, attached to 1998-12-28

Review by JezmundTheFamilyBeserker96

JezmundTheFamilyBeserker96 Set 1 Highlights: Stash, Taste

Set 2 and Encore Highlights: Carini* > Wolfman's Brother* (*Standout Jam) Quinn the Eskimo (Standout Version) -> David Bowie, Been Caught Stealin'

Phish comes roaring out of the gates with Axilla to open up the 1998 New Years Run which dissolves ever so disgustingly into Stash. This Stash goes through its usual motion through the song as the band gets to their first chance at some improvisation of the run. This Stash is interesting in that the band doesn't take any time to be delicate in the jam and play loud and dissonantly from essentially the start of the jam, which is capped off with a particularly strong peak. Farmhouse shows up next and causes my first raised eyebrow of the show which is quickly eased with a stunning version of Taste. Page is, as Jerry Garcia once phrased it so well, playing like his life depends on it throughout this version. Trey's solo is no slouch either. Taste is followed up with the three song acoustic portion of Sleep, Albuquerque and Driver. They did these three acoustic a pretty good amount of times in 1998 and it's definitely worth checking out if you've never heard it. Albuquerque in particular is one of my favorite Neil Young songs and I really wish this one shows up in a show sometime soon. Quick versions of Tube, Golgi Apparatus and Good Times Bad Times wrap up a set that is just over an hour. Overall, an okay set, the Stash and especially Taste are worth revisiting.

The evil beast that is Carini rears its head as the second set gets underway. The jam takes an in-your-face approach initially, unlike the major key transition that we often see in 3.0, before moving into a somewhat cerebral, yet eerie, soundscape. The true highlight of this portion of the jam is Fish's playing and how he always keeps the train moving and pushes the band into a rocking groove on the back end. Seriously, put some headphones on because this jam is holy-shitballs good. Speaking of holy-shitballs good, so is this Wolfman's Brother! After an extended take on the usual Wolfman's jam, the band moves into a more minimalist funk groove that grows increasingly scary as Trey and Page build up an ambient wall of fog around Mike's winding basslines. The jam closes out with Fish alone tapping out the final drum beat. I am a huge fan of when they allow a big eerie jam to close out proper without transitioning immediately to a song. There's something about how extended those moments of "WTF just happened" feel before the next song starts after a real skullcrusher. Strong versions of Birds of a Feather and When the Circus Comes show up next and give the audience a chance to get down again and then take a breath. A very nice, slightly extended take on Quinn the Eskimo shows up and to everyone's surprise dips into a hazy delay loops after its usual solo. A very familiar hi-hat beat emerges from the haze and a strong Bowie is the choice to close out the set. This Bowie sees Trey in particular adding some Stash-esque flourishes to his solo and is worth giving a spin. The band comes back out for the encore and slam into the opening chords of Been Caught Stealin'. The crowd reaction to this on the AUD recording is awesome and if you've been to MSG, you can just imagine how much that building was bouncing during this. Overall, two very different sets with a short, somewhat lackluster first set and an ambient monster of a second set capped off with a ridiculously fun encore regardless of whatever flubs may have been present.


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