Soundcheck: Jam, Mercury
SET 1: Free, No Men In No Man's Land, Wolfman's Brother, 555, Birds of a Feather, Funky Bitch, When the Circus Comes, Stash, Lawn Boy, Walls of the Cave
SET 2: Golden Age > Light > Shade, Mike's Song > Piper > Crosseyed and Painless -> Weekapaug Groove
ENCORE: Slave to the Traffic Light
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Review by n00b100
1. The first set peaks with the manic funk 1-2 punch of NMINML and Wolfman's, the latter of which pushes against its boundaries and heads for a more minimalist space a la 3/1/97's historic version (Page, in particular, really rules it on the clavinet) before punching back into the major key peak modern day Wolfman's tend to have. The rest of the set is fine (although Trey does have a rig problem or two that was thankfully cleared up by Set 2), although Walls absolutely rips as it always does.
2. Golden Age, somewhat similarly to the Shoreline Blaze On, never *quite* breaks free of Golden Age, but still packs a fine wallop thanks to some tremendous Trey and Page interplay. Light, on the other hand, is far more interesting than its 10 minute length belies, really digging into some spooky and gnarly territory in the last few minutes before Page goes to the keyboard and the jam comes to a gentle finish that Shade makes sense emanating from (Light > Shade, nice play on words there). Don't forget this sequence when you play this show.
3. Second Mike's Songs jams can either be very good pieces of business, or a slightly extended version of the Mike's Song first jam in a different key, which is why it wouldn't have killed me if they never jammed out Mike's again. That they *did* add the fabled 2nd jam (with an amusing Simple fakeout on top, so much so that it's damn near a tease) and that it turned out so well (chugging rockout sliding into Page-and-Mike led warm beautiful minor-key zone until Trey moves back to the forefront with some beautiful soloing) is a legitimate treat. They may never extend Mike's again, but who cares? We got this Mike's, and we have it forever.
4. Piper, with its slower intro, feels more like the Fall '97 "let's play something nice and get you to Point B" Pipers than the big jam vehicle the song would become from 1998 on. I say that to tell you that, much like those Fall '97 Pipers, don't skip this bad boy. There's a lot going on in this one.
5. Any disappointment (?) about C&P sliding into Weekapaug (after Fish deciding he didn't want to play ball for a few measures) should have been instantly mitigated with the big-time Weekapaug that closed out this set. Page runs back to the clavinet almost immediately and the tempo goes molasses-thick, which might make you think funk is in the offing (the NMINML tease might further that expectation), but instead Trey hits on some heavy chords and we go into a heavy jam not unlike the 11/30/97 Wolfman's heavy metal jam (there's a Haunted House jam in there, apparently? I didn't quite catch it) that thankfully doesn't last as long as that death metal affair, and manages to be more interesting thanks to (yep) Page on the clavinet and Trey really tearing into his soloing. The Weekapaug theme returns from the muck, along with some amusing C&P vocal quotes on top, before blasting its way to the finish line.
6. Final thoughts: a really enjoyable show. Don't skip out on that opening sequence to hear the Groove, but don't be surprised if that Groove warrants *many* listens. Time to go blast that Mike's again!