b r e a t h i n g   r o o m

20 July 98

Cobwebs or butterfly wings tangled in her long dangling whiskers, Fraidy cat (that's what we call her) met me at the door as I slipped out this morning to take my car Mr. Bean in to the "Cronos" service garage for the 6K "care" visit. Fraidy hustled up the steps as if attracted to the door ajar but sheepish, as if caught stalking, though unaware of the evidence hanging from her left whiskers, much longer than I realized (whiskers = width of cat, right? gauge for small spaces and all that?).

I'm waiting to hear from my Phish gurus about the relative amazingness status of the Shoreline show last night, but my uneducated response was that it was full of energy, and rocked most powerfully, but perhaps lacked some of the slippery down-home return to forever funk drive of the MSG show that Briggs liked the best of the three we've seen so far. That being said, there were some amazingly fonkay jams (and tunes: the opener, the new Moma song, while as tad thin, had that squooshy booty thang underpinning its arrangement, and the YEM that closed the first set (same as last Shoreline show) was almost unbearably funky in places. Another new song, Roget, is a winner, reminding me (if I'm not mixing it up with another moment of the show) at times of Status Quo's Pictures of Matchstick men (covered by Camper Van Beethoven for those keeping score at home).

The second set had a heavy blues thrust, but the '73 Allman Brothers tape Briggs and I listened to on the way home set up a stark comparison in our heads. Duane Allmans' clear confident statement of blues themes somehow spoke more powerfully than all the bombast of the Zep-heavy Phish jams on Wolfman's Brother, Jesus Left Chicago, and Possum. Still the improvisation at times was breathtaking, Trey's enthusiasm, playing to the first 10 rows, was infectious, and Mike's bass playing signaled the most dramatic corners turned, and heralded the most exciting moments of the night (such as the unexpectedly placed Down with Disease second-set closer that emerged out of the jam from one of those murky wordy insidery Gamehenge tunes. Inspirational lyric: "Waiting for the time when I can finally say/That this has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way." When I've finished digesting my reaction to last night's show (I'm on less than six hours sleep here), I'll finish up some screen captures and get a seven-chapter submission in to my publisher.

yester morrow
day one
first lines

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