, attached to 2000-05-21

Review by markah

markah Copied (typos and all...) from a review originally posted: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 00:51:09 CDT
Subject: Radio City Reviews (finally!)

Hi, everybody! Now to first dispell any unpleasant rumors, I am not dead,
nor am I married, nor did I mean for that to come out like some kind of
comparison between the two. I am, however, recharged and sustained - for
now at least - by two truly stellar performances (well, one and a half that
were _truly_ stellar...) and have no remorse that I missed what would have
been the smallest East-coast Phish show in some 10 years, but am a bit
disgruntled that Greater Northeast Productions, aka the Mail Order Gods
decided in their infinate wisdom to overlap tour and mailorder once again.
No, I did not M.O. for Fall.

So let's tawk about New Yohk. What a beautiful venue! Not so much ornate
as it was 'in a class by itself'. An impressive theater with a heavy
curtain draped from the top of an enormous stage - the lobby was painted
with scenic scapes involving floating clouds, chandeliers and lots and lots
of mirrors. The internet's "Project Phormal" was a considerable success,
with probably about 50-65% participating by dressing up somehow the first
night, and a little better participation the second night. Yours truly
opted for a comphy first show, and a tie and tails for the Monday gala. Now
onto the music...

Sunday 21 May 2000 - Radio City Music Hall
I: II:
First Tube Gotta Jiboo
Wolfman's Brother Down with Disease!!!
Squirming Coil Dirt
Possum Twist--> (new - different)
MOMA Dance Piper!!
Limb by Limb Harry Hood
Character Zero Velvet Sea
(0:59) Guyute

E: In-Law Josie Wales (aka "Minestrone" and "Bake and Boil")
Loving Cup

Very nice, strong opener, and a definate nice suprise from the opener
everyone and their brother were calling - Farmhouse. Of course, to open
what had been dubbed the "Farmhouse Promo Tour," what else? This has been
called "Bing Bong" by me and others in the past, but I now relenquish that
title since the album that was actually produced by Trey has the title
"First Tube" on it, even though "Bing Bong" is a clearly superior name.
When it's my band, I'll change it. But its Trey's band. And Trey likes the
internet community's descriptively cryptic moniker. Another thing Trey
liked is doing Pete Townsend-style guitar windmills during this tune after
the change to major key (at about 4:00 on the album).

Everyone got their little solo tonight, not so much a true "solo" as their
chance to be heard on the (really kick-ass looking) Radio City stage.
Page's came at the end of Coil and was considerably short. Of course, all
the screaming fans probably didn't help. It's clear on the tapes that even
if he'd wanted to strech his dynamic range on this solo, anything under a
mezzoforte would have been drowned out by the lurid cheering.

Fishman's solo was his inhuman singing/drumming extrazaganza during the Limb
outro. Fish was funny these couple of nights. For the first time ever in
my watching him, he seemed not to be intensely chugging away as usual, not
at all - but rather laid back. He dropped a couple of beats here and there,
one in First Tube, and I overheard at 7:00 before the Monday night show that
he was reachable "only by phone" from one of the crewmen, and that they'd
just been able to locate him for the first time that day. A taper said he'd
seen Fish at the bar he was at when he left at 1/4 to four am...

Mike's solo I guess was the second set Disease, which was over 20 minutes in
length and raged, rocked, and funked throughout the entire time. This
Disease was easily the highlight of the two days, and the only reason I put
it above the Ghost from 5/22 is becasue this one pumps hard all the way
through to the end, and while the Ghost is definately funkier and more
intense at points, it peters out into what I almost dare call a
"Simple-style jam" for the last five minutes.

Trey's solo came - well, he had a lot of them I guess. It could have been
Character Zero, a fairly standard version, or as Dirt, his self-professed
"favorite of the new songs," or even the next night with Horn. He played a
particularly beautiful Horn.

Most of the tunes this first night (with the exception of the aforementioned
Disease) were fairly straight-forward, no real suprises. Which was exactly
what I expected. We got to see a familiar combo with the Twist->Piper,
although the Twist was especially mellow. Probably due in part at least to
the new arrangement (yes, again) that differs from the version they did in
Hampton as well as on the album. This one starts out with just Fishman
really soft, then fade in slowly adding Trey, then Mike and Page, leaving
out the clever intro with the vocalized bassline entirely. Piper raged, and
had similar form to the CD version, in that they launch out of the first
vocal chorus, taking off with tightly-knit and seemingly reckless abandon
rather than the '97 approach of a slow and steady build. This Piper morphed
into Trey's favorite dj-style wah-wahs and had a slight Birds of a
Feather-feel jam in the outro, akin to the 10.22.99 Minneapolis Piper
although not as pronounced or long.

After Velvet Sea, Page turned to the audience and thanked them, saying he
"used to come here as a kid" and that this was a special show for him (and
also that it was his mom's (?) birthday). Trey, not to be outtalked,
commented that he and Page had come to see Steveie Wonder in RCMH, then went
on for nearly three minutes about how great "this whole thing" was - and
that "we don't want to do anything to screw it up, so let's just keep this
going for as long as we can." He profusely thanked the audience, saying how
lucky he felt for the last 15 years and how they've "built around the four
of us," and said they were the ones who should be applauding us.

Take care, and I hope to see each of you all soon...

- Mark

PS - Deer Creek tix go on sale this Saturday!

PPS - 12/11/99 Sneaking Sally-->Ghost!!!


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