Mikes review - 7/9/99 Merriweather Post Pavillion, Columbia, MD

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

Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 13:39:45 -0700
From: Charles Dirksen cdirksen@earthlink.net
Subject: RE:  7/9/99 Merriweather Post Mike's Groove
7/9/99  Merriweather Post Pavillion, Columbia, MD
Mike's Song opens up at the end of Meatstick.  Nothing special in the opening.  
Tramps jam begins at 2:50.  Trey lets loose a digital delay loop noise, and
then starts playing notes aimlessly staccato-style, overtop a strong groove
laid down by Mike, Page and Fish.  Mike is unusually melodic on the bass. Fish
just keeps the beat mellowly. Page complements Trey's playing.  Trey starts
noodling melodically around 5:29.  He repeats this evil, descending riff a few
times beginning around 6:40, which is pretty cool.  But this jam is otherwise
steady as she goes.  Not very exciting at all, actually.  I wonder if there
was some sort of equipment problem on stage, since this jam is frighteningly
Around 7:29 things quiet down and chill even more, and Trey starts ominously
noodling.  Mike is still melodic on bass -- great contributions from him.  
But he's nevertheless playing a passive role overall in this version (at least
at this point), for whatever reason.  Around 8:30 Mike starts repeating a
catchy riff that Trey starts playing off of within a few measures (9 mins).
Pretty cool jam at this point, but it doesn't last very long. Fish chills
massively on the drums (9:14).  Page is almost nonexistent.  Sounds like he's
playing very, very quietly in the background of this very genteel, meandering
groove.  There's almost no activity at all around 10 mins. Very quiet.  Trey
lets out a riff here and there, as does Mike.  Fish lightly thuds the kick a
few times.  Page also noodles a bit.  The audience, for some inexplicable
reason, starts clapping (10:34) "along" (even though there's nothing of any
merit to clap along with).
At 11:10 Fish lightly comes back in with a Mike's Song rhythm, playing along
with Mike (who is only thunking on one note at this point).  But they cool off
again after a few measures.  Trey is still tooling around aimlessly.  This jam
isn't very strong, IMO.  Talk about aimless. Christ.  (12 mins).  Mike soon
starts melodically soloing, which is unusual, and cool.  Trey employs a
high-pitched effect on his 'doc and starts noodling aimlessly.  Fish comes
back in again, lightly drumming a Mike's Song rhythm.  He gets increasingly
stronger on his kit, presumably trying to kick something of merit out of Trey.  
Mike is still melodically playing along.
Around 13:39 Trey finally plays a melodic riff, and proceeds to repeat it, and
Mike takes off underneath the riff mightily. (14 mins)  YES! =^] But this cool
groove only lasts a few measures, before Trey starts repeating a single note,
in a manner that suggests "Sweet Emotion".  Indeed.  At 15:15, Trey starts
singing "Sweet Emotion." Mike is the only melodic one at this point (15:44),
actually playing the melody of "Sweet Emotion."  Trey just repeated the same
note, and didn't play the melody. This isn't nearly as cool a "Sweet Emotion"
jam as many have been in the past, IMO.  They drop "Sweet Emotion" fairly
quickly, and then just jam in a mellow, aimless fashion again. Shit. There's
no climactic closing jam, no Mike's Song closing chords... Blah.  At 17:28
Trey begins "Twist Around."  Though it's a real -> segue, for a change, there
wasn't much going on at the end of Mike's Song to make it an impressive one,
Twist Around is OK.  Like the Mike's Song, it didn't have a very inspired jam
segment.  Weekapaug kicks in at the end of Twist, at 30:54, and it's started
by MIKE GORDON, Ladies and Gentlemen!!  Mike tears it up, and Fish lets out an
amusing "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" (Pink Floyd tune) type of scream.  
Fish doesn't start playing 'paug until 31:26 or so, when he starts it up with
both Trey and Page!  Lyrics begin at 31:48.  A very unusual start to 'paug and
a great one, IMO!  Having Mike start 'paug by tearing it up on the bass --
unaccompanied -- is too cool.
Trey begins melodically soloing overtop the others right away to start off the
'paug jam segment (which is par for the course).  It's very pretty.  Trey's
soloing seems to have more of a soul and a purpose behind it than his playing
in the Mike's and Twist did (34 mins). It's still not as smooth as it usually
is -- he even flubs around 35:28, badly, which is very unusual in 'paug.  He
plays really well in the next few measures, though, as if trying to make up
for the flub.
Around 36:10 the jam drops down a notch as Trey repetitively strums, Mike
thunks away viciously, Fish keeps a 'paug rhythm steady, and Page jams along
on the clavinet!  There's some vocal additions to this jam, too, which is odd
-- I think Fish or Trey lets out a vocalization that's in tune with Trey's
According to astute fan Dan Hobbs: "Holy Mother of Icculus Charlie! I can't
beleive that you went though this whole review without even once, ONCE
mentioning the full out Macarena tease in Weekapaug! I guess this is where you
say someone "lets out a vocalization that's in tune with Trey's riffing". Trey
starts with the Macarena like teasing from the start of the Weekapaug jam and
gradually turns it into the actual song (albeit weaved through a weekapaug
jam). Very nice indeed, especially considering the 'natural rival' status the
song has taken on with the emergence of the world renound Meatstick Dance
sweeping across the world right now (and in the same show!). I think this
along with the Sweet Emotion jam and very nicely placed Twist give this Groove
a definite A- in my book. But of course, that's just my two ducks." I have
(fortunately) never heard the Macarena and can neither confirm nor deny what
Dan hears in this Weekapaug.
They take off back into Weekapaug strongly, and Trey suddenly becomes Amazing
Rock Star Trey, letting loose a flurry of siiick riffs!  He's still not as
precise as you've heard him play in many Weekapaugs in the past (particularly
around 38:20).  Closing Weekapaug chords begin around 38:38, and the closing
lyrics start within two measures or so. They end 'paug, but then, after a
dramatic pause, conclude with a chord-heavy swirling wall of sound for a more
inspired -- and inspiring -- finish.  Total time is around 40:15.
As you may have been able to tell, I wasn't very impressed by this Mike's
Groove overall.  I think it's still worth a B/B+ rating, in light of the
highlights noted above. And this is still far better than the vast majority of
pre-1993 versions, of course.
two cents,

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