, attached to 2004-08-14

Review by Campster

Campster This was the first SBD recording of a live Phish concert I ever got... kind of a weird introduction, but I figured I'd review the music - as someone removed from the emotion of the moment (and now we are all more than a decade removed from 2.0).

The show opens with Walls of the Cave, which has sort of an odd feeling. The beginning is definitely melancholy and Trey's voice is noticeably thin. They play the song ok, which is to say, not very well. Trey hits a sour note here and there and the notes tend to ring out quite loudly with the uncompressed 2.0 tone. The jam, however, is quite good, and breaks from the mold finding a nice groove > Runaway Jim.

Runaway Jim is quite excellent. They jam this one well and it goes out there for sure. Features a nifty little -> Jibboo.

Gotta Jibboo is the set's highlight for me. This is an excellent version. I'd put it up there with the best versions ever. Definitely exploratory and rages pretty hard.

The opening three tunes are all excellent in their jams.

YEM is pretty good. Certainly not the best.

Sample>Axilla>Poor Heart is a run of songs of which there are plenty of better versions.

Run Like an Antelope actually has quite a good jam. There's still plenty of sloppiness, and Tom Marshall does the lyrics. It's worth a listen actually.

Fire closes the set in rocking fashion.

Overall set I has plenty of good and interesting music to offer, particularly the opening 3 tunes.

Set II opens with AC DC Bag.

AC/DC Bag is an all-time version. Excellent journey. Tons of awesome jamming.

->46 Days - a very short version.

Halley's was ok, but the vocal weakness from Trey is pretty evident.

->Ya Mar, which was pretty solid.

David Bowie has an endearing story, musically not quite as endearing - but truthfully not half bad, with a nifty jam portion.

Zero closes out the set.

Set II has the big take away jam in Bag (not counting the soundcheck, which remains one of my favorite pieces of Phish music). Not a ton else here from a music standpoint (although the Bowie is pretty solid).

Set III opens with Twist and this version is jammed out. It's not the greatest jam really, but it's longish (if that's enough for ya!). Not a ton of direction really. ->Wedge

Wedge was ok. Plenty of better versions.

Stash is sloppy, but like much of the music from this festival, manages to transcend those blemishes with a fine jam. Well-done, and well worth a listen if you can stomach flubs.

>Free, which was one of my favorite versions for a long time. Has a great Trey/Mike duel jam. It's definitely cool.

Guyute - seek this song out in another, less sloppy form.

Drowned contains perhaps the best improvisation of the weekend, but is a bit hard to tolerate for the first 15 minutes. Slog through that though, because the rocking ending jam is fantastic. They basically butcher the song and it culminates in Trey playing by himself for a bit before a mini speech. When the band does rejoin and they build a rocking jam, it's very serious business!

>Friday is weak. Trey's voice sounds as frail and weary as late era Jerry, which gives some of the songs humanity, but at the time must have been vary scary and troubling to hear. In hindsight, with everyone healthy and happy, his singing of this song is rather haunting.

Harry Hood has a ludicrous banter section that goes on for a while, with Trey rambling a bit. It's not a shining moment. The jam is ok and does take an interesting direction at times. That being said, it's not truly notable. The audience singing the chorus at the end though is a wonderful moment captured on the SBD.

Set III has some strong improv and some equally sloppy compositions/songs.

Overall I tend to look more favorably than most on these shows due to the quality of the improv (particularly this day). If you can handle the band playing the songs/compositions poorly and the sad, weary vocals you'll find a lot of music to enjoy here.

At the very least get the Bag, Drowned, Stash>Free and the run through WOTC>Jim>Jibboo - some of those tunes will remain in your rotation for good reason.

3/5 Great improv, but lots of bad playing & singing mixed in.
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