Date:    Tue, 28 Apr 1998 19:12:12 GMT
From:    "Walter G. Holland" 
Subject: Bowie in Review: 12/29/94

Haven't posted any song reviews in a while -- here's my contribution for
this week.

This is one of the most intriguing jams in Phishstory -- a must for every
serious collector and any fan of adventurous improv. An absolutely
*monstrous* Bowie.

Here we go...

Providence, RI
Set II

Very clean but slow Guyute to begin set II -- always a fun way to kick off
something special!

My times begin with the first notes of Trey's digital delay loop jam --
which is typical, syncopated DDLJ stuff. A bit more eerie than usual, I
think -- feels like Page is layering some eerie chords over Trey's playing.
Page then hops on the piano, bouncing along with Trey. Bizarre machine-like
sounds from someone around 1:45, and Fishman is playing along on the hi-hat
and bass drum -- Trey is layering evil sounds over the looped guitar, and
Mike's contributing ominous bottom-range bass notes. Gets scratchier after
a bit, and Page becomes a bit more prominent -- around 3:00 Fishman kicks
in the Bowie hi-hat opening, and Trey's DDL gets *much* faster -- they know
what's happening. Fast, chaotic sounds from everyone...the jam is building
over Fish's quick drumbeat -- God, this is genuinely frightening stuff!

Feedback from Trey...and then...the Bowie opening at 4:20. :)

Nice and upbeat from all, as always. Fish is a little nuts on the
post-"David Bowie" drum least, he sounds more active than usual
to me (admittedly I'm not well-versed in "standard" Bowie procedure). The
long triplet run preceding the return to the lyrics is *nailed* by Trey
(always nice to hear). "UB40" at 6:16. Mike is pretty subdued in my mix,
I'm afraid, but when he comes through he shines (the post-lyrics section of
this song is such a ridiculously complicated piece that playing it
correctly is an impressive feat). The jam segment begins with Fishman
playing the Harry Hood jam beat at 8:00. No real rhythmic play from any of
the boys but Fishman -- Mike is contributing occasional bass drops on the
root, Trey is adding spacy sounds, and Page is chording very sparsely.
Already a pretty different Bowie after a minute. Looped sounds from Trey at
9:00, some EERIE modal arpeggiations from Trey before the 9:30 mark. Evil,
loping unison rhythmic figure around 9:40 from everyone, then back to the
eerie style of the opening at the 10 minute mark. Fish is driving
underneath a genuinely eerie textural jam -- around 10:35, Mike starts to
pick up a slightly more percussive bass figure high in his midrange, and
Page and Trey continue to chord in off-root fashion (you know what I mean).
Sounds from Trey that sound like screams around 11:25 -- Page's chording is
getting more full, but at the same time more chaotic -- around 11:46 this
jam is, basically, not remotely pleasing from a musical sense but INREDIBLY
TENSE...something needs to happen to relieve this!

Alone, this sort of jamming would not work -- but in context...Page is
filling in chords very fast around 12:30, and Fish's drums are getting
wilder, while Trey remains evil and spacy -- slow, nasty unison figures
around 12:52. Bouncing, syncopated drums at 13:05 -- then stop-start
clav/guitar/bass/drums around 13:15 or so. Trey is providing scratchy
rhythmic playing by 13:50 -- and Page is in EvilFunk mode at the 14:00
mark! Fish into slow rock beat by 14:20, and a fucking Also Sprach Jam
appears at 14:45! Oh, LOVELY!! Out of *nowhere* Mike and Page begin to
(briefly) play the 2001 accompaniment, which has given way to
feedback-washed rock by 15:22 or so. Fish into *fast* drums quietly around
15:45, but Trey and seemingly Page are providing more spacy sounds -- Page
to the piano at the sixteen minute mark for some hopping around first in
the high then the low ranges. Unison *slow* rhythm over Fish's driving
drums around 16:25, and a VI-I jam ROARS around the 17:00 mark! This is a
cool chordal association, but disappears soon in a chaotic wall of sound to
ERUPT into a BOWIE JAM AGAIN by 17:30! If only for a minute, then back to
the VI-I figure! Still driving (a bit repetitious, but exciting!)...choppy
staccato play from everyone around 18:30...stop-start jamming at 18:50. Oy
vey...McGrupp tease at 19:05 from Trey...then a GODDAMN MCGRUPP JAM begins
to take form. Trey's playing around with a sprightly variation on McGrupp
-- and at 19:36, essentially they are playing a McGrupp jam (in the wrong
key, perhaps?)! This is absurdly beautiful. At the 20:00 mark Page is
soloing in Lovely Fashion, tickling the ivories over on the right side of
the boards...aah, *Page*. Chord changes! Ha ha! Around 20:40 Trey and Mike
switch chords for a moment...hee-hee. Page's soloing is strangely Linus and
Lucy-like...this could easily slide into Peanuts mode, I think. At 21:30
Trey begins to arpeggiate beautifully over Page's playing, and a truly
LOVELY jam commences. It evolves, at 22:00, into a GORGEOUS I-IV-VIIb-V
jam!! My oh my, at 22:35 it sounds very Slave-like and INCREDIBLY happy!
The playing is carefully suppressed ecstasy from everyone in the band -- at
23:30 Trey begins to solo over this joyful chord sequence! This jam is
ridiculously happy!

