Date:    Mon, 2 Nov 1998 02:36:11 -0800
From:    Jason Bilicki 
Subject: Review: personal thoughts on 10/29-31 (long)

Wow!  What a weekend.  I just rolled back into Santa Cruz after a day's
travel from Vegas.  I just wanted to post a few personal notes about the
3 shows so far because they are still fresh in my mind and I probably
won't have a chance later in the week.  I'm not going to talk about
every song, this is just a personal review, not a show review.  So here
we go...

10/29 - Got to this show super early and hung out for the sound check.
I'd never heard a sound check before so that was kinda cool.  We played
some CD-R's on the car stereo and all these people were running over
asking how we had Farm-Aid already - guess they weren't RMPer's *wink*.
This was my 18th show and my first show doing mushrooms.  I felt I had
finally been around the scene long enough to feel comfortable and safe
to trip.  I didn't regret it at all.  My two highlights from the first
set were Driver and McGrupp.  I think Driver is one of the best "folksy"
acoustic songs Phish has ever produced.  The lyrics are fun, but
meaningful, and they remind me of Shel Silverstein.  McGrupp was
intense!  They jammed it out so long and Page's piano solo was
beautiful....I was jumping up and down during the closing notes with a
big smile on my face.
    I haven't read all the reviews but I'm expecting people to rave
about this second set.  Did anyone notice how Trey's guitar sounded like
it was breathing during the Reba jam?  He was making little whispering
sounds that were so beautiful.  Then when Walkaway came I couldn't
believe it.  I have the Bomb Factory tape so I knew they played it but I
had no clue they hadn't played it SINCE then!  I liked the transition
into Simple but Trey was a little shakey starting it out...he was so
into creative jamming at this point that he was forgetting some of his
parts during the song.  Anyway this whole jam was intense and I hope the
tapes come close to giving it justice.  As for the encore, all I could
say as soon as it ended was "they nailed it!"  Page really did a bang-up
job on the vocals.



Date:    Mon, 2 Nov 1998 19:39:49 GMT
From:    chris bertolet 
Subject: Greeks Bearing Gifts -- 10/29 review

I can't remark on the pre-show scene, as we partied at our place and waited
till the last minute to get to the Greek, but what I saw seemed pretty tame
and in control.  One of my friends said he heard someone offer $100 for a
spare ticket, but I saw nothing like that.  In typical L.A. fashion, I ran
into the kid from Third Rock from the Sun in the bathroom.  Told him it was
nice to see him, and he told me it was nice to see me.

My wife and I settled into our seats and the show kicked off with a bang.
Every Julius I hear tends to do it for me (love that swing!), and while
this one wasn't extended or jaunty as 8/3/97 (one of my personal all-time
favorites), it shredded.  I should note at this point that Fishman, Trey
and Chris Kuroda share MVP honors for the Greek-thru-Ween run, imo.  Each
of them took big risks and exhibited new ideas on a pretty much constant
basis.  This is not to take away from Page's or Mike's playing, BTW -- Mike
was carpet-bombing all weekend and Page played many, many tasty leads in
the series.

Anyway, after the raging start of Julius, the middle of the set lulled a
bit, with the exception being the Limb By Limb.  The crowd around me was
awed, moved, wonderously rapt.  It wasn't nearly the most extended or
shiniest version I've heard, but it was really strong.  Two climaxes as I
recall.  Fishman's Inhuman Drumbeat Reprise should be setlisted ;-).
Driver is a great chill tune, imo, and the "better dressed" line got big
laughs each time I heard it.  Oh, and great stage banter from Trey about
Page wanting to call the song "The Man in My Little Head."

