What one snarky reviewer calls a “choppy, hot mess,” I would call “loose and fun.” A minor semantical discrepancy but my point is that this review casts too much negativity on a show that indeed had some low points but I would argue were overshadowed by an overall feel of jubilation and more than a few sick jams. Some rust is expected at the beginning of tours and you also have to understand the band is constantly reinventing themselves and their sound on different tours (eg. marimba lumina, mini drum kit, Trey playing different guitars, new effects like Pages surround sound thing) It is an ever-shifting, never-fixed approach that the band employs for freshness and to avoid the stale nostalgia act sound so many bands fall into after decades on the road. One must pay attention to these nuances when wading into the murky, brackish waters of official reviews.Totally agree with the musical assessment of this response. I too felt “What’s the Use” was the lowpoint while many others like our reviewer felt it was the highlight. That in itself demonstrates how opposite phan appreciation can be which probably is a testament to the band.
That said, I’ve seen pretty much every Providence show going back to ‘94 and just bc this one doesn’t sound like the Island Tour or 12/29/94 doesn’t mean it’s instantly thrown on the scrap heap! And bro coming back on here multiple times to plead your case ain’t helping. By drawing attention to the one MASSIVE low point (What’s the Use) as a highlight when u gloss over rather stellar versions of Maze, Jibboo, Stash, Gin, and Hood (yeah JMart, that Hood was solid most certainly not “burned” - so disrespectful!) you are inevitably going to get pushback in the comments. Punch You in the Eye had a bad lyrical gaff but the Landlady section was indeed sharp so you’re off there, too. Golden Age also suffered from forgotten lyrics but again another specific example of what made the show a bit lacking that wasn’t mentioned. A 5 second Lenghtwise tease before Fish counts down the ending of BBFCFM?!? This is the forest you aren’t seeing for the trees. And speaking of that cliche, no GOTF songs through two shows? Why?? These are the things on the collective phish fan mind, not the overused Plasma riff or a couple clunky major-minor key modulations. Also I wonder about the purpose of bragging about your Canadian citizenship and taking little potshots at American culture - sure, kick us while we’re down!
So if there’s no 55 minute Runaway Jim or 38 min Ruby Waves the show gets a thumbs down?? The level of expectation some folks hold this band to is ridiculous. I’ve seen stinkers and many, many ragers and this one falls closer to the latter. Has Trey not earned the right to play with the tempo and flow of his own songs? Yes he has. Are you unnerved by a Slow Llama? I, for one, am not.
I relistened to this show after attending and 100% think the reviewer missed the tone and overall feel of the show as experienced by most. Does that mean he’s a bad writer or person (Canadian citizenship notwithstanding)? Not at all, but it’s still not going to spare him the backlash that ardent fans will always articulate here. Hope the next five shows turn your frown upside down. See you in Charleston!
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