, attached to 2017-07-23

Review by sstevee00

sstevee00 Now that the instantly legendary Baker's Dozen run has concluded and the dust has settled a bit, I have decided to give this show another spin. Sitting at a 4.14 rating as I write this review, this may be the most underrated show of the entire run and (to my estimation) one of the most underrated shows in recent memory.

Immediately after it ended, I remember this show getting a lot of love... until the "Jam-Filled" show happened just 2 nights later. With that show becoming an instant-classic as well as the almost as highly regarded 7/26 show, this show seems to have been immediately forgotten about. However, it should not be missed, as there is a lot to love here.

Set I provides a very strong selection of songs as well as some top-notch takes. After an enjoyable Sunday Morning opener and a rocking Axilla, the band jumps into Your Pet Cat. Although they do not stray away from the song's funky romp, it contains some strong playing from all 4 to preview what was to come. The heart of the set begins with an excellent version of BOTT definitely worthy of its inclusion on the jam chart. Certainly one of the best versions in recent memory. After BOTT's conclusion, the band starts up How Many People Are You. This version, despite a little extra swagger in the composed section, seems to be straightforward from the beginning of the jam. However, around 6:41, Trey suddenly embarks on a stunningly soaring lead progression quite uncommon for a song that is played by the book just about every time. With laser focus and precision the band brings the jam to a triumphant (as opposed to blissful) peak before bringing the song to its usual conclusion. Certainly the best version of this song played to date.

The beloved Glide comes next. This is one of those songs that only pops up once in a blue moon nowadays and, when it does make an appearance, seems to give Trey fits. However, Trey nails this version, giving this rarely-played tune the treatment it deserves. Although the Theme that follows is played in standard fashion, it does contain some focused and inspired playing from Trey in the jam section.

Then comes It's Ice, not only one of the night's highlights, but one of the top jams of the entire run. At the start of the jam section, you know this one is gonna be different. Gordo and Fishman lay down an irresistibly funky groove from the get go, while Page and Trey drive this jam down the rabbit hole. Trey breaks out the murky 2.0 growling tone while Page's synths give the jam an etherial glow, akin to being at a funky dance party that's set in an underground crystal ice cave. Before we know it, the jam makes an effortless return to It's Ice to conclude. Although it's near impossible to select one single version of a song that has been around as long as the best ever, this is certainly in contention for that coveted spot. The set concludes with a standard, but rocking version of More.

Set II begins with AC/DC Bag, which most assuredly got some hopes up for a 12/30/97-like blowout (myself included). Despite some quieter and more patient play during the beginning of the jam, the jam eventually ends in standard fashion. However, any initial disappointment is shattered after what was to come.

Wolfman's gets the call. Although there have been many excellent versions of this tune in recent years, has rarely, if ever, launched into extended type II territory since 2.0. That all changed this night, when the band, seemingly ending the song in its standard fashion, suddenly drops into deep, deep space. At first, it sounds like transition space between songs, except the band does something remarkable: they actually continue playing in this realm and *contribute*! The patience pays off, as the band moves through several music of beautiful, serene space jamming that, as another reviewer points out, draws parallels to the 6/14/00 legendary Fukuoka show.

The transition to Twist does feel a bit abrupt, but again, all is forgiven once the band almost immediately begins exploring following the composed section. This jam sounds like if the Fukuoka Twist and the Riverport Gin had a baby. Enough said.

Waves comes next, seemingly as a cooldown from the last 30 minutes of improvisational madness. However, like they did with Wolfman's, the band *continues* playing where they would normally move on to the next song. What follows is certainly the closest Phish has come to the IT Waves soundscape jam, festival sets notwithstanding. Just unbelievable, otherworldly stuff here. Incredibly ballsy for Phish to play so abstractly and quietly in front of an arena crowd.

Although many fans are not a fan of this song popping up in second sets, Miss You actually provides the perfect cooldown in this slot, allowing, as others have mentioned, the listener to take in the full emotion this song has to offer. Boogie On provides some much-needed funk with shades of the delicate ambient jamming found earlier in the set. Velvet Sea closes the set in standard fashion, although with a little extra gusto added for Red Velvet night. The Sweet Jane bustout is the proverbial icing on the cake to bring the show to its conclusion.

Overall, this is a fantastic show that would have been a top 10 of the year contender in any other 3.0 year (with the possible exception of 2015). I think it also shows the need to judge a show on its own terms, without comparing it to the shows surrounding it. Although the following 2 nights get all the attention (and deservingly so), definitely give this show a listen with a nice pair of headphones, you will not be disappointed.
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