Thursday 09/15/2011 by bertoletdown

ESSEX, VT RECAP

All right, raise your hand if you're gonna miss Couch Tour!

This event, as absorbed via the Information Superhighway in my computer chair, must have been wonderful to attend. Even the webcast was permeated with a sense of community and homecoming, and it's just a shame that it took a horrendous force majeure to make it happen. If Phish is playing, I'm either there or wishing I were, and this was most certainly true tonight.

Of course, it was the kind of night (last announced show this year, rumors afloat about another mini-or-quasi-hiatus, first show in Vermont since Coventry, loose and loping soundcheck) that stirs up disproportionate and even mythical expectations among fans. Tonight's show, while entertaining, was a reminder that expectations are best kept small.

"Chalk Dust", a song that has been far more interesting mid-set than it has in the leadoff slot since the comeback, didn't exactly find the band pouncing, and the "Moma Dance" that followed felt a bit like a second icebreaker. While many were expecting topical nods like "Water in the Sky" or "Drowned" - the latter of which would have meshed perfectly with the gallows humor of Fishman's "Hurricane Muumuu" - this "Moma" would suffice. The SS "Moma" served as metaphorical counterpoint to the way Vermont absorbed the energy of Irene, taking wind and water into its sails to achieve velocity rather than buckling or crumbling.

"NICU" arrived somewhat unexpectedly, perhaps, but was capably delivered. Then "Funky Bitch" - a time-honored cover that seems to pull up just shy of its historical summit these days, and did tonight as well. "Sample in a Jar" felt its 1995 oats a bit, surprisingly, tacking on the bonus chorus that the "Bitch" jam felt to be lacking. A genuinely popping "Sample"!

My favorite "Cavern" of all time is the one that I heard at Jazzfest in 1996, primarily because the "take care of your shoes" line dropped at the precise moment that the skies puked up silver-dollar rain that quickly turned the Ray-Ban Stage infield into a pond. Tonight's "Cavern" recalled that moment for me and... well, that's one of the many reasons I love this band.

The moisture theme persisted into "Bathtub Gin". The most notable part of this "Gin" was the "Tweezer"-esque intro, which found Trey dropping out to build some long-overdue tension before the whole band landed on the one. The jam proper was about as linear as "Gin" jams get these days - if not by-the-numbers then certainly not for-the-books. "Alaska", much as I appreciate the Band-like chord changes and whimsical nature of the lyrics, dropped few jaws. The "Possum" that followed did little to remedy the set's flagging momentum.

Of course, leave it to Phish to stick the landing, as they did with a really nice "Wolfman's" > "Julius" combo. A few minutes into the "Wolfman's" jam, Trey made the first hard left turn of the night, modulating into a very unexpected harmonic space. The rest of the jam didn't quite realize the potential that was suggested in that moment, but it did signal an awakening of sorts in the arc of the set. The "Julius", though, provided the arguable highlight of the entire evening. and will gain a reputation as one of the best if not the best "Julius" of 3.0. The jam segment began like many strong "Bowies" or "Rebas", retreating into quiet ambience before patiently building to a well-earned peak. No 8/3/97 or 10/31/94 to be sure, but head and shoulders above the rest of the set, and you can quote me.

Setbreak music was "The Entertainer", deftly played by my daughter on our living room piano. [Did I mention how much I'm going to miss Couch Tour?]

Okay, I'll get this out of the way now - I loved what happened in the first half of the second set tonight. I've already spoken with a few folks who were not especially enchanted with the "Carini" but they can all get bent. When you dedicate "Carini" to Carini, you are rather obligated to deliver the goods, and tonight's "Carini" jam is precisely why I still geek out on Phish. Motion, a juxtaposition of light and dark, and a willingness to (if only occasionally) throw caution to the wind. A connoisseur's "Carini" in my book.

"Down With Disease" was perhaps most notable for a tease of the legendary Vegas "Piper". Think I'm joking, noob? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Of course, that jam in itself references "Disease" several times, so the karmic scales are now re-balanced. Very enjoyable "Disease" even if it followed a somewhat worn trail without blasting a hole in the stratosphere.

Truly great "Slaves" couple grace and power. The 4-chord progression of this jam makes that possible, but not always achievable. We heard a particularly good "Slave" tonight in that regard; while not on par with 11/21/97 or 7/4/99, for example, this version was unrushed and finally explosive. Until I have a chance to compare formally, I'll call it a gratifying leap forward from the Tahoe rendition I saw about a month ago.

"Rock and Roll" managed to sustain this set's impressive momentum, but fell far short of this summer's consistently high watermark. [Let's all enjoy a tangent here and appreciate where this song has taken us in the last few years - peaking with the transcendant Gorge version. If that hosedown doesn't send tingles up your spine, you're on life support.] "Twist" featured some especially fleet-fingered soloing from Trey, but resolved all too quickly, bleeding into a passionate and appropos "Number Line". My inner metal-head wants to despise this song, but my unconscious won't let me and my foot won't stop tapping. The other night I had a lucid dream that I watched Phish play this at a water park, while each and every bather signed along to the lyrics in American Sign Language. Because why not.

The final three songs of the second set hardly fell short of the mark in any way, but delivered little to write home about. There's a recurring issue, it seems to me, with setlist construction. Perhaps Trey doesn't know how much time is left in the set, and makes a conservative call by decking up several (2-3) set closers in a row, where that space might have been more aptly filled with a bona fide jamming tune. For instance, I would have much preferred to hear a set-closing "Split" - a song that's slowly clawing its way back to glory and may any day break on through to the other side once more - than the unfortunately rote "Suzy" > "Zero" combo Phish chose to play tonight instead. I've said this before and I will say it again - it's time for Trey to start scripting setlists again, instead of leaving flow to chance every time Phish takes the stage. I realize it flies in the face of Phish's Power of Now aesthetic, but why not give it a try?

