Sunday 10/16/2016 by phishnet

SC2 RECAP: MERCURY RISES

[This recap, like last night's, is also courtesy of dot net user Zach Stearns (@StepIntoTheZeezer).]

Always nice on a second night of a run, having settled in and gained a little more familiarity with the the city, the venue, the lot, etc. Hope the band feels similarly.

I'm pretty sure I've gained 20 pounds since arriving Friday morning, as all I've done in the waking hours is eat and drink. Will night two of tour bring the heat and help me shed some of this newfound weight? This story and more to come.

Photo © Rene Huemer
Photo © Rene Huemer

Things got off to a fun start as the band loosened up with "Blaze On," which reached a tight, high-energy peak. After a brief pause the band kicked into "what's the use," a song which has found its way into more common rotation this days. The hypnotic instrumental kept the energy flowing before "Martian Monster" shot us off into space and Trey expertly utilized his echoplex. Things came back down to earth with "Devotion to a Dream," which was followed by "Waking Up Dead." This new Mike tune contained a few "Mind Left Body" licks and a sped-up-"Tweezer"-like jam. Kuroda particularly shined during this segment of the set, showing off some new tricks with his new-ish rig.

"Timber" followed and reached a fiery peak before Page led the band through a performance of "Things People Do." Unlike this summer's versions, this one started off like Page's demo: with the Chairman playing/singing solo. Around the (cringeworthy IMO) Pinterest lyric, the rest of the band joined in for a pseudo-bluegrass/polka rendition of the tune. "Let Me lie" came next. I can't say I was particularly happy when they brought it back at Hartford this summer. I didn't think this was good placement for the song tonight, and a lot of the crowd seemed in agreement, as there was quite audible chatter throughout the venue.

Photo © Rene Huemer
Photo © Rene Huemer

"Maze" got things back on track. But first a surprise Fishman serenade of "Lengthwise" over the intro, a la RIFT. The jam exploded as Page whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy, and then Trey followed with a roaring peak of his own. Next, we got our hands in our own asses courtesy of Henrietta's philosophical "Ass Handed." "Carini" handed us his lumpy head in a very fun and rare first set romp. Very enjoyable and interesting song selection. "Wolfman's Brother" brought things to a funky yet feverishly rocking close in this sometimes odd-flowing first set.

Photo © Rene Huemer
Photo © Rene Huemer

I am glad Trey still wants to play "Mercury" after it got denied entry to the Big Boat. This version took a quite enjoyable extended ride and I feel like it's going to go really deep soon. The jam slid into "Twist," which stuck to its usual Latin flare before breaking loose with some "WTU?" teases and leaving the confines of the song altogether. Things started to sound like "2001," but Phish surprised us (or me) with "I Always Wanted It This Way." The song has a definite '80s dance feel, but the jam recalled the vibe of "2001"...on speed. It was really fun. Things quickly decelerated into "Miss You." The song is emotional and poignant, and despite it being meaningful, it is a little depressing and definitely shifted the vibe of the set for me. "Fuego" kept things rolling, though, and broke a little bit out of its comfort zone before a slick segue into "Sand," which saw a return to the fast funk. Page slapped-away on the clav before things got more shreddy, and Trey slithered up his neck to hit multiple peaks and Page switched to banging on his piano. "Joy" took things down again before "Possum" brought this set full of newer songs to an old school ripping close.

"Good Times Bad Times" closed out this two-night stand in an intensely frenetic peaky fashion.

It seems like Phish is really excited about their new songs. The creative juices are flowing. I think by the end of this tour things will be firing on all cylinders. Sad these are my only shows this Fall, but I'm looking forward to hearing what's to come. Have fun out there everyone! -Zach

Photo © Rene Huemer
Photo © Rene Huemer

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Comments

, comment by realoriginalidiot
realoriginalidiot Another nice review! Thanks, Zach!
But just to be clear, we get handed our own asses everyday.
Really glad "IAWITW" is as cool live as the album. Well, I like it anyway.
, comment by hoppywingsuit
hoppywingsuit This show was horrible! Another disappointing night from Phish! They don't sound like the same band anymore! Booo!!!!
, comment by G0NEPHISHING
G0NEPHISHING Good review. I bet my section a kidney we were going into 2001, and am still sad they didn't.
, comment by isawyou
isawyou If that is sarcasm, hoppy, you nailed it. If that is not sarcasm, I feel sorry for you because new songs and new ways of playing are what gives this band life and we are all better for it.
, comment by humalupa
humalupa This is pretty spot-on, and it sums up my feelings of a night in which nothing went wrong, but also nothing really took off. The Trey ballads in the second set really slammed on the brakes whenever things looked ready to break away, which was frustrating. It was a good night for guitar solos, with many thrilling peaks, but not a great night for group jamming.

They must have been dead-set on playing IAWITW, because the jam in Twist seemed ready to blast off, with the band confidently jamming at will for a couple minutes, but instead, things were awkwardly corralled into the new song. Regardless, that combo was still a highlight, as was Fuego->Sand and the last portion of the first set, beginning with Lengthwise.

I'd recommend a listen to those sections of the show, for sure, but I can't say this is a show that merits a front-to-back listen for anyone who wasn't there. For anyone wondering what a three-star, "typically great" show sounds like, this show is your baseline.
, comment by jshortultimate
jshortultimate Maze! Called it, lol. Also, that Carini was smoking live. I thought that this was a very good show, and would rate it higher than Friday's.
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