Things picked up considerably with the best Birds I'd heard to date.  This
song will require very little prodding to get to the consistently great
level of a Chalkdust Torture.  It seems much more organic than Character
Zero to me.  But the highlight of the set was the masterful McGrupp.  I saw
what I thought might have been a best-ever at the 12/30/97 show, but this
one outshone it.  Tremendously tight and mythic.  As I heard the first
notes of Zero, I headed for the beer garden.  Let someone else tell you how
awesome it was. ;-)

When I returned from the beer garden, I realized that there was a monkey
(perhaps a rhesus, but I'm no expert) sitting with his owner two rows
behind me.  Yes, a real monkey.  As you might guess, security was *not*
thorough.  I hope that the monkey dug this second set, as I sure as shit

Possum rrrrrrrrrraged out of the gates with a very short intro.  No
language.  And the version easily outsmoked any Possum I've heard since
1995.  I could personally tolerate a *lot* more Possi from show to show --
I could be perfectly content hearing it every third performance, especially
as a second set opener.  The energy was Enormous by this point, and was
sustained fairly well through the > into Moma (though I think they're
overplaying this song horribly).  This was a super-goopy Moma...more More
than the one I'd heard in Ventura.  Mike worked every inch of his fretboard
as the jam peaked.

The Reba was much like the one from Fillmore, as I understand it.  If
Possum was candy, this Reba was spinach.  The composed section was really
strong -- Phish always blows my mind when they play shit like this at their
first stop on a tour and nail it.  FWIW, I've seen some people label this
Reba jam as "ambient" and while I can see where they're coming from, it
really wasn't.  It was more just creepy, laid-back groove...and *very*
long.  Kent called it "sci-fi" and I think that captures it really well.
Anyway, it was terribly innovative.  The jam got progressively deeper in
the pocket and crunchier, building tension, and just when I thought they'd
bust back into the major Reba theme, Walk Away bubbled up through the fog.
I admit that I was pretty disappointed when I realized they were going to
play it, but as they did, I was elated.  This was no half-assed "we've
found ourselves here so we might as well see if we can pull off a
verse"-type Walk Away -- it was a full-on "we just rehearsed this a few
days ago and ripped it up"-type Walk Away.  Very triumphant.

Even more triumphant was the segue into Simple (_awesome_ though no one's
noted it yet that I can see).  I recall thinking that the outro jam to
Simple was like a delicate flower unfolding, but I'll have to listen to the
tapes to hear why.  Albuquerque was very cool to hear (my first), but the
highlight of the set was the Bowie.  This was one of those
drool-on-your-shoes Bowies on the '95 tip -- with Mother Nature throwing in
a light show of her own as a bonus.  The Bowie was neither super-long nor was just on fuego.  Can I repeat for the umpteen thousandth
time that *I love the climax of this f-ing song?!*.  Though I haven't heard
it again, I have a feeling that this tune and the Possum alone are worth
getting the set for, while the Reba may find a mixed reaction.

Finally, the Something encore was blissfully well played.  Shimmering and
perfect.  This is one of those Beatles tunes I always forget about and
every time I hear it, I sigh.  It's also not easy, but you'd never know
that from hearing Phish play it.

Overall, this show was a huge success.  Primed the pump for Vegas, and got
the legs loose.  Highlights: lights, monkey, Limb, McGrupp, Possum, Reba,
Bowie, Something.  Lowlights: Llama, and maybe Glisten.

I'll post a review of 10/20 later today.


"Whoa, there, Elvis..." -- Jolly Green Giant

chris bertolet


10/29/98 - The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

This review appeared in the Saturday, 10/31, LA Times:
Precision, Palette, From Phish
The lost children of the Dead Head diaspora came from far and wide to
see their new folk heroes Phish at the Greek Theatre on Thursday.
And the Vermont-based quartet in turn demonstrated why it has become
the master jam band of the post-Grateful Dead era, turning in a
performance that alternated technical rigor with feathery delicacy.
It's too easy to dismiss Phish as a Grateful Dead facsimile.  Unlike
that seminal San Francisco band, whose free-form musical expeditions
flowed from a sound steeped in folk and country music, Phish toys with
genres that place a higher premium on virtuosity and improvisation -
free jazz, prog-rock, fusion.  That protean approach enables Phish to
explore a more expansive palette.
At the Greek, Phish played with the kind of muscle and precision that
the Dead could only dream about.
The group laid back and locked into loping, leisurly grooves on some
songs, then jacked up the energy quotient on others with intense
instrumental outbursts that were laced with tricky time shifts and
jagged note clusters from guitarist Trey Anastasio.
Even when it downshifted into abstract, discursive jamming, Phish
manged to hold it all together.  No wonder Dead fans have embraced
them.  ----Marc Weingarten

