, attached to 2019-07-14

Review by Laudanum

Laudanum "Today is one of those nights." - Trey Anastasio, 7/14/2019

When we talk about Phish not being a nostalgia act, it doesn't necessarily mean there's no nostalgia involved. Tonight it was Strange Design that got me, from out of the blue.

I hadn't thought much about the song in years, let alone listened to it. But here it was, back from the dead, and from Page's very first line it got me, got me like it did way back in 1995.

All the final songs of the first set recall 1995, in fact, all four being in common rotation that year, and all four are performed in a 1995-esque manner, yet somehow filtered through the lens of 2019. Sometimes this band is just too large, too much--it's a giant gemstone with so many facets now that there's no hope of seeing any more than a handful at any given point in time. And sometimes you forget that some of the facets even existed. But then the band tilts, catches the light, and reminds you.

What does this four song stretch do four someone who started seeing the band last year? Is it merely a novelty for them? An irritant because they're not hearing what they know? Or does it move them in a way it would have moved me so many years ago, bridging the past and reframing it, as seems to be the band's wont this year?

Yeah, give me a moment. Something in my eye.

Second set casts aside nostalgia for the new, at least at first. The front half is very 2019, the culmination of all they've been working on this year. New songs float in a sea of jam, ebbing and crashing. Ruby Waves is the apex of both the year and the aesthetic, and its liquid nature takes on a multitude of shapes over a cosmic half hour plus. It is both current and future Phish, a statement of where they're at, a promise of what's to come.

We're treated to another brief trip back in time, and a reminder to read the damn book, and then YEM. A song so timeless it sets all questions of nostalgia aside.

For all its trappings of the past, second set is rooted firmly in the now. New memories for all generations of fans, but especially the younger ones, or the ones just discovering the band. This is their 1995.

What a show. What a tour.


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