let me also say that on my drive down to my friend’s in Greenwich CT on Friday, i was blasting the 95 Blossom Mike’s and thinking to myself. instead of a funk-driven show or a show with more than one ballad and too much sentimental stuff, i would love a dark, psychedelic journey of a show. and that’s exACTly what i got.
Theme – odd choice for an opener, played a bit slower than usual. was all fine and good but a bit reserved
NICU – it is what it is. after the first couple tunes i was thinking “they may not be really feeling it tonight…not quite locked in”.
Cities – really fun and a PERFECT example of how they’re feeling. instead of the overtly funky Cities, this one works up to a fiery rock and roll peak with Trey ripping it up. feeling much better about the vibe now.
Halley’s – fuck yes, FINALLY instead of going right into another tune they lay down a nasty, 5-6 minute type II excursion into foreboding territory, which segues beautifully into
Runaway Jim – one of the absolute highlights of the night came not in the main jam, but in the usually quiet breakdown part between the verses. They get into a full band, staccato interplay with Trey playing like a West African percussionist. This went on for a good two minutes at least. Brilliant.
Gumbo – standard but funky as all get out. Trey’s tone sounds damn good. less compressed and more gritty/bluesy than the last couple tours, but still with adequate liquid goo.
Quinn – a really fucking great cover and a perfect Woodstock nod to Dylan. Huge glowstick war.
Limb – a really cool version, way darker and menacing than usual. by this point i’m really fucking psyched about how dark and psychedelic the set is going.
Horn – my one pee of the night. hey, you've gotta pick your battles. back just in time for
Bathtub > Manteca > Bathub a.k.a. GINTECA!!! – holy smokes, what a way to close a set! the Bathtub jam had a driving, pulsating nastiness and Fishman just starts KILLING it, getting into a groove that most people think will lead them into Golden Age, but then it becomes Manteca in double time! Totally raging jam, fucking loved it. Had the crowd energy at 11 for set break.
setbreak – because i didn’t have to pee and wasn’t interested in beer, i just sat and soaked it all in. this venue is fucking awesome. we were 3/4′s the way up the lawn, pretty extreme Fish side, but the sound and view were still great. no big screens hanging down from the pav roof, but screens to both sides of the stage.
DWD – the rock and roll spectacle continues. thematically a fairly standard, percussive rock groove version not unlike many DWDs and R&R’, but tons of energy and TRey just raging it. then they simmer into a totally awe-inspiring ambient meltdown that had my jaw agape, just surveying the sonic carnage that has pummeled the crowd thus far. perfect segue into
Free – typical version as one would expect but the placement was totally perfect and it fit with the psych rock vibe like buttah.
# Line – it’s amazing how whenever this song starts and the actual verses are being sung, it’s a pretty cheesy and weak number (ha, pun). but it almost ALWAYS leads to an epic jam, and this was no exception. probably the best jamming of the night. pretty Dead-like actually…jazzy in terms of them finishing each other’s sentences and playing off each other. just such a fucking good jam. go spin it!
Maki – perfect comic relief, and the way Fishman takes them into Hood was perfect. As you can tell by now, the flow of this show was fucking great. No cheesy ballads or Sparkle to take the energy out mid-set.
Hood – yet ANOTHER really good, atypical jam. instead of the usual, linear crescendo, this one went sideways for a few minutes and got trippy before returning to safe ground.
Cavern – it is what it is, crowd-pleasing funky rock and roll. they should have ended the set with this, because
Bowie – was more than solid but was one of the only jams of the night that wasn’t clearly better than it’s average version.
E: ADITL – they definitely played this crisper and sharper and more confidently than usual. a great show ender, although i wanted something more after it.
While getting out of the venue was a bitch, the place has to be the nicest summer venue i’ve ever seen. they should seriously open EVERY summer with a multi-night run there. i went with my bud and his father in-law, who is from Chile, 67, and was at the original Woodstock. he was in 7th heaven, keep saying shit like “i didn’t think stuff like this existed any more, this is so elating and joyful for me”.
thank you Phish