Some dates are loaded with history. For Phish, January 1 is not one of those dates. Not that there is no history – 1/1/11 is a tremendous show – but until last night, that was the extent of the Phish shows on New Year’s Day. So, with a sample size of one awesome show, what expectations should we have for Miami2? Well, none. It’s our favorite band, they’ve been playing at a very high level, and we’re probably in for some surprises. That’s good enough, so on with the show.
Photo © Phish @phish_ftr
“Tube” is a capable opener and sets the show mode to Dance Party right away. “Gumbo” follows, with fight bell and clap pedal stirred into the mix, and an assertive piano outro turns full-band blues jam for just a moment. “David Bowie” next? Yeah, why not! That’s an exciting call for early first set, and I like the way it works out. “Bowie” is not overly ambitious, but it does make a few interesting moves before Trey, quite honestly, shreds it up one side and down the other. An amusing “Lawn Boy” then includes Page Side and Mike Side shout outs, and we get a little more blues, this time as “Undermind” reveals its slow-boogie underbelly.
One of the treats to take away from this show is how well Trey plays. After ripping apart “Bowie,” he shows some TLC to “Yarmouth Road,” making for one of the better versions of that Cactus reggae project. I can’t really pay the same compliment to the ensuing “Wingsuit,” a song I love, but I like what Trey is trying to do with it, channeling his inner Coltrane. Also, there’s an unfortunate ending to such a serious song when Mike, uh, drops a meatball, so to speak. But, onward and hopefully upward, with a quick “Poor Heart” and a “Bathtub Gin” closer. Wait, closer? That was quick. But yes, an uneventful if spirited “Gin” is all she wrote for this pleasing first set.
Photo © Phish @phish_ftr
“Twist” just kind of casually strolls in to start the second frame, gets the lay of the land, loosens up, and throws down. Way down, down and dirty, and eventually making way for “Piper.” There are parts of this “Piper” that I love, particularly the pulsing wormhole they enter around 6:45 and the gorgeous minute before the segue into “Prince Caspian.” This show doesn’t have the hour of jaw-dropping artistic brilliance that NYE had, but this little section of “Piper” is cut from the same cloth. “Caspian” wants to get in on the act, too, and gives an extra push at the end before the segue to “Twenty Years Later.” I will attempt to be diplomatic about the “20YL” and say that I am apparently not the target audience for this jam. Someone who enjoys it, please feel free to extol its virtues in the comments section.
Photo © Phish @phish_ftr
“Winterqueen” is, without question, the song from Fuego that has grown on me the most, and this version shows why. Trey is on point, quickly taking this jam over and making it fly, and if you don’t think so, you are a “Winterqueen” hater (of which, apparently, there are some). It is, however, the last highlight from what would turn out to be a truncated second set to go with a diminutive first. As much as I like the “Winterqueen,” I’m not sure a “Wading” sized breather was called for, and the “Antelope,” while good, sounded rushed, and siphoned off a bit of show stopping power from “Rock And Roll” (which was also a strong, shreddy version). The cumulative result of this is an odd *clunk* and brief “Meatstick” encore at the end of a show that I otherwise enjoyed quite a bit.
Trey says goodnight and asks everyone to “come back” tonight, which I am excited to have the chance to do from my living room. In my humble opinion, as well as the opinion of some of this site’s users (as of this writing, 1/1/15 has a slightly better rating than the rained out Northerly Island show with the two song second set), this was a “below average-great” show. It’s OK. There were quite a few things that I enjoyed, and as they showed on Wednesday night (again), IT can happen at any moment. You get that feeling, anyway.
Photo by @languagestrange
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March 27, 1993
25 years ago
Set 2: Buried Alive > Halley's Comet > It's Ice > Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin' Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Poor Heart > Golgi Apparatus
 Beginning featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
 Fish on trombone.
 All Fall Down signal in intro.
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