Monday 07/04/2016 by phishnet

SPAC 3 RECAP: SPAC LETDOWN PARTY

By Craig Hillwig

Phish closed out their three-night run at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with their 20th show at this historic outdoor venue. There are few places as lovely as downtown Saratoga Springs on a summer weekend, with its eclectic mix of boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, and seedy looking motor lodges. And when Phish is in town, the hilarious intermingling of fans with the wedding parties, family reunions and church gatherings that typically frequent this tony Upstate New York vacation spot always makes me wonder why on earth they would ever invite us back.

Ample sunshine and comfortable breezes set the stage for a lazy Sunday, as we rallied for a New Orleans style brunch at Hattie’s with old friends and new. The perfect weather also made for a vibrant lot scene, with fans in high (and, unlike Friday, dry) spirits. We pulled with ease into the Gideon Putnam lot, where more old friends greeted us with open arms and open coolers. Tailgating under the shade of the tall trees, our anticipation grew as regaled each other with lore of legendary Sunday shows of yesteryear. And then came the show.

I’m not going to say it was a bad show, but it certainly was not a good show. Okay, it was a bad show. In some spots, excruciatingly bad.

We all have bad shows. The band is entitled to them, and — much like a marriage is “for better or worse” — we are obliged by our fandom to accept the bad shows along with the good and the great. And like all “Phishwives,” we should feel entitled to complain about our musical “spouse” on the Internet and be willing to endure the inevitable flames in response.

Things started off well enough with the opening triad of “The Wedge,” “Heavy Things” and “Tube,” and we didn’t really mind all that much that they were repeats from earlier in the tour. But Phish stumbled through much of the rest of the set, sometimes badly so, with numerous cringe-worthy moments in the more challenging and composed sections of “Sugar Shack,” “Sparkle,” and “It’s Ice.” One bright spot was “Guelah Papyrus,” in which the band deftly executed the “Asse Festival” section and offered some hope of smooth sailing ahead. But for the most part, this was the “worse” that we’d vowed to endure.

If the “Soul Shakedown Party” set two opener seemed like an apology of sorts, then the “Moma Dance” that followed was the make-up sex. After the final chorus, the band shifted tempo and stayed with a funk theme for several minutes before turning on a dime into type-II territory. From there, Trey led the band through several different themes and mode changes. Some will say it was the best version ever and I would not bet against them. Nor would I have blamed you for hoping that the “Twist” would follow suit and open up more improvisation, but this peppy and crisp version stayed strictly type-I.

From that point on, the afterglow quickly subsided as set two followed the trend of song-heavy fourth quarters. Sure, it was a lot less flubby than the first set, but following the “Joy” > “Breath and Burning” sequence, we grabbed our pillow and decided to sleep on the couch.

And like a lot of married couples, we got up this morning and decided that the “better” still outweighs the “worse.”

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Comments

, comment by PennPhan
PennPhan So I'm guessing that we're no longer saying, "Never miss a Sunday show?"
, comment by JRapp
JRapp excellent Hood though.. so there's that.
, comment by jflasko320
jflasko320 What's with the hate? This is one that you had to be there for, the energy was through the roof, the song choices were more interesting and well done than anything from the tour thus far. If your gonna say anything a a bad show, I dare you to sit through Friday's set one multiple times
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Well I wasn't there, I only caught Friday's show (which I thought was above-average). But calling any show that opens the second set with a Soul Shakedown Party followed by a Type II Moma Dance 'bad' seems a bit disingenuous to me. The fourth quarters this tour are obviously leaving much to be desired, but this recap seems a bit terse and unnecessarily harsh to me. Sorry you're having marital issues. Have you considered non-monogamy to spice things up?
, comment by maxhog
maxhog Glad you got to enjoy Hatties (I work there, food's excellent), but as soon as I read "this show was bad", I struggled to take this article seriously. Unreal.
, comment by weekapaug4398
weekapaug4398 It's certainly wasn't a bad show, it was a lot of fun for sure! But it wasn't a great show.....there were some great moments, though. I think people have pretty well covered it at this point, and my guess is that it didn't seem that great from the couch. I didn't really understand some of the song choices in the second set. The beginning of the set was great, but after Joy, there was no consistent flow and the choices seldom got the crowd to that next level. Axilla was a great infusion of energy, and don't get me wrong, I love Theme, but not there. When Hood started, I personally wanted to leave, I think bl002e would have my back on this one. Sorry Hood fans, but I have seen Hood at 25% of the shows I've been too and I just can't get excited about it. Rock and Roll was a decent encore choice, but I was just "alright". Great to get some tour bustouts and the Moma was sick. Fun time overall and a great venue, but not the Sunday-show-rager most were expecting.
, comment by KingDisco
KingDisco Blog post is accurate
, comment by thebabysmouth
thebabysmouth separate bedrooms is the key to a happy marriage. couches are for newbs. #neverbeenmarried #childofdivorce
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod I honestly can't believe that people are defending this show. Outside of the Moma (and, I guess the SSP), they just didn't play well. Trey had issues on nearly every other song. That's not really up for debate. I didn't care for the song choices on the whole either, but that's a matter of opinion and besides, song choices alone are almost never an indicator of the quality of a Phish show.

Having said that, if you were there, I hope you had a good time. It is possible, after all, - easy, even - to have a great time at a bad Phish show.
, comment by MrSunshine
MrSunshine No mention of Scent of a Mule? Longest Moma Dance ever played, Axilla> Theme> Hood and the ice> papyrus. The show was worth the trip
, comment by PlaYEM
PlaYEM Nothing about Fishman crushing the Marimba during Mule? It's worth checking out. Type II moma and then a bunch of other stuff. A non f*ed Guelah, show had some moments but not long sequences of relistenability. Just a few cool moments
, comment by Phishsx78
Phishsx78 @PennPhan said:
So I'm guessing that we're no longer saying, "Never miss a Sunday show?"
Friday is the new Sunday
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish I could probably just paste my comment from the "SPAC 2 Back" review on this, but I need to listen to the show first. Maybe it was that bad. I doubt it, but I've been wrong before. Tough to judge when the review was basically "It sucked. End of story."
, comment by HockeyStickMic
HockeyStickMic @lumpblockclod said:
I honestly can't believe that people are defending this show. Outside of the Moma (and, I guess the SSP), they just didn't play well. Trey had issues on nearly every other song. That's not really up for debate. I didn't care for the song choices on the whole either, but that's a matter of opinion and besides, song choices alone are almost never an indicator of the quality of a Phish show.

Having said that, if you were there, I hope you had a good time. It is possible, after all, - easy, even - to have a great time at a bad Phish show.

I was there, and I disagree. The only song that really got butchered was Sugar Shack. The highlights of Guelah, Mule, and that superb Moma Dance definitely outweigh the low points.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish @lumpblockclod said:
I honestly can't believe that people are defending this show. Outside of the Moma (and, I guess the SSP), they just didn't play well. Trey had issues on nearly every other song. That's not really up for debate. I didn't care for the song choices on the whole either, but that's a matter of opinion and besides, song choices alone are almost never an indicator of the quality of a Phish show.

