Preshow tunes over the PA were a mixture of Elton John, Star Wars and the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. I liked it. I also checked out the Beetroots for ~10 min. Pretty eclectic, and not really my style. But I guess if you are into the world music thing you might want to check them out.
Wedge: I'm pretty sure that this was my first Wedge. I was psyched to hear it, because it is one of my favorite sing along songs in the car. I did restrain myself at the show however. By now I think everyone has picked up on the "LIMESTONE blocks so large" thing, but in case you haven't I guess I'll mention it. This Wedge didn't seem like anything too special, but it was just kind of special to hear it in the first place.
Beauty of my Dreams: A fun little bluegrass ditty, but nothing to write home about. It seems like the vocals in this song aren't as solid as in Ginseng or Uncle Penn, but they haven't been playing it that long.
Dogs Stole Things: I hear the drum beat, I yell with joy, get out my index card that I am writing the setlist on, write down Mound, then cross it off as Trey comes in with the opening guitar riff to DST. DAMN!! Oh well, this is a pretty fun song, and I think the vocals sound good. (Actually, I think the singing in the new songs is better than some of the old songs; maybe they wrote the parts closer to their ranges. Fishman in particular, during Ghost, sounds GREAT.) I would have rather heard mound, but it was good to hear some new stuff live. It is a pretty cheery song, considering the somewhat dark subject, IMO.
Vultures: Where have I heard that opening piano riff before? Oh yeah, Keyboard Kavalry. This was a VERY cool song, with its Irish Jig feel. I can't really compare it to other versions, but I like it a lot, and hope to hear it again. I think there could be a pretty interesting jam out of this song, the way it is set up. We'll see.
Water in the Sky: Okay, it's sappy, cheesy and doesn't have much substance. But I like the countryesque feel to it. I had fun; what more could I want from this one?
Maze: This had a little bit of a space intro, which made me feel for sure that we had a Bowie on our hands. But the Hi-hat turned out to be the Maze version. This was a pretty ripping version of Maze, but not much more so than a regular version. I'd say it was above average, just due to the energy of the show, but nothing to actively seek out.
Bouncin': was Bouncin'. Lots of people signing off-key, like a birthday party where no one has a clue. I just kept my mouth shut and turned around to see thousands of people bouncing up and down. It made it worth it.
Tweezer: Now we're getting somewhere. About 20 min. (thanks, ZZYZX) of pure, unadulterated Phish-style funk (did I see someone call this Type III jamming?). This was most definitely an above-average Tweezer, and beats the Ball Tweezer by a lot. This tweezer showed Ghost who was boss in the funk department. The jam deconstructed into a neat little segue into...
Taste: I was very psyched to hear Taste after some of the reports on the net about the jams coming out of it. The jam at the end had the now-standard Page solo and then went into a great Trey solo before finishing up. I'd definitely recommend this Tweezer>Taste combo as filler, if you aren't into the rest of the set. (And there really isn't that much to get into, BTW)
Carolina: To my disappointment, Fishman didn't sing the Boy Scout Anthem ;-). Before the song, Trey talked about the orchestra and all that. Very soon after they finished up, the orchestra started playing.
I liked last years orchestra set a lot better, and I'm glad that I have the tapes. This year the orchestra was not that good, IMHO. The started off with a Debussy string quartet which was SO LOUD. It was louder than Phish. It was painful. I could not even listen to it without grimacing. They got the sound turned down a bit for the next song which was a very long fable set to music about this soldier who sells his fiddle to the devil and gets tricked yadda yadda yadda he gets his fiddle back and all is well. Trey had introduced this song by giving a short history of it, which was kind of neat, because it showed that the band was really into the orchestra. The guy doing the narration to the story was VERY good, and it was worth listening to just for him. Next came "Claire de Lune" which I know I am spelling wrong. They repeated the glider aerial ballet thing from last year which was beautiful. I hope they do this every year. If you haven't seen it, I feel bad, because it is just that inspiring. The glider got SO low this year, and landed right outside the concert grounds. I hope someone told the pilot just how loud the applause was. The orchestra packed up and it was time to wait for set II.
[I am going to say once again that this may be the best set of Phish of ALL time. If you can only have one more set of Phish in your life, this should be it. It is everything Phish is meant to be.]
Down With Disease (listening to it right now): I heard the spacey intro and I knew what was coming. Mike slapped the bass riff out and the band got going on DWD. After the lyrics segment, the jam quickly headed off into Type II territory with some GREAT work by Fishman. I could feel him holding the whole thing together. The band was doing some serious listening to one another. Mike lays down a really fat (yes, with an f) bassline and it slows the whole band down into a DEEP groove. Pages switches over to the funk synthesizer and acts as another guitar. Trey takes the lead and throws down a bluesy solo. Then it mellows out and Trey takes a quiet little guitar solo. Then a slow, three note repeated line from Mike with Page soloing in the background on the synth. Trey takes the lead from Page and starts some nice interplay with Page and Mike while Fishman backs it with a swingish beat. This is definitely the coolest part of the jam. Then Fishman and Page get up a Mike and Trey play...
