11.08.98 piper -- UIC Pavillion, Chicago, Illinois

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 19:29:57 -0500 From: Christian David Hoard Cc: dws@archive.phish.net Subject: **11.08.98 Chicago Piper Review** Newsgroups: rec.music.phish 11.08.98, UIC Pavillion, Chicago, Illinois, Set II: Chalk Dust Torture, Meat, Rock and Roll, Down With Disease -> Piper, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Run Like an Antelope INTRO: Piper "segues" in from DwD, but by means of an almost "vibe of life" drone which is sustained as DwD ends. Trey plays some neat arpeggiated licks over this drone which sound like they might come from a trumpet fanfare. At any rate, a very mellow but interesting segue. I'll start the timing from here, as Trey begins picking out the Piper chord progression very softly. Standard noodling-style opening, Trey is at first a bit reluctant to fall into the main I-II-IV-VII-VI-VII chord progression. The rest of the band come in appropriately, and around the 1:00 most of the audience seems to recognize that Piper is being played. THE ASCENT: Fishman begins playing a 16th-note hi-hat beat which I really don't think serves the song very well: a bit too stale and obtrusive for the build that's going on, plus he screws around a little too much for my tastes here. Nice, standard ascent, the tempo remains relatively stable and Page and Mike make their presences felt here. FIRST LYRICS SEGMENT: At 3:50 Trey comes in with the vocals; I think a good vocal segment in Piper is one in which the voices blend well, and as such Trey is a little loud here compared to the backing vocals. Otherwise standard, stable tempo, quick fade-out. MIDDLE JAM: As the lyrics segment finishes, Fish almost immediately comes off of his cymbals, and begins taking a drum-solo of sorts, beating 8th-notes on his kick drum and pounding on his toms. At the show, I really disliked this drumming, but it actually sounds pretty good on tape. I can feel him looking for away to bust back into his normal beat; if he had started small and built his "solo" up it would have been perfect, but he just sorta plods his way into back into the song. The tempo is getting faster here; something I've noticed about 1998 Pipers is that they tend to speed up here noticeably more than older Pipers, which always sounds a little bad and out of control to my ears... SECOND LYRICS SEGMENT: Nice lyrics segment. That "sailing feeling" which Piper at its best can impart is felt here. The voices blend better, than fade abruptly around 7:00... END JAM: Right away Trey sounds as though he has an idea for this jam (and that there *will be* a jam, as Pipers often end here). He creates some mild feedback, growing and receding alternately in intensity. This is perfect for this jam, a very noisy, textural effect as the band sails along led by Mike and Fish, plus some perfect chord-work from Page. Trey sounds like he's beginning to solo, but it's actually something else: almost like a guitar from the next room, Trey is playing tiny, indistinct lead lines which poke through the haze. This sounds wonderful! Around 9:40, Trey is tossing out some Hendrix-style trills and producing some feedback. What wonderful non-traditional guitar work; I really love this. It sounds as if Trey is trying to build up some tension with some more melodic-sounding trills and more controlled feedback, working toward perhaps a release of some sort. He's rocking a bit more, too. But then what? Ach! It just dies out of nowhere, Mike and Page stop playing, Fish sounds like he's going to take it into one of those half-time jams, but no. Too bad! I was digging that jam, and it sounded like Trey had some things left to say. Velvet Sea begins around the 10:30 mark. THE BIG PICTURE: Overall a very nice Piper, well-executed, but Fish's drumming in a few spots bugged me, and the abrupt end to the jam keeps this version from being a really exploratory Piper. Meaningless, subjective rating (on the Scott Jordan scale): 6.0. This set is a pretty nice one to have, too, with a slightly-jammed Meat, and great versions of DwD and Rock 'n Roll, plus a pretty decent Antelope, though nothing like the next night's second set. For what it's worth, Dan Schar has started a file on the Phish.net for these Piper reviews. I always feel a bit silly writing these things, perhaps a little over-analytical, though I do love reading others' reviews. Is anyone reading these? Should I keep at them? Are there any versions of Piper you think should be reviewed? Let me know. Anyway, the Piper file is at http://www.phish.net/reviews/piper/. Thanks for reading, CDH
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