Having said that, if you were there, I hope you had a good time. It is possible, after all, - easy, even - to have a great time at a bad Phish show.
I think you're just seeing a lot less bias from people that have seen 5-10 shows and been listening to the band for 5 years, than the vets (20+ years, 100+ shows and thousands of hours of listening). I haven't listened to the show yet, but I've been to a few of those shows and listened to many more, where you just cringe once in a while when Trey can't find the right position or note (unfortunately, it normally falls on him. Everyone else is pretty steady). Younger fans are a little more forgiving. Of course, so am I, but that's only because there nowhere else I'd rather be and nothing I'd rather do. And as I guitarist , I've had those shit nights where you just can't get it together.
, comment by dipped
dipped Meh.
, comment by Tanner22
Tanner22 Awful reviews lately. Spac 1 forgot Bathtub and now this review forgets Scent. Put the pipe down for minute and actually offer some valid input. We loved every show, Trey is only human, as are we. If you weren't there your point is moot. It's all about energy and interaction with the band. Personally they nailed this weekend on the head. Gave us exactly why we needed and saved the best for Portland.

Spac 1 - The Seduction
Spac 2 - The Fuckfest
Spac 3 - The Marriage
, comment by gladtobeaglenn
gladtobeaglenn ^this. Couldn't have put it better myself. Having gotten on the Dead bus in 1973 and witnessed the metamorphosis of the music, band and scene I draw some parallels to 2016 Phish. It was painful for most old-time Heads to hear Jerrys slow decline in the 90's. The big difference in Phish is they're still trying for that gold ring down inside. Do they always grab it? Of course not. But being at Mann n2 last year makes me believe they are capable of grabbing the ring every once in a while for an entire show. Also, having been at SPAC this run, I'll admit there were cringe-worthy sections of some songs, but there were also some peaks and I'll accept the flubs along with the gold. I will continue to see as many shows as I can, because the band is here and they're giving it they're all just my .$02.
, comment by gladtobeaglenn
gladtobeaglenn @gladtobeaglenn said:
^this. Couldn't have put it better myself. Having gotten on the Dead bus in 1973 and witnessed the metamorphosis of the music, band and scene I draw some parallels to 2016 Phish. It was painful for most old-time Heads to hear Jerrys slow decline in the 90's. The big difference in Phish is they're still trying for that gold ring down inside. Do they always grab it? Of course not. But being at Mann n2 last year makes me believe they are capable of grabbing the ring every once in a while for an entire show. Also, having been at SPAC this run, I'll admit there were cringe-worthy sections of some songs, but there were also some peaks and I'll accept the flubs along with the gold. I will continue to see as many shows as I can, because the band is here and they're giving it they're all just my .$02.
Actually I was agreeing with the dude above the post above mine (jestinphish).
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Look I'm the first one to jump to the land of THE BIG PICTURE when a day in the life of Phish is not so sunny, but this is a public forum and there's nothing "hateful" about expressing disappointment over unmet expectations.

The tour has been average so far, and has resembled early 2011 more than the last 3-4 years. That's just the facts.

Yes there were some moments, but Phish always has moments in every show.

They sucked last night.

Nothing worked the way it should have. Watching it felt like that moment when you invite your parents to the final night of your leading role in the high school play only to trip on a mike cord as you walk onto the stage and break your nose. It was embarrassing.

It was more than embarrassing, it was cover-your-eyes-awful, go-to-bed-early, lie-awake-thinking-about-the-future-of-humanity embarrassing.

These feelings only happen when you're in love and your girl refuses to kiss you goodnight. That's how it felt.

When Phish wows us we say so, and when they drop a deuce on camera somebody needs to say so. This review was right on. There was nothing else to say about it.
, comment by Dog_Faced_Boy
Dog_Faced_Boy Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and I appreciate the author taking time out from a national holiday to offer his perspective. Three songs he didn't mention in his recap merit a comment or two. First, Scent of a Mule shows the band paying homage to its historically wacky and humor-filled side, with a marimba lumina solo and crazy bass action from Mike. No it's not the same as catching YEM, but it's real Phish nonetheless. And not too long ago, Mule was sent to a barn for retired animals, with versions typically featuring a brief Page solo, then moving on. Since around 2012, the band has brought some life back to this song, as well as to It's Ice which has also rediscovered its more rocking roots.

Possum, while a bit on the short side, is a solid version and boasts excellent playing by a Trey clearly out in front. I much prefer this type of Possum to the Page solo / Trey solo variety that have become so common of late.

I think the compact Hood is quite strong - it packs a lot of punch in a relatively short time frame. There are different types of Hood jams. Some languish and gradually work up to a simmer and boil. Others are more like putting the pot of water on the stove with the burner on high from the start - this one has energy and momentum from the get-go and builds to a nice peak, and like Possum, Trey's playing is strong.

Lastly, for all those folks complaining that they didn't get a Tweezer, Ghost or YEM at SPAC, I imagine if you replaced the first five minutes of Moma with the first five minutes of Ghost or Tweezer, that people's perspective on this show would be vastly more generous. Hard to believe it all boils down to which 5 minutes of composed music the band chose to play.
, comment by metawhy
metawhy thanks for the honest review. people seem to forget that a review is an opinion or a commentary piece.

also big thanks for taping 11-22-97 back in the day. i still listen to that recording all the time!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Dog_Faced_Boy said:
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and I appreciate the author taking time out from a national holiday to offer his perspective. Three songs he didn't mention in his recap merit a comment or two. First, Scent of a Mule shows the band paying homage to its historically wacky and humor-filled side, with a marimba lumina solo and crazy bass action from Mike. No it's not the same as catching YEM, but it's real Phish nonetheless. And not too long ago, Mule was sent to a barn for retired animals, with versions typically featuring a brief Page solo, then moving on. Since around 2012, the band has brought some life back to this song, as well as to It's Ice which has also rediscovered its more rocking roots.

Possum, while a bit on the short side, is a solid version and boasts excellent playing by a Trey clearly out in front. I much prefer this type of Possum to the Page solo / Trey solo variety that have become so common of late.

I think the compact Hood is quite strong - it packs a lot of punch in a relatively short time frame. There are different types of Hood jams. Some languish and gradually work up to a simmer and boil. Others are more like putting the pot of water on the stove with the burner on high from the start - this one has energy and momentum from the get-go and builds to a nice peak, and like Possum, Trey's playing is strong.

Lastly, for all those folks complaining that they didn't get a Tweezer, Ghost or YEM at SPAC, I imagine if you replaced the first five minutes of Moma with the first five minutes of Ghost or Tweezer, that people's perspective on this show would be vastly more generous. Hard to believe it all boils down to which 5 minutes of composed music the band chose to play.
No it wasn't about 5 minutes. Your points are appreciated regarding the above-average Hood and the excellent Mule.

But it was not 5 minutes. It was the flaccidness of the entire run which culminated in the disappointment of 45 minutes of elevator music to close out the final frame.

And no Tweezer.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Well I'm not contesting it might have been a disappointing show (and run, taken as a whole). I just took issue with calling it a 'bad' show. Phish has played bad shows, and despite last night's weak spots, I would have thought its highlights saved it from that label.
, comment by Shmendrick
Shmendrick @jflasko320 said:
What's with the hate?
There isn't any. I read this review and all I see is honest critical analysis of a band the reviewer clearly loves.
, comment by Mypoopinyourfireplace
Mypoopinyourfireplace I've had this band rip out my soul twice before and it looks like it's happening again. There is clearly a rift somehwere in the band. They are some of the most talented musicians in the wolrd. They dont play like this by accident. Why come out and play if you aren't going to put your best forward. It tortures me to listen to them It will be interesting to hear what we'd night sounds like.
, comment by dipped
dipped It's hard to hear criticism of a show in which you personally invested. These reviews (appropriately so IMO) are to place the show against what they have done and can do, within several contexts (the show itself, the venue, the run, the year, and the era).