"Loving Cup" encore, folks, and that's all she wrote. Lovely way to spend an evening. and I extend my sincerest thanks and admiration to everyone who worked so hard to pull this together. Phish and the people who work for them are some of the finest human beings on this rock, and that's in no small part due to the "freezer" from whence they came. Please, dig deep, and give all you can.

Until next time...

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Comments

, comment by 5errr
5errr well said, bert. thanks for the recap.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown You betcha, Slip!
, comment by Bobbohh
Bobbohh Well put, especially the part about the community and home coming vibe. I just got home, had a blast. Thought their energy was great and the whole scene was so chill for modern day Phish. Thanks boys!
, comment by drucifer
drucifer The four of the genuinely looked like they were having a good time tonight. They all were smiling the whole time, and to see them enjoying being on stage in VT again is priceless. I hope the guys keep having fun.

As long as the boys are smiling, we're destined to do the same.
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 didn't get a chance to see the webcast tonight...thanks for giving a breakdown of this show...looking forward to listening to it...
, comment by Live_Eels
Live_Eels Not the setlist I was hoping for ...predictable throughout but good energy
, comment by boymangodshiiiiit
boymangodshiiiiit the show was fine. not bad. not great.

once again confirming if phish is "supposed" to do something, they wont.
But if a show is out of the ay...or barely sold out..or has terrible weather before...it will rage.

ah well.

, comment by boymangodshiiiiit
boymangodshiiiiit i honestly think part of it was the crowds fault.

keeping how/why this show came together.....the high price people paid for tickets (either literally, or including hotels, travel, days off of work etc.) you would think itd be a LOUD raging crowd.

I saw a very mellow quite one..that didnt seem to jump on the few real moments this show had
, comment by Range
Range Raising my hand very high as one who is going to miss my evenings checking in on Phish from the couch!

For the next tour I'm going to be mindful to check my expectations at the door. I had a blast last night watching the stream, but it definitely wasn't the show I was anticipating.

Highlights for me were Sample, Wolfman's, Julius, Carni, DWD, Slave. My "inner metal-head" has always embraced BDTNL, and Trey seems to consistently play some oh so tasty licks in the mid section that punctuate for me just how natural and fluid a player he is. I always enjoy when they pull it out, but last night I could have done without it due to it reinforcing for me where the second set wasn't going starting with Twist. I had high hopes for set II, and thought that after the first 3 songs they were going to continue to bring the fire throughout the rest of the night. It felt to me that the set plateaued after Slave and then returned to set I excitement level - which was definitely fun, but nothing that would inspire me to text those i know who weren't watching to rub it in and let them know what idiots they were for not dropping the cash to tune in.

Still it was a very enjoyable night, the band was tight, consistent, having a blast, and bringing us fans yet another wonderful experience while doing a great deed for their beautiful state...all of which I am very grateful for!
, comment by cirrus
cirrus Older fans should stop using the word "noob", it puts off newer fans.
, comment by kowphish
kowphish Great review, I now know what I missed while webcasting. I have to admit my hand is not raised for missing couch tour. I find myself a bad couch tour goer, there are way too many distractions in the house or should I say I can distract myself in many ways while Phish plays on my MacBook which is usually on the couch by itself. This was my 4th webcast (NYE MSG, 1 Tahoe, 1 Denver) and the only one I really paid any attention to was NYE. I find listening to the audio the next day allows me to appreciate and capture the vibe of the show much better. I knew there were good things going on last night, but I only was able to appreciate them in pieces and glimpses from the kitchen, TV, emails, desk, other website, etc....I was happy to participate in this one, bought the t-shirt as well, figured it all goes to a good cause but I think I will retire from future webcasts, I learned they are not for me. I did stop what I was doing for Moma, Julius jam (that was a good one no argument here), Carini Jam, Traffic Light, Number Line which I always like the solo and thought this one was solid as well.
, comment by wrinkledraisin
wrinkledraisin didn't see any mention of theme in the recap, which due possibly to it's less frequent rotation this summer, had some extra sizzle for me. my crew, who in the comforts in couchland, and compete first-timers with the stream, were totally blown away by how cool it is to live in this time period. hd close ups of the band, with audio coming out of the home theater--that is pretty fucking cool. show for the ages?? not really. but i never really thought that would occur. solid show with a much larger agenda, i.e. raising huge cash for storm ravaged vermont, check. cirrus, don't be put off by being called a noob. it's a sign of affection. til next time. peace.
fish
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Really nice recap, mr letdown. Now I definitely need to hear this alleged Vegas Piper jam...I'm prepared to be vocally annoyed if it is mislabeled. EITHER WAY WHAT BLISS
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray This being a "special show" is exactly why I didn't purchase the webcast. Good thing, too. SnoozeFest.

@cirrus said:
Older fans should stop using the word "noob", it puts off newer fans.
Shut up, n00b.
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain Not a badly played show...I rather liked the jam of Gin. It's that new "GhostNYE"-style jam. Seems to be the jamming theme these days. But I felt the boys played well enough.
But yeah, woulda thought the homecoming last show of the year would have many more bust outs than.....uh, "Carini"? Is that a bust out these days?
In anycase, Thanks for the year fellas, hopefully we'll see you again soon! Enjoy yer time off!
I for one will be filling up the time listening to December 95 in order, let the tapes put me in that tour state of mind...
Peace Phriends.
, comment by sushigradepanda
sushigradepanda Carini may not have been a bust-out, per se, but they offered up a really solid version last night. the jam was great.
, comment by TheDeputy
TheDeputy I'm kind of bummed the review was done by a couch tourer. If I were at home, webcasting, or just going off the setlist, I wouldn't have been too impressed. But, having been there... I feel it was one of the best Phish shows I've ever been to (although I could have done without the zero and loving cup closers, but they were appropriate considering the energy). Anyway it was such a good show. Everything fit, it seemed cohesive. no significant, major flubs. the sound up front was SO good. Mike was so loud and clean in the mix. Trey is, again, a guitar god. the jams were tight, the peaks were intense, the segues were great. and the venue was SO much fun. it was an awesome experience. watching from home really can't do it justice. Was the setlist predictable? sure. but, the playing was so good. They are tighter than ever.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose The Carini> DWD was hot hot hot. I think folks might underestimate this show due to some of the setlist turns towards the end, but taking that 25 minute segment, throwing in the Gin, the Wolfmans and yes, the JAZZY Julius..makes for a pretty nice bunch of highlights. Agree on the well executed Slave, too.
, comment by BobFever
BobFever I LOVE when people who sit in front a computer screen all day and all night, tell Trey what he should and shouldn't do. I LOVE the pissing contest of stats and credentials of being in LOVE with a band. I LOVE opinions and I LOVE reviews. I LOVE that Phish really doesn't care about what you have to say. I LOVE Phish everytime I see them live. I LOVE couch tour because it keeps you at home and frees up tickets for me and all of my friends. Its a lot easier to critique music than to create .............BE A LOVER NOT A HATER................... I LOVERMONT!!!!!!
, comment by marcoesq
marcoesq Solid review. I don't think any of us purchased the webcast hoping for this to be an epic show, we purchased it to donate to Waterwheel to help the flood victims.

