I surprisingly knew and recognized more songs than I thought I would (obviously quinn and 2001, but even runaway jim, julius, and some others).
I could go on and on about the show but much has already been said. I merely want to react to the previous post.
I think you could definitely be correct that the jams could have been more exploratory musically. This is a legitimate criticism I suppose. However, the goodness of a show is not necessarily determined by how many and the quality of really exploratory jams. All that is great and fantastic stuff, but as far as I'm concerned shows like this are about 2 main things. 1) Having as much fun as possible, getting as many people to let go and have FUN! and 2) Getting everyone higher. This goes along with point number 1 but especially during the YEM vocal jam there was tons of audience participation, you could feel the highness of the crowd (or maybe I imagined all that cause I was so spun). The way the lights were managed when the band/crowed sang together and did a sort of chakric alignment type thang. As people and the band ascended the scale of notes they were singing, the lights changed from red and so forth up the scale. Ultimately the crowd was able to get high enough for a green but everyone settled one step below at the yellow frequency, and thus the jam re-started from that level. Truly cool stuff.
What I'm getting at, even aside from my little YEM diatribe, is that what is important is the ENERGY, not necessarily the nuances of the music. IMO that kind of stuff is a bonus. Perhaps Phish was really just locked into certain grooves and having fun. The crowd was having hella funs. Thats for damn sure.
It just makes me think of certain Furthur shows I've seen and Dead recordings. Some of the most powerful dead songs are not their most exploratory in terms of jamming.
I know you rider, for instance, is a classic tune that is simple and known by pretty much everyone. When they come out of a hot china cat jam and go into I Know You Rider it's a LOT of FUN! And usually the Rider is much more powerful and packs a stronger punch than the chinacat.
I guess in Dead terms what I'm saying is that what I expect out of an I Know You Rider is completely different from what I expect from Dark Star. Not every song has be perfect and blow your mind musically, sometimes the very "in-syncness" of the band and audience can blow your mind equally or more than an intricate exploratory jam.
I've never seen a crowd more in-tune with a band than at this phish show. And to me that intercommunication is what's really important. Oftentimes at these kinds of shows I view the quality of the music as a signpost for how high the audience is. This audience was quite high, at least I was, and you cannot deny the tightness and the quality of the playing, even if it was not as "out-there" as some would have liked. I personally thought the 2001 was great, but it's the only time I've seen it live, and I was on the floor. Maybe if I had been talkin to a friend or not listening and dancing as intently I would have missed how truly awesome it was.