Phish: The Clifford Ball
The foresight that led to preserving The Clifford Ball for posterity is an integral element of Phish's highly-improvisational musicianship, especially in the more open-ended intervals on record here apart from the formal sets. The tranquil liquid textures of "The Flatbed Jam"Phish played late at night on Friday on the back of a truck being drawn around the festival groundsrepresent reflection and recharge for more high- intensity performances. And the sound check jam is full of melodic and rhythmic ideas explored succinctly and in such a way that each of the four instrumentalists contributes almost equally.
The basic approach of such a jam, within which the freedom to pick and choose motifs, then to elaborate and focus upon them, is essential to the direction, momentum and clarity of the music. A similar overall approach applied to the original execution of The Clifford Ball and now extends to this box set, which at a suggested $99 dollar-retail price is a "huge bargain." This sublime event that couldn't have gone better than it did and you'd have to have been sitting in that summer sunshine at the time to experience it more fully.
Tracks: CD 1 - Day One (8/16/1996)-Set One: Chalk Dust Torture; Bathtub Gin; Ya Mar; AC/DC Bag; Esther;The Divided Sky; Halley's Comet; David Bowie. CD - Day One (8/16/1996)-Set Two: Split Open And Melt; Sparkle; Free; The Squirming Coil; Waste; Talk; Train Song; Strange Design; Hello My Baby; Mike's Song; Simple; Contact; Weekapaug Groove.CD 3 - Day One (8/16/1996)-Set Three: Makisupa Policeman; 2001; Down With Disease; NICU; Life On Mars; Harry Hood; Encore: Amazing Grace. CD 4 - Day Two (8/17/1996)-Set One: Old Home Place; Punch You In The Eye; Reba; Cars Trucks Buses; The Lizards; Sample; In A Jar; Taste; Fee; Maze; Suzy Greenberg. DISC 5 - Day Two (8/17/1996)-Set Two: The Curtain;Runaway Jim; It's Ice; Brother; Fluffhead; Run Like An Antelope; Golgi Apparatus; Slave To The Traffic Light. CD 6 - Day Two (8/17/1996)-Set Three: Wilson; Frankenstein; Scent Of A Mule; Tweezer; A Day In The Life; Possum; Tweezer Reprise; Encore: Harpua. CD 7 - Bonus Disc: The Clifford Ball: A Beacon Of Light The Flatbed Jam; Soundcheck (8/15/1996) An Interview With Jim Pollock; Chris Kuroda Split-Screen; Phish: On Jamming; Phish: The LG.
Personnel: Trey Anastasio: guitar and vocals; Jon Fishman: drums and vocals; Mike Gordon: bass and vocals; Page McConnell: keyboards and vocals.
Production Notes: 540 minutes. Recorded live August 16 and 17 1996 at Plattsburgh Air Force Base Plattsburgh, New York. Bonus: interviews with band members; documentary footage; soundcheck and after hours performance footage.