Fourteen years ago tonight, Phish stepped on stage in Albany, New York, and finished one of the most creative and well-loved tours of their career. Each and every night brought a new musical assault on the audience, and this night would be the last. Following a gritty and exploratory second set of Albany’s opening show, the band threw down a celebratory set of anthems to conclude a tour that fans still celebrate to this day.
The meat of the second half is a full throttle romp through “Ghost,” “Mike’s” and “Llama.” After “Ghost” had been such an extravagant vehicle of groove throughout the tour, Phish gradually built this jam into a seething excursion that favored a shreddier path. And as “Ghost” wound down, Phish wound up another heavy-hitter of the season, “Mike’s Song.” Splashing into ballistic Fall ’97 stop/start funk around the comical, in-jam banter, “Bring In the Dude!” the guys alternated solos during the breaks and absolutely blew the roof of The Knick with adrenalized musical fury and one of the more energetic band-audience exchanges in memory. The end of such a legendary tour would not go quietly into the night.
Building the jam into dirty, clav-painted rock textures, the band then took it way down before bursting back into the piece at a breakneck pace. Taking their head of steam into an aggressive jam that saw its way out of “Mike’s” structure, the band was playing not like it was their last night of tour, but as if it was the last night of their lives. Building into a quickened pattern, Trey took the idea and turned it into a scorching mid-second set “Llama.” Phish finished the set with the more uplifting playing of “Weekapaug -> Catapult -> “Weekapaug” and “Harry Hood,” and although Fall ‘97 was finally over, the community was shits and giggles after a month of the best music we’d ever heard from the band. And New Year’s Run was only two weeks away…
I: Ya Mar > Axilla > Theme From the Bottom, Ginseng Sullivan, Strange Design, Sample in a Jar, Vultures, Tube, Good Times Bad Times
II: NICU, Punch You In the Eye, Ghost > Mike’s Song -> Llama, When the Circus Comes, Weekapaug Groove -> Catapult -> Weekapaug Groove, Harry Hood
E: My Soul, The Squirming Coil
Jam of the Day:
Phish brought it home in Albany and this sequence provided the dark meat of the set
“Sand” 12.13.99 II
And while we are celebrating anniversaries, this big-time “Sand” dropped in Providence 12 years ago, tonight.