Slave to the Traffic Light review - 12-7-97 - Nutter Center, Dayton, OH

review submisions to me at or

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 01:57:53 -0500
From: Harryman
Subject: Slave 12/7/97 review
Ok, this is not my usual song for reviewing, but I still can't believe
that one of the most review-worthy songs in the Phish repertoire has no
reviews! Slave to the Traffic Light, that most majestic song, which
guarantees an uplifting and transcendent jam segment!
Well, I'm going to begin, much like I began the Theme From the Bottom
reviews with my favorite one, and much like that version of Theme, this
Slave comes from one of my all-time favorite sets (12/7/97 I, if you do
not have it, you are not a true phan J). (By the way, on a personal
note, my new favorite set is 9/17/00 set II, though set I ranks up
12/7/97 Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
Set I: AC/DC Bag->Psycho Killer->Jesus Left Chicago, MMGAMOIO, It's
Ice->Steep >Swept Away->It's Ice, Theme From the Bottom, Tube->Tube
Jam>Slave to the Traffic Light
Set II: Timber Ho!, Wolfman's Brother>Boogie On Reggae Woman, Reba,
Guyute, Possum
Encore: A Day in the Life
Slave comes on the heels of the first of the versions of Tube that have
segued into "Tube Jams" (the others, which are highly recommended are
11/2/98 I and 9/15/00 I). Slave enters beautifully at 0:00
0:00 Fishman is keeping a beat on the cymbals, possibly hihat, too from
the funk that was Tube Jam when Trey does the little light chord work
and Page enters with those beautiful little licks.
Build into the groove at 0:22. The last harmonics by Trey at 1:27,
lyrics start with the chorus at 1:40.
See the city, see the zoo at 2:07 after some nice work by Trey on the
'doc. Evil build at 2:35-:56 with Page's beautiful piano work in the
quiet after the storm Trey unleashes. Page on the mellotron (right? Or
is it the Fender Rhodes?) after the second fury is released from hell
2:59-3:22. (A really nice version of the "fury" is 6/25/00 with Trey
dropping the scary, siren-like loops, though the jam gives way to Trey's
going out of tune, but that's another story)
The pre-jam segment gets really really quiet with Mike and Trey barely
audible over Fish's cymbal work. The pre-jam is from 3:28 until Trey
pulls beauty out of his bag of tricks and begins his utterly stunning
and melodious playing at 6:54. Before this, Mike is playing some really
nice "ambient" bass. Page is on the mellotron/Rhodes for this entire
At 6:17, Trey hinted that he was about to come in, but he held off in
favor of allowing Page and Mike create a peaceful calm.
At 7:36, Trey has some nice distortion which really accentuates his
playing in songs like these. 8:07 provides a beautiful little line.
This Slave really shoots upward around 8:30, no backing down from Trey
this time; he's going the distance.
8:56, nice noodling. 9:02 Trey begins the real ascension out of bondage.
Listen for the note at 9:29 which rises above all else. Back into a
little bit of calm until 9:52, when he comes back for some more
distortion-laden bunches of notes.
10:18 the notes come in a beautiful manner and at 10:43 it makes you
want to cry, it's that damn moving! Anything beyond this is purely icing
on the cake, as Trey shows us at 11:10-:14 with some nice staccato
The band really begins to crescendo around Fishman's riding the crash
cymbals at 11:30 or so, and Trey's furious attacks on those chords. More
high legato notes at 11:41-:51.
The ending is signaled by Fish at 12:01 with the whole band's
co-operation. 12:24 brings with it the last chord of this truly amazing
Look, get this show at all costs, if only for the most spectacular first
set since 6/11/94 (discounting Gamehendge sets 7/8/94 and 6/26/94 J). I
rate this Slave an A+, and though, it is totally subjective, I don't
think anyone who hears it would disagree.

hits (many)