Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Disc 1 — Runaway Jim — My Soul — Water In The Sky — Stash — Bouncing Around The Room — Vultures — Bye Bye Foot — Taste — Disc 2 — Down With Disease — Mike's Song — Simple — I Am Hydrogen — Weekapaug Groove — Hello My Baby — When The Circu... more »
Great for what it is
CM | Massachusetts | 08/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To respond to the previous viewer, it isn't a coincidence that the band released a show from summer rather than 11/22, or any other date on the fall tour. Summer shows at outdoor amphitheaters usually involve extra video production to feed to those large screens usually beside the stage. You don't get that at Phish's indoor shows.
I won't attempt a song-by-song review since that's so, so subjective. Everyone has not only their favorite songs, but often their favorite arrangements of songs, or their favorite jam elements. Suffice to say that this is easily, very easily, the best performance so far that Phish has released in its entirety - the IT DVD is more of a retrospective than a live show, in my opinion. No disrespect to the folks that enjoy Brooklyn, Vegas, or Woodbury (google it if it's not ringing any bells), but this, at last, is something that captures the band on their game.
And capture the band it does. Because the video is taken from those projection screens, it features many, many close shots. That's the point of those screens - to bring the band members closer. You don't watch a video screen to see the stage show when you've got the actual stage in front of you :) Which is a roundabout way of saying that Kuroda fans may be disappointed. You can sort of get a sense for what was going on . . . but not really. You don't get any lightning shots, and you don't get those fantastic, sweeping crowd shots like those on the IT DVDs.
There's no mistaking the fact that this is a bare bones release. Right down to the bare-bones price. For what you'll pay for this, and what you'll get, it seems ridiculous to complain. And I'm not complaining. This is a 100% must-have release. Just don't expect it to be some grand production. It's a chance to view some very well-preserved stage presentation video, which is a treat in itself, but it obviously wasn't filmed with the intention of releasing it commercially.
My take? Just be glad they did.
Bare-bones DVD, the performance speaks for itself
H. Hood | 08/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The latest concert DVD from Phish adds a visual dimension to one of the band's more well-known performances that, for many fans, had previously only been heard through unofficial recordings. Summer 1997 showed a lot of change in Phish and this performance is a good example of just how.
The DVD set itself is packaged in a slim, folding case rather than the snapping kind. Inside the front cover is the list of songs for each disc, as well as writing, recording, and other production credits. No inserts to read, statements from band members or friends, or anything similar.
Each disc has only two selections from the main menu - play the songs (play all or select a tune) or change audio options (default is 5.1 Dolby Surround, can be changed to PCM Stereo). Both discs also start out with the band already onstage, about to play the music. This release is clearly about the performances and no other "frills" that many bands tend to add.
Now, onto the content!
"Runaway Jim" is well-done, some good improv all around. They flow right into "My Soul" and play it solidly, though not too differently than they normally did around that time. Around then, it starts raining outside (although you can't tell from the concert aside from the song choice and background provided), and the band must have noticed, since the next song played is "Water in the Sky." Good, but not particularly exciting. "Stash" follows. Good version. This has some exciting parts, mostly toward the end of it. Then a usual "Bouncing Around the Room." "Vultures" is a cool rarity that I'm glad was a part of this concert. This is a nice one. Bye Bye Foot, while containing tease of Pink Floyd's "Mother" solo, is pretty uneventful.
"Taste" is where things really pick up. The weather has gotten much worse at this point, with a particularly loud crash of thunder sounding as Page is playing the first solo. The band increases the song's energy a lot as they continue along, with Chris Kuroda holding nothing back for the light show. Phish ends the first set early after this due to the thunder, but at least they ended very strongly.
Set 2 is far more interesting and fun than the first. There is much more happening, lots of energy, very tight. "Down with Disease" packs a real punch at about 20 minutes in length. The main jam's structure gets pretty spacey and loose, and Trey and Page use lots of effects to create a very laid-back atmosphere. Then the band sneaks up, slowly launching into "Mike's Song." The segue is like none before or since and one of the highlights of the evening - one of the reasons this performance gained so much fame. "Mike's Song" has great moments, lots of energy, and goes straight into "Simple." One of the more amusing moments shows a sign language interpreter looking up at the band and signing as they sing. When the lyrics go to "skyballs and saxscrapers," he makes a few signs but looks generally completely lost as to what he should do. "Simple" fades out an goes into "I Am Hydrogen," which is standard and is followed by "Weekapaug Groove." It's a great version, with a few twists and lots of energy.
Once the song ends, the band FINALLY gets to relax for more than a few moments since they had played everything straight since beginning the set. Understandably, they decide to to an a cappella number: "Hello My Baby." Now, Phish wasn't known for their impeccable singing, but they did do well sometimes. Fortunately this is one of their better times. It's a nice change to see them all at the front of the stage; it is a more personal element of the concert.
This is where the second set ends, but the DVD edits out the encore break and takes us straight to "When the Circus Comes to Town." A good version, but the real treat is the finale - "Harry Hood." The lights to this one are synchronized in a very cool way and are a nice treat. This builds up intensity very well as usual, is quite beautiful, and really lets the viewer "feel good about Hood!"
The only thing keeping my rating from 5-stars is the bulk of the first set. Disc two definitely helps out, and will be the source of most of my viewing (how about a DVD of 11/22/97? There's an instant 5-star!). Also, in Down with Disease, Trey flubbed a chord then quickly corrected it, but it sounds as though the mistake was edited out for the DVD. I don't believe any other audio was edited like that, and it's not a egregious offense, but I know there are some people who would get miffed at such edits.
Overall I definitely recommend getting this DVD. It's all about the music, and although the first disc can get dull at points (aside from "Runaway Jim" and "Taste"), disc two is definitely worth the money."
Heavy P | NY,NY | 03/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe i am biased because i was at this show in the thunderstorm completely drenched but the music was just flowing that night and man was it amazing!!! im sure that is why phish chose to release what other seems like a random show, im here to tell you this is anything but to see for yourself make sure you check out the thunder crashes during the taste jam which probably scared the band as much as us in the audience because they cut the set after that song and this was one of the only shows i can remember where the setbreak was actually 15min and i have been to 94 shows...great show, great set list and having this DVD is a must"