, attached to 1996-11-08

Review by markah

markah (posted to rec.music.phish Nov 10, 1996)

All right, here's my first attempt at a review, so please bear with some
slight rambling I'm sure I'll do.

Set I: Runaway Jim, Axilla (Part ONE!), All Things Reconsidered-->Mound,
Down With Disease, Prince Caspian, Reba, Golgi Apparatus, Run Like an

Set II: Also Sprach Zarathustra-->Maze, Bouncing Around the Room,
Simple-->Sparks, Mike's Song-->Star Spangled Banner-->Weekapaug Groove

Encore: Theme from the Bottom

We got into Chambana (Champaign-Urbana) early, and I quickly met up with
some of my old friends from high school. We grabbed some dinner at
Chili's (Mmmm...) and were off to the show. I had gotten a ride with
some guys from Ann Arbor (Thanks to Zack, Andy, Willy, Dan, and Matt!!!)
and end up trading my two 10th row seats to them so that I could sit with
my buddies from U of I. (Hope you enjoyed those seats, guys!) So I
ended up behind Fishman, way at the top of the stadium. The sound there
was quite poor. Muddled bass and virtually no piano.

RUNAWAY JIM: Ok, this is a decent opener. People immediately started
clapping along, and I wasn't too annoyed by it. For now anyway. I think
everyone could've used a volume boost here, too. Average Jim.

AXILLA I: With that riff that opens the song, I thought we'd all be
rocking pretty hard, but I guess I was wrong. Then the different lyrics
came in. Interesting. I had never heard this before, and the song was
fairly hard to get into. Trey started having those infamous amp
problems, kicking his rig and what not. He dropped out for a verse.
Very distracting, but hey. No one was really pumped like a song like this
should make you.

ALL THINGS RECONSIDERED: I understand whoever said that they aren't
playing their composed pieces as well. My friendgirl commented that they
sounded separate. Right on, Kelly. We still weren't pumped. Trey's rig
was sucking pretty badly, you couldn't even hear him on the lower lines.
Page had risen in volume, though.

MOUND: More clapping, but here it's called for. Trey was still quiet on
the low stuff. Again, this song was just lacking anything interesting.
I was worried that it might never pick up, but then the lights went off,
the spot hit Mike and he slapped out that familiar intro to...

DOWN WITH DISEASE: Oh, yeah! I was very psyched to hear this song after
all the hype it's been getting, and the jam surely did not disappoint. I
can't compare it to others; this was my first. It did get us all into
the familiar feel of a show, though. Then came the two chord wonder...

PRINCE CASPIAN: Decent song. I think the funnest part of the show was
trying to mimic Page's high note on the "OHHHHHH!" I have a complaint,
though, about the song's ending. I don't like how it starts back up.
Kinda throws the groove off, in my opinion. I thought we might be going
back down in the energy and as soon as they started...

REBA: I knew I was right, but I was happy again. If they're going to
take a mellow approach, there is no better way to do it. They must have
felt that the crowd was not not reaching energy peaks tonight, because
they really took this to a new level of calm. Chris helped with lots of
blues and greens with cool patterns tracing across Assembly Hall's
strange roof. And then, right in the middle of the mellow jam, THE DAMN
CLAPPING WAS BACK!!!! I wanted a sniper rifle. This was seriously not
fair. The clapping pulled my out of the groove so fast, all I could do
was fume until Fish's solo section. DAMN THOSE CLAPPERS!!!

GOLGI APPARATUS: was next. This is one of those songs that can
seriously help or hurt a show, depending on the energy level and it's
placement in the set. Tonight it was well placed. Took the energy up a
few notches, and than Trey couldn't remember how the ending lick went!
Pretty funny, if you ask me.

RUN LIKE AN ANTELOPE: Now you see what I mean about Golgi being the
perfect stepping stone to a song like this. The DAMN CLAPPERS were in
effect again, but after I strangled a few in my imagination, I felt much
better. They quit before I got to violent. The jam in (3rd? gear) right
before the Pre-Marco groove was just killer. I was looking intently for
some kind of hand signal or what not to go into the Pre-Marco groove, but
I didn't see anything. They just all of a sudden stopped. Wow - it was
pretty amazing. Good first set closer. I had to have a smoke in the set
break just to chill out.

