12-15-99 -- MCI Center, Washington, DC
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Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 01:53:52 EDT
Subject: MCI Center Show 12-15-2000
I can't fall asleep, It's late and I'm reading reviews of the last Phish
show I attended. I was just 70 miles away from Big Cypress on New Year's Eve,
but you get older, you get married, life goes on. Believe me, I would love to
have been there. Those who went, cherish it. So where was I...MCI Center.
Because it's been a while and my memory is hazy, this should be a nice and
short review. But this will be a very objective one. I don't know if age and
experience counts for much in these reviews, but this show marked my 10th
anniversary of going to Phish shows. Well, almost ten years. My first show
was at the now extinct Bayou in Georgetown (No sentimentality here, 9:30 Club
has always kicked the Bayou's ass) in the winter of 1990. Back to the show.
First Set: I didn't get into my seat until midway through DWD, great
song, good jam, but I wasn't "settled" in my area yet so I can't say for sure.
If it weren't for the reviews, I never would have remembered
"Farmhouse"...'nough said. "Bathtub Gin" is a classic, goes back to my old
school days, and let me tell you youngin's, it gets better every year. This
was no Hampton '98, but at least you know your going to get a solid jam. Then
came Wolfmans Brother and I'm thinking "three out of four songs are of the
jamming variety, this is going to be my kind of night". Wolfman was cool and
that impression of the rest of the show wouldn't be wrong. "Guyute"; for me
the first time I heard it I liked it. I'll be honest, now it just bores me.
But hey, a lot of people really dig it and so does the band. It gives me time
to rest up my legs for later in the show. Love "The Train Song", yeah it's
nothing special, but it is a very visual and pretty song that mellows the
crowd for a bit. I think it's a good change of pace. YEM to end the set,
what can I say, it was the first song that turned me on to PHISH 10 years ago
and it never disappoints.
Second Set: Here's were it gets fun. For this show I had lower level
seats but I decided to push the envelop and use an old Cable TV lamenated
badge from my work to pose as someone more important than I really am. What
do you know, it worked. For the whole second set I was front row, right in
front of Page. So I start yelling "10 years...10 Fucking years" to Page a la
"Gross Point Blank". I think he heard me and had no fucking clue...all the
As I look through the set-list only a couple of things really stood out
from this set. First, "MAZE" was Phish in peak form. This is the only song
of the night that I really recommend you get on tape or CD or whatever it is
you get show recording from. During a night with many extended jam songs,
this was the topper. Trey was really noodling the fret board and Page was
straight out of the X-Files, I should know he was right in front of me. I
also remember "Free" being flat and boring. Yes they did have a funky groove
going for 10 minutes, but Trey on keyboard did nothing. He's a guitar player
for God's sake. He was just playing the same notes for 5 straight minutes.
Then REBA, more classics ("10 Fucking Years"). Did I ever tell you about the
worst Reba I ever heard? It was fucking great. That about sums it up. Finish
off the set with Halley's Comet and Susie Greenberg, it was a goddamn 10 year
reunion at this point and I never spoke with the guys before the show.
Nothing special here, just two great songs that give the crowd a late burst of
energy and enthusiasm to finish the show. After a second set "in the front
row" I decided to go back to my buddies and finish it out with them.
"Frankenstien" and "RockyTop", two more standards from way back.
So let's review. 16 songs in the show (that means jamming, that is good),
at least half of the tunes were Old School (at least 8 years old), and I was
front row (somewhere I haven't been since Phish played the Bayou 10 years
earlier). Gosh, it is true, the more things change, the more they stay the
same. I don't get to see Phish quite as much as I used to, but I savor every
show I get, I hope you do the same.
Keep on Phishin'
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 06:36:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Nancy Powell firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 12-15-99 - MCI Center: Washington D.C.
Hello! I know this show was a couple months ago but I just found this site so
I decided to add my two cents. 12-15-99 was my first show and my only show as
of yet, but hey I'm 16, 15 at the time, so Im just starting to dabble into the
live scene although I've been a fan for a few years now. The whole night for
me was just amazing. I was in total awe and I loved it! I live in PA but the
drive was nothing. (trying to remember this night is kinda difficult. I
enjoyed every minute of it but it's all kinda one big blur of joy.. yeah.) I
dont know whats up with all the negative comments about the stadium. Yea the
lot wasnt that big..? But I dont know what a "standard lot" is supposed to be.
whatever, It was great all the while. But I do have to admit, I didnt like
some of the employees that worked in the stadium.. Cant do this, cant do that.
But they're just doing their jobs so why trash em? You just gotta block em
out.. hehe.. one of the chicks working there was about 3 inches from my face
at one time, yelling to put out my cigarette, and I didnt even notice her!
That just shows that it really doesnt matter where a show is, just as long as
it rocks! And boy did this show blow my mind. .. I didnt know the set break
was 48 minutes.. wow. It only seemed to me to be about 10-15. The whole night
seemed to go by a bit too quickly for me. But it was quite an experience. The
only bad part was that I had to wake up the next morning after only about 2
and a half hours of sleep and go to skool. But it was well worth it. Im just
calmy waiting for this summer, oh yes. I'm just so grateful to be part of this
wonderful community and I'm looking forward to MANY MANY great shows to come!
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 14:08:27 -0500
From: Tim Powell~ email@example.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: 12/15/99- MCI Center; Washington, DC
Before I start, I beg all of you to please excuse my bad habit of submitting
reviews weeks late, but I really do need that time to get my head back
together and let everything unfold in my memory to take any particular show
for what it's truly worth. December 15th, 1999 at the MCI center marked two
very special occasions for me personally. I feel it is my responsibility to
report these both to you before I proceed with my review, being that the magic
of a Phish show is that each one is an incredibly personal experience for
every listener, which is manifest in the many differing opinions of this show
people had, just from reading the previous reviews under this one. First of
all, this night marked the 4th Anniversary of my first Phish show, December
15th, 1995, in my hometown of Philly at the hallowed Spectrum. That alone was
enough to turn any night of sour grapes into fine wine. The second very
special occasion was that I took my buddy John to his very first show, and he
was probably more psyched than me for it. For weeks before the show, I had
been feeding him all the necessary nutrients~ aka, the songs we first fell in
love with Phish over. Yeah, yeah, I know~ now when we hear them we tend to get
ancy, scribbling them down on our setlists just before sitting down for a
smoke or commenting to our neighbor on how sick the Gin was they just played
or how the intro to the Punch opener went on forever. Sometime, if you ever
get a chance, don't sit down. Stop and appreciate the moment that the boys
decide to strike up Bouncin'. Wheel around with Trey in Sample. And DAMNIT!
When Trey sees you with a ticket stub in your hand during Golgi, and the white
lights are spinning around, think of the millions of other places you could be
at this moment in time that aren't as good as a Phish show. You could be the
poor girl in the lot who didn't get miracled, or worse yet, some poor schmuck
who has never heard of Phish and will never find what we have~ the best band
in the world.
Whoa!~ ok, enough of the preachin' (sometimes i get a little carried
away) and on to the show. Disease as an opener caught me a little off guard. I
think the last time they opened with it was second night Dublin on '97 Summer
Tour. Anyway, I was glad they played it cause it was one of the songs that
John had been listening to all week, and I was happy that he could hear some
of the songs that he was familiar with. I couldn't really complain about it
either. It was a decent version with Trey settling on a very nice groove about
8 minutes through, and as he rode on arpeggios and pentatonic scales that
would eventually bring Disease to it's end a few minutes later, I came to the
conclusion that tonight was gonna be special~ in a personal kind of way. I
adopted a new view of nostalgia for the first set. Farmhouse followed, and
immediately I recalled the first time I heard it- Merriweather, '98. For some
strange reason~ i started enjoying Farmhouse. Then, as soon as the C-Gm7
progression began hitting my ears~ something strange happened. I've heard Gin
about a dozen times live, and have had the privilege of witnessing some of the
best (8/16/96, 8/17/97, 11/29/98, and 7/10/99) but as soon as these two notes
hit~ I could only think of one. My first one. Spectrum- 12/15/95. Yepper, four
years to the day. The one where they went into the weirdo Rotation Jam that
led to Fishman singing some weird song on the piano. Nostalgia. From that
point on, every song thereafter was trip back in time. Wolfman's followed, and
I remembered the great funk-fest Wolfman's of '97~ particularly Chicago on
Summer Tour when they went into a mind-blowing Free. And as all this was
happening, John was experiencing this all for the first time. Occasionally, I
would glance over at him, and he was just beaming. Guyute followed, and
visions of Deer Creek '97 began dancing in my head, when they took it out of
the closet for the first time that tour, and the crowd erupted in cheer. Train
Song was very nice. Still, I just stood there, beaming, taking in everything.
I looked behind me. John-still beaming. "Good" I thought. He's truly enjoying
his very first show. What came next only confirmed my suspicions that this was
gonna be a special show~ YEM. I quickly explained to John that this was
"Phish's Song", and that he should just take a moment to glance around at how
euphoric everybody is- smiling, dancing, shooting random smiles. I was tempted
to tell him that this was their "Terrapin", but I stopped. Something was
telling me that they had moved past that comparison. I just let it go. I knew
in the back of my head that soon the tramps would come and impress him even
further, then it would be just minutes before the mouth/light jam would blow
him away. At setbreak, I asked him what he thought, and it almost looked like
he was struggling to find the words for a second. Regardless, I knew from the
look on his face he loved it.
Setbreak always seems to fly by for me lately~ too many people around to
talk to and not enough time. When the lights went down for the second set~ I
was thinking something strange and interesting. I was right~ how often does
Sample open a second set? Sure, some people were disappointed, but I was glad
it was another one that John recognized and keeping with my philosophy for the
show, I immersed myself into it and soon I was dancing with Elihu up on
Leemor's bed. I approached the rest of the set with the same attitude,
enjoying Maze, and an experimental Free before Dirt offered a breather. Again,
I was rewarded for my patience with an amazing Reba, Halley's > Suzie run to
close the set. Now, I read some people comment that it was an average Reba, or
how it was sub-par. This really got to me, because it was the ONLY REBA OF THE
TOUR!!!! I truly wish people could appreciate things for what they are. Just
be happy that you caught the only Reba of the '99 December Tour. It sounds a
little more appetizing in that light. Meanwhile, while we were all waiting for
Trey to step up to the Mic for his whistling part, it was Mike who began to
approach his Mic. Hmmmmm, maybe he's gonna whistle. 'Fraid not ~ cause all of
a sudden he started up Halley's and the crowd erupted. No, it wasn't jammed
out to end the set, but instead Trey took it out on a detour through Suzie's,
with some incredible work by Page. I truly have to say that the show ended in
style, and all this time, I think John had discovered two more favorite Phish
songs to add to his ever growing list. The encore was old-school Phish, as was
the whole show actually, Frank-Rocky Top settled us down a little more into
reality. Hey, just be glad it wasn't Brian & Robert (things could always be
All in all, I loved this show. Nothing extraordinary~ no ker-azy jams,
like Piper two nights before or the Drowned the night before that, but their
was quality. Highlights would be Gin, YEM, Free, and a great Reba, Halley's >
Suzie run to end the show. A night to cherish. For those of you who were there
and don't believe me, ask yourself this- count how many sets you've seen with
sub-par enders, then look at it in light of the YEM first set closer and
Halley's > Suzie second set closer we got tonight.............what, is that a
smile I see?........GOOD, that's what I thought. The only really scary thing
about this show is that I don't remember the 2 hour drive back to Ship at all.
