Date:    Wed, 3 Dec 1997 16:55:16 GMT
From:    "James Raras Jr." 
Subject: Hartford and Worcester Run Synopsis


That one word that sums up the last week of my life more than any other
could.  Some of you know the personal scenery that surrounded the
Hartford/Worcester run for me, some don't, regardless I'm not going to get
into it.  Here's my view of the music and surroundings I witnessed at the
four phish shows I saw last week.  I call em' as I see/hear em' and while I
was super happy to be a phish shows last week and smiled so hard most of the
time that I needed to take valium to relax my facial muscles, I still am
semi-jaded after seeing 51 shows and hearing waaay too many tapes (yet I
still seek more :).  That said it takes a lot to impress me relative to all
the phish I've heard, but just an average phish show (read:insane, great,
awesome) to remind me that there is no place I'd rather be.  Heck, I wish I
was in Philly right now =^)

Here are some of the highlights/lowlights in my mind, as I'm sure you've
already seen a zillion song by song reviews.


The Tweezer opener was unexpected and key!  Very slow intro as Trey bobbed
around the stage just grooving, by the time Fish came in the joint was
jumping!  Nice funked out jamming, above average Tweezer, but not top ten or
anything.  Around 17-18min we got a fairly smooth segue into Sparkle.

The Gumbo was nice, but abruptly cut short, see my rants re: My Soul and the
Prince.  McGrupp was a nice treat to hear in set-1, and I really liked
Trey's soloing in Dirt, then again I've loved this tune since I first heard
those great guitar chords in a packed Club Toast last May!  That guitar
chord will be what always springs to mind from that show for me.

The Melt in Hartford was very dissonant and Trey seemed as if he was off on
his own tangent, not with the rest of the band at all.  I really didn't care
for this version that much, then again I have been listening to 8/10/97
which contains the best Melt ever alot, but still this was a weak version.
The Taste to close the set was quite nice and sparked hope for a big second

When they came back on stage they began playing with this weird spacy intro
for about a minute or so, hence Dan and I thought it was the Bowie we had
been expecting, but NO.  Trey jumps right into the opening chords of Zero
from the spacy intro and we're off!  Hands down the best Zero ever, if you
don't agree you're nuts.  Nice jamming in here and plenty of "Take Me to the
River" teasing which had me drooling!  20min later we got a "super smooth
segue" (Dan S and Jim R, 1997) into 2001, and the funk was on!  I put on my
hydrogen glasses, complements of AJ Abrams, which made the lights look even
better.  FWIW, the lights looked great this whole run, I jokingly told Chris
that I always pay more attention to the lights than the sound when I saw him
in the elevator in our hotel, and while this might not be the whole truth I
always do pay a lot of attention to the superb job he does.

Back to 2001, this was really the FUNK, had me grooving as much as the Went
version, and I think it was more funky than St Louie as well.  This version
was especially great when the white lights came on and they teased the
obligatory James Brown tune (good foot?) and "Don't Stop till you get what
you Want(?)", very cool indeed!  Amidst the funk came Cities teasing and I
thought it was just a tease, but then the repeated teasing one key too high
made me yell "Cities, Cities, Cities" right in Dan's ear, sorry Dan as if
you didn't hear it as well :)  When they finally dropped it into the proper
key, flawlessly I might add, the place went nuts.  Otherwise the Cities was
short and sweet, but great to hear!

However, the segue from Cities -> Ya Mar was another "super sweet segue",
the flowometer was overheating in this set, let me tell you!  Hear this
segue.  From our 21st row Page side seats we could see Trey go over to Fish
and "punch" his fist in the air and without finishing Ya Mar they plunged
into Punch (> not ->), with much energy!

Punch wasn't the tightest version ever but I was dying to hear it and was
psyched for it.  Unfortunately the flow stopped here (about 58 since the
start of the set!) with the Prince, see rants below...  Oh yeah PH started
off as Rocky Top, but Mike didn't go along and started signing PH, cool

The Cavern encore was sick, my favorite version ever!  Trey messes up bad
hits a sustain and then in a evil, dark voice sings the alt lyrics,
excentuating the DUNG part!  Wow, I had always been waiting for a return of
the alt. lyrics and I am very happy I was there to witness it!  Don't FF
through this Cavern encore!


Date:    Thu, 27 Nov 1997 19:50:39 GMT
From:    Geoff Gardner 
Subject: 11/26/97 Hartford review (not to long)

Quick review.  First off, this was my 16th show since 1992 and I have 750
hours on tape.

next the setlist.  this is how I had it....

11-26-97 Hartford Civic Ctr., CT
I: Tweezer > Sparkle, Gumbo > My Soul, McGrupp, Dirt, SOAMelt, Horse >
   Silent, Taste

II: Character 0 -> 2001 -> Cities -> Ya Mar, PYITE, Caspian,
    Poor Heart#, Tweeprise

E: Cavern*

#Started out as Rocky Top
* Trey flubs lyrics, sings alternate lyric.

