Date:    Fri, 16 Jan 1998 07:44:43 GMT
From:    Yance Davis 
Subject: The Truth about Cats and Dogs and Pentagrams

Harpua files 11:  12/30/97

In terms of the hype that this show has generated, it's already in the top
ten Phish shows in That regard.  I think the key thing to remember, is
that even those who claim the show to be overrated enjoyed the show for
the most part.  After all, it takes an exceptional show to be considered
'overrated' in the first place.  As far as the music itself goes, people
can generate their own opinions of the tapes after they get spread around
a bit more.  Personally, the AC/DC Bag is playing in the background right
now, and the little jam they're on is kicking my ass.  This was simply a
great show to BE at.  I walked away from it like I walked away from some
of my first shows, when Phish could do no wrong.  I'd been humming
'Sneakin Sally' all day surprisingly enough, due to my lunch at Mustang
Sallys with all the other netters.  It was great meeting every one
of you by the way, even though barely anyone looked how I expected you
too.  I think Chris Bertolet's description of the gathering was
unbeatable, so I'll leave it there.  Low point of the run: buying a Sam
Adams at Roy Rogers (y'can't do that in Maryland) and then getting busted
with it while wandering around.  The cops were so damned nice that I can't
even complain.

Sneaking Sally Through the Alley was the high point of the first set.  It
was a little sloppy in its opening notes, but hell, it's not like they
play it all the time.  I must've looked epileptic to the people around me
since there I was hollering and jumping up and down while everyone in
sight just stood there looking very confused.  First set of the 29th beats
this first set in a heartbeat though.  That's where I draw the line, since
second set of the 29th was just an average good set with a nice-looking
setlist.  I'll take the 30th's Bag over the 29th's DWD & Bowie combined,
and the YEM was too short to be any more than a musical appetizer with no
main course.  Possum was, from the first note, a great treat and Yes, Tube
smoked.  I digress though...

Bag, as I already said was great and McGrupp had some nice surprising
jamming at the end which ended too quick, but onto what this review is
supposed to be about...

Maybe I'm just a Phish-geek this way, but I honestly felt Harpua coming.
Time slowed down and every little thing hinted at it approaching.   Trey
and Mike simultaneously coming up to the mic...Page and Fish inching
closer and closer to it themselves...four spotlights glaring down at once
like bright white pillars in a dark MSG... What other songs begin like
that? None, hence my early applause, immediately drowned out by twenty
thousand screaming fans to the first "Ooom Pa Pa" to fill the arena.

The begining starts out fun and energetic, much like every Harpua before
it.  The real fun begins when things get quiet and Trey approaches the

"Welcome everyone to this.. very festive  three night stand here, we're
very happy to be here.  I will say one thing before I get started, that..
that's um, specifically I like, um, about playing in this room.  Some of
you probably know that were up kind of like on the fifth floor or seventh
floor or something so we're very high off the ground and um, when certain
grooves start happening, you probably feel that the floor goes up and

(massive applause by the audience translates to "yes, we do feel it.")

"Well, however cool it feels to you up there, it feels even cooler up
here.  You might see us sort of going back and forth, and so as the next
night and a half keeps going on, if you guys could get the floor bouncing,
it feels very cool here.  It's like riding on a boat or something.  Try to
get it going.  Try to find that magic groove where the floor is going up
and down.

"And I also want to apologize for our light.. heh heh.. Chris Kuroda for
those of you who saw him back there wearing that flyers shirt... in the
Rangers, home of the Rangers...

(Trey drowned out by booing)

"Just to you don't start throwing things at him.  He lost a bet and
he had to wear the Flyers shirt or so, Chris did you take it off?  Light..
Light yourself up.  Light yourself up Chris.  It's off.  He took it off.

Fish: "He's been having a rather bad year you know"

"So anyway, as we come in here to play here, we're doing the Harpua thing
and I'm gonna tell you about this morning, when I was waking up, I started
thinking about um, 1974.  Some of your probably weren't even alive in
1974, but *I* was ten years old.  I was born in 1964 and I was going to
John Witherspoon Middle School.  I was in fourth grade and um, something
happened that year that was very profound and it had an effect on me and
changed the whole course of my life and changed the course probably of the
band, the life of everyone in the band and I suppose, in turn, some people
out there who come see the band and uh... what happened in 1974, I was in
fourth grade and I really wanted my parents to get me a TV in my room, and
so this was the thing that when, every couple years I would ask my parents
to buy me a TV and let me have a TV in my room, and they're like 'No no,
you're gonna watch too much TV' and finally they let me have a TV in my
room.  They gave me a black and white TV, and the bad thing that happened
was I started watching TV like six hours a day, and what would happen
would be, on Saturday mornings, I would wake up...I had this ritual.. I
would wake up, and I would get four slices of um, Pepperidge Farm white
bread and a stick of butter and an electric frying pan and I would melt an
entire stick of butter in the electric frying pan and make french toast
and then sit down in front of the TV and watch like you know, seventeen
hours of TV over an entire day Saturday afternoons.

