, attached to 1997-07-10

Review by ucpete

ucpete How had I not heard about this show before today? I found it myself by brute force -- I've listened to every show on this tour up to this point, so it was just a matter of time. Onto my penultimate review of Europe '97:

Dogs Stole Things has only been played twice as a show opener: this show, and Tahoe N2 15 years later. I was at the latter show... but enough about me. Until I listened to Europe '97, I thought of LxL primarily as a second set song, and if in the first set, a late or closing tune -- but it gets the early treatment repeatedly on this tour. By this point, 18 of 19 shows deep on this tour, Fishman has the drumming *down*. There isn't anything too special about this rendition, but being able to nail a song is typically an important prerequisite to it becoming a jam vehicle (see Piper later in the year). We get another early Ginseng, which though in the same position as the last show (I3), works much better here, coming off of some well-played tunes rather than a train wreck and a polarizing two chord droner. Anyway... the Gin that pops up next is freaking amazing! After what seems like relatively standard Gin-jamming (considering it's already a "big Gin"), around the 13 minute mark, the Gin evaporates and the band enters '97-funk-laden-Gin-territory. And it rules for the next 8+ minutes before kicking into Llama. Have I ever told you how much I love Llama? Well this one freaking rules, and despite it never technically finishing and instead Wading right into the Velvet Sea, it goes onto some almost Wormtown-like jamming before the segue. Weird stuff... and they keep it up -- busting out a random jam that basically ends in the Lizards jam, and then they play the not-quite-as-rare-as-its-successor, Olivia's Pool (pre-Shafty: same lyrics, completely different music).

The second frame starts up with some interesting banter about the Partridge Family, Hanson, and Fishman the Greasy Troll, before kicking into 2001. This one's mellow, kind of like the Melt from the previous night, but has some nice albeit repetition-based funk from Trey et al. Julius takes things up another notch, and this seems like a good slot for it actually. Julius peters out before segueing smoothly into a slowed-down Magilla that keeps the jazzy / swing mood rolling along. Ya Mar is up next and this one has some cool duets between band members "Hi-hat and Clavinet!"; "Everybody foot stomping!". While fun, there's nothing too deep here, but that all changes in the 4th quarter. First off all, Ya Mar doesn't finish normally -- well it *seems* to end in its typical fashion, but it starts back up after a brief pause, and switches into a minor key jam which is quickly understood to be Ghost! This is almost a Ya Mar / Ghost hybrid at the beginning, with Fish playing a calypso beat behind a sped-up Ghost. Ghost eventually sheds all traces of Ya Mar before organically segueing right on into "Take Me to the River". While "TMttR" does get a verse or so worth of vocals, it quickly dissipates into a spacey prototypical '97 jam. Trey starts up the siren loops, and Fishman drops out for a bit so the three melodic players can circle around each other. This is far out stuff, and it sounds awesome! Around the 6 minute mark, Trey starts them on a new groove path which brings Fishman back into the mix, and leads to a vocal reprisal of the song title that carries on for the rest of the tune over the repetitive little groove. It's a nice exclamation point on the set for sure. The encore is fun and features another (near-)full-band guest appearance, and funny enough, when I wrote a review for the previous show I said the following:

"this is the only time I can think of that a *guest* has dropped a tease during a *Phish* tune. If you know of another instance, PM me."

Coincidentally that happens in this show (the very next night!) when Son Seals's trumpet player drops a few Gin teases in the Funky Bitch encore! Good stuff. This show has some interesting far-out jams, some great segues, covers a bunch of genres, and has some very good playing across the board. Definitely one of the better shows from this tour.


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