Date:    Tue, 30 Dec 1997 16:18:41 GMT
From:    Timothy Graf 
Subject: 12/29/97 MSG

        Wow, what a show!!  Here's the list:

Set I
NICU, Golgi Apparatus, Crossroads, Cars Trucks & Buses, Trainsong, Theme from the Bottom, Fluffhead, Dirt, Antelope
Set II
Down with Disease >  David Bowie > Possum*, Tube > Monster Funk Jam > Tube, YEM
E: Good Times Bad Times

* w/I Can't Turn You Loose jam and ending

        Got to MSG about 45 minutes before, found my usual seats, right side, 1/3rd back, one section up, and settled in.  The crowd was very cool, cutest girls I've ever seen at a Phish show.  Gotta love New York.  After spending 4 holiday tours stuck in the Midwest, this was to be my first Holiday show.
        In terms of a setlist, this has to be the best I've seen.  I was so glad to see that they used up alot of songs I dislike in DC, most notably the Sample/Bouncing/Character Zero trilogy of death.  Not one throwaway song in the whole lot.  If I had to pick my ideal show, this one would come pretty close.  On with the review:

NICU:  Great opener, very funky, and a long time since I've seen them do this.  Fairly standard Page solo, but still great to hear.
GOLGI:  Another one that has been a long time coming, this really got the crowd going.
CROSSROADS:  Great placement, Trey went off!!  This is one of my favorite covers and after seeing it in Philly, I was really glad they decided to do it again.
CT&B:  Not a big fan of this one live, although Page had some nice piano work.  I would say this version was longer than average, but maybe it just seemed that way.
TRAINSONG:  Very pretty, I really enjoyed this.  The vocal harmonies are so good!
THEME:  Standard version, which is to say that it was fantastic.  Always love this tune and the build was great.
FLUFFHEAD:  Fluff came to New York.  I was really surprised that the place didn't erupt after that line, but I was psyched nonetheless.  The end jam featured some gorgeous Trey soloing.
DIRT:  Finally time to sit down!!  I was worn out and this song couldn't have been placed better.  I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love Dirt on tape, but it really doesn't do much live.
ANTELOPE:  Unreal, very spacey and noisy.  This Antelope reminded me alot of '95-96 Antelopes in that respect, until they got to the "Rye Rye Rocco" section.  Then, they pulled out the funk, doing the stop/start jamming that they seem to be doing alot of these days.  Up until that point, it was pretty run of the mill (in other words, the usual sickness!), but the funk jam really put this one over the top.  Very impressive end to a solid first set.

DWD:  I was little disappointed in this, seeing as how we just got a noisy jam in Antelope and the DWD jam continued in that vein.  It clocked in at about 20 minutes (a very rough estimate), got very thick, and then cooled off until Fish started in with the high-hat intro to Bowie.  He actually did some nice work on the intro, I still say he's the most improved member of the band.
BOWIE:  The mellow beginning jam was beautiful, but the real gem was the segue into Possum.  Towards the end, when they do about 8 bars of space and then shift into 8 bars of Trey going up the neck of his guitar really fast, instead of going into the end riff, Trey counted 4 and the band immediately turned on a dime and went into Possum.  Unbelievable segue.
POSSUM:  Very very tight, Page started teasing I Can't Turn You Loose (the Blues Brothers theme), the rest of the band picked it up and they did the entire thing a couple times and went straight back into Possum.  This is why I love these gus; they pull something like this out and completely catch you off guard.  Then, after the standard Possum end, Trey starts up the ICTYL theme again and they play through it two more times!  Funny as hell
TUBE:  Or, should I say, TUBE!!!!!!!!!  This was easily the highlight of the show for me, as it was _completely_ unexpected and so goddamn funky.  The jam developed into a funk fest similar to the 12/3 jam, lots of stop/start stuff, with each member getting a chance to funk it up.  Then, ala the Bowie, they turned right around and went back into the Tube jam.  If you hear nothing else from this show, at least get a copy of this.
YEM:  As if that wasn't enough, we get a YEM!  Great post-tramps jamming with Trey dancing and strutting around the stage.  It all collapsed into a very cool vocal jam, probably only the 2nd or 3rd vocal jam that I've ever enjoyed.

        Overall, the show was killer, definitely in my top 3 or 5.  The band was pretty tight, and other than a few Trey flubs (Fluff & Bowie most notably), the playing was outstanding.  And like I said, you can't ask for a better setlist.  See you tonite and tomorrow!



Date:    Fri, 2 Jan 1998 19:04:25 GMT
From:    bertolet 
Subject: The Utter Ball Part I - 12/29 in review - LONG

DISCLAIMERS:  I'm 29 and married.  I am a meek shepherd, but I only buy the
best in life: fine wines, single malt scotches, Duncan yo-yos.  My word is
my bond.  I've heard three shows from the Fall Tour only, intentionally.
Now, on to the review.

