91

Phish: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Phish: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 Less than halfway through Phish's Hampton/Winston-Salem '97, it's very clear what distinguishes these shows, documented in this seven-CD box, as singular entries in the band's pantheon of concert performances. The funk pervading this music makes a consistent backdrop for lengthy improvisations, the likes of which merely sprawled earlier in the group's career.

Entries like the segue from "Ghost" into "AC/DC Bag" are not so sharply defined, but nonetheless provide continuity to the performance. No loose ends dangle within these eight hours of playing; evidence that, slightly less than a decade-and-a-half into the group's partnership, the instrumental interplay had reached an extremely tight intricacy. That the group retained the safety net of the beat is, in retrospect, a wise move, thought it threatens at times to reduce their sound to an acceptable level of background music: "Slave to the Traffic Light," for instance, is worth savoring for its delicate melody alone.

Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 further illustrates the pliability of Phish's material. Tunes such as "Harry Hood" take on wholly different character filtered through rubbery syncopation the likes of which appears on the third CD. Then again, "Mike's Song" and "I Am Hydrogen" more or less retain their shape; the couplet a propulsive inclusion during which the band and its audience become mutually enlivened, though not as recklessly as during the set closer proper, "Run Like An Antelope."

Phish was only slightly less inspired on the following show of the tour. The cumulative effect that would appear to peak with the November 22nd encores of "Bouncing Around the Room" and "Tweezer Reprise" continues on into the next night's show in a clarity of recorded sound that compels close listening on its own terms.

Which, in turn, reveals how funk is an affect for the group, and not a particularly earthy sort either, with the instrumental "Black Eyed Katy" refining a cerebral approach that Steely Dan thought they'd perfected twenty years before this show occurred.

The real revelation on the final disc, however, is the filler. One track is an excursion into self-created ether, establishing some guidelines for the group to abide by when they reach that rarified atmosphere during a show. The other, "Back at the Chicken Shack," finds Phish executing a set of blues changes so smoothly that the genre might be as much of an influence on the group as Frank Zappa or The Who.

With only the necessary credits, past and present, included in the four-page insert within the box—historical perspective relegated, as usual, relegated to Phish's website—the individual CD sleeves can be assembled, front and back, to reveal the continuity of the cover graphics, inside and out—an attention to detail that accurately reflects the music it encloses.

Track Listing: CD1: Emotional Rescue > Split Open And Melt; Beauty Of My Dreams; Dogs Stole Things; Punch You In The Eye > Lawn Boy > Chalk Dust Torture; Prince Caspian; CD2: Ghost > AC/DC Bag > Slave To The Traffic Light; Loving Cup; Guyute. CD3: Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove; Harry Hood > Train Song; Billy Breathes; Frankenstein > Izabella. CD4: Halley's Comet > Tweezer > Black-Eyed Katy > Piper > Run Like An Antelope; Bouncing Around The Room > Tweezer Reprise. CD5: My Soul; Theme From The Bottom > Black-Eyed Katy; Sparkle; Twist > Stash > NICU. CD6: Fluffhead > Character Zero; Bathtub Gin > Down With Disease > Low Rider > Down With Disease. CD7: Bold As Love; Julius. Filler from 11/21/97 Hampton Soundcheck: Hampton '97 Soundcheck Jam; Back At The Chicken Shack.

Personnel: Trey Anastasio: guitar, vocals; Jon Fishman: drums, vocals; Mike Gordon: bass, vocals; Page McConnell: keyboards, vocals.

Title: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Jemp Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "For King & Country" CD/LP/Track Review For King & Country
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Fusion Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Fusion Machine
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 12, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.