, attached to 1997-11-26

Review by qushner

qushner This was, for me, a very special night. It was my ninth show. I hadn't seen the band since the 1996 New Years Run, which was a terribly disappointing affair. I'd only been going since Spring 1994 at this point, was a bit soured on the band, and was telling myself this was a "last chance" moment for them to win me back. There had been rumors floating around that something had changed, but, as anyone who was around in those days will remember, it took a while to get the tapes so I hadn't heard a thing. Needless to say, it took just a few minutes of the Tweezer for the rumors to start making sense and I was back in the fold by setbreak. This Tweezer remains, to this day, probably my second favorite among Tweezers I've seen. (Number one? 12/28/95, of course--which always gets overshadowed by 12/2/95.)

Listen carefully through the head: there's a moment in between two of the verses where Mike hangs a C# for a few bars. This may be my favorite note that Mike has ever played: terribly out of place and with beautiful intention--the whole song seems to tilt for a moment and then, as he cracks back into A minor, everything pulls back into place.

Upon relistening, this is a show of moments (most mentioned already here) that never quite seems to hang together. Both sets start amazingly well (and the first set ends amazingly well) but there are moments in the middle of both that sputter. Still, there was a special sense of freewheelingness throughout, which is admirable and somehow missing these days. In 1997, if only barely, Phish simply was; at some point Phish got trapped in being Phish.

Earlier on this tour is my favorite Fish fills of all time, in the SLC Wolfman's. I think it's right after "This isn't who it would be." An innocuous little snare roll, a closing hi-hat, and then, after a pause, a single snare punch that seems to stop my heart for a second every time. It seems to me a hallmark of his newfound ability to play loose.

Is it telling that I can't remember Page or Trey moments quite as vividly?


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