, attached to 1999-07-09

Review by TimberCarini


This show is just a glass half full. The first set is nothing to write home about... absolutely nothing to separate itself from average. Standard late 90's first set. Minimal jamming, no bustouts, same song rotation as half of 1998 - 2000, and an abundance of standing around waiting for something the happen. This was often the case for Phish at the end of 1.0, and I have a hard time understanding why they so often played it safe during those first sets. It was almost like they were playing Blackjack and got 15 almost every night and refused to hit. Ever. Phish just wanted to take a chance on the dealer busting, rather than take a chance of their own. No risk, no reward. And so it was for this Merriweather first set on a sweaty night in July.

The band came out dealing in the second set. Complete role reversal. They wasted no time and jumped into a set full of great jams - both ambient and otherwise - and dropped in a couple of old school fan favorite teases in Sweet Emotion and Spooky. They were dealing everyone aces and face cards.

Set 1
I do not advise you to waste time listening to this set. You have far too many other options, especially with PhishTracks.com

Set 2
Punch You in the Eye > Free > What's the Use? BLACKJACK! This is the good stuff. Front-loading the PYITE with a nice ambient tinged intro jam and then a solid version of Punch bled into an ambient & funk-filled Free. A slower than usual Free with swirling Leslie Speaker effects and light distortion created a nice ambient build around the song's signature structure. Then a really slow bass bomb jam out of the structured section leads to a reverse delay solo from Trey with gorgeous texture and long note holds. A gorgeous, patient ambient Free groove that feels almost like wading through a big steamy bowl of Maryland Crab soup. Trey builds and builds until the return to the song is almost a huge release from the ambient funk prison. Jailbreak. The song fades as the feedback is sustained and looped quietly into What's The Use? A delicious trip to the supersonic ether leaves the audience meditative and ready for enlightenment. That enlightenment comes in the form of a lesson on the Meatstick from Trey and the boys, and a chance to lighten the heavy mood. But waste not, want not, and Phish dives into the shallow waters of the closing stanza of the second set head first with a MONSTER Mike's Groove. The Mike's Song comes out flush with spades at it wastes no time in getting to the jam, laying down the erratic loops and grooving over top. Trey picks, and comps, and flutters over top of a tight groove from Fishman, Mike and Page until almost the 8 min mark when the band drops the jam off the edge of a cliff. Slowly, slowly, slowly climbing back up. Quiet at first, then growing, the band pulls its jam back up from the bottom of the quiet ambient bliss. A few setbacks and almost stops before the audience takes over from the ambient unstructured collapse. The crowd claps in unison and cheers the band on. They are asking for it. The band delivers with the royal flush of teases: Sweet Emotion. The groove builds. Mike lays down the bass in an ambient almost Catapult manner as the band lays down the vocals all together. Trey takes a stab at the solo for about 2 measures, but reverts back to the Catapult-esque groove. Page drops some high end staccato keys on top. It gets funky and weird and finally devolves into Twist. Twist Around brings it's own baggage. Fan favorite. Known for great jams. The crowd gets to yell "Wooooo!" It's like the Rick Flair of the Phish catalogue. This one doesn't disappoint. It gets down and dirty. It gets Spooky (teases). Drops into an equally fun Weekapaug Groove. Bass to the face. Macarena teases. Show closing goodness. Oh, and a Harry Hood encore? Not too shabby.

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