PRE SHOW:  Rode in from Newark airport on the bus with my wife Jennifer,
and saw Steal Your Face graffiti on the rocks above Jersey City.  It
reminded me how kind New York had always been to me in the good old days.
Met L.A. friend Ben Shakin at the hotel and caught the subway to the
Garden.  Pasta dinner at Charlie-O's induced a bout of garlic burps that
must've frightened fellow Phishheads as we labored through throngs of
scalper mafia to make our way inside.  Security was REMARKABLY lax,
checking packs and patting down only randomly.  The scene didn't really
merit a huge crackdown imo, because although there were plenty of available
"soft" drugs if you wanted to find them, the smack/crack/pill/nitrous crowd
was either non-existent or low key (probably due to the lack of a lot and
the cold).

We watched Eliza and another little girl playing on the soundboard
pre-show, getting their earplugs in.  Cute.  The air of anticipation built
nicely...these were to be my first Holiday Phish shows ever, and fellow
mellow netter Bob Hallinger had come up with some great seats for all three
nights (thank you again, Bob!). Tonight's seats were in section ninety,
right concourse just off the floor above the taper's section.  Lights went
down at 8:09.

NICU was a nice opener, and Trey jump-started the energy with a boisterous
"PLAY IT LEEEEOOOOOO!!!!"  A clean NICU with no jam as I'd predicted.  Oh,
well, the sound was already excellent, and the dank was all
the Spice Girls.

GOLGI was an appropriate call given the ticket scramble.  There was a
section left out of the song after the first chorus, I'm pretty sure.
Standard Golgi.

CROSSROADS.  Here's when the party started.  I never thought I'd get to
hear this, and I am pleased to say that it ripped like nobody's business.
I started to think about Trey's playing and wondering if he had indeed made
that deal with Old Scratch that Robert Johnson first sang about long ago.
Got me to thinking it may have been worth it ;-).  Absolutely spectacular,

CARS TRUCKS BUSES.  Jenn jokingly called this "Planes Trains and
Automobiles" which I think is a great name for it (PTA looks better than
CTB).  I used the opportunity to offload beer.

TRAINSONG is a treat for me.  I'm the rare person who thinks the song
encapsulates Mike's personality - elusive and whimsical, but moody.  Neat
new ending to this song, too.  So far, nothing in this set had really
ventured out.

THEME was no exception.  Make no mistakes, this was an excellent Theme, and
surpassed easily most of the Hoods I've heard from the past several years.
Trey has built a whole new movement in the song, right after the lyrics,
and based on a solo I first heard at the Gorge (someone else out there may
know the first time it appeared...perhaps Europe).  The build was intense,
the payoff glorious, but there was no hanging-by-our-fingernails Hose.

FLUFFHEAD was only my second ever (the excellent Gorge version being the
other), and was fantastic.  Major screaming at "powerful pills" (I always
wonder whether most of these people are actually getting the meaning here)
and a really tighly-played journey through Fluff's Travels that had even
Ryan Sullivan, music comp major, in awe.  It even got Jenn thinking that
life-death-rebirth was a powerful theme in Phish's music, even though she
never read Bill Fonefono's thread last week on this same subject.  I love
my wife.  Page was notably ALL OVER the keyboards in this jam section, and
inspired Trey to some equally soaring melody.  As a matter of fact, this
song was one on which every member of the band shone brightly, and it
really got the crowd off.

DIRT was Dirt.  A sort of flat version I'd wished never happened, as it
sucked some of the gas out of the set.  It wasn't fatal suckage, however,
as I had already called

ANTELOPE.  Victor Szalvay, bar the door.  This Antelope was a tornado, an
earthquake and a solar eclipse rolled into one.  Otherwise, I'm at a loss
to describe its personality.  The opening was standard and tight, but when
the jam opened, Trey decided to swing the beat (something he complained
about Fishman doing in this song in an interview a while back).  He looked
urgingly at Fish, who picked up the change and followed Trey.  Pretty soon,
the whole band was swinging through this Antelope as it picked up momentum.
 The gearshifts were tremendous, powerful.  Chris's lights...I was a
mouth-breather the entire time.  Climax, WHAM -- Breakdown.  OK, some
extended jamming in this Rye Rye section.  Mike takes a solo...something
really simple and characteristically dorky.  Then Leo on (I think) the
clav.  Nice.  Then a little stop-start before driving home the ending.
Superb.  A fantastic finale to the end of a nicely building set of Phish.
It all portended well for the second set.

SETBREAK.  Most of the discussion in the corridors seemed to be muted, as
it always is after an Antelope like that.  "Oops, dropped another brain
cell."  Beer intake, beer output, and then settling into our seats for the
next set, basically expectation-free.