I found out just the other day that apparently i got thirsty when I was
driving home, and drank two beers on the way~ any night with a good blackout
is a good night in my book~ later kids!!!!~ see ya all on Summer Tour!
ps~ if anyone has got shows from this tour, preferably on CD, please e-mail
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 13:19:32 EST
The scene in D.C was rather starnge, hard to get around and stuff. Anyways
there were extra's everywhere because the place was so god darn big,
definetely the biggest place they played all tour. Keeping this in mind I
anticipated and arena-like all out rockin show, with lots of heavy hitters
DWD: Always a solid opener, some really nice jamming, at this point I was
happy that I was there, plus the size of the building added to the mayhem and
Farmhouse: Yawn...nothing great here, ya know its funny I knew it was coming,
and every time I like it less and less, it's a great song but the boys need
to give it a rest
Bathtub Gin: A suprising call by the boys, good Gin nothing outrageous but
nonetheless it was Gin
Wolfman's Brother: Something happened to this song somewhere in 98....In 97
Wolfman's serevd as a centerpiece for the phunk, now it seems as if they
really don't know what to do with it, although this was an ok performance,
average at best
Guyute: In 1994 the band introduced us to their latest opus, Guyute, it has
undergone some changes for the better but pretty much has stayed the same.
The band really loves this song, and so do I, but like Farmhouse I think it
could use a rest.
Train Song: I guess this is just one of those songs where you just sit and
listen and wait for the next song, It is a nice tune though, I liked it.
YEM: Nice Yem, Kuroda really seemed to be on tonight, had some nice timing,
Trey flubbed the lyrics during boy,man,god,shit, he went
boy.......man.......shhhhhhhGOD........shhhhhhhit Pretty funny
Solid First Set filled with some goodies I gave it a 6
After a nice and short set break...the boys opened the second set with
Sample: Eh....nothing too great, Trey looked to be having fun though so hey.
MAZE!!: Ya know just when I thought I couldn't take this song anymore the
boys perfomed a true arena rock version complete with intense jamming from
Trey and Page, really solid, but then...
FREE: Definetely one of the best Free's I've ever heard, absolutely
incredible. Trey went to his keyboard and my initital reaction was not
pleasant, but all of the sudden this unrelentless funky groove came out that
lasted a good ten minutes. Awesome...then that segued into
Dirt: One of my favorite slow phish songs but hearing it to much lately, plus
bad placement. Next ....
REBA!!: Yes, love this song, and with the boys playing it less and less these
days I was happy to be there. The composed section was near flawless, and the
jam was absolutely beautiful. The boys just kept taking it up to the next
level, it remined me of a 94 or 95 Reba, for those reasons and also because
there was no whistling.....so after a short pause....
Halley's: Always fun, short Halleys, as soon as the jam got started,
Suzie: Out of nowhwere, everyone was just like huh?? and then we all realized
it could be worse. Good suzie, lots of nice build up before fishman screams.
Nothin spectacular about the encore, good fun though, The set gets and 8 and
the show a 7.
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 23:11:47 EST
From: Brad P firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 12/15/99 MCI Center Review
I've been reading the reviews and I can't say that I
agree with even a fraction of the negative comments being thrown around.
This show was absolutely awesome, basically in every way possible for me.
The band seemed to be having a great time, and each song seemd big and
loud, no filler or in-between songs really.
Driving to MCI was quite a pain, however, with all the downtown traffic
and whatnot. I hate driving in the city. And despite what I'm hearing
alot, I think MCI is a pretty good arena. It's new, it's clean, the
employees were well-behaved enough, and the lot scene actually existed,
despite what I was anticipating. I didn't think there'd be anyplace at a
downtown arena for people to party, but luckily I was wrong. As far as
security, I saw very few people being hauled away, and they were pretty
cool with the whole smoking thing. I saw people smoking in the lobby area
without any trouble. If security was a problem on the floor with people
smoking up, it was fine up in section 227 where I was. Nobody gave us any
Anyway, getting to the music itself, I thought the show kicked all kinds
of ass. Almost every song developed into a nice jam, it seemed, and the
band seemed to be going at every song with equal intensity.
DOWN WITH DISEASE: this was a nice way to open a show I had high
expectations for (MCI being a new arena for Phish) because I really dig
DWD, even the studio version. It had a nice jam, and was definately a
good opener to get me pumped up.
FARMHOUSE: I had heard this at Merriwether in July, and it's a good tune
if a little catchy-alternative. A pretty short, "standard" version, as
they say, but I was yet to be let down.
BATHTUB GIN: I hadn't been too familiar with this song, but it was a real
fun tune with a good jam in the middle. I thought the jam got a little
sleepy at times, but they brought it back into the song to close it out.
WOLFMAN'S BROTHER: This had a real nice jam that I thought worked its way
back into the body of the song real well.
GUYUTE: Another one I wasn't too familiar with, but it absolutley tore
shit up. A real crisp, sharp performance.
TRAINSONG: A lot of people seem to really like this song. I've always had
mixed feelings about it, but it was a nice breather for this rockin set.
Also, it kind of calmed people down a little before they whipped everyone
into a frenzy with...
YEM!!!: I had a coronary when they pulled this one out. This was only my
second show, and I didn't think there would ever be any hope of me seeing
YEM, just because it's such a treat. But man, my friend and I screamed
like little girls and traded high fives. I guess I was so excited I
didn't realize it went on for 20 mins, but the trampoline sync jumping
was awesome, and while I was looking for more jamming in the vocal jam,
the lights made it real cool.
Overall, set I got me pretty damn pumped. I was surprised that there were
few segues between songs, but the strength of the set made it up. I loved
YEM, but I also kept thinking about how cool Guyute was. Set II...
SAMPLE IN A JAR: Here's another song I like alot, even if it is a little
alternative-ish. But like DWD, it was a good crowd-pumper. Pretty short.
MAZE: took me a while to figure out what song they were playing. I
thought Fish was doing the opening of David Bowie at first, then Mike
made it seem like some sort of weird opening to Bouncing Around the Room,
and then I figured out what it was. A real solid jam, though, with great
organs from Paige.
FREE: I wasn't expecting this one because it didn't seem to fit with the
whole hard-rocking thing that was happening. But I like Free alot,
probably because I don't actually remember ever hearing it on the radio.
A very weird jam in the middle with Trey on keys, and I thought for some
time it kind of deviated from Free, being a little too playful and bouncy
and not as mellow and whatnot as Free is, but they returned to Free and
everything was forgiven.
DIRT: My first Dirt, and it was pretty good. During the show it seemed
like a sudden dose of mellow after Free, but I'll have to review the
tapes on that one.
REBA: A solid, crisp Reba, with a real sick jam in the middle. The jam
was so whacky that when it seemed like they were coming back into
standard Reba I had to check with the guy next to me to ask if that whole
ordeal had been Reba.
HALLEY'S COMET: I had completely forgotten about this song when my friend
and I were running down songs we really wanted to hear. It seems like
such a rarity that I never even thought to wish for it. But what a treat.
Halley's is one of my personal favorites ever since hearing 11-22-97
Hampton on tape. Ordinarily I would've been disappointed that it didn't
develop into a nice long spacy jam, except that, out of fucking nowhere,
they totally slammed right into..
SUZIE GREENBERG!!: Another personal favorite of mine, everyone in the
place was totally caught off guard and the place went absolutely nuts.
What a high-energy, crazy performance of Suzie. Very nice.
E: FRANKENSTEIN: I was hoping, like many, for a Phish song to close what
seemed to be such an all-star assemblage of Phish songs, but Frank
practically is a Phish song anyway. Edgar Winters does it kind of boucy
and sythesized, but this Frank was on fire, just hard rockin all the way.
Page was goin nuts on the organ, I mean totally insane.
ROCKY TOP: My friend recognized this one but I had never heard of it, so
it was at least looking for a song I knew to be the finale, but a two
song encore I wasn't going to argue with. Trey and Fish had a great time
"ending" the song what seemed to be about 30 times, somehow knowing how
many times to go before closing it out.
Overall, I had an absolute blast, one of the most fun times I've had. I
thougth the setlists were killer, and the songs were nice and loud and
jammin. The second set was definately much whackier for me, since that
when I smoked up, so all the jams were just loud and unfathomably weird.
I'm really anxious to check out the tapes to see how much of my enjoyment
was fabricated in my mind and how much was legit, but as of now I can say
nothing but great things about this show. The sound was great, MCI Center
was great as far as I'm concerned, and things went well. You see, I'm not
going to Hampton, so I wasn't constantly looking ahead to that like I
think alot of people were, and that's why alot of people weren't giving
this show much credit.
A quick note about people coming to shows without tix: I understand how
that can cause a traffic problem and everything, but I had originally
bought 5 tickets and 2 of my friends bailed out that day, so I was
grateful to be able to find people who could take the tix of my hands,
and one guy who didn't want to pay face value in cash was cool enough to
pay for some of it in beer he was selling.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 22:53:49 EST
Subject: 12.15.99 MCI Center review
Phish - Wednesday, December 15, 1999
Maybe I am getting old but the arena is great, first of all it's huge, the
concert was not a sell out by any means and the band played with the black
backdrop behind them, shielding from the empty behind the stage seats. Back
to the arena, easy to get to by Metro, easy to get inside, spacious
concession area walkway, almost smoke free (way less smoke then the Specturm
or Nassau), aisles are clear so you can go to the _uncrowded_ bathrooms in
the middle of the set in a reasonable time, I mean we are talking about
civilized concert going here!!!!! Plus the Wednesday crowd was well behaved
and mannered and happy to be there to hear Phish, a very enjoyable setting,
plus the sound was good for such a big place, at least from the back of the
floor Section 4 where I was.
Tonight we received Phish's version of Jammin' with the Oldies. The
'newest' songs on the setlist were Dirt and Farmhouse. The setlist resembling
something more from 1994 or 1996 than 1999.
The show started out with an extended version of Down with Disease and you
could tell they wanted to explore from the beginning. Trey just went right
into the solo, looking straight up into the sky, head bobbing, face scrunched
up and squinting. After the solo they began to explore different grooves and
feelings eventually winding up with a delay loop picking jam between Trey and
Page. Solid version, good opener.
Farmhouse was standard, nice.
Then bam! Another jammin' song now one little older, Bathtub Gin! The
best part of this song was the driving but maintaining beat Fish was playing.
He kept a steady snare & cymbal time keeping frame but on every third beat
or so he would add a couple of hits of the drums above the snare in front of
him. He did this for about 15 times while the band was playing a running in
place type groove. It was amazing!!! An extremely tight way of holding time
and beat from Fish, very nice! It was great to see Fish so into it. The
overall jam started out with this slow wah-wah effect and then progressed
into the 'running in place' jam mentioned above.
Wolfman's was standard.
Guyute (see 12/10 Philly review), did seem better than Philly's version.
More energetic and together.
Train Song was nice.
YEM was on the funky side, with Trey trying the delay loop and then a
little keyboard/synth work. He missed the 'god' lyric by at first starting
to say shit, but caught himself. The vocal jam was a little aimless with
Chris K. trying to lead the band, but the band a seemed at first like it
wanted to do something different, however, Chris wanted to get on with it and
kept insisting swinging the white lights so all five of them finally settled
on the standard while light revolving closing.
Overall a nice set, nothing ground breaking, but it contained some very
nice improvisation work and a much better first set then Philly 12/10, which
was the other show I saw on this tour.
Sample and Maze to start off set two.....my friend Ed mentioned that
"what's next Suzie Greenberg", I said "yeah it's almost fitting", little did
we know about 45 minutes later the band had the same idea. The show had that
1994-95-96 feel to it.