Moma will stand up against time; Summer 16 pales so far against summer 15, and so on - all valid.

This tour they seem to be willing to explore far and wide within one song each second set. After that, it feels about like clock punching.

And yet, I'd choose Phish clock-punching on the couch over Game of Thrones any day.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @Mypoopinyourfireplace said:
There is clearly a rift somewhere in the band.
Yeah, I don't know if it is anything major or serious tension, but it is clear so far this tour, and particularly last night, that they are not on the same page and it is troubling. I hope they can pull it together and we can experience the highs of last summer.

On to Portland.
, comment by Phantasm
Phantasm I actually called no tweezer so I was very happy with the entire run
, comment by climberForbin
climberForbin That Moma Dance made it all worthwhile. I may not go back and listen to this show a ton, but I'll surely revisit the Moma. Way to keep us guessing boys!
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect My crew tends toward the 'No Complaints' variety, which is an excellent attitude (and consequently group of folks) to attend shows with. We're at a show to have fun, cut loose, maybe get IT, so let's keep it positive and open-minded. Like, Let's Go.

There's definitely space and need for considered criticism, of course, especially when evaluating the 'historical' significance and repeat-listening quality of this wondrously organic, evolving music. I welcome .net recaps that offer the author's own experience of the show, no matter how critical.

But at least recap the whole show -- don't flub or phone in your impressions, skipping songs and details, just because you think the band did. Recaps are at their best when they balance considered criticism with the kind of knowledge and analysis that comes from deep appreciation of the band, which is .net's specialty. SPAC2's recap was spot on in this way.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @andrewrose said:
Well I'm not contesting it might have been a disappointing show (and run, taken as a whole). I just took issue with calling it a 'bad' show. Phish has played bad shows, and despite last night's weak spots, I would have thought its highlights saved it from that label.
A valid point.
, comment by oh_kee_dono
oh_kee_dono I had a great time even though they didn't blow the roof off this mutha. It was infinitely better than the shows I saw between August 04 and March 09.
, comment by axpstanz
axpstanz Thanks for calling it what it was. They cannot all be good shows.
, comment by Dockerj
Dockerj Ur an idiot, show was great. And please, have fun sleeping on ur couch and writing reviews while the rest of us non phish snobs get down to a fun funky show. Ill be sure to catch ur next "couch review" after im done actually seeing the show.
, comment by EdwardGRobinson
EdwardGRobinson You can't spell "Relaxo" without "Relax".
, comment by PhinePhineMusic
PhinePhineMusic I really appreciated this review, and a lot of the comments below. I watched the webcast, largely confused and disappointed. This is really feeling like the jukebox era all over again, with very little trajectory to the set lists. Often, a song would start and I'd just think, "Why? Where is this gonna take us?" And it's not even because of the lack of Type II. There's a weird lack of focus in a few different senses.

And yes. It's unfortunate that we can't make this point without sounding like snobs, because OF COURSE we're snobs. But it's just so clear to me whether I'm reading the comments of a younger or older fan on these reviews. Whoever said it's really easy to have fun at ANY phish show hit the nail on the head. I don't think that you should be allowed to review a show in person, as weird as that sounds! We've all been there, disappointed after listening back to a jam we thought was a killer. The best shows sound better with age, stand up to the best of 30 years of music. I watched last night's show on my couch and couldn't help thinking, "No one would ever go back and listen to this again." Except maybe the Moma.

This tour has been scary. Fall 2013-Summer 2015 better not have been the latter-day peak. They've got plenty of time to figure it out, and we've seen them do it before! See you in Hartford. Hoping they're firing on all cylinders by then!
, comment by PhortyHairs
PhortyHairs I am new to the site, but not new to reading all that is good here. I am somewhere between a NOOB and a Vet, having attended roughly 15 shows, including parts of Super Ball, all of Magna Ball and Wrigley (btw, what is the cutoff between a NOOB and a Vet).

I 'couch toured' for the first time this weekend on Saturday and Sunday with my son. I will say that couch touring brings a whole different, slightly more critical vibe to the experience. Let me also say that no matter how you take in Phish, it is all incredibly good. I grew up with The Dead, went to Cornell '77 and worked through all the challenges in the early '90's with those guys. No matter what, The Dead and Phish just bring me ultimate joy every time I listen.

I found Saturday's show more pleasure from 'the couch' than Sunday's. Sunday's show had very good moments (Moma Dance was scary good and I always love watching Trey play Rock n Roll) but the band just seemed to stop a good flow when it was happening. You would think they were going to go on a run and then they slowed it down. My son and I both commented on the 'weirdness' of the set list, especially set 2. I noticed that Trey ran off the stage pretty quickly last night before the encore and was wondering if anything was going on (maybe reading too much into it). I'm trying to not be a Magna Ball snob but something seems a little different this year. Not sure why I think that, but perhaps some of the more seasoned vets can give insight.

Regardless, I'll take this band's 'bad' over any other band's 'great' anytime. No other band can grab you with their music, hold your hand through the journey, let you experience all that is good about music and keep you coming back for more. My analogy for Sunday - the Red Sox lost 6-2 but Ortiz hit two home runs. They may have lost but I always love the Sox and it's always good seeing Papi hit home runs....

These guys will NEVER let me down...
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray Which part of the show was the "I have a headache" part?
, comment by upontheroof
upontheroof For me as a Phish fan it all comes back to one word: Coventry. Those were BAD shows. Perspective! I would say SPAC3 was an "off-night."
, comment by hdorne
hdorne @PhortyHairs said:
Regardless, I'll take this band's 'bad' over any other band's 'great' anytime.
I've never understood this notion, and I'm a massive longtime Phish fan. There is so much great music out there, and I'd rather listen to another artist delivering an amazing performance than Trey butchering his band's own songs. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Phish fan till I die unless they come out and endorse Donald Trump or something equally horrible, but I don't have time to listen to a "meh" Phish show when there's so much more great music happening.

I agree with upontheroof that this was an off night, not a truly bad show like Coventry or most of 2004 for that matter (except SPAC). There was some slop, Trey was downright embarrassing in Sugar Shack, but it pales in comparison to the depressing train wreck of the band's nadir. And let's not forget, Trey celebrated the idea of fans getting online and talking about whether a show was good or bad in Bittersweet Motel. Calling them out for a bum show doesn't mean we hate them.
, comment by dedhed511
dedhed511 I was there all 3 nights and it was my first time at SPAC & I will be back. Fridays show was flat out insane the Carini..Chalkdust jam I will never forget. I truly enjoyed the whole run and have learned over the years that you take the good with the bad. I saw the Dead 25 times before brother Jerry passed and trust me even the greatest had his bad nights. But I will tell you this and preach it on the mountain top. I would rather be at the worst Phish or Grateful Dead than no show at all. I feel a great attachment to this music and this band and feel they honestly strive to deliver each and every night....if you dont receive its on you. See you next year..Peace
, comment by Zimmerman
Zimmerman Great read!
, comment by Nigel_Tufnel
Nigel_Tufnel It's part of a musical trilogy, in the key of D... minor. The saddest of all keys, really. Something about it just makes people weep, instantly.
, comment by white_lightning
white_lightning I haven't attended a show yet this tour (have listened to some) but was in Mex in Jan. I think this is the current normal, and in real time I think it lends itself to people being somewhat overcritical.

Late 3rd to mid 4th quarters have been ballads, no type II, etc. And sometimes, when you go back weeks and months later you will find parts of a show more enjoyable than you did in real time.