Set break was a good mellow out, I was trying not to hype myself up for
fear that Phish might go with the mellow vehicle some more. I met up
with some old familiar faces (Hi to Matt L, Nick D, Terry M, and
Maryanne!) And settled back into my seat just in time for...

2001: Well, maybe the mellow night won't continue after all. Great
lights by Chris. Trey has some cooler effects on his drumkit, it makes
things not as boring. He still stays on it too long, IMHO.

MAZE: I really like this song, unlike a lot of people, and I was happy to
hear it. For some reason, though, I couldn't get into it.

BOUNCING AROUND THE ROOM: Time to sit down & smoke 'em if ya got 'em.
Newbie paradise, I guess. I really don't know where my intense hatred for
this song come about. Maybe it was the Frat house that had a party with
this theme and made T-shirts with Beta Theta Pi inside the Phish logo.
Then the girls in the sister Sorority come running up to me "you like
Phish, right?? Isn't this cool??" Maybe that has something to do with

SIMPLE: Yes. This song I DO like, despite its appearance on ALO. I
love the new extended version. Page was doing some really neat work on
the keyboards, which I guess is one good thing about Trey's drumkit...it
gives Page full power to experiment. Trey was hacking too long though.
The intensity of the jam made up for it, though. Where in the world did
all this energy come from??? Then they kicked it into SPARKS, which just
turned the intensity up another notch. Where does it go next? Oh,
no...more technical difficulty. This killed the jam before it should
have been over. They end the Sparks jam, and Trey says: "You have to
kick it sometimes. Well I guess since I have a bad guitar, we'll play
this one."

LOVING CUP: Get it? I chuckled. It took the energy down, but I think
that (and this is kind of a weird idea so please go with me...) the
energy was really intrinsic to Simple-->Sparks, and it didn't permeate
into the rest of the set or show. Energy was back down to it's below
average level for tonight.

MIKE'S SONG: I knew that this was the start of the closer, and I wasn't
upset that the end was in sight. Mike's was fairly short, standard but
slightly below par. I was psyched for the Swept Away-->Steep interlude,
but alas, Trey jumped onto his drumkit =| and shouted for the mic.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER: Trey thanked the crowd, and said that "If you have
a TV" then you can see them on Tuesday during the Minnesota Timberwolves
game. SSB was neat, and the crowd was not roaring as loudly as I imagined
they would. I could hear a lot of the harmonies...good work guys.
Everyone pulled out they're lighters and it was one of the coolest lighter
things I'd ever seen.

WEEKAPAUG GROOVE: They were all waiting for Mike to come in, but he
wouldn't. Then Trey cued the whole band to come in at once. Interesting
way to start it off. Mike forgot to turn a delay pedal off or something,
cuz the opening bass lick sounded like it was being trilled in a sort of
triplet-Spanish bullfighter feel. It was insane. Fairly substandard
Week, overall. Although, Trey did hit this one note during the jam that
stuck out in my mind. He had a high, beautifully dissonant note and then
he bent it up a quarter of a step to make it ring out even more harshly.
The whole thing took about a second, but it was really...for lack of a
better word, beautiful. I know that sounds wacked out, but hey. The
energy was there in the end, but was, again, intrinsically conjured up. I
was hoping for a killer jam t o end the night..."Come on, guys! Show me
you can still jam after a semi-poopy night!" But, alas, they proved my
intrinsic energy theory (I'm gonna copyright this...) and played

THEME FROM THE BOTTOM: Bad song to encore with. You leave feeling
relatively down. I guess this was the tone of the night, but I rather
would have liked to see them crank it into something after Theme. No
luck...we went home thinking blue lights and "From the Fottom..."

Overall, a low night. I had the first set rated at a 5.5 at the show,
but that was all from Antelope. It was a 5 at best, and all that saved it
was the DwD jam, the insanity of 3rd Gear in Antelope, and the fact that
they felt the mellowness and gave us a very appropriate Reba. Set Two
disappointed, it was very much like a kiddie roller coaster: small hills
that come out of nowhere an drop down to the low (kinetic) energy level
quickly. I wrote a 3.8 at the show, but I think that's a bit harsh. The
encore hurt the mood and makes for a definite 4 for the overall show on the
Scott Jordan Scale.

Holy crap, this is long. If you read this whole thing...WOW! You are a
bigger (wo)man than I.

Grand Rapids in 29 hours!

Take Care,

- Mark H


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