Slip, Stitch and Pass Phish Label: Elektra / WEA Release Date: 10/28/1997 1 Cities - 5:18 2 Wolfman's Brother - 13:50 3 Jesus Just Left Chicago - 12:58 4 Weigh - 5:29 5 Mike's Song - 13:52 6 Lawn Boy - 2:56 7 Weekapaug Groove - 8:20 8 Hello My Baby - 1:19 9 Taste - 8:44
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Illuminating and Frustrating
74Jer | 07/28/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Phish's second offical live album, "Slip Stitch and Pass", released in 1997 provides an early glimpse into the band's movement into the arena-friendly funk that came to dominate their performances from 1998-2000. For better, or worse, Phish came to rely on spacey, drawn out improvisations as opposed to the frenetic turn-on-a-dime compositions that characteriezed much of their earlier work. Hints of the former style are still evident here in the jazz-meets-classical piano breaks of Page McConell during a run through 1993's "Weigh", however much of the album finds itself in a plodding funk mode as evidenced by the sluggish Talking Heads opener "Cities". That is not to say that the band doesn't dig in and find a worthy groove, such as in 1994's "Wolfman's Brother", which moves into a creeping, lava-like jam during the outro that hints at a heretofore unseen dark undercurrent within the bands' collective psyche. However, as is all too often the case, this jam succumbs to a poorly chosen cover of ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago", revealing the dangers of banal blues-based improv over the course of nearly thirteen (torturous) minutes. The same can also be said of the jam out of the previously unreleased "Mike's Song, that for all it's edgy ambience, is quickly stripped of its emotional impact with the insertion of a few lines from The Doors "The End" and Pink Floyd's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", before landing in the campy lounge of 1990's "Lawn Boy". Unlike the two aforementioned bands, try as they might, Phish is just not that menacing, particularly when opening their mouths to sing.
In the end, Slip, Stitch and Pass documents a band in transition, with all of its inherent strengths and weaknesses exposed. Credit must be given to the band for its willingness to break from its own past, it's just too bad it is often subverted by the very same juvenille tendencies that made them so endearing to begin with."