"So, this would go on for the entire year there when I was in fourth
grade, that's what I would do on Saturday, I'd sit around and watch TV
and, at Five o'clock, there was a show that used to come on called Lost In
Space.. any of you seen Lost in Space?

(minor applause from the audience)

"And I remember waiting for lost in space to come on, and uh, there was
this one particular Saturday where I made my french toast and I sat down
in front of the TV and I'm sitting there and I'm waiting for Lost in Space
to come on.  Five o'clock comes around, Lost in Space comes on.  I'm
sitting there eating my french toast, and I had this little rubber ball
that I used to play with..sort of like shaped like and udder.  Um, it had
udders coming all off...and I'm sitting there watching Lost in Space and,
about halfway through the TV show, there was this part where uh, Will
Robinson and the robot, you know.. They're walking along one of those
cheesy sets in Lost in Space.  They go around the corner and they end up
in this sort of clearing.  And um, this clearing.. the weird thing about
it was, I'm sitting there watching TV and this clearing is the identical
clearing that was behind the school that I went to.. John Witherspoon
School that I mentioned before, and it was a place that I'd been before.
So I'm watching TV and I'm thinking 'Here's Will Robinson and the robot,
hanging out in this clearing that I go to on, um, you know, during recess
in fourth grade.  Completely strange moment!  And um, I look down at the
foot of the robot..I know this is a long story, but it's Very profound and
important so Please listen..

(huge applause from attentive fans)

"Changed my life!!  And at the foot of the robot, is this udder ball
squeazing squeak toy that I also had in my hand.  This completely, you
know, I'm sitting here looking and here's this clearing and the udder
ball, and suddenly I realize that the robot is sending messages directly
into my brain from the TV, and the messages are telling me 'for the next
week, I want you to collect little bits of food from the kitchen table
whenever you have a meal, and put 'em in your lunchbox you take to
school.'  So, the next morning I wake up and I go to breakfast and they
have fried eggs, so I put a fried egg into my lunchbox, I brought it to
school, I still don't know what all this means and, you know, dinner that
night we had a steak and I put a steak into my lunchbox, know,
olive loaf..the whole thing.. little bits of food.  And um...every day I'm
bringing this stuff in my lunchbox to school.  Well, on friday of that
week, I suddenly had a profound feeling that I needed to be drawn to a
spot out behind the middle school, and I started walking with my lunchbox
full of food..

"Now when I got to this clearing I had seen in the Lost in Space episode,
I noticed that, burned into the ground, there was a pentagram burned into
the grass..a star, a five-pointed star.  Now I was ten years old, so I
opened up my lunchbox and I take out the fried egg, and I knew what I had
to do.  I placed it on one corner of the pentagram, one spot.  And then I
reached in and took out the steak.. and I placed it on the next corner of
the star.  I reached into my lunchbox and I pulled out... the olive
loaf... and I placed it on the next corner of the star..

Fish (moans): "ahh olive loaf.. the olive loaf.."

I then reached into my lunchbox and I pulled out.. a carton of milk... and
placed the carton of milk on the Third star of the pentagram.  (Ed: this
was actually the fourth, but Trey had a lot on his mind ;)..  I reached
into my lunchbox... I pulled out the sloppy joe.  I placed it on the
fourth start of the pentagram.  I reached into my lunchbox...

(fans all yelling out and laughing, most likely, about him already having
five items)

"I pulled out the slim jim.  I placed it on the fifth star..

Fishman: "a slim olive loaf"

"The only thing left was the udder ball.  I knew what I had to do.  I took
the udder ball.  And I knew from watching the episode of Lost in Space
from the telepathic messages that the robot and Will Robinson were sending
in my brain, that I needed to place the udder ball into the center of the
pentagram, and I placed it into the center of the pentagram.  At that
point, strange things began to happen.

(eerie music sets the tone...)

"I felt the wind begin to rise up around me and it started to swirl around
and as the wind swirled around and swirled around, the leaves began to
lift up off the ground and I started to get a little bit scared.  And the
wind turned and turned an a big fog began to roll in.  A fog began to roll
in, spinning and spinning faster and faster.

(Fishman yells ghoulishly in the background)

"Mrs Sinkly (sp) my fourth grade teacher was wondering where I was, I was
supposed to be back in class, I'm out here in the clearing...

Fish (in high pitched voice): "Oh Treeeeey"

"All the trees began to disappear.  The wind was spinning around and soon,
the next thing I know, there was like a tornado.. starting to.. eminating
from the udder ball, spinning up, spinning around me.  And all the outside
trees, and all the scenery began to turn black, and I couldn't see
anything anymore except that this tornado was spinning in front of me, and
then this bizarre thing, I realized that I was having a moment where I
could see into my own future, and in the tornado in the in the.. in the..
in the ...cone of the tornado, little bits of my future began to come out
in front of my face and I saw, you know, Page's face come out and I didn't
know what it was at the time, and Mike and bits of the band and and..
and...bits of the band and then.. it became very terrifying, you know that
these strange apparitions coming up to my face, and the next thing I know,
a strange white ...

