, attached to 1997-12-07

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes:
AC/DC Bag opens, and let’s get this show on the road. Great call as an opener, as the jam develops, Trey decides to hang on one chord, and Mike follows, leading a buttery segue into Psycho Killer, the first since ’93. Who would’ve predicted this one? It quickly moves into that classic Fall ’97 soaring groove-space, and, in time, Mike starts to digitally jumble his bass, and the whole band moves to hover above that strange energy before another buttery segue into JJLC. Page takes it for a ride on the baby grand, Trey patiently builds his solo, its Phish playing the blues, take it as you will. MMGAMOIO is a nice little “bluegrass” tune, always feels more on the rare side, catchy tune. It’s Ice emerges, the first of Fall Tour. It’s one of my favorite Phish tunes, so I always want it to pop up, and this time, Page’s Jam melts into a gentle musical rippling, leading into Swept Away, the crowd loving what they hear happening. Steep arrives, the slightly foreboding partner in the duo, “an amazing composition” a friend comments, the imagery of the lyrics floating by. Soon, Trey strikes a particular chord, and we are right back into It’s Ice to finish it off, a very cool Ice sandwich. Theme From The Bottom brings the anthemic catharsis to the set, arriving as the jam grows wings and glides upwards, hovering over the top of the mountain before dropping into the ending. “Tube?” “Make it funky!” A classic moment, dropping into this Tube, the first of tour. It’s time to get sucked into the funk tube, then. Page’s clav and organ carry the slap/pop cowfunk, a swirling disco ball groove-space. Trey vocally approves of the jam before he is caught in the wah-spotlight, soon calling for the blues-shuffle ending, wrapping up the tune. “Start that jam again?” Tube Jam restarts, this time quickly going the direction of cow-abduction-funk spaceyness, sirens rolling, Page swirling synth tractor beams, Mike bumping octaves, Fish 2K keeping rhythm like a dancey atomic clock. Mike’s bass starts to get tubular, man, the music spreads out and becomes a cloud-top dance party soundtrack. Slave comes in out of the dreamy Jam outro, great energy and power to close a strong set. Page gives swirling stereo-therapy as the jam builds on top of melodic Mike, Trey shreds slippery plasma guitar lines up to the peak. A great first set wraps up, a strong contender for the top first set of tour.

Set Two Notes:
Timber kicks things off, always a promising sign, as you know that it’s set up to jam. This one immediately goes for murky, chilly waters. At times, the Jerry-beat totally dissolves, only to reemerge having gained momentum, before it melts into nothingness, just for Timber-proper to reemerge to get finished off. Wolfman’s gets it funky, starting the second set dance party off after that light/dark, tense/loose Timber. The Wolfman’s jam heads straight into a funk session, with full 3D slap/pop action. Soon, the jam shifts into up-tempo cowfunk, Fish playing with the beat at times. Fish and Mike start to push forward into something new, Trey and Page hop on, and Mike drops the Boogie On bassline. A huge bust out, Boogie On heads straight into its own simple funk session. Fish is totally locked-in, the baby grand pounding away on the opposite side of the stage to foundation-shaking Mike and plucky Trey. It’s an indica-groove if I ever heard one, and it has really set in by the time Page starts wah-ing the clav over the crowd. Reba comes out of nowhere, certainly welcome, though. Reba just hits different in the second set, not necessarily better or worse. The knotty composed section is traversed pretty cleanly, and the opening of the Reba-Jam Space feels great, peaceful and enveloping. Trey drops melody lines to bounce on top on the lilting groove. I am reminded that nature and the universe tend towards balance and equilibrium in the long run, no matter what may be occurring in the short run. This Reba soars beautifully, a truly great version, with a clean ending, with no whistling. Guyute is called by Trey across the stage, an interesting call in an interesting second set that has felt a little different that most second sets in this tour. The ugly pig brings the weirdness and energy, though, staying pretty tight through its tangled center, bursting through to the end in full glory. Possum has lots’a messing around to start before Possum-proper bursts through, making most of a long, slow build to a big, raging peak. A Day In The Life in the encore slot is unexpected, a nutty meltdown to a nutty show. Mayhem builds and swirls, finally crashing to send the crowd into the Ohio night.

I’ve heard some discuss this as the best show of tour. All I know is that it is certainly a five-star show in a five-star tour.
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