The record was recorded at the March 1, 1997 show in Hamburg Germany during the band's only foray into Europe. The band put together the European tour in an effort to get back to its roots--playing small, intimate gigs where they could be close to the crowd, play in small theaters with great sound qualities and basically enjoy themselves. Slip, Stitch and Pass is a wonderful product of that newly refreshed passion.
By this point in their career, the band was playing large arenas and exhausted themselves by playing over 200 shows a year. This is when the band went from being four guys jamming onstage to a corporation that was beginning to get too big for everyone involved. So, off to Europe they went and several of the shows there have become legendary. Slip, Stitch and Pass certainly qualifies.
Starting out right away with a Talking Heads cover "Cities" you get the idea that things are going to be a little different. It was a great departure from the original recording, and infused a great deal of funk, jazz and jam all rolled into one.
"Wolfman's Brother" has become one of my personal favorite jams of all time. Whenever the band slows things down and gets into the groove, something special bubbles up, and in this case, Wolfman's takes us to a level of jam-building that I hadn't heard since the band's early days. The joy doesn't end there, however, as the song slowly morphs into a bluesy bonanza known as ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago."
Other notable tracks in this live album are keyboardist Page McConnell's tongue-in-cheek lounge singer performance of "Lawn Boy" and the a capella "Hello My Baby" which is made even more authentic by the sound of audience members telling others to "shush" so they can hear.
It's not Phish's greatest show, nor the bands greatest album--but it put the rest of the musical world on notice: Phish was here to stay into the new millennium and beyond.