Maze was very nice, all out, Page doing one helluva Leslie organ solo and
then Trey shredding the solo out afterwards! Chris K. was nicely lighting
the stacks above the stage with the swirly screen saver lights, nice effect!
Free was the strangest one I have seen in some time. It definitely was
similar to the Free's of 1996 when Trey would get lost in his drum kit,
tonight he got lost in the keyboard/synth. It started out as a standard
version, and then the improvisational part began to have the heavy beating
waka-waka funk part as it usually does, and then Trey hits the keys and stays
there for a long time. First playing almost high piano like notes. Then he
begins to explore other loops and sounds, meanwhile Mike must be thinking to
himself what the hell am I supposed to do during this time, finally must of
saying screw it I'm going to rock and starts playing some amazing sweet
basslines that are pretty much holding up not only the jam but the entire
song!!!!! He single-handedly saves the song while Trey (and Page whom Trey
brought with him on this exploration) was consumed by playing and tapping
with the keys. Finally Trey finds a sound he likes, loops it and then
briefly plays guitar over it to end the jam.
Dirt was amazing! The songs gets better every time to my ears and the
crowd still doesn't get into. Sometimes I think Phish should play a whole
concert of slow songs and _teach_ the crowd how to listen. Page also played
a wonderful rolling piano during Trey's usual solo.
Reba contained no whistle....and had Trey all the way on his side of the
stage, standing alone just soaring and flying in the jam. It wasn't as
soulful as some Reba jams I have heard, but it had all the intentions and was
done well overall (sort of sums up the whole night).
Suzie was done very well, not the crazy out of control version of Nassau in
Oct., but just a good rock and rolling Suzie Greenberg which highlighted Page
on the piano.
Encore was standard and fun, Trey had a lot of fun with the entire encore
especially playing the Frankenstein chords at the end of Rocky Top.
The show had all the intentions of an all out Phish wonder of a jam session
but just never seemed to make it over the hump that would make this concert a
"best-ever" type event. Having said that it was still a nice night and one of
those fun, great, Phish standard shows which we all are use to by now.
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 13:00:42 EST
Subject: 12/15/99 MCI Center
Everyone else has reviewed this show to death, but a couple of quick
comments won't hurt. I'm not as involved with the scene as everyone else,
so I'll skip that...
The music was solid, beginning to end. No jaw-dropping, mind-melting
improvisation, but enough highlights to keep me happy through the entire
show. The DWD opener was great; a very precious build around some ambient
themes introduced by Trey. From the two shows I've seen this year (10/8
and this one), I get a definite sense that Trey's style of playing is at a
new height. Practically every jam in this entire show featured some
inspiring, soulful, melodic riff introduced by Trey, but done so in a
manner that doesn't dominate the band. The ambient sound is the key to
this: he's finding melodies that allow for lovely, full-band improvisation
behind them. Also, he hasn't been repeating the same riff to the point of
irritation, isntead continuing to find new thoughts, with the IDEA of that
riff still very present in the background. This, IMO, makes for a
gorgeous sound (the Tweezer -> My Left Toe from 10/8 being a
quintessential example, in my mind).
This, by the way, is how those Phil shows from April will be a continued
blessing to Phish fans, since it's clearly something Trey picked up from
Enough digression. Some other quick comments: Gin was nice, with a
pleasant jam that started nowhere, seemed like it was about to go
somewhere when Trey picked up on a neat two-chord theme *somewhat*
reminiscent of the Real Me chords, and then gently, happily, drunkenly,
flopped back into the old Bathtub Gin theme. Wolfman's was pretty sweet,
and Trey this time led the jam, paving the way with a melodic,
chord-driven lead. YEM was highly enjoyable...
Trey and Mike both had especially good second sets, to my ears. This
whole set sounded like a set out of Fall '95, except for the Free: a nice
Sample to open, a raging Maze, a *gorgeous* Reba (this song has never
failed to move me; tonight's version featured an especially patient,
teary-eyed jam, with an extended climax: sweet, definite show highlight
for me), and a nice Halley's > Suzy to close. The band sounded like it
was playing from that auspicious period, as well: lots of note-perfect
versions in here, built on melodic themes. The stand-out Free, of course,
was *totally* funked out, with a loong, patient jam. Worth hearing.
All in all, this was an excellent show. Second set was a tad song
heavy, and ltos of the improv in the first never took off, but this was
still an excellent concert experience. I just *love* the way Phish is
playing right now. I think they're clicking in a lot of ways, including
ways that are totally new. While this show was somewhat lacking in truly
mind-blowing creative improvisations, I really believe that, right now,
this band is better than it's ever been, and will only continue to
Enough. Hope you enjoyed this review.
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 09:40:18 -0500
From: Gross Ian email@example.com
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" email@example.com
Subject: 12-15-99 MCI Show Review
I thought MCI was a pretty strong show on the whole. Down with Disease was
a little disjointed, but the rest of the first set was tight. For me the
highlight of the first set was Train Song. I think it's probably the best
song Mike sings, and he pulled it off nicely. Wolfman's had that nice Trey
"bro-tha ha" goin, and I could see them play Farmhouse at every show.
Haley's Comet>Suzie had to be the highlight. Real tight transition, and
they're just two great songs. I think the vocal jam got the best reaction,
though it was basically a recreation of Virginia Beach '98.
Maze - awesome. Free (with Trey on keys) - sweet. Encore Frankenstein,
Rocky Top - da bomb. Overall I thought it was quality. Not the best ever,
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 01:24:42 -0500
From: Doug Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: MCI Arena
I: Down with Disease, Farmhouse, Bathtub Gin, Wolfman's Brother,
Guyute, Train Song, You Enjoy Myself
II: Sample in a Jar, Maze, Free* > Dirt, Reba, Halley's Comet > Suzie
E: Frankenstein > Rocky Top**
My friends and I got there rather early but the sidewalks were still
filled with heads,and I was immidiately convinced that I didnt want to
attempt finding psychadelics due to the incredibly SKETCHY nature of the
It took some serious balls to buy the liquid I did,but none the matter,I
was overjoyed to see everyone again.
Onto the show,
Well,the arena setup kinda sucked,it was a smoke free arena but noone
The DWD opener was very solid,I hadnt heard this song yet(this was mah
fourth show)And was very happy to hear it,The boys didnt fuck aroumd and
jumped full force into the jam and locked into it,very solid good
jamming,hell it blew my mind.
Farmhouse,goddamnit,every show ive been to ive heard this song,its a
nice song,nice little lifting solos at the end,but the past 3 shows in
maryland theve played this song second,its time to give up on this one
for a little bit.
Bathtub Jin:OOOhh was I happy to hear this song,so so so happy,it was my
first Bathtub and I couldnt ask for any more and the jam was very
solid.it got goin pretty hard,not too spacy,Page just kicked it with the
lounge lizard keyboard solos and then just finished up nice.Well done
Wolfmans Brother:My first wolfmans and the funked it out nice and hard
and Trey got lots of the funk groove out of his system so I was sure
that not too many songs would lapse into the monotonus boring funk
i.e,what often happens to Meat(Example:Portland Oregon 98's Meat)
Guyute:They put lots and lots of energy into this song and pulled it off
Trainsong:Im not into this song that much,but It gave me a chance to
talk to everyone and see how they were enjoying their show(we had 3
first show kids in the group)
You Enjoy Myself:YES!!!!!!!!!!!!Mah phirst YEM and it was incredible and
Trey funked it out DEEP durring the boy,man,god,shit part,absolutely
wonderful,the brought out the trampolines,I went nuts,and the jam was
stellar,blew my mind completely and then when it couldnt get any beter
,they went right into the vocal jam and Chris went nuts with the
lights.Perfect closer for me.
Setbreak:Sat down and talked to some strangers for 20 minutes or so in
the hall,they were from tenessee,absoloutely incredible people.
Sample in a jar:Nicely done,good solos,it opening threw me off a bit but
I was fine, then they played...
Maze:Oh I wanted to hear somthing from Rift and I got it,great song to
jam into and pump up the crowd and the second set,great great jams then
I got a
Free:I heard this last show,but Treys oppening solo brings me to tears
everytime for some reason and then the following Jam with Mikes liquid
bass I cant get enough of,nice annd funked out,took things off the
ground then it went ino
Dirt:I wasnt expecting it,but i was a great time to sing along then sit
down and flow to the nice and moody/mellow jam that follows.
REBA!!!!!:My word,this was my first Reba and I was so so so so grateful
to hear this,got me all bouncy and then just blasted me off into another
world with the Jam,this was the BEST jam of the night,its so hard to
describe,I loved it to death.
Halley's Comet:Yep yep yep,I was glad to hear this song,I admit,the
lyrics are pretty silly at parts and its a real silly song but its still
really really phat,got me all bouncy again and then had a really nice
Suzy Greenberg:I now love this song after hearing this song,yeah its
pretty silly but none the matter,its still really sweet and I enjoyed
the hell out of it.
Really really great set,my friends John and Ian were blown away,there
forever phish converts,hook,line,sinker.
Encore:I was incredibly glad not to hear Harry Hood
Frankenstien:Just an in general crazy song,I was glad to hear it,the
lights were just nuts for this song
Rocky Top:Oh was I so glad to hear this song,I love it too death,and the
Ironic thing was,is that I was talking to people from Tenessee durring
this setbreak and the played this,when I was walking out of the arena
the guy puit his hand on my shoulder and said "Good ole Rocky Top
It warmed mah heart so much.If you ever read this make sure to drop me
A very solid good show
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 09:51:33 EST
It has taken me a long time to write a review on this show, my ass came
down with the flu on tour so I unfortuntely had to leave after this show
and return home.....which I must say sucks, but I have to keep my health
in good shape.....that is very important to me since I can't ever seem to
keep healthy. I hope NC and Va rocked, but I must say.....DC rocked the
house. What a good show. I saw so many songs that I haven't heard yet,
and I have to say.....VA Beach, 98???? What are they doing here, this is
the second time they blew my mind with that........YEM!!!! Can we say
that YEM gets better and better everytime they play it?? 8/9/98's YEM was
almost the same, and shit I didn't do anything at DC and I could feel
everything with the music, lights everything........it was just an awesome
show....I wish I could have made it to the other shows, but unfortuately I
couldn't. But enough on the other shows......Bathtub was insanely wicked
at MCI......it was the best version I had ever heard.......As I said
before YEM rocked the house.....During Maze there was a sick Page solo, I
enjoyed it very much......Free had an awesome jam...Dirt, what a beautiful
song, this was the first time I had ever heard this song......Reba, now
can I say that Reba will always be an awesome tune and after this Reba, I
have to agree even more on that.....can I say Halleys Comet......beautiful
song and my first time to hear it live, they don't play that song often
enough.....and that Susie came out of nowhere........it made everyone
dance =) Rocky Top....that was a first for me too.....I am so glad I
went.....I am sure I will make more, life is still going for my young ass
so I am not too stressed that I missed NC and VA but I hope everyone
danced their asses off and had mad phun =)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 21:54:55 EST
Subject: MCI Center 12-15-99
Well, it seems as if I have the only negative things to say about this show
after looking at all of the reviews so far. I am always psyched to see the
boys play, but for some reason when I stepped into the arena, I got a feeling
that this show was going to be aimed towards the crowd that came to the show
because they wanted to hear a certain song. You know the type, the "I wanna
hear Bouncin, dude" type of fan. But anyway, the feeling was right, the song
selectinon was sort of crowd pleaser-ish. A DWD opener-- this song loves to
just follow me around, and one seemed really fast. It was just like the
12/11 phillly one, really quick. But don't get me wrong, it was still awesome
and they jammed the hell out of it. I just dont wanna be hearing it all the
time. Farmhouse next-- quickly becoming a crowd pleaser top 40ish tune.