        Well, I was a litle disapointed with this show.  had a lot of
potential, but never cashed in on it.  I found there were lots of little
flubs (Horse, Split,Tweezer rep.) and lots of noticable large flubs (Poor
Heart (rocky top), Cavern).  They didn't seem to be in sync.  The show
started with so much promise.  Opening Tweezer, slow but well done.
Strictly type I, but for an opening tweezer... slipping into sparkle was
kind of a buzz kill for me, kept the crowd going though... Gumbo did
revive my hopes for a strong set.  Nice Gumbo, not as long or out there as
StarLake, but this was first set, and I like Gumbo damn it.  Going into my
soul was ok, not as nice as the Went My soul, but I can't think any
version could ever top that.  McGrupp isn't my favorite.  I guess it was
played typical, I kinda zoned out.  Dirt was Dirt, not good placement
(this song should be played after a crazy type II jam or a intense
antelope, but not after McGrupp).  By now there was no real momentum in
the set. SOAM tries to kick start the set, but the jam part never really
got me going as I know this song can (12/14/95).  Thus there was no real
roller coaster for this song.   Horse > silent next. Horse was flubed
musically by Trey (I can't remember how right now) silent was silent.  I
think this was an attempt to get the crowd back. The Taste was good.  real
jamming, built up tension/release. set end.  strong begin and end to the
set gives this about a 4-5 rating whatever that means.  But my
expectations were higher..

Define peak of the show was beginning of Set 2.  Charater zero out of a
short spacey jam was totally unexpected. This zero was 20 min long and
completly sucked my in.  I thought there was some hendrix type playing by
trey in the jam segment.  Plus Trey played in a rock star pose, feet
spread, knees bent and guitar played between knees. 2001 was next, nice
segue, very funky, incredible lights... The best segue of the night was
2001 -> Cities.  Cities was great, nothing out of the ordinary, but very
well placed.  YaMar was next and this also went over well. PYITE was kinda
sloppy and Prince Caspian was typical.  I really wish they would do
something with that end jam of Caspian.  It could spring board something.
Its a great little riff... Next was what I thought would be Rocky Top
(evern wrote it on my set list).  But Mike starts singing Poor Heart and
the band adjusts. Tweezer reprise ends the set, longer than usual, but not
unusually long.
        The cavern encore was just wierd.  Trey sings a verse twice,
stops, sings the old lyrics... I also remember an unfamiliar guitar riff
(more evil rock star posing, then finishes off the cavern normal.
Overall second set started off very strong and kind of faded. If the set
stopped at PYITE I would give it an 8.0 easy.  But the tail end knocks
this down to a 6.5-7.0 range.  I would get the second set at least.

Outside the venue was a mess. LOTS of scalpers, not much nitrous (i didn't
see any, but I wasn't in the garages) I see no real benifit in hanging out
in the lot for fall shows.  It was not really nice out (some rain), lots
of police...  and the lots I was in were a mess.  Lots of bottles and food
stuffs.  oh well....

next up worcester


Date:    Fri, 28 Nov 1997 01:59:37 GMT
From:    Dan Seideman 
Subject: Hartford Thoughts

After being led on a wild ride through the back roads of beautiful
Hartford, we finally parked our car and made our way towards the Civic
Center and will-call.  Jim Raras, Justin Cooper (& his friend Nick)
and I passed out a bunch of Mockingbird Foundation flyers, with a
great deal of interest.  It looked like a fair amount of people had
heard about the project, and everyone seemed pretty enthusiastic.

It was really nice to finally get inside the venue.  It was my first
Phish show in 11 months, and I was dying to see the band. :)  Having
21st row floor seats certainly didn't hurt my enthusiasm either!

It was nice to see some old faces and meet some new people.  Hello to
AJ, Hitz, Chico, j()e, Saul, Beau, Noah, and any others that I may
have forgotten.  Anyhow, on to the show.

I don't think anyone in the building expected the Tweezer opener.  It
started off very slowly, with a nice crecendo, with an explosion of
energy and applause when the main theme was hit in full volume.  Mike
was LOUD!!  Pounding bass lines really pumped me up for a non-standard
opener.  The Tweezer jam was good, nothing amazing, but the band
changed paces a couple of times.  I felt like they were building and
could have taken it over the edge, but instead they brought it down
into Sparkle.  And here goes the set...  Gumbo had an excellent jam,
and I really thought the band was going somewhere, led by Trey, but
all of a sudden, My Soul kicked in.  I was really surprised, as the
Gumbo jam had absolutely no conclusion.  McGrupp was definitely a set
highlight.  The compsed section was beautifully played, and Page's
solo started off slow and built quite strongly.  I noticed at this
point that the energy level in the crowd was low.  There was no
explosion of applause following the reentry into the McGrupp theme. :(
The Taste set closer was really hot.  I found myself day dreaming,
only to snap to attention, being surprised that they were still
playing Taste.

The first set was decent.  It was certainly enjoyable, but most
everyone concurred that it was very disjointed.  However, the second
set was completely different.

Starting off with a spacy intro, Jim and I were sure that they were
opening with Bowie.  Character Zero gave me a "blah" feeling at first,
but when the jam took off and started going in new directions, my
interest was piqued.  I knew there was no way they were returning to
the Character Zero ending, but instead, charting new territory, ending
up twenty minutes later in the intro to Also Sprach Zarathustra.
(2001)  2001 was, to put mildly, FUNKY!!!  The intro was incredibly
long, and everyone in the audience was pumped when they finally
launched into the main theme.  Then, it was back to even more funk.
There was no second theme.  Rather, they jammed on a James Brown tune,
and possibly a Michael Jackson tune, before Trey started chording

Jim and I were hopping up and down when the opening lines of Cities
kicked in, but when the band dropped it down into the proper key
(flawlessly), the roof of the Civic Center almost blew off.  A
reletively short Cities followed, and Trey slowly started chording the
intro to Ya Mar.  Oh man, what a segue!  Slowly and methodically, the
band shifted into a tight rendition of Ya Mar, only to segue halfway
through into PYITE.  The Landlady section of Punch was flubbed, quite
possibly the set's only flaw.  The continuous segue ended an hour
later, with a transition into Caspian!