DWD is what I called as soon as the effects started pouring out of the PA,
and indeed, Mike stepped up and thumped out the intro.  I was glad they
chose not to do this on NYE again, and sort of understood why not when I
heard Andrew's ("Exree Hipp") theory about what gets played on NYE.  I'll
let him explain.  This DWD started off a little slow, I must admit, playing
across familiar territory.  In the first seven minutes or so of the jam, it
struggled to find a direction, though I wouldn't call it pointless.  The
turning point came with the descent into monochrome.  This part of the jam
was VERY hynoptic, with Trey playing some different scales and themes over
the top of the one-chord bed of sound.  Shortly thereafter I began to
unmistakeably hear the theme to Tweezer.  There was what I'll call an
"effects interlude" about two minutes later -- a structure-melting,
type-II, get the freaks out of their seats jam -- then it was back into the
Tweezer teases for what felt like another four minutes or so.  Now at the
net gathering the next day, I could only find a few people who said "Yeah,
I heard it."  Dirksen, as a matter of fact, seemed pretty skeptical.  But
those around me heard it as soon as I pointed it out to them, so I'm pretty
confident it'll show up on tape.  There may even be a JJLC tease somewhere
in there, but I can't vouch for it.  This was a WELL-above average DWD once
it found its footing, but there was to be no Diseezer.  That's because
instead we got a burbly phat meltdown into the hi-hat intro that
unmistakeably signals

BOWIE.  I have no notes whatsoever in my book about this, and usually this
is a sign that I'm engaged.  Frankly, I always love Bowie, and the Ventura
one from this summer left me in shambles.  While this was not the work of
art that the funky Ventura Cities sandwich was, or that the Worcester '94
Bowie has always been, it was still a captivating Bowie for sure.  That's
all I can say, and someone else should say more.  The trills were terrific,
the distortion wicked.  What happened next literally knocked me over -- a
no-stop segue directly into

POSSUM.  This segue in is similar to a good no-seams drop from Mike's into
Simple.  The tempo is identical.  I was caught so off-guard I nearly pissed
myself.  It was not only my first Possum in a long time, but by this point
I was beginning to send ESP messages to the band to STOP PLAYING ALL THIS
incredible thing is that they heard my cries, and mistakenly interpreted
this telemetric mode of communication as permission to *travel through my

Yes, there's a story brewing.  You see, my friends, several nights earlier,
while sleeping in my Dad's place in Louisiana for a Holiday visit, I had a
dream.  The dream was Phish.  They were playing, as they always do in my
dreams, in a really small, unique venue where I always seem to get
excellent seats.  For some reason this night, Phish came out and played
"Can't Turn Me Loose," an old song covered most notably by the Blues
Brothers.  Now this song is a big part of my musical vocabulary, because
the Duke band played it frequently while we were trouncing other basketball
teams into a talcum-like powder.  I may have even heard it played that
night while watching the LSU/Notre Dame football game on my Dad's TV.  But
there was Phish in my dream, playing it, sounding like a million bucks
despite the fact that they had no horns.  I woke up, shook my head and
laughed.  Phish would never in a bazillion years play that, I thought, and
I went back to sleep.

Please now flash to two nights later, and imagine my utter shock and
speechlessness when something resembling CTML comes right out of Trey's
guitar.  I shook my head again.  Must be dirty keg lines at the beer place.
 Nope.  There it is again.  And again.  And again.  The rest of the band
hears it and starts to play it.  OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGodPhish is in my
DREAMS!!!  This is easily one of the most intensely powerful moments of my
musical life, both uplifting and disturbing, bother impossible and
undeniable.  I don't know if this is the product of coincidence or sublime
energy, and don't even care to know.  Suffice it to say, the rest of the
Possum could have been a schwag-fest, and I'd have still been elated, but
it was anything but that.  When they segued back into CTML to end the song,
I went absolutely BANANAS.  Thank you to Phish from the bottom of my heart
for this one.

TUBE.  My first.  Although I've heard this song plenty on tape, I didn't
even know what it was for a good minute, thanks to the brain-fry that was
Possum (for me).  But this Tube opened up in the middle to a great little
jam that was alternately raging and contemplative.  I can't describe it
other than to say it was totally captivating and mesmerizing, and that
there was a Spooky tease in there somewhere (shock).  I forgot what the
song was again, then they came back into it.  So stupendous, living in this

YEM truly got me to thinking that the band was burning through jam
powerhouses at such a rapid clip that NYE might be that dreaded Sparklefest
we'd joked about (this, of course, was the absurd ranting of an obsessed
and foolish Phish freak).  But this YEM would be what I'll call YEM-lite.
It was short, frankly, but really nice.  The build was notably tight, and
the jam included some unidentified teases from Page.  I think the band was
starting to get tired -- understandably -- and so wound down this YEM into
a neat little vocal jam that mimicked the sound of a chugging train
underneath Penn Station.  Really cool, and a great way to wind down the

GTBT was more ferocious and unrelenting than any I've ever heard, though
I'll say for comparison's sake that the best I've heard is Vegas from '96.
So draw your own conclusions.  I was pleased with the encore.


Though the band's playing was extremely tight on everyone's part, this was
Trey's show.  He had the wheel, and did some incredible things on the
frets.  I think that the second set playlist -- so chock full of jam
powerhouses and wishlist songs -- was a message to the crowd that this band
was going to jam out EVERYTHING in the next two nights to follow, and a
call to have faith since there was no longer any need to have patience.
We're here.

Highlights of the first set were the Crossroads, Fluffhead and Antelope,
monsters each.  I'd give the set about a 7.

