, attached to 2016-10-18

Review by dividedry

dividedry Phish gets the Dead nod just right in Nashville

Showing once again why they still set the trends in the improv music world world, Phish beat the pack by doing the Dead thing last, and when it mattered most.

After Trey playing such a huge part in Fare Thee Well, and the resulting and rightfully earned celebration of 50 years of Grateful Dead music last year, the Dead cover thing boomed in huge way.
And why not? There can be no doubt that the whole jam/improvisational music scene owes a "nod" and a half to those pioneers of the extended musical adolescence we thoroughly enjoy today. More than a few Phish fans assumed this would translate into the band attempting, what SO many would similarly be doing in the next 12 plus months, mixing in some Dead tunes, and/or sit ins, to their repertoire. Or just maybe, an entire Dead set at last years magna ball, or potentially at this years Halloween. Instead, Phish did what they've always done when everyone else zigged; They zagged. While countless other bands delved into a catalog most fans know and love, Phish instead decided to take their own tunes out for a much needed spin. The result? Maybe their best tour in a decade.

Flash forward to a year later, and Phish is coming off a new album, a summer tour met with some very high (Hartford Gorge, Chula, Dicks, etc), and some noticeably low (you know which ones, don't lie), points. Three shows into a fall tour sprinkled with the same varied peaks and valleys; they deliver a strong, if typical, first set, peppered with favorites and a few of the increasingly better live Big Boat tunes. The buzz about Bobby sitting in on the soundcheck was well known online a few hours before the show, and the general consensus was that he'd sit in for a song, maybe two, keeping with the usual formula of members of the Dead sitting in with Phish in the past. Instead, Ace sat in for majority of the second set and encore, highlighted by him taking the vocals on a new, and very poignant (if not sometimes maudlin), Trey tune. The result was nothing short of remarkable, and shocking in a way that should feel ironically familiar to those of us who have always had our (sometimes petulant) expectations exposed and turned on their head by these four. If this is the last time Phish and Grateful Dead tunes intertwine, and it should be, at least for the next decade or so, then they pulled it off beautifully, and, as usual, on their own terms...


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