Double time drums from Fish at 24:00, and the jam is still that
under-the-surface JOY that's beginning to bubble over at 24:25!! Trilling
from Trey at 24:35 -- my GOD, a Hose Jam in full effect!! I'm utterly hosed
by this music, people! Incredibly sympathetic soloing from Trey, but the
jam begins to settle down at 25:40 or so we're into what the
westerners called a "space jam" over the summer and fall...beautiful, quiet
chording from everyone, but Fishman is silent...whistling(!!) at 26:30.
Everyone in the group is whistling over a *very* eerie background -- at
27:00 Trey starts saying, "What? There's a fire up at the old hill? Good
doggie." "Lassie" calls at 27:30. Umm...this is utterly bizarre, but
strangely engaging. The background music is *very* eerie from everyone --
around 28:25, other vocal noises appear. I swear I hear a vacuum, but I'm
probably wrong. 28:40 sees Trey whispering *something* that for the life of
me I can't make out. Something about "going down the street". Echo effect
applied to his voice makes this a genuinely frightening thing to hear alone
in the 29:20 this is Halloween music/sound effects. Loud chord at
29:50. Drum BEAT at 30:00. "Now, now, now..." from Trey at 30:15..."Do it
NOW..." Whispered all the while -- oy, scary...Fish is tapping the hi-hat
around 30:40. Climbing chords from Trey, washed in feedback, around 30:50.
"Space jam" around 31:00, entirely -- noise from Trey (almost melodic
feedback, like we're used to). I don't know what Page is doing, but Fishman
begins to play free-form drums for a minute until, around 31:40, Trey
begins to kick in the end of what sounds like a Bowie jam! Shit!! At 32:00
an incredible crescendo is taking place -- on a DIME we have leaped back
into a Bowie jam segment of epic proportions! Still AWASH in feedback, but
this only adds to the energy of this Bowie jam -- after the last few
minutes, this seems raucous -- the band is in full-throttle tear-it-up
Bowie mode at 33:00. Trilling at 33:25 from Trey! The end is nigh!! No
letup, no calm parts -- just ROCKING JAMMING from all involved! Nothing
earth-shattering in the universe of Bowie closings, but pouring energy into
the crowd...goosebumps everywhere at 34:25!!

And at 34:32, it's over.


Well, this Bowie is one of the more unusual jams in Phish's recorded
history. In parts it's not that appealing -- especially around the 11:00
mark, it's a bit noisy/spacy for most people. At the same time, the jam
that follows that noise slides PERFECTLY out of it and resolves the tension
in jaw-dropping fashion! Between the noisy beginning to the jam and the
"Lassie" segment (still the weirdest thing I've got on tape) there are over
ten minutes of spine-tingling music and a full-blown HOSE jam. The "Lassie"
part is strange (and again, perhaps not entirely enjoyable to listen to,
for some) but it provides an unspeakable tension from which the end of the
Bowie jam explodes into glorious, fiery climax. Possibly the greatest
example of Phish's theory of tension/release jamming available -- if I'm
wrong, would someone please point me elsewhere?

In short, you've got to have this Bowie.

Two cents,

p.s. Sorry -- I can't spin this right now. 'Sides, you probably wouldn't be
too impressed with my copy -- it's fairly hissy (though by no means
unpleasant to listen to) -- Thanks Dave!!

p.p.s. It occurs to me that I use lots of superlatives in reviewing things.
Well...wouldn't you?

Wally "Minwax" Holland                    MIT '01
Tau Epsilon Phi                    (617) 262-5090
253 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02116                            IHTFP