Cant really say much about this one. Bathtub Gin was great as usual, it had
a great funk style jam going on in the middle of it. Always a pleasure.
Wolfman's Brother-- havent heard this one in a while, so glad to hear it. It
was a solid version and made me feel like they finally got into a groove.
When Wolfman's ended you could see trey discussing what would come next with
mike and fish, and sure enough, the familiar muted picking that comes before
Guyute could be heard, and they busted it out. Now I love to hear this one
whenever they play it, but I used to love back like 4 years ago when I only
heard it once a tour, or not even that often. It used to be special and
exciting when they pulled out Guyute, but now it is becoming more rampant.
Trainsong was the breather of the set, and not much to say about it. YEM to
close the set, great one, they were totally together. Page's organ solo
while Mike and Trey were trampolining was great as usual. Unfortunately,
Trey didnt do a solo this time, which was dissappointing, but what the hell.
Vocal jam went great with chris' lights, but kind of short. Overall rating
for the first set I would give a 5 out of 10. During setbreak, I was very
entertained by some guy sitting towards the back of the floor section, right
where the bleachers started (or ended). He was screaming and ranting and
raving about who knows what. Acid can tend to do that occasionally I guess.
In any case, it was amusing. When the lights went down I was really psyched
to hear them make up for the IMHO adequate set. First song: Sample. Okay,
great. Next: Maze. I tend to hear this one alot, but this one was more than
great. It was energetic, exciting, and both Trey and Pages solos were
phenomenal. Good playing, guys. Free came next. After touring in 1995, I
have heard enough of this song. Sorry. Dirt next. Enough said. Reba next.
Awesome playing. Trey's solo during the "chill" part was spectacular, and
it was the highlight of the set for me. Then came Halley's Comet. Always a
pleasure to hear. I knew something special would segue out of it, so I was
excited. Actually, it didn't segue so smoothly, for Trey was the only one
who knew what would come next. He yelled Suzie to Mike during his solo, but
no one else knew. Suzie Greenburg. I haven't heard this one in ages, so
play on, fellas. Page's solo was very good and on, and I knew that this
would close the set. Overall for the set: 5.5 out of 10. Average I would
say. Okay, okay, the encore would make up for it, right? I was thinking
Good Times Bad Times, but when Trey turned on his super distortion, I could
tell that Frankenstein was coming up. I love when they play this, it's so
energetic. Page's funky clav solo was ridiculous. One of the i've heard.
Fish's drum solo was right on, and and overall great encore. But wait, here
comes Rockytop. Pretty much doesn't change whenever I hear it. But hey,
anything they play is great to hear, and I should be so lucky to see them at
all. So overall, I give my 35th show a 6 out of 10.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 15:59:22 -0500
From: Jeff Leiker email@example.com
Subject: 12/15/99 Review
I: Down with Disease, Farmhouse, Bathtub Gin, Wolfman's Brother,
Guyute, Train Song, You Enjoy Myself
II: Sample in a Jar, Maze, Free* > Dirt, Reba, Halley's Comet > Suzie
E: Frankenstein > Rocky Top**
I must say, this set rocked! DWD was fairly lengthy and flowed out of the
rockin jam section into some slower, spacey moments. It touched on some nice
themes throughout, then slowly built back into a strong reprise at the end.
It's nice to have a show open up with a great jam-engine like DWD, and while
slightly more mellow, was still excedingly good. Gin was beautiful, and hit a
great groove. Wolfman's got me super hyped and thumped, Mike dropped a few
bombs on this one. Very spacious, yet full of energy and great riffs. The
Guyute was suprisingly tight and very well played, this was as good a version
as I've yet heard. Trainsong!!! What a wonderful song this is, I can never
get sick of hearing it, and it was in just the right place for this set. YEM
was nice, not too inventive or out there, kinda standard. The vocal jam
followed the pattern of the last few years and left me kinda bored; lots of
light play and very little vocal improvosation.
The longer jams this set were excellent. DWD, Gin, and Wolfman's were
outstanding, though I wish there had been a little segue action. I was sure
for a minute there that Gin was about to go into Foam, as Trey started hitting
some notes of it and looking to the others, but they instead hit a great high
flying Gin jam and slowly morphed back into the recognizable Gin progressions.
SET II: Sample: standard. Maze was one of the best I've heard in a very long
time, it totally built into a raging tripped out wash of melody. Trey's
fingers were blazing throughout most of the jam section. It reminded me of
Fall 95 versions. Free began with a standard bass-led funk jam, but slowly,
Trey and Page took control and brought the jam down a notch and turned it all
around. Trey got on the keys and he and Page did some quite unusual things,
almost tag-teaming a little here and there. All in all this was a refreshing
version, that incorporated some of the new and some of the old aspects of Free
jams. Next, I finally got to see what people were talking about with the Dirt
intro. While they whistled in 97 versions, the intro now has much more
pronounced whistling, and the instrumentation is somewhat stripped down. I
think I liked the old arrangement better, the "shout your name into the wind"
gets repetative when not coupled all the way through with the "never hear your
voice again". It is more upbeat now, but I liked it a little depressing. Reba
seemed labored to me, the jam was good, but the written sections were a little
loping, and lacked that bounce that they get when the boys are on. Believe it
or not, but this was my first Halley's and my first Suzie. Halley's again was
a little like Reba, it lacked that oomph...or bounce...or crunchyness that
comes from them kicking on all cylinders. Suzie however was pretty damn good,
Leo took a big bite out of the jam once he got going and didn't let up for a
while. Trey pretty much just layed back, played some rhythm, and just watched
Page go. Still, nothing out of the bounds of a solid Suzie.
As for the encore, I love Frankenstein, it encored my favorite show ever,
and last nights was one of the best versions I've heard. They absolutely
killed it! What really made it was seeing the expressions on their faces
while they played it. Trey had a huge grin on his face and he and Page and
Fish kept looking at each other like "Hells yeah!". Again, Mike's timing
throughout was perfect. Fish didn't romp through the drum solo, but it was
better than most of the pre 97 Frankenstein drum solos. Rockytop is Rockytop,
good song, love the bluegrass, and again...you will not hear any complaints
All in all, this was a good show, lots of good jams, nothing over extended,
and they sound so much more together than any of the summer shows I saw. I
can see they are just building towards an incredible NYE run...
"The stupider people think you are, the more suprised they are when
you kill them"
"It's sad how a family can be torn apart by something as simple as
a pack of wild dogs..."
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 16:32:36 -0500
From: Marc Brickel firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "'email@example.com'" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Review of the first DC show in 6 years
Well, first lets say that I'm excited to see Phish in downtown DC. I just
traveled for 2 days to see them in Philly and it was a pleasure to make the
easy Metro trip to this show. While DC lacks the scene that Philly offered
and MCI center lacked the character of the Spectrum (where all I can
remember is the first Unbroken Chain) but any way you look at it, this was a
great time and I was primed to see a great show.
The acoustics for me were great. But I sat in section 120, right behind
Page and I would think that the sound would get lost in the cavernous MCI
center. For me, the sound was great as I was right under the speakers.
I walked in at about 7:34, about 1 minute before the lights kicked off. The
show started with an average Down with Disease. It was on par with this
weekends, and continues to be too fast for ultimate enjoyment. I keep
thinking, like many others, that this song is signaling a near retirement
but I am probably just being paranoid.
The Farmhouse was great and it calmed the crowd down from what was a hurried
Wednesday afternoon in the Nation's capital. The Bathtub was a highlight of
the tour so far. And it was the first time that you realized that this
whole show was going to be a mix of recognizable tunes with a SPACEY feel.
The wolfman's brother was average but it seemed to excite the crowd. The
Guyute was significantly better than the one in Philly and it was nice to
see them pulling songs off of every disc. Again, the crowd was calmed by a
mellow Train Song only to be excited to a frenzy by a very good set closing
The set break was very long but it was still early so expectations were
extemely high. An opening of Sample was very good. They seemed to build on
momentum from the first set and they looked like they were having a good
time. They hadnt been in DC in a while so they took in a bunch of sites
the night before including a Wizards game.
Maze was a surprise and a pleasure. Always a favorite, I usually seem to
miss it by one night. There is a voice inside of my head, and he keeps
saying "you've lost it, you'll never get out of this maze." Very spacey.
The jams all night were very tight, never too long and really helped you get
lost in the moment. The only jam that seemed out of place was during a very
good Free. The jam just seemed to lag a bit as Trey was really mixing it
This was the first time that I had seen Dirt live and it was a good new
song. Reba!!!! Now that's a surprise. Nothing like seeing a few songs off
of Rift in one set. This really excited the crowd and they continued what
was a spacey jam theme all night. (ultimately culminating in one of the
jammiest of jams for the FIRST encore)
Quickly they jumped into a crowd pumping Haleys which I don't think that
I've seen in years. As quick as they jumped in, they jumped out into the
biggest surprise of the tour (not including the no reprise on the 10th)
which was a loud, wild, most excellent SUZY. Whoaaaaaa.....if the show
wasn't strong enough....they go into Suzy....
Expectations were high for the encore. I shouted Sabotage, hoping to see an
encore of Merriweather 2 years ago when they first unveiled it but no such
luck. What we got was again a spacey Jam, Frankenstein. I was a bit
disappointed, while I love Frankenstein, I hate when they end the show with
it. Hence, Mike and Trey made Rocky Top the finale. I had wanted to hear
a good American song in the nations capital and this is all I could ask
Whoaaaaaa...... while many loved the Saturday the 11th show with its
classic first set... I thought that Phish really did justice to a huge arena
in a new town. The show was great. A great mix of tunes from every album
(except Nectar) and just a Jam fest that proves how tight that they have
Marc K. Brickel
Date: 16 Dec 1999 09:25:33 -0800
From: jmh email@example.com
Subject: 12/15/95 MCI Center
Ugh. I knew MCI would not be all its cracked up to be. This place is
supposedly great for ball games but shows are a different beast
altogether. Certainly, there would be not real lot scene as parking in DC
is ridiculous so I rode the train in and out with no problem.
Anyway, lets focus oon the show...
Set one started with the oft played Down With Disease (7:37-7:52). It was
solid and as this was my first show since Summer, I enjoyed it. Nice jam
in the middle but it was short and wrapped back in to close the song.
Farmhouse (7:53-7:58) followed sweetly. I have a feeling that if this
song had been released in 1976 by Skynyrd it could've been bigger than
Freebird. Great song but awfully early for it...
Next, Bathtub Gin (7:59-8:15) came on strong. (You had to know this was
coming, Susannah Goodman seems to live in the area and Trey likes to play
her song for her.) After 5 minutes, the band stepped into the jam which
was sweet but not exactly uncharted territory. After a while I even heard
hints of "The Real Me" but as I'm not that lucky and as I've heard hints
of it in other versions, I didn't get my hopes up. Good thing too. After
about 10 minutes of jamming the wrapped up the Gin.
Wolfman's Brother (8:15-8:27) made the next slot, fulfilling one of my
picks for the night. It too had a nice jam segment, Funky and driven by
Mike's bass. However, before they strayed too far, as would be the case
all night, the ended it.
Guyute (8:28-8:34) was short. Not shortened or missing anything but
short. Compact and to the point. I dug it. It definatly seemed to fit
the kind of show we were having though I hadn't figured out what kind of
show it was.
