, attached to 1998-11-29

Review by markah

markah Here's a review I posted for the 20th anniversary of the show yesterday.

The extra lyrics in Paul and Silas are "the cuffs were tight and my shoulders were sore" - I don't think I've heard this in other versions. I'm assuming this is a reference-within-a-reference to Paul's arrest the night before (allegedly for violating an open container law) .
20 years ago - 11/29/98 - WOOstah, Massachusetts. What an absurdly good show. Paul and Silas opens, with some fun alternate lyrics and (atypical?) whistling. Axilla ratchets up the energy, and you can hear the crowd getting louder and louder, then without a moment's pause -- Theme From The Bottom. Explosive version, especially from Mike. After we laugh and laugh and fall apart, we get a nice Horn. Limb By Limb has some o' that extra mustard. Trey's playing in the final minutes is especially inspired--fiery and virtuosic. Then, again without a moment's pause, we are Catapulted into "uncharted territory" (thanks for the term, Aaron). '98 was really a great year for the spaces in-between the songs. I can hear a girl on the tape at this point who sounds a little bit concerned as she tells those around her that she's melting. Mike hits his fight bell, then Trey decides it's time for a runaway golf cart marathon. This is some top-shelf, back-corner of the cellar, really confusing jamming. And it’s still just the first set! After eight or nine minutes having just past, with no real song ever happening, Maze starts up like a startled schizophrenic. After packing an entire evening's worth of energy into an otherwise blistering 55-minute set, Trey thanks everyone, then Seth Yacovone comes up to play some blues guitar. Bonus Phish! And two debuts, taboot.

Set II opens with Roses Are Free, which has a tail on it that would knock your socks off if you heard it today, but in the context of "oh, we just heard this from the Island Tour" (and I'm sure that's what I was expecting at the time), the jam is short-lived and Simple quickly takes up the two slot.

And what a Simple! It gets dark quick, and with Mike's relentless plodding it's got the unmistakable underpinnings of a dance party, but the ambient textures from the past several weeks spill into the 20-minute classic that anchors this Fall tour closer, and give it a bizarre, frothy freshness that this band hasn't really matched before or since. I don't call this Simple the anchor of the set to in any way diminish the Makisupa, nor the Possum that follows, especially with the DEG tease and Wipe Out call-back that recalls what an amazing three nights it'd been. That Wipe Out, by the way, is exactly what a tease *should* be - hit it quick, everyone gets it, then get out of it and never look back.

Bathtub Gin hits a nice theme that bubbles and churns--it's full steam ahead into another corner of the ambient dance-party outer space trance. As this winds down, there's a pause (this might be the first true "break" all night they've taken between songs)...then You Enjoy Myself. What's not to love?

I also enjoy the Roggae>Ragtime Gal encore. But it is kind of odd that they sang a "Hello..." song to close out the tour.

This show is absurdly good!



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