, attached to 1997-11-30

Review by JerrysMissingFinger

JerrysMissingFinger Set One Notes:
Guyute is an interesting opener, never would’ve called it, a solid rendition at that. Funky Bitch keeps it rocking, another strong ’97 FB. At the expected return to the song proper the band just keeps jamming, always a good sign, and the groove sets into a low-slung, lean cowfunk, the audience clapping along to Fish 2K’s snare. The dance groove keeps flowing and shifting organically, pushing into major territory near its end, before hitting a clean stop. Wolfman’s starts up, a great call to keep the funk flowing, soon dropping into a stripped-down B&D-funk, Trey doing nothing but laying down sirens. The jam lifts into a dreamy groove, pushing towards a soaring plain. Soon, the jam starts to twist up, but the tension passes, and the band is back to soaring upon hippy, happy grooves. Soon, the heavy ascending riff gets fired up, bass and guitar growling along together, with some Sanity and Esther quotes. Man, this is straight Vermont-metal, headbanger shit, Fish cackling as CK5 drowns the audience in darkness. The riffage is endless, starting to slow, before charging back to full speed, riffing more, slowing again, riffing more, before fading in feedback oblivion. Love Me suddenly emerges, and after that Wolfman’s Ritual, it’s such a silly 180, and I’m grinning ear to ear… this is funny. Peak Phishiness, and Mike rings the bell in approval. The Squirming Coil provides another degree of contrast to the High Weirdness earlier in the set, Trey singing, “I saw Satan on the beach…” perhaps a clue regarding the origin of the earlier conjuring. After a heartfelt Coil, Loving Cup sends the set out with an uplifting close, Rockstar Guitarman waiting on the ‘doc, the rhythm pounding away below him. A truly Phishy first set, and I dig it.

Set Two Notes:
NICU is a nice opener, though it feels of the warm-up variety. When Stash hits, the promise of a big jam opens. This Stash delivers, staying in a Stashy Type-I space for a while, a great take on the jam. The rhythms start to get a little tribal, and I’m led to disturbing visions of apocalyptic scenarios. Alien visitors take a scan of the crowd at the Centrum, before Trey starts up a wah-chucking, strutting groove. The groove takes on an almost-Timber character, soon becoming pulsating galaxy-funk, true starship dance-party vibes. The jam comes down, spreads out, and the alien scanners return, spreading and pulsing above the crowd. Free emerges, a reemergence into psychological freedom after that abduction of a Stash. Things start to get funky, Mike Meatballin’ across low-key wah-chucks, pounding away at the thick low-end of this Spreadsheet AUD. Fish 2K and Page are totally locked-in, before Trey leads a charge to the peak. Free-proper returns, closing a great version, getting the classic Fall ’97 treatment. An ambient jam emerges, floating on Trey’s noodles and synth lasers, Close Encounters of the Mycological Kind. Piper arrives, burrowing out of the final swirls of the ambient jam, the aliens taking a few final brain scans for good measure before the Red Worm emerges in full. Classic slow-build Piper here, with chilled-out outro going straight into When the Circus Comes, directly addressed to Woostah after the last three nights. Run Like An Antelope closes the set, a textbook ’97-style raging, wide-open ‘lope, Trey pedaling and wah-shredding, Fish 2K absolutely pounding, building to a nutty, knotted peak. Big energy close to the last set of the three-night run. Them Changes encores, the Band of Backpackers paying their respects to the original masters. Trey’s soloing definitely has some sauce on it, before he leads the band into a funk groove, giving way to one more neo-Hendrixian wah-shred.

Out of the three Worcester nights, this one might be my overall favorite. Night One has a unique flavor, especially in the first set, Night Two has the Runaway Jam that rightly overshadows the whole weekend, but I think that overall, this is the most balanced show of the run. Give it a listen, as you listen through the whole tour, of course.


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