Mikes review - 10/31/98 Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV

review submisions to me at dws@www.phish.net or dws@gadiel.com

Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 22:39:41 -0700
From: Charles Dirksen cdirksen@earthlink.net
To: sirklamm@aol.com
Subject: 10/31/98 Vegas Mike'sGroove
10/31/98  Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Ahhhh Vegas!  Had a lot of fun at these general admission shows, even
though, when it came to getting to and from my seat, my old age and
treachery did not easily overcome the youth and skill of most of those
around me.  I swore after the shows that I wouldn't travel too far to
see Phish again (I just felt soooo old at the shows.. I didn't see the
point anymore when I could just get the tapes.. I'd already seen
enough shows and scenes to know for the most part what I'd see at a
show..).  But I'm thinking maybe I'll go to the Vegas shows in
September. :-P  So much for swearing to oneself...
Opening to this Mike's Song is standard.  Tramps jam begins at 2:43,
which is about par for the course for the last few years.  Trey
immediately releases a digital delay loop effect/noise, as Page, Mike
and Fish hammer away on the bottom.  Fairly repetitive for the first
minute.  Trey comes in noodling, softly, around 4 mins.  He's not very
audible in this mix.  Kinda hangs in the background, at least at
first.  He doesn't become more audible until around 5:30.  He's still
just dilly-dallying around, seemingly without much of a care.  I don't
hear any purposeful intent behind this soloing, though he finally
pierces the upper octaves around 6:20.  Don't get me wrong, this
doesn't suck.  It's just about as Average Great as it gets in Mike's
Song's tramps segment.  Page throws down some fat chords on the
Hammond around 6:50, and within the next few measures, the whole jam
picks up steam and begins to rage (finally).  It's not particularly
melodic -- just tough and full.  At 7:42, Trey begins the tramps jam's
closing segment chords, and at 8 mins, Trey nails the Note that often
starts "Simple" and which (here) starts the post-tramps segment.
Within only a few measures, at around 8:23, Trey changes key, letting
out a note here and there that hint at "Frankie Sez." But he doesn't
really start playing it until 8:53 (Fish is still kinda tooling around
on his kit, softly.. but not seguing into "Frankie Sez" yet).  At
9:22, Trey starts playing the melody line of "Frankie Sez," alone, and
Mike, Fish, and then Page, slowly and steadily join in.  This segue
didn't sound terribly smooth, IMO, so I doubt this was planned
beforehand.   I love "Frankie Sez," btw. It's one of my favorite Phish
songs (I also confess to loving "Fast Enough for You" and "Lifeboy" as
well;  and "Leprechaun" -- a tune I wish would be brought back,
dammit!).  The harmonies of this "Frankie Sez" aren't always very
good, though.  There may have been some monitor issues.  Though the
music isn't flubbed terribly, there's a note here and there from Trey
that sound out of place.  I still love this song.  I could hear it at
every show, frankly (especially now that I don't see them very often
anymore ;-).  There was no "jam" at the end of this version,
unfortunately.  I'd love to hear this one really Go Out There sometime
(along the lines of the Simple on 11/16/94, which was such a pleasant
surprise at the time!).
Weekapaug kicks in at 14:32, out of nothing (there's no segue).
Excellent soloing from Trey, as you'd expect to hear in Weekapaug.
Great accompaniment from the others.  Around 21 minutes, Page takes
off on the clavinet, as the jam drops down a notch in intensity (but
still RAGES!).  The jam around 22:30 just RIPS!!  Very collective and
inspired!  Page is on the piano pounding out chords!!  Trey starts
screaming on his 'doc at 22:50 in a triumphant return to more typical
'paug soloing!  Fish keeps speeding up the rhythm!  Crowd goes nuts!!
Almost a ludicrous pace to this 'paug at this point (23:27)!!
Cacophonious!!!!  MAYHEM!!!  (crowd still going crazy)  BLISTERING
riffs from rock star Trey!!
Fish keeps speeding up the rhythm!!  Mike seems to have dropped out
(24:20) temporarily.  Trey is just playing whatever the hell comes to
mind.  Shredding.  Still Mayhem. Fish is going to town on the cymbals
(24:40).  At 24:52 Fish kicks back into Weekapaug's normal rhythm, and
there's a return to Normalcy, and the closing chords.  What the fuck
was THAT!?!?  Just chaos in this 'paug.  Quite an experience at the
show, but not exactly "pretty" to listen to on tape, to be sure.
Closing lyrics kick in around 25:25.  Total time 26:06.
As you can tell from the above, the Mike's Song, in my opinion, went
nowhere, and was standard average-great fare at best (really more like
a B-/C+ given versions from the last few years).  The Weekapaug, on
the other hand, closed the first set of the show and was fiery as all
hell. Just crazy.  Definitely an A- or so. Enough to bump this whole
Mike's Groove into "above average great territory," in my opinion.  B+
two cents,
p.s. Does anyone think I should review the 9/22/99 Las Cruces Mike's
Groove?  I don't have that show and haven't heard that version.  I'd
really appreciate hearing your two cents on that Mike'sGroove.

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