, attached to 2004-08-14

Review by Phishcake94

Phishcake94 I honestly think 2004 gets a much worse rap than it deserves. Sure there are some abysmal points (That first show of the April Vegas run was downright hard to listen to) but the early part of summer, and even the august shows, all had some incredible jams. Some that rival the best ofs from any other era. The band was taking some huge risks, and it payed off a lot of the time. If you can stomach some slop, which I can after hearing the same songs so many times, than you will be rewarded with some incredible open improvisation.

The first night of Coventry is like a snap shot of all of '04. Lots of flubs in the composition parts but plenty of songs with tons of replay value. Plus, if you're like me, you'll appreciate the banter from Trey, impaired & rambling or not. I'll just note that I was not at these shows, nor would I start listening to Phish until mid 2013, thanks to my friend playing the Lawn Boy version of Reba as we came down from a mushroom trip (that jam blew my mind at the time, and still does).

Anyway, the fest gets off to a really good start with WotC. It feels like a really somber version and you can tell right from the get-go that emotions are running high. It has a nice peak to it though. Jim comes next and explores some really cool soundscapes before a segue into Jibboo comes about, I don't think its quite as Type II as the jam chart dictates but it's still a really fine version. YEM was nothing to write home about but they got the composed part better than they had been for a while at that point. Not flawless but bearable. The trampoline give away must have been quite the moment to witness, especially with them crowd surfing for the remainder of the set.

Sample/Axilla/Poor Heart is a nice run of songs for these career ending shows but there's some flubs and when a song doesn't jam it's important to nail the composition. Antelope also isn't noteworthy sans the T. Marshall guest spot. Fire has a pretty sweet.jam tacked on to it with a spacey ending to bring the first set of the night to a close.

Bag bats in the opening slot in Set Dos and what a Bag it is. A multi-dimensional jam, full of direction, this jam is a great listen and one I'll certainly be coming back to again. In my opinion this is the jam of the night. 46 Days is short but rocking, same with Halley's. The -> into Ya Mar isn't perfect but the song has a unique part with the band clapping with the crowd. Trey tells a cool story about the origins of Bowie, and you can't go wrong with him giving you a lesson in Phistory. The song itself is played mostly ok and while the jam doesn't go anywhere too crazy, it does have a nice, tension filled ending. Character Zero ends the set on a high note. I'm sure the crowd was going nuts for the last time they thought they'd hear this song.

The final set of the night starts off with Twist which, pun intended, doesn't have many surprise twists in it. Trey just sorta noodles around for most of this one, which is a shame because I thought Mike & Fish were laying down some sweet rhythms that could have led to some interesting group play. The Wedge is pretty botched, which is a shame because I love that song and given the rarity of it at the time I would have been very disappointed. Stash on the other hand has some noteworthy moments. Again, nothing too out there, and the song proper is played poorly, but a decent enough version of the song. Free is also not incredibly noteworthy, though solid. Guyute is meh, Trey can hardly do the whistling part. Drowned is not as bad to my ears as some have said. And the Coventry Jam (as it's listed on LP) is the 2nd most interesting part of the night (after the Bag).

The beginning of it is straight forward until; everyone but Trey drops out. He addresses Kuroda for a moment before riffing off some sweet blues licks. Eventually the band rejoins after a bit and they all lock in for about 10 more minutes of thrilling improv. Hood as an encore works perfect here. Trey has some hilarious banter while keeping with the rhythm of the song. Unfortunately, again, the song is pretty bad and the jam doesn't make up for it much. The "You can feel good about Hood" chant at the end must have been incredibly cathartic & bittersweet and it translates well to SBD. With that, Trey wishes everyone a good night and the penultimate Phish show is over.

All in all, not an abysmal show, and not an incredible show. If there weren't some really amazing jams to make up for the botched songs I would say that the show deserves 2 stars. Given the open approach to the improv though and the great results, I'll be giving this show 3 stars, I honestly think it deserves 3 1/2 stars but I'm not giving it four stars.

I'll be listening to night 2 tomorrow and will also leave a review. I have already seen some youtube videos of it in the past (DwD, Glide, Velvet Sea) so I have an idea of what I'm in store for but I also look forward to seeing if there are as many noteworthy jams in the second show as there are in this one,


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