, attached to 2011-08-17

Review by AlbanyYEM

AlbanyYEM This show was definitely fun to attend, but don't let the setlist fool you, guyutica this was not. The playing was tight throughout the first set, especially divided sky which was absolutely nailed and great to see at UIC (harkening 94 and 98). Maze was its usual frenetic self, and, as I'm convinced that everyone who sees it in person considers that version best-ever, I'll let you judge when you listen yourself. I absolutely cannot stand the song alaska but am a big fan of the jam which was standardly crushed (song reminds me of a cheese version of ten jed). First tube seemed cranked up a notch, maybe a reference to the 99 rosemont show or maybe I'm reaching here.

Just want to preface the review of set II by saying that they had just played one of the top 25 or so shows of all time on night one and one of the best jams of 3.0 on night two. crosseyed starts out clockwork chunky with the mechanical-sounding fast funk. rhythmically dominant, trey phrases leads with precise attention to number of notes played, achieving maximum emotion on runs. the tension release was in effect, but not the machine gun bowie style. from there things wound down into space-fog darkness. not ambient, because this was music that demanded attention. just when things had opened to the possibility of causing emotional damage to the psyches of all in attendance, page lightly teased the intro to no quarter.

this seemed like it might have been half-planned, as the effects are a def challenge to set up properly and it was done smooth as silk. might be heresy to mention but maybe it was one of those "if we get to a dark/space place tonight (or this run) lets go for no quarter." also, could be wrong here but i seem to recall the song has very different tuning necessary than the more-standard tuning of crosseyed. to my ears it was page that went this direction and it definitely cut off an extremely promising jam. so for once we can stop blaming trey for this (though he did abort ghost later...). can't lie here, it was *amazing* to here them do this live.

this bled into timber which had a full-blown crosseyed jam rather than a tease of the "still waiting" melody. i couldn't help but think bomb factory/guyutica at this point as they were taking my favorite TH songs and one of my favorite phish jams for what seemed to be an extended set treatment. anyway, it wrapped back into timber very smoothly. one of the great aspects of this show was the effortlessness that went into the tease/quotes and segues as it transitioned again smoothly into tweezer.

at this point i was thinking full-blown tweezer jam and possible hints towards crosseyed rhythmically at least, but this was a straight-up as they come. just an asskicking tweezer, the kind that make for great treats in a set one. inexplicably, caspian surfaced after what seemed far less than 10 minutes. now i didn't groan or roll my eyes after promising that i would just take in the show without expectations, but if i said i wasn't disappointed i'd be lying to you all here. caspian happened and went unresolved in favor of piper which i was more than happy with.

the jam of the night went down here, a maintained break-neck rhythm without much soloing. i love trey's chording work in jams, and this was a syncopation clinic. jazzy feel on the off-beat stressed without tension-release melodic interplay which was nice to see. reminded me a bit of some of the sands from this year before the guitar-shred climaxes. the juxtaposition of the speed of the jam with the more laid-back dynamics is something that great pipers are made of, a way to springboard towards the hose moments. instead of ambient break-down, the pace forces musical ideas without thought. good jam, def highlight of the night.

seemed a bit shortened, but when ghost segued in, i was not about to complain. it was a bit strange though, to constantly have the feeling of "why did they stop that jam?! oh wait, i love this next one, big jam vehicle." it about summed up the night when trey chorded into makisupa, which amazingly only had a single hiccup in the transition. 4 min ghost, no joke. i think the story of the ghost album version is longer.

the rest of the show was fun but musically uninspired. lots of the 2 note descending hook of the still waiting/along with the vocals or not. honestly though, i could lose disc 3 forever and not feel the need to replace it. if this show had happened in 09 or 10 it would be viewed as one of the highlights, but it's pretty run-of-the-mill for 11. nowhere near as uninspired as outside lands, but in the same ballpark jamwise. the crosseyed thing was amazing to see, but not something to go out of your way to pick up. outside of timber, it was not jammed on or explored in any way. ugh, i hate to say it, but the word gimmicky crossed my mind even when i was there in the moment.


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