Birdwatcher – The acapella opener was surprising but welcomed. It seemed to create an immediate bubble around the venue and provided an intimate, charming introduction to the night. “It's just a hot flash or else those fire breathing lessons.”
The Curtain With - It's always a pleasure to get this tune. The rush of upbeat optimism in the opening riff washed over me and eased any of the remaining tension generated by the gruelingly hot day and long drive.
Fuck Your Face - A perfectly placed FYF after the sensitive ending of the song prior. I love any song where Mike gets to tell a story..."Hi. I'm Bill."
Old Home Place - I remember seeing a sign for this at Blossom (maybe it was Burgettstown), so I knew there was a strong possibility that we would hear it at one of the following shows. True to what we've been told, they see the signs! A very nice rendition of an old favorite -- a rarity that reappeared almost 9 years to the day it was played at DC in '03.
Pebbles and Marbles – I like this song a lot. This version was just “OK”, but I hope it stays in rotation, and I hope to see it explored in the second set one of these days. "She started a blaze from one tiny spark..."
Weigh - It was obvious from the beginning that they were trying to take it easy on us, knowing the heat exhaustive state we were in, haha. This song choice allowed us to groove without too much exertion and, of course, provided smiles for miles at the thought of a “…swimming pooooool…”
Chalk Dust Torture - the second of only two “fast-paced” songs (the other being Old Home Place), it didn't quite end on that 'note' but good energy nonetheless.
Wolfman's Brother – Ah, back to the grinding groove. A lyric flub induced a little laughter from band, and a hearty cheer of acknowledgement from the crowd. The outro gave everyone on stage a chance to flex.
Near the end of the first set, we got a string of tunes reminding us that relief was just a sunset (or mindset) away: Cool It Down, Tweezer, Tela ("the wind from beyond the mountains"), and STFTFP (mmmmm..."cold green tea").
The Mike's > McGrupp > BOTT was a beautiful beginning to the second set. The unconventional, extended breakdown in McGrupp left many with tilted heads, mouths agape with curiosity. Trey and Mike easily picked up the quirky lines set down by Page during his solo -- starting with Mike around 5:25 and followed by Trey around 5:45 -- until a new tapestry was woven. It was beautiful interplay by all four members...and I just melt when trey turns on that pitch shifting, perception bending thingamajig at 7:07ish. It peaks with unexpected oddity around the 7:45 mark.
BOTT oozed from the aftermath, dispensing an easy going bounce to the atmosphere, with some added delay loop and laser action from Trey. The jam was turned up a notch by Page around the 4min mark, and then tilted on its axis by Trey around 4:30 before finally reaching orbit around 6:40. Things tapered off around 7:45 with cascading loops and gentle play by all 4 members (a blissful massage of binaural tones). Now they were in our heads. Now they could fuck with our minds! BOTT ended with a familiar pulse, but instead of Psycho Killer, they stumbled right into HYHU!
What's a variety show w/o comedy? Fishman walked quickly to the mic. "What am I doing here?" he asked. "If you think you're the only one asking that question, you're wrong" he answered. The stage banter before "Bike" was great. During Weekapaug, watching Fishman lay down awful licks (with earnest) on the ocedoc caused me to double over with laughter.
Prince Caspian > Waves > Bug seemed to pick up where BOTT left off. As mentioned by others, Waves was unfinished – they did not return to the 3rd/4th verses. I could hear Page and Fish trying to get back, but the ardent licks and runs by Trey and Mike swept away that intent. Page jumps on the Rhodes around the 7min mark and soon we were drifting back into deep space, riding the edge of a yawning black hole as it burps out deep vibrations (via Mike’s midi bass pedal). Or, maybe some of us were drifting in a submarine near the ocean’s floor observing another uncharted frontier. Either way, the loops turned this one into more brainwave entertainment. The “> Bug” fit hand in glove bringing its usual existential serenity, with a slight nod to our current mindset (“Cold in my hand, in a country pool…”).
All night long, we’d been bombarded with subliminal messages to focus our minds on wind, freezers, water, and just being ‘cool’. Who’s cooler than David Bowie, haha? It was a great way to end a fantastic set. SOF > Tweeprise for the encore/recharge, and we were ready for night 2!