Bathtub Gin

, comment by Pinhead_Larry
Pinhead_Larry By this point in Phish's career, Bathtub Gin had proved itself to be a heavy first set jam vehicle, with fewer second set Gins per capita in '97-'99 than '93-'95. Even still, the Oswego Gin seems to be played early in the fist set. Coming just after a Water in the Sky, and just before a BOTT, and with nearly 3/4 of the set to go, a nearly 20-minute jam seems oddly placed. But I'm not one to complain about 20 minute jams appearing anywhere in a show (hell, I enjoy the Hampton '04 show even with its setlist oddities).

Getting back on track; the 7/18/99 Gin is played pretty much how one would expect it to be played in the summer of 1999. This is the intermittent time period just after Fall '98's dark/ambient style and just before the discotheque grooves of fall/winter '99. There was no rush, no other place more important to be, and not a care in the world during the hot mid-summer day, and this seems to be reflected in the music well. The Gin jam starts out in familiar territory with Phish playing close to comfort, until Trey starts chugging the power chords around the 10 minute mark, signaling the beginning of the next section...

...which never exactly takes off how one might like. Page hops on the organ/synth in a similar manner to when he does in the Riverport '98 gin. This tricks the listener into thinking that this Gin is about to get funky and type II. Instead, Trey opts to shred the Gin theme for the final remaining minutes in type I fashion before hopping on the pitch-shifter and reprising the Gin coda.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad jam by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I've been finding myself revisiting this Gin lately. And maybe that's the real power behind the jam; it's replay value and catchy themes. Beyond that, this Gin and various others around this time period (7/10/99, 9/12/99, 10/1/99, 12/6/99) continue to show time and time again why 1999 is considered such a strong year for Bathtub Gin. Though the funky Gins of 1997 and 1998 may be gone, the absolute quantity of quality Gins is astounding in '99. It seemed like if you caught a Bathtub Gin in 1999, you were almost guaranteed at least a 15-20 minute jam. The Oswego Gin happens to be one of those Gins that helps perpetuate this thinking.

Check this one out if you're wanting an excellently played standard jam in Bathtub Gin. And then check out the rest of this highly underrated festival show.

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