Wednesday, June 29, 2011

7.23.97 Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA

(faux LivePhish album art by "TreyIsMyDad" - a ton more these) show page

Wednesday, 07/23/1997
Lakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA

Set 1: Julius, Dirt, NICU, Dogs Stole Things, Ginseng Sullivan, Water in the Sky, Limb By Limb, Split Open and Melt, Billy Breathes, Possum

Set 2: Punch You In the Eye, Ghost, Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself, Rocky Mountain Way Jam,  Chalk Dust Torture

Encore: Frankenstein

Notes: Ghost included an On Your Way Down tease. YEM included a Jeopardy! theme tease, a very unusual SOAMule-like jam segment, and did not have a vocal jam. Chalk Dust included Rocky Mountain Way teases.

FLAC pt 1 - 535 MB
FLAC pt 2 - 511 MB
v0 mp3 - 289 MB
AAC - 230 MB (bit rates increased to ~195-200 kbps)


Although this had been requested long ago (I gave one quick listen to the source I had and wrote it off as un-remasterable), this one goes out to fellow PhishThoughts reader and Georgia native "Leo Weaver" as a thank you for kindly hosting me at his abode for the recent Charlotte show.  Road trips rule, even if you do get two speeding tickets within 24 hours and log 1,839 miles solo over five days.

Ok so we all know this Ghost is ridiculous.  But don't overlook the bounty of other goodness in this show that concluded a ridiculous tour opening 3-night stand. Like the Julius opener, which is one of the best versions ever of that tune.  Picture them dropping that opener note for note in 2011...heads would be exploding Lost Ark style.  Ginseng Sullivan has extra meaning with the "north Georgia hills" line that gets the crowd going.  SOAM is contained theme-wise but features a funky start to the jam which turns balls-out rock in a hurry.  And don't miss the peak of Possum, with the fake-out peak followed by Trey employing that strobe-ish pedal until he nails the real peak and the place explodes (speaking of Possum, there are two pretty blatant skips in the source DAT, but don't let that deter you).

Won't even bother describing the Ghost, just crank it.  Before now there was a "SBD" copy of the Ghost from one of the From The Archives broadcasts (which is part of my "tier 2" SBD compilation), but frankly it sounds awful.  Don't know if it's a mix of FM frequency issues, overblown levels, bad transfer...but it's pretty harsh.  Anyway after a cool-off Sample we get a YEM that turns extremely unique and Mule-ish toward the end - a mix of comedy and truly expert playing, with that trademark Phishy improvisation we all love.  Adding to the unique vibe, they eschew the vocal jam and go right into a Rocky Mountain Way jam, which goes right into YET MORE uniqueness in Chalkdust.  Trey has some fun with the verses, as he starts each line pair at normal singing and playing volume, fades down to near silence, then BAM back into the main riff (not unlike the quiet > loud part in Runaway Jim or the Antelope pre-drops of old). 

As for the source - for a long time, just one source graced the database at the almighty Etree, and a second suddenly popped up recently.  I went with the older Schoeps cmc641 source.  Even though it has a couple glitches in the transfer, I prefer the sound of it over the newly circulated Neumann km140.  I mentioned earlier that a while back I dismissed the Schoeps source in terms of remastering.  I was wrong to do so.  When played flat, I feel the mids are garbled, the highs are blunted, and the ultra-low of Fishman's kick drum was a bit too strong.  After a healthy amount of EQ experimentation, I settled on the sound I think does the source the most justice.  While it may not have the same thick warmth of low end it originally had, I feel it's important to be able to pick out Page's nimble synth work and Trey's funky, high pitch notes (especially that weird effect he uses at the end of that YEM jam).  It was tough for me to do that with the unaltered source, but much easier now.

It may be frustrating not to be able to hear Mike's notes as well as with the current 2011 AUDs, but it's just a totally different PA system these days and a different approach from Paul to Garry at the mixing console.  While one could make the argument that Paul's approach was more natural and aesthetically pleasing compared to Garry's more digital and sometimes abrasively loud approach, you can't really argue the fact that Mike is more audible (not just louder) now than ever before, and the mix these days hits you square in the face with tremendous force.  Lastly regarding this recording, there is a remarkably low amount of nearby talkers in the recording which could either be a result of a high mic position or a more respectful, less mahled-out group of fans near the section as compared to some other stages of the band's history, or both.  Anyway I hope you enjoy the result.


p.s. - I encourage peeps (especially those that were there) to post reviews of the shows to  There are WAY too few accounts of older shows up there!

Monday, June 27, 2011

coming soon...7/23/97 Lakewood

hopefully by Thurs night...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blog Spotlight: "Phish Listening Room"

I'd like to take a moment to plug a fellow phan Chris's great blog, where he compares and critiques all the AUD sources on for a given show.

He is certainly rocking better playback equipment than I have, but I can say that after doing my own comparisons via some high quality noise-cancelling headphones plugged into my iMac, I am almost always in agreement with Chris's top picks.  The tapers provide us a great service by acquiring and sharing the music, and Chris provides a great service to the legion of fans that might not have the time, hard drive storage, playback equipment, or confidence in their ability to objectively compare AUD sources when there are so many to choose from.  While the tapers' section at today's Phish shows is a shell of its former size, the pulls we do get are uploaded in rapid fire succession days after the performances, which is amazing but can also make it overwhelming for some of us.

Chris helps by doing the yeoman's work of source comparisons and shares his thoughts with us, helping us to avoid the classic only-grab-the-first-pull-available-and-hope-it's-a-keeper trap.

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