A similar argument has been made at other points in the history of phish, but IMO if you don't like this (i.e. what they are currently doing in the middle of second sets), you probably aren't going to come away from many shows raving. But often they are still good shows with great moments.

It sounds like SPAC III had some flub type issues as well. You compound those two things and some people aren't happy.
, comment by jackl
jackl Good review, Craig! I love this venue (and live in the area) but the run was a disappointment. Still I've seen many better, some recently (Wrigley 2) and unlike a long stretch of "3.0 era" jukebox shows from 2009-2013, I have no doubts on a good night this band can still recapture the heights of its best days.

For me, it's mostly about set list flow, transitions and "Type II" jamming. I can understand a brief cool down song in the second set to catch one's breath, but when the third or fourth quarter has a treacly ballad like "Joy" or "Show of Life", it brings me back down to earth instantly. We were on the way to the parking lots as the encore played to beat the crowds.

Anyone is entitled to his opinion, and I applaud the reviewer for his candor and risking the wrath of those for whom Phish can do no wrong and is "better than any other band on it's worst night" (you're missing a lot of good music, friends!) and for whom "negativity" is a sin in the Church of Phish. The marriage analogy is a good one, and anyone who thinks this guy is a "hater" has probably never seen the Phish tattoo on his ankle or realized he taped many of the audience tapes of the 90s shows you have probably listened to.

I certainly won't want to suffer the pain of hearing this show again, but those who disagree are welcome to my code: 736549167169 .
, comment by aburtch
aburtch Not every show can be epic. But that's the thing about Phish. Even a "bad" show from them is ten times for exciting and well played than the best show by just about any other band on the planet.
, comment by mterry
mterry Thanks for the review. Some shows just aren't good. There can be some nuggets in the show, but a 17min Moma doesn't save it. See 6/25/00 and 7/27/03 for how a bad show can still have some good moments....it's ok to admit you witnessed a bad show. It really is.
, comment by icntmx
icntmx I want you to be happy, don't live inside your review
, comment by pureguava
pureguava These are all matters of opinion, not "just...facts."
, comment by hdorne
hdorne @aburtch said:
Not every show can be epic. But that's the thing about Phish. Even a "bad" show from them is ten times for exciting and well played than the best show by just about any other band on the planet.
Again, I just don't get this statement. I'm curious as to how much music people who say this have listened to. I'm genuinely baffled that someone would rather listen to a bad Phish show than something great by somebody else. Do you actually think that Coventry is more exciting and well played than almost any show Wilco have played in the last decade or so? In terms of musical execution, not personal tastes of course.

I will say, SPAC3 may not have been great as a whole, but that Moma Dance is incredible. Same with SPAC1's Set II opening triad. The song execution isn't always there so far this tour, but there are moments when they are tapping into something very deep and contemplative. At times they are improvising as though nobody is watching. I love it.
, comment by Happyone
Happyone Very good and fair review!

Coming off last summer's Tour and MSG run I was very excited for more of the same this year. Went to both Wrigley shows, Friday was ok and Saturday better. Unfortunately both shows fell short of the quality from many of last summer's shows.

On to SPAC... I watched Saturday (average at best) and Sunday night shows. Sunday night was a huge disappointment, especially that second set! Joy and that new ballad must have taken the energy out of the whole venue, by then I started flipping channels...

Looking back, that Wrigley 6/25/16 Set 2 sounds better and better compared to all of this past week's shows (Sunday's SPAC show clearly being the poorest this tour). Let's hope Saturday night at Wrigley doesn't turn out to be the Summer tour highlight.

Plenty of time for our favorite band to rally though!!
, comment by Wolfenhaus
Wolfenhaus "But it was not 5 minutes. It was the flaccidness of the entire run which culminated in the disappointment of 45 minutes of elevator music to close out the final frame."

You said flaccidness.
, comment by baynetrain8
baynetrain8 This show doesn't compare to the vivaciousness of Friday night.

I had hope that after a lackluster first set, Moma Dance would bring us into the exploratory, explosive jaminess of SPAC1 Chalkdust (or Wrigley2 Carini, for that matter), and was disappointed with the cookie-cutter Twist that followed.

In general, the usual excitement and over-the-top energy just wasn't there that night. Compared to previous shows on the tour, I found this one to be lacking, and at times a little lazy.
, comment by applenoose
applenoose This review is spot on. We all love this band endlessly, but Sunday night was just disgraceful. I left mid-second set, and that is a first after 23 years of shows. The band does not feel practiced, or polished, or in 'the zone', like at all, this tour. Some highlights, yes, but just not feeling that Phish magic. Not jaded, but the flubs, mis-notes and mis chords during Mann2 and Spac 3 were just awful. It's great to whip out an Ice or Sugar Shack, but if you haven't played it in a year, sorry, it ain't gonna come out right. There is no other way to put it. They don't feel like a 'band' to me yet, maybe West Coast they gel.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @hdorne said:
@PhortyHairs said:
Regardless, I'll take this band's 'bad' over any other band's 'great' anytime.
I've never understood this notion, and I'm a massive longtime Phish fan. There is so much great music out there, and I'd rather listen to another artist delivering an amazing performance than Trey butchering his band's own songs.
I can't speak for everyone else, but I've said something like this many times over the years -- Phish on a below-average night are more worthwhile than a perfectly executed night of (insert pop/rock group of your choice here). It's silly, but it speaks to something important, and I *think* I know what I mean by it:

With Phish, the outcome -- the product, the recording -- is much less important than the process by which it's generated on the night through improvisation. That process is the 'sacred' thing. The extraordinary sense of possibility, openness, risk, which is central to the Phish experience: that's the feeling you don't actually get from other bands. Not because Phish are 'better at jamming' than everyone, but because they go about their job in a way that leaves them weirdly present and vulnerable night after night, and we in the audience can feel it.

I haven't heard Sunday's show. It may've been shit; sometimes you get a bad show. It doesn't happen often to Phish, but they do play clunkers. That said, 'all "Type I"' does not equal 'clunker' in my estimation, not at all. But that's a separate set of questions.

We can't help feeling disappointed, obviously. 'Fan' is short for 'fanatic,' which is not a compliment.

But we can make an effort to talk about what happened without rancor and (if possible) ego, to listen hard to the music and figure out what's going on, to see that as part of the same process that produces classic shows -- a continuum of musical experience rather than two buckets labeled 'hear at all costs' and 'you are dumb for listening to these' -- and then to shrug and laugh because the whole thing's utterly ludicrous. The best show is the next one; it has to be. I know that for me, the best thing I can do when it comes to Phish is try to embrace that attitude, and not get bummed out because the show didn't sound like I wanted.

So for instance complaining about slow/quiet songs, or about Twist not being an exploratory jam vehicle on a given night, or about Trey preferring a stretch of shorter songs to a final blowout in the 'fourth quarter'...get yer feelings out, say you don't like it, these things are important. But then we put it behind us, because Trey's song choices aren't our business, and the band's mood really actually is four adults' shared private feelings, and when the band is on fire Phish's 'Type I' jamming really is harder and more rewarding than almost anything your second-favourite band does. So as long as we can temper our disappointment with the grownup sense that we're not owed anything -- this is hard to do and I fail at it all the time -- then we're doing fine and no one's actually hurt by a Bad Review or indeed even a case of what the kids call 'Butthurt.'

@chillwig speaks for himself and, to an extent, for a crew of likeminded fans. If you don't think he speaks for you, then speak up, and try to make it about your experiences and not The Other Person Having BadWrongFun or whatever.