Prince Caspian was a welcome breather, because had they played a song
like Frankenstein, I think the entire audience would have combusted!
Poor Heart started off as Rocky Top, but Mike sang Poor Heart instead.
Reprise was a powerful set closer, and the Cavern encore was
hilarious, as Trey repeated the same lyrics a few times, only to sing
the "alternate" lyrics, much to our delight.

While the first set of this show was a bit disjointed, the second set
was fantastic.  I thought the pacing of the songs was perfect, and
while there were a couple of minor flaws, the funk jamming was
intense!  I couldn't stop dancing through the entire, hour-long
Char-2001-Cities-YaMar-Punch portion of the set.  Phish is definitely
on a roll, and Worcester is going to be absolutely incredible!  I
can't wait...



Date:    Thu, 27 Nov 1997 10:57:41 -0500
From:    Mike Pelczarski 
Subject: Hartford Review

My day began around 6 AM when I awoke for work.  The night before had
been pretty late as I had a shoot up in Boston and I hadn't gotten back
till around midnight.  Even with the lack of sleep I awoke with a smile
on my face and "Bathtub Gin" stuck in my head.  Perhaps the opener?

Work went by relatively fast. (I move and deliver furniture).  I was
glad it wasn't *that* hard a day.  Although it was nice to leave a bit
early at 4:30.

5pm:  I was on the road to pick up my friend Chuck, Originally we were
to pick up another friend of ours but  as usual be couldn't pry
himself away from what ever real important thing he had going on
. His loss.

I'm not sure what the big deal is about hanging out in the parking lot.
I guess people think it's fun, and I suppose in the summer, and at a
nice place like Great Woods, or somewhere else that has some open space,
it is fun.  But in late November in downtown Hartford?  You know that
scene if "New Jack City" where they show the inside of Nino Brown's
crack house?  That's the way the parking area/parking garage looked
while we were finding a space.  Sorry no in depth coverage of the lot
scene but on the way out, I was handed something by the Phish
organization about Worcester, nitrous and not going without tickets.  I
think they know that if there is *any* problem this weekend Phish won't
be welcomed back.  Didn't see any Inside Out flyers either.  Or PLM

Oh ya the show:

Set I:

Tweezer Opener:  Good solid version with some nice jamming.  Unexpected.
The guy next to me was asking what song this was.  I'm pretty sure this
was his first show.  Fantastic segue into Sparkle.  Gumbo was real nice
with some heavy improv action.  I was waiting for the GCH but alas it
wasn't meant to be.  My Soul was fairly standard but they stretched it
out a bit, with some nice work by Page on the organ (although I'm a
little fuzzy on the details).  My notes say that it became a bit
repetitive however.  what can one say about MCGrupp?  Great to hear, and
a bit unexpected, but I think Trey might have played some bum notes on
it.  (once again I'm a bit fuzzy on the details).  Trey seemed to be
having a lot of fun tonight.  Throughout the whole show he was moving
around and dancing.  From where we were sitting it looked like he was
goofing around, doing some "rock god" type poses.  Some of this may have
caused some mistakes, but the high energy level made up for it. The
Horse > Silent was nice but the set closed with Taste which blew my
mind.  Definitely gets my vote for most improved song.  I haven't heard
much recent Phish but after this first set, I'm definitely going to want
to track down some more recent tapes.

Saw my friend Mike in the bathroom during set break.  Set up plans for
Sun. in Worcester.  BTW what was up with all that traffic around the
outer perimeter of the arena.  It took a good 5 min to get to the

Set II:

Just looking at the set list will tell you that this one was killer:
Char 0 > 2001 > Cities > YaMar > PYITE  comprised the bulk of the 2nd
set.  Char 0 was nicely extended into 2001 which took the cake as far as
the light show went.  Nice break down into Cities something that was
rather unexpected.  I was thinking a DwD or something but when Trey
started playing the opening chords to Cities in the wrong octave a BIG
smile grew on my face.  I haven't heard much of the summer but this was
the best group of segues I've heard in a long time, which is fine with
me.  There were some teases in here as well but I'm not sure what.
 A listen to the tapes  would probably expose a lot more than I
picked up at the time. PYITE was real nice as well with some
"Santanaesqe" leads that although a bit sloppy, were fun to listen to.
Prince Caspian sucked.  It was long and drawn out with Trey wanking at
the end.  Poor Heart was nice and got everyone moving again for
Twee-prise which concluded an OUTSTANDING 2nd set.

Encore was Cavern with lyrical flub / alternate lyrics. Nice ending...

First set B
2nd A-
average B+

Comparing this show to last year's in Hartford I think last years song
selection was better (Brother, Antelope etc.) but this years improv was
much better, way more type II (I guess that would be the term?), and WAY
more segues.  I just wish I had some better seats :(

This concludes my first ever Phish show review (so take it easy on me

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Mike P.
The World Famous MOE-L TREE Structures:


Date:    Thu, 27 Nov 1997 18:56:42 GMT
From:    Guyute2001 
Subject: 11.26.97 - Hartford Setlist & Review

Here's the list:

11/26/97 Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT

I:   Tweezer > Sparkle, Gumbo, My Soul, McGrupp & The W.H., Dirt,
     Split Open And Melt, The Horse > Silent In The Morning,

II:  Character Zero > 2001 > Cities >  Ya Mar > Punch You In The Eye >
     Prince Caspian, Poor Heart, Tweezer Reprise

E:   Cavern*
* w/ alternate lyrics

This was probably the most odd show I've ever attended.  FWIW, this was number
7 and I've got around 300 hours on tape.

