, attached to 2010-06-27

Review by MDosque

MDosque I usually prefer a Sunday show to a Saturday performance. My reasoning is that a Saturday night crowd gives off the wrong energy for a band like Phish. Excluding special shows like NYE, Halloween, or Festivals, I find that they play their best when a crowd starts mellow with no expectations and builds naturally as the band organically escalates. But, it can cut either way during a two night stand at a venue. One show is usually much better than the other. I did not attend the night before and heard mixed reviews of the show in the lot. Also, despite the great looking setlist that I was jealous of when I read in Camden, I was also hearing that the energy was a little off and the show was not as good as it looked on paper. So essentially, I was going to the last show of a 4 night mid-Atlantic run and I lucked out. As a side not, lady luck was surely in my corner. My buddy had traded for pavillion sets while in the Camden lot and the tickets turned out to be bunk. Pleading my case with the box office, I was able to BS my way to convincing them that they were legit. It was a performance for the ages and we waltzed into MPP and found our spot towards the back of the pavillion Page side.

Set 1:
Fantastic vibes all around in the lot and on the way in. I actually called Walfredo in the lot, even though it wasn't rocket science with the MPP quote in the tune. It was fine. Mellow Mood sounded great. The crowd was engaged, chill, and digging the twilight hours. When Faulty Plan kicked in, I was pleased. Of the songs on the new album, this one is the standout for me (although as I write this I am starting to get a little nervous that this might turn into a Zero and become a predictable, indulgent excuse for Trey to end the set as a rock star). That night in MD, it was hot. Divided through Sample was well played, but pretty standard. That is to say, great. The set was flowing beautifully and felt natural and unforced. The crowd was comfortable with it despite the oppressive heat. This Gin should be sought out. Of the 3 shows I have seen in 3.0, I have gotten 3 Gins. Each have moved like this one. After the actual song, a 5-6 minute solid, confident, peaking jam ensues with Trey playing the damn guitar like we all know he can. Just a relentless wave of notes along the lines of Coltrane's Giant Steps. Gordon might say, "you played a lot of notes" and be annoyed, but these Gins are sweet and perfect examples of the fact that Trey has that ax mastered. Antelope closes the set in style.

Set Break: Met up with some friends on the lawn and all agreed that this show was really solid so far. We also thought that they were gonna pull out some serious shit for Set 2. We were right.

Set 2: Hands down, the best Phish set I have seen live since the 90's. Seriously, this set smoked. Wilson was fine and I was still making my way back to the seats, and Meatstick was fun. Now here we go. The jam coming out of Meatstick is soooo funky that I would have been content to hear it for another 30 minutes. They were letting loose and simply so tuned into each other. Give it a listen. I was slightly bummed when Trey forced the segue into Saw It Again, but I am glad it was that tune and not Number Line or something else that would have altered the momentum. Despite the slightly awkward transition, Saw It Again was intense. Heavy, heavy jamming led by Mike created a swirling, psychedelic sound that had my jaw on the floor (in fact, it wouldn't return to my upper lip until Contact!). Saw It Again devolved into pure chaos for a good 5 minutes at one point and there was no one in that venue that wasn't awed by the sound coming off the stage. The sound of Piper coming from a distance is so perfect when played amid a dirty jam. It is like an approaching object that you cannot stop from coming directly at you. Fantastic placement and good version. Ghost was the popular call in the lots that afternoon, and I agreed. Here it is coming out of a Piper Jam that seemed to be just a part of the ongoing theme that had been melting faces since Meatstick. This Ghost is right on. The funk was there and the band was sweaty, intense, and with purpose. I should also give credit to CK because I felt like from Meatstick, he was also right on with the band. The lights were reddish with a little odd yellow and went right with the heat of the night and the heavy sounds coming off the stage. All were locked in, including the fans. No one even saw Jumpin Jack Flash coming out of the funky Ghost, but the band crushed it much to the delight of us. After that, it was back to improve in A, which led to more chaos. Somewhere, each band member was yelling Saw It Again in what seemed like a disturbing tone. This foray into the abyss just naturally collapses after really going on for a while. This made me happy because, like I said. A Sunday night show at the end of a 4 night run takes the pressure off the band (Trey) to "get to the next song." It is here where the fans luck out. When Page starts to tinkle Contact, everyone exhales and takes a deep breath. Whoa. A good chunk head for the head, but I stay. This Contact is nice and fun. Always a good time and the Gordon solo sounds great. Smack into YEM. It's kind of a shame for me that i was so spent from the heat and the "heat" I had just witnessed, because this YEM was tight. If ever this song can be called "standard", this is that. A 20-minute musical feast without any flubs and peaking with a twisted vocal jam. "Boy man, I saw it again!" What a great ending to a special set. The Fire encore was icing on the cake much like Frankenstein used to be in the 90's.

Final Thoughts: I truly think that this second set deserves to be in the upper echelon of Phish sets. Certainly since Cypress, this second set has to be considered top stuff. Even taking into account the wacky and long career of these guys, I think this set stands up strong. It was well-paced, thoughtful, inspired, dark, lifting, and focused. They were on. Perfect placement of tunes and flawless execution. Seek it out.


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