Highlights of the second set were the...well, everything.  Though I
acknowledge my personal bias toward the Possum (wouldn't you be biased if
you dreamt about an obscure cover two nights before it was debuted?), I
have to give this set a 9.5.

Encore gets a 7.

Overall, this show gets an 8.5.  A hell of a way to start the run, and I
wondered if the band wasn't digging themselves a hole they couldn't jam
their way out of.  I'll come back later today to write reviews of the next
two nights -- VERY different nights of Phish.  Thanks for reading.

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the
basic building block of the Universe.  I dispute that.  I say that there is
more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the
Universe."  --  Frank Zappa

Chris Bertolet


Date:    Fri, 2 Jan 1998 07:23:22 GMT
From:    Yance Davis 
Subject: Holidaze Review pt 1 (28-29)

Greetings everyone!  It's been a wild week and a sorely needed one as well
after a shitty semester.  First off, thanks to Aaron, Matt and Phil for
the lodging help and to Charlie for the hard-to-find ticket I needed.
Everyone at the gathering, it was a pleasure meeting you all and hope you
enjoyed all that was to come (12/30...ahhh).  On to the reviews!

12/29/97  MSG Night 1:
After the five hour drive and hotel check-in, I hopped on the train to the
Garden, unsure of what to expect after the lackluster first night.  My
seat was decent, though to my left were two young girls who sat and talked
the whole time and kept bringing up loudly how they came to the show and
were leaving in a limo.. Nicu started things off fairly nice.  I was sort
of expecting a jam from it, since I've come to the realization that Phish
can really jam anything they want to these days.  Tonight would not be the
night for Nicu though.  Golgi?  Eeesh, I was beginning to have flashbacks
from the night before, quelled only with the thought that Cavern, Bouncin,
Rocky Top and Sample have been crossed of the list and at Worst, there
would be a Sparkle later on (which never arrived, happily enough).  Some
random guy tapped me on the shoulder and said (quite randomly) "wow man,
the ticket stub song...for so long I thought they were saying 'Chicken
Club'!"  Crossroads was a nice treat since I hadn't seen it before, and
there was some power building up on stage.  Cars, Trucks and Buses was my
first this year and Train Song, a tune I generally sit down to enjoy, I
stood up for, since the girls next to me had too much to chat loudly
about.  Fluffhead was nice, but nothing spectacular until Antelope came
around.  Wow, I don't think this tune ever has been boring, but seriously,
every version I see these days seems stronger and more inspired than the
one before it.  Not only that, but the 'Ry Ry Rocco' part was jammed out a
bit, which was completely new for me.  Phish could not have picked a
better way to end the set.  Not an incredible set, but not bad either.  It
was one of those sets that just put people in a good mood for the rest of
the show, and as you pass people walking by the bathrooms and concession
stands, all seem happy and content.

Second set began with a spacy opener that could only mean 2001 or DWD.
Disease's structured segment went by beautifully before slowing down a bit
around the jam segment.  Not too much here at first, but slowly it built
into a nice little jam.  It was one of those jams that had me consistantly
sitting and standing back up between the lulling spacy jams and the more
rocking ones, respectively.  When Fishman started with the hi-hats
signalling Bowie, I was sure it was a good omen for the set.  At first, he
started to play around with the rhythm to the point where it almost seemed
they wouldn't do Bowie after all, but sure enough that's what it would be.
A nice jam, but nothing out of the ordinary.  No, what was best about this
Bowie was its ending.. They went into the traditional machine-gun Trey
ending section as usual, but then, out of Nowhere all four simultaneously
hit Possum.  This is one of the greatest segueways I've ever heard between
tunes in my life, so excellently it was done.   Throughout Possum they
teased the Blues Brothers theme which, though Chris Bertolet mentioned the
name of it several times at the gathering.  After Possum they teased it
once more before going into the highlight of the night: TUBE.  This song
has gotten So fucking funky.  I mean, besides the jam itself, the actual
structured part of the song has so much funk in it now.  The jam itself
was great to listen to from start to finish, and though my back was
killing me, i stood and grooved through the whole tune.  What a part
of the jam really reminded me of is the 'hey' game that Phish used to talk
about in interviews, where one of them would start something then all the
others would come in and build on it.  Well, at one point in the jam,
everything just Stopped, and Trey started a little jam of his own which
the others promptly built on for a while.  This continued for a bit,
before things stopped again for Mike to start a little jam which they all
built on, and then Page as well.  If memory serves though, Fishman never
got his own jam.  I look forward to checking this one out on tape, but I
think it'd be well worth getting.  YEM was an unusually low point in the
set for me if only because it was so damned bried.  It was like, the jam
was over right as it was beginning.  It's a shame too, because a great YEM
here could have made this one of the truly great sets.  As it stands, it's
only very good ;)

set 1: 5 (antelope brought it to average goodness)
set 2: 7

Things were definitely building up day by day, as the 29th kicked the
28ths ass imho, while 12/30...well, as someone has said, words cannot
fully describe it.  I'll try though tomorrow.