Page and Fishman Painting Jam: This jam consists of Mike and Trey having a sort-of duel (at the same time, not a back and forth thing) while Page and Fish spraypaint on oddly shaped pieces of plywood on easels at the sides of the stage. Page finishes way before Fishman and joins in the background of the jam. Fishman really takes his time with his piece of art, making it look almost as if it is bleeding. He walks back up to the drum kit and Trey strums the opening riff to...
Bathtub Gin: It started off normally. No one knew what was in store with the jam. We are all dancing around, oblivious to what is about to happen. Then the jam starts up and BAM!!! We are hit with the Hose. The Golden Hose. (Again, I don't use this term lightly) This is the type of jam you only dream about. I got IT. I could see that everyone around me got IT as well (I've NEVER seen anyone else get IT). My face hurt from the intense smiling. The tears welled up in my eyes. My friend made a motion of spraying me with a garden hose. I then made a motion of spraying him with a fire hose. This jam hit you THAT hard, folks. It built and built and built and built. Pure transcendence. If I could stop my life at any moment, it would be during that jam. This IS Phish.
Uncle Penn: came out of the Gin jam. Very fun, we all needed a break. Well played, no flubs from anyone.
2001: Started of with a spacey little deal that I thought would lead into Bowie. Then Fish started with the drumbeat to 2001. Mike and Trey then went to the sides of the stage to do their painting.
Mike and Trey Painting Jam: Page REALLY showed his stuff here. He jammed liked crazy over the steady 2001 drum beat supplied by Fish. Page impressed me more during this jam than he ever has. He created an illusion of way more than two people playing up there. Trey and Mike finished up and then we returned to...
2001: They finally played the main theme to the song, and then delved into a funky jam that lasted probably 10 min. before they played the main theme again. This is definitely the best 2001 EVER.
Art Moving Jam: This was right at the end of 2001. Trey explained the whole art thing, which you all have heard about by now. This was a very mellow jam while the audience passed the band art over their heads over to the gigantic sculpture. It sounds a bit Floyd-ish (the mellow parts of Shine on you Crazy Diamond, maybe).
Harry Hood: The Art Moving Jam ends with Fishman giving the opening drum riff to Hood. I always find it hard to describe Hood, and this one is no exception. Trey told Chris to kill the lights so we could look at the stars and the sculpture. It was beautiful. The massive lightstick throwing during the final jam was one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life. There was an unbelievable amount of mutual energy between the band and the fans. I got IT again. The only time I've ever gotten IT twice in one show, let alone twice in one set. It was sheer beauty. And the only way they could have ever finished off the set.
Buffalo Bill: I was rushing back to my place (with my Tasty Maine Potato) near the tapers section when they started this song up. I couldn't place it at first, but it was cool once I figured it out. Nice to hear something they haven't played in ages, but aside from that it was nothing too special. The was a neat little segue into...
NICU: as much as I like this song, it was pretty standard. It was still a lot of fun, though.
Weigh: Woohoo! I always like to hear this one. A fun time was had by all. Not much else to say here.
Guyute: Oh man, I love this song. It puts the biggest smile on my face. There was only one little flub from Trey. I'd definitely put this version in second place behind the 12/29/94 Providence version. And Trey did the dark ending lyrics which really make the song.
Dirt: This is a very nice new song. Strong imagery. The slow feel let everyone know the weekend was winding down.
SOAMule: Standard until the duel section. Page went off into this jazzy little jam which the whole band then joined in. The did this for a little bit until Trey started on his section. Trey kicked it with the Digital Delay Loop Jam a la 12/29/94. Now is this jam a derivative of Dave's Energy Guide? I've never heard Dave's, so I'd like someone who has to tell me. They finished up Mule without Mike saying the weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll part, which I didn't like, but the jam in the middle was neat enough to make up for it.
Prince Caspian: This was an above average version of this song with a hard-hitting jam at the end. I did hope the set wouldn't end, but I was to be denied.
The 60000+ lighters before the encore were amazing.
Circus Comes To Town: I knew they were going to torch the sculpture with the combination of the lyrics to this song and the gigantic match next to the sculpture. I thought it would be during this song, but then I remembered that there was one more song that had to be played...
Tweezer Reprise: If there is ever a song to light something on fire to, this is it. The fire was HUGE, and the sparks reminded me of that scene in the Right Stuff where those aborigines make those sparks that John Glenn sees orbiting the earth. I don't think it left a bad vibe at all; I think it was a demonstration of the way that Phish starts anew every show. Other people are more eloquent on this subject, so I'll leave it to them. I would have enjoyed one more song, however.
This was unequivocally the best weekend of my life. The music was SO amazing that I still can't believe some of it. Get these shows as soon as you can!
I love Phish!