7-31-98 cities reviews

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:39:16 GMT From: Ellis0059 Subject: Here's how Trey does it best: Cities 7.31.98 I I've promoted this set before and I have gotten excellent feedback from folks who sought tapes and gave it a close listen (Set II of this show is also excellent). But the song in this set that really stands out for me is Cities, the fifth song of eight. It follows "Rift", which is a good song but a non-jammer, and Cities is the first rock and roll jam song of the entire evening. It has an excellent straightforward Trey led jam that exemplifies one of the ways that Trey kicks ass; "inspires", if you will. And frankly, this particular jam style is one I can't say I have heard anyone else do nearly as well; not Garcia, not Kimock, not anyone. Lets see if this works without listing exact times. You'll notice immediately in listening to this song that Phish is playing an upbeat version. They've played very slow and stretched out versions of this song, in particular, I am thinking of the Great Went, but in this case, we have an upbeat, danceable, grooveable rhythm right from the Get Go. And although Trey has flubbed the lyrics to this song terribly (an Amsterdam show I am not remembering the date of, reviewed by another reviewer), it seems that he is not quite as fucked up as he was on that day in Amsterdam (7.1.97? Well, anyway, not worth it to get up and check). So he nails the lyrics and hits the high notes well. Then immediately after the lyrics are finished, the band starts to stretch out, and there is a period in which they keep the groove going in an almost distracted fashion, with Trey repititively noodling over the top in a very "blend in with the band fashion." On my tape, someone in the audience screams. Mike's bass has got a groove going (what a great sound that guy gets!). Page is on the clavinet, its kind of a funky groove, it would have me up and dancing if I wasn't typing, but as I told my friend from Australia who recently came to visit (and for whom this was the first phish set I played, of many), "there is MUCH more to come". Trey drops out and suddenly sets up a digital delay loop. Anticipation is very very very gradually building. He hits the same line he kept hitting before, with a couple of added flourishes, but still softly, patiently, and then suddenly something different starts, with Trey finding, right out of the blue, a whole new line to focus on, still low and mellow, but this one has more opportunities to experiment, he repeats it, but every time, a small change here, a return to the original line, a different change there, a return to the original line, a high note for a flourish here, a return to the original line. Building, building.... Then he changes it, rises it up a couple of notes, its a new line now, like the old one but groovier, boogier, cool notes sounding out on top that make me twitch while I dance to it, and the band responds, Page switches to the piano, and we have stellar phish rock boogie, piano, bass, drums, and Trey's guitar set to lead. Trey returns to the first line, he returns to the second, its the second with flourishes, Fish kicks in a couple of pops on the snare, Mike sticks to the groove, and Trey finds ANOTHER line to play with, a few notes higher yet, Fish is starting to snap, crackle, and pop with excitement and Trey really starts to milk the groove, but this is not rock god braggadociousness, NOT AT ALL, this is a carefully structured long term shake ass groovebuster, and then he find a NEW line, man, this one is better than the last three, and he skates around on it, finds a new way to say it, finds a new note to sling in there, and suddenly it can't be helped, its a free for all, everybody climbing on top of each other, Trey finds a way to do it in 3/4 on top of the 4/4, if you know what I mean, which just builds the anticipation until he slings back into one of the lines for an instant, !!!!!! but then all hell breaks loose and everybody is just wailing as a unit, Fish slamming the cymbals, Trey wandering around on top, the rhythms peeling off and building and releasing, Mike finding perky quirky ways to say his thing, !!!!!!! and then we segue into a drop down and Trey kicks a pedal and plays some gentle funk chords to drop us down into a mellow, relaxed, sweetly it drops off into a closing chord finale.......and its done. Well, there you have it. Find me someone who can lead a jam like that, and this is just ONE of the ways Trey does it, you sometimes see this "find a line and build and build and build on it with a groove" in Bathtub Gins and Ghosts as well, you could see it anywhere, but this is what Trey can do. Are any of the lines difficult to play? No. Are they "middle eastern influenced" or some such damn thing? No. But Trey does this better than anyone ever has. Its a great way to lead a jam, and its why Trey joins Garcia on my list of favorite guitarists EVER. Not speed, technical ability, not just one line of phrase, not obscure influences, although Trey has plenty of those. But the ability to construct and build a JAM out of thin air, like Cities 7.31.98, just another of so many examples you can find. And that's my $.02. Ellis K. "Know our love will not fade away."
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