, attached to 1999-09-18

Review by Campster

Campster New livephish release - $$$ once again!

Set I

A throbbing Tweezer opens the show and by 5:30 is oozing with loops and textures as Page and Mike cook up a simmering groove, Fish accenting the downbeat nicely. This is a full on groove machine within seconds. Trey really takes his time in emerging and lets Mike and Page drive first, before a delicate 4 note pattern fills some space. By 7:20 he’s in the mix, without taking over, and the playing very nicely with Mike complimenting (or Trey complimenting Mike). This is slow head bobbing stuff. By 9:40 they are cooking something with a bit more spice and Trey’s run starts a full band crescendo, which gains in purpose and intensity in patient fashion. It must be noted that Mike is straight thumping here, and Page is playing admirably as Big Red does more with less here (sticking with a 4-5 note pattern) until he starts screaming at 11:30 and kicks in the reverse delay. It’s ’99 now, and Trey fires off some screaming notes and trills and gives us some good peak playing. The rest of the band is on-point and this full band groove reaches a satisfying conclusion. Fish is back on the hi-hat at 13:45ish and they lower the volume as Trey kicks in some final siren loops over a boiling low bass bump from Mike. End song. What an opener!

Following that up with Roses is a fine choice and a very good pairing to start the show. Nice song selection. There’s a small lyric flub and a small “flub” in the middle by Trey, although to be honest he makes lemonade out of one little lemon note.

Wilson drives some purposeful rock and roll into the show, which is a nice change of pace from a mellow (but fantastic) Tweezer and a fun romp through Roses. Rockstar Trey drives a nice heavy jam mid-Wilson and, it being ’99, Trey throws on the reverse delay over a thumping Mike and some cool (keytar sounding) work from Page. A nice loopy bridge out of Wilson threatens to go into a space jam, but does not.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ensuing Maze that emerges, however. There’s a lot right with it in fact. Some loops persist at the beginning giving this one an even more sinister than usual feel. A fiery version ensues and yields to a mellow Brian and Robert, the set’s first breather.

A nice, long, funky Tube is an inspired choice to bring a good dose of dance party time to the set. This is a standout version and is easily the set’s second highlight, just behind the Tweezer. Enjoy this one, as it finds Rocky Top to close out the set.

Overall, this is great first set, although it doesn’t fee particularly long (at least by today’s standards). Some fabulous jamming in the opening Tweezer, the spacey outro of Wilson, a well executed Maze and a funktastic Tube make this an easy winner. Roses, B&R & Rocky Top serve their purpose well.

On to set II!

Boogie On starts with Trey and the rest of the band enters, Mike shining (of course). The band runs through the song in fine fashion, with a good solo and a little more rhythm play at the end that slows down and appears headed for a conclusion. Just as you start to wait for the next tune to kick in, Fishman jumps right back in and the band Boogies Onward. Well, they churn through to a pleasant ’99 style jam, with good playing from the full band as Trey leads the band into nice upbeat melody. This puppy cruises serenely along, settling into hose land, with the full band unified via an uplifting groove that patiently peaks and showcases some fantastic textures and playing from an underrated tour (year?). The eventually resolve back into the tune and conclude. It’s not my favorite jam, but boy it is certainly good.

Meatstick is up next and has some fantastic commentary from Trey about needing to teach the west coast the “new macarena”. Well after a fun romp through the song, the band tacks on a nice funky churning jam at the end, which resolves nicely in Free. Great version.

Free is plenty of fun. It’s not super atypical, but Trey makes fantastic use of the reverse delay during the solo, before shifting into high gear and just slaughtering the climax. Very great ribbon on top of an excellent three song opening segment.

Bouncin’ fits nicely here. It’s a good little mellow addition to the set, which, while full of great jamming still manages to feel pretty laid back.

Harry Hood pops up next and this is a fine version. Like Free, it might not be 100% atypical, but it is totally worthwhile and has some fantastic sections. The 7 minute mark initiates some fine soloing and great coloring by page. It’s nice and ethereal. Trey stumbles a bit, but around 10 minutes starts to cook and finds some good climbing patterns which manifest into some rapid playing around 11 minutes and picks up momentum replete with trilling and peaking notes throughout the remainder of the jam. A fine note at 12:20 brings the victory lap and a fantastical finish ensues with 13:25 sticking out as a rapid fire Hood jam explosion. Nice version.

Frankenstein appears to signal the finish of the show, but a nice version is followed by a rocking Cavern, sending everyone home full of adrenaline.

Well, the Contact encore is always a good choice and the Tweezer Reprise serves as a fitting bookend to the first song masterpiece.

Overall, this show is pretty damn good soup to nuts. Great song selection (set II looks pretty odd on paper, at least no formulaic set II songs aside from Hood, which still pops up late/mid set in a slightly altered placement). Lots of good '99 spacey textured stuff, very easy to lose oneself in these jam.

If you had to pick on something - let’s be honest, this show has its share of slop. But let’s also concede this produces some inspired jamming. Maybe Rolling Stone got something right when they wrote this about Trey:
"His epic solos balance technical finger-work against screaming climaxes, and they're exciting even when he's sloppy. Especially when he's sloppy.”

5/5 Great Show!


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