Lot:  There was a main parking lot where most people were hanging around - very
chaotic.  Several "microdot" offers; no thanks...  We met some friends at
McDonald's and went in.

Pre-show:  Lots of Primus; my nose was bleeding from the altitudes of section
203...I had to argue with some guy who thought that Halloween '94 was
Quadrophenia - and THIS guy's seen all the shows this tour.  Some people have
all the luck.  Security was very relaxed for Hartford especially with the
horror stories.  Lights went off around 7:40-45...

Tweezer:  My first thought was that they were filling in a left-out Reprise
from a couple of nights ago; I was astonished to actually get a Tweezer opener.
 It was a strong, fairly above-average Tweezer.  Less groove and more rock feel
despite the slow tempo >
Sparkle:  I guess if I get a 15-20 minute opener, the newbies get their
Sparkle.  I really hate this song...
Gumbo:  I was psyched for this and had called it before the show.  It did not
disappoint.  A great heavy chording jam followed.
My Soul:  This one lacked the energy of the Went's Soul, which imo is the best
ever.  Wholly standard...
McGrupp:  Oh yeah.  I thought it was Lawn Boy initially; imagine my extreme
delight.  Very well carried out other than some small flubs.  I've heard MUCH
worse versions of this song, so I was very pleased to have such a smooth
Dirt:  This song no longer does it for me, but I'll take it over, Sparkle,
SITM, or Caspian any day ;-|
SOAMelt:  This was pretty sick.  It went on forever, which was great for me but
bored my dumb newbie section.  A great version, imo.
Horse/Silent:  ANOTHER crowd pleaser???  Oh well, there won't be many next set
Taste:  This kicked my ass; truly fantastic.  The energy for this one was
fantastic, too.  I can't remember a whole lot about it, but it raged.  It was
an obvious set closer.

Setbreak:  1st set was a little under 90 min.  I was overall very happy with
it.  I went down to Section 106 to meet my friends.  Fortunately, there was
room down there and I could actually see the band.  A short set break (28 min.)
and the lights went down...

Character Zero:  Believe it or not, the best song of the set.  Or at least the
jam that followed it was the best thing in the set.  ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL
transition into 2001, with a jam that sounded like "Take Me To The River"

2001:  This was incredible - except for that Trey messed up every climax in the
song.  The jamming in between actual themes was great, though.  It could have
been the best ever had Trey not flubbed it.  REAL FUNK between themes.  Trey
had guitar problems during the second climax, so it was abandoned for

Cities:  I went nuts for this one.  I thought they might have dropped it out of
the rotation.  I'm pretty sure this was spontaneous, as some of the guitar work
sounded very unrehearsed.  I still love this song (BTW, Talking Heads' "Fear of
Music" is a fantastic album and should be heard by all).  Pretty average as far
as "Cities" goes, especially juxtaposed against the Went "Cities".  ->

Ya Mar:  I saw this coming from miles away.  Very standard; didn't come close
to last year's with Gulloti.  Still fun to hear, though; another first for the

PYITE, Caspian, Poor Heart, Tweeprise:  Can we say schwag-o-meter?  They
cranked it up to about 11 (go see Spinal Tap) here.  I was REALLY expecting a
YEM, Wolfman's or Bowie.  This absolutely SUCKED.  The only thing worth
mentioning is that Poor Heart began as Rocky Top, and Mike just started singing
Poor Heart.  Sort of a CavernWilsonCavern thing.

E: Cavern:  The crowd was LOUD before the encore.  I'm thinking they'll make up
for the four songs which ended the last set...Nope.  Not even close.  We're
going to shaft you again!  At least it was severely flubbed so I got some
entertainment out of it.  Trey couldn't remember when to play guitar and when
to sing (I think he danked a little beforehand), so during an especially
awkward time, he screamed in his best Evil Trey Voice "I turned the blade back
on the bitch and dropped her in the dung!"  For those not in the know, this
line hasn't been sung in years...I'm expecting something after Cavern, perhaps  See you later.

This show was actually fantastic until Ya Mar.  The end of a show is really the
most formative time.  One would usually expect the climax.  The climax here
came in Character Zero.

Overall, I'd probably rate this show a 5.0 on whatever scale you want.  To give
you an idea of my grading, I'd probably grade the Went I: 8.0 and II:
8.5...last year Hartford was a 7.5.  However, I probably enjoyed this one more
because obviously the jamming was more creative - yes, I'm one of those '96
downers.  Get the tapes for the Tweezer, Gumbo, and Zero->Jam->2001.  Thanks
for reading.

Insert: Shameless grovel for tapes of this show.


"Cartman, dolphins are friendly and intelligent!"
"Yeah, friendly and intelligent on rye bread with mayonnaise."


Date:    Thu, 27 Nov 1997 18:41:37 GMT
From:    Arthur Frankel 
Subject: Hartford 11-26 Thoughts (long)

11-26-97 Hartford Civic Ctr., CT

I: Tweezer, Sparkle, Gumbo, My Soul, McGrupp, Dirt, SOAMelt, Horse -->
   Silent, Taste

II: Character 0#-> 2001# --> Cities --> Ya Mar# --> PYITE, Caspian,
    Poor Heart, Tweeprise

E: Cavern*

# all of these songs were, technically, "unfinished" -- 2001 only had
one run through of the "theme"

* with some different lyrics, something about "throwing the bitch in a
heap of dung," or something.


