, attached to 1997-07-09

Review by ucpete

ucpete And we're back in France for a second go-round this tour. This is kind of a weird show, featuring Pierre, the friendly Häagen-Dazs employee, and a sit-in by Béla Fleck and The Flecktones.

A really rough PYITE starts us off -- this tune was a real rouser by the time Fall came around, but I guess they just didn't have it sorted out earlier in the summer. Caspian is next and it's just odd setlist placement, especially after a rough opener. The question marks continue to pile up with Ginseng (a song that I usually love!), but the set takes a turn for the better with the ensuing Meeeeeeeelt. The only other one of this tour was also in France, two weeks prior. This SOaMelt is a real Jekyll and Hyde version, taking a major mode excursion before breaking back out into more familiar Melt territory. Despite this adventure, it's surprisingly mellow throughout, never really coming to an insane peak -- it just sort of rollicks along. As far as Dirt goes, I *just* listened to it and I have no recollection of hearing it. So yeah, I guess nothing really to report there. Taste is solid for '97, which means it kills overall -- the finish is nailed and it's flawless through and through. I can't really hear Sweet Adeline on this recording though Trey does ask Chris for the strobe lights beforehand I believe. It's the only Adeline on this tour, the first since the one on SSandP (Hamburg), and there have only been four more since this one. The 1C Hood is great, and includes an extended outro with loads of yelling about "AC/DC Baguettes" and other Phishy ridiculousness.

The second set starts off with more hooting and hollering about Pierre, and how should Lyon open up a Ben and Jerry's, Pierre should quit his Häagen-job and work there instead -- before dropping into DWD. This is a nice and solid DWD, but not Jamming Chart worthy or anything. Just some solid, Type I, balls-to-the-wall DWD action, including a nice coda of the jam segment (I love it when they do that -- i.e. when they actually finish the song). Then things get a little strange -- they play 3 consecutive songs that they had played during the previous show. My Soul and CTB aren't anything to fret about, but then the YEM -> Ghost sequence comes along. Right near the tramps segment, the Flecktones make their appearance, and it leads to an unbelievable, chaotic, all-over-the-map jam segment, at one point featuring Mike and Victor on the *same* bass (!), with tons of teases taboot (DWD mini coda!). Now, this isn't my favorite YEM ever, not even close, but the epic novelty of a half hour long dual-core YEM must not go ignored! Check it out! And if you're into this YEM, that's cool, because Ghost picks up right where YEM leaves off -- in fact it's not entirely clear that Ghost has begun even until the vocals start -- and they almost rush through the composed section to the drop, at which point we're back firing on all 8 cylinders through the rest of the tune. (Do pay extra attention to Victor during the tween-verse jamming -- damn he's good at bass, and it's almost like he already knew the song beforehand!) To put the appropriate cherry on this sundae (sorry I can't help it, gotta jam some ice cream references in there), they close the set with a bluegrass tune. It wouldn't be right to bring the Flecktones on stage and not play some bluegrass! This is a long ass Poor Heart (> 8 min!), primarily due to some extended outro jackoffery including some teases that aren't in the show notes above (Free Bird, Rhapsody in Blue, etc.) and some more Pierre yelling, but most importantly, a nice "pass the solo to the left" section in the middle where Mr. Fleck flexes his banjo chops, after which his friends go to town, and a little of the boys showing they're a force to be reckoned with in the bluegrass realm too. [Nerdy aside: this is the only time I can think of that a *guest* has dropped a tease during a *Phish* tune. If you know of another instance, PM me.]

And just when you thought you'd had enough special guest gimmickry, Pierre gets called out on stage for a last hurrah, while the band serenades him with "Hello My Baby" -- those Euro's just *can't* shut up during an a capella tune can they? ;)
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