Sunday Night in Charlotte was very solid, at least in my opinion. I won't say life changing and all of that none nonsense. (But, if I was a young lad growing up on crappy contemporary Pop/Rap and that was my first Phish show, well then maybe so). I love the old school selections and a time warp to Gamehendge is always a winner. The 1st Set was classic. Getting a hefty dose of Gin, Fluff, Tube and Bowie made my ears feel good and silky. Always love a good My Sweet One as well. I enjoyed the silly banter about Fish's GPA in college too. Love the fact that Phish doesn't talk much on stage like other bands, but occasionally it's cool to see them break the silence.
2nd Set was strong, perhaps stronger than 1st? Still arguing with the guys about which set was better. But, opening with Crosseyed and then into a McGrupp, plus the closing 2 songs might be the sticking point for me. After 18 or so shows, I've never seen McGrupp performed so that is a highlight for me. I will only use this reference twice, but the Energy at this show was thick and palpable...not only from the band having a great time, but from the sea of 17 thousand dancing, smiling and totally psyched fans. The lower back started screaming for mercy during Tweezer though so I had some time to sit and stare at ass through Hood (Not intentionally, just had no choice and didn't want to be "the Choade" staring at my phone)....started to get up and then along came Horse and Silent. So, I stayed down. But, that was good because I needed the energy to close out the show with a vibrant Weekapaug and Suzy. Page was killing it. I know Suzy is played a lot, but I still love hearing that one. Now, closing with BBFCFM and Reprise reinforces why I think this show is great. I totally dug Trey mixing it up with his microphone, running around the stage, doing the behind the back guitar tricks....as well as Mike playing the song on his knees. Also, I don't believe I've seen this one live yet either. Top it off with the always, highly emotionally charging Tweezer Reprise and you walk out with a warm, fuzzy, happy to be alive feeling in your gut. It seems the boys enjoy their Charlotte visits lately and pull out some sweet older bits. Two years ago they broke out a Carini/FYourFace combo and last year we got an Icculus.
I apologize for the excess verbiage but I don't contribute often and have to get a bunch of thoughts out. So, in summation, this was one of the most enjoyable shows, for me at least, since '97 or so. But, of course, I don't have as many shows under my belt as some...I can only speak from my experience. That confirmation comes from three things: technicality of playing, song selection and overall energy. I guess it's one of those, "you had to be there" moments, but that's where I stand. I can tell you one very certain thing though. I remember with much clarity the first time I saw and heard Phish...back in a small bar in St. Louis circa 1992. I was sitting at a table 10 feet from the band and didn't take my eyes and ears off of them the entire show. I knew from that moment that this band would be extremely inspirational, unique, ground-breaking and one of my favorites of all time.
I am very happy to see these men playing their best music in a long time. Trey is on point and that makes me very happy. A few misses here and there, but nothing like 10 years ago or so when he jacked up YEM and was afraid to play Fluffhead. Overall, Charlotte is a great indicator that Phish is strong and churning and burning forward for hopefully another decade or two of musical experimentation and aural enjoyment. Hope to see you at another show soon...