Hi guys,

Thought I'd try my hand at writing a review again.  The last time I did
this I think was for the Clifford Ball.  So you get some perspective on
my perspective, this was my 10th show (though I'll have reached the 18
mark by Jan. 1, 1998 -- plus I will also be entirely broke and possibly
homeless at that point, too) and I've heard a formidable amount of
Phish on tape (no way am I gonna try to calculate that) and have been
listening to them since summer '95.  Whatever.  I'm pretty sure I know
enough to write a somewhat decent review of this show, so here goes.

Quick notes on the lot:

Decent.  It was pretty warm, so that was cool.  We traded a 1984 Volvo
car radio (AM/FM, 5 presets each) for a beer.  Maybe you saw us trying
to get rid of it.  It was pretty funny (we thought so, anyway).  People
seemed to be in good spirits, and from what I gathered, Hartford was
the starting point for a lot of people's NE mini-tour.  Anyway...


Nice, pretty new venue.  A *lot* nicer than the Providence Civic
Center.  Every seat was a good one, or so it seemed, reminding me of
the Boston Fleetcenter a little.  The sound was mediocre, however;
definitely worse than the Fleetcenter.  It was muddy at times (I was
Fishman side, lower level, sect. 116), but it didn't take away too
much.  Security sucked.  Anal, with lots of aisle clearing (*very*
distracting) and flashlight use.  Fleetcenter security was much more
relaxed last NYE.

What really matters, the show:

Sorry it took so long for me to get here.

I really had no idea what they'd open with (Ya Mar was my best guess)
and a pretty sloooow Tweezer definitely caught me by surprise.  Good
choice, though.  It was, however, a relatively tame Tweezer, clocking
in at about 17 minutes.  Basically, they stayed with the normal type I
Tweezer groove (with the added funk flavor, of course).  Definitely
pleasing and melifluous; reminiscent, slightly, of the 12-30-96
Fleetcenter version.  Beautiful building Tweezer, no type II (or not
much, anyway), but I liked it, esp. in this position.

Sparkle was fast and Sparkly but not a bad choice to speed up the pace
after the funky, slow Tweezer.  Setlists show a --> from Tweezer into
Sparkle, but I don't think so.  *Maybe* a >, but no full segue.
Twwezer just faded out and Sparkle faded in.

Gumbo was next and this provided the best improvisation of the set.
First came the funk, then came a beautiful morph into a sweet, slow,
melodious groove that made me think, "Wow, I love Mike Gordon."  It was
very, very beautiful; dreamlike.  I thought this would lead into a
longer, searching jam that would segue into something.  I wanted them
to continue with it -- it sounded soooo good, this jam out of Gumbo (I
wouldn't be surprised to see this labeled "Gumbo --> JAM" on some
setlists), and I was begging for them to keep it going.

Nope.  Right in the midst of it Trey starts up the My Soul riff.  Okay,
a real good My Soul, but a total buzzkill to drop right out of that
superb Gumbo jam.  My Soul, though, sounded polished and raging.  Not

Ahhhh!  McGrupp.  My first, so I was pyched.  Some idiotic security
agents nearby were distracting me for parts of this one, so I was
slightly peeved.  Still, though, I love this song and this version was
tight and very enjoyable.  Beautiful (as always) piano work by Page
towards the end of this song.  A great choice to play this one, and it
made for a set highlight, imo.

Dirt was soft, sweet, enjoyable.

SOAMelt was interesting.  Pretty evil, hard rocking feel to it.  Not
hypnotic like the Clifford Ball SOAMelt, not as energized as the
12-28-96 Philly Melt -- it was somewhere in between as far as "feel"
goes.  Not close, overall-quality-wise to either of those versions,
which I thought were both outstanding.  This was Perfectly Mediocre,
but, as is usually the case with SOAMelt, awesome.  Lots of
feedback/noise at the climax, which were pretty well and ended the song
on a good note.

I love Horse --> Silent and never mind hearing it.  Good choice before
the closer,

Taste.  This had been a long set so far.  Taste made it much longer
(and much better).  A super, super Taste, with crazy fingers Trey
working it at the end.  I thought the 12-29-96 Philly Taste was awesome
-- the only real highlight of that shitty set I -- and this Taste comes
close.  Phenominal, to these ears.  Hear it, if only once.

First set was okay.  Pretty average, I guess.  I'd go right around the
4 mark if I had to rate it.  Highlights were a fine Twwezer opener, a
melifluous Gumbo jam (please, next time go FARTHER with this one), my
first McGrupp (though a perfectly standard one), and a really nice
Taste closer.  Check out this set once, at least.  You'll hear some
things you'll really like.  I promise.  You'll also hear some pretty
blaaah things, too (like the My Soul riff in the middle of a sweet,
beautiful improvisational jam).

Set II started with space/noise.  I was totally positive it'd be Bowie.
No, it was Zero, a wierd song to come out of space.  I wasn't too
psyched.  They stretched this jam out though.  Still, about 5-8 minutes
in, I wasn't too pysched.  Then, something happened.  The jam changed a
little, and *BANG*, there it was.  It sounded awesome.  I just hit this
point where I was like "Yeah, yeah, whatever, blaah jam out of Zero --
HOLY SHIT this sounds really, really good all of a sudden!"  And it was

Fish pulls out the 2001 drum beat somewhere in the midst of this high
energy JAM out of Zero, and things are looking very up.  Lots of funk,
lights, smoke with this 2001 (like NYE or Went) -- I thought this was a
very cool, jammy version.  One run through with the theme, then more
funk jamming.  Stop/starts, Fishman and Mike by themselves, no Fishman
all of a sudden, so Trey all of a sudden.  Lots of taking turns and
stopping starting, keeping us all on edge.  A great 2001 funk/improv
jam is in here.  Hear it! (And the first 2/3 of this set).