That being said, did anyone here think last night would come off any different than it did? The boys just put together 6 of the best shows they've played in recent memory and then put this together last minute as a fundraiser. I think they delivered exactly what we all knew they would.

This is an amazing band that has suddenly come back to life and brought us all that feeling of why we all got into them in the first place, the IT. NYE will blow our minds
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @BobFever said:
I LOVE when people who sit in front a computer screen all day and all night, tell Trey what he should and shouldn't do. I LOVE the pissing contest of stats and credentials of being in LOVE with a band. I LOVE opinions and I LOVE reviews. I LOVE that Phish really doesn't care about what you have to say. I LOVE Phish everytime I see them live. I LOVE couch tour because it keeps you at home and frees up tickets for me and all of my friends. Its a lot easier to critique music than to create .............BE A LOVER NOT A HATER................... I LOVERMONT!!!!!!
So let me get this straight. In the context of a comment you typed on your computer to critique a review that was typed on a computer you are ridiculing the computer review, based strictly on premise.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown As noted in the comments I did neglect to mention the Theme. Problematic song through most of 3.0 because of Trey's inability to stick the ascending pre-jam bridge. Same thing last night, though probably stronger than most 09-11 versions. Will re-listen today but do not remember anything outstanding about it.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting Which Vegas "Piper" do you speak of, Chris? 98 or 03?? Guess it wouldn't kill me to listen to those two and last night's. . .
, comment by TheDeputy
TheDeputy I've realized today (well, i guess I already knew it) that the collective mind re: phish shows and phish as a whole is a horribly negative and damaging thing. This show is getting panned (here and, of course, at the cesspool that is PT) and it's unfortunate. Having been at the show, sober, it was so good. so, so good. The stars aligned and it was a good, good show. And that's how I'll remember it.
, comment by Icculus
Icculus @marcoesq said:
That being said, did anyone here think last night would come off any different than it did?
I am embarrassed to admit this, but yes, I thought last night's show would be much better than it was. It was a show in VERMONT, it was a BENEFIT, and it was a show that came relatively close on the heels of many excellent, well above-average shows. Last night's show was not as strong as I both hoped and expected. It was nevertheless enjoyable (I happen to love Phish), of course, but I confess that I thought "last night would come off [ ] different than it did."
, comment by Sean_
Sean_ I would have to say this review kinda blows. I have been seeing the boys since 93 and this show went down in my top 5. I quickly texted a friend during setII/encore break that Milwaukee 94 (the "oj" show), Lillie France 97, Dayton 97, Omni 96 and these were the quick, off the top of the head, top 5 shows these eyes have seen live. Granted the setlist on paper was nothing too exciting, but the energy level of the show and the playing were spot on the entire evening.
I sat fish/mike side on the rail with my wife, her brother and his wife. We were all stone cold sober and floored by the complex layers of sound the entire evening. There were few low points and each member of the band was wide eyed and grinning from ear to ear the entire evening. Very few flubs or misplaced notes and I often felt like the playing was a somewhat redemption to VT for Coventry. Granted there were no "bustouts" or "Oh my God's" last night but I can't say enough how well they played. Mike came out to introduce VT's Governor before the show and told the crowd how pumped the band was to be playing this show.
I think 2011 will go down in the books as a year when the boys, night for night, were playing well and most of the shows I have listened to from this year have a 94 esque feel to them. My opinion is, "How the f_ _k can someone offer a review to a show from a webcast?
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @safetymeeting said:
Which Vegas "Piper" do you speak of, Chris? 98 or 03?? Guess it wouldn't kill me to listen to those two and last night's. . .
2003!
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor Great recap. I was thinking at set break about the highlights of the first set and I kept thinking back to Sample and Julius. Not often that happens. Something weird happened to me though last night. I loved the opening sequence of the Carini> DWD> Slave. Those three were worth the price of admission on their own. Character Zero though displayed some real character last night. Really took it "out there" and surprisingly it was another highlight for me personally. I, like most, get upset when I hear the opening riff to the song but it sounded great last night.

Serious sound in that venue for sure.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown How can you review a show from a webcast? It isn't all that difficult. As you will note I did not try to conceal that I was reviewing the show from a webcast. I listened, I formulated opinions, and I wrote. Somewhere in the middle of all that I might have gone to the bathroom.
, comment by MDosque
MDosque The setlist was entirely predictable and I almost could have called it myself. This is a benefit show and certainly not one where they are going to play a 30 minute Waves. As another reviewer said, it is Phish's style to play user-friendly, tight, solid shows on big occasions like this. Also, if you catch them on a Sunday night in some random town with no obvious meaning, you are bound to get a wild, bustout heavy, risk taking night. That's all good in my book. It seemed to me that the purpose of last night's show was to raise money with a solid, well-played performance. To address the fact that the crowd seemed "mellow'. That's because it was mostly free from cracked out hangers on that hurt the scene as it moves from town to town. A show like last night is not supposed to be super intense and edgy. Well done fellas, and hopefully I catch one of those random Tuesday night's in Somewhere, USA and get my mind blown. Until next time...