Meanwhile I'll be over here in the corner listening to Milton Nascimento's MINAS, which (when the handwringing is done) I recommend to everyone else, too.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Wolfenhaus said:
"But it was not 5 minutes. It was the flaccidness of the entire run which culminated in the disappointment of 45 minutes of elevator music to close out the final frame."

You said flaccidness.
Indeed. Yes.

Flaccidness: 1 a : not firm or stiff; also : lacking normal or youthful firmness <flaccid muscles> b of a plant part : deficient in turgor. 2 : lacking vigor or force <flaccid leadership>
, comment by applenoose
applenoose @Dockerj said:
Ur an idiot, show was great. And please, have fun sleeping on ur couch and writing reviews while the rest of us non phish snobs get down to a fun funky show. Ill be sure to catch ur next "couch review" after im done actually seeing the show.
Ur - is 'you are'.
Yer - is 'your'.

The reviewer, like myself, was there. The show stunk and criticizing a show does not make anyone a slob. It means we can discern between a band that is locked in, focused, practiced and on the same page from a band that is just throwing crap against the wall during both sets. The flubs, mis-chords and lack of focus were readily apparent, unless this is your first time seeing a band. The tour has been weak, the band does not seem focused and together and there is very little magic. Those are the facts and judging by the amount of chatter going on around me in the latter 2nd set of SPAC 3, many folks were not into what the band was offering. I love this band just like the rest of you, but the reviewer is right to call out what is going on so far this tour, and particularly Sunday night SPAC 3.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Sorry, to sum up my response to @hdorne which sorta got buried in a response to the thread in general:

Phish try every night to accomplish something that Wilco, on their best night, couldn't dream of (and I say this despite loving Nels Cline's improv w/MMW, and Tweedy's songwriting). On an off night, Phish aim for total musical synchronization and end up playing nothing more than Unprecedentedly Coherent Improvised Rock, which is still totally worth the ticket price as long as they don't completely butcher all the writtens, I think.

Now if they're having trouble syncing up, or are noticeably rusty, well -- that's frustrating, and embarrassing if they didn't put in the work to tighten up for tour. But if they're putting nose to grindstone and making interesting music with some technical errors, that seems a fair tradeoff. I wasn't there, haven't heard, don't know -- but that evaluative framework seems sensible to me for now.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish I posted this in the SSPAC2 thread, but think it belongs on this thread as well. Maybe explains the harshness of some of the judgment being passed...

"After listening to night 3 and a re-listen of night two. I agree they were off (way off) a few (okay, more than a few) times this weekend. Much like any longtime fan, its tough to take when you know what they are capable of. I started listening in '94 and was blessed to really start digging into this band in their "glory years". I consumed every tape I could get my hands on. So many Maxell XL-II's sent across the country. I loved the ripping fire that was the outro of Bowie when Trey played 32nd notes with an incredible (almost unnatural) precision. The cohesiveness of the structured parts of Reba, The Asse Festival, Oh Kee Pah, YEM, etc.. They sounded like a band that practiced together 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. They breathed together back then. It was so cool to see and as a young musician, blew my mind that a group could be so tight. Then came the cowfunk of '97 and all the greatness that came along with a band at the top of their game. To me, they could do no wrong. Then came the drugs (and families and real life) and we all know what happened from there.

When you were present for those early days it makes the flubs so much harder to take now. I take it with a grain of salt, because I know life gets in the way. I've played guitar for 20+ years and my hands have slowed down and I just don't have the time to practice that I did in my late teens and early 20's. This is not an excuse for the sloppiness because I'm not a professional musician. Trey is. And, for better or for worse, he is the rock upon which Phish is built. I don't know what the disconnect was this weekend. I do know they'll find their way back to form. They always seem to. One of the things I really love about webcasts is you can see the band and how into it they are. Trey is generally always smiling and moving like the rockstar he is. Mike's head is bobbing just as much as it used too, you just cant see that curly mop flopping around anymore. Page is still jumping all over the boards and killing it. And Fishman is always squarely in the groove, eyes squinted with concentration, absolutely rock-steady."

You don't always get the fire, but a lot of us remember when it seemed like every other show was a face-melter. I originally defended the band this weekend, but after some re-listens. There's some pretty shoddy work that went on.
, comment by jacnaughton
jacnaughton Not a good review, it was short, uninformative and in no way a critical examination of what may not have been the best show of 3.0 but certainly had many high points such as the bathtub gin and scent of a mule that you failed to even acknowledge (maybe you missed them) as well as a second set moma dance that had the place going wild. I don't mind reviews from people who watch couch tour but if you're just going to write a hack ass lack luster review you clearly wrote in 5 minutes maybe it's time to give it up.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @jacnaughton said:
Not a good review, it was short, uninformative and in no way a critical examination of what may not have been the best show of 3.0 but certainly had many high points such as the bathtub gin and scent of a mule that you failed to even acknowledge (maybe you missed them) as well as a second set moma dance that had the place going wild. I don't mind reviews from people who watch couch tour but if you're just going to write a hack ass lack luster review you clearly wrote in 5 minutes maybe it's time to give it up.
Except they didn't play Bathtub Gin. But if you have a chance to give us a run down on how it sounded I'll read it. We all have our own journey, dude.
, comment by Dento557
Dento557 Honestly this might have been my favorite show of the run. However, if there was a cringe-worthy moment it was the ending section of "Sugar Shack", but i thought everything was great other than that. "Moma" took Tweezer's place and I could not be more happy about it. If they play "Tweezer" every time it will not be as exciting and the fact that they stretched out "Moma" had me very excited. My one disappointment of the run was how short the "Bathtub Gin" was on the first night. Other than that, I was completely satisfied this run. I had a great time and was even able to convert a friend into a Phish head with these shows.
, comment by Kriddaz
Kriddaz I must ask... are there any noteworthy Sugar Shacks?
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @Kriddaz said:
I must ask... are there any noteworthy Sugar Shacks?
12/9/11
, comment by Iamwilson
Iamwilson @Dockerj said:
Ur an idiot, show was great. And please, have fun sleeping on ur couch and writing reviews while the rest of us non phish snobs get down to a fun funky show. Ill be sure to catch ur next "couch review" after im done actually seeing the show.
whoa... down boy
, comment by Iamwilson
Iamwilson @hdorne said:
@PhortyHairs said:
Regardless, I'll take this band's 'bad' over any other band's 'great' anytime.
I've never understood this notion, and I'm a massive longtime Phish fan. There is so much great music out there, and I'd rather listen to another artist delivering an amazing performance than Trey butchering his band's own songs. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Phish fan till I die unless they come out and endorse Donald Trump or something equally horrible, but I don't have time to listen to a "meh" Phish show when there's so much more great music happening.

I agree with upontheroof that this was an off night, not a truly bad show like Coventry or most of 2004 for that matter (except SPAC). There was some slop, Trey was downright embarrassing in Sugar Shack, but it pales in comparison to the depressing train wreck of the band's nadir. And let's not forget, Trey celebrated the idea of fans getting online and talking about whether a show was good or bad in Bittersweet Motel. Calling them out for a bum show doesn't mean we hate them.
whats wrong with old DJT?
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @waxbanks said:
@chillwig speaks for himself and, to an extent, for a crew of likeminded fans.
LOL Wally. You crack me up as per usual.

@chillwig speaks for himself as everyone who writes for the blog does. Period. I get your insinuation and it is offensive.
, comment by PhortyHairs
PhortyHairs "With Phish, the outcome -- the product, the recording -- is much less important than the process by which it's generated on the night through improvisation. That process is the 'sacred' thing. The extraordinary sense of possibility, openness, risk, which is central to the Phish experience: that's the feeling you don't actually get from other bands. Not because Phish are 'better at jamming' than everyone, but because they go about their job in a way that leaves them weirdly present and vulnerable night after night, and we in the audience can feel it."