A short but sweet Trainsong (8:34-8:40) followed just as that song follows
me. Everywhere I go, I see Guyute and Trainsong. (No complaints, tho!)
Then, YEM (8:40-9:00) came up and bit us. Nice intro, Mike's early, short
solo was real sweet. Trey's second attempt at The Note was perfect, long
and dead on. Tramps segement highlighted by Page's solo and some nicely
synchronized turns on the trampolines. After the tramps, Trey moved over
to his keyboard and got down for a few as the Bass & Drums segment took
off. Then came the vocal jam. Real nice one, too. I'd call this a jam of
5 performers as Kuroda locked in with the guys towards the end of the jam
and they all tried to give the effect of the entire arena spinning end
over end... Crazy!
Set one ended there at 82 minutes.
Set two after a 48 minute break kicked off with Sample In A
Jar (9:48-9:52). What can I say? It was Sample. Short, well played and
Fishman then cued up Maze (9:52-10:04). This was tight, well
played/jammed but nothing exceptional. A good Maze.
Free (10:04-10:20) was real good. After the verses, as they moved toward a
jam, Trey moved over to the keys again and basically setup camp for more
than 5 minutes. The Reprise came up after that and was really cool. Nice
Vocal harmonies from all.
After a (very) brief pause, Dirt (10:20-10:25). I'm undecided as to
whether I like the vocals from Mike in the beginning now but, I DO like
this song, always have.
Dirt was then followed by a strong and intense, Reba (10:25-10:41). Long
and fun, this was a solid version but not anything unusual. The guy
standing beside me before the song called it just before they started, and
that was kinda cool. No whistling.
Halley's Comet (10:41-10:47) drew big cheers and I thought that maybe, at
last they would take us out on an extended jam to wrap up the show.
Unfortunatly, just as they were getting up a head of steam, they derailed
and plowed in Suzy Greenberg (10:47-10:55). This was probably one of the
hottest Suzies I'v ever seen nice Page solo towards the end but then that
Set over after 68 minutes.
I knew this was going to be an early night (the 7 o'clock start time was a
hint) as the train stations close just before 12 so i was prepared for a
short encore. I was, however, hoping for Phish songs.
what we got was Frankenstein (10:58-11:02) with some killer lights, a
tight performance and a letter perfect drum solo from Fishman. This led
into Rockytop (11:02-11:06) which I usually dig but I was a bit let down
by it last night. they played it well but its placement at the end of a
show that never got off the ground didn't thrill me.
I really dug this show, contrary to what you might infer from the above
review. truth is, they played good songs, played them well and a good
time was had by all (or at least me and my fiance and the kids in front of
us). The disappointment factor comes from expecting to see Phish soar and
only seeing them hover. This would have to be considered (by me at least)
as an average (meaning kick-ass but not
What can I say, at least there's Hampton!
"Get jiggy with this!"
-Jon Fishman 11/21/98
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 03:45:45 EST
I had a great time at this show, why? because the selection of songs played
was great. But, as far as the jams, there were ups and downs through the
show. One thing that i noticed, that has not been mentioned in other
reviews, is that Page seemed to be pretty off during the show. During in
most of the jams it seemed as if he was going through the motions, not
lighting it up. This was especially evident in songs where he usually has a
big solo, like maze. During maze, when he took his solo, there was not much
to it. It honestly lacked the fireyness that his old school solo's used to
have. Back in 95, maze was completed by his rediculously awesome organ
solo's, but his solo during maze tonight seemed to be kind of dead.
As for highlights, i seem to disagree with a lot of the folks that have
written in so far. DWD jam was awesome, smooth, spacey but nice, and then
went bueatifally back into the theme. The wolfman's had an altogether good
feel to it, nice bluesy/funky jam. Obviously Yem is always great, but I felt
the post trampoline jam lacked, check it out on tape, but trey seemed to be
stale during this jam, not adding much to it, at all.
From the setlist alone, awsome set I, but really it was just pretty good, in
Set two got great at the end. The free was crazy. Trey took to his
keyboard for an endless trance jam. It was repetitive, and pretty simple
groove. I do not know what to make of the jam during this song, judge for
yourself, but it was definately original.
Highlight of this set, and the show was REBA. WOW. tight written part,
and the jam that followed was pure ecstacy. Frankly, i did not want it to
end, and would have been perfectly content if they played it for the rest of
the night, skipping an encore. But it ended. The halley's was cool, and
after a brief jam went smack right into a fun suzy's. All in all a very fun
show, some strange jams, definately worth getting the tapes.
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 06:29:16 PST
From: Dave Kuhn firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: MCI review
After reading so many negative reviews about this tour, I had low
expectations going into this show. What the hell is everyone talking about?
After seeing 30+ shows, I thought this was one of the better ones that I've
seen. Yeah the song selection was newbieish, but I think its great to hear a
show like that every once in a while. I was thinking Wolfmans and Y.E.M
before the show. They delivered more than adequate versions of both. The
song selection kept the jams straightforward. I wasn't really in the mood
for too much noodling around anyway. The highlight for me was the jam part
of Haley's. I was hearing interplay between Page and Trey that sounded very
95ish. Whoever said Trey is slackin was either at a bad show or doesn't know
what they're talking about. I thought everyone was smokin! (Especially
Fishman). The crowd intensity in that place was incredible. One of the
security guards told us after the show that the cheering before the encore
was the loudest he had ever heard that place get! It was obvious that the
band was havin a great time. If you're craving a "veteran's" show, go to
Hampton or Fla. We're gonna hear everything down there. Overall: I had a
great time and am looking forward to getting the tapes. P.S. the metro
rules. No hassles with parking and we drank and smoked the whole ride there.
Also, it was good to see that no glowsticks were aimed at the stage.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 18:40:19 EST
From: Ryan Doyle email@example.com
to start off, being a maryland boy and knowing what mci is like, i didn't know
what to expect. here is a huge phuckin arena but without a parking lot. in
light of that, i was still anxious to see a good show. so after we payed 20
dollars to park, we found out we had parked right next to the same girls that
had parked next to us in va beach over the summer. small world. so we cracked
open some ice cold saranac's to get the night started. by the time the show
had started i had drank 5 too many saranac's, one or two would have been
enough. i usually don't get drunk before shows for fear of throwing up all
over myself while i dance. anyway, i was about to take on my 3rd show this
tour, philly being the other two. i've been up to date on the setlists, and
really didn't know what they could play that hasn't been played too much or
not at all. i called maze, yem, and halley's among others. so here we go.
dwd opener was cool, good jams tight sounds. mike was rippin on the bass,
trey took control on the jam. farmhouse was a pleasant suprise, hadn't really
even thought about this getting played. i like how trey keeps saying a
drowning "allright" after the chorus. bathtub gin was next and had me rockin.
i dig the spacey jam in the middle, but i sware on everything phishy, i heard
"the real me" i know you guys did too. it had to be the real me. but it
might not have been , who knows? good segue back into the end of the song,
rocked it a bit. a suprise attack from the wolfman and his brother was what
really got me. phunk and phusion. lots of it. i could hear mike's bass great
and the jam was tight. after some nice cow funk, i had a feeling guyute was
gonna get played. i love guyute, but damn does it get played alot. however,
this was a great take on it. really clean and clear. trainsong was a treat
and i enjoyed the light show for this tune. very dreamy like and trancy.
and then came you enjoy myself. funked out and done proper. except for
trey's little mistake on the shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. funny though. i like it when
they flub lyrics, it shows how human these guys really are. and an incredible
light show to finish off the first set. well done. setbreak was setbreak. dig
it. sample opener was a different way to get things going. short and sweet was
the name of the game. not a bad sample though. page was ringin thru loud and
clear. and then i heard the familiar bass line. finally, i get my maze. i
dance like a madman for the entire jam and wanted to dance more but it was
over after about 15 minutes, as if that's not long enough. free followed and
took on a new meaning as far as floating in a blimp. the jam segment was sic.
trey and page had something goin on and it sounded smooth, sweet, and so so
good. and i love the duh-duh, chicka chicka, duh-duh jam that replaced the
usual spacey jam that's found on some 96 tapes i have. dirt was a cool tune
and i need a buzz, so we killed a nug and relaxes as that song is so mellow
and floaty like. the next song was one that is all too familiar and one i
can't get enough of. reba took on some serious jams and had a nice fluid feel
to it. it jammed for what seemed like an hour, but ended after about 15-20
minutes. a phatty boom batty reba. halley's followed and i was expecting a
drawn out jam but when it dropped out of a short but phat halley jam right
into suzie, i went bonkers. how often does this happen? suzie? out of
halley's? too much. what a suzie too, rockin and rollin to say the least.
great set closer. encore: wanted to hear something like fluff, or antelope
but i knew it wouldn't happen with hampton 2 days away. however, frankenstein
was a great song selection, the crowd was diggin it, and phish was diggin it.
it had the energy of a hit of strong acid. i loved every bit of it. except
when i turned around and saw two fuckin dope heads bumpin lines. get that
shit outta here ya know? i felt like "accidentally" knocking they're stash
whoops, what a pity no more coke for them. losers. rocky top is always
welcome cause you can never get enough blue-grass. never. well all in all, a
great show. it had energy, it had character and it didn't really lack at any
point. sorry to say i can't make it to hampton, have phun and be careful.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 15:07:35 -0500
From: Katie Lamp firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me start this out by saying that this was my 10th phish show, i took the
bus from philly to see it and i have to be back on fri. for a final, I was
all the way in the back all the way up, and this was the best phish show i've
ever seen. I know what you're thinking because I went to the philly shows
and hamptons for the last 2 years, but this takes the cake for me. I think
one of the reasons i liked it so much was that i never got lost. The entire
show i felt in touch with the songs. I know you guys all like the way out
jams that are just nutsand last 20 minutes, but every once in awhile i get
turned off by the way one of them goes. The jams at MCI were tight, often
funky and didn't skip a beat. Just the way I like them (I play percussion).
The second night in philly i noticed some tempo problems with sally and ghost
and the first night they seemed a little sloppy right off the bat with
tweezer but i couldn't find any real problems with this show. The song
selection was huge. The arena sucked but phish drew me in anyway. One would
think it would have to be better than the US Air Arena, but i'm not so sure.
DWD: I love the song, but I don't like it as an opener. Especially the way
they are playing it these days. When it's that fast it loses the groove and
the rhythmic perfection that it used to have. It was definately rushed.
That combined with the security and the lights at first, led me to believe
that we were in for a less than average show.
Farmhouse: I've always loved this one and it picked the show up a little for
me. It was good but not great and i was still a bit skeptical about the
show. I didn't mind hearing it early but a better opener would have made it
better for me.
Bathtub Gin: Great song, tight jam. I was definatley getting into the show.
Wolfman's brother: Amazing version in my opinion. Maybe the highlight of
the show for me. After it was over i thought it would be. Really funky and
groovin. A great song and mike was laying it down.
Guyute: I know they play it every night, but does that make it a bad song?
Hell no. One of my favorite phish songs and it did not dissapoint. No flub
ups that i noticed.
Train song: Good version. Very smooth and sweet. Set the tone for...
YEM: Holy crap. This was huge. Very tight and intricate, even with
tramps. This, i think, turned out to be the show maker for me. Vocal jam
was sick, especially with the lights. They definatley led at least the vocal
jam. I think the lyrical mess up added to the song, reminding everyone that
trey actually is human during this flawless version. What a way to end the
first set. Left me knocked on my ass.
Set break: Damn security made me stop playing footbag with some folks in the
hallway. We were in a little corner at the 400 level out of everyone's way
and it was totally controlled. Never had that happen before. wish i were
going to Hampton.