Dosque
, comment by nrw830
nrw830 Spot on review. It seems pretty clear that Phish can deliver when they're in the zone. In saying that I'm referring to the contrast in quality of songs/jams within a given set. Lately, they've given themselves to transitioning from an incredible jam one moment to an uninspired one. That being said, I agree strongly that Trey needs to start scripting setlists. I'm not saying that they're song choice is uninspired, but if a little more planning went into time management and the flow of a given set, I think they'd be able to deliver consistently through the course of a set and of a show more easily. There's no question they can still play, but it seems clear that they'd benefit from managing themselves a bit differently.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor @MDosque said:
The setlist was entirely predictable and I almost could have called it myself. This is a benefit show and certainly not one where they are going to play a 30 minute Waves. As another reviewer said, it is Phish's style to play user-friendly, tight, solid shows on big occasions like this. Also, if you catch them on a Sunday night in some random town with no obvious meaning, you are bound to get a wild, bustout heavy, risk taking night. That's all good in my book. It seemed to me that the purpose of last night's show was to raise money with a solid, well-played performance. To address the fact that the crowd seemed "mellow'. That's because it was mostly free from cracked out hangers on that hurt the scene as it moves from town to town. A show like last night is not supposed to be super intense and edgy. Well done fellas, and hopefully I catch one of those random Tuesday night's in Somewhere, USA and get my mind blown. Until next time...

Dosque
I had some kid next to me overheat on E an had to be carried off by paramedics. It was hard to watch. 2 of the last 3 shows I was at seriously scary incidents have went down right by me.

, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @Sprachtor said:

I had some kid next to me overheat on E an had to be carried off by paramedics. It was hard to watch. 2 of the last 3 shows I was at seriously scary incidents have went down right by me.
That happened to us at Tahoe. Not sure what the guy was ingesting but his friend and girl carried him back through the crowd with her finger in his mouth (he was having a seizure and the girl was clearly experienced with this sort of thing, sadly).

A few crew members and Mike's wife actually helped us get him into the tech area where he was revived.

I don't understand the appeal of getting this blasted. You're not going to remember the show. In this guy's case he may remember waking up to see 10 strangers with laminates looking down at him in alarm. How's that fun?
, comment by adam42
adam42 Agree with CB's review. As a connoisseur of Sample in a Jar (I've seen it live 50+ times, at 30%+ of the shows I see) I can say that this version ranks very highly among 3.0 versions.

Jazzy Julius was really fun. Carini-> Disease-> Slave was an excellent segment.

All in all this was a solid show and the somewhat 'safe' setlist made sense for the occasion. This event was not the type where the band is going to jam for 20 minutes -> Catapult -> Kung.
, comment by MrJones
MrJones Nice review. Thanks. Now it's time to give the show a listen (no show or webcast for me). Also going to give the '03 Vegas Piper a listen as I have never heard it.

And to chime in on if it is possible to recap a show from a webcast I would say it certainly is. Sure your not gonna get the emotional responce from being at the show, which frankly I hate to read about in reviews, it should be about the music.

You might even be able to more objectivly review a show by just listening to the webcast on your couch and not getting caught up in the energy. Getting caught up in the energy of a crowd is not a bad thing of course but not very helpful for most reviews. It probably cuts down on the "best show evah!" factor.
, comment by TennesseeJed
TennesseeJed @bertoletdown said:
Not sure what the guy was ingesting but his friend and girl carried him back through the crowd with her finger in his mouth (he was having a seizure and the girl was clearly experienced with this sort of thing, sadly).
Sad, yes. Drug related, not necessarily. If the girl was "clearly experienced with this" it is more likely that the guy regularly suffers from seizures. I had a good buddy back in CT who had seizures, we all knew what to do if it happened.
, comment by Axilla2
Axilla2 Unfortunately i missed 1st set from home but caught 2nd set on webcast and loved their energy right out of the gate. Was nice to see trey bouncing around on stage to Rock n' Roll, which triggered a flood of memories from 3rd set saturday at Superball of red being silly and having fun. Much of my interest was lost though with a peak-less twist into BDTNL. Something about a second set number line just doesn't get me raging... that is until they kick out the jam, and remind me why i like this song. My friends and I were a little disappointed with the choice of songs in the second half of second set, but that's just because we're jealous we couldn't be there. NYE baby here I come.
, comment by Potato_Sacks
Potato_Sacks Nothing to say about Theme?
, comment by smuggs
smuggs this shit was raging! if u weren't raging or are doubting the show you are probably just doubting yourself. great scene, deffenately heavy tailgating, and people were aloud on the grounds without a ticket unlike the rumors stated in the papers.

THE SOUND WAS UNREAL! the floor was TIGHT u had to bring the heat to get some space which was freakin awesome to get moving around and wrangle up some space. wolfmans julius shit was heavy!!!!! i had a great time. i would too argree that the flow fell off at the end, but oh well, its still a phish show right?
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @Potato_Sacks said:
Nothing to say about Theme?
See comments above.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @smuggs said:
this shit was raging! if u weren't raging or are doubting the show you are probably just doubting yourself.
lol
, comment by Forbin024
Forbin024 I wanted to hear a YEM in the worst way.. Hopefully next time !
, comment by gladtobeglenn
gladtobeglenn I was hoping (like others) for some rarity, maybe esther, or lizards, but...it's hard to complain when a band comes out of the box rocking and doesn't run out of steam until the last note is played. i learned not to analyze shows and just "go with the flow" a long time ago. you want real disappointment? see further! (please no haters - i'm aware how lucky i am to be able to say i've seen the real grateful dead back in the day ('73 onward). just think weir sucks the air out of the room. just my $0.02!
thank you fellas! keep it going!!!!
, comment by TheDeputy
TheDeputy @Sean_ said:
I have been seeing the boys since 93 and this show went down in my top 5. Granted the setlist on paper was nothing too exciting, but the energy level of the show and the playing were spot on the entire evening. There were few low points and each member of the band was wide eyed and grinning from ear to ear the entire evening. Very few flubs or misplaced notes and I often felt like the playing was a somewhat redemption to VT for Coventry. Granted there were no "bustouts" or "Oh my God's" last night but I can't say enough how well they played.