Thank you waxbanks. That was precisely my sentiment. I cherish music and do listen to as much as I can and as many genre's as I can. But Phish just take me to a whole different level by the way they improvise, feed off of each other, make mistakes, test the boundaries, etc...
, comment by jackl
jackl @waxbanks said:
Sorry, to sum up my response to @hdorne which sorta got buried in a response to the thread in general:

Phish try every night to accomplish something that Wilco, on their best night, couldn't dream of (and I say this despite loving Nels Cline's improv w/MMW, and Tweedy's songwriting). On an off night, Phish aim for total musical synchronization and end up playing nothing more than Unprecedentedly Coherent Improvised Rock, which is still totally worth the ticket price as long as they don't completely butcher all the writtens, I think.

Now if they're having trouble syncing up, or are noticeably rusty, well -- that's frustrating, and embarrassing if they didn't put in the work to tighten up for tour. But if they're putting nose to grindstone and making interesting music with some technical errors, that seems a fair tradeoff. I wasn't there, haven't heard, don't know -- but that evaluative framework seems sensible to me for now.
Wally, I can see why a lot of Phish fans (and Dead fans before them) only listened to those respective bands and thought their music was so terrific (on it's good nights, it was) that no other music could possibly measure up or was worth hearing, but I'm kind of dumbfounded that an otherwise intelligent seeming and sophisticated music aficionado such as yourself with a recognized published book on the 33 &#8531; series could hold the same opinion. Yeah, Wilco, maybe. Yeah, other rock bands, maybe. Yeah, other jambands, maybe. But does your opinion include all Western music of every era and genre? Phish greater than Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc.?

And I agree with Parker that your attack on @chillwig and "like minded fans" is unbecoming. Discerning Phish fans seem to agree on the rough relative ranking of some great and not so great shows and eras, and those opinions seem more well founded and realistic than the "it's all good (great)" lack of discernment (or sobriety on the part of some).
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @lumpblockclod said:
@Kriddaz said:
I must ask... are there any noteworthy Sugar Shacks?
12/9/11
I would add that Mike's band has played some good ones and that Scott nails the riff every time.
, comment by jacnaughton
jacnaughton @factsareuseless said:
Except they didn't play Bathtub Gin. But if you have a chance to give us a run down on how it sounded I'll read it. We all have our own journey, dude.

Ya my bad I meant the Harry Hood, doesn't change the fact that it was a shitty review
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @jacnaughton said:
@factsareuseless said:
Except they didn't play Bathtub Gin. But if you have a chance to give us a run down on how it sounded I'll read it. We all have our own journey, dude.

Ya my bad I meant the Harry Hood, doesn't change the fact that it was a shitty review
LOL...sorry I couldn't resist. I figured as much.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @ColForbin said:
@lumpblockclod said:
@Kriddaz said:
I must ask... are there any noteworthy Sugar Shacks?
12/9/11
I would add that Mike's band has played some good ones and that Scott nails the riff every time.
Ouch!
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Epic recap comment thread. Is it 7/6 yet?
, comment by User_11821_
User_11821_ Trey has been Hamilton'd. He wants to do other things than Phish while still doing Phish. Mike seemed extra weird on his solo tour, like he was passively blowing off steam. Page and Fish are killing it.

When I was in college having sex with hot women, I tried to delay the orgasm and savor the moment, sometimes to the point of not being able to orgasm. I think they're intentionally keeping it in the box, exploring new moves and savoring the moment instead of actually living the moment.

They'll get comfortable soon enough, lots of rest was needed after last tour, just a long wake up is all.
, comment by lizardneck
lizardneck if you are reviewing to say "don't bother watching this on you tube".... Fine you are correct. If you are reviewing THE SHOW..... THEN BE AT THE SHOW. Reviewing a show from your tv is like reviewing the mountains from a picture.
, comment by Feetoid
Feetoid Alright now that Crowd Control's out of the way I'm calling a long shot; Human opener next show. You know, the 80's song by Human League (it's my go to track right after I've accidentally performed a sloppy transition or "trainwreck" when I'm spinning records for people). https://youtu.be/zfyWct2FJBU
Btw I haven't listened to this show yet I'm just offering my trolling 2 cents here.

At least what Phish does as a band is so hard that mistakes-in Human's context- or in this case nights like this actually CAN happen unlike, for example; the numerous EDM DJ/producers and/or Rap acts that dominate today's pop music & festival circuit with their cheap, craven, pre programmed, NON HUMAN "robot sets" or shows (we've all seen Bob Weirs jab at this in National Lampoon's Electric Apricot, even if it is a mockumentary). Not the best comparison but I went to my first Coachella (2nd weekend) this year after scoring a free VIP wristband from a friend and wow, what a mess. Aside from LCD Soundsystem, a couple solid real DJ's/ bands, crossing G&R off my bucket list and the obvious eye candy bombardment it was musically very bad/contrived; especially compared to a Phish show cuz hell, we all know that even their light show is performed in real time #ck5.

When I was at Wrigley 2 I sincerely believed (especially after the review of said show here validated my theory) that they snuck in the GTBT first set "encore" after Cavern as a way to make up for or even rationalize-through lyrics-Fishman's "dead air" flub in Cavern. As cheesy as it might be Human would also serve as a hilarious post mess up song for them to start playing I think because after all, they're only Human.
, comment by hdorne
hdorne @waxbanks said:
Sorry, to sum up my response to @hdorne which sorta got buried in a response to the thread in general:

Phish try every night to accomplish something that Wilco, on their best night, couldn't dream of (and I say this despite loving Nels Cline's improv w/MMW, and Tweedy's songwriting). On an off night, Phish aim for total musical synchronization and end up playing nothing more than Unprecedentedly Coherent Improvised Rock, which is still totally worth the ticket price as long as they don't completely butcher all the writtens, I think.

Now if they're having trouble syncing up, or are noticeably rusty, well -- that's frustrating, and embarrassing if they didn't put in the work to tighten up for tour. But if they're putting nose to grindstone and making interesting music with some technical errors, that seems a fair tradeoff. I wasn't there, haven't heard, don't know -- but that evaluative framework seems sensible to me for now.
I know exactly what you mean. I don't agree that Wilco "couldn't dream" of achieving what Phish can, because it's apples and oranges. On some nights, Wilco are a better Wilco than Phish are Phish, and vice versa. But I completely agree that the process is more important than the outcome when it comes to Phish. Some of my favorite shows have some rust and flubs. I love the cathartic jamming of 2.0 even though that era is rusty as hell. Sometimes they play perfectly "tight" shows that are rather boring to those of us who've been listening for years and know the transcendent heights of which they are capable. I see all of that as part of the process. I never got mad about the lack of jams early on in 3.0. They were getting their improvisational sea legs back, and I was just happy to have my favorite band back in action. I knew the glorious jams would eventually return, and I was right.

The thing I don't understand is the people who say that their truly bad shows are better than literally any other artist's best shows. There's sticking with your beloved band through thick and thin, and then there's just not knowing the difference between competently and incompetently performed music. "The band struggled to get it together all night and Trey butchered everything, but that's still better than any other band in the world." I don't get it.
, comment by Bosco057
Bosco057 @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Look I'm the first one to jump to the land of THE BIG PICTURE when a day in the life of Phish is not so sunny, but this is a public forum and there's nothing "hateful" about expressing disappointment over unmet expectations.

