, attached to 2017-12-30

Review by 3twenty6

3twenty6 Confession. I'm a n00b. This was only my 3rd time seeing Phish, my first 2 shows being Jimmies and Boston Cream. So I've yet to catch a less-than-stellar show.

We were seated behind the stage, Page side. Not the worst seats in the house, but not the best. But hey, if I'm in the room and I can hear, I'm good. Put me anywhere.

I'm partially deaf and have a Cochlear implant in my deaf ear. Music sounds much different in the Cochlear, and some notes and tones are really astonishing. I can't explain it, but they are. "I Am Hydrogen" contains those kinds of sounds (as do Bathtub Gin, Ocelot, and a few other tunes). So to witness the only Mike's Groove with Hydrogen of 2017 was a special treat. So here we are, a few minutes into the night and already a highlight has emerged. Now, there was no major mind-blowing craziness in Mike's Groove, but it was solid all the way around.

My 3rd show, my first Tweezer. YAY! Not a bad one at all. Went deep, got weird, explored some funky places before coming back around to the main theme and winding down, then Trey steps back and says something to Fishman and BOOM! we get a smokin' "Ass Handed". Ok. I jest. I mean, it was as good as any version of Ass Handed... whatever that means. A pretty standard KDF came next. There are those who don't like this song, but I'm not among them. Being a yellow balloon type, I can relate to the "this time will be different, til I do it again" thing.

This Bathtub Gin is a must-hear moment. They got everything right. It hit al the right places, danced into some slightly unusual territory (nowhere too crazy, but unusual enough to make it interesting and memorable).. Brother was a little rusty and the playing was sketchy in places, but I ain't complaining. It was good enough and it had the groove, so, it works. Besides, they hadn't played it in 5 years, so all is forgiven.

"More" wrapped up the first set.
Nothing out of the ordinary. Didn't go anywhere new, but that's okay. I like the song, and while I don't think it'll ever evolve into a jam vehicle, it's a solid composition, and a song that needs to be heard.

Ok.... this second set is something you just gotta hear. This is one of those legendary 5-song second sets that will stand up strong against any second set in the 3.0 era. The DWD could be the best jam of 2017, and that's saying a lot. Clocking in at 89 seconds shy of half an hour, the performance goes type II and touches on a bunch of themes, with sections that are not unlike "The Wheel" (Grateful Dead) and the VU's "Rock n Roll".
I wondered if they might not be going into RNR a couple of times, they'd get real close, then steer away into another part of the jam. Eventually things got really, really dark before ultimately giving way to Steam. But before it did that the jam got a little "WHOO!" section going on (for better or worse). (Whether you are pro or anti "WHOO!", you gotta admit, it doesn't just show in the pedestrian jams, it only appears in those top-notch crazy jams that go yonder and beyonder)

The post-Disease jam flows smoothly into a "Steam" that takes the dark tone set up in the DWD jam and goes a little bit deeper, and the fog machines on stage add an extra dimension to the tune.. Things can't stay in the dark forever, and Steam gives way to "Light". I'm not a huge fan of Light, but I don't dislike it. Y'know what I mean? There are songs that I don't not like, but that usually aren't on my list of tunes I wanna hear at a show Light is one of those. But this one is well placed and well played, and ultimately a necessary vehicle for getting out of the dark space created by the DWD jam. Then the curveball... Farmhouse. Who the hell saw that coming? It was a great Farmhouse, odd positioning be damned. The "No Woman No Cry" jam in the middle was inspired and well-played and yeah, I know Farmhouse and No Woman No Cry are musically the same, I was just kidding.

Then Antelope to close the set. I love this fucking jam, and that moment when it drops from the intro into the main theme? Pure damn rock n roll magic. What can you say? nothing. It just kicks ass.
It's Antelope.
Set the gear shift to the high gear of your soul, indeed.

After such an outstanding show, what could the encore be? Why, the world's greatest singalong about masturbation that contains copious Let It Be quotes, what else? Sleeping Monkey put a nice bow on everything, and included the obligatory a capella section from Henrietta.

And then, the Tweeprise, the obvious call to send us home into the 18 degree weather... because yeah, the east coast is in the midst of a serious cold snap right about now... highs in the 20's, good times.

So that's it... my last Phish show of 2017. I"ll be watching the NYE stream, of course, and enjoying the hell out of every note. This has been a really special year for the band and their fans. The music has been top notch all the way through (except for Dick's, which wasn't bad, it just wasn't BD). Rumors about and maybe I'll be able to see this band somewhere other than MSG. I'm on this train now, so we'll see where it goes.


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