, attached to 2017-07-26

Review by pmc2kd

pmc2kd Well how could they top jam filled night? Powdered signaled (hopefully) a Neil Young cover that I was desperate to see Phish play. First thing's first though.

Set I opened with an a cappella Fleet Foxes tune. I didn't know it, as I don't really listen to them, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it!

CTB was a apropos selection for NYC. Nice peppy version that was pretty darn tight, if not exceptional.

I never really look for My Soul, just because it's almost too meta having that chorus on a not so soulful song. That said, this version carried an excellent solo from Trey.

Roses, on the other hand, I always look for. Loved it here. Great energy.

The Very Long Fuse was cool to here and carried a nice little jamming. It wasn't too dynamic, but certainly was enjoyable. It's good to hear those Halloween tunes in action and as they are basically all jam, how can you not find something nice in there.

Gumbo offered the first highlight of an otherwise pedestrian first set. This version was stretched out a bit and had some really great playing across the board. Not the monster version I was hoping for, but also not a by the book mail in job. Very fun, easily the highlight (thus far).

Yarmouth Road was ok. Kind of dull to me, but a little head bobbing slow groove was ok.

Pebbles and Marbles is a song I love and this one was executed well with a nice rocking jam. Nothing to atypical, but certainly capped off with a fiery solo from Trey.

Farmhouse was another slight downer from an energy standpoint, but the solo was quite good. In fact, by the end, I was feeling very good about that solo. Very nice version.

Well, the impending close of the set left little time to "redeem" (if that was really needed) the least enjoyable set of the run up to that point. TUBE reassured that any Phan who sleeps on this band during this MSG run runs the risk of missing pure magic. This Tube isn't the long funk workout of '97, it's a multi-segment beast that drives through some clavinet funk to some groovey effects jamming, gliding into a blissful major key jam that pops back into the conclusion, giving us 14 minutes of joyful sound. Instant classic.

Overall, my least favorite set I of the first 5 aside from Tube. That Tube, however belongs in heavy rotation. Gumbo was also very solid.

Set II of this show is my single favorite set of the first 5 (and may very well remain my favorite of the run).

Carini blows away some of the bubble gum feeling of set I and launches us into the depths of depravity. They shift seamlessly to the major key and usher smiles all around, and then effortlessly glide into totally original space that requires incredible playing by all members, who duly oblige the audience. Basically a near perfect jam to me, which segues quite nicely into the opening riff of Mr Completely.

Well this version isn't the longest, but it sure is good. Excellent jamming throughout a cool opening segment that winds its way to celebration land with a couple detours in between. Fantastic!

1999 emerges and the crowd just goes bonkers. This is a defining moment of Phish for me. After a well executed and exuberant song section, the fantastic four choose JAM. Synth funkiness ensues, deep space freakout fest follows, and an undeniable blistering finale, replete with inspired peaks concludes the all-timer. Well they don't sit idly on the peak, but instead devolve and slide into Steam with another inspired song selection (plenty of darkness in a celebratory set).

Steam is the best version I've ever heard. It's given a good long workout and goes into spacey dark and downright adventurous territory. This type of jamming (found throughout these shows) is something that I've not really found in 3.0 and the spookiness harkens back to the 2.0 era. This is stunningly great, and as with some ambient passages in the modern era, Trey relinquishes to Page who guides us beautifully into No Quarter.

The Zeppelin cover is inspired, as always, cementing itself as one of their finest choices for covers. Trey eviscerates the solo and the band really just gets this tune. It's a perfect pairing with Steam.

Well you'll see Character Zero here and roll your eyes thinking they mailed in the last tune, but you are wrong. This version smokes and carries an extended Trey Mike duel, which saw them face to face, finishing each other's musical sentences, before Trey brings us back to a screaming and soaring peak. End set in style.

The encore was what I dreamed of. Neil Young's Powderfinger, an excellent song, offers the band another chance to send us into euphoria. Very celebratory (like the Sweet Jane encore), this version is played very well. Trey's solos are immaculate and the vocals and musicianship make this another favorite - please keep playing it!!!

Overall, kind of a weak set I until Tube (boy what a Tube), but the best top to bottom set II of the run (and that's saying something!!!).

4.5/5 (dock it for the pedestrian beggining of set I).


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