Full blown perfect segue into Cities.  No run through with 2001 theme
for the second time, just a great segue into Cities that I didn't catch
until it was on top of us.  Cities was Cities -- fun and funky.

The jam out of Cities segued, again: *flawlessly*, into Ya Mar.  This,
too, took me by surprise, I didn't hear it until it was right there.
They have gotten MUCH better at the segue.  Much.

Ya Mar great, too.  Nothing too special, high energy, normal.  Trey
took twice as long to say "Play it Leo!" though, which was wierd, but

When it came time for Trey to do his signature Ya Mar guitar part, he
led a sort of messy segue into PYITE.  Great song placement -- the
place was totally revved up.  They hadn't stopped playing since the set
began.  It was totally a really great set so far.  PYITE was raging, as

Caspian was next (I thought it would close the show).  Usual
magnificent Caspian.  This is a GREAT song when you're there, a so-so
song on tape, imo.  Trey was trilling and just playng high-energy,
tear-jerking stuff, like the Went (though not as good) and it really
was mind-bending.  I love Caspian, and I'm glad I heard it.

Poor Heart (not a segue, no way) was next and it was Poor Heart.  Too
many songs of this type, tonight, though (Sparkle was Sparkle, My Soul
was My Soul, Dirt was Dirt, HorseSilent was HorseSilent, PYITE was
PYITE, Caspian was Caspian, Poor Heart was Poor Heart, Tweeprise was
Tweeprise, Cavern was NOT Cavern [see below]).  Whatever.  I thought
the set would end at Caspian.  It didn't so I was happy regardless of
what was played.  I did enjoy Poor Heart plenty, though, so don't get
on my case.

Tweeprise, as is the norm, was INCREDIBLE.

E: Cavern.  A weird Cavern sith some the same line sung twice, some
different words, stop/go, Trey yelling at one point, "So I threw the
bitch in the heap of Dung!!!" or something like that.  Weird but
definitely neat to hear, as it were.

Set II was a very good set.  Not the best of the tour, for sure, not
even in the top 25%, probably, but a hell of a set.  The jamming and
imporivisation (mostly in the form of fine, fine segues) in the first 5
songs was enough to make the show for me.  I'd give this set a 6.5 or
7.  Highlights: Char --> 2001 --> Cities --> YaMar --> PYITE (segues!)
and the bizzare Cavern.  It was a real good show, and I am sooooo
psyched for the Worcester run, because I think it'll only get better.

The show as whole was pretty decent.  It had plenty of highlights,
plenty of lowlights, but it was well the worth the trip from RI.  We
had fun, fun, fun.  I'd give the entire show a 5.5, though I'd
definitely check out the Tweezer, Gumbo jam, and Taste from set I, set
II through PYITE, and Cavern (for its weirdness).

Hope you enjoyed (lived through) this review.  Thanks, Phish, for
making our trip very worthwhile.  See you all in Worcester.  If you got
this far, good job.  I wouldn't have if I were you.  Seriously.


Matt Frankel


Date:    Fri, 5 Dec 1997 21:02:34 GMT
From:    Jeremy David Goodwin 
Subject: *Blade on the Bitch* (REVIEW)

*Welcome to the Fall 97 Song Repeat Blues, Biz-natch!*

Hartford in review

I arrived home for Thanksgiving in Massachusetts early Wednesday morning
(after I got screwed out of my flight the night before...they did put me
up in the Hilton, though, which accentuated my feeling of being on tour,
albeit artifically). The faithful Commuter Rail brought me to my beloved
Boston, and a wonderfully nostalgic ride on the Red Line brought me to my
rendez-vous point in Cambridge. Another beautiful, sunny day. How

        The ride to Hartford was pleasant, and we reviewed the Star Lake
Gumbo again, as well as the magnificent Austin YEM->Isabella. I talked
about how horrible the house music had been at Hampton, and waxed
nostalgicly for the days when MMW and Miles Davis were ubiquitous. ŌI
heard Kind of Blue at Charlotte last Fall, and now itÕs like Celtic rap.Ķ
Hartford, however, was chilly and damp. There were dozens and dozens of
security guards in our outdoor parking lot, making for a less than
friendly ŌsceneĶ. I got some Chinese food in the Food Court, and the guy
there said that Phish ate the same thing last Fall, before the show. So
clearly I was on the bandÕs wavelength ;-)

Phish 11/26/97  Hartford Civic Center; Hartford, Connecticut

Set I  7:56pm- 9:24pm
Tweezer (19 mins)->Sparkle, Gumbo (12 mins)-> My Soul, McGrupp, Dirt,
SOAMelt, Horse>SITM, Taste

        Our mail order seats placed us almost directly behind the SBD,  on
the lower level. Absolutely perfect for the lights and sound. Security was
very helpful and friendly. The house music was a cd (a Rounder compilation
of bluegrass) that Chris had mailed to Mike two months before. Seriously.