I just got back from the first three shows of Fall Tour '98 and I must 
say that I liked The Greek Theatre show the best.  Many of my friends 
liked 10/30 better and really dug the last 5 songs of that show's first 
set (I loved it alot too), but what really knocked me over was the 
second set from the Greek and in particular Page.
First off, the Greek is a great venue and the mere fact of being 
outdoors makes all the difference in the world.  On top of that, the 
Greek is so narrow that almost all the seats are considered to be inthe 
middle section and the sound was absolutely perfect.  I was sitting in 
the back of Section B and I don't think I have heard a better sounding 
show.  Now on to the show:
Julius to open the tour was great and the crowd was immediately intothe 
show.  Roggae is an incredible song and it seems that they love playing 
it (you should of seen Trey swinging back in forth during the one in 
Vegas).  Don't know much about Llama or Limb by Limb.  The Driver and 
Glisten were absolutely beautiful.  I think it is fantastic that they 
have decided to break-out the acoustic at shows and that they are able 
to sing really soft, quiet songs.  Driver is such a good song and in a 
different vain then anything I have heard Phish do (I think it sounds 
alot like Friend of the Devil, Peggy-O, or Lazy River Road).  Just good 
lyrics, nice tempo, and great harmonies.  Don't know Frankie Says that 
much.  Birds ripped like a bat of hell (IMO though not as good as 
Vegas), but I still love the straight forward ripping guitar.  Page's 
solo in McGrupp was really cool and Character Zero to close broughtback 
the energy big time and let evryone really chew on the fat at halftime.
Possum to open was perfect with that nice tempo getting everyone in the 
mood to dance.  Moma extended this theme and satisfied everyone's funk 
desire.  Now is where the show really takes off.  The Reba jam was 
amazing.  The super extended jam was way out there and everyone was 
getting off on Trey's soring leads and no one had a clue where is was 
going (which is a good thing).  All of a sudden after this way outthere 
jam you start hearing Trey coming down hard.  I mean hard on these 
familiar power chords and and Page sits up and sings, "Takin' my 
time..."  and they rip into a full rock and roll, power chord ladden 
monster of a song.  Page and Trey were loving the Walkaway and having a 
blast.  Then the super silky transition into Simple was flawless.  It 
was as if the songs were written togther.  Everybody, even the people 
who don't like Simple, will love this version. It was that well 
delivered.  Then back into a slow beautiful song: Albuquerque.  I love 
this cover and again the harmonies were right on. The band closed with 
another huge Bowie and everyone was brought back up to the moon.  Great 
ending.  I personally loved Something and Page's delivery of the tender lyrics 
was something to behold.  I will take this over Teen Spirit, Sabotage, 
Jane Says, Been Caught Stealing any day of the weak.  This song, like 
the concert as a whole, is soft then powerful then soft then powerful, 
etc...This is why this show is so good.  Great pace throughout, 
unbelievable song choices, & being brought to the moon, then back down 
to earth, then to the moon is a damn good feeling. Paula Chadwick
San Francisco, CA    

REBA  WALK AWAY  SIMPLE     That was IT folks.   Almost felt like the
"Real Gin" from Worcester.  It was nice.

The Greek was a great venue for Phish. You didn't even feel like you
were in Los Angeles.  It had a great New England vibe on Thursady nite.
Hope everyone had a good time.


Just got back to Tucson from the 3-show run to start the
tour and thought I'd share some thoughts with everyone.
I won't go into a lot of detail since there have already been
numerous reviews posted.  If anyone cares about these
sorts of things, the shows were my 29th, 30th and 31st,
(corresponding nicely with the dates). 

First off, I'm SOOO glad they decided to play the Greek
again.  This place is so freakin nice!  At one point during
the first set, Trey commented on how nice it was to look
out at the audience and see big trees everywhere. The
venue is on the side of a big hill, and on either side of 
and behind the stage are huge trees. The venue itself
is set up a lot like Red Rocks, except there are seats
instead of bleachers.  My only complaint was the 
overzealous pat-down going into the show. These 
guys were pretty agro. Fortunately, the security was
pretty relaxed once you got into the show, and they
weren't going crazy trying to enforce the no-smoking
ordnance like they were at the 95 show.

