, attached to 2004-06-17

Review by kipmat

kipmat Hindsight is a funny thing. Over the past few days I've been *observing* (rather than "celebrating") the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Vegas run, by general consensus the worst three consecutive shows of the band's career. I couldn't stomach listening to the complete shows, resorting instead to revisiting a few selected tracks.

This afternoon, I put on my Live In Brooklyn CDs. What a difference.

The level of energy evident in the music is on par with the heady, nation-conquering days of 1993-95. And although the musicianship has changed, this remastered recording demonstrates how the band has improved at listening to each other and supporting each other musically. When the band has been consciously putting in the time to elevate this ability, it becomes infectious: Sample In A Jar is usually setlist fluff, but Page, Mike, and Fish are contributing to Trey's solo in rhythm, tempo, and dynamics, and Trey can't help but be inspired by this.

And during Free, Mike unleashes the Meatball pedal effect, the sound that has had such a profound effect on 3.0 funk jams.

Another indicator of a special show: when the band elects to play one of their early bread-and-butter jam songs in the encore slot, like Reba, Bowie, or Fluffhead. I will always have time for a Divided Sky encore.

Other reviewers have done a great job of explaining the context of the Summer 2004 shows. Live In Brooklyn was the first Phish release I purchased in the wake of the band's breakup in 2004, as a way of providing myself some closure in the grieving process. Of course there were specific reasons why the band broke up in 2004, but it was, and still is, astonishing that Phish could consider calling it quits when they still play shows like this. If you are at all familiar with the band's live show catalog, *please* get this show from livephish.com, (as well as the SPAC run from the following week) and listen, and enjoy, and consider what was and what might have been.


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