, attached to 2016-09-04

Review by CreatureoftheNight

CreatureoftheNight What a long strange year it has been for our boys from Vermont. After the banner jamming year of 2015, expectations from many hinged on a path similar to the year before. Of course, the only thing we should expect is change. The band finished their new album while focusing their shows on laser sharp execution of their deep songbook, (Did you find any rust in 7-20-16's incredible first set?) introducing new material sporadically throughout the first half of tour and mostly avoided the type 2 explorations we had come to take for granted.

As the tour progressed, the bliss jamming from last year was replaced with darker, more compact jams. By Lockn, they reminded me of the kind of wall of sound shoe gazing bands like Ride used to play with screaming Trey leads over the top. A new sound was coming into its own just in time for everybody's favorite Labor Day fantasy land.

After Friday night's swinging show and Saturday night's two second sets, we all knew we were witnessing the first 3 show Dick's blow out since 2012. Weekapaug brought the ompf first for me. The overly dramatic guy in front of us throwing bows in the cramped part of the floor near us had moved forward and the band had sufficiently warmed up for the evening. It was indeed Party Time. Gin brought the high octane romp that we now come to expect in the tub, with echoes of the spectacular version from a week ago. Melt, Tube and Zero kept things going, but for me, the real $ is in the second set.

We moved off the floor to the stands right in front of the Phellowship table to make use of the open views and immense amount of dance space. What followed was by far the best set of Phish for me since Magnaball. The new sound seemed fully formed and the band jammed with purpose, direction and patience. There wasn't a fleeting moment the entire time. Superlatives, superlatives, fire, steam and drums (so worthy of the separate track delineation), we were flabbergasted. There were hints of Catapult, Manteca, No Man's Land, Crossroads and the more obvious and intentional returns to Crosseyed, but it was the level of power and engagement that impressed me the most. By the transition into Light, i said, this is the show of the year with absolute certainty that the momentum was going to continue until the house lights came back up. The delicate Light jam was so beautiful and juxtaposed perfectly against the rest of the set. Lizards provided and opportunity to see the exhausted joy radiate from the entire crowd. What a perfect progression to the set list!! First Tube raged so much longer than usual and summoned even the most comatose of us back into movement.

This second set was an all timer for me, bringing an abundance of inventiveness, power and unique creativity. This was the culminating experience of my tour and the band once again far exceeded any of my expectations. I hope you had anywhere near the level of fun we did! Safe travels and thank you to the band, crew and phamily that have made Dick's 2016 truly a one of a kind experience!
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