As for the music, it was outstanding!  The first set was
really mellow, and I have to admit I was hoping that I
wouldn't hear a Birds because of all the recent over-
exposure.  Birds was one of the tightest versions I've
ever heard, though, and while the jam wasn't as crazy
as the 4/98 versions, some of the stuff Trey and Mike
were doing during the verses was really cool.  The
highlight was the McGrupp, which had a really long,
spaced out piano jam.  Also, the Character Zero had
Trey shredding in a way that I used to think wasn't
humanly possible. Kind of like what Jimi would've
sounded like if he could've played for another 20 years.

The second set was outrageous.  From the opening
notes of Possum, I knew this set was going to rage. The 
MOMA was deeply funky, and then the Reba. The first five 
minutes of the Reba jam were pretty standard, as they 
explored the beautiful mellow groove.  Then Trey led them 
into some kind of spacey funk groove with a dark ominous 
sounding digital delay.  Eventually the jam started to 
sound like something that might come out of a Tweezer,
as Trey really started to go off about 15 minutes after the 
jam no longer sounded like Reba.  Just as I was thinking 
maybe they were going to segue into Tweezer, it got really 
chunky and out came the power chords of Walk Away!  I 
had forgotten that it had been 4 years since they played 
this, and man it was a treat to hear.  At the end they 
jammed on the song for a few minutes in a way I'd never 
heard before, and then came an amazing segue into Simple
that you have to hear.  My first Albuquerque was really nice - 
they do a great job with this song, and as far as Neil Young
songs go, I can't think of one that would be more appropriate
for Phish to cover. And then the Bowie...what a scorcher!
Contrary to what others wrote, I don't think it ever sounded
like least no more than it usually does.  The jam
was definitely good and funky for the first six or seven 
minutes, and the ending was ferocious. Somewhere in the
jam Page took the lead on piano for awhile, which he had
actually been doing in a number of songs throughout the 
night. Julius, Limb by Limb and Possum all had some great 
piano soloing.  The Something encore was absolutely beautiful.
Page nailed the George Harrison vocal, and I was in bliss.  All 
in all, a really good show.

The Greek!
    Who said summer tour has to end?  Picking up the pace and not missing a stride from Lemonwheel, the band brought us right back to where we
stopped just 2 1/2 months ago kicking it in gear with Julius. Playful,Funky, Phat,  and Furious.  Loved the new accoustic songs and the one new
name (Man in My Little Head??).  Trey ripped it up during Llama  and  went searching for John Glen during an intergalatic Reba.  Gordo was on
fire, grooving with some serious pace car head bobbing  during Moma and Birds.   Trey's prompting of Fishman at the end of Limb to "finish the
song" , lead to an inspiring solo, which whipped the crowd into a frenzy and Page brought us down nice and gently with Something to close out
an incredible first show.  W, Boba. Darth, DC, Zalim see you in Vegas.

The Greek

Lots of anticipation as I sat in my car for more than an hour to get 10
miles from the beach to the venue! Julius opener was good fun. Then a
barrage of new tunes which were pretty mellow, and are definitely
growing on me. Roggae was lovely, and the Fishman solo at the end of
Limb by Limb sparked some fun banter by the band. 

The McGrupp was a fantastic little gem, and Character Zero kicked some
ass. Trey was experimenting with an aggressive attack and some crazy
overtones and effects that were outstanding. Loved it. 

Intermission seemed long, then a healthy Possum, and finally after one
set of the acoustic and rock, the phunk came out in Moma, which was very 

The REBA reminded me what it is like to take LSD, and with the genious
of Chris on the light board, I was thrilled to be there for that jam.
The lightening was way cool too. Page sounded fantastic on Walk Away,
the jam was great and then suddenly it was sooo SIMPLE!! Yes. 
And it could have been a Maze but instead it was a BOWIE and the slap
bass was the order of the moment, and again they stumped me with a
wicked set, followed by a fave Beatles tune of mine, SOMETHING

In deed a fine night at the Greek, rain mud traffic mahem, but a hoot never the
less. Vegas is imminent!

Aric Mayer