, attached to 1999-07-08

Review by TimberCarini

TimberCarini SLOW BURN

This show is certainly above average in terms of its level of ambient jamming and artistic abstraction from the standard, but doesn't necessarily hit the peaks of Charlotte or Bonner Springs. It features a tremendous Fee > Jam that certainly ranks as one of the best "extended coda" Fee's in history. The Stash has a dark and ominous ambient jam with fuzz loops and demonic swirling undertones. The elongated Birds of a Feather provides a very rich take on a late 90's set standard - with a very ambient, layered "If I Only Had a Brain" jam. Simple flourishes with a delicate and emotional (and quiet) jam that features strong solo piano work by Page overtop reverse ambient loops from Trey. This Simple eventually goes full Squirming Coil walk off jam - which is quite a treat.

Standard Julius opener to get the crowd on their feet, but again the two spot steals the show. Fee is played with finesse and only minor lyric flubs and the band chooses to really spotlight Page early. The Fee jam that follows is everything you could want - repeated coda, slow build up, ambient spaciness, artistic levels of incredibly understated band interaction, and really wonderful drum and cymbal work from Fishman. The jam just keeps rising from its own ashes. Building, Strengthening, and Carrying the audience. It's actually Fishman who really keeps this 23+ minute must-hear Fee Jam going. The jam slows back down and Phish ever so gently fades the song out. After all is said and done Page lets the dust settle and seems choked up when he offers a simple, "Ok. Thank you." to the breathless crowd. The set flows along with standard fare until a very dark and delicious Stash breaks the monotony. This Stash has a really ambient, uptempo, minor dark and evil jam that pulls the set back up to the surface. A stomping Cavern closes an unbalanced set, with a Fee for the ages.

A really strangely fun Birds of a Feather opens the second set with a solid ambient jam that takes a turn to the truly bizarre as the band starts to jam to "If I only Had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz. The band offer weird alternate lyrics to the song that seem to fit with the more ambient take on the theme than the music would seem to lend itself. A smoldering Jesus Left Chicago and a sublime Simple close out the set highlights. The pseudo triple encore provides the audience with both levity and double-fisted arena rock.

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