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Permalink Posted by dscott on , attached to 2011-12-31
dscott***Disclaimer: I did not attend this show, and I did not watch the live stream. My comments are based on listening to it as if it were any other show in my CD listening queue. (Yes, I'm a f***ing dinosaur!)***

Overall, I'd say this is a solid, average Phish concert. No epic jams or groundbreaking song selections. Many songs were shorter than usual, but plenty energetic. There were a few pockets of tasty improv hidden in the mix. Highlights include Steam thru Wedge, Light > Golden Days, last song of each set, and the encore.

Set One:
-AC/DC Bag - a bit underpowered at first, and solid / routine version overall. Interesting transition into...
-Wolfman's Brother - short, but mighty hot!
-Scent Of A Mule - tight and typically fun.
-Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan - energetic rocker, well within the box.
-Lawn Boy - standard version. No surprises or major miscues.
-Gotta Jibboo - odd intro at first. Very well-played but not noteworthy.
-Farmhouse - understated but poignant. Rough re-entry to vocal reprise.
-Pebbles And Marbles - sets perfect mood for this spot in the set. Spirited effort, but very sloppy.
-Ocelot - typically playful romp. Not as fiery as summer '09 versions.
-Fluffhead - Worthy set closer. Even better than usual. Hilarious falsetto vocals on the bundle of joy segment. Auld lang syne tease into triumphant final crescendo + nicely drawn-out finish.


Set Deux:
-Party Time - standard, fun enough.
-Light - unremarkable at first, but had to listen to the deep space finish twice in a row. Theremin!!!
-Golden Age - emerges forcefully from the chaos. Tight + upbeat. Generic crunchy funk-rock jamlet recedes neatly into...
-Theme From The Bottom - typically moody & dynamic. Well-executed.
-Heavy Things - below-average version. Brief + less bouncy than usual.
-Ghost - first few bars of intro recall The Cars' "Let the Good Times Roll" + then rest of band joins Trey. Solidly funkular, but doesn't really go anywhere. End just sort of fizzles
-Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley - fun as usual, but no great shakes. Perfunctory vocal jam.
-46 Days - big + crunchy as usual, with a nice series of guitar peaks. Not epic by any means, but plenty satisfying.
-Suzy Greenberg - less over-the-top than other thundering 3.0 versions. Kind of minimalist solo on Trey's part, and Page's piano solo is somewhat understated, but these actually worked well + complemented each other nicely. Hilarious improv interjection on "neurologist" #2! Falsetto "thankyouverymuch" to close.

Set the Third:
-Cavern - Standard version - i.e. tight, energetic, and enjoyable.
-Steam - Absolute rager!!! Intro gag works well in audio-only format. Thunders right into the new year countdown + deftly segues into...
-Auld Lang Syne - Fiery instrumental. No shortage of emotion here!
-Down With Disease - Good start. Balloon drop audibly distracts band during first chorus, but good recovery in time for the big guitar solo. An 11-minute DWD without a segue looks dodgy on paper, but on listening it translates to a good enough jam which resolves into an eerie & contemplative space, fading effectively down to silence.
-The Wedge - Very tight. Also quite energetic. One of the better versions I've heard.
-Alaska - solid enough version. Sounds like Trey, and especially Page, are having fun with this one.
-Wading In The Velvet Sea - excellent placement...if it had been played better. Trey's guitar solo is stately & tasteful, but it's truncated and falls well short of the screaming catharsis that elevates the best versions to transcendent heights.
-First Tube - Thunderous energy! Loops more twisted & biting than usual. Very nice!

Encore:
-Slave To The Traffic Light - Strong version. Trey's sustained notes around 5:30-6:30 really hit the spot. Chills!!! Strong final crescendo to end 2011 in style for The Phish!
Score: 2

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