This guys knows what's up!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert "I was thinking at set break about the highlights of the first set and I kept thinking back to Sample and Julius. Not often that happens"

Agreed. I've heard plenty of more memorable Gins and Rock & Rolls, but there is something to be said for a show in which they predominately stick to the script but slip the extra mustard into places that don't usually get it. It's nice to be able to add a few more names to that list of songs that Phish surprisingly burned a hole through this summer.

Not sure why, but I was 100% convinced they were going to play and utterly demolish Round Room deep in the second set. A laughable sentiment? Perhaps, but listen to 2/16/03 or 7/13/03 before dismissing Round Room as an improv platform. I can't think of any other songs played 5 or fewer times with such good jams.
, comment by Axilla2
Axilla2 Just finished listening to first set and I'm pissed I missed it.
, comment by ru4page
ru4page I thought for sure we were gonna get a GLIDE!
, comment by ItalianSpaghetti
ItalianSpaghetti Great and spot on review IMO. Finely crafted in spite of last night's deliverables. Thought strongly they should have gave us something "surprising", if only one thing. Most of last night can be heard on any other download from the year. Wolfman's, Carini > DWD, Julius are take aways, but barely. Woulda had a blast and a slightly different settlement had I actually been there, I'm sure. Great overall tour this summer and hoping they keep their tight chops over the break!
, comment by joechip
joechip @Dressed_In_Gray said:
This being a "special show" is exactly why I didn't purchase the webcast. Good thing, too. SnoozeFest.

@cirrus said:
Older fans should stop using the word "noob", it puts off newer fans.
Shut up, n00b.

How about paying for the webcast because it's for a good cause and you like Phish?

Snoozefest my ass. Get bent.
, comment by InMyTunicDanglinMyStash
InMyTunicDanglinMyStash Show was Great... Cant complain when you think tour is over and bamm. Boys come out and rock it, smiles on their faces having fun singing and dancing..
Love how people complain about couch tour.... well maybe if you had a decent set up stream through the tv with some surround sound, rage it and dance around, gotta love that their is the opportunity to be apart of it and see it, better than nothing.. and freaking Noobs noobs noobs, dont know what to appreciate or whats what, cant even count how many people on tour this year were talking about "that new song" they liked referring to chalkd dust, loving cup, and bathtub gin.. hehe yup noobs.. Just grateful that tours are continuing and phish is jamming again and enjoying it. hopefully more shows to come~ if rumors of another quickie tour or festy come true will be there with brain on full melt.
, comment by Fluffyfluffyhead
Fluffyfluffyhead People have seizures. Could be drug related, or not...
, comment by NigelTufnel
NigelTufnel Shocked at no Glide or Curtain (with or without)...that would have meant so much to so many. The occasion played right into it and instead the band, who I'm sure thought about it, opted out. Aw well...

Best ever Carini. Was anyone else here really confused when Disease just ended in the middle of a groove and Slave started?? Major ripchord there...if I remember quite right, I believe Fishman was the culprit followed by Mike
, comment by LawnBoy0925
LawnBoy0925 looks like a very very avg 3.0 show. kinda disappointing ;)
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Average Phish shows are great things. Only disappointing if you expected something different.
, comment by captsensible
captsensible Nice review.

Just a thought on the Trey losing track of time thing at the end of sets. He has a clock mounted on his pedal board (like lots of guitarists do), which was visible a few times on the webcast last night. I could even read the time. So I don't think that's it. Who knows?
, comment by nichobert
nichobert As if you were never a teenaged noob?

I'm assuming your 2 shows in '97 were a lot like mine. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. Wondering at these exotic people saying "Six Up" instead of "Five Oh" - marvelling at the ingredients in a Ganja Goo-Ball and reminding yourself not to tell that cute hippie girl how your mom would also toss in a few butterscotch chips to brighten things up a bit. The music was great! Except Bouncin' - such a lame song and you knew you were destined to be more than one of "those people" who just came for Bouncin and Sparkle, lame pop radio megahits that must have been a lot more popular somewhere else, probably out on the west coast. That's probably where they say "Six-Up" too, come to think of it. You saw that look in their eyes. People knew what was real. What was happening. You wanted in.

Oh the first day back at school, you're riding in the backseat of Robbie Freeman's Gallant, he lights a joint up and you proclaim the herb to be quite "heady" and at Robbie & Donnie's perplexed looks, you sigh and raise an eyebrow. Slight condescension tints your tone as you explain the finer points of marijuana to these squares. And what is this music? 311? Not quite so heady. You like the song with the bass solo thats 7:15 but the rest is just kind of schwaggy. You gave them the 2nd disc of A Live One, because Wilson was a badass metal song. The CD skipped into the middle of the Tweezer jam and they laughed at you. Tears were burning your eyes as you explained how much better it was on LSD. They turned around and fixed eyes on you, LSD? You've never eaten LSD, they smelled your fear and called your bluff so you told them you could get some in December when Phish played Rocester. You had a guy. You got his pager number. He's from the West Coast and if you saw the guy you'd totally know he wasn't Six-Up. Those confused looks set your heart a-flutter and you calmly explained that out on the West Coast they called Cops "Six Up" instead of "Five-Oh" - they reluctantly bowed to your superior wisdom and started listening to Phish with you. Phish came back, you told Donnie & Ronnie that you were going to go meet your guy. You were running around the lot trying to find LSD. You ended up in a porta-pottie ripping up tiny pieces of notebook paper and hoping they didn't notice the difference. 4 hours later, Ronnie totally peaked during that song about the Ghost and saw a cartoon zebra dancing on the ceiling. Donnie saw the devil emerge from this white guy's dreadlocks during that heavy metal song and wouldn't talk about it for years. He wasn't ever the same again and last you saw him was in 2009, he was the bursar for the local episcopalian church.
He saw your Phish t shirt and asked you why didn't you listen? He saw the devil that night. God spoke to him through his LSD haze and showed him the light. You started to tell him the truth, but what if the tour kids found out? Big Sky Tony and Mississippi Mary might not let you on the bus if they knew you used to be a bunker!

