, attached to 2015-08-01

Review by andrewrose

andrewrose Ok folks time to write a review, shall we? Been a while since I chimed in on a recent show (8/31/12?) But this little offering on Jerry's birthday makes it pretty hard to resist.

For those keeping score, 2015 has seen the emergence of a pretty invigorated, inspired and practiced Trey Anastasio. All the aspirations tied to his prep for Fare Thee Well seem to have collided and delivered in spades. His tone is incredible, and his phrasing even in the narrowest of margins is impeccable. Not only is he picking great notes but he's hitting them like nobody's business (was that cleanest build in Theme of 3.0?). Give this Ocelot and Number Line a spin. Neither are the show's biggest highlights but they're a prime example of what our reborn Big Red is doing to keep complete shows more interesting than they've been maybe ever in the 3.0 era. This has been a great tour, and with the exception of a bit of a dip in Austin and an inconsistent first set here or there, there's much *must hear* material.

At the top of that list is this instant-classic (imho) 26 minute Tweezer that opened the second set. I'll spare the play by play run down here but suffice it to say that it's one of those jams that you can hear coming as little as 5 minutes into the song. So much space, so much vision, dexterity, communication. It's Trey's jam but features some great group play too, especially with Mike in the first half as things lead to the mythical 13 minute mark, and with Fish complementing throughout. The landing in Waiting All Night is perfect, too.

That's another thing about these summer '15 shows. The band is doing great stuff with song placement, really contrasting jams with the right breathers, or surprising with heavy hitters (late 2nd set Reba, Gin on 7/31 anyone?) in unexpected spots. And when Trey is hitting the kinds of notes he is, songs like Waiting All Night have the opportunity to please to no end. The Carini is low and nasty and great (not among some of the longer or interesting Carini's of 3.0 by any means, but raunchy and satisfying nonetheless), but it's the -> Waste that follows, oddly enough, which lands the bigger punch.

So it's Jerry's birthday and all the Fare Thee Well fanfare has brought out more comparison's than ever, and rightly so. Trey's use of the mutron pedal seems like an explicit nod (especially in the great versions of No Men in No Man's Land that all recall '77 Dancin's), and certain jams have had Dead feels to be sure. But one thing people aren't talking about is how Trey seems more capable of pulling off the emotional impacts of some of these more delicate songs, the way Jerry always could. On a night when everyone might have been looking for the possibility of an actual Dead song, it seems to me that Trey was able to do Jerry one better. Sure a little happy birthday tease in Heavy Things and the inclusion of Number Line were gestures but it's the performance that was the real tribute. He's got nothing left to prove in that regard. I can't help but think of this performance of Waste as speaking to folks who might have come around to Phish and Trey following Fare Thee Well:

So if I'm inside your head
Don't believe what you might have read
You'll see what I might have said
To hear it

The best Phish shows come together as complete offerings, delivering not just amazing jams but emotionally impactful breathers with beautiful 'in-the-box' performances of their own. This second set has that in spades.

Right so back to the jams. Sand was due after a cursory run in the tour opener, and is a perfect fit for the band's new-found (re-found?) love of truly danceable grooves and the mutron. (Sand needs to be paired with ->No Men in No Man's Land ... ->Dancin' optional). Amazing late set fun and again, great contrast against the Waste that preceded.

Throw on a Tweeprise to close the set, and then encore with Rock n Roll, another unexpected twist on a tour with not many covers?

Yeah, it was all right.

A+


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