, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: Certainly not the worst way to spend just over an hour of your time (a surprisingly short Set 1), aside from the usual "shaking off the cobwebs" occasional bits of rust that come from lengthy layoffs, and a slightly jarring move into BOTT from Simple's ambient zone (always good to see the dreaded "r" word pop up in Set 1, as though after 7 years and a crazy good Summer tour Trey Anastasio *still* does not deserve the benefit of the doubt). Free showcases Mike in neat fashion, Roggae is its usual warm and lovely self, and 46 Days makes for a stomping close.

Set 2: The sea shanty holds true once again as CDT continues its Dazzy Vance-esque late-career resurgence, kicking off the set with a gigantic jam. The band immediately drops into a lower-key zone, Trey playing weird effects, Page heading to the clavinet and B-3. Mike and Fish take center stage as the jam stays dark, Trey flirting with Mind Left Body at points and firing off really neat lines. It sounds like they're building up an ambient cloud and the jam might be ending, but Fish (it just had to be Fish) keeps the jam alive and the tempo picks up, with Mike and Fish continuing to lead the charge. This is powerful stuff, I tell you what, and Mike gets off his meatball effect at an opportune moment before Trey brings us into The Wonderful World of Major Key and we get a thrilling bit of hose. But just because this is 2015 and this is how shit is done, the band turns into a weird and spooky ending on a dime, feedback pulsating throughout and Fish playing a neat minimal beat, until Ghost worms its way in.

Ghost mainly serves as the wrapper for new song Can't Always Listen (a rootsy number with a neat little Trey riff that sounds very Fuego-y, so that'll probably dictate if you like it or not), but the return to Ghost is cool and the Waves that follows is also cool, dying away into some Siket Disc/Drive-In Jam-like gooey ambiance (reminiscent of the Fukuoka Walk Away jam), before the band makes a great call with Bathtub Gin. And this Gin is the second monster jam of the night, which...actually, let's start a new paragraph for this baby, shall we?

You can already tell this Gin is going to be a bit beyond the norm early on, as the band goes from the ending of the verses into a goofy vocal jam (the repeating part made me think my LivePhish recording was skipping for some reason). Trey slips in some warm Weekapaug-like chords and they drop into a wonderful zone, Mike firing off the meatball again, the music as comforting and soothing as a warm bath. And after that quick baptism in The Pool of Bliss, Trey starts up some sympathetic chording, Page heads to the piano, and they build to a trill-laden glorious peak that you will want to hear again and again, before kicking back into the Gin ending to close. The following Mike's Groove could have been a victory lap after that staggering opening 5-song sequence, but the band has one last trick up their sleeve, as Trey makes a *crazy* left turn in Weekapaug into WTU?, which drops into a Magnaball-esque hush, effects flying, builds to a powerful peak like it's Hood or something, and then slides right back into Weekapaug like nothing even happened out of the norm. A glorious end to a bonkers set.

Final Thoughts: I hope you hadn't already locked in your "best of 2015" choices, because if you did, you are gonna sigh one hell of a heavy sigh after hearing this sucker. Two humongous jams, song sandwiches, a ridiculous WTU?, and a beautiful Waves mid-set to boot. I don't know if I need to say it, but I will anyway - Phish wins again.


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