, attached to 2013-07-05

Review by ProfJibboo

ProfJibboo Early on in set I, I was troubled. Last year, Kuroda gave an interview and told us to expect big things for year 30. Then Trey tells us that they are recording a new album. Then Trey indicates that we may be hearing some Hands On a Hardbody songs too. Then Bangor came and it was pretty much what 2012 was - solidly played minus a few flubs, some inspired jamming - but for the most part, it was a standard show complete with a set I full of one-offs and a set II comprised of a clear third quarter and fourth quarter. Don't get me wrong - set II in Bangor with the creative Antelope was solid, but all-in-all, Bangor was not a life-altering mind-melting experience of a show from a streaming video perspective.

So when the opening four songs of SPAC night 1 were Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance > Sample in a Jar, Roses Are Free....I said uh-oh. Is there some sort of rule that Moma Dance must be played in the first four songs of the set? Are Roses Are Free and Divided Sky interchangeable as THE fourth song of the first set? Are we doomed to more of the same in terms of placing in a set? And where are the new....well...anything? I loved that they've essentially gone back to the 2.0 set up - and I love the new lighting rig which makes every song slightly new - but....seeing these songs as 1,2,3,4 left me feeling - well...uninspired.

But something happened after Roses are Free....Birds of a Feather shredded the house. I never saw it coming mid-first set. And then the in-show debut of Yarmouth Road - a new song, seemingly heavily leaning on Mike - followed by a kickin' Bathtub that wasn't a set closer or second to last song of set I! And a MYFE/Cities/Bowie that felt genuinely exciting and creative. The entire second half of set one - from MYFE on - while still a series of one-offs - was "doing it" for me. I don't claim set 1 was anything remarkable....and the Nellie Kane/Army of One combo really hurt momentum....but they got that momentum back and I found myself at the set break feeling like the band was so so so tantalizingly close to putting it all together and set II might be something special....

And it brings tears to my eyes that - 30 years later - there is still amply room for "special". In fact, set 2 instantly jumped into my top 10 or so favorite sets of the modern era. A debuted cover that I would have sworn to you at the show was a Phish original, into a song that is peaking right now as one of the band's absolute favorite jam launching pads, sequeway-ed masterfully into the rare gem that is Mango Song. And the jams were soaring. Incredible highs. My legs - feeling like lead weights in set one - I couldn't stop moving them during Light.

But that was just the beginning. The 46 Days > Steam combination was some of my favorite jamming since 2000. It may have been only 20 minutes....but I can't remember losing myself so completely into the music. 46 days has become the go-to-shred-the-house-I'm-here-to-party-my-nuts-off song for a few years now. I've seen plenty of 6-7 minute versions that have left me thirsty for me. On this night, I finally got more...not much more....just a couple of minutes....but oh what an amazing few minutes they were. An absolute mind-melter hose down version....but its transition into Steam was....hating to reuse words....inspired. As soon as you heard the opening notes....you just knew that this was the real main event for the evening. Only played once in all of 2012 and the only new song of 2011 or 2012 (except for set III of 12/31), this song not only emerged beautifully - but it was the first one drawn out without a New Years gag in between. It felt new. It felt like the band passed the brink of greatness and soared past it to a Utopia....my personal Utopia....where they could do no wrong and I had no worries in the world. And the craziest part of it all is that this Steam only showed a mere glimmer of how much potential it has - it will be an absolute beast destined to be a showstopper for years to come if they give it that chance!

And then came Drowned. Holy cow, Drowned. Where have you been all of my life? This Drowned was straight out of 1998. It was sick from top to bottom and must hear listening. Even the Slave had something extra.

I read some of the reviews coming out of the show. Mr. Miner trumpeted the second set as the definitive set of 3.0. I wouldn't go that far. But it was an above average set. Tons of unique jams, a new cover song, a bust out, several long-form jams, innovative set list and no true "4th quarter."

This set is highly highly recommended listening.


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