, attached to 2014-07-12

Review by fluffhead108

fluffhead108 It didn't always come easy, but the sequence comprising the bulk of Set II in this show is some of the most interesting, difficult, and emotionally impactful music that the band has played in recent memory. Phish is at their best, I'd say, when they are (1) playing great versions of individual songs, and (2) weaving those songs together to create a musical narrative, which gives each of those songs greater significance.

Case in point: Carini>Ghost>Wingsuit. Not only is each song worth your time, but taken altogether they paint a pretty masterful picture: a bad-ass, sci-fi, off-the-deep-end triumph that has me kind of staggered at the moment. It's not all pretty and perfect--but why would it be? The hatred that the narrator in Carini holds for the song's namesake erupts in the jam, bubbly and distorted, then collapses into a muddy puddle, creating a strange (and totally inaccessible--I feel for new fans in attendance...welcome to Phish!) and haunting scene. This is raw, unrestrained version that is not always "enjoyable" in any kind of traditional sense, but has a stark beauty to it which contributes an essential element to the overall sequence.

And then Carini is murdered and buried, only to return (to get the last laugh, of course) in the form of a bizarrely danceable and very exploratory Ghost. This Ghost is all over the place, returning to Earth to shed all of its various worldly attachments--anger, bliss, confusion, sexy dance grooves, and noisy psychedelia--before finally dawning its Wingsuit and ascending to the sky. And boy--this Wingsuit is something. Patient! When the peak finally hits, its grander than any of us probably expected, and is easily one of the highlights of the entire show.

From there, it's a hop, skip, and jump to the encore. The rollicking Rock & Roll is a thematic counter to the hatred of Carini, and yet another exquisite take on Harry Hood shows the boys once again stepping into untested waters and wading around for a bit. When they do eventually bring about a peak, it's not like the screaming climax of Wingsuit, but more of the soulful, life-affirming variety. Good stuff! It gets said a lot, but the level of telepathic-interplay and communication on display these days is just silly good.

With such an incredible, emotionally-driven frame of music as that, it's almost an after-thought to say that, all of a sudden, Tube is back in full force, shaking things down with nasty old-school cowfunk. Don't let length deter you--this one brings the goods, and is a perfect refresher for the band and crowd after the density of what preceded it.


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