, attached to 2014-08-02

Review by solargarlic78

solargarlic78 https://medium.com/the-phish-from-vermont/solid-south-review-8-2-14-oak-mountain-b6436ea30bfe

Solid South: Review 8/2/14

It is clear that Phish has a kind of reverence for the south. Trey (who rarely talks) brought it up both Friday (“teary eyed” playing in the state where they recorded at Muscle Shoals) and Saturday, he mentioned the band was “a little hyped up” about playing “down here.” The American South is, of course, legendary from a music (and rock) history perspective — the Delta Blues, the Grand Ole Opry, New Orleans, etc. etc. Sometimes I think when Phish wants to make a good impression (like at Jazz Fest of Bonnaroo), they play a “solid” show that highlights their diverse songs; they keep jams tight. That is what we got Saturday. Nothing spectacular, but good enjoyable solid Phish.

The first set opened with “AC/DC Bag”, which in my opinion has never really “lifted off” like it should this tour. This song is all about building crazy energy and all the versions this tour have just felt flat. What is going on with the opening lick of “Poor Heart”? It appears another case of Trey trying to play something “tasteful” and different, but it sounds awkward/wrong. The first (!) “Cities” of the tour followed. Speaking of keeping jams “tight”, this version not only did not go “type II” (an admittedly rare occurrence in 3.0), but it barely had a “jam” over the chords progression (only 4 rounds through — making this perhaps the shortest “Cities” ever?). A standard rocking “Kill Devil Falls” was followed by the aforementioned Trey banter and then Page apparently requested “Reba” — a highlight of any first set. This version didn’t quite get fiery enough during the peak for my liking, but who can complain. Next came the “blues” sandwich of “Possum” (with a Page solo!) “Sample” and “Funky Bitch.” All fine and standard fare. Hard to believe it was the first “Bitch” of tour. Another unsurprising run of songs followed with “Maze” (I feel that Trey’s solos this tour have been really short), “Ocelot” (another great jam on this one — expressive soloing from Trey), “Sparkle”, and “Cavern.” “Wingsuit” is a great closer. Starts slow, but builds to a serious peak. Trey really played around during the Lydian jam with repetitive phrasing that made this one of the more unique versions of tour.

The second set started as several have this tour with “Carini->Ghost.” Everyone makes their “MVPs” of tour, but I have to say the season’s biggest disappointment is probably “Carini.” After 10/18, 10/31, and MSG, “Carini” was one of the most consistently amazing jam vehicles of 2013. The versions have been fine this tour, but I would guess none make the top 10 jams of tour. This sub-9 minute version (like many) meandered along from funk to “bliss” territory and nothing really stuck. Trey kind of forced the “Ghost” transition (perhaps bored with where “Carini” was going). Everyone is debating whether or not “Chalk Dust” or “Hood” is the tour MVP. For me, it has to be “Ghost.” It has been so versatile — producing so many different kinds of jams (the top versions are Randalls and Chicagao). This one was not on the level of those two, but was the highlight of the night. It went with the balls to the wall rock-funk approach. Trey played power chords throughout much if it (something he’s been doing a lot of lately — its why we keep hearing classic rock teases!). The rocking jam built to a very nice peak around 10:20 with Trey finally soloing over the power chords he had laid down. (I’ve mentioned they have avoided — perhaps on purpose — peaks in type II jams lately — but this Ghost brought it). Then Trey stared teasing (foreshadowing) “Simple” and started up “Mike’s Song.” Another standard version (I guess Fish didn’t try to convince the band to play that second jam after all — or tried and failed). “Simple” was short but (as usual) created an absolutely gorgeous full textured goo (mostly anchored by Mike’s melodious playing) during the jam section that ventured a bit off the normal two chord progression. Most people were probably expecting “Paug” but we got “Joy.” Every set 2 needs its ballad. “Weekapaug” was short and maybe the least effective version of tour. It was a very awkward transition from the funk to Trey’s solo (which itself lacked the normal fireworks imo). “Julius” felt lock a rocking set closer, but not even close. A type I raucous Trey shredding version of “Sand” followed (again, it is strange to me how straight this song is played the majority of the time). The energy was full throttle, so they took it down a notch with ballad #2 “Wading”. I’m sure most people felt the set would close soon, but highlight #2 was throwing out a “YEM” this late in the game. This was a “YEM-classic” featuring the long lost, just Trey shreds it up guitar solo out of the “tramps” section (it was also the best played of tour). I think the bass duels and his dancing routines are cute and all, but it is heartening to see him just rage the ‘eff out of this song as was the custom back in the day. He didn’t peak it like he would in the 90s — and he still had to dance during Mike’s bass solo — but it was old school enough. A “bustout” (?) encore of “The Mighty Quinn” closed out the show (sorry all the covers feel like bustouts!).

Again, when a show is highlighted by the 3rd of 4th best “Ghost” of tour you know this was not a spectacular show. But it was a solid Phish show in the legendary setting of the American South — which is probably what they intended. Sadly though, for those who really made an effort to get all the way the “down” there, the “Alabama Getaway” on Friday-Saturday was probably the weakest Fri-Sat run of the summer. Good thing there is always Sunday.


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