, attached to 1997-08-09

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez this show is a doozey! i won't call you an idiot if you argue me here, but this is the best 2 set show of the 1997 summer tour. in my opinion, the '96 alpine show was not all that great, but from here on out, alpine valley has been a steady winner, with maybe the lone exception of '03.

anyway, they open with one of my favorite openers, theme from the bottom. this is a very sharp version. page and trey have some very nice back and forth in this one. punch you in the eye, in true '97 fashion, gets that nice dark, funk thing going. they carry that vibe over to a fantastic ghost. gordon really cuts lose, and don't miss page on this one either. after some very nice funky explorations, they dip down into a very nice taste. the playing here is similar to some of the areas they were hitting in theme, so of course, it is damn good! dogs stole things gave everyone a much needed breather. then they dive into an absolutely rediculous reba. they are all over this one. trey is immaculate on this reba. in fact, i must say, this is my favorite one since nye 95, which puts it in my top 2 of all time. lawnboy gives everyone a chance to say hello to their good friend page. then they spring a pretty hot cross roads break out to close down the set. i like the effort, but i feel phish is just a little too "white" to pull this one off, at least without some tinkering. either way, it's a shit load better than hearing another character zero!

wilson brings the crowd back into the game quickly. nothing too fancy here, but it's played well. foam works really well out of wilson. also, they toss in a nice exploratory, jammy section in the middle of foam. mike's song really soars. it may be a best of year contender; although, '97 was not an over the top year for mike's song, especially after europe. page really has some strong playing under trey on this one. they peter out into a nice little ain't love funny. i really like this odd little tune, and i wish they would pull it back out a little more often. they bring it back up into a very solid version of simple. fishman has some very strong playing throughout this one, managing and driving some very nice subtle tempo changes. eventually, it gives way to a very straight forward swept away/steep. then the fun really cranks up. this mule is insane! the middle section gets real nuts, and when they come out of the jam, they rip right back into mule. without skipping a beat, they drift into a dreamy slave. they really float through the front section of this song, but they soar through the back section. they just keep driving the ending jam before they explode into another best of the year candidates, weekapaugh. a sets worth of energy has carried over into this one song. they just bury it. it one of those great moments where they are all in sync. what a trio to close a set. phish does a nice job bringing everyone down at the end of the show. circus is probably my favorite slow songs phish does. this one is well done. rocky top is straight forward.

if you do not have this show or have not heard, aquire it asap. it is top notch from start to finish. some nights they nail the setlist, but it still never really takes off. well, this one, is actually better than it is on paper, and imo, it looks pretty goddamn good on paper.

highlights:
set 1:
theme, ghost>taste, reba

set 2:
mike's>funny as, scent>slave>weekapaugh(must hear this whole sequence)


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