Subject:      12/30/97 AC/DC Bag Review
From:         Mathias A Loertscher 
Date:         1998/03/20

AC/DC Bag 12/30/97 set 2

I don't know if anyone has reviewed this monster before, but upon
listening to it today, I felt inspired to give my own analysis and
interpretation of it. I am not in the habit of ranking jams as the best or
as better than, this just happens to be my favourite jam of maybe all
time. I was lucky enough to witness it in the flesh and have vivid
memories of the emotional peak it brought me to. I have started the timing
when Trey begins with the chk-chk (approx 10 secs before the actual song
begins. Why? Why not) The times are even then not 100% accurate. This is
my first major review of a jam. I hope you enjoy it and I appreciate any

 After a little muted rhythm by Trey, the tune opens authoritatively. The
crowd responds nicely, and th boys settle into what can be described as an
solid Bag groove. Not too fast, not too wild, but solid. Mike's playing is
right on, with little lilt here and there, esp. at 0:36. Trey is keeping
things nice and open. Lyrics start at about 0:50. So far this Bag is
nothing special, but it feels right. As Trey begins the second verse (Time
to put your money where your mouth is), Page switches up to the Clavinet
(I have noticed a little confusion amongst this newsgroup as to which is
the Clav and which is the Moog. The Clav is Page's main funk keyboard, and
is also featured in Gyute. The Moog has a more electronic sound is the one
he uses in Frankenstein). He funks it nicely for the rest of the verse,
giving this Bag a little more edge. He switches back to the piano for the
chorus. The rest of the pre-jam Bag is nicely played. Solo starts at
approx. 3:40. After a little normal Bag-style playing, Trey settles into a
very very rhythmic and repetitive pattern at about 4:10, playing very
staccato. Page has already moved up to the Clavinet and is complementing
nicely, not taking too much of the focus. Mike varies the bass line a
little, yet keeps implying the chord progression. At 4:35, Trey moves up
the 'doc and continues the rhythm, this time with more vigour, yet with
equally short and staccato notes. Page has changed the sound on his Clav,
giving it a little more twang, probably playing a bit with the wah wah
pedal he's got hooked up to that thing. He is soloing very cautiously, yet
melodically. By about 5:15, everyone has become a lot more active. Trey is
subtleing playing around with the rhythm he's been laying down. Mike is
still implying the chord progression, but has taken a few liberties here
and there, filling in all the spaces nicely. Fishman has all the while
been keeping the beat simple, restraining himself. He sounds so solid
though. He and Trey have hooked up tightly. Page begins soloing with a
little more emotion, giving the jam a little more direction. By 6:10, Mike
has abandoned the Bag, and is providing a very up beat bass line,
propelling Phish 2000 into what now sounds like its going to be a sick
jam. At about this time, Page starts playing higher up in the range. He
begins exploring a very nice theme, almost spacey sounding. Trey responds
at 6:30 by unleashing the first space sound digi delay. More follow. Mike
is simplyfing the bass line a little. Fish follows Mike and lays down the
groove in a more restrained manner. Trey begins anew with the staccato
rhythm at about 6:55. At this point, Page changes his sound to a real down
home twang. It almost sounds like he's playing a guitar, or a lap steel.
Trey begins playing chords by 7:15. Mike's bass playing has picked up
again and now he's gathering steam, taking Fish along with him. These two
have locked up tighter thn Fort Knox. Between 7:30 and 8:05, Trey and Page
really start playing off of each other. Trey is sparsely playing a lot
more chords. I really think that Trey has successfully managed to
integrate himself more into the collective playing of the band this past
year. I know that he wanted the jams to be less guitar solo orientated and
I think he's managed this quite nicely. Not taking the focus, but being
part of the whole, that's what the boys are about when they jam, which is
something none of the other jam bands I've ever heard have really
successfully done. They all rely on a soloist. Anyways, by this point,
Page is really playing with some urgency, milking that twang for all its
worth. At 8:10, Trey starts with some wah wah funk chords, adding to the
fire that Mike and Fish are laying down. Page speeds up his playing,
toying around with a very bouncy theme. By 8:35, he settles on a
repetitive pattern. This allows Mike and Trey to refine what their already
playing. Everybody is showing lots of energy by this point. Mike sounds
like he's pounding that bass fast and furious. I can see Fish sitting
back, riding the groove and playing in a sweet trance. At 9:05, Page
starts playing a lot of notes, giving the jam a more textural feel. Trey
has kept the wah wah chords going, probably as tranced as Fish is right
now. At 9:35, Trey varies his playing a bit, filing in more. The jam,
although it has retained the flavour it started with, now sounds a lot
more full. Mike's emphasising the peaks and valleys a lot more too. They
continue on this groove for a while, until at 10:40, Trey unleashes
another spacy digi delay. Fish man breaks it down nicely, and Page calms
down a lot. Mike follows Fish, and Trey comes in with a new rhythmic
theme. He has changed the effect on his guitar, sounding a lot harder and
rougher, like he's getting ready to kick ass and take names. He prowls
around for a while, almost like a tiger or something. The jam has a much
more gritty feel to it, and yet is more subdued as well. By 11:40, the
tiger is getting restless, sounding more and more like a chain saw.
Whatever remnants of the more positive, happy jam remain are in Page's
keyboard work. Page is still on the Clav (which I would argue has replaced
the B3 as his second keyboard, piano remaining #1), and his playing sounds
less extroverted than before. At 12:15, Trey is ready to go. He starts
into a nice meaty theme, although it sounds like he's still holding back.
Mike is completmenting very nicely, as is Fish. Both have found their own
niches in this new road. Page is getting a little more vicious as well. By
12:35, their rocking. Not too hard, but rocking. At 12:45, Trey switches