Sample in a jar: a good opener in my opinion and i had told my friend (first
show) that it was on my wishlist for the second set. It was strong and
Maze: Very dark and kickin. I wasn't as familiar with this song as all of
the others and i loved it from start to finish. Maybe the most out there jam
of the night but i was with it the whole time..
Free: Woah. Where did this come from? Never heard a version of free that
was this good. Vocals were right on and the jam was unbelievable. When this
song is right on it just seems to sing to the heart and bring tears to the
Dirt: Good tune, good break. Good job mike.
Reba: Way to pick it back up after a mellow song. I love hearing this one
live and everyone there did too. Good light-hearted jam.
Halley's: I was psyched to hear this one because it was another from my
wishlist. Vocals that show were some of the best i've heard from phish. The
whole place was rockin out to this one.
Suzy??? Talk about energy! Especially coming out of Halley's. Definately
left the crowd begging for more at the end of the set.
Frankenstein: I wasn't all that happy to hear this one starting, hoping for
more crazy phish tunes, but it definatley did the trick. The guys were
locked in on this one and a good drum solo always makes my day.
Rocky top: Bit of a let-down as a closer. Not much to it. I was still
pumped about a second encore song.
Conclusion: A hell of a show. The band was really tight throughout and Mike
and page really came to play. It was nice to not just have trey dominating
all the time. I was totally absorbed in every song after DWD. Public
transportaion on the Metro went flawlessly. They definatley made the best
out of a bad situation and made an awful venue the site of the best phish
concert i've been to.
John D. Love you Laura! Wish you had been there.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 09:52:04 EST
From: adam scheinberg email@example.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, BeenoBikes@msn.com
Subject: review, MCI Center, 12/15/99
12/15/99 MCI Center, Washington, DC
I: Down with Disease, Farmhouse, Bathtub Gin, Wolfman's Brother, Guyute,
Train Song, You Enjoy Myself
II: Sample in a Jar, Maze, Free*, Dirt, Reba, Halley's Comet > Suzie
E: Frankenstein, Rockytop**
* w/ Trey on keys
** w/ Frankenstein teases at end
[note: I removed some segues because I felt they were usually NOT segues]
I have some mixed feelings about this show. I got there at a perfect time,
about 10 minutes before set 1. When the lights went down, I have to admit,
I was relatively sure we were getting a First Tube opener, because the tour
had been semi-predictable so far, with a few exceptions (Silent w/o Horse,
Ride Captain Ride...). Anyway, the staticky noise in the beginning became
Down With Disease and the night was off.
Down with Disease: This song is always hit or miss with me. For such a
fabulous song, I hate that they always rush through it. It's always too
fast. Now this one was pretty standard. The jam was long and, at times,
pointless, but they brought it back around really well. In the end, I
wasn't upset, but I was warmed up for something on fire.
Instead, there was Farmhouse. I LOVE this song, but it's kinda like it
shows up every other show now. So I sat back and enjoyed the mellow "No
Woman, No Cry" jam. I wasn't upset, but I was warmed up for something on
Bathtub Gin was next. Okay, the show was progressively getting better.
This Gin was easy, and the jam went way out. In my setlist, I almost
labelled it Gin > Jam > Gin. The lights were really cool for this too.
Like DwD, it came back around really nicely. The end reprised the Trey solo
riff and closed the song in an atypical fashion.
After a short pause, Wolfman's Brother. I was starting to see a pattern
here, with a bunch of standard songs. Sometimes, Wolfman's is so sweet is
hurts. Sometimes, I feel like they're wasting my time, move on. This one
was in between. Nice jam that I definitely enjoyed, good funk. The real
pattern here was that, like the previous songs, the ending, the "come back
around" part of the song was incredible. Trey hit the top of the bar chords
making a very rock-song noise. I was really digging that.
Guyute would follow. Aanother standard. Phantasy Phish players have got to
be cleaning up tonight. I must admit, though I've seen this song more than
my share of times, this version was a crystal copy of the one of TSOTG. I
had to enjoy its precision. Well executed.
Train Song. Train Song?! What the hell are they doing closing a totally
standard set with Train Song? Again, well played, not too sloppy. Perfect
harmonies. Not let down, but never really too into it to get worked up.
And Trey must've known that, because before leaving stage, out comes a set
You Enjoy Myself. What the hell? Is this the second set? Aa sweet, tight,
very short YEM wrapped up the set. Very cool. Reminded me a lot of the
7-7-99 Charlotte vocal jam with the swinging lights. I can definitely
credit Chris Kuroda with me enjoying this one. He controlled the jam more
than any band member. I was totally digging YEM the entire time.
SET ONE IN RETROSPECT: I was not disappointed. But everyone around me
loved it and I was still waiting for something huge. I was pretty psyched
for set 2 to care about set 1 at this point. HIGHLIGHTS: Wolfman's Brother
jam, Gin jam, YEM.
Set Break: Met a ton of new people: Douglas, MS, D-man, Ugly Pig, 566,
Dexy, Brian G... pretty cool. Also, my dad had paged me mid-set, so, for
the first time, I talked to my Dad mid-Phish show. He told me he say tix
for MCI on e-Bay, but didn't bid because he assumed that I had to have
tickets. He knows his son well.
Set 2 opened with Sample. My eyes rolled back and I was having flashbacks of
Worcester 98 night 2, where everything was user friendly and Hoist-ish.
Where the hell is my Peaches? But, alas, Sample was pretty decent, and not
too long. Quick comment: Even if the song isn't my favorite, if they keep
it brief and tight, I can't say I mind. As it was with Sample.
Next up was Maze. The first time for the show I was pretty pleased with the
song choice. Maze gets the crowd going. And I was swinging around like a
Free. I love this song. I got sick of it in 96 when it was on the radio
every 30 seconds, but since this summer or so I relearned to love it. This
was the wackiest Free I've ever heard with the exception of 11/22/95 (which
ain't all that) Right before the "I've floating in the blimp a lot, I feel
the feeling I forgot...." bridge part in the middle, they launched into a
ridiculously long jam. Trey hit the keys and I kicked back into cruise
mode. It must've gone on for about twenty minutes - a really good twenty
minutes - before Trey suddenly realized they were playing Free. They
returned to the song like they never left it. The set was steadily getting
Now listen, I don't know who called in the setlist, but there was no segue
between Free and Dirt. It's certainly not a segue when feeback from the
end of one song drags 15 seconds and then the next song starts. A segue
doesn't just imply no noise.
Dirt. Dirt is Dirt, but you know what? This is as clean and crisp and Dirt
can get. If you like this song, you'll want the tapes. As impressive as
the first time I feel in love with this song.
Then it came. The song I had called: Reba. Oh, sweet mother, this was the
show-maker for me. This was like watching Phish in 1993. It was so well
played. I had to smile the whole time. This jam wasn't the best I've ever
heard, but, son-of-a-bitch if it wasn't just as good as any moment I've had
at a Phish show. I got toally introspective. I was out and back. I was
watching the crowd. I was deep in my thoughts in my head. I was LOVING
LIFE. This is what people come to Phish shows to see! This is why I travel
to fucking Florida to watch four ugly Vermonters play music for endless
hours! This is why people I've never met and I are hugging and hanging out
during setbreak! This is why I am here! Phish at their humblest! But it had
to end. What the hell could possibly follow that?
Halley's Comet: You know what? Not a half bad choice! This was without
question the shortest Halley's I've ever even heard. I bet it clocks less
than 5 minutes. It was very tight. I was impressed. Then out of
absolutely nowhere -
Suzy: WHAT!? SA-WEET! This was the equivalent of injecting the crowd with an
adrenaline shot. The place went wild! Maybe this was the show maker! (NOTE:
This way a segue. There was NO definable pause between songs, except maybe
one beat in the rhythm.) I never saw it coming. One second it was
Halley's, the next it was Suzy. I love Suzy, even if she did forget the
SET 2 IN RETROSPECT: It built up so nice and got progressively better.
Highlights include an awesome but whistling-less Reba, a pristine Dirt, and
a totally cracked Suzy!
Frankenstein: Yeeeeeeeah! I was flashing back to the mega-Frank in
Barcelona in August 98. This one was a powerful little number. The crowd
was still flying off the walls. Gotta love Edgar Winter.
Rocky Top: Isn't everyone just happy to get a two song encore? This was a
nice Rocky Top, and careful listeners heard a little Frankenstein at the
end. I almost felt like they didn't want to leave the stage. Nice.
BOTTOM LINE: Well, I didn't get my First Tube, Sand, Free Thought or Jiboo
(C'Mon Hampton!) This is my first show where EVERY song was a repeat. But
overall, I enjoyed myself. A Lot. Reba and Suzy were two ladies that made
the night most worthwhile. Some fans keen on quality will want to check
out crystal versions of Dirt and Guyute.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 01:14:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Bart Tantillo email@example.com
Subject: Repulsive 12/15/99
First things first. A pat on the back to yours truly for maintaining his
12th place position out of 1,569 entrants in the December Tour Phantasy Phish
League heading into the final three shows. I am looking to make my move into
the top 3 tomorrow night, and running away with the title this weekend in
"Welcome to the M.C.I. Center in the beautiful ghetto of our nation's
capital. We are proud to be the worst concert venue in America, and we hope
you have bulletproof windows on your car." That is what should be playing
over the P.A. system as you enter this behemoth arena, one so ill-equipped for
hosting a concert that I wonder why in the world Phish even considered playing
there in the first place. I don't care how big and pretty the hallways are,
or how good the climate control is, this place is a disaster. I suppose I
cursed myself by assuming the worst as we drove down I-95 in pouring rain and
dense fog. I knew before even stepping in the place it was going to suck, but
I thought if I expected the absolute worst, I would be pleasantly surprised if
the sound was just average, or even a bit below average. What we got when the
lights went down was a feeling like we were seeing Phish in a domed football
stadium. Last week in Maine I felt as if the band was wasting an incredible
arena with two substandard shows. Last night was the exact opposite, with the
band wasting what was a pretty good show on a horrendous arena. No matter how
hard I tried to see and hear through the echoes and distance, I just couldn't
do it. It's like reaching for something with everything you have, only to
fall short when you are oh so close. So that being said, on to the show. We
(Myself and the Senator from Doylestown, Matt Kennedy) spent most of the trip
down figuring out what songs were "on the board" as he likes to say. This
tour being the way it is, almost every Phish song came to mind except the ones
played Monday in Providence, and even those weren't completely ruled out.
What I was dreading almost as much as the arena that awaited us was the
probability of the show being a complete dud, for lack of a better word.
This is the time the band usually cleans out their musical locker before
graduation day in Hampton. Notorious for playing like they can't wait to get
to Virginia, the thought of a stinker of a show worried me. Well what we got
was a show that was pretty good, looks better on paper, and will quickly fall
out of my good graces due to the aforementioned M.C.I. Center. I.Down with
Disease, Farmhouse, Bathtub Gin, Wolfman's Brother, Guyute, Trainsong, You
Enjoy Myself II. Sample in a Jar, Maze, Free>Dirt, Reba, Halley's Comet>Suzie
Greenberg E:Frankenstein>Rocky Top
Looks damn good doesn't it. Well not so fast. The show began in grand
fashion (sarcastic), with Down with Disease, being played virtually every
other night since this tour began. As I strained my eyes to see the stage
from our FIRST LEVEL seats, I thought I saw Trey glance at me and smile that
shit eating grin, as I have heard it described, directly towards me, almost as
if to say "No matter where you go, you can't hide from this song". I gritted
my teeth and sat through another subpar version, with a jam that never went
anywhere, and waited for the set to really start. Farmhouse was as cool as
ever, especially with Trey adding the fading "alright, alright, alright..."
lines after the "In the farmhouse things will be alright" line. Uh, sure
Bart. Bathtub Gin was the highlight of the first set for me, overshadowing
versions of Guyute, Wolfman's, and YEM that got lost somewhere in the
disgustingly oversized arena before they had a chance to hit me. Speaking of
You Enjoy Myself, note to Trey Anastasio; There are four main words in the
song, try remembering them. That's right folks, our favorite lyric flubber
was up to his old tricks again, forgetting the "God" line in YEM, saying
"Shit" instead, then trying to play it off as a "Shhhhhhhh" sound that segued
into the "God". So in essence, what we got were two "Shits" and a half assed
"God". Boy I sound pissy don't I? I was hoping a stellar second set would
help me finally get passed the lack of quality sound, but it was not to be.