The tour has been average so far, and has resembled early 2011 more than the last 3-4 years. That's just the facts.

Yes there were some moments, but Phish always has moments in every show.

They sucked last night.

Nothing worked the way it should have. Watching it felt like that moment when you invite your parents to the final night of your leading role in the high school play only to trip on a mike cord as you walk onto the stage and break your nose. It was embarrassing.

It was more than embarrassing, it was cover-your-eyes-awful, go-to-bed-early, lie-awake-thinking-about-the-future-of-humanity embarrassing.

These feelings only happen when you're in love and your girl refuses to kiss you goodnight. That's how it felt.

When Phish wows us we say so, and when they drop a deuce on camera somebody needs to say so. This review was right on. There was nothing else to say about it.
. I haven't listened to this show yet, but embarrassing seems like potentially a bit of an overstatement. We're you at Coventry? Now THAT was embarrassing. A cpl flubbed songs in a show seems like nothing after that musical debacle.
, comment by thesloth45
thesloth45 As somebody who saw Phish for the first time '09 and has followed them throughout 3.0, I've witnessed all of their odd fluctuations in this era, as I'm sure many of you have. I've never really gone to shows just for the "fun" (although they are always fun), since I'm more of an introverted person it's really about the music for me. I've seen some of the worst shows of 3.0 (8/15/09, 6/1/11, 10/22/13), and some of the best (12/29/13, 7/24/15, SPAC '12, 12/30/15).

This tour definitely has been underwhelming so far, especially compared to the greatness just last year. It is a bit disconcerting to see them go back to jukebox mode again at around the 40 minute mark of set II, because I felt like last year they had become unpredictable again. They were throwing out jams at every point of set II's, it seemed like they could just flip a switch and end a set perfectly with raging type II peak. Last year I really got what people say about 1.0, about them 'bringing it every night.' I felt like I was no longer looking at the clock and realizing 40 minutes had passed, so there would just be some songs > > > > end of show.

And yet (there's always an and yet), this is really nothing out of the ordinary for 3.0. With so much time off between tours, there's really no continuity. Dicks '12 was some amazing Phish ... and then they had 9 months off other than MSG, and by the time summer '13 rolled around it was the whale tone. I took until Tahoe and then fall '13 to really get going again.

I totally expect there to be some great shows by the end of this year, but if you're expecting this year to be '98 to last years '97, you might end up disappointed. In 1.0 Trey had a plan, and if that plan was cow funk or space funk he was going to go out and play that night in night out. In contradistinction, 3.0 tours start from scratch and build organically from there. Take it from somebody whose listened to a loooooot of 3.0. I'm not saying there won't be another August '15 in our future, but it really depends on the bands intent and if they're not distracted by other things (like trying to bring out new songs).
, comment by Nigel_Tufnel
Nigel_Tufnel PORTLAND PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1. Please do not come to Portland without tickets.

2. Please pick up after yourselves! "Nothing but footprints - we're serious."

3. Please do not throw glow-sticks at the band, accidentally or otherwise!

4. If you didn't wait outside the venue doors for two hours before they open, and then again on the concrete floor for another two hours to be front and center on the barrier for the show, please don't buy the delusion that you are somehow magically entitled to rudely elbow your way up to the front once the show starts!

6. Enjoy the show! I have a feeling this one's gonna get weird......

~Nigel
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Bosco057 said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Look I'm the first one to jump to the land of THE BIG PICTURE when a day in the life of Phish is not so sunny, but this is a public forum and there's nothing "hateful" about expressing disappointment over unmet expectations.

The tour has been average so far, and has resembled early 2011 more than the last 3-4 years. That's just the facts.

Yes there were some moments, but Phish always has moments in every show.

They sucked last night.

Nothing worked the way it should have. Watching it felt like that moment when you invite your parents to the final night of your leading role in the high school play only to trip on a mike cord as you walk onto the stage and break your nose. It was embarrassing.

It was more than embarrassing, it was cover-your-eyes-awful, go-to-bed-early, lie-awake-thinking-about-the-future-of-humanity embarrassing.

These feelings only happen when you're in love and your girl refuses to kiss you goodnight. That's how it felt.

When Phish wows us we say so, and when they drop a deuce on camera somebody needs to say so. This review was right on. There was nothing else to say about it.
. I haven't listened to this show yet, but embarrassing seems like potentially a bit of an overstatement. We're you at Coventry? Now THAT was embarrassing. A cpl flubbed songs in a show seems like nothing after that musical debacle.
Understand that after Mann1 I was gushing about the band's cohesiveness and the tightness of their playing.

I don't judge shows by the long jams. I'm an execution/flow guy. I love the jams like everyone but if the playing is sloppy and the set construction is clunky and awkward, a single exploratory jam isn't going to save the show for me.

Now, when I have my Phish on shuffle and I can cherry pick that one jam for the mix, then great. But you have to remember the larger context of this show. It was a three-night run. Any three night run in Phish land is a big deal and when it hasn't been very good, you're really rooting for a grand slam to end on a good note. This factor is significant in the evaluation of this performance. It might seem unfair to you, but context is everything.

Besides, like many others on this thread you are reacting to what you think is an overstatement, and yet you didn't listen to it. More importantly, you didn't hear it live. Most of the negative comments, including the review itself, are from people who experienced it in real time.
, comment by FIKUS0824
FIKUS0824 I think the negativity sucks!!!! My next show is my 170th, first night of SPAC is great 2 and 3 were average. If you arent having fun anymore maybe its time to take a break and get some perspective, or meet some new friends or have some fun moneymaking scheme on the lot. Haters are just people who are dissatisfied with their everyday life, they need Phish to rescue them to be happy. Here is a tip: Get your own life then you will be happy everytime you see the band weather its the greatest show or the most average.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @FIKUS0824 said:
Here is a tip: Get your own life then you will be happy everytime you see the band weather its the greatest show or the most average.
So you don't even allow for the possibility of a below average show?
, comment by Phish4soul
Phish4soul TANNER22 "Awful reviews lately. Spac 1 forgot Bathtub and now this review forgets Scent. Put the pipe down for minute and actually offer some valid input. We loved every show, Trey is only human, as are we. If you weren't there your point is moot. It's all about energy and interaction with the band. Personally they nailed this weekend on the head. Gave us exactly why we needed and saved the best for Portland.

Spac 1 - The Seduction
Spac 2 - The Fuckfest
Spac 3 - The Marriage"

-->
First of all, I disagree that Trey is human. I think he's a hybrid, but he's a good "impersonator." *smile*. I enjoyed SPAC with my wife and infant very much. It was our first time at the venue and we loved it. The first night was the highlight for us. Like others have said, these guys play a lot; it's just not fair to wage a holy war on every show that didn't perfectly get played with all your favorite songs. These guys are having fun and so are we. The holy war is coming. Save your energy.
, comment by scott_bernstein
scott_bernstein ...no mention of the biggest letdown of all -- Sugar Shack? What in the world is Trey thinking with the lame excuse for a guitar part that he plays on that song? Listen to any version that Mike Gordon Band plays and you'll hear Scott Murawski (who co-wrote the song with Mike) play that song the way it was written.

