, attached to 2013-07-13

Review by parrott56

parrott56 As far as I can tell, this show was a game-changer. Previous 3.0 shows were almost always won or lost based on the strength, quantity, and fluency of their type-II excursions. It was pretty easy based on this metric to pick out the top tier of shows (e.g., 8/15/11, 8/31/12), then the next tier (10/26/10, 7/6/12), then the next (… 6/19/11?), and so forth. On occasion, rarities (6/27/10) or some kind of gimmickry (10/20/10) could bump a show up or down. What mattered little were type-I readings of frequently played songs, which as always comprised the majority of each show. In 3.0, these performances typically lacked spice, distinction—something to make Phish's enduring commitment to type-I jamming worthwhile.

Then there's this show, the highlights of which (for me) are type-I versions of "Harry Hood" and "Weekapaug Groove." Intrigued?

You should be. This is something different. I'd argue we'd have to go back about 15 years to find the last show of comparable quality that's defined as much by its "scripted" jams as its open ones. It's like a hallmark shortcoming of 3.0 has suddenly been redeemed.

Speaking of redemption, this show might have singlehandedly restored my faith in the 3.0 "Hood." I'm pretty sure it's been a decade since they peaked the song this successfully. And what a welcome relief. I'd take this version over Worcester '10 any day. Frankly, this is exactly what the song is supposed to sound like. (And while I do sympathize with those who wish "Hood" were on a experimental trajectory, the song needs to be able to TEAR SHIT UP before it can really earn those unusual jams. It's no accident that the best type-II "Hood"s happened around the same time as the best type-I versions, in '94, '97, and '03.)

Likewise, this "Weekapaug" does everything your average, getting-shit-done version from the '90s did. It doesn't have to be radical, because it's already exceptional. For the best version of 3.0, I'm pretty sure it's either this one or Star Lake—happy to have seen them both.

PLUS, there's about 12 minutes of solid type II—enough to keep it interesting—divided pretty evenly between the "Melt," "Disease," and "Simple." All great versions.

And let's talk about the "Disease" for a minute. They'd fallen into the pattern of either playing a short "Disease" and returning to the song's ending, or jamming it out and leaving the song unfinished. It felt INCREDIBLE getting the whole package, jam and reprise, having your cake and eating it too. People went bonkers. Seriously.

Between the aforementioned tunes, killer song selection in set I, a hot "Mike's" > "Simple," and a good old ballad > rocker encore—you've got a great show. Not an all-timer necessarily, but fun, friendly, and familiar… like all those wonderful, not-quite-landmark shows that sprung up everywhere in years like '94 and '98. This night had that kind of feel to it.


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