Having gone on the 28th, and not been able to get tickets on the 29th, it was good to be back to the Garden on the 30th. Up in the 200s again, this time under the Ranger’s 1941-42 championship banner, so tonight I got the lights I didn’t have on the 28th. And those lights are worth mentioning.
In fact, all of Set 1 is worth mentioning. Phish came out with a confidently relaxed pace and attitude, and Kuroda’s lighting added (to me) an unexpected layer of chill. Lots of cool blue, green and white tones. Even when he went to red, it was tempered with purples and yellows. The lights moved slow, searching and elegantly. At points he lit up the crowd behind the band with patterns of white and purple, and the Garden responded. What other band has ever earned cheers for their lighting tech when he does something that augments the music? Even Antelope, slow searching lights in the beginning, then frenetic punctuation as the guys revved the shit out of it.
Anyway, short of Dick’s 1, I can’t think of too many first sets that are as worth a listen as this one. I wouldn’t swap out a single tune, and they were all performed with chill Sunday attitude all over them. The crowd was also completely on board. Where I was, there was a minimal of chatter, just lots of blissed faces. During divided sky, the level of volume during Trey’s pause was the loudest thing all night, followed by almost silence when they went back into the song for a quiet build.
The music was entering uncharted territory, even by Phish standards, for the first almost 40 minutes of the second set. CK5 and the band synced up just the same. Disease starts to get weird and contemplative, followed by 20 Years’ which is just as thinky, and a scary Carini were almost perfectly amped up and mirrored by the lights. As odd as it was to go into Number Line, I think most people needed it. There was an audible exhale, like it was the first time we were all able to take a breath. But then Julius hits and it felt like a crazy encore before the encore. The Slave that followed was also just crazy good. If they had played that Slave after Carini, I dunno. We might’ve been scraping blown heads off the roof of the Garden.
…What a show. I think the only word needed to sum up the mood, the crowd, the band and the show is dynamics. But if you’d like a better review of the music, or perhaps just to see how “Sith” can be used as a Noun-Jective, hop over to Miner’s review. You could also just listen to this beast of a show. Hopefully this review gave you a bit of flavor for what it was like to be in the building. Last night, it was truly the only place I wanted to be.