Lame grovel: I need 12/30, if not the whole show then at least part with
Harpua on it so I can go over that.  Any help there would be So
appreciated.  peace

yancy davis


Date:    Sun, 4 Jan 1998 19:57:49 GMT
From:    Lushington 
Subject: ***(late) 12/29 12/30 12/31 review***


my 13th, 14th and 15th Phish shows. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
I will save everyone my pre-show and after-show experiences and get down to
my attempt at a review. i've never done this before, so just humor me.

I NICU > Golgi > Crossroads, CTB, Trainsong, Theme > Fluffhead > Fluffs,
Dirt, Antelope
II DwD > Bowie > Possum*, Tube, YEM
e: Good Times Bad Times
* Cant Turn You Loose jam

Set I
NICU was a perfect opener. this song is very fun live. the way they sing the
chorus sounds very emotional to me, which makes me feel even better when i
see it.

Golgi was a surprise. I was thinking that it might be kind of lame, but it
was cool. Haven't heard the song in a while.

Crossroads was straight out rock. I've only heard it once by Phish and never
by Clapton. It's a damn good song.

CTB was alright. Basically, i just watch Fishman during this song. It sounds
pretty much like the album version live, except for the solos.

Trainsong, always pretty.

Theme is a real funky song. i like to think of gangstas rolling around in
their pimped out cars when i hear this song. sounds strange, but thats what
i do. the ending was drawn out a bit with some beautiful semi-jamming which
segued into..

Fluffhead > Fluffs. I love this live. no matter how many times i get to see
it, its always amazing. classic old phish.

Dirt was fine. nothing really wrong but i'd rather just listen to a tape of it.

Antelope. pretty much chaos. nice breakdowns in this one

Set II

Down With Disease. The jamming was really nice and the segue was perfect..

Bowie. i was waiting to hear this since Hartford. i saw hartford and both
albanys and didnt get to see Bowie. but finally, it happened. I love this
song so much because of the jam alone. the way it builds up is better than
any Hood or Slave or Reba. I love it.

Possum. Came out of an unfinished Bowie which was pretty slick. i heard this
weird jam which i am told is Cant Turn You Loose by the Blues Brothers. ok.
pretty weird.

Tube was huge. it's great how much this song has changed. i like to listen
to my old tapes with Tube, then bust out Albany. it's crazy how different it

YEM was big time. excellent funky jamming all around. the vocal jam was odd.
they were playing along with the vocal jam, not the usual one that comes out
of the "Washa uffizie.." so i thought that was neat.

e: Good X Bad X. saw it in albany. pretty cool song, especially the part
when Page sings.


Date:    Mon, 5 Jan 1998 07:32:19 GMT
From:    Charles Dirksen 
Subject: *NYE Run Thoughts*

You're probably sick to death of reading/skimming NYE run reviews by
now in the Eigest, so I will try to keep my comments reasonably brief
(yeah, sure, charlie).  It was wonderful meeting so many folks at the
Mustang Sally's gathering on 12/30.  For those interested, the
arm-wrestling match between CLF and myself did not occur, primarily
because my non-net girlfriend wasn't at all amused by the prospect
(and presumably didn't want me -- intoxicated as I was by the time
Corey showed up -- to humiliate myself (she's not entirely privy to
the truth that I regularly humiliate myself in front of you folks)).
I hereby dub CLF "KingMoron of Lamehendge" by default (there will
always be only one KingMoron420, however).  Strangely, I have no
difficulty conceding said title to Corey, worthy 6'5" bitch that he
is. He would have beat my drunk old ass, anyway!

It seems to be in vogue these days to MOCK the articulation (in the
form of a DISCLAIMER) of one's Phish experience prior to one's two
cents on a particular gig.  Far from being "irrelevant," though, a
sentence explaining your Phish experience in general terms before you
review something helps provide a context for your comments (such as
that "the [Name of Song] was Excellent").  At least give references to
other versions (!).  I'm thrilled that so many folks are reviewing shows
these days (makes for meaty Eigests), but I think that a review
without a serious preface contextualizing the two cents is *arguably*
a waste of bandwith. (I say *arguably* because there are plenty of
examples of enjoyable, thoughtful, helpful and intelligent reviews
that are NOT contextualized by the experience of the author)

ANYWAY, I'm a jaded fan who has only seen around 60 shows since
10/6/89 (which I still haven't found on tape, btw).  I have heard most
of the Helping Friendly Book (which is not to say that I'm better than
you (of course I am), but simply to contextualize my TWO cents).

