Phish's delightful second live album, released in 1997; it was recorded at Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany on March 1, 1997. Paul Languedoc, Phish's sound board deity, recorded it; John Siket, who did the mixing on Billy Breathes, took it home and mixed it. And despite Steve Lillywhite's credit as "production consultant," I suspect he had very little to do with this album--it shows none of the pandering that weakened the otherwise great Billy Breathes. This album is a nice introduction to the joy that is live Phish, with just the right amount of well-placed noodling done well, and none of the craptastic sound quality phans have come to expect from bootleg concert tapes. This is the bootleg every fan owns, and an acknowledgements album for Phish--they give a wink and a nod to all of their big influences, and still keep the jams fresh.

It is packed from top to bottom with treats for new and old fans alike. The opener is a Talking Heads cover, a tribute to David Byrne, whom most of the band credit as a huge influence. A track from Hoist to show off their own stuff, which devolves into a long, bass-driven jam section. Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Trey Anastasio toss riffs and choppy chords back and forth like they're playing tennis, dragging the beat slower and slower, deeper and deeper, until they find themselves somewhere between Texas, Chicago, and Memphis--ZZ Top's "Jesus Left Chicago" follows, done with every ounce of the corn pone and fried chicken blues that Phish can summon from their New England souls. They finally pause to mop up the applause and sweat, and then dive into Weigh, from Rift. The audience is primed, the instruments are warmed up, the band have established their psychic link. You can almost hear them grin as they unleash their juggernaut with the first four sizzling licks off Trey's guitar--it's even odds whether they enjoy it more than the audience.

It's Mike's Groove. It's three tracks on your CD, consisting of Mike's Song, the creme filling du jour, and Weekapaug Groove. In most cases, the creme filling tune would be I am Hydrogen, a dainty but delicious instrumental with a country flavor. But they're in Germany, where David Hasselhoff and William Shatner are stars, so they fill the gap with Cheese and polyester: Lawn Boy, in beautiful lounge lizard style. This song sandwich is a Double Stuf, though--before they get to Lawn Boy, they tip their hats to Jim Morrisson with a cover of The End, with some less-than-Oedipal dialogue where Jim's famous "kill"s and "fuck"s used to be. But this isn't The End--Lawn Boy fades away with a great jazz chord, and Jon Fishman's drums explode from the underbrush like a snowshoe hare running for cover from a jet-propelled grizzly bear that is Mike Gordon's bass guitar. The band joins in, and the Weekapaug Groove... grooves. This is Phish at their finest, playing a rocking, driving, runaway train of a high-speed jam. Mike's Groove is (as any fan will tell you) far too rare, but you can own one of the best performances of it; these three tracks are almost worth buying the disc.

Hello my Baby--a cappella barber shop as only Phish can do it--delights the Germans in the crowd to the point where it's hard to hear the singing... but they're probably still cheering for the last song. It gives the stage crew time to sneak up and blast Phish's smoldering instruments with Halon before they close out with Taste, from Billy Breathes. It's a great version with a beautiful extended out-jam, and ends the album on a wonderful note.

Unlike Lawn Boy or A Picture of Nectar, you have to listen to this one straight through to really feel the set build. If the setlist wasn't actually in this order, John Siket gets mad props on this one--he has mixed a set that Phish couldn't have chosen better themselves. Because the density of good tracks is so high--and because there really isn't a bad track on the disc--most fans will call this Phish's best live disc, and refuse to compare it with the studio albums. They're right: no matter how much you enjoy The Story of the Ghost, Rift, or even Junta, hearing that thread of musical, nearly-psychic unity as it happens is a notch above anything that gets recorded in a studio.

  1. Cities
  2. Wolfman's Brother
  3. Jesus Just Left Chicago
  4. Weigh
  5. Mike's Groove: {{
    Mike's Song ~%~
    The End ~%~
  6. Lawn Boy ~%~
  7. Weekapaug Groove
  8. Hello my Baby
  9. Taste

Billy Breathes-=*{Slip Stitch and Pass}*=-The Story of the Ghost

Just in case anyone's interested, the actual setlist of the Slip Stich and Pass show is as follows:

Set 1: Cities, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony, Down With Disease, Weigh, Beauty Of My Dreams, Wolfman's Brother-> Jesus Just Left Chicago-> Reba, Hello My Baby, Possum

Set 2: Carini, Dinner and a Movie, Mike's Song*-> Lawn Boy**-> Weekapaug Groove#, The Mango Song, Billy Breathes, Theme From The Bottom

E: Taste, Sweet Adeline

*With Arabic jam; with "The End," "Be Careful With That Axe, Eugene," and "Peace Frog" teases. **With Mike (bass) solo. #With "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" tease.

Hm, well if anyone's really wondering, this is a knitting stitch. Since I don't listen to Phish, I don't know why they chose to reference knitting....*

Slip Stitch and Pass (Slipped Stitch Over next stitch - often abbreviated ''Slip n and PnSSO'') is a way of decreasing your total number of stitches by the number slipped (usually 1 or 2), with the decrease appearing to slant to the left: \\ .

This stitch is done by moving without knitting (ie. slipping) the stitch(es) you wish to decrease onto the receiving needle (the right hand needle, unless you knit lefty). Then, the next stitch is knit as usual. The slipped stitch(es) is then pulled over the newly knit stitch so that it rests on top of the stitch next to it. The result is that you have fewer stitches on your needle and the row you just knit off of will have overlapping stitches.

This is identical to Knitting 2 stitches Together, except that K2tog results in a right slanting decrease: // . The slant depends upon which stitch is on top of the overlapping stitches. Slipping permits the knitter to change which stitch will be on top. When decreasing 2 stitches working right to left (as most knitters do), if the 1st stitch is on top the decrease will slant left (\\). If the 2nd stitch is on top, it will slant right (//). A centered double decrease can be achieved by knitting 3 together with the center stitch on top. This can be done by slipping 2 stitches knitwise, knitting the 3rd stitch and then passing the two slipped stitches over the newly knitted stitch. Slipping knitwise refers to slipping the two stitches as if they are going to be knit together. This twists them so that the 2nd stitch is on top.

The direction in which the decrease slants is important in many textured and lace stitch patterns. Attention to fine detail results in leaves and other designs which look layered and defined instead of pixelated. Think about ascii art and the limitations of trying to represent a picture with only v-shaped blocks in a grid, and you'll see why being able to create a slant is important. Many times, these slanted and centered decreases are paired with corresponding numbers of increases so that the total number of stitches does not change. In this case, they are used solely for their slanted appearance.

I should mention that these instructions are not going to give the same result for each and every knitter because of variations in basic knitting technique. These instructions are fairly standard, but not universal. For example, when I knit, I get a left slanting decrease (\\) by k2tog because of the way my stitches are oriented on the needle. In order for me to get a right slanting decrease (//), I have to SSK (Slip, Slip, and Knit the slipped stitches together).

The best thing I can recommend if you come across any of these instructions in a pattern is to figure out why the pattern requires it. If it's necessary, and not just a randomly chosen decrease, do whatever it takes to achieve the correct result and don't worry if it isn't what the instructions say. Also, consider using slanted decreases where they aren't requested, in order to give that garment a little extra finesse. Either way, your sweater, scarf, shawl, socks, mittens, muff, hat, stole, shrug, snood, sampler, afghan, throw, etc. will be all the better for it.

interrobang says re Slip Stitch and Pass: I don't know why Phish chose this title either, but the cover of the album pictures a guy running from a giant ball of yarn. -(For some reason, this makes me laugh....)

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