, attached to 1995-06-26

Review by Wazoo

Wazoo For me, this was one of those shows that you will always remember for personal reasons – things that happened around the show. This is not to say that those things were unrelated to the show (they very much were related), but my strong recollections principally relate to its aftermath. I am not going to discuss it here, but I mention it as the sheer power of the music and the scene at the time are very much relevant to set the mood here – this is the kind of music that can do strange and intensely personnel things to you. Let’s get this show on the road…

Set I starts off dark with My Friend, My Friend – you have the guitar intro to find your spot and when the dark chording starts you are instantly transported to where the band is pulling the strings and controls reality. Boom! And then there is the emotional whiplash. Don’t You Want to Go? is as fun and bouncy as My Friend was dark. They had only played this a few times before, and this ended up being the penultimate version, but the song really ripped here. While it was bouncy at first, it was fast and had a pretty intense peak. The “Yes I want to go!” outro made the opening numbers feel of a single piece and we were all ready to start the show proper.

For that, they delivered a Gin for which the most memorable feature was in the ending where Trey chants (surely this is what he said) – “You Know I’m Tripping” which makes it feel dark and strange. It seems to me that they do the emotional whiplash parings throughout most of the set. Bathtub’s off- kilter ending gives way to a peppy NICU. Dark Sloth to Light MMGAMOIO. The Dark-rhythmic intricacies of Ice to the soft simple strums of Dog Faced Boy. Here they finally stay with a mood and keep it mellow with Tela before ending the set with a ripping Possum.

And this Possum previews what is to come in the second set. It is intense – the kind of song to get lost in, but where they can turn on a dime. A full Possum jam gives way to a heavy heartbreaker tease for a few moments and back to Possum without missing a beat – but it somehow keeps the Heartbreaker heaviness and carries it forward. The peak on this song seems to last forever where everyone wants/needs it to end but wishes that it will never end all the same. A tremendous send-off for set break.

Set II kicks in with a classic Disease set opener – though at the time the slot was not as common as it is today. Things start to move from the standard at about 9 minutes in where there is a nice bass line from Mike which leads into an almost Mancini/Perer Gunn-ish section. It’s a hard-driving-calculated-to-make-you-crazy kind of groove with Trey putting in scary accents. Things ease back at around 17 minutes to open up an ambient Page-Trey space where people try still dance but eventually find they need to just close their eyes and space out for a while. At 21 minutes or so it returns to a hard-driving groove which sound like Metallica playing Chuck Berry (to me at least…) which eventually morphs (great ->) into Free.

Free is another monster and after the anthemic beginning it breaks down into a total mind-fuck space after about 6 minutes where it feels like you are in an strange lab where unknown and potentially alien scientists are experimenting on you mind combined with the feeling of being tied to a train track where you hear and feel the train coming though you can’t tell precisely where it is. This passes eventually and gives way to a delicate and beautiful opening at about 10 minutes in (all times from the new official soundboard) which lets you breathe, but which does not last long as Trey starts driving hard into a I’m-running-down-a-hallway-being-chased-by-a-psychotic-killer-type vibe. This vibe continues until they drop into a simultaneous ice-like breakdown which leads not into Ice (this is a mid-Ice feel so I suppose it should not) but into Poor Heart which has this same ice-like break in the middle and then at the end which is a lot to do within the span of two minutes.

When they move into YEM there is a feeling that we all survived some ordeal and this is our gift from the band. The familiar composition is a mind salve and everyone is enjoying life again to the bouncy and fun vibes that the song projects. It takes its time and patiently builds to a great peak at 15 minutes followed by a great Mike solo with a fat funky tone. The tone is so funky there is no choice but to bring forth a James Brown inspired Hot Tub! vocal jam.

Strange design. After hearing it for the first time at Finger Lakes a few days earlier I was familiar with the song; a Page ballad – nice enough with some good imagery dripping/tripping etc. – but definitely a breather. Time for one more burner – Antelope was not unusual (apart from the tempo seeming to be amped up) but is always great. Another payoff for surviving the intensity of the set.

For the Encore, what to make of the sleeping monkey? I recall having a discussion on the “real meaning” of the song after the show, but I am pretty sure that goes under the category of overthinking it. Rocky Top gives us bluegrass send-off and caps off an amazing show.

As I mentioned up front, this show had repercussions which I can still feel today when I think about it. Or maybe I am thinking about the Fleezer show the week before…


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