Granted, perhaps you were more respectful of the scene?. Maybe you studied the Phish archives and parking lot anthropology for years before you felt that you were astute enough that your very presence at your first Phish show wouldn't be an affront to the older fans. You sneered at the first cop you saw and shouted "Six Up!" as if that scream had been building in your lungs during your entire two year training period, as if all the nights spent developing a tolerance towards any potentially cool-threatening performance enhancing drugs and painstakingly ciphering out the differences between the intros to Maze & Bowie had finally came to fruition. You produced a Samuel (Sammy!) Smith Oatmeal Stout and a set of flash cards from your backpack and quickly refreshed your memory on the Secret Language cues through a complicated system of mnemonic devices. Some guy asked you what you wanted to hear tonight and you replied "Destiny, Alumni, Sneakin Sally, Long Cool Woman, Fuck Your Face, Letter To Jimmy Page, Flat Fee. In that order." He gave you an odd look and said he hoped they played Disease. You scoffed and blew off this obviously MTV-obsessed teenybopper and roared "Who do I have to blow around here in order to hold a single rational discussion about why they framed Tela?"
At some point during the night you got dosed and they found you in the woods curled up in a ball apparently speaking in tongues. You wouldn't stop so they took you to the hospital. You regained full consciousness the next day and a pretty Doctor came in and asked "Can you please explain to me what 'Buffalo Bill 10/31/94. 204 Shows. Dog Faced Boy. 8/12/96. 109 Shows. Boogie On Reggae Woman. 9/13/88. 989 shows. BBFCFM. 8.6.96. 118 shows means?" You had been repeating it for hours. You knew the future. You called the rest of the bustouts for summer and fall tour before they happened.
The world is your oyster.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert "Was anyone else here really confused when Disease just ended in the middle of a groove and Slave started?? Major ripchord there...if I remember quite right, I believe Fishman was the culprit followed by Mike"

Trey started working the Slave intro really quietly while the groove was still going and they took it down quickly but rationally. Not as much of a ripcord as the > Twist, just a really fast detour.

And wow, this Zero does absolutely smoke. I love when they let this song breathe a little
, comment by nbliss
nbliss The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by nbliss
nbliss Phish is old and has lost the magic . Trey sucks sober and the music is stale and boring. Sorry to speak the truth but there you have it.
, comment by nbliss
nbliss Last night's show was absolutely horrible. Anyone who thinks that they sounded good last night either is lying to themself or has never seen a good phish show. They sound like shit.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Of your three posts, nbliss, I will offer that I think the first was the best.
, comment by batshitcrazy
batshitcrazy You made a phish net account just to make these negative comments? What a d bag loser. Sorry to speak the truth but there you have it.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Just listening to the show now - Twist in particular. There's something going on with Trey's playing that I can't put my finger on. Patience? Languor? What sounds like a complete freedom from care and worry? Either way, this Twist is just *incredibly* lively and attentive - great four-corner playing.

The DWD jam doesn't tease the Vegas '03 Piper so much as draw on similar musical materials. (Pedantry break!) Same rhythm pattern, briefly, but different chords. Tunes like DWD often feature IIIb-IV chording from Trey, which curves the sound gently away from the funky minor (i) chord that's the homebase of the jam.

This DWD is like that, pleasurably so.

The 2/16/03 Vegas Piper begins with that same maneuver from Trey, but instead of

i (implied) IIIb-IV

he crosses an unexpected IV-VIIb-I bridge (which is a I-IV-V progression in a new key)

before tumbling back down to an equally unexpected I-VIIb-IV pattern, which is the climax of the jam. In other words, instead of a funky minor-key jam sliding (conventionally) into its relative major, he switches (via a clever little progression) from minor to major, with the same root.

The effect is galvanizing partly because the newfound major key chucks that ever-so-slightly downbeat minor key right out the window, clearing the air. Definitely one of the most intoxicating jams I've heard them play.

OK, pedantry off. HEY GOOFY AHISTORICAL NOTION: the 'plinko' style was invented during the 2/26/03 Stash. ;v)
, comment by vtphanbowie1
vtphanbowie1 As a Vermont native and Phish fan of twenty plus years I would like to comment for the first time on these reviews. Not one in particular but a little of many. I saw my first show about twenty years ago and was at the show last night. I have seen around 40 shows in those twenty years and consider Phish my favorite band and always turn to their tunes when I want to listen to good jamming music. I brought my wife who was attending her second show ever and finds my infatuation strange. (her first and only show was Coventry, which is where we now live) That being said I understand her confusion as those shows were less than memorable.... Anyway, ... Noobs... Couchtour... lot... wookies... headies... etc...... Its music people. I can remember great shows I saw, NYE runs in early to mid 90,s, Red Rocks Shows in CO, Nebraska 95 (check it) and so on. But it was always about going to see the band and listen to their music. To say last night was "predictable" or "basic" or compare it to anything else is silly. They can't turn it off or on. When you go to bed with your significant other do you say "tonight I am gonna give the best sex ever?" or do you do your best and see what happens? I thought the show was great. Not my top 5 but really solid and I will remember it forever. To say the "crowd" was lame is also silly. There were alot of 30 somethings like me who listened and enjoyed. There is a HUGE community of Phish staff and families that live here and they were all there. Everyone including the band had smiles on their faces all night and it was very special. It was a great cause and a special night. Next time your girlfriend tells her bff that you blew your load early last night and says it wasn't as good as Vegas 99 remind her it is not about one night or even one tour but about the whole relationship... Thanks T, P, M, and J. Well done. Hope to see you soon..
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @vtphanbowie: To clarify, in your analogy, I'm writing about the fuck, not the marriage.
, comment by vtphanbowie1
vtphanbowie1 @bertoletdown: Actually enjoyed your review. Was commenting more on the other comments to your review. But thanks, I realized that-
, comment by ph4rbin
ph4rbin !@bertoletdown said:
@Sprachtor said:

I had some kid next to me overheat on E an had to be carried off by paramedics. It was hard to watch. 2 of the last 3 shows I was at seriously scary incidents have went down right by me.
That happened to us at Tahoe. Not sure what the guy was ingesting but his friend and girl carried him back through the crowd with her finger in his mouth (he was having a seizure and the girl was clearly experienced with this sort of thing, sadly).

