, attached to 1997-11-17

Review by frankzappasmustache2012

frankzappasmustache2012 Set 1
Tweezer's jam begins with a ridiculously thick funk vamp. Page and Trey both add occasional short melodic runs, but stay within the confines of the vamp that's been created. Trey slowly makes his way to single notes, and lays off the wah for a bit. The playing from Trey here is incredibly patient and purposeful, each note moving the jam forward. He begins to make his way into the higher register, as Fish moves to the ride. This opens the jam up immensely. Page soon switches to piano, which opens the jam even more. Trey and Page play off each other wonderfully, communicating very well. Trey ups the amount of notes he's playing, and creates a huge wall of sound with the help of Page playing full chord voicings now. They continue for a short time on this and eventually reel back into a brief passage of minimalist funk that ends with Trey's siren. I think this Tweezer is a turning point for the band. The patience of the playing of everyone involved is great, and was something not seen before. The slow build of Trey and Page's playing is very purposeful and loose at the same time. The opening up of the jam is accomplished with a minimal amount of notes, and the peak creates a wall of sound just as powerful (if not more) as anything the band had created before, all with a significantly less amount of frenzied confusion/unnecessary amount of conflicting notes and ideas (see 1996). The band creates more with less.

Jesus... and I'm not even at the Ghost yet.

Reba continues the energy with a decent composed section (albeit a few flubs from Trey) and a solid jam. It has a few awkward missteps, but makes up for them with a great peak. Train Song is a much needed breather.

Now for Ghost.

The jam begins with wah noodling from Trey and sparse but solid playing from Mike and Fish. Page adds some nice effects into the jam, giving it a spacier feel. After everybody quieting down, Page switches to Piano which gives the music a much different, more open feel. Trey very subtly switches the key to G major, and Page and Mike follow. Once again, great communication. Fish opens the high-hat a bit more giving an even more open feel to the jam. Trey creates absolutely beautiful melodies during this part, as Page compliments with chords. Trey latches on to a high G and plays the shit out of it while Page, Mike, and Fish create a huge sound under him. At 12:40, one of my favorite (and in my opinion, most interesting) moments of Phish happens. Trey plays a beautiful passage of notes up to an unexpected (not in the g major scale) note that Page somehow plays off of at the same exact time while Mike stays consistent playing a low G. Trey continues ascending up, back onto the g major scale while Page and Mike build tension below him with a passage stemming from the earlier odd Trey note. Trey hits the high G and stays there, once again playing the shit out of it while Mike and Page patiently resolve the tension they early created, and land on a G, which creates a massive and beautiful and triumphant peak. Fishman compliments with a crash that adds even more power to it. The peak swells a couple of times and thins out into a funk rock vamp from Trey as everyone decreases in volume and intensity. This soon turns into a minimalist funk jam, with Trey playing a very nice staccato lead over Page and Mike’s incredibly funky playing. Trey stops playing to address the crowd and tell everybody that “we’re gonna have a lot more music for your dancing and listening pleasure”. This part is awesome because Mike and Page and Fishman continue to play behind him, laying down a cool as fuck, effortless little funk groove.

Note: that part at 12:40 is awesome to me because it stems completely from what TO MY EARS, sounds like a mistake/accident from Trey. The band is playing so confidently and in the moment at this point that they just go with it and create something beautiful from it. And by that, can you really even call it a mistake from Trey? Everything in this piece of music seems so purposeful and important.

Fire rages to close the set.

Set 2
DWD is a pretty straightforward rocker. Very high energy and changes up enough to stay interesting. True -> segue into Olivia’s Pool. This leads into a really fast Johnny B Goode which has a very weird jam. Slightly atonal blues? Just a ton of interesting ideas with none really being fleshed out. Good listen nonetheless. Jesus Just Left Chicago is next, continuing the bluesy shred fest theme of the set. When the Circus Comes to Town is one of my favorite songs, and works well to slow down the pace a little bit. YEM is played well and has a smooth jam. No peaks or anything. Just smooth, dormant funk.

Character Zero…not a standout version or anything. It works alright here though, high energy close to a great show.

This show comes up in “best show ever” talks all the time, and justifiably so. The first set is easily one of the (if not the) best first sets ever, and the second set is a strong compliment to it.


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