Alternate lyrics referencing Paul Languedoc's recent arrest.
 Phish debut; Seth Yacovone on guitar and vocals.
 Phish debut; Seth Yacovone on guitar.
 Keyword referenced Paul Languedoc's recent arrest.
Paul and Silas included alternate lyrics, which told the story of Paul Languedoc’s run-in with the law the night before. This event was referenced again during Makisupa. Maze contained a Shafty tease from Mike. The last two songs of the first set (both Phish debuts) featured Seth Yacovone on guitar; All the Pain also featured Yacovone on vocals. Possum included a Dave’s Energy Guide tease and YEM contained a Super Bad tease from Trey.
I differ with @waxbanks here. I had a great time at this show. That might have had something to do with the fact that I got shut out (still the only time that happened to me) the previous night, after enjoying the blowout on 11/27. So maybe just being in the building was enough. The Limb->Catapult->Kung>Maze action is fine first-set fare, enough to keep things interesting anyway. Fall 98 wasn't the most consistent tour in terms of delivering across both sets, especially towards the end. And while I agree that most guest sit-ins don't usually improve the show, it was still cool to hear them do Layla.
I had hopes with the Roses set two opener that something juicy would materialize, it being only the seventh time the band had played it at that point, and with the Island tour monster still fresh in the collective memory. It wasn't to be, but they did take the Simple for a long, spacey ride. Not the most engaging jam, but they more than made up for it with the Bathtub Gin.
Let me contextualize this a bit: I remember getting into Boston early on 11/27 after a long drive from Halifax, Nova Scotia (where I was in University at the time) and staying at a friends place who had just gotten the tapes from the UIC run. He put on the 11/9 Bathtub while he played the Ocarina of Time, which had also just come out (am I dating this ok?). It was overcast, cold, and we had just scored mail order tickets to all four nights at MSG. That Gin was smoking, confirming for me that the song was still the holy jam grail at this point in the band's history. Anyway fast-forward to the end of 11/29 and they delivered another gooey, glory-gem of a Gin, and I soaked up every minute. The YEM was icing on the cake, even if the encore was kind of anti-climactic for the end of tour.
The only Phish show I've attended that ever left me unsatisfied, i.e. maybe you can't trust this largely negative review.
In retrospect the abrasive Limb > etc. > Maze is worth hearing, but the Yacovone guest shot just illustrates the principle that guest musicians generally don't improve Phish shows. Empathetic and generous as the band is, they just practice a unique communicative musical art that most guest players, however well-intentioned or beloved of the boys themselves, don't quite nail down. (There are exceptions: MMW, Bela Fleck, a few others.) And there's a desultory quality to the Wipe Out reprise, like repeating the punchline of a joke hours later to wring another laugh from the group. On the other hand, if you loved hearing it on the 27th you'll probably love it on the 29th.
Well, 1998 was another even-numbered plateau/transitional year for the band, and if you're into what they were into back then, you'll like this show just as much as the rest of fall '98. But the growth and crystallization of 1999 is probably more *interesting* than anything here, regardless of the pleasure this outing is able to give. The standout shows of the year are the Island and NYE runs and Lemonwheel, though; start there.
I have to say, in contrast to the other reviews of this show, I found Simple and YEM to be superb that evening, at least in person. Some of the show doesn't translate so well on tape after the fact, but I enjoyed the second sets atmosphere and lighting. Certainly not the best show of that era, but it's what I want Phish shows to be: enjoyable and memorable. One thing I do agree on with others is the encore: not too good for the last show of a tour.
When I started downloading mp3 files of Phish shows back in 1999, there were six shows from the Fall ’98 tour that I assigned top priority d/l status: 10/31 Vegas, 11/2 West Valley, 11/20 and 11/21 Hampton, and 11/27 and 11/29 Worcester. Almost twenty years later, only 11/2 and 11/27 remain consensus top-tier shows, but I maintain that 11/29 should be remembered in the same breath as the other two. Poor Paul Languedoc - this was probably the only time he ever got flat-out wasted on tour, and he winds up in an incident with the police! And to add to the embarrassment, Trey pokes fun at him in both the first and second sets - with friends like that, who needs enemies, amirite?
Guest appearances can be tricky: the band needs to back off to allow the guest to shine, while the guest needs to fit in with what Phish does well. Seth Yacavone's style might not be to every fan's (or .net site admin's) liking, and no one would mistake Phish for a blues band, but his appearance at the end of the first set succeeds because the band puts effort toward making this local hero look good on their much larger stage. And the set-closing "Layla" is everything a fan would wish for in performance, save for an appearance by Hologram Duane Allman
But even besides that, there's so much Phish goodness in the rest of the show that deserves mention. Limb By Limb -> Catapult -> Kung > Maze? Simple -> Wall of Noise jam? Possum with another Wipeout jam? *Another* great '98 Bathtub Gin? And to cap it off, what might be THE FUNKIEST YEM ever? That's a solid 5-star Phish show, my friends, and one that every phan should hear. 11/27 may still be the best show of the Worcester '98 run, but IMO 11/29 runs a very close second.
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.
The first set was better than the second. Catapult and Kung were totally different than early performance. Reminds me of the catapult from big cypress. Anyways, of the worcester shows, '97 was stronger than '98.
Andrew Rose! good to see you again. Always enjoy your perspective, although that may be attributable to the fact that we usually agree (see 7.9.99). I also happen to think that this was a nice little show, and while I am indeed biased due to the fact that it was my first, I do believe that it stands up to scrutiny upon listening, 18 years ago to the day. From 30,000 feet, the mere inclusion of Layla in a show merits a listen. They don't exactly crush it but it's a fun version. And, to get more granular, I think the entire 2nd set is pretty hot, especially the Gin. There is a standard Gin "peak," which hasn't really changed much in 18 years. However, after said peak, they settle into a very cool ambient-wash type jam, with some very nice group playing and some excellent melodic work from Trey. I think this Gin is an all-time great.
The Centrum is a great place to see a show and I've caught some pretty amazing nights there. This was certainly a special one, given it was my first show, and obviously I'm just as captivated with this music now as I was then. Thanks to my auld man for getting me there; a lot of things change but music is the only thing I've ever given a shit about, and he's to blame.
Here's to another 18 years
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