, attached to 1997-11-17

Review by sarnap

sarnap This show's success is the result of a band that, more-so than ususal on this night, was both extremely loose and also intently focused on listening to each other. By the time they reined in the opening "Tweezer," I had already forgotten not only what song they were playing, but what set we were in. Somehow, they had just started in the middle. The following "Reba" provided a silly counter to the delving "Tweezer," and the always-welcome "Train Song" countered "Reba's" climax. I would say that this much-acclaimed "Ghost" is one of the band's best pieces improvisation, period. It moves through distinct movements, with each section buoyed by its own tone and melody. The jam's movements and dynamics feel composed. Nothing feels excessive or meandering. They were "hooked-up" all night long, but the interplay in this tune is particularly inspiring. The mix of manic lights and manic Trey in "Fire" almost made me fall over. The kid next to me was having convulsions like he was at a Pentecostal tent revival.

"DWD" has a few delightfully frenzied peaks before settling into what everyone was calling "Oblivious Fool" at the time. Of course, the lyrics have been transposed into "Shafty," but I kind of like the contrast of the upbeat, old-school rock tune that is smilingly informing you that you may actually be in hell, you fool. This version of the tune should be playing on an old jukebox in the background of a scene in a David Lynch film. No one actually knows the lyrics to "Johnny B. Goode." The jam out of it reveals how intent the band was to really compose that night. The melodies are never sloppy or generic. The imagination is on eleven, and all ears are sharp and attentive. Page received a thunderous applause after his "JJLC" solo, which you hear more clearly on the AUDs. "Circus," "YEM," and "Zero" wrap up a hot show on a cool Denver evening.

I wouldn't say this show was the most "fun" I've ever had at a Phish concert, but it is the most intense musical experience I've ever had at Phish. It's my favorite.


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