, attached to 1997-06-19

Review by ucpete

ucpete There's a reason why @brainstemblast starts his / her review at the beginning of the second set. The first set is just fine mind you, though this is before the Fall '97 "there are no first sets anymore" era, i.e., this is definitely a run-of-the-mill first set. Dogs Stole Things was played for the *fourth* consecutive show. In July '93 they lived by the "one set every night starts with 2001" motto, but I can't think of another song since then that's seen this many repeats in a row, though I'm sure if anyone serious vets are reading this they can immediately debunk that notion. First set gives the recently debuted Water in the Sky and Vultures another run-through, and there's a typically awesome Maze -- as an aside, does Maze ever suck? But I digress... Jesus Fucking Christ does the second set start off in astounding fashion! The first 35 minutes of the set are nothing short of epic. I'll spare you the detailed description of Stash, as the other reviewer already did that in spades, but all you need to know is Stash -> Stash Jazziness -> Uncensored Pornographic Cow-funk -> Ghost -> Sloooooowly Melting the Skin Off Your Face Ghost Space Jam -> Saw It Again. This is only the third ever Ghost and they're already causing serious infarction of the vital organs of audience members. Did I mention that all of those "->" are LEGIT and flawlessly executed? And though this is the only Ghost / Saw It Again pairing that ever happened, they're thematically, lyrically, and musically a match made in heaven. Normally seeing a Piper later in a set like this would make one seriously contemplate putting on a condom before walking into the show, to, you know, prevent any mess, just in case, but this is more of a blue-baller than its debut: it's just a shade over 4 minutes long. In fact, they didn't really figure out Piper until they played the Pistons on 12/6 -- but when they did figure it out, they figured the shit out of it. Despite Piper not shining, Caspian really does, with a nice extended intro taboot. And I don't generally like Caspian but this one's up there with the best versions ever really. Interestingly, if the last four songs of the second set sound a little monotonous and unvaried, it might be because all the songs are in 'G'. The encore is fine -- in my experience it's rare for Phish to do anything epic in the encore (there are of course exceptions, like my favorite show, 12/30/97, but it's best not to expect getting your pants blown off with a four song funk-filled encore). This show's got a little imbalance to it, with consistent but unspectacular playing before and after the top shelf Stash -> Ghost -> Saw It Again segment, but god damn if you haven't heard it yet, go ahead and yank that bit from the Spreadsheet now and thank me later. This is one of those "3 stars for the vast majority of the show, 5 stars for the rest" type gigs, so if you're into weighted averages, this show is rated more or less correctly (3.3 stars as of this review).


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