        I had clearly pegged this night as the likely Let Down Show. It
seemed impossible for Phish to maintain the momentum of the first week of
tour, considering that three nights in Worcester left little space for
relaxation. Winston-Salem was supposed to be the let down show, but it
clearly appeared to be more awe-inspiring insanity. So Hartford would have
to be tame, I reasoned. On the plus side, however, they played Sparkle and
My Soul at Winston-Salem, so we wouldnÕt have to deal with either of

        Then the band took the stage and opened with Tweezer.

        At least once every run of shows I see (and more often, several
times), I am reminded once again of the most important lesson IÕve learned
so far in my study of Phish: *I donÕt know a fucking thing about this

        There was the nagging feeling that *another* Tweezer opener so
soon after Denver was something of an abuse, but I trusted that it
wouldnÕt happen again anytime soon, and took it for what it was: a
wonderful, wonderful communication from the band to the audience that they
Meant Business.

        Tweezer was similar to the Ghost of Hampton, in that it wasnÕt
dependant on repetitive ŌfunkĶ, but rather, was dark and gravelly.  All in
all, it wasnÕt that stunning, and then, as my traveling companion
Christian Compagna put it, ŌA perfectly good Tweezer, shot between the
eyes by SparkleĶ.

        Perhaps the Hartford show can be summed up by the Tweezer->Sparkle

        Gumbo, one of the treats I was looking forward to. I havenÕt heard
Tinely Park, but compared to Star Lake, this is the best Gumbo that has
yet been played. It was *much* more interesting than that version, with a
very active Trey. A little shorter than the other jammed Gumbos, I think,
but donÕt let that bother you.

        The -> into My Soul surprised me, since they had opened with that
at the previous show. A nice first set McGrupp was satisfying, although I
wish Trey would actually let Page solo during his ŌsoloĶ.

        The SOAMelt was heartily lackluster. At that point in the set
(after dealing with Sparkle, My Soul, and Dirt), it was kind of
depressing, actually. The Horse certainly didnÕt help. As Chris put it,
ŌNot only did we have to deal with SITM, but it was the worst SITM IÕve
ever heard!Ķ. Yes, they added insult to injury by playing a very sloppy
Silent in the Morning.
        Taste didnÕt inspire (13 mins), and itÕs getting harder and harder
for me to distinguish between versions. It very well may have been as good
as most, I really canÕt tell anymore without paying extremely careful
attention and fondling a stopwatch and secret decoder ring.  At 1:28, the
set was very long by Fall 97 standards. I interpreted this favorably,
hoping that they were Ōloosening upĶ for the second set.

        I instantly identified the setbreak music as Kind of Blue. Nice. I
reminded my friend that, as 12/29/96 taught us, there sometimes is
absolutely no correlation between the first and second sets. I remembered
the glory of Hampton, and fully psyched myself up for some glorious
jamming. There are some times when high expectations are good. The
intermission was extremely short (30 mins).

11/26/97  Set II

Jam (2 mins)->Character Zero* (10 mins)->Jam (8
mins)**->2001 (15 mins)***->Cities->Ya Mar#->Pyite, Caspian, Poor

E: Cavern->Jam->Cavern

*no closing vocals
**with Foxy Lady and Walk Away teases
*** with extended ŌSuperbadĶ jamming, and unfinished
# unfinished
**** Rocky Top intro

Anyone who knows me will find this notation of the set very surprising.
But let me say that this is the only instance, among the six shows I took
in this week, in which I have labelled ŌJamĶ.

        I was pulling hard for Bowie, and when the band began a spacey
intro, fueled by FishmanÕs cymbal work, I thought we were in for it. A
good two minutes of spacey, Bowie intro-like jamming before the opening
notes of Character Zero emerged. I was a little dissapointed that it
wasnÕt Bowie, but I honestly had a very good attitude about the song
choice. What I had learned at Hampton was that this band is going to jam
on *whatever* song they open the set with. I purposely said out loud to
Christian, ŌIÕm putting my notebook in my pocket. Who knows whatÕs going
to happen.Ķ I maintained total faith that Phish would come through.

        The Character Zero was great. The best take on the Zero jam IÕve
heard. It slipped out of traditional territory, into wonderfully
enchanting, dark jamming, and then after a healthy, totally imrpvised
jam! It headed back
into closing Zero stuff. It sounded very much like the band was headed
back to the end of Zero...thatÕs what Chris Kuroda thought, as the lights
shifted to the green and white end-of-Zero mode. They basically could have
sung the Ōoh-ohĶs over this music, but instead, the jam slipped away into
a new mode.
        I specifically noted the time at which the shift occured, and I
actually wrote Ō(jam)Ō on my setlist. ItÕs my opinion that the Zero was
finished, but just in a different manner, with no vocals.

        The jam out of Zero was the obvious highlight of the night, and
one of the highlights of the week. ThatÕs what we came for. At the point
when it was clear that this set opening Character Zero was going to become
a historic jam, I was as happy as I was at almost any point that week. The
jamming was so thick and interesting! At one point, Trey teased Foxy Lady,
and then immediately started playing something extremely similar to Walk
Away. (I remembered, at the time, reading a review from the first week of
tour that mentioned Walk Away teases). He repeated this several times..the
jam was spellbinding and exhuberant! Then, the band slowed down several
beats, over the course of a minute,  to fit the Walk Away groove. It was
like the Yem->Isabella and DWD->MikeÕs from this summer, but *in reverse*.
How glorious.