Fish: "olive loaf"

"..being started to walk towards me and he started to sing a song, and in
singing this song, it was the most beautiful music I had ever heard, it
was like music of the was heavenly.  And and...this man, this
strange, angelic man walked toward me and he had on white clothes and
strange black square glasses and he walked towards me and he sang me a
song.  And in singing this song he told me what my life would become..

(Fish howls softly in the background, which Tom Marshall comes out,
dressed in white with square black glasses)

"and it wasn't until years later.. many years later, that I recognized who
this person was.. it was.. it was indeed my friend Tom.. and he had come
into the past to sing me a song that would describe my future...

(They then begin to play the music to "I'm gonna be (500 miles)," a cheesy
pop tune from a few years back that came out as a soundtrack song for
"Benny and Joon."  The song is sung with a scottish accent and Tom does
his best to emulate it..)

  When I wake up,
 Yeah I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you.

  When I go out,
 Yeah I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you.

(with Trey)

  When I get drunk,
 Yeah I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you.

  When I (sounds like "hang back")
 Yeah I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the one who's ing to you.


  And I would walk five hundred miles
 And *I* would walk five hundred more
  Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
 to fall down at your door

  When I'm walking
 Yeah I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who's walking hard for you.

  When the money
 Comes in for the work I do
  I'll pass almost every penny onto you.

  When I come home
 Well I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who's coming home to you.

  And if I go out
 Hey I know I'm gonna be
  I'm gonna be the man who's going home to you.


 (They then go into the "dadadaDa dada" thing that you pretty much have to
hear or no the song to get, just like in the song...)


Tom: "I'd love to turn you on.. Thank you"

(Trey starts playing the Harpua endnotes...)

"Well, it changed my life.  It changed my life watching Lost in Space.
Having Will Robinson and the robot, climg into my brain.. and then having
my friend Tom, who I hadn't met yet...come out of the tornado into the
clearing behind my fourth grade classroom and coming to life of me, my
fried egg...steak and.. my good friend Jimmy who had walked up while this
whole bizarre scene was taking place..

The story ends there, though "Look, the storm's gone" was never said and
it was just SO appropriate here.  Still, the interaction between Jimmy and
his Dad, which I almost wasn't expecting, is a trip..

Dad: Jimmy
Jimmy: Yes Dad
Dad: I have some unsettling info...
Jimmy: What?
Dad: Pentagram.

Dad: Jimmy
Jimmy: Yes Dad
Dad: I have bad news.
Jimmy: What's that?
Dad: Your cat, Pentagram.
Jimmy: Pentagram?

(the "your cat Died" line is skipped here)

All (sung): Poster is Dead
Fish (in high voice): Ohhh noooo
All: Poster is Dead

Fish (is low, nasty voice): sucked up into the sky
Trey (half singing/half chanting): Poster is sucked up into the tornado
that emimated from the undulating ball of the pentagram..

 I  don't want  a goldfish
 I  don't want  a goldfish
 I  don't want   ...a slim jim
 I  want..   a Dog

>From here on out the song goes on as usual, with both band and audience in
a great mood, which is think is the most important element in a good show.
The room by this point was just crackling with energy.  Harpua reaches the
ending notes, but rather than stopping to catch their breath, Trey builds
into Izabella out of the endnoise.  This of course goes into a Harry Hood,
which has a lot of funky effects mostly from Page early on which I haven't
heard mentioned.  Unlike most people, I thought the segue into My Soul was
done nicely, where at the time it seemed like a true flow between the
songs.  Plus, I think most people were sure that Hood was the end, so any
song at all would be a treat.  The rest is history and I won't bother
repeating it, but damned if that wasn't the finest, most enjoyable encore
I've ever been privy to.  I doubt if even a Mike's Groove could beat it
(the last Mike's encore I know of, as a useless piece of Phish trivia, was
also December 30th...1989...yes yes, utterly useless, I know)

As far as Harpuas go, how can you rate one as better than another? (aside
from the Clifford Ball one maybe)  As far as musical covers go, this one
stood out for so many reasons.  Tom Marshall is always a treat, giving any
song he sings the honor it truly deserves.  Not only that, but for the
first time I can think of they jammed out on an entire song during Harpua.
Near as I can remember it's generally just enough of a song to get up to
the first chorus and sometimes not even that far.  The story involving the
title character and his nemesis never really came out and with the use of
a pentagram, Poster's name is never once uttered, let alone screamed out
in madness.  Still, tales from Trey's past, even those somewhat
drug-induced-sounding, are a fine treat any day.  A good story and a fun
time as usual, and even the most clueless and confused in the audience
that I could see seemed both fully into the story and glad to be hearing
it.  A great great show to be at, and I almost didn't go but luckily a
wise individual talked me into getting a ticket (I got one from
ticketmaster on the 22nd on my first try).  For those of you who couldn't
make it, hell, the tapes are still a joy to listen to.  Peace y'all ;)

Yancy D