, attached to 1997-11-21

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes:
Emotional Rescue, hell yeah Mike, I dig it, smiling at the goofiness. We get a low-key groove to get things going, wah and a little funk siren kicking in for full effect. Page comes in with the synths, running diagnostics on the old mothership and the minds of its passengers. It’s nice, no one is in any hurry to do anything but groove, and why not for a while? The further in we get, the weirder thoughts are getting. This feels like the intro sequence of Phish’s bizarro late-70s sci-fi disco-craze B-movie. The tagline: “They just wanted to dance on a Friday night… but these extraterrestrial visitors had other plans… ITS HAMPTON 11/21”. The band breaks it down, some proto-post-’98-Ghost-intro-style jamming with Full 3D Laser Action. This becomes a true space jam, reaching the Singularity, and being Split Open and Melt. As a friend once said, “Straight butter transition” out of ER. Mike is bumping that low 5th string to start the jamming, a low-key jam at that, building as it follows clean and deliberate Trey. Mike and Fish are totally locked-in, Page dodging falling rocks on the mountainside they are climbing with hard piano hits as they reach peak territory, before we are emotionally rescued to a close. Beauty of My Dreams hits, I sense a thread through Emotional Rescue with the sentiment here. As another friend has said, “get you a band that can do both.”. By Dogs Stole Things, the set is firmly on Earth. I’m neutral on this song here. I’ll leave it at that. Punch? That intro groove gets me every time, swirling stereo Page is a thing of beauty of my dreams. The mid-set placement is cool, works well in this set. It’s the right energy, adds color back to the palette. The intro into Lawn Boy is super spacey, I had no idea where it was leading, but I would not have guessed Lawn Boy. Somehow this connects to the Emotional Rescue thread as well, this caricature-rock goofiness. Chalkdust is a great call to get things bouncing and bobbing again, with more clean and deliberate Trey. It becomes very pretty and major-key for a minute, before getting right back to business. Trey loves dropping into Caspian. The song just floats on rolling waves. We get a cool, very trippy looped fade-out, one that gets truly weird as Trey announces, “15 minutes”.

Set Two Notes:
Ghost drops, telling a low-key, hazy story for a while, but don’t confuse low-key with not-engaging. Quite the opposite. Exactly where you want to be when you are feeling the same way. The groove drops down low, Trey sending out signals to The Others, somewhere out there… The jam builds up into a really wide, upward coasting groove, before Trey takes it underwater with his wah. Page guides auditory searchlights across the depths, bass and drums pounding from below. Page drops the ballasts and lets his synths pull the band to the surface, Trey in tow. Here, we get a sudden but smooth drop straight into AC/DC Bag. Bag is a nice song to surface to, it’s all good vibes, man. Fish is a machine in the Type-I section, practically dancing on the drums. The further we get into the jam, the more I am drawn to Fish’s playing. Trey may be the captain of the mothership, but Fish is the pilot. No one has to work the heavy maneuvers, hard shifts, and hyper-extended grooves the way Fish does. The jam gets pretty DWD-jam-like to me. Soon, the band settles the ship down on a quiet moon, Trey wandering around the surface, Page floating above, Mike and Fish keeping the thrusters on a low burn for now. Trey signals for a departure, and Page shines as the band builds steam. Trey steps forward, using the guitar to carry the band ever upwards. I could write an essay on the deep importance of Fish’s drumming in the band, how crucial he is to the core of the sound we all recognize when we reach that certain place that many of us get to out there in the middle of a jam. The band builds to some manic peaking, with great Mike as we start to descend the other side, coming down into low-slung bounce funk. Soon, this is allowed to dissipate out into the stars. We soon approach a cyrstalline-disco-ball deep-space quasar, picking up strange radio signals, before we fly through an angry meteor cloud. Slave serves as a very nice landing pad, really, really nice. Slave is often a safe space, a place to internally regroup after some Far Out Weirdness. The sirens go off, but the disturbance of the chill vibe is soon resolved with soft swirling stereo Page hues. There is no hurry, no need to leave this sweet musical space, and the triumphant peak arrives in due course. Loving Cup is a nice touch, completing a Stones sandwich. Good Mike holding down the low end, dropping bombs on Treys peaking. I am initially skeptical of the Guyute encore call, but the further I get into it, the more I am digging it. “These guys know what they are doing.”, a friend remarks.

It’s one of the Hampton ’97 shows. Get it, and throw it on!


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