, attached to 2010-07-04

Review by Mango365

Mango365 This was my first show since the 2004 Vegas run - I think it's appropriate to give some perspective. My first show was November 1995 and over the course of the next 9 years I saw roughly 75 shows including every New Years show from 95-2002 and generally some of the great gigs of the 95-97 era. That three-night run in Vegas marked my retirment on Night 2 as I decided that I'd seen it all and done it all - I sold my Night 3 ticket and thought that was it. I opted not to go to any shows in the comeback year but have listened to a few here and there.
7/4/10 was my first show back, and I brought my wife who is not a fan but I wanted her to see what it was all about. The lot scenario was the best I've ever seen at a show - we had Lot A tickets and pulled into our spot within 5 minutes of getting in line. We chilled with some good folks and enjoyed the friendliness - it reminded me of when I was 16 and saw my first Dead show in 1994 and all the older folks who were so kind and generous. On a side note - there were so many young kids out there that it was kinda shocking!
A bunch of ticketless people out and about when we approached the venue at around 7:45.
We got in and sat on the lawn with some friends - what a gorgeous venue it was! Reminded me most of Merriweather with the open air and woods-like setting.
Star-Spangled Banner was not unexpected, and the PYITE was really well played. I've always been a huge fan of that song as an opener.
The Forbins-Mockingbird was unexpected, relatively. It didn't surprise me that they'd pull a narration song on this Independence Day, but the straight Forbin-Mockingbird was a shock sans narration - when was the last time that happened? And to be honest, I called the Harpua when they failed on the narration in Forbins.
Camel Walk was next and this was killer - what a great start to a show! Seriously... this was classic stuff. I thought I heard a little Jimmy Page jam in the Walk, but maybe I'm wrong on that.
The middle part of the Set was cool - Ocelot is a really catchy tune - I'm not too familiar with all the newer songs but this one is a keeper in my book. I think we had a Lawnboy in there, which was fine.
I hadn't seen MFMF live since 1996 and it's always been one of my favorites... can't argue with the execution here either.
I thought the Bowie would close the set. It wasn't anything to write home about, but always fun to get the thrills at the end.
The Jiboo was the jammiest part of the set, and Trey really soared on this one. It was hard groove and a welcome closer to a really above average set to be honest.
Disease to open was stellar - I'm of the old school and familiar with DWD openers... this one wasn't anything that would rank in the upper echelons of Disease, but toward the end of the jam Trey really started to crank that industrial guitar and it reminded me of the great jams of the 2003/2004 period. It was short-lived as Piper began... which I read people are saying was botched? Huh? That song is loose dude - it's not a composed intricate song. It's undergone some revision it sounds like with less fooling around and more bring the heat.
The entry into Ghost was predictable, and welcome! Disease->Piper->Ghost is a great start to a second set! None of the jams would rank highly in my book, but a great three song run. Trey's tone just isn't very strong anymore - but Mike and Fish were really crunching in this section.
Waste flub was what it was... and I don't take myself serious enough to get angry with it. Julius seemed to rage - I've never been a huge fan of the song but they really got it on there. Mikes is usually my favorite part of the show, but I know it's just not even close to as fun as it once was. I was so happy that they didn't go into Hydrogen, and was fine with Tela. Tela's never been my favorite and it's a little cheesy, but anything other than Hyrogen (within reason here) was welcome. The Harpua was played really well to start - good thumping groove.
The narration was entertaining - they're almost all entertaining really! Not sure what the message about lying textbooks was about... was it a political message? It's the kind of thing you hear on conservative talk radio... but was playful.
THe intro into the Killing in the Name Of was just classic - reminded me of the 1995 New Years run with Shine. I thought maybe a guest appearance but nobody had ever walked out with mics or anything.
I'm not a Rage fan, but I'm not gonna lie on this - it was easily the highlight of the set. They freakin' NAILED it! Such adrenaline pumping. For those that witnessed the Sabotage outbreak at Merriweather summer 1998 - you'll know what I mean. It wasn't a stupid Fish hip-hop cover. It was balls to the wall slamming music that had the entire shed pumping fists and banging heads - all splashed in white light. It was so energizing it was insane!
I'll be honest - halfway through the Groove we headed for the door. I love a good Groove but we'd seen the good stuff.
We heard First Tube as we walked to our car and I couldn't have been happier with the show. I'm not jumping on tour or anything, but it's safe to say that any doubts I had about Phish's ability to put on a killer show were put to bed.
It's a whole different ball game to attend these shows. I wonder now what 90's Phish would have been like with the instant access to recordings. Part of what made the classics classic was the word of mouth that was able to spread as we all searched for good quality tapes. It sometimes took months to get your hands on shows, and those who were there set the bar. Finally hearing the tapes was an event... now it's just a tool for people at home to sit back and nit-pick every little mis-step. Phish doesn't jam as well as they used to - that's pretty obvious. But nothing should be taken away from a killer show, and those that were at 7/4/2010 know they got a killer show, no matter what anybody listening to LivePhish says.


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