Sample and Maze, both songs I like, but now we were losing touch with the
band. They began to fade into the darkness of the arena, and may as well have
boarded the buses for Raleigh. Even a great Free couldn't save the day, as it
wove into Dirt and I contemplated sitting down during a Phish set for the
first time in my life. I didn't, however in retrospect, I wish I would have.
The concert experience was ruined for me by the end of Reba, and I couldn't
help but think of Hampton, and how close I am to redemption for the night of
torture I was enduring at this hellish place. Halley's Comet was "jam-less",
I think the band just wanted out at that point, choosing an odd Suzie segue
instead. Frankenstein>Rocky Top...Does Murphy's Law apply to shows wasted in
As usual, I am sure I will be in the minority with this review. People are
going to go as far as to call this a great show, and they are entitled to it.
For me it was an exercise in futility. I hope the Wizards and Capitals never
win another game in that hellhole, and they are forced to shut it down for
lack of revenue. Thank God for the Hampton Coliseum!
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 01:45:33 EST
Subject: MCI Center 12-15-99
Only a few short things to say about this show. Downtown DC, the best thing
that happened before the show was some dumb cop smashing into an innocent
driver. Gotta love that right? But anyway, no real surprises during the
first set. I could see the Bathtub coming. I don't know if it was just me,
but it seemed like the first set was thrown together just to tune up some
songs before New Years. All in all, decent first set with an always
energetic YEM to finish the set.
It was nice to see my old friend Alphabet Soup entertaining the crowd during
the set break. You all know who i'm talking about. The crazy wired acid
trip guy that was screaming near the floor in the back. It was also nice to
see him give a nice b-day shout out to some girl. If anybody was totally
baffled by his Soup and Salad routine I'd be glad to fill you in sometime.
He was a legend on Dead tour and it's nice to see him back in the game.
As for the second set. Loved it. All I wanted to hear was Halley's Comet
and boom, they broke it out after a very welcome Reba. The Maze earlier in
the set was also a pleasant surprise for me. I was so happy to hear Halley's
though, that i was content for the night, but after a slightly muffed up
entrance into Suzy Greenberg I couldn't have been more into the show. It
brought everybody to their feet including the old bald stiff a couple rows in
front of me there with his cutie daughter. Kind of wish they would have
ended the encore with Frankenstein, but what the hell, Rocky Top is always
nice to hear too, and it's fun to watch Trey go crazy with feedback.
Welcome back Alphabet Soup........
Don (48 shows in the bag!!)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 02:55:47 EST
Subject: Review of 12/15/99
Note to reader:
I went to this show sober. I took my Dad and my Brother to there first Phish
I have to say I was more than a little bit pumped to see the boyz this fine
evening. Having made the trip to Philly 12/11/99 I was really looking forward
to this night. I had finally talked my Dad to come see a Phish show. I took
my brother too, who only likes the dead. His fault. Anyway to the show.
The security was a real pain. It seemed like whenever a Jam was building a
Guard would come by to bug someone.
Dwd-Having heard it earlier, I was looking for something else, but happy as
always,I liked the philly version better though.
Farmhouse-Slow song real soon, but felt sort of in place.
Bathtub Gin-Nice song to hear, nice Jams, but had the "where is this going
Wolfman's-Happy as hell to see it. Love this song. I thought it was played
well, but nothing to freakish or anything.
Guyute-Trey's super guitar bomb. It was nice to hear, but hasn't changed,
sounds like your typical Trey super jam.
Train Song-This was cool. Having road the train with the family to the show.
I was happy they played this. Dad liked it.
YEM-YES! knew it was coming soon. Dropped in on us at DC. It was a really
nice version. CK5 gets mad love for the lights in the vocal jam. Super huge.
Set comes to a close
Happy really looking forward to the second set.
Dad: I like the lights...The train the one about the train I liked....Guitar
player reminds me on Santana.
Brother:I knew some of those songs...Jams aren't going anywhere.....can't
hear the keys at all.....I can see why people listen to them.
Back to the show.
Sample-Nice way to kick start the second set. Nothing but smiles (1st ever)
Maze-Nice again! (1st ever) Super jam
Free-Strong Free good playing, Trey went key crazy though
Dirt-I don't know. I mean it was good...I don't know just something else
Reba-Ok I'm sorry the band just smacked me and told me to shut up. SUPER JAM
Halley's-Was really glad they played this song. But I thought it would have
gotten a louder re-action....."goin down to the central part of town"
Suzie-Classic turned everone on there heads. Place went nuts.
Frankenstein; Wanted another Phish tune, but nice solo by Bob Weaver was nice
Rockytop-Huge was nice to hear this.
Reactions:Dad: Thanks, great lights
Brother:Still like the dead better...oh they turn the keyboard player up
Overall-It was a very good show. I enjoyed the song selection. Having seen 2
shows recently, I have to say there playing really well. Can't wait for
HAMPTON.....then on to the swamp.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 00:12:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Anthony Pierce firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: MCI Review
First of all, I'm gonna fail my geology final tomorrow. This morning I get a
call and an offer to go to the show...Phish or study for finals (University of
Del)......We did the spectrum shows which were very nice but since the rumor
about the year off, we were off...hehehehehe.
We got lost in DC. We parked for 20 bucks.We lost Brian twice. We finally got
into the building and....
DOWN WITH DISEASE: Always nice, just heard it on
Saturday, but I'm not complaining
FARMHOUSE:Always a favorite. I can't see the new
ending everyone is talking about though.
BATHTUB!!:Very nice jam
WOLFMAN'S:Not a big fan,but they jammed this one
GUYUTE:Execellent as usual
TRAIN SONG:Very mellow,crowd seemed to enjoy
YEM!!!:Very cool vocal jamming with trampolines
The security was a bitch duing intermission. I lit up a cigarette and
this older bald headed tough guy security man comes up and tells me to put it
out. I of course just put it down out of his view. He leaves and comes back
ten minutes later and says to me "Hey friend, are you hardheaded? Why don't
you give me a name for yourself becuase that's what I'm thinking you are a
hardhead." What dude? Then he was trying to fraternize with the entire crowd
like he was some funny/hardass. What a bitch.
Sample: Three hoist songs....good thing was...it
wasn't jammed out.
MAZE!!!!:Yeah! The jam part gets me every time
FREE:Extremely long, they seemed to be confused as to
what Trey was doing on his keyboard set for so long...
DIRT: Wanted to hear that. Guitar licks are so
....at this point the show became INSANE........
REBA!!!!!: Oh man, very tight jam and after the chill
part a pause where one would expect the whistling to
come in......well...how about...."Bah Choo Bah Bah
HALEY'S COMET!!!!!!!:OH man, I went NUTS....wow...and
after that...right into.....
SUZY GREENBERG!!!!:AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! OH MAN
UNBELIEVABLE :):) totally made my night
E:FRANKENSTEIN: always fun
ROCKY TOP: thought frank should have ended it...just
By the way...Jerry and Brian are two of the worst
drivers ever....just kidding guys you know i think
you're both swell guys! I LOVE YOU BRIDGET!!!!
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 02:48:22 -0500
From: Brian Rosenberg Brian.Rosenberg@jhu.edu
Subject: Review of 12/15
I skipped out on a good 10 hours of studying for an organic chemistry final
exam, but thats what you gotta do when the phab phour are around. I must
agree with the previous submissions that were displeased with the lack of a
lot scene. Hey, what are ya gonna do? As for the show...
DWD: well, I personally like this song as a second set opener and not the
opener of the show, but it rocked. The boys really seemed to be clicking.
Farmhouse: a personal favorite. pretty standard version. i felt it was
good placement after a long, jammed out opener.
Bathtub Gin: big hit with the crowd. excellent version. really paved the
way for the rest of the set with long, jammed out songs.
Wolfman's Brother: again, really kept the crowd into it. very strong.
Guyute: this was my first show of the last two tours, so i haven't heard
this in a while and i really enjoyed it. standard version, but i really
think its a great song. crowd loved it!
Train Song: excellent placement for this chill song. standard version, but
it gave everyone a chance to sit back and catch their breath from the past
three long songs.
YEM: great, great version. Trey had a little problem with saying "God", no
big deal. lights were spectacular. one of the best first set closers. left
the crowd really happy for the break.
overall, strong set. out of 10, id give it an 8. no new songs which i
didn't like to see, but great versions of old favorites.
Sample: see, i thought this would have been a much better opener to the
first set, while DWD would have worked perfectly right here. oh well.
really got the crowd going early.
Maze: i was really happy to here this one. excellent version. real good
placement after the short opener.
Free: best of the set. great job on this one. almost as good as the
version from Hampton last year.
Dirt: good song. brought everyone down a little bit and gave us a moment to
Reba: really, really kickin. a little disappointed not to hear the
whistling at the end.
Halley's Comet: really unexpected. i thought the placement wasn't perfect.
pretty standard version, until the end where it lead directly into...
Suzie Greenberg: Page was really on fire during this one. very loud and up
tempo. great way to end the second set.
overall, also strong set. still disappointed with the lack of new songs
though. give it a 7
Frankenstein: great, great encore song. crowd was loving it.
Rocky Top: haven't heard this one in years. really happy to hear it again.
Page was burning again with a couple of great solos. interesting ending.
they kept it going for a while and really kept fooling Chris. lights kinda
lost the music at this point, but that didn't matter at all.
excellent encore. 9 for intensity and great tunes.
Overall, gotta give the show a 7 or 8. i was very happy with the
performance, i just really thought that since they just worked on their new
album and since they weren't in DC last year, there should have been some new
songs so people, like me, who can't get to every show can hear some of the
great songs of the future.
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 02:49:25 -0400
From: chris email@example.com
Subject: MCI Center 1999
All I really can say is Im glad I went I got lucky and got killer seats on
Paige side, got to see how good of spirits the boys were in :)
DWD. opened up strong Bathtub honestly started a little tiny bit off but MAN
DID IT BLAST OFF INTO ORBIT by the time they hit the jam! The Wolfmans was
very nice :) Guyute was typicaly good YEM was YEM in a good strong way and oh
yeah the Farm House was very nice even if it was the second song.
second set was NICE as well The Reba IMO was very tight and well played with
quite a bit of improv at the end ( more so then usual) Im tired so may review
more later by the way the Fank encore was very tight and the boys really
enjoyed it I think all smiles from them and me. Rocky top was well done but
by the way Paige is much to low in the mix!!!!!! everybody else is perfect or
gets close to it by mid way through the second set but Paige is way to low
which is a crime IMO. SEE YA at Hampton!
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 01:24:49 -0500
Subject: MCI REVIEW
Lots were beat.
Security sucked. . . but it was one of the phattest shows I've ever seen.
