, attached to 2014-07-08

Review by ContemplatingJazz

ContemplatingJazz We walked into the venue under clear blue skies—a beautiful day for a show. So it was understandably puzzling when a voice crackled over the intercom begging everyone to please go back to their cars to wait out the impending storm. While we gladly took the opportunity to push up into the pavilion rather than book it back to the parking lot, a sinister-looking cloud started to form over the horizon. Minutes later, we were in the thick of the squall, gaping at the flashes of lightning and fire-hose rain pelting the outside of the Mann’s cavernous parquet dome.

As the storm finally breaks, an extended Sound-and-Light-Check Reprise takes us to 9:21 and just like that, off walks the crew and on walk to boys!

***Axilla starts the late night off right with some high-energy, good old fashion rock n’ roll. An always-welcome helping of ***Gumbo keeps the show bobbing along, albeit at a relatively modest pace. Trey seems somewhat indecisive in his licks here, but shows some sparks that are bound to catch eventually. Followed by some funky Page garnish that flows smoothly into ***Taste. A fairly standard outing, the real star here is CK5, painting appropriately synesthetic backdrops for this particular tune.

True to form, Page pauses to thank us for weathering the storm, promising that the delay wasn't his fault. It seems like a given that he'll drop into Halfway to the Moon here, but instead fish steers us into ***555. The crowd deflates ever-so-slightly after such a short gap since its last outing, but the buzz quickly picks up again as the Fuego standout shines from the start. With another rocking version, it's clear that this new Gordon/Murawski-penned tune is bound to do big things.

***Tube is up next, as they quickly make their way through the first section and dive head first into a quick paced funk groove that gives us flashes of greatness from all parties before dissolving into some pulsing Trey delay.

***Halfway to the Moon--oh, there it is. The page tune is placed nicely after an above-average Tube.

Next, Trey introduces a song for "that guy" who’s been screaming for it, and drops into ***Camel Walk, a song I’m excited to finally be able to check-off on my wish list.

The rest of the first frame is enjoyable, though relatively unremarkable (aside from some particularly tight work from the Chairman on **It’s Ice). ***Walls brings the set to a close as 10:47, as Page promises us a very short break, and Trey shows his Flyers pride to raucous cheers. [1:26 first set, 12 songs]

18 minutes later, 11:06, the lights go down and the boys come on

**46 days kicks it off in the coveted 2nd frame opener slot. Having already mentioned their love for the acoustics at the Mann, trey takes advantage, laying down long, pulsing bends with impeccable tone.

Just two shows after the inferno really started to rage, the boys fire up ***Fuego once again. It’ll be tough to do this journey of a jam justice in prose, so all I can say is throw in some headphones, close your eyes, and listen to it for yourself. This version felt more controlled and complete than SPAC’s, and saw the boys exploring several interesting ideas before ripping into a big type-1 peak launching back into a keys-led groove accented by Fishman a cowbell, and finally relenting to a well-placed ***the Line.

A slightly less well-placed **#Line follows, and although the crowd’s groans were audible at the opening chords, it was relatively enjoyable as many recent versions have been.

Next up is a timely ***Tweezer to bring back the dance party vibe and, after a short reading, the jam fizzles into **ghost. This one packs an extra percussive punch—punchy and sharp. The jam ventures into major –key bliss and reaches some nice, powerful peaks, before ending with some lush keys courtesy of Elton McConnell.

Sliding out of ***Ghost, as it has done so well for so long, ***2001 breaks the no cover streak [yes, it is a cover]. Always a blast, especially the strobe-like white lights on the build-ups. Well done CK.

Though it feels like they could have left off there, a well played though arguably too-soon ***Hood pops up next, and leads into a surprising set-ending Tweeprise. Finally, convinced we were getting a Show of Life encore, Possum is a welcome last gasp for a solid show.

People will disagree with me on this, of course, but Mann1 firmly asserted itself as my favorite show so far this tour. Maybe it didn’t have the best jam of the summer (though the Philly Phuego should at least be part of that conversation), and maybe the early-tour repeats stole some of its steam, but, the venue was great, the vibes were abuzz, and if you need any more reason, just listen to how excited Red is as they wrap up—“We are the Phish, and we're from Vermont! Thank you good night!!” They clearly love this place, they were clearly having a blast, and tonight’s gig promises to be even better. See you there!
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