I didn't take notes at any of these shows, so please forgive my lame

12/29/97 Madison Square Garden, New York NY

The show opened in a rather straightfoward fashion with an avg. NICU
and somewhat sloppy Golgi.  The crowd went gah-gah over Golgi.  The
show really started with Crossroads, which is the best version of this
song I've heard Phish perform.  It was *FAAAR* better than the October
'95 versions, and modestly better than the sporadic versions since
then (including the one from Alpine last summer). Very inspired with
The Jam That Wouldn't Quit.  CTB and Trainsong were fine.  Theme was
an excellent version, without question, but still didn't top my
personal favorite (11/27/96 Seattle).  Trey melodiously solo'ed but
not to the extent I had hoped he would.  Fluffhead simply wasn't
nearly as good as everyone says, in my opinion.  I think people need
to revisit older versions, like those from 1993 (8/17/93 is still my
personal fave). The closing jam of this Fluffhead was great, but for
Icculus' sake, it is SUPPOSED TO BE AWESOME, and it USUALLY is (over
the course of Phishtory). Dirt was cute (I enjoy this new tune).
Antelope **RAGED**.  An excellent close to the set, and a
well-above-average version, even for 1994-7.  A great set, but again,
if you are looking to get no more than around 40 1997 tapes, there are
plenty of better '97 sets of Phish out there, imo. Phish usually plays
great sets.

The second set was WONDERFUL!!!!  Musically, it wasn't enormously
PROFOUND or anything, but what a VIBE!  The room just EXPLODED when
Possum kicked in out of Bowie (it appeared to surprise everyone
present).  The DWD jam segment was fairly blah for the first ten or so
minutes, but I enjoyed the closing 5-10 minutes quite a lot --
gorgeous improv.  Bowie was a great version (given versions of the
last few years in general), but it wasn't quite a "monster" like
11/26/94 or 12/29/94.  Possum contained a serious setlist-worthy jam
on the Blues Brothers tune "Can't Turn Me Loose" (or whatever the song
is called, I can't remember; it is the song that used to open Blues
Brothers shows). Excellent, well-jammed Possum!!  Tube was PHAAAAT and
funky and awesome, though arguably not quite as good as the Dayton
version earlier in the month.  You Enjoy Myself was very good, but the
Mike-driven jam segment wasn't too exciting (a typically awesome "B"
version at best, as I heard it).  Loved to hear it, though!  What a
setlist!  One jamming tune after another!!  The Good Times encore was,
like the second set, very well-jammed and fun.  I'd highly recommend
picking up at least the second set of this show.  Show Rating: 6.5

(by the way, I just took a look at the setlists sent out by Mikey, and
I have to laugh at the references to a "Loving Cup jam" during DWD and
"James Bond and Antelope jams" during Bowie -- give me a fucking
break, guys.. people are hearing certain chord progressions and
massively mischaracterizing them, imo.. it is as if the need to label
or classify or analyze a JAM is taking priority over the god damn
original improvisation itself.. there may have been some Bond theme
teasing from Mike in that Bowie, if memory serves.. but a JAM!?

CONGRATULATIONS to DAN SEIDEMAN for winning the Pharmer's Almanac's
"Name that Phish Jam" contest post-show at the Wetlands Krewe show
(and thanks to Andy Bernstein, Lock Steele and other Almanac folks for
sponsoring the contest in the first place).  Dan Seideman won a pair
of tickets for the NYE show, courtesy of the Almanac and thanks to his
own Jam-prowess (one of his competitors, for those that haven't heard,
was Dom Deluca, one of the "Worst Traders Ever" by many accounts).
Dan Seideman -- along with Jim Raras -- is working on the Show Reviews
section of the Mockingbird Foundation book.  (evil Jabba the Hut


Date:    Tue, 6 Jan 1998 03:15:29 -0500
From:    Cardinal 
Subject: *** MSG Run Review/Thoughts*** PART 1

Hi all,
   This message isn't intended to incite riots or more diatribes from
various people on how NYE was great or wasn't, it is simply one person's
thoughts on the matter.  Of course, if the aforementioned things happen,
you'll have that.

Anyways, on with the post!  Before anything else, my credentials, as they
are, stand at seeing roughly 30 shows, and listening to twice that on
tape, my first show being Kent State.

MSG 12-29-97 Set I

Nicu- I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I think this is one of
the best songs to begin a first set off with, and this was no exception.
While there wasn't anything stand out about this version, it was nice to
hear (that, and taping problems in the pit forced my attention elsewhere
:).  Fine segue into

Golgi Apparatus-  Odd placement I thought at the time for this. Usually
one sees this near the end of a set, if not closing it.  Occasionally,
opening a set (I.e. Palace '97).  To me, this seemed like the "let's keep
the energy going fellows" song.  Nothing to remarkable going on yet.
Another quickie segue into...

Crossroads- Now this, I have to say, was hot.  3rd song in, great
placement IMO, and the energy with which this was played with was very
nice to behold.  ALso, it was executed pretty well.  Nice rock and roll
theme going on here.  Final segue into...

CTB-  Now I know there aren't a lot of CTB fans out there, but I like this
song, provided it is placed well in a set.  This was one of those times I
thought.  I like this song mainly for Paige's solo, and I must say,
everytime I hear CTB his solo gets better.  This version stands out in my
mind for some reason as a standout version (if there could be such a

Trainsong-  This would be what I would call the first wrongly placed song
in a set, for the reason that there was no reason to slow things down yet
since CTB isn't habitually an outrageous *jam* song that needs for things
to be calmed down afterward.  Up until Trainsong, cohesion was fairly
coming along.  Trainsong, while not wrecking that, didn't help it.

