portland one ’99
after one day off following 4 straight shows to kick off the tour, the band played a two night stand at portland’s cumberland county civic center, and tiny old hockey rink on the outskirt of the city. in other words, exactly the kind of venue that makes a phish fall or winter tour even more special. there’s something of the seedy, slapshot vibe at these places that brings out the best in the band.
another curious setlist, both on paper and how it flows when listening. farmhouse opner? woof. even though it was still relatively new (debuted on conan and 97 and played as a nice set breather on the fall ’97 tour; farmhouse the album wouldn’t be released for another 6 months), i remember the general crowd reaction as being similar to the fuckerpants interruptions of 1995. first tube gets the energy back but then there are just some strange pairings after that.
the wolfman’s to start set II is quite good, but then they play jennifer dances, heavy things and bug, all in a row. talk about testing the crowd’s patience. though i suppose after that halley’s people were still beaming and din’t have much to complain about.
the monster halley’s saves everything, this is not like the og jammed out halley’s from hampton 97 where they stay on a pretty repetitive funk groove for about 5 minutes before that nice climax. the portland halley’s has to my count 4 different suites after the song proper ends, and they all veer off in their own unique directions that make this the fastest 27 minutes you’ll listen to. if you like to listen to phish during runs, hikes or workouts, this is one that will make working out a lot more enjoyable. this jam was released on a live bait volume or one of the archive shows and the reaction upon finally hearing it in soundboard form was nothing short of joyous.
i also look forward to the day when this show’s bathtub gin (and if we’re lucky, the segued simple as well) gets the shapiro soundboard treatment. this gin (the jam, really) is the first thing i tell people to listen to when they want an example of the spacey ambience that pervaded 1999. this is a stunning, beautiful 9 minutes of music and easily the most quiet gin i’ve ever heard. it doesn’t have the bliss of the went or the long-running groove of riverport, but it stands just as much on its own as a singular version of this song, and is my second favorite ever, after the went. the segue into simple is the icing on the cake.
i’ve got both the jam only version i made and the full gin/simple to download below, and if you’ve never heard this then it is an absolute must.
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME
Notes: Halley’s Comet contained a Gotta Jibboo tease from Mike and Simple contained a Bathtub Gin tease from Trey.