, attached to 2019-07-14

Review by urbantornado

urbantornado As my friends and I prepared for the show, I asserted that for me to rate a show 5-Stars on .net it must include the following:
1) A bust out
2) A long jam
3) Antics

So what happens when the show features an embarrassment of riches in bustouts? Over a dozen songs played this night do not make regular appearances in shows, and many of those don't appear in the setlist even once in an average year. What does that mean? Well, for myself I caught 13 first-time songs (14 if you count the Icculus Reprise), in this, my 36th show. Pebbles and Marbles brings me back to being 15 and listening to Round Room in the Mazda MPV CD player with my brother. Meanwhile I am also fortunate to have also caught Vultures, Icculus and Buffalo Bill once before this night. The magnitude of what this deep catalogue of songs that I finally got to feel live cannot be overstated. It’s part of what every fan hopes for when they put up with hot campgrounds, flight delays, and wook dreadlock slaps to the face on their way cross-country to a run of shows.

I have to rank among the highest percentile of distance logged per run of shows, having learned about the band as a 13 year old in 2000 in Toronto, and then being in University 2005-2009. My age/time/location combination did not lend itself well to hitting shows, so by the time I saw the band 8/13/2009 at Darien Lake, I had already been listening for nearly half my short lifetime. From then until now, my shortest drive has been 1/2 hour to St. Paul. Next closest would be Darien Lake from Toronto, and The Gorge from Nelson, BC. I have also driven nonstop from Nelson to Dick’s and Telluride to Deer Creek. In 2013 we planned our trip back to Ontario to coincide with the Toronto show that had to be cancelled and rescheduled (we weren’t able to catch the rescheduled show). Last year I flew to Buffalo, and stepped into the terminal only to find out the first Festival I was set to attend was cancelled.

Phish has made me work for my moments, but I have been greatly rewarded by seeing the S Show in 2011 and meeting my wife at the Dick’s campground, as well as catching notable shows in Dick’s 2012, Gorge 2011, and Rosemont 2018. I have witnessed my fair share of huge jams and antics, but nothing ever combined for an experience like 7/14/2019. Jon Sullen Melancholy (later revealed as an old inside joke in Trey’s documentary), an absurd Icculus, and the Contact proposal. Everything was woven together so well with the energy flowing straight through the end of set 2 and culminating in the ultimate show closer: Tweezer Reprise.

Experiencing bustout after bustout, consuming the longest (and perhaps most interesting) jam in 15 years, and witnessing the band at its goofiest made this likely the best performance I will ever see. As I walked out of the venue, I pondered the idea of selling my stock in Phish because I truly don’t expect I will ever see a better show. Unfortunately there is nobody in this world that could possibly afford to buy it from me!

Of course my ego feels validated for all the love and energy I put into consuming from this bottomless well of art that Phish has produced for the last 19 years. Is that to say I feel more special than others for being among the ~30,000 that were there? Fuck no! And am I actually going to quit going out of my way to see this band? Of course not. But this experience galvanized me as a fan and it made me an even stronger believer in the durability and still-untapped potential of Phish and our community.

I desperately want as many people as possible to experience what I was able to last Sunday evening.

[And this site needs a 10-Star Rating system]


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