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Permalink Posted by waxbanks on , attached to 2012-06-07
waxbanksWhat a wonderful way to start the summer! (I haven't listened to the show yet, just wanted to record impressions from last night.)

Heartening display of patience, focus, and empathy from the whole band, all night long. No single 'jamming style' seemed to take precedence -- nothing resembling the 'Storage Jam,' only a moment of those addictive staccato polyrhythms (cf. 2/26/03 Stash, 12/28/10 Hood), the occasional textural Hendrix-inspired 'space jam' riff from Trey recalling those antarctic late '97 nights. But we did get an unusually high dose of old-fashioned funk grooves -- Moma was, as I felt the need to point out to some poor tolerant bastard standing next to me near the stage, 'some prehistoric shit right [t]here.'

Torn and Frayed is a heartbreaking song, coming from Trey.

Rift was muted, Bitch and Moma were *nasty*, Ocelot(!) and Possum(?!) were early jamming highlights.

Page didn't flag for a moment all night. None of 'em did -- though I wanna relisten to Fish's performance. He sounded a little different from his usual sprightly self. Last year he was at peak performance. For some reason I had the impression that he'd lost a step over these six months. Maybe it's nothin'.

Beauty of a Broken Heart should be played at every show. I say this with love: I wish Trey were putting as much work into his arrangements these days as Page put into that one. On the other hand, I thought If I Could was subtly reworked(?); it was devastating, regardless. Trey writes incredible four-cornered tunes for guitar/piano rockers and I wish he were building songs of that complexity now.

Maybe there's more to come tomorrow, I dunno.

You had to figure the band would take Carini for a nice long ride, given its prominent placement starting the summer's first set, but its sweet MLT/WTU-esque ambient jam was an unexpected delight, and segued gracefully into what felt like a slowed-down Taste. Which Page proceeded to demolish, though Trey was anticlimactically sloppy in the backstretch after a strong start.

Definitely one of my favourite Carinis -- and that song's been no slouch since the band came back!

Ghost > Boogie > If I Could: Trey let Mike carry on and on and on during Boogie, then hopped in to complete the two-chord hose jam that Ghost, in a kinda scattered (though still awesome) version, hinted at but never quite reached. Carini through If I Could was an amazing run of tunes that flowed organically on the night, even if Trey called for Boogie On just for kicks after Mike switched on the ol' filter.

I mean it about 'scattered,' by the way, though this Ghost's gonna have a lot of fans and I'm one of them. It really did feel like Boogie On offered the Forget/Suzy-like orgasmic I-IV jam that Ghost never quite generated, that they were (or Trey was) still looking for release at that point. Trey was throwing a LOT of stuff at the wall during that Ghost jam, and not all of it stuck; I remember thinking to myself, 'this is a preview of everything to come this summer.'

Maybe it was actually more coherent than I'm giving it credit for. Hard to trust one's judgment on such a night.

Well, so anyway.

Two sets filled to bursting with energetic, creative playing, and an hourlong run of unexpectedly rich, multifaceted jams to open Set II? That's a good portent for summer. A damn good show, top to tails. The only important detail is this: Phish came to PLAY last night, and if you've learned anything at all since George H.W. Bush's presidency, you know that a focused, determined Phish is pretty much the best rock'n'roll show what am. Thinking of seeing a show this summer? See a show this summer.
Score: 29

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