The quality of the setlist is just as good as it looks on paper (or monitor, of course.). The jams were tight and succinct yet spacious and every song - save for Train Song - provided a little glimmer of improvisational opportunity.
Deer Creek is always a blast; if you haven't been make the trek and reward yourself. I'll start by saying that.
Our show really began in the lot leading up to the venue. Our small group of heads traversed the gravek lots with beer-in-hand, and, mid-sip, I spied Mike Gordon cruising towards us on a canopied four-wheeler.
ME: 'That's Mike Gordon!"
MIKE: 'Yesssss. Hey guys!'
Classic. He had his daughter on the seat next to him and he counted off a big greeting from the crowd gathering around. This is why were here...
...Chalkdust opener is always a classic, kind of like PYITE. This one is short but ubersweet, nothing quite like Camden earlier this summer. MY first Guelah was well-received, as was My Sweet One, Axilla and the vac-fest I Didn't Know. WALLS OF THE CAVE! Has it been played at all this tour? Not quite sure but it was a royal treat in the lawn of Deer Creek. The Stash that followed was hot, definitely not a rote rendition of an old standby. The jazz is alive, folks!
The final 5 songs of the 1st set blew the doors off the venue - literally. BDTNL is hated by many, chertished by few...I guess I'm in the minority on this one, as this version was searing. Curtis Loew? Really!? If someone were to tell me 6 years ago, 'Hey, Phish is coming back, and they WILL pull Curtis Loew off the dusty shelf again,' I probably would have sneered. Both Wilson and Possum raged, ensuring that the masses would faithfully wait for the 2nd set to come.
Really, all I can say is listen to this set. Without making a lengthy review, the definite highlights in the 2nd set is the Meatstick (!) -> Mango. It is bonafide audio-nectar.
The Slave encore is fantastic, providing hope that some of the classic material can be worthy of some of their earlier highlights.