A few crew members and Mike's wife actually helped us get him into the tech area where he was revived.

I don't understand the appeal of getting this blasted. You're not going to remember the show. In this guy's case he may remember waking up to see 10 strangers with laminates looking down at him in alarm. How's that fun?
, comment by kidrob
kidrob this is what i wrote to my friends about last night.

venue holds a little over 10,000. it was full for sure. not many people looking for tickets in the lot yesterday. you either had one or you didn't. it wasn't a typical phish scene because it was so immediate, and not exactly on the beaten track of a normal tour. last nights show was great. setlist wise they didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but it doesn't matter because the show was for a cause. everything was played very crisp as the boys continue to be on a roll. i have absolutely zero complaints, and i believe everyone in attendance felt the same way. the phans there were fortunate to be there, and that is the attitude that needed to be had. what a great time. also, setlist in my opinion definitely paid homage to their roots. cavern with picture of nectar quote, slave and carini for the dude and pete. wolfman's does contain hurricane quote. songs that trey has written with tom that he clearly enjoys. Possum for Jeff?, or just another Possum. I told Joey that Trey was last nights MVP, which means it is always a good show. Page had a look after Suzy like whoa, what did i just do? You did it Pageand took us to your house. Chalkdust was a perfect opener for me last night.Loving Cup encore reminded everyone that being at a Phish show is indeed a beautiful buzz. Julius went from mellow jazzy to a hard raucous set closer. Probably my favorite Julius seen live. No complaints here. If you're gonna complain at a Phish show, you probably should not be there.

On a side note: Initially going by myself, i felt i brought a bunch of people with me to this show. every phriend who could not attend, and the non fan friends that were excited I was going and was able to be so lucky to get a PBTM. The Hurricane affected my scheduled work in Rhode Island. I would have never been here. The people I have met in Providence did everything to accommodate me in getting to Vermont, and even though they don't go to shows or genuinely like Phish, they wanted to know every detail from me about my experience as well. Oh and every one I met around me on the rail were absolutely great.

, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @nichobert said:
As if you were never a teenaged noob?

I'm assuming your 2 shows in '97 were a lot like mine. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. Wondering at these exotic people saying "Six Up" instead of "Five Oh" - marvelling at the ingredients in a Ganja Goo-Ball and reminding yourself not to tell that cute hippie girl how your mom would also toss in a few butterscotch chips to brighten things up a bit. The music was great! Except Bouncin' - such a lame song and you knew you were destined to be more than one of "those people" who just came for Bouncin and Sparkle, lame pop radio megahits that must have been a lot more popular somewhere else, probably out on the west coast. That's probably where they say "Six-Up" too, come to think of it. You saw that look in their eyes. People knew what was real. What was happening. You wanted in.<snip>
/slowclap

Great work.
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @waxbanks said:
The DWD jam doesn't tease the Vegas '03 Piper so much as draw on similar musical materials.
Right. I would put money on Trey having never heard the Vegas Piper after playing it. But the similarity is there, and in my mind it comes from being played by the same guitarist with the same distinctive style.
, comment by joechip
joechip @nichobert's first post above is the best post I've ever seen on this site.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor @nichobert said:
"Was anyone else here really confused when Disease just ended in the middle of a groove and Slave started?? Major ripchord there...if I remember quite right, I believe Fishman was the culprit followed by Mike"

Trey started working the Slave intro really quietly while the groove was still going and they took it down quickly but rationally. Not as much of a ripcord as the > Twist, just a really fast detour.

And wow, this Zero does absolutely smoke. I love when they let this song breathe a little
I said it before but zero was great and a highlight for me. One of the advantages of playing songs every other night is killing them. It had Antelope like qualities. I am disgusted 99 percent of the time when I hear it played, but the other night it was sick. Even the security guard by me was getting down. NASTY
, comment by BobFever
BobFever @bertoletdown said:
@BobFever said:
I LOVE when people who sit in front a computer screen all day and all night, tell Trey what he should and shouldn't do. I LOVE the pissing contest of stats and credentials of being in LOVE with a band. I LOVE opinions and I LOVE reviews. I LOVE that Phish really doesn't care about what you have to say. I LOVE Phish everytime I see them live. I LOVE couch tour because it keeps you at home and frees up tickets for me and all of my friends. Its a lot easier to critique music than to create .............BE A LOVER NOT A HATER................... I LOVERMONT!!!!!!
So let me get this straight. In the context of a comment you typed on your computer to critique a review that was typed on a computer you are ridiculing the computer review, based strictly on premise.
, comment by BobFever
BobFever No I was ridiculing your review, have you ever played Theme From the Bottom, cause you'll probably miss the bridge sometimes too.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor @bertoletdown said:
As noted in the comments I did neglect to mention the Theme. Problematic song through most of 3.0 because of Trey's inability to stick the ascending pre-jam bridge. Same thing last night, though probably stronger than most 09-11 versions. Will re-listen today but do not remember anything outstanding about it.
Yeah it isn't just Essex. Darien is another great example. He gave up though the other night. He played the first two or so ascending licks then skipped the next few, then jumped back in on time to finish it off. It really isn't that hard of a pattern. What made it worse for me was him itching himself and not playing the chord right before the ascending riff pre-jam. That chord pumps me up and the riff just doesn't sound the same without it.
, comment by FiddleHead
FiddleHead Awesome sound and vibe at this show, and lots of collective smiles.

