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The Slip NYE - A brief review


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12-31-04: Narrows Center For the Arts - Fall River MA

Set 1: A Little More Jill intro->interruption by Meowskers*->Autobody Experience->Cumulus^->From The Gecko->Mt. Zion, meowskers speaks**, Honey Melon, Yellow Medicine.

Set 2: feedback/spacey intro->Hey Worrier, You Might Say->meowskers rant/countdown->Childern of December#->The Entertainer&->Johnny's Tune->Else->Blue Moon->Else.

Set 3: Paper Birds->clapping jam$->A Little More Jill, More About Me@, Proud!, (people speak in the mic, Sam introduced the next song), Joe Highley~, Suffocation Keep

Encore: What's So Funny->Auld Lang Syne->About Peace, Love and Understanding, If One Of Us Should Fall%


*"the New Year is lost, and must be found".

^ unfinished version.

** "The Slip Time Continuum".

# for Rosie, whose birthday it was on the 1st of January, in the middle BAM sang happy birthday for her.

& Scott Joplin tune.

$ screaming accompaniment by Matt (meowskers) Rudnicki.

@ Sara Azriel on vocals.

! new lyrics towards the end, probably improvised by Brad to welcome in 2005 "I'm so alive, in 2005!". ~dedicated to, and requested by Ian Kaley.

% best performance of this song in it's history, the band was almost forced into a second encore but wanted to end on that note.

NorthernWish and I took our lovely ladies (and his brother) to Fall River for NYE. For those unfamiliar with the Narrows, it is a small art gallery on the 3rd floor of an old mill building that overlooks the waterfront and Battleship Cove. It felt like we had walked into a private loft party hosted by The Slip. The Narrows was sold out but it seemed undersold, it wasn't crowded and there was plenty of pew space for a better vantage point (or dancing!).

The "New Year is lost" commentary was fun, The Slip had to dig into their back catalogue to help find the New Year. That would explain the first set. The Experience>Cumulus>Gecko>Mt Zion section was long and intense and to my ears, had many teases in it. Honey Melon was the early highlight. There was a distinct Pink Panther theme in Yellow Medicine and I think I nearly stomped a hole in the floor.

First set-break, an acoustic quartet (guit x2, upright bass, accordion) played some folk numbers.

Laid back feel to the start of the second set, until December's Children rocked out. I'm not sure about all the segue arrows in the setlist above. 2nd set felt very short to me, the Else to close was excellent.

Second set-break, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was played in its entirety.

Third set... Sean and I caught part of the soundcheck earlier in the evening (from outside) so we were waiting for Paper Birds all night. I was worried that the Even Rats false start (I guess it's called "A Little More Jill" now) at the beginning of the night meant it wouldn't be played, but I got my pick. The rest of the set is a bit of a blur to me. The encore was fantastic and they were nearly forced into a second one, but chose to stop where they had planned to.

Awesome, awesome night all around. Such a treat to see The Slip in such an intimate venue. There's a reason these guys are everyone's new favourite band around here. As Luke/Kung/Zero has said (and Sean repeated this weekend) there's an emotional quality that grabs me in ways that even The Phish never could. Where's the justice when these guys are playing to just 200 people for New Years?

One last side note, I joined the first set-break band on baby grand piano for You Ain't Going Nowhere.



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To augment DaveO's words on this truly monu-MENTAL experience..........

I'll start this by saying I wasn't the worlds biggest Slip fan over the past few years. And god knows I tried. I have caught the trio maybe about 7-8 times in various settings, and was just never floored the way I heard others describe their Slip love. It always seemed to be the wrong place at the wrong time when the Slip showed up for whatever event I happened to be enjoying. From slow sets later in the evening, when I wanted rock- or noise jams when I wanted mellow jazz; the Slip had become a huge WTF?!! for me. I searched out shows, listened to them backwards and forwards and although I loved many of their songs I just couldn't wrap my head around their live shows. I am schooled in jam music more by moe and Phish than by the Dead and Allmans, so it should be no doubt that I wanted more frantic, technically flawless solos before I would ever be heard begging for some loose improv. Well I will now announce to anyone who will listen that after years of exposure: "I GET THE SLIP!"

Not long ago after my final nero show, I had the chance to spend a little time with Guigsy (who many months ago had sent me a miracle Slip show, in response to my plea on jambands: "What is it about the Slip?") and got to ask him what it was that got him and what I was missing with the band. The specific example is one of my fav tunes Sorry, which was on the 4.19.03 show he had sent. The version when I first listened sounded almost like a bad cover band at times, while moving everything inside me at others. I just wanted to know, what he felt was the appeal of the Slip. He spoke with the deepest reverance one could have for musicians who have enlightened us, and I was further intrigued (I mean this is a guy whose three fav bands appear to be Slip, nero and The Rheostatics, so I was buying every second of it). Not long after DaveO slid me copies of Alivelectric and Aliveacoustic. This was my "turning the corner", as I found myself humming, drumming and dreaming of Slip music. It wasn't that long ago that I first heard ALiveOne, and was so so on the whole thing- and then that night happened when the stars and moon aligned and I "got" Phish though Slave to the Traffic Light. Instead of most of my musical moments or experiences- which we all know are the reason for this whole ride in the first place- which typically revolve around my favorite song or sounds; The Slip turned me on my head by making a mockery of everything I had known before, through a steady attack of peaks and pitch shifts in unexpected places. I can say after a steady diet of 04 Slip I was ready for NYE.

