Having missed Bethel, last night was my first show since the First of the Year. I was excited to make it to at least one this summer, and it was a perfect evening to be outside enjoying the Phish. All in all, I liked the flow of the first set, at least for the first few songs: (predictable) energy of "Chalkdust," breeziness of "Roggae," crowd-pleasing of "Punch," funk into rock of "The Moma Dance" . . . did it really segue into "Rock and Roll?" Always a fan of "Sand" and this one had me moving a bit. The too-short "Tube" was the turning point, though. With the fubar'd "Divided Sky" (complete with Trey claiming it was on purpose, and stopping to hold out the mic to the crowd and just laugh at his flub) and the anti-climactic "Character Zero."
For set two, I really enjoyed the "After Midnight" and it's reach into Type II territory. It didn't get spacy, like the later "Drowned," but it clearly left all resemblance of the melody. (Anyone give the "After Midnight" a re-listen? And do you hear "Runaway Jim" near the end of the jam? I am interested to see if it holds up on tape . . . ) "Possum" was a bit of a let down, if you ask me. Only to be brought up by the "Drowned" and the subsequent space. Sure, it meandered, but I was happy they at least went there. "Maze" could have been something different, but it was actually really well played with what seemed like an extended solo from Page. I was expecting "Circus"; but "Dirt" worked just as well as a breather. "Alaska" was quite a downer, if you ask me. I find the song boring and monotonous. Blah. "YEM" was quite tight and very well played (especially when compared to the "Divided"). It was fun to watch Trey getting down while Mike closed off the song pre-vocal jam. But it was short and standard.
I was hoping for an "Axis: Bold as Love" encore (hey, if Possum could get repeated, why not this one?); we got Hendrix, just a different one. "Fire." Nice walk-out music.
All in all, for what might be my only show of the summer? Really fun, with a couple instances of Type II balanced with flubs and a downer or two. Enjoyed the flow of the first set, and the bit of exploration in the second. If I had to apply a number, I would say 4.5-5.5.
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February 21, 2003
14 years ago
U.S. Bank Arena
Encore: Wading in the Velvet Sea
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