PHISH > The Clifford Ball

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So what? Phish releases another DVD set? Didn’t they just release DVDs of their Walnut Creek and Brooklyn shows? On top of that, didn’t an eight-disc package of two nights at Atlanta’s Roxy just come out?











Label: RHINO/JEMP
[Rating: 4 STARS]

So what? Phish releases another DVD set? Didn’t they just release DVDs of their Walnut Creek and Brooklyn shows? On top of that, didn’t an eight-disc package of two nights at Atlanta’s Roxy just come out? The answer is yes, and they’ll probably release never-before-seen footage in the future because Phish-heads are rabid for these products. Over the years, the band has capitalized on content that could only be procured through bootleggers and traders at shows in the past (much like, maybe even better, than the Grateful Dead). Regardless, this is the definitive Phish DVD set for fans and newcomers alike-until they come out with another set in a couple years, right? All joking aside, there is some very special stuff in these performances.

The Clifford Ball captures the band at what many critics and heads argue what was a touring/creative peak in August of 1996. The gems here are the six discs of concert footage. Viewers begin disc one with a thrilling first set, kicked off by “Chalk Dust Torture” ending with a ramped up “David Bowie” and conclude six discs later with an incomplete “Harpua” encore. On disc seven the legendary “Flatbed Truck” set can be found in addition to some event planning footage and a couple of endearing interviews with the band. For fans, this is sunken treasure that’s finally been salvaged.

The packaging of this seven DVD set is top-notch-from a book with photos, to high-quality sleeves for the discs with each setlist printed out, and even stamps and postcards commemorating the shows; JEMP Records and Rhino didn’t skimp. All of this packaging mimics the designs created by Russ Bennett (who is also behind designs for Bonnaroo) for the festival, ushering in welcome waves of nostalgia (or flashback) for those festival pioneers who trekked to Plattsburgh Air Force base in New York. The two-day fest and its tip-top organization is credited with inspiring music fests like Monolith, Coachella, Bonnaroo, etc. If you are a new fan or a veteran Phish-head, The Clifford Ball is well worth the price.



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