, attached to 2000-06-14

Review by cantseetheforest

cantseetheforest I don't care that it's missing some of my favorite songs; if I were given the opportunity to go back in time and see just one show, there is no question it would be this one.

I bought this show back when the LivePhish series started purely because I thought it would be interesting to listen to a Phish performance from Japan. Since then it has remained my unchallenged favorite of all the shows I've seen live or heard secondhand.

The energy here is beyond special: contained but intense, measured but adventurous, and sonically slick to an otherworldly degree rarely achieved by the group even at their considerable best. *Definitely* almost as good as James Brown on a bad night. ;)

The core of the show is the "Twist." Not only is it the Mother of All "Twists," I believe it represents the zenith of the band's achievement in collective improvisation, the pinnacle of the guys' 15+ years of musicianship and friendship at home and on the road. It may not be your favorite mood, and it may not go to your favorite places. But from a standpoint of fairly objective musicianship and craft, this "Twist" is as good as it gets. The jam, spacious without ever seeming empty and jam-packed with telepathy, serenely drifts off into the deep space of an ambient C major. The situation seems irretrievable, like going under sedation. Just when the "Ghost" motif enters and you are wondering how -- or if -- they will get back to "Twist's" native key of G, it happens almost before you can perceive it: like an electric stove eye showing the first signs of an eerie red glow, the friendly warmth of Trey's guitar carefully summons the song's main riff from the abyss and then crescendos to a jubilant, defiant snarl as the band begins to sing the final chorus. It is a stupendous feat of collective musicianship, and the jam-surrounded Stones cover that follows is a fitting compliment delivered in total solidarity.

There are many other fine experiences to be had in this show. Though there are a few minor flubs and sound problems scattered across the first set, "The Curtain" and "Cities" are among the finest renditions of those songs in the catalog; the "Llama" guitar solo is particularly fierce, marked by a heavy chase delay; and "Back On the Train" and "Also Sprach" are concise but energetic explorations of those favorites in which Trey's guitar work particularly shines with an unusually suave and polished sophistication. The whole show simply *sounds* unbelievable, largely thanks to Paul's expert mix.

When Page brings "The Squirming Coil" to a close, you can tell beyond question that he realizes he is putting the finishing touches on a real milestone in the band's personal journey and professional career. It is musically gorgeous and emotionally quite moving to hear in the context of the whole performance.

This is a show to enjoy from start to finish in peace and quiet. I have read that the small audience was transfixed and largely silent through the entire show, and I have no problem believing it.


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