Subject: Skyballs and Saxscrapers: 2/16/97 Cologne, GER
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 04:20:48 -0500 (EST)
From: benjy eisen

Skyballs and Saxscrapers: Cologne, Germany 2/16/97 Set II Time: 8:51
Sparkle ends (thankfully) and
Simple begins at the usual 0:00 start. :) Beginning features the audience on hand-percussion - the clapping starts almost
immediately, but then the whole band kicks in, effectively drowning out the audience. 0:35 "We've got it simple" Yep, we do!
Usual hurrah follows; standard. After all, what is a band without saxaphones? I mean, like, they're *grand* man. 2:41 We've
now got be-bop as well, followed by slight but exciting Trey fills. Simbop lasts till 3:45 when this jam is effectively started,
thanks to Trey letting out a single, solitary, sole, soul note sustained, and supported by Mike funking it up on bass, Fishman
riding the higher areas of the kit...Enchanting although characteristic Simple licks from Trey in the 4:48 regions. 5:11 Page is
chording away high up on the piano. 5:36 Trey and Page complement each other perfectly with their respective contributions
while Mike and Fish hold down the fort. Trey unleashes some Rift-esque note slides. 6:37 area the band quiets down, Mike's
doing "I Am Mike" funk, Trey and Page weave a fine, sublime web of entanglement, Fish is on the snare but only slightly. Trey
hits upon some soaring high-octave flight themes that jingle-tingle, 7:40 it's effectively only him and Page each entangling the
other in this wrapped-around Simple DNA strand that's not *so* simple after all. Mike plucks high notes on the bass here and
there, Fish keeps it j-j-j-jazzy. At 8:51 Trey hits a chord...Swept Away? wait a minute, something else, 9:02 it's
definately something else, Fish kicks in the beat and we have...yes yes YES! "Never had a chance to get out of this mess" yes
yes YES..."Could've had a chance" yes yes YES!!! WE'VE GOT "WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN" BECAUSE
LOS LOBOS IS A BAND!! Damn, I ***really* LOOOVE this song, I really love Phish, and I like 'em both together! I've
never heard the Los Lobos version, but I may have to now! :) Fwiw, the segue into it was alarmingly akin to the past fall tour's
Simple->Swept Away transitions if that gives you any idea of how it sounds. In fact, I think it may be the same chord, but I
dunno. I do, however, know that this Simple was not the most spectacular; nowhere near Las Vegas 12/6/96, nor 10/31/96 nor
12/31/96 nor 11/9/96 etc. But it was similarly styled and was sincerely enjoyable. I can't really justify rating Simples, but if these
were eggs I'd rate them a Grade B Entirely pleasant to say the least, but nothing new, groundbreaking or unprecedented.
They've done better/they've done worse. I *really* hope they keep "When The Circus Comes To Town" - in some odd way
the emotions expressed remind me of the emotion I feel being conveyed when they sing "Life on Mars?" - a melancholy shade
of glory, if that makes any sense. Walk with light my friends, Benjy