Theme-   I'm not the biggest fan at all of this song, but the jam segment
tonight seemed particularly good as well as being nice and tight.

Fluffhead-  This is fastly becoming another Guyute for me, in that I know
already what 90% of the song is going to be like since there's not much
improvision going on.  This version, many will say, was excellent due to
the Jam tacked on to the ending, and while that was very nice, I still
think the fluffhead's of these days don't come close to measuring up to
those of '94.

Dirt- Guess the band felt compelled to once again calm things down after
the jam ending of Fluffhead, which Dirt did nicely.  Otherwise, nothing to
write home about.  At this point, the set seemed to be getting uneven.

Antelope-   Now this would be your usual First set closer Antelope except
for the awesome jam they did during the lyrical section.  Never heard
anything like it, which made this Antelope definatly one to look up
sometime for Antelope enthusiaists (another antelope to make one perk
those ears up, if not already mentioned, would be both St. Louis Antelope
'97 for the Makisupa jam?/ and Phoenix '97 for one of the spaciest
Antelope's I've ever heard).

Set II

DWD-  Ah, seems I always get to catch those DWD's that are above average
at the very least everytime.  This one was no exception.  Clocking in
about 20 minutes, it featured a very nice jam (with Citylike chords), not
necessarily teases mind you), beginning out with a frenzied jam and dying
down a bit into a very nice meledious jam near the end.  Only thing wrong
I could remember was Trey botching a few of the lyrics, but other than
that, a keeper.  Pretty nice segue into....

David Bowie-   Ah, another one I've been wanting to hear for a while now.
This Bowie, some people mentioned, was not the exploratory Bowie's of the
summer, and while that may be, this Bowie did clock in at  20 minutes and
had a very cohesive jam, featuring a James Bond riff at one point by
Mike.  However, my favorite Bowie is still 12/29/96 (having not heard the
infamous 12/29/94 yet) for both its extreme tightness and cohessiveness in
jamming.  They were doing the ending for Bowie, and turned, on a dime,
right into

Possum-  Whoo Hoo!  This set was getting better and better.  I liked this
possum because it was also not closing a set, nor in the encore slot,
which gave them ample time to jam on, as well as featuring the Blues
Brother "Can't turn you loose" jam in both the middle and end of Possum.
Very very good.  What came next completely blew me awayy....

Tube!-   I must be one lucky fellow, since I caught Tube both at Deer
Creek '96, Palace '96, and Dayton '97 (featuring the first Tube Reprise
Jam I believe).  WHile this tube did not have the reprise jam, it did
feature a waaay extended jam section, featuring solo;'s by Paige, Trey and
Mike.  Excellent (minus the dropped verse on Trey's part).  This Tube and
the Dayton Tube are very close contenders for my favorite tube, though I
heartily recommend the Dayton tube to others who caught 12/29's Tube
simply to see how Tube evolved as it has.  And as if that wasn';t

YEM-  My god!  This setlist is near anyone's wet dream.  I had wanted to
hear a 1st set YEM (curious to see how the dynamics of placing YEM in the
1st set went), but I wasn't complaining at this point in the show.  The
pre-lyric section was nice, nothing to write home about, and the
post-lyric jam I enjoyed greatly, with only the complaint of wishing they
had extended it further and got a little more exploratory/spacier (maybe
did some of that space they brough out during Makisupa at Champaign '97).
This YEM also featured the not-so-common-now vocal jam.

E: Good Times, Bad TImes-  After such a 2nd set of jams, how could the
encore not follow suite?  This is what GXBX sufficed as, a nice way to
bring the whole show to an end.

If I had to rate, I would give the first set a 5.5 (5 being average), the
extra .5 for the Antelope Jam and 2nd set an 8/8.5.

If one must get tapes, then do so for the 2nd set and get the Antelope as


Date:    Sun, 1 Feb 1998 22:06:27 GMT
From:    bertolet 
Subject: 12.29.97 set 2 retrospective

After listening to da kine phatty DFOB of this set from MSG (thank you,
Eric Burns), I thought I'd scrawl some new thoughts on the wall.

First of all, the Disease may be the second highlight of the set from a
purely musical perspective (after the Tube jam, which is nucking futs).  It
wanders around in type-I-ville for quite a while, but the playing is really
tight and thoughtful, with Fishman in particular just shining (as he did
for the entire MSG run).  After the key change, however, things really get
interesting.  Trey lays down some wicked, ominous licks before settling
into funkier territory, then throws in what is arguably a Tweezer tease or
two before he decides to fuck around with his digi-delay (which he used
this far too much this Fall, imo).  The band builds another funkier groove,
and after about two minutes emerges into what feels like a full-blown
transition into Tweezer.  NOTE:  If you cannot hear this theme, you are
stone deaf.  Trey noodles all around the main Tweezer lick, and Fishman
goes so far as to set up the beat.  Page even plays the theme.  AT ANY
that clear for skeptics.  If you didn't hear it, listen again.  I truly
wish they'd actually played it then instead of trying to play it when
monster balloons were crashing into the stage two nights later, but you get
what you get, and David Bowie was fine.

