, attached to 2012-12-29

Review by relax_

relax_ The ride from MI to NYC was more treacherous than expected. I checked the weather a few days prior to our trip and was convinced that the drive would be cold, but smooth with little to no precipitation. I thought the storm plaguing much of the Midwest at the time would clear up for our journey. How wrong I was...I-80 between northeast OH and through much of PA/NJ contained some of the worst driving conditions I'd ever encountered. Visibility on the west side of PA was nil due to blizzard like conditions (snow with high wind), and the roads had barely been touched by road crews. Whereas, I'd normally tear ass on an overnight drive to make good time in decent conditions (and because I like to go fast), I was reduced to ~40mph at the most. Our 9-10hr drive ended up being closer to 14+. Nevertheless, we arrived safely and our weariness never outshone our optimism and excitement for the weekend's festivities!

Overall, this show was an 'OK' introduction for us to the venue and the concept of the Phish "holiday run" -- it provided a decent jolt of energy. It served as a huge reminder that we had made it and for the next few days, we would be seeing Phish in the greatest city in the world during its most festive occasion. We'd heard about the struggles people had to enter the GA floor area the night before. The lines were slow and security was a bit more tenacious than usual, so a Crowd Control opener was apropos. And considering our snowy, slippery drive to the city, Mound proved to be yet another indicator that we were right where we belonged! AC/DC Bag brought its usual punch and everyone appreciated the NY nod in Rock and Roll. Sugar Shack was a little rough around the edges but it was good to hear something I hadn't heard in a couple of years.

Things moved along at a medium pace and our excitement for the weekend was building with every note played. By the time Reba came along, it seems no one could contain themselves. I've never heard a crowd erupt so spontaneously and with such passion. We were just feeling IT as IT was reaching out to feel (tease) us, galvanizing our senses in the relaxed, reflective tones that naturally stem from Reba. Just like us, the band may have had difficulty holding on to the reins of a moment so fiercely energetic especially during such a delicate passage, so I'm sure it didn't translate well to tape/webcast. Some say the outburst was caused by a handful of glowsticks thrown into the crowd. *shrug. Maybe the band came to the same conclusion and thought we wanted to participate a little more, so they provided some glowstick/sing-along action with the Halley's Comet that followed, I dunno.

The bouncy, well-played Limb by Limb included a yellow brick road tease...it made much more sense to me on 12/31 as I watched little people join the band onstage for the NYE gag. Velvet Sea was cool – another one I hadn't seen in a few years. The set closing Gin felt a little rushed but had a nice blazing ending and a Susie Q quote from Fishman. Is it just coincidence that the song Susie Q featured guitar work by James Burton, who also worked with Ricky Nelson? Were the Little Drummer Boy teases from the previous night another hint (Ricky Nelson played drums in his early teens and made his television rock and roll debut on April 10, 1957 lip-synching "I'm Walkin'" in the Ozzie and Harriet episode, "Ricky, the Drummer")? Hmmmmmm?? Anyway…

The second set opener Golden Age had some great intensity and affirmed that many more people have caught on to the clapping part, haha. The Waves that followed was messy and disjointed. A little extended vamping led them to Prince Caspian. Boogie On allowed us to shake the building once more and included some extra time in the spotlight for Mike and Page as they battled back and forth goaded by Trey. A fiery Suzy Greenburg, accentuated by some serious cowbell action from Fishman and quotes by Trey (more cowbell), was next in line. That Ricky Nelson guy displayed a penchant for the cowbell, too, btw…just sayin’.

Aside: Right in front of us stood a few younger dudes and I believe they were experiencing their first show. They were cool, a little talkative at times, a little too high-five-y (I feel like I high-fived w/ them every 30 seconds or so during Bug > Cavern). One of my favorite parts of our interaction was teaching them to scream "BUG!" at the right time.

Cavern > 46 days was strong, raucous and a bit cowbell-y. I thought the Squirming Coil was flubby and as usual, the crowd was too overzealous during Page’s solo. I was surprised when they gathered together for the capella tune Grind (70,602), but in hindsight, it was just another nod to the passage of time. First Tube closed out our first night and of course, left us amped and ready for more.


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