I need not have worried about the corporate lack of character. Allstate may have sprung for a new sign outside, but the same tacky 70's decor remained inside, and with every third phan looking like Wiley Wiggins reanimated, I felt like Dazed and Confused had come to life. All(state) was good.
Even before the first note was played, it was obvious that the energy was bursting inside AA. After a couple of tepid attempts to start the Wave, a strong tidal Wave started tearing around AA. Again and again it rounded the building as the phans cheered themselves on. Phish, not wanting to miss out on all the fun (and probably figuring we were ready as we were ever going to be), killed the house lights as soon as the wave died and took to the stage.
DWD blew the doors off from the start, and they never looked back. Slave, Gin, and YEM in the 1st set just wasn't done, and when it seemed that every phan in reserved seating threw their glowring into General Admission as if on cue during the YEM jam, I knew I was witnessing a gem of a show.
Setbreak saw some of the most animated conversations I've ever seen at a setbreak. Gushing about the set, anticipation of what was to come, all fed into an overwhelming positive torrent of energy. We were dying, watching the proverbial pot boil, as the 2nd set approached.
We were right to be anxious. Tube>>>>>Wedge was unbridled connection between phan and band, with Wedge coming as a complete shock out of Ghost. Meatschtick was a lovely laugh, and got everyone singing, and geared us up for a ripping Antelope closer.
Was it the Island Tour Antelope? No. Was the YEM Red Rocks '94 quality? No. What it was, simply put, was the strongest two sets of Phish I've seen, that didn't have a single OMG!WTF!BBQ! moment. Two fantastically strong sets, no more, no less. A damn fine time...shocks my brain.