How about a little effort on practicing one of Mike's tunes, Trey?
, comment by powerfulpills_77
powerfulpills_77 i really couldn't get into the first set - at the time I thought it was mostly due to the location i was in (far far page side under bridge at a point that felt too steep to dance properly) to add onto this some girl attacked a female friend of mine during possum - in 20 years of phish I'v never seen anything like it and am still trying to comprehend why it happened - unclear how i would of felt if circumstances were different. hope i never see anything like this again at a phish show

anyway i changed locations for the 2nd set (pretty much middle lawn) and really enjoyed it, thought the energy was super high, however while I like Joy I agree that the combination of it with Breath and burning took things down a notch before being picked back up again big time with Axilla and then Theme, followed by a very good Hood. Hood is one of my all time favorites and I always love when they end a set with it, however they threw in Show of life, which I know some people also had an issue with - I know I would of preferred a rocker, suzy would have fit nicely

not my favorite of the 3 nights but in my opinion not as bad as the OP feels
, comment by Itch_to_the_nag
Itch_to_the_nag Was there somewhere else you had to be? A group of 50+ year olds who have been giving us the goods for over 30 years all while still giving us new music (all be it not always the best) and you just sit there and complain.

2015 was a special year, but enough already it's not gonna repeat itself and that doesn't make this a bad show.

You're upset because you didn't get what you wanted when you wanted it, you know who else acts like that? Small children.

Just be happy that you still have shows to go to, with the original cast members all intact and not some rag tag nonsense tribute band fumbling their way through he classics.
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 @FIKUS084 nailed it
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 @FIKUS0824 nailed it
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @FIKUS0824 said:
I think the negativity sucks!!!! My next show is my 170th, first night of SPAC is great 2 and 3 were average. If you arent having fun anymore maybe its time to take a break and get some perspective, or meet some new friends or have some fun moneymaking scheme on the lot. Haters are just people who are dissatisfied with their everyday life, they need Phish to rescue them to be happy. Here is a tip: Get your own life then you will be happy everytime you see the band weather its the greatest show or the most average.
I like your idea of the "fun moneymaking scheme". This has potential. Are you in? I'm thinking of selling "Let Trey Sing" shirts.
, comment by Phart_Door
Phart_Door Nothing wrong with an off show every now and then. I like to compare Phish to an ace pitcher. Most times they're great, but every once and while they just don't have their stuff. And usually they rebound fairly quickly.
, comment by BigDudeInTheDoorway
BigDudeInTheDoorway I agree with the original review. I liked the 1st set based on song selection alone. Yes there were tons of flubs, I really enjoyed Heavy Things, a song I don't normally like. And it's Ice is on of my favorites, even though it did get a bit butchered it still got jammed out. sugar Shack was almost painful, why can't Trey play it? Seams easy enough. With Soul Shakedown and the Moma I thought we were in store for some great Sunday SPAC. But again 4th quarter really lacked. I'm not huge on Hood, it's a good song but I hear it at most shows I attend. Thanks for the 90's tapes OP. Always enjoyed my bus ride to school! Let's hope for things get going cause I haven't been blown away so far this tour, it is crazy to expect to be blown away, but Sunday shows have always impressed me.
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 I was there, and I thought it was the best Show of Life since 7/1/2011.
, comment by surrenderedflow
surrenderedflow Trey should play more better then the Internet can go back to porno and cats.
, comment by jamra27
jamra27 in 2014, at an indoor venue, a wasted guy on the GA Floor pissed himself/passed out in his own filth and it leaked EVERYWHERE -- right in prime floor territory. It was too late by the time everyone in the are realized what had happened...balloons/beach balls had been dipped in it then thrown back around, people had danced in it frivolously, etc. Rather than Trey peeing in our ears, a strange man actually peed on us. Tell me, which would you prefer?
, comment by knickerbocker
knickerbocker @FIKUS084 For the win! I went all 3 nights, had some ups and downs. I'll keep it brief:

-We are blessed this band is still playing at an above respectable rate and sometimes still have extremely top of the line shows
-They won't be around forever
-If you aren't having fun at a Phish show WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU DO FOR FUN. Are you kidding? What kind of fun-sucking shmuck who likes a band, hates on them for not being a [insert your favorite namedrop year] version of themselves? Do you go to any other show and absolutely love every single song they play?

We're soon coming up on 35 years. Name one band that remotely comes close to playing what can be called a respectable version of themselves.

There is literally only 1 artist I can think of who has been around for as long or longer who still puts on a killer show reminiscent of days of their old- Bruce Springsteen, and I'm not even a huge Bruce guy but DAMN he's still got it.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @jamra27 said:
in 2014, at an indoor venue, a wasted guy on the GA Floor pissed himself/passed out in his own filth and it leaked EVERYWHERE -- right in prime floor territory. It was too late by the time everyone in the are realized what had happened...balloons/beach balls had been dipped in it then thrown back around, people had danced in it frivolously, etc. Rather than Trey peeing in our ears, a strange man actually peed on us. Tell me, which would you prefer?
At least the guy on the ground was unconscious when he pissed on you.
, comment by TheRhombus
TheRhombus still glad i did the run. not always the best songs or playing but always a good time...
, comment by thebuzzman
thebuzzman We're soon coming up on 35 years. Name one band that remotely comes close to playing what can be called a respectable version of themselve

Actually there's a whole bunch of them: Doobies, Chicago, Aerosmith, until recently Eagles, The Mac, Carlos, Steveland Morris, Young, Fogerty, and yes Bruce for sure are all kicking ass as good as 40 years ago which is amazing.

Managing to carry it over from 2014 the boys came out hot for shows one and two in 2015 which carried through. Maybe they will get it back this tour and maybe not but let's hope so.
, comment by Lemuria
Lemuria @JRapp said:
excellent Hood though.. so there's that.
mid-show texts i got compared it to Coventry's.
, comment by dipped
dipped @lizardneck said:
if you are reviewing to say "don't bother watching this on you tube".... Fine you are correct. If you are reviewing THE SHOW..... THEN BE AT THE SHOW. Reviewing a show from your tv is like reviewing the mountains from a picture.
By that logic, the only point of being at a show that you are reviewing is if you plan on using your time machine to go back and attend the show again.

...which would be a terrible application of your undoubtedly expensive time machine.
, comment by Piper72
Piper72 @dipped said:
By that logic, the only point of being at a show that you are reviewing is if you plan on using your time machine to go back and attend the show again.

...which would be a terrible application of your undoubtedly expensive time machine.
Are you KIDDING???
, comment by dipped
dipped @Piper72 said:
@dipped said:
By that logic, the only point of being at a show that you are reviewing is if you plan on using your time machine to go back and attend the show again.

...which would be a terrible application of your undoubtedly expensive time machine.
Are you KIDDING???
That wholly depends on how you interpreted my terribly worded statement.
, comment by cosmictube
cosmictube I love this review. I understand that it was fun to be there, but to call this show average or better is shortchanging the band. Their average shows are MUCH better than this, which puts this down as a bad one. The last two nights are an example of average and better, SPAC3 was not really in the same ballpark. Just my opinion of course. This band is the greatest band of all time, because of that lets not call shows like this good or even average and call it what it was - a bad show. There's nothing wrong with that. They have played bad shows on nearly every tour at some point, its nothing new. Great review. I love you all and I love this band. Peace.
, comment by DWD_Free
DWD_Free Y'all are crazy...

When this band is over and Trey is gone, maybe you will appreciate this "clunker" of a show. For those in attendance, it was a beautiful night and sounded great, even if not "note perfect". Aint no place I woulda rather been that night. I'll dance through a "bad" show on a summer night whenever Phish graces a stage within reasonable driving distance (schedule permitting, I have a life too).

Be thankful they still tour, keep your complaints to yourself and keep dancing!

"Aint no time to hate"

Peace!
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