        Twenty minutes into the set, Fishman switched toothe 2001
drumbeat. The rest of the band eased into their various parts, and the
tune was underway. The intro (pre-theme segment) was very extended and
jammed, as at the Went. The Theme was done okay (Trey flub during one of
them), and then the meat of the song was jammed in a typically funky, over
the top manner. After a good pass at this jam, the band shifted back into
the closing segment of the song, signalled by PageÕs repetitious keyboard
figure. However, instead of heading towards the final Theme, Trey
immediately started playing in a Trolls on Mescaline manner. Everyone else
was basically ready to finish the tune, so this came as quite a surprise.

He then slipped into That Riff....I first heard it on tapes of 11.30/96
Sacramento and Vegas. I *love* it! It was on my list of things I wanted to
hear at the Great Went. In fact, we discussed it on the ride back from
Hampton. I jump out of my seat whenever I hear it on a tape. So I went
nuts when I heard Trey quote it during this 2001...then quote it again,
then quote it again! I was practically going out of my head. They started
jamming on this riff (itÕs from James BrownÕs ŌSuperbadĶ, courtesy of
Bootsy Collins, and perhaps other songs too)...the band quieted down
considerably, and Trey kept playing the riff, accompanied basically by
nobody (I think). It was bluesy, and the crowd clapped along. I have no
problem with this kind of spontaneous, jam-enhancing clapping. Then the
rest of the band came in, and Trey would play the riff, then rest as the
band filled in with THE MOST FUNKY MEASURES I have yet heard from Phish
( was glossy and shiny, like Shakedown Street almost...BETTER
than any funk from the summer!). Trey was trading short choruses with the
rest of the band! This went around a few times, before a full-band segue
into Cities. This is my favorite 2001! Who cares if itÕs considerably
shorter than the Went? ItÕs *better*!

        The Cities was fast! (Probably a beat slower than Hamburg, but
waaay faster than the Amsterdam, Deer Creek and Great Went prototypical
slow versions). I heavily enjoyed the Cities was in the mode of
the Hampton HaleyÕs...but for no apparent reason, Trey wrestled the jam to
the ground by strangeling it with Ya Mar. Everything was going
beautifully, but that was all the Hose we were to receive in Hartford. The
Ya Mar opening was brashly stuck onto the delicate jam at first, and then
a relatively clean segue ensued. Altogether, however, the segue was

        PageÕs solo in Ya Mar was perhaps a wee bit extended, and then
Trey soloed only briefly before leading a clanging, jarring segue into
PYITE. PYITE was pretty tight until a HORRIFFIC flub mid song, which
resulted in a three second pause before the band resumed. Oh, how ugly.
Jeff Goldberg claims that it was FishmanÕs mistake, but I donÕt know why
Trey waited so long to resume. I think he honestly was considering ending
the song right there. This was a total buzzkill for me, and I couldnÕt
understand why everyone else in the place was hopping and jumping for the
conclusion of the tune..hadnÕt they heard what just happened?

Then Prince Blasphemy. Tweezer (!), SOAMelt, and Caspian were all repeats
from Hampton. Do I really need *another* Caspian so soon? The fully
cheesified hard rock ending demonstrated to me how lucky I was to get the
unfinished version Friday.

        My spirits were low at this point in the set, and hearing the
bizarre Rocky Top intro->Poor Heart wasnÕt much of a momentum boost. There
was some serious confused sloppiness going on there; clearly, some signals
crossed among the band.  I held out hope that the set was about to make
another comeback, cause I assumed they wouldnÕt close with Poor Heart.
Nope, only Tweereprise remained. I like this tune, but I keep waiting for
one of those extra special, rare, jammed versions.

The opening of Cavern as the encore confirmed that this band was ready to
get out of there and head North. *Yet another* serious flub resulted in
that very bizarre, improvised, ŌI turned the blade back on the bitch and
dropped her in the dung!Ķ. The only word I could make out at the time was
Ōbitch!Ķ, but Trey was yelling and waving his finger at the crowd, and
there was feedback taboot.  This resulted, however, in a very strange,
very twisted jam. Quite pleasing, actually. It was purely a result of
TreyÕs frustration, but it was good listening. It closed with a repetition
of that Olde lyric, and then Cavern finished up. It closed in some very
heavy noise and strobes, and Trey grabbed the megaphone and waved it
around, before taking off his guitar and scraping it against one of PageÕs
keyboards. I think one member of the band may have said ŌKungĶ, once. All
in all, very very strange.

        Hartford was a really weird show. A first set with a Tweezer
opener and a brilliant Gumbo, a Second Set with a 20 min Character Zero
(!) and a top-notch 2001, and we went home that night with a bad taste in
our mouths?!? After that show, I had to forcibly remind myself that the
second set opened with some of the best jamming IÕve ever heard. The
sloppiness of the end of the second set, combined with residual bitterness
at the Sparkle, My Soul, SITM, SOAMelt, and mediocre Taste in the first,
left us thinking that, for some reason, we had seen a weak show.
        However, when people start listening to this on tape, and just
know not to expect much from Side B, we can focus on the utter brilliance
of the first 40 minutes of Set Two, and take the show for what it is:
easily Above Average, complete with some of the most inspiring jamming of
one of the most inspiring weeks of Phish IÕve ever heard.



                "I'm going in for debauche" -- AR
"Black, black, black is the color...of my rhombus. And people throwing
three, three hooked instruments of, with rope. Three hooked instruments
into the air. Onto the, this edge of the rhombus." --Trey Anastasio
"I can do wheelin', I can do dealin', but I don't do no damn squeelin'."
                                            --James Brown