back into some wah-wah chords, still sounding rough though. The rest of
the boys keep it going, and Page switches down to the piano at 13:00. As
Trey battles with the wah wah, sqeezing all the rhythmic variations he can
out of the 'doc, everyone else gets down to business as well. Fish is now
flying, filling in like a champ, making extensive use of his various
cymbals. Page has hunched down and giving the sound a really nice full
warm texture, yet not venturing too far into happy land. At 13:12, Trey
lets fly a hell of a wah wah run, lasting a full ten seconds. The first
time a friend of mine heard that run, he got very upset at Trey for being
so damn good. At 13:30, Trey lets loose!! Enough is enough, its time to
rock and roll!! The theme he starts playing sounds a lot like Psycho
Killer to me, expect this is like a Psycho Killer on amphetamines. Page is
playing high up on the piano, with lots of energy. Fish is driving the
rhythm, hitting a lot of splahes for accentuation. Mike is laying down the
groove, making sure no falls behind. The continue this theme until about
14:15, when Trey kicks down a big fat power chord, jumping off that train.
The rest of the band pans out the rest of the way, until Page starts
hitting some high notes repetitively with some urgency. The boys have been
battling long and hard with this groove, and now, in their greatest hour,
they will show what true warriors are really made of. At 14:30, Trey
unsheaths the 'doc of its effects and plays straight from the heart.
Everyone is playing dynamically, refusing to fall into a simple groove yet
not deteriorating into a mess. Trey's solo is one of the greatest I've
ever heard. Cliche free and without restraint, he proves himself a mature
guitarist with original and energetic things to say. Page compliments him
incredibly well, obviously listening to the development of the solo,
playing more when needed and restraining himself when Trey needs more
space. Mike proves here why he is the most solid bass player around. Not
drawing too much attention to himself, he nonetheless retains his own
sound and provides the band with its drive. Fish proves here why he is the
most improved member of the band. Dynamic. That is the adjective I'd
attribute him. I can only think of some jazz drummers who play more
musically. By 15:15, Trey settles on a repetitive pattern, laying on a few
effects. The band switches down out of turbo. Page heads up to play some
mellow Clav, and Fish's rhythm eventually mutates into something that
sounds a lot like the Runaway Jim rhythm. Mike is playing a little more
bouncy, but switches to create a thick warm texture. At 16:15, Trey still
has the pattern going, although it sounds like its modulating a bit. It
dies down at 16:30. Trey starts noodling softly. Page goes to the piano,
playing a very cool descendo at 16:57. Mike has started to play between
Fish and Trey, finding a nice groove between them. Trey plays more chords,
eventually settling on some very light and pretty ones. Page is also
playing very beautifully as well. Trey's chords sound like someone riding
a horse bareback through a beautiful green field on a day when the sky is
the color of blue jeans. Fish's rhythm is the galloping feet as they meet
the soft ground, leaving it perfectly trampled in its wake. They keep this
gloriously chill and free groove going for awhile. At 18:30, we start to
see some cloud coverage. Not enough to ruin a beautiful day, but enough to
let ya know it might be time to find shelter. Trey and Page both create a
little tension with the chords they play, very intermittendly. At 18:45,
it breaks down to pretty much just Trey. He plays a very different
pattern. Although it contrasts with the previous mood, it sounds very
logical. Sort of like going from yellow to purple. Their very different,
but they create a strange and wonderful effect when placed side by side.
The rest of the band follows him. They are all playing a little more
disjointed now. Fish however gets the same rhythm going. Mike sounds a
little more sinister, reflecting the darker mood.  At 19:22, Trey starts
to solo again. Quietly, and sounding a little more cooly dangerous. He
gets more passionate as time goes on. By 19:45, he settles on another
repetitive pattern, building the energy, until he finally unleashes some
more rock and roll!!!! Fish follows him and gets equally tempremental.
Mike and Page can do nothing but join the flow. At 20:15, Trey lets loose
with a yowl!! A little machine gun follows. At 20:40, he lays down some
power chords. Page complements nicely, although sounding equally pain
stricken. Trey lets loose again at 21:00, this time soloing with the wah.
The rest of the boys keep up nicely, everybody playing heavy. At 21:20,
Page has a really nice crescendo that really emphasizes the strangely
organised chaos or hell the boys have found themselves in. At 21:50, they
settle down quite a bit, letting the groove take over. Fish is playing
beautifully as is Mike, who sounds really dark. Page is onto to the Fender
Rhodes now. chhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllll. At 22:30, Trey wah wah chk
chks out a few mutterings. He turns on an effect (the one which I think
overlays an octave on what he's playing), and solos very quietly. Page is
over on the piano now. The jam is still rather erie sounding. Effect
switch at 23:30, and Page gets a little more active. Mike and Fish are
just laying it down smooth the whole time. Trey sounds a little more grimy
now. The energy begins to build. Trey noodles for a bit, often playing
some very interesting lines. By 24:30, Page has switched over to I'm not
quite sure which synth (Not the Moog, Clav, Rhodes, or B3), and is giving
Trey some spacey backdrop to work against. This continues for a bit until
Trey ends it with a one off chord. Page and Mike also die out immediately,
but Fishman lets the rhythm ride out for a bit until Trey starts up with
the McGrupp opening, at which point he fades out very nicely.

All in all, I think this is one of the finest musical moments in
Phishtory. I have heard some (not nearly all) of the jams from 97, and
have to say that this one, in terms of magnificence, complexity, and
originality is the best.

Hope that everyone has fun at the Spring Mini Tour.
"Smoother than scratch-free Formica and cooler than a Frigidaire."

Mathias Loertscher, DEC.

"Smoother than scratch-free Formica and cooler than a Frigidaire"