Anyhow, if you've never been in the Greek make a point to see a show there if ever in Berkley you are. It's awesome. A great dance pit with steep bench seating ending in a steep lawn. I have a secret dance spot.
Called the AC/DC Bag opener and it was smoking right out of the gate and setting a rollicking tone for the show. Evocative of the Boise '99 show, we dropped pretty quickly into some heavy grooves. Not necessarily funk, but sweet and sick. A great openeer that segued into another favorite of mine, Foam.
The previous three nights while we listened to the show from outside the venue, I had remarked several times that Mike was murdering people in there he was that dangerous. It was about now that the slaying commenced.
Next up the suds theme continued with Gotta Jibboo and what was for me the first ambient jam that just flowed out of the groove they lay down. This is a solid Jibboo. Reba as well, but I always love the whistle.
But my first set highlight was my first electric Sleep Again. This is a song they'd play more of. It grooves and soars at the same time, hard to do and they just plain kill it and go off on little journey's that mirror that lick.
Then it was time to rock our socks off by kicking ass from 46 Days til Character 0. This got soupy thick with metal shredding from all members and the first set ended in a sweaty, fist-thrusting yell. A truly rocking first set.
The audience seemed stunned to see the band again as a half-hearted 'woo' greeted the band upon their return to the stage. That was quickly remedied when after a moment they launched into Wilson. If I had thought it rocked hard in the first set, I discovered quite soon that this version of Phish likes to push the 'metal' envelope.
Push on til the day, say I.
A solid Light segued into another first for me, Twenty Years later. I think this song is the best one off Joy and when they nail the outro it puts some metal bands to shame. A blistering Hood which was also shredded followed. The audience erupted and whatever lingering dullness that had lingered after set break had been dispelled by some of the hardest rock I'd ever seen Phish play.
Then they started Theme From the Bottom at which point some dude behind me went off, so if you hear a dude hooting and hollering and then a response that goes something like "This guy really likes Theme From the Bottom", I'm the replyer.
But I digress. I, too, am a big fan of Theme and this is a song that I think Phish keeps getting better and better at playing since they've returned. This one is adventurous and fun and rages into a delicate swirl, leaving the crowd calm like the ocean on a still day.
Only to see the surface erupt as 2001 (Also Sprach Zarathustra) emerged. This was a trip down memory lane to late 90's funk-rock with the theme played only twice and lots of sick vamps in between. Dance party scene du jour.
Our collective energy was bumped up another notch as Phish broke into Suzy. This one was jammed out quite a bit in between verses with all members grooving along and noone truly dominating the moment. Living After Midnight was, for me, an anthem as a young child (along with You've Got Another Thing Coming and Pain Killer by Judas Priest as well as many other classic head-banging tunes) and this was a spiked-leather clad fist that rocked the night. One of the better Suzies (but not better than Festival 8's...that's a tough act to top, comparable to Darien Lake '00) and was so rocking and everyone was so into it and possibly epic journey's ahead of them I was sure we were done.
Nope. Slave to the Traffic Light and it was perfect. Slowed it all down, let everyone catch a breath and savor this last intimate show in an epic venue and then built it back up into a deep rumble that was bruising. My first Lizards would have been enough, but noooooo, we had to funk out one last time as Phish surfed it's way out of California with First Tube.
If you like Phish when they reach into the depths of rock and draw forth the sword of metal, aflame with the fire of rock...than get this show. I'm going livephish style.
I'd like to thank D'Bo and Ali for a great after party and Geri for the ride that took Matt and I to Telluride.