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Permalink Posted by schvice on , attached to 2012-06-10
schviceFrom where I was sitting, I thought they sounded tight, with really great playing by all four guys.

For perspective, I should warn that I'm really not familiar with much post-1997 Phish. To my ears, their live performances from 1992-1996 are just perfect, and Junta through Rift (plus A Live One, of course) are where it's at. There are a couple tunes I like off Billy Breathes and a couple off Story of the Ghost, but I don't really know those albums well, and don't know the later albums at all. Although I've listened to tons of bootlegs, it's been almost 12 years now since the only other time I saw them live.

All that to say, I was excited to be seeing them again, but equally terrified that this being a festival show, they'd play mostly new tunes that I didn't know (I realize it's lame to just want to hear stuff you already know, but when you're only catching one show, it's nice to hear songs you love). So while I was bummed that we didn't get anything from Junta, Lawn Boy, or Rift, I was happy to hear several old tunes, and thrilled that I finally got a Hood. Or at least most of a Hood. But I'm not complaining. Ever-changing set lists are part of the deal, so I certainly wouldn't expect to hear all my favorite songs without following them around for lengthy periods of time.

As for the playing, I was quite impressed. In preparation for this show, I decided to check out some of the more highly-rated 2010 shows that are on Spotify (8/7, 10/26, 10/30, 10/20, 6/27, etc) to get an idea about how they're playing these days. I thought they were good, and there were a few moments that made me stop what I was doing and smile, but I felt like overall, something was missing in the feel. I wasn't sure if it was because they're older, or because of the experiences they'd just come through, but the groove just didn't feel quite there. Also, it sounded like Trey was using a pitch-shift pedal for a lot of the solos. Although I could imagine that being cool if you spent a ton of time becoming really really deft with it, I felt like it was distracting his focus from the song, and I thought it really sucked the life out of some of the solos. The point is, I didn't hear anything like that last night. I thought they all played tightly and exceptionally well, and that Page in particular shined with some really tasteful and skilled playing.

Oh, and the lights were phenomenal! I was up in the bleachers on the side, so I didn't get the front-on experience, but they were kind enough to put a feed of that up on the video screens from time to time. And looking down across the crowd, they at least seemed to be having a blast.

In summary, I was bummed (though not necessarily surprised) not to hear anything from some of my favorite albums, but glad that most of the "hits" they played were at least from A Picture Of Nectar and Hoist as opposed to newer albums that I don't know. And really glad to hear that they can still play so well! I'm looking forward to hearing more shows from this tour!
Score: 5

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