, attached to 1997-12-03

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes:
Punch provides a nice spacey groove to get the show going, Fish in the Flyers jersey, pounding away, Trey spinning yarns of kidnapping at the hands of Wilson, the crowd energy in the old Spectrum very high. My Soul hits next, yes, another My Soul in ’97. Fine song and version, just overplayed. I’ll leave it there. Drowned hitting is a turn in a really strong direction, the first version since the Flynn Theatre show that spring. Trey starts a ripping solo right out of the gate, the band continuing to build until they emerge into a true improvised jam space, Trey riffing the band into a clav-crunch-infused jam with pounding Mike and sirens. The band gets locked-in to a wide-open, punchy groove, Trey and Page bouncing all over on top of it, before wrapping up a seriously cool first set jam. Old Home Place does its job in keeping the energy up, with Trey getting in a nice short solo. Gumbo is a call to return to the funk, and drops into a low-slung groove, Fish hammering the snare, Mike ground-pounding, the jam slowly lowering itself into open space, deep and increasingly radiant, starting to sparkle and glimmer as 2001 arises. I could take a 2001 at nearly every show. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Fish 2K is smashing bones with every snare hit, before the first “chorus” absolutely blasts off. Superbad Trey emerges as they drop back into the groove, while alien signals project from the Chairman’s synths into the Spectrum. CK5 is bringing the scanning tractor beams over the crowd, sometimes catching the UFO itself hovering over the stage. The drop into YEM feels perfect, really, what other intro do you want to hear starting up at that moment? Clean execution throughout the composed section, always a happy, familiar journey, a song that you can feel cover distance. Trey goes straight to the wah, Mike to the slapping and popping as the lyrics hit, and after the trampolines, the jam embarks as a solid Trey buildup, a peaking solo, before giving way to Mike laying down waves of bass to Fish’s steady cymbal tapping. The vocal jam is relatively musical, with the band members settling into vocal roles and continuing the jam, closing the set.

Set Two Notes:
The Bowie beat starts up, with Page laying down an alien-infused teasefest in the intro. Noises from a digital jungle arise, Mike laying down ankle-level buzz saw bass, before Bowie-proper bursts forward. The jam begins low-key and wide open to possibility, starting a measured build, tension continuing to brew. Soon, the jam mellows into rolling waves of chording and open beats, before pushing upwards and coalescing as a raging Bowie jam, only to fall back out of the jam, with Possum then emerging from the unfinished Bowie. These ’97 Possums absolutely rage, this one totally exploding as its peak hits. Immediately, the Funk Jam gets started up by Trey, who is obviously in the mood for some cowfunk, cutting to the chase. Trey is head bobbing and hunching like a funk-hermit as he is caught in the wah-spotlight, soon leading Mike into a synchronized dance as the bass pounds. More stop-start, Page wah-chucking the clav, Fish 2K laying down straight disco-ball dance beats, a rhythm machine, through and through. We get more totally locked-in stop-start and synchro-dancing action, Page caught in the clav-spotlight, Mike ringing the fight bell in approval. Trey starts strutting with his guitar lines, pushing forward into upbeat territory, getting the sirens going. Mike starts levitating his bass lines over the pulsing groove before a sudden telepathically-conjured full-band stop hits. Right on cue, the band launches back into the groove, Page conducting a full audience abduction procedure with his synths as the groove starts to slow and crawl, winding down into Caspian. This is a grounding song, very Earthly, a contrast with what was just witnessed. Chord waves wash over the crowd, Trey laying into a satisfyingly sharp and somewhat slushy wah-affected solo. Mike is pounding and bumping real low-like, Fish hammering the cymbals and snare, baby grand coming alive on the opposite side of the stage. Trey is hyped, jumping around before hitting the big rock ending that I really like and wish that they kept. Frankenstein serves as a great late-set proggy rager, musically locked-in and tight, sending the Spectrum into a round of Kuroda-assisted crazy pulsating before giving way to Hood. Hood focuses the energy down and forward towards a strong finish, CK5’s beautiful greens and blues illuminating the space. Mike hurls lumps of plasma-bass out into the crowd as they thank Mr. Miner, before the jam builds into soaring ecstasy. Twisting and winding up, the jam finally peaks, and as Hood wraps up, Trey walks over to Mike and gives him a message, presumably to keep his bass on as they leave the stage, as Trey and Mike both take their instruments with them as they walk off. I speculate that they wanted to give the upcoming encore a bit of practice or review, as it hadn’t been played since that summer at Alpine. Crossroads, as the encore turns out to be, gets to raging very quickly, a really solid version, even considering that it was likely a spur of the moment call.

Another great show to wrap up a truly all-time two-night stand in Philly, deserving as much acclaim as probably any other two nights along the Fall tour that year. I really mean that. I will boost Philly ’97 until we get the box set with the 12/11/99 tie-in.
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