart is up next. Like the version from 12/5 (or the Old Home Place from 12/7) this one is very well executed and very crisp and clean. Page really shines in this version.

Simple is more than welcome in the third slot and begins a strong sequence of tunes. The song is well played and the jam proceeds in a pretty rocking fashion with a nice full band groove. They start to downshift into a more delicate space around 6 minutes hitting some pretty spaces before a very nice drop into Runaway Jim.

Jim kicks in at a nice pace and hits the quiet jam at 2:30 or so. They don't quite nail that big chord hit, but the jam, which starts around 4:30 offers some great playing. By 7:00+ they are really jamming nicely with Trey's playing being particularly active. Some big peaks with some tension appear at the back end of 8 minutes and continue for the remainder with some excellent work by all members. The song returns a bit before 10 minutes and ends a find run of continuous playing.

Fluffhead is greeted by audible excitement in the audio on the relisten app. The Leslie speaker even rears its head during the opening of the tune. They pretty much nail it, minus a couple stumbles. This is a very well-placed and well-played rendition. Trey's solo at the end is quite magnificent.

It's Ice is up next and represents another (the?) set highlight. Aside from being very well executed, this version descends after about 5-5:30 minutes into a very serene space with Page coloring the airwaves most prominently. At 6:30 there's a deviation from the pretty section into something slightly more spacey. Page carries the little jam and they dive back into It's Ice at around 7:40 for a great conclusion.

Acoustic Army & Prince Caspian are unworthy of distinction in this instance, but fine in their own right.

GTBT, on the other hand, is a final shot in the arm. This one screams and has a nice tension filled and ultimately soaring climax. End Set.

Overall, the set doesn't touch the previous night's first round, nor does it touch some of the better set I's from this tour. That said, it's plenty strong. Everything in '95 seemed fierce, and seems even fiercer in comparison to some of today's bland renditions/formulaic first sets. The run from Simple through It's Ice is stellar.

Set II opens with 2001, which has a brief spacey intro. This tune began to find it's funk footing in '96, so this version skews more towards the '93 style versions, which work quite well as a set II opener. Pretty straight up, but very rocking. There's a nice little droning/Page led jam segment after the first climax (3 minutes + or so in) which builds nicely into a final release. Trey is using the pitch shifter/digitech whammy with the droning feedback.

Tweezer is up next, and it's a doozy (find me a bad one this tour?). Like 2001, this one skews early 90's speed versus late 90's molasses slow funk. Fishman plays some great fills throughout the "song" section. The drop into the jam at 4:12 or so is really quite fast. Trey starts an idea around 4:30-4:40 and the band picks up nicely - damn this is already great. By 6:40 we are treated to a nice little peak on the opening segment. In latter years, they could simply milk that jam for a good 7 minutes and peak it into oblivion and call it a day. This being '95, they start to break it down around 8:15 into a nice jazzy section. Fish, Mike, and Trey are really hooked up and Page is delivering in spades around them. By 9:30 the song is broken down further and gets quieter at 9:45 with Trey toying with the tempo. Page hammers some fills at 9:50ish, with Fishman picking up that idea. Suddenly Trey is left alone as the band hammers home the downbeat in unison around his choice leads. This is $$$. By 11:15 we are off the reservation and into Hey-Hole type territory. Trey continues to toy with the tempo, but Fishman says my turn at 11:40-45 and a furious, hard-rocking groove ensues. By 13:00 it's pretty maniacal (in a great way). More killer stuff at 14:45, which turns spacier/funkier by 15:20. Into the nether-realms by 15:45. 17:40 sees us ease eerily into the Kung chant. At 21:35 we are reaching the end of the Kung section and into some really strange and frightening space, which drops back into Tweezer perfectly at 22 minutes, god damn. Fish screams over the guitar line, Trey motors ahead with some straight-dope leads that soar majestically over the full band Tweezer groove. Fish continues to Scream and Trey continues to let his guitar to that for him. At 23:27 they go towards the breakdown ending of Tweezer, a hallmark of mid-early nineties versions, which slow to a crawl before concluding. This is a fine execution of that approach with a crawling end, drawn-out, & plodding along into Jon Fishman's vacuum time.

Nothing to say about that really. Coil follows up and signals the set may be winding down (rest assured there's plenty left though....). This is a pretty sweet version indeed with some cool Trey/Page interplay during the outro solo. It's not as straight up stunning at 10/9/94 (A live One), but it's not bad at all Mr. McConnell.

Well, lulling us into peaceful sleep is not an option. So Tweeprise is up delivers in roaring fashion.

Antelope?! What?! This is a really cool pairing to end the set in atypical, but excellent fashion. The intro has a little Page led section with some more unwelcome rythmic clapping from the crowd (argh!! - and sidenote - Jaded Vets can't deride the Wooing if they were into this!!). The drop into the jam is perfection - and very purposeful. Not much needs to be said here other than this jam is liquid hot magma burning all in it's path. Top notch version - would be considered a "best of" in the modern era. For December '95, it's just one in a litany of greatness. End Set.

Encore is a double feature of the Beatles. Come Together is a great treat and very well played. ADITL is always welcome.

Overall another near perfect set II for December '95. Only real tough listen is the Fishman stuff post Tweezer (but was probably a nice hoot at the show). Tweezer is a great one & Antelope is also sublime. First set isn't Amazing, but it's definitely fun, with some well-played classics.

4.25/5 Another classic.


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