On to the show......

There is no description that will do any justice to the venue that was chosen for this event. Simply put this was the most "chill" of venues. Dave and I were giddy like school kids earlier on in the evening as we had gone down to the venue to procure our will call "tickets". The first thing we noticed was that it was almost 7 oclock and no one was any where to be seen. Not seen, but heard thankfully, as we got out of the car to the wonderful notes of Paper Birds. So here it was a balmy 2 degrees in Fall River, MA across the street from a giant battleship- and DaveO and I estimating the degree to which this night was "going to achieve liftoff", while listening to the soundchecking Slip. From our vantage point on the street we could see nothing inside, except a handwritten note on one door leading up the stairs that simply read: "The Slip: Sold Out". As we travelled back to the hotel, we were delighted to arrive at the conclusion that we were about to attend a really cool loft party that the Slip was hosting, oh yeah and it was BYOB! Not bad so far eh?

At around 9:30 we packed up the car and headed over, which was just in time. As we climbed the stairs with our cooler we heard the band, but were relieved to find out that they had just started. After dealing with security (one older guy, with 5/45 vision and a dot matrix computer printout) we came around the corner to see what I imagine a small southern independent Baptist church might look like if it were run by Bill Graham. And the band played on..........

The first half hour or hour to my ears was filled with melodic, liquid jamming. This was my first 'moment' as I wanted to hear them keep jamming on everything I had never heard before. I agree with DaveO that there were many teases in the opening run, including at least Sorry and Fuji. After looking at the setlist for the night, I think I may have only heard a few of these songs before, and those were in a live setting. My highlight of the first set was the Honey Melon. The looks and reactions across the crowd were priceless. One dude just held his head, and bugged out as though he was seeing DSOTM on 11.2.98. This was Slip-tensity............

I will preface the rest of the review with four simple letters: B, Y, O, B...........

During the setbreak my brother (who had never heard a note of the Slip before NYE) had a chance to speak with M Friedman. Ha ha ha. Funniest thing ever........ Apparently he totally blew off my bro, who is a big imposing yet incredibly friendly guy, and just didn't want to talk or to hear anyone talk to him. So my brother comes over (I kind of saw this go down) and tells me about it, and while I wait for him to be pissed off, he says: "I freaking love it. Those guys are so good they know that they can be pricks. I am no musician but I know from seeing that guy already that he is amazing. If I was that good on bass, I would be a prick too." Brilliant!

I'll hop on board with Dave, that the second set was a little slower and maybe shorter than the first, but I did recognize Children of December from Evolve 02 perhaps?, and the closing run after The Entertainer with Else in there was hot. I also know that at some point during this set, I latched onto a groove and though it probably wasn't I found myself running from end to end of this venue singing along with the lyrics to "Stir it Up". This may or may not have been teased, but I heard it and that was good enough for me.

My memory gets a little hazy after meeting Roberto from Burlington, VT outside at setbreak- who was thrilled that someone there was from Canada and knew the "the friggin T-Hip". He was packing, I was not..............

Throughout the show, Mr Meowskers had graced the stage with his circa 1700's wardrobe and theatrical tales of NYE, ghosts etc. This was that little bit extra that makes NYE so special for some bands. While many out there just play an extra set, there are a few bands who give back to their fans on this special event. This and the class act jazz setbreak band, reminded us all that we didn't come to Fall River for the beautiful skyline.

As the last set got under way, so did the Red Bull and Vodkas. I raged, the Slip raged- and although I don't remember every moment: I know I had an awesome time. The opener of Paper Birds is my fav new Slip tune, and this one was awesome. I believe it was during this song that Marc finally took off his jacket and maybe even cracked a little bit of a smile as he pushed his new hat on top of his stacks for all to see: "I only date crack whores"!!! This Paper Birds went into a huge jam that lost me more than once. At this point, most of our crew were starting to wane a little bit- so DaveO and I picked up the slack and proceeded to boogie down, while spilling boozy drinks all over ourselves. Good times I say!

The encore was sweet with the expected ALSyne teases, and then they dropped the bottom out. If One of Should Fall was stellar. I mean so good, that all that they band could say when they finished it up, was something to the effect of"We really wanted to close the night with that song. And that just went so well, that there isn't anything else that we should play. So thanks guys, this was awesome."

I write these reviews so I can monitor my progress as a music fan, and track all of the events that I might not remember come my 50th birthday- and after this one I must say that I have become an A student. Or even more appropriately, that as the soul of a Phish nut is returned to the earth, from that springs a large Slip tree.

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Thanks for asking, but let's not blow this out of proportion. The intermission band was set up in the lobby next to an old baby grand, they went into the Dylan and I jumped on the piano. Spontaneous fun. And a great footnote to our night!

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