SET 1: Beauty of My Dreams, Wolfman's Brother > Maze, Water in the Sky, Bathtub Gin -> Makisupa Policeman -> AC/DC Bag
SET 2: Chalk Dust Torture -> Taste -> Ya Mar -> Drums -> Ghost > Character Zero
ENCORE: Theme From the Bottom
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Review by nichobert
Gullotti adds so much to this show, it's probably the only show with a long guest appearance besides Halloween 1996 that could be said to be one of the defining shows of an era.
The first set is no slouch though. The Wolfman's is a great representation of the percussive funk of the early summer, with the band gliding into a fine crescendo before dropping back into a groovy jam with Trey working some pitch shifted leads. Maze drives home just how great the rock & roll was in 1997 as well. With Trey using his other favorite effect of the time, at least until the second set (More on that later)- the stutter-edit or shutterbug effect, whatever you want to call it. LSD Head Camera? I'm not sure. It makes for a great layer in Trey's solo leading up to some wicked bulky sustained runs at the end.
Gin has some moments that feel like a test run for the Went version, as if they could suddenly take off into that glorious progression at any moment, The drop into funk is sudden, but smooth as baby ass. I always wonder about these crowds in summer 97. Specifically the people who hadn't heard any of the shows before the first they saw. The first funk jam of any given night- did they think that was fulfilling the extra jammy, groove oriented tales they've heard? I always wonder, because in every summer 97, whenever that 2nd funk jam hits, you can hear the crowd get freakin AMPED. Oh yeah! This is where we're at now! All those funk oriented songs from Camel Walk to Tweezer to WashUffizi to Wolfmans, and all those funky jams have finally boiled down into something greater,
Anyway, the Gin brings some stop-start heat with Page adding some great clav and then synth layers. This is phenomenal stuff. Finally escaping into a driving chord progression that gracefully crests before coming back down, we're going back up!? Oh wait! It's the Gin ending! Listen to that crowd!
They old-school Tweezer the hell out of this Gin ending, bringing it to a staggering, lurching crawl which suddenly mutates into Makisupa. This is a Makisupa for the ages. The only real comparison is 10/29/94's Makisupa-> Rift. The mid-verse jam dabbles in some dubby textures. Page has some pitch bent sounds in here which seem to intrigue Trey, who is dabbling in loops. After the verse, they break out into a staggering rock jam that maybe could have had real legs. C'Est La Vie. This is a band on a mission, and for the second time tonight, they make a concerted effort to make a seamless segue and succeed. The Bag itself is nothing to sneeze at. The longest Bag to date, it is very reminiscent of 8/13/96 as it stretches the structure to it's breaking point without really blowing it apart. This crowd is in the palm of their hands already, the 4 or 5 times they drag it out further turns that crowd into putty. Fuck a victory lap, this is set 1! We'll see you in set 2 and 1997 the hell out of this joint.
Chalkdust is utterly explosive with Gullotti on the 2nd kit. Dual drummers that really feel each other can be such a godsend, and that's immediately apparent in this Chalkdust. Not even 6 minutes in, it's already a unique Chalkdust and the crowd is popping like crazy. Trey is making love to his effects pedals and staking the claim to Hendrix Reborn that he did the whole year (Except for at the Gorge, weirdly enough.) By 7 minutes, the jam drops back down to "Beginning of Chalkdust Jam" realms, brings it back up again over the next few minutes with some amazing rock jamming that shoots just left of center of a normal Chalkdust. By 9 minutes, we've clearly entered the first truly jammed out Chalkdust ever. A segment reminiscent of a Crosseyed or Birds jam oh so slowly downshifts itself over the next few minutes before simply gliding into the most gorgeous ->Taste that I've ever heard.
Phish is getting ovations 4 minutes into Taste. Any real reason other than the fact that his crowd has been getting straight up hosed since Wolfmans? Not that I know of. Taste is one of the perfect song for a 2nd drummer, and Gullotti takes full advantage of the polyrhythmic stew, unleashing batteries of snare & tom rolls like a drunk rebel on NYE in the Khyber pass. One of- if not THE most atypical and patient takes on the Taste jam ever, it works its way into some quiet jamming fairly reminiscent of the 7/23 YEM thanks to Trey's cartoony pitch-shifted effect. It's impossible to tell Fishman and Gullotti apart. 8 Limbs intersecting & diverging like a two man flock of funky geese. I love the way they keep things on a slow boil while Trey amps up his solo and Page deals shards of dramatic chords.
Halfway through this erstwhile Taste peak, Trey does the most awesome thing ever. Starts throwing the Ya Mar intro into the middle of the Taste peak! Good god what a spectacular left turn. Gullotti's timbali-esque snare runs makes this feel so good. The crowd seems to grasp what's going on a few hundred at a time. Summer 1997 has a couple great segues into Ya Mar, but this one takes the cake.
The drum jam is awesome because it's easy to picture the Ya Mar progression playing over the majority of it. No wankery, just two guys in love with rhythm rocking out before the countoff into Ghost.
Now this Ghost is where history comes in. Throughout Europe and the earlier summer shows, Trey's main funk weapons were the stutter-shades and the helium voice. Everything changes 11:15 in.
After a parade through the different funk styles of summer 97. Page starts playing with his pitchbending. Trey finally gets that last hint of inspiration he needs. He depresses the volume pedal while bending the note and looping it. And the cornerstone for late 90s funk is set in stone. The super engaged crowd, of course eats these ping-ponging sirens up and the jam gets as weird as funk can get. So easy to picture Fishman sitting back with a shit eating grin, Gullotti not realizing how groundbreaking this is.
Phish goes bananas on Zero and Theme.
If you ask me, this is an A+ show. Right up there with Shoreline II and a nudge ahead of Phoenix, ATL, VA Beach & Raleigh as the class of the first jaunt of this tour before the band bottoms out at the Gorge, regroups and takes the midwest and northeast by storm.
Fans of songs with beats like Timber & Taste should love this show. Or fans of funk. Fans of Trey Hendrix. Fans of boomerangs.