Phish: Walnut Creek

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Take it or leave it, Phish at a peak

jammin' brodown or no, Phish's two-DVD Walnut Creek, recorded in July 1997, stays focused on the music.digital fidelity, Phish is—by its standards—flawless.

Guitarist Trey Anastasio's brash technicality enthralls on dark fusion ("Stash"), the band's faces unsullied by the hard partying that soon began with equal earnestness. Shots linger on every member as they run confidently through then-new numbers ("Vultures," "Bye Bye Foot") and execute on the improv, swaggering into long space-psych pockets on "Down with Disease" and later running gracefully through the Mixolydian circles of "Simple." Filled with small moments—like keyboardist Page McConnell singing quietly with a drum fill on "Taste" before looking up, startled, as unseen lightning crackles in the distance—Walnut Creek disproves nothing to civilians, but jams anyway.

Watch a clip from Phish:Walnut Creek:

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