Based on the setlist, I'm guessing that "I'm the plowman in the valley, with a face full of mud" wasn't exactly intentional but I know it resonated with a lot of people in a cathartic way on wicked fun, warm and dry night!
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @joechip said:
@nichobert's first post above is the best post I've ever seen on this site.
Yeah it knocked me out too. Bravo.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Thanks guys. Like the Essex Character Zero, I started off thinking I was going to make a quick entertaining statement but ended up feeling the vibe and going batshit crazy.

I'm a big fan of noobs in general. Besides the obvious that we were all new at one point- and lord willing, we'll all find other new things to fall in love with in our life.

With the hiatus and then the breakup, it was hard for Phish to draw in new blood for the majority of the Aughts. The crowds are significantly smaller than they used to be but they also seem a lot younger. So while it may seem as if all these new people are a monolithic horde following some hot new trend, it's really just Phish reaching people again.

Thank (or blame) MGMT & Animal Collective & Ariel Pink for reviving interest in the psychedelic if you must tie, personally it brings warmth to my heart to see mobs of teenagers wearing neon headbands and dashikis wandering around the Phish lot trying to decipher what their first hit of acid is saying to them when they could be at Nickleback with too much makeup on drinking Bud Lite until they puke.
, comment by boyfacedog
boyfacedog I agree w/you about the second set bailfest... We left Ithaca @ 8am, because we werent sure what travel would be like, and ended up in the lot by around 3pm. Gorgeous day, great scene, but I definitely had about [i]8 too many lemoncellos[i]. The soundcheck was as freeform & fun as WG, but the show itself never quite got there. Julius marked my return to coherence and it was the type of ripper that had me believing we might be on to something for the 2nd. Drop theme> character0, extend twist, and move slave to the end where it should be IMO.
THat said- this show was a lot of fun & I hope the $$ raised helps the people whose lives have been uprooted by these storms, because I live right on the edge of the area affected and I know people who had water running throught their attics and now have everything (inc. the furnace) in a front yard pile. W/O flood insurance many are SOL
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown nichobert, that's a work of art.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting I know it's 'apples to oranges', but the comments from 9/16 @ 9:57 AM and it's immediate successor just barely get the nod over nichobert's in terms of amazingness. Is that even his name? I can't remember, but I will never, ever forget BobFever.

, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray @LawnBoy0925 said:
looks like a very very avg 3.0 show. kinda disappointing ;)

@joechip said:


Snoozefest my ass. Get bent.
Just wanted everyone to share the love....
, comment by phishyleo
phishyleo @nichobert awesome, seriously great stuff my heady brah lol. Keep up the good stuff, that was a pleasure to read
, comment by krlynch
krlynch @kidrob said:
this is what i wrote to my friends about last night.

venue holds a little over 10,000. it was full for sure. not many people looking for tickets in the lot yesterday. you either had one or you didn't. it wasn't a typical phish scene because it was so immediate, and not exactly on the beaten track of a normal tour. last nights show was great. setlist wise they didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but it doesn't matter because the show was for a cause. everything was played very crisp as the boys continue to be on a roll. i have absolutely zero complaints, and i believe everyone in attendance felt the same way. the phans there were fortunate to be there, and that is the attitude that needed to be had. what a great time. also, setlist in my opinion definitely paid homage to their roots. cavern with picture of nectar quote, slave and carini for the dude and pete. wolfman's does contain hurricane quote. songs that trey has written with tom that he clearly enjoys. Possum for Jeff?, or just another Possum. I told Joey that Trey was last nights MVP, which means it is always a good show. Page had a look after Suzy like whoa, what did i just do? You did it Pageand took us to your house. Chalkdust was a perfect opener for me last night.Loving Cup encore reminded everyone that being at a Phish show is indeed a beautiful buzz. Julius went from mellow jazzy to a hard raucous set closer. Probably my favorite Julius seen live. No complaints here. If you're gonna complain at a Phish show, you probably should not be there.

On a side note: Initially going by myself, i felt i brought a bunch of people with me to this show. every phriend who could not attend, and the non fan friends that were excited I was going and was able to be so lucky to get a PBTM. The Hurricane affected my scheduled work in Rhode Island. I would have never been here. The people I have met in Providence did everything to accommodate me in getting to Vermont, and even though they don't go to shows or genuinely like Phish, they wanted to know every detail from me about my experience as well. Oh and every one I met around me on the rail were absolutely great.
Right on kidrob, right on.
, comment by The_Nutty_Professor
The_Nutty_Professor This show is old news at this point, but thoughts a few months later, not having listened to the show since attending - First and foremost, never thought I would have a chance to see the band in my/our home state. Just happened to be in state when the show was announced - such sweet timing...

Call me a geezer but one of the things that impressed me most was how chill everything was - traffic not really backed up at all (thought it would be straight back to B-town) - easy into the lot, and there were extras floating around the lot everywhere! I felt bad for those who didnt bother showing up after the Flynn sellout.

The show itself - just a few things stand out - Moma was hot. So tasty. Mike with a big sound. Probably would go back and relisten to just that. For some reason, got me going more than anything else all night. Loved hearing Slave and Theme, and Character Zero got real intense at the end - it;s possible I have never seen Trey so orgasmic on stage - just seeing that happiness and energy from them always gets a huge smile on my face even if the music isn't nailed.

Crowd WAS super mellow and I absolutely loved it. Made me proud of Vermont. No drama.

Wasn't the EPIC show I of course fantasized about, but it was a wonderful and unexpected treat to be there when showtime dropped.

Oh, and last note - a beautiful harvest moon hanging beautifully in amidst a patch of clouds for a good period of time - many heads turned stage right for a while, just checking it out while getting down...
 
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