In the pantheon of Bowies, this is really nothing all that special, and I
recall thinking as much at the show.  I haven't heard the Philly Bowie yet,
but I know people have hailed it as the best since '94.  Well, this
definitely isn't in that category.  Even in comparison to the Ventura
Bowie, this version is tame.  The surge at the end is really kind of
forced, and the climax is just sort of perfunctory ("well, here we

I really want to know how people are labelling their tapes for the
transition into Possum.  I mean, it's not even really a segue per se, but
it's so "on-a-dime" and fits so well that I'm tempted to give it a ->.  The
Possum isn't as Great as I remember it being, but I was so floored by the
CTYL-from-my-dream jam that I couldn't be counted on to be objective.  It's
fun, though, and gets crackling pretty well by the end.

Tube is crazy.  This version is PACKED with energy, and the funk jam that
it sandwiches is a revelation.  It makes me want to change my vote in the
97 poll to Tube for the most improved song of the year.  Is Dayton the
version everyone's been raving about?  I'd like to know whether it's as
strong as MSG's.  This one was worth the price of admission, and is worth
getting as filler even if you don't want to get the entire set on tape.

YEM is, frankly, not as interesting as I remember.  It struggles and gropes
for direction, and it's pretty apparent that Mike doesn't feel too
comfortable in the driver's seat of a jam.  The vocal jam is neat, and I
like when they end a set that way.  But really, this YEM doesn't stand up
as a mammoth version.

In retrospect, I think there's some great, great playing in this set.  But
honestly, it's not quite the unrelenting hosefest I'd thought it was.  The
setlist is incredibly strong, and I will listen to these tapes for a long
time.  But I don't think there was any real ground broken on this night.
I'd revise my earlier review to say that this set was more like a 7.5 than
a 9.

BTW, if you want to hear something groundbreaking, check out the Halley's
from 11.22 in Hampton.  The jam that follows absolutely merits a JAM
notation on setlists, as it is wild, wacky and utterly type-II.  I haven't
listened to the rest of the set yet as I just got the tapes, but if the
Halley's is any indication, then this Hampton show is every bit as good as
everyone says.

If you've made it this far, I'll spin MSG 12.29 set 2 and Hampton 11.22 set
2 for anyone with less than 20 hours in their collections.  Standard B&P
offer.  E-mail me if you're interested.

"I don't understand what they mean, and I could really give a fuck." --
Pavement, re: the Smashing Pumpkins

Chris Bertolet


Date:    Thu, 12 Mar 1998 14:53:50 +0000
From:    Dylan Behan 
Subject: Concert Review: 12/29/97

Hi folks, I submitted this to the student paper here at Canberra Uni (in
Australia) and thought you guys might want to read it... remember it's
from an Australian perspective and no one here even knows of Phish


Concert Review:

Phish at Madison Square Garden, New York, December 29th 1997

What can I say? I went to Phish knowing exactly what to expect: the
unexpected. This rock jam-band quartet known extensively for being the
heir apparent to the thrown of the Grateful Dead are best known for
their extended improvisation noodling and three hour plus sets.
The concert I attended was the first of a four night run at the Garden,
with all three selling out in a matter of two or three hours. I had to
be content with a ticket bought of a scalper for three times the cover
price of $25, and a seat up the back of the second balcony with
newspaper reviewers and thirteen year old chain smokers. Still my view
was good and the concert I attended featured a strong, yet traditional
setlist. The following night, unexpectedly they played for almost four
hours and featured a number of rare songs and debuts.
Phish have a song repetoír of over 200 songs, and are well known for
playing four nights in a row without repeating a song. This concert,
Phish repeated a practice they had been getting into over the previous
months, of playing a selection of shorter songs in the first set, while
playing only four songs in the second set. As to be expected, the first
set was riddled with uninspired album favourites such as "Golgi
Apparatus", "Theme from the bottom" and "Fluffhead". They finished the
first set after an hour and a half with a stellar performance of their
15 minute plus jam fest "Run Like an Antelope".
The second set contained only five songs, yet it lasted for almost 90
minutes. The imaginative jamming and teases in it showcased what Phish
was good at. These included the audience favourites "You Enjoy Myself"
and "David Bowie" as well as  a debut tease of the Blues Brother Band
Theme: "I Can't turn You Loose". Some synchronised trampolining towards
the end of the set surprised many Phish "newbies" and also displayed the
simultaneous musical and aerobatic skill of these musicians.

All in all, it was worth $75 and being frisked on the way in. To give an
impression, this concert was like a cross between one of those rave
dance parties here in Australia and a traditional rock concert. Thirty
thousand people in a big room noodle dancing to extended and
semi-improvised rock songs by America's 10th biggest touring act..

- Written by Dylan Behan.
Dylan Behan presents the Rock Concert Hour on 98.7 CUE from 5-6pm on
(Campus only radio station at Canberra University)