I called PYITE opener and we getta DWD: Real nice: it was one of the last
heard in Philly but it was sweet. The jam was cut short.
FARNHOUSE: NIce. . . I love this song. I didn't hear any "new" arrangment.
BATHTUB GIN: Called it and once aghain people were buggin out. Reminded me
WOLFMANS: PHATTY JAM
GUYUTE: People seemed to be liking it but I enjoyed the cigarrette
accompanied by a phat joint!
Trainsong: NIce slowed it down for
YEM: Nice Weak vocal jam
The set could definatewly stand alone and make for a "worht it set"
However, the second set fuckin rocked
SAMPLE: first time I truly enjoyed it, Chris was awesome
MAZE: FUCK YEAH! AWESOME
FREE: HIghlight for me I was lookin for it for three shows and found NICE
DIRT: Coole as shit. Yeah know
HALLEYS COMET: ALright from here on out the show went from good to fuckin
HAleys was sick as shit no jam but evferyone was up and about
REBA: Called it it was disgusting thats all I can say GHET THE TAPE
SUZIE G: AHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA YEAH
FRANKENSTEIN: Holy shit out of control could of stood on its own with out
top four shows Ive seeennmnn
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 01:43:23 EST
Subject: MCI review
First I must preface this by stating how displeased I was with the police and
at this show. They were totally out of control.
DWD- always a great way too start a show. Not that jammed out but still it
was really good
Farmhouse- was not quite ready for a slow song this early in the show but
this rocked, really good
Bathtub Gin- always good to hear a classic, this was where the show really
everyone went nuts when they heard this, and the boys really kicked it into
high gear, thought I heard a Free tease at the end
Wolfman's- totally unexpected, have not heard this in awhile, really rocked,
Mike was really laying it down
Guyute- was not really excited to hear this, I think it should be retired for
awhile, but alot of people seemed really excited to hear this, average
version nothing really mind blowing
Train Song- love this one, I think it was dedicated to everyone who took the
subway to the show, nothing really spectacular, but a real solid version
YEM- everyone went nuts when this started, Mike was dropping bombs, killer
jam, and awesome lights during the vocal jam.
Overall really solid set, the highlights being Wolman's and YEM
Sample- a personal favorite, really good, strong and solid
Maze- thought it was David Bowie for a second, but then realized it was Maze,
really have not heard this in awhile, really rocked, Set 2 is looking really
Free- been dying to hear this, started off awesome, Trey got on a keyboard in
the jam, the jam seemed to get a little lost though, though i was really glad
to hear this
Dirt- another great slow song, after the energy of Maze&Free this really hit
really good version
Reba- not crazy about this song in concert, i like it when they play it
slower rather than at a really fast pace, no whistling( I wanted to hear it),
jam kind rambled and seemed alittle too long
Halley's- Trey went over to Mike before this and must of decided to play
this, another classic and rarity, everyone went crazy when Mike started it
off, this really made my night, killer song
Suzie G.- this show was turning into a classic, this rocked, good jam,
shocked everyone after hearing Halley's right before it
Frankenstein- did not really want to hear this as an encore, but it won me
over, good Fish solo
Rocky Top- love to hear some bluegrass, typically version, doesn't change much
but it was icing on the cake
Overall, really, really good show, made up for the lack of a lot scene,
thanks to Dave from Simply Kind for the ticket stub, I couldn't sit in the
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 00:10:11 -0500
From: kc firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 12-15-99 mci
phirst off, let me just say wow!! end of finals and so much to do, but phish
is too close to the home base to skip... didn't expect that much from the mci
center, but boy did phish blow the place apart from the getgo! a monster first
set with three amazing platform jams with phavorites disease, bathtub and
wolfman's and top notch compositions in guyute and yem... after guyute i
looked to my friend and commented how perfect it would be for this to all end
with yem... a short break and then there it was, phunky and phat... unreal,
one of the biggest first sets ever imo. a set like this would be next to
impossible to top, but could it be? second set opened with standard phare
played well but unexceptionally, took a seat for dirt and then asked for
reba... it was just one of those nights! getting late, possible closer next,
but instead, my favorite lyrics perhaps in the whole phish repertoire- i'm
sinking down and its a glorious feeling!! into miss suzy to close??
wonderful. thought frank was the end and was pleased to hear rocky top with
the tennessean (word?) i was with... all in all a surprisingly hot performance
at a new venue, first time in dc limits for the boys since i believe '93.
first set rivaled the perfection of the second night philly first set, and
phish is rollin;, more phucked up than f*&ked up!! peace all and see you in
below are reviews of the above reviews, reviewers or the opinions
expressed by the authors
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 10:27:41 -0800
From: Matt Nichols email@example.com
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" email@example.com
Subject: MCI Review
In response to Bart Tantillo's review, I've got a few points. First off, if
you go into the show expecting the worst, that's what you'll get. Even so,
a bad Phish show is still a great time, the 12/29/97 show in DC was the
worst one I've ever seen, in the rafters of the ratty old USAir Arena, yet
it was still a fun time.
More importantly, don't let your stereotypes about DC cloud your perception
of the city:
"Welcome to the M.C.I. Center in the beautiful ghetto of our nation's
capital....we hope you have bulletproof windows on your car."
You obviously haven't been around urban areas before. Chinatown (MCI's
neighborhood) is a wonderfully diverse part of town in a vibrant and quickly
improving city. I've seen that neighborhood improve vastly over the years.
Urban areas like this where people from different can co-exist are quickly
vanishing, leaving us with sprawling, anonymous suburbs. If you don't know
what it's like to live in the middle of a big city, please don't judge it.
Also, not every urban area is a bullet-ridden wasteland, especially not that
part of DC. Moreover, the term 'ghetto' is horribly offensive, don't throw
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 18:53:50 -0500
From: Brendan Bullock firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 12/15/99 MCI
I realize that it is not generally encouraged to criticize other people's
reviews of the shows on this board, but I feel obliged to, if only to save
this show from being "dissed" or passed of as just another stop along the
road to Hampton...
First of all, being a poor college student, I usually only get to see
about one show a year. Tonight's was the first since Worcester last Nov.
This being the case, I get pretty exited before getting to see the band.
Okay - VERY exited. My buddies and I came to this show pumped, excited,
sober, and expecting a great show. Phish gave us all more than we could have
There is no need to outline each song from both sets, as it has already
been done, but I would just point out a few highlights - the DWD opener....
as soon as I saw Trey plug in his 'Doc, flashing a great grin, and then
hearing Mike lay down the bass, I just got so pumped up.... I was back in
phantasy-world.... that place which I get to visit so infrequently, besides
in my own head as I listen to boots.... I loosened my legs, started
dancing, and listened to that sweet, familiar sound once again, tears of joy
running from my eyes as I sang along..... the jam was tight and funky, but
mellow...matching my mood perfectly. A great way to start the show. The
Bathtub Gin was not expected by me, so I was psyched... this jam too was
tight but rather reserved... I wouldn't say that it had no direction, as
others have said, but it never just busted out as Gin jams can at times....
Wolfman's was funky and yummy... Trainsong was surprisingly one of my calls -
one of my favorite songs from Billy Breathes, and thsi was just a beautiful
version. YEM- I wanted to call it but I thought it was out of the
question.... but to everyone's delight, there it was..... Now, any of you
who have heard the 11/02/98 E. Centre show - This YEM was almost a carbon
copy (which is a very good thing) with the exception of the vocal jam, which
was based around Chris' AMAZING lightwork... too amazing a vocal jam to
describe. Great buildup - TIGHT funk jam. So Trey messed up "God" BIG
DEAL. Get a job. Everyone I talked to was super psyched after that first
set, and all had high hopes for the second. The band did not let up.
Sample - Hoist songs , in my opinion, are great set openers - they tend
to get people pretty pumped up, and this one did. Great Maze jam....they
really took this one on investigative journey....I wondered how it would
resolve - near the end, Trey pulled the weapon of dissonance out of his
arsenal, laying down these awkward sounding harmonies for a few bars, only
then to break into bright beautiful consonance, and then repeat.... Chris
meanwhile mirrored each return of consonance with rainbow colored
lighted...neat, intelligent music. FREE- Okay folks...I'm not even going to
attempt. You owe it to yourself to go get these tapes and check out this jam
for yourself. It was HUGE. Dirt - My favorite of the slower songs... I find
the lyrics, harmony and melody to be amazingly beautiful, and this was the
best electric version I've heard... just so pretty and sweet... goodness.
REBA.... again, HUGE. Of all the Rebas I've heard, I'll stick my neck out
and say that this one is overshadowed only by 12/31/95. Most of all though,
I will remember this jam as just being beautiful. Halley's - I had almost
forgotten this song existed, hadn't heard it since the Went. Not the
greatest, but enough so to make me (and seemingly everyone else there) REALLY
SUPER happy and remind me that its one of my favs.... Suzie - My first...and
yes, I agree with an earlier review - people went NUTS, and Page was HOT HOT
HOT. E: Frankenstine hadn't infiltrated my ears since the Cliff Ball... this
one was just large and in charge - Trey was LOVING it...filled the whole
place up and just throbbed and pulsed. Rockytop - I agree, somewhat
contrived after the Frank, but then again, who doesn't like Rockytop?
So, that is it - I came out of the show feeling GREAT - having my
expectations met and then completely surpassed by the band. One of my
favorite concert experiences ever.
And the band (especially Trey) was just SO happy and upbeat... it's so good
to see that.
Another note... MAD PROPS to the crowd, who after engaging in a fun little
glow war at the end of the second set showed great tact by bringing it to a
halt when the band came out to encore... i was worried about sticks being
thrown on stage for a bit, but my fears were assuaged...thanks alot guys - I
really mean that.
Finally, in response to this trashing of MCI, it's employees, and the band's
performance, I just have to ask one question... Why do you even bother going
to shows, man? Sounds as if its a drag....and thats no good. At least if it
is a drag, don't wantonly throw around negativity in places like this
board... Everyone I talked to at the show had a GREAT time...why didn't you?
You know what? I would suggest taking some time off - maybe a couple of
years.... sounds like you've seen TOO MUCH Phish.... if the magic isn't
apparent to you, then something's wrong. I wish you luck.
I was impressed by MCI - very clean and very spacious, though not much room
to dance. And the employees were all INCREDIBLY kind - I stood around and
talked to some of them about the band preshow, I saw one guy having trouble
with a security guy on the way out, but you know what? It was his own
fault. Don't light up if you've been asked politely not to and then trash
the person who calls you on it more harshly the second time. And to my mind,
the same goes for the lots. Don't complain about getting busted, or that the
lots were weak because the security was too tight to peddle Sammy Smiths.
Phish is here to play us music, not to guarantee a thriving menagerie outside
every show. Alot of stuff sold on lots is illegal - face up to that
fact, and don't complain if you get in trouble. It's nobody's fault but your
own. Last note - as teh band does, encourage your friends NOT to come to
shows w/o tix - especially in a place like DC, it makes for nutsy traffic.
So, that's it - and I know I've probably come off like some prudish,
straightedge idiot, but I feel more and more as if Phish is becomeing less
about the music and more about the scene to many people, and that is really
discouraging to me. Phish is one of the most beautiful facets of my life
- and I want that facet to always remain safe and healthy. I just hope that
by the time I see my 50th show or whatever, I won't be one of those guys
posting to this board about how it wasn't as good as this one or that one,
that lyrics were flubbed, etc. IT'S ABOUT THE MUSIC, AND BEING HEALTHY AND
Cheers to the awesome crowd tonight..... and thank you Phish for giving me a
dose rich enough to last through another year.......
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