Date:    Sat, 10 Oct 1998 14:54:58 -0400
From:    Christian David Hoard 
Subject: **12.12.97 Albany Piper Review**

Again, many thanks to Mehool Patel for spinning me DAUD/1s just for
these Piper Reviews!

        12.12.97, The Knick', Albany, New York, Set II:

        I Saw It Again-> Piper-> Swept Away-> Steep, Prince Caspian->
        Izabella, Tweezer Reprise

INTRO: Piper emerges out of a meandering I Saw it Again jam with Trey
picking lightly. Mike throws in some nice high licks on bass, and Page
jumps in around the :54 mark. Some clunky interplay between Page and
Trey follows. Around 1:18, Fish comes in with some steady hi-hat and
some inconsistent snare work which doesn't sound so good. Around 2
minutes, Trey pushes things a bit, and hits a bum chord. Yuck.

THE ASCENT: Things are sounding a bit rushed here. Page throws in some
very nice chords here as the dynamics build. Finally, around 3 minutes,
things sound more relaxed, with Trey hitting the chord on beat one
loudly then building things up until the next downbeat. Tempo increases
nice and slowly...

FIRST LYRICS SEGMENT: Great vocal fade-in from Trey, great
accompaniment. Mike's  rising/falling basslines here sound excellent.
The fade-out is a little rushed, but nothing terrible.

MIDDLE JAM: Nice sailing jam here. Page really jumps in while Trey is
chording smoothly. Fish is riding on that really wash-y ride cymbal he
uses, which sounds good here. Great Page fill-ins around the 5:42 mark.

SECOND LYRICS SEGMENT: Fade-in good. Tempo is getting a bit our of hand
here, as is a problem in a lot of Pipers. Short lyrics segment, with
sloppy fade-out around 6:40.

END JAM: Mike is really kicking it out here! Sounds a bit like a
run-away train. Trey busts in with some work high on the 'doc and we can
feel the jam really breaking away. Great accompaniment under him here.

Around 8:00 there is a jumble of noise, followed by some trills by Trey;
nice spacey climax here. Page, Mike and Fish are really playing very
rhythmically together here.  At the 9:10 mark, Trey starts doing that
rock chording (hitting the accented chord on beats 2 and 4) a la the
Character 0 jam from 11.26.97, which drives things along.

At 10 minutes, Trey is doing some wah-ish, Llama-esque chording. The jam
really dies down here, with just Mike and Fish playing softly. Some
digital delay loop stuff from Trey, a little noodling here and there.
Sounds like Trey wants to end things.

But then, around 12:15, Trey does some more of that Llama-chording over
Mike's high licks and Page's noodling. At 13:15, Trey kicks back in with
the Llama chording and Fishman picks things up a bit, Mike lays down a
fatter bassline and Page throws in some nice licks. However, around
14:00, it still sounds like they're uncertain what's going on. Lots of
noise here as it sounds things are dying out again. Yuck again.

But just when it sounds like this vague jamming is finally going to
sputter out for good, Trey and Fishman really hook up and a beautiful
build ensues around 15:30. Trey is kicking out rock-star licks as the
band builds behind him. Nice! Around 16:00 this jam is back in high-gear
with Trey trilling and kicking out some Tweeprise licks. This jam has a
very cool 'sailing' effect aroung 17:00. Yeah! Trey goes back to those
Llama chords as things finally slow down again. After a bunch of
noodling from Fish and Page, Trey starts chording Swept Away around
19:00, and by 30 seconds later, Piper is finished. Total time, 19:35.

THE BIG PICTURE: Not bad. After I proclaimed the 12.6.97 Detroit Piper
the best I'd heard, I got a few responses claiming this version is
better. It's not. The jam is longer, but it's also less focused and
incoherent. Still, this is a good example of Phish really exploring the
full possibilities of this tune. It's ambitious versions like this that
make me want to review this song. I'd score it a 7.0 on the 10-point

This set has received mixed reviews, and rightly so. While the Piper jam
was pretty good, and the long jam out of Caspian was nice, the Isabella
and everything else was just okay. And here's one for the miscue-trivia
file: Page *badly* screws up his entrance to Tweeprise. Wow, never heard
that before. Fishman actually had to give him 2 kicks on his bass drum
just to show him where the downbeat was. That should tell you a lot
about this set. Phish also must have known they played a pretty mediocre
set, which is why they followed it up with a Guyute/Antelope encore,
which is pretty solid.

Watch for my SOTG review coming later today.

Thanks for reading,