, attached to 2011-12-30

Review by TheEmu

TheEmu I found it very interesting to read the varied opinions of this show as it was going on, with people coming down on opposite sides. Many loved it, some saying it was the best night of the run so far, while others decried it (and especially the first set) as one of the worst of the year and a major letdown for a storied date like 12/30. So here's my two cents, and please take it for what it's worth.

First, the drawbacks. I thought the song selection was among the more bizarre of any show I've heard. To have happy tunes like Caspian and Number line on one end and Joy on the other, with darker songs like Sand and Vultures in between, seemed odd to me, to say the least. I didn't mind Julius following Twist, but to follow that with Golgi again had me raising an eyebrow. And to go from the peak of a fantastic 2001 into a mangled Horse was a choice I don't understand at all. Speaking of mangled, this was another issue all night, with some flubbage in Punch and Rift and outright slop in Axilla, Golgi and Horse.

Great thing about Phish, though, is even on their off nights, they have a habit of delivering, and they did so and then some in this show. The obvious star of the night was Piper, a fantastic, long, Type-II version that scratched a jamming itch that had been building since night one. Add to that a show-stopping 2001, a blazing performance from Trey in Sand, and a simply amazing Cactus showcase in Boogie On, and you've really got some nice highlights that can at least be snipped from the rest of the show and shown off proudly.

I think those are some definite 4-star highlights there, but they are surrounded by some two-star flow and flubs. So I'll go with three stars for now (although it's only been about two hours since the lights went back up). Probably my least favorite of the three nights thus far, but still quite a bit to smile about.


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