, attached to 1998-12-29

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks After the madness of Fall '97 cooled into the ambient funk of mid- and late-1998, Phish fans generally went back to treating first sets as warmups for the segue-heavy improv of Set II. This show, which circulates in a wonderful leaked SBD, has got a perfectly fine first set like most every 1998 Phish show - dig that opener and a set-closing Freebird, baby! But the second set is the deep stuff. That's a fine Free to open, and an glorious LxL that bursts from the polyrhythmic puzzle box into string-fanning, key-thumping bliss. Boogie On hadn't yet taken on its full Summer '99 depth, but a superb YEM more than makes up for it.

The big deal, though, is 2001. It's not a dancefloor throwdown like the titanic Great Went version, but the second half of this performance will satisfy your disco-funk needs. The first half, though, is a finely-detailed ambient performance that melts into a slow-burn Cinemascope trip. Take it away, me-in-another-mood:

"*devastating* - nearly four minutes in and the song hasn't even properly started yet...just great. transporting. such complex, attentive playing from the whole band. no hurry to get to the Big Party Song. dig those 'frankie sez' quotes from mike and fish. AND THEN!! at 5:10 or so fishman just sliiiiiiiiiides right into the '2001' beat, while the other three keep going with their space-age ambient playing. groovy gravy. tempo keeps increasing as we go. trey doesn't start 'soloing' until *seven minutes* into the track - and only then does fishman vary his drumbeat with a sly double snap on the snare. takes him another minute to splash those cymbals and start those feathered demon fills he used to do. such patience. marvelous trey/page duet at 9:30, and by 10:00 we're ready to launch into the first refrain. at 11:30 we're back into space, and trey *immediately* drops that groovy 5/1/2 pattern he does so often in this tune. thick atmosphere at the bottom end. mike's in with liquid bass sounds. the party has started in earnest. fishman's playing a wild paradiddle system on the kit. mike's come up from the bottom of the ocean. the intricacy of the assemblage, fuck. i generally like my '2001' action wild and crazy, but this is something else - *easily* the most complex, vivid version of the tune i've heard. well surely i'm reacting reacting in part to the clarity of this recording. damn, they leaked *this*? they could sell this shit in vials down on the street corner, call it crack. i'd be there in rags and bells. daaaamn! and at 16:40 the final notes come crashing, then everything fragments into light and noise and we're getting ready to kick off, alas, 'boogie on reggae woman.' fun party for everyone, i know, but i want something deep and dangerous here. but then...holy shit, fishman holds off a while before hopping in with both feet at the 0:30 mark. yeah!! this version doesn't have mike's riotous bass effects from 1999 onward - a comparatively bare take on the song, just fun. well, gimme chula vista down the road. and we're off to YEM. fine, fine, fine. what a show..."

I wouldn't lie to you, possibly-imaginary reader(s). This 2001 will melt your face. Not figuratively in the 'This is very good' sense. I mean literally: put this on your stereo, take the volume knob for a spin, and your face will liquefy, leaving only a skull, those fine American teeth of yours, ghost of a smile...


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