None of the reviews I've seen so far have described my experience, so here goes:
I've now seen a few shows, and the first night of Hartford was a whopper, so I had high hopes for this show. The "Ha Ha Ha" opener from the night before had hinted that they laughed at us not knowing what they'd unveil. So I was still waiting for something big.
The first set opened with Buried Alive, so I was thrilled. I haven't seen one since Prague 98, and this version was awesome. The energy was on tap and flowing, so we were psyched. Most folks love Wolfman's Brother, but for me it's hit or miss. I wasn't crazy to hear it, but this was a nice version. Axilla followed, and though it was fun to have an upbeat rocker, it was still a regular. Poor Heart was great, good and speedy, and Sample was clean and well played. But still, the set was shaping up to be entirely standard fare. No great jams to speak of, no real rare gems...
Tube relieved the tension. This funk-a-rific version featured a few measure-long start/stop section that really brought my head back. I mean, who could be disappointed at a show?!
Beauty, which I usually consider a great song, started strangely. It took me until the lyrics to identify this one, which is strange since I know the song pretty well. I think the intro was kind of muddy. But the high of Beauty subsided into the carefree-ness of Roggae. I've loved Roggae since it's debut in Europe, and I still love it. This relaxed me and got me perfectly prepped for the highlight of the show, the super-underrated Vultures. Well jammed and extremely high energy, this one grabbed me and rescued the first set from blandness.
Dirt followed, but, in my opinion, the new Farmhouse version doesn't compare to the 1997/1998 versions. Sorry folks, I really dug it, and now it's losing it for me. But Melt is one I'm starting to appreciate more and more. It was the Big Cypress version that got this one on my hot list, and this one supported that by ripping shit up.
Overall, a fairly tame first set whose highlights included Buried Alive, Vultures, and Melt.
Setbreak: After a pretty normal first set, high hopes for second set. Some Mass-holes behind me spread loads of bad karma around after insisting that everyone around had brought in weed but that we're all dicks for not letting them borrow our bowls. Tuned him out and sat back.
Gotta Jibboo was about twice as fast as usual. The super version made up for the hyperactivity, but the lyrics sounded really rushed. Very cool. Bug was actually better than the last few times I've heard it. They're really milking that whole "rock-star" thing, and I can't say I disagree. Say what you will: it really rocks. First Tube -- wait a sec -- THIS ONE really rocks. I mean like crazy! I was losing it. I was transported by the chaos to that place. Trey was jumping around like a Mexican bean. Absolutely nuts!
Mike's Song, pretty nice. Pretty regular version. No teases, no other-jams, nothing really unique here (ps no Simple teases, just that one note that often throws off newbies), just the dark rich groove that sets in pretty reliably and moves you so well. I could smell the Hydrogen from a mile away. I was thrown off by the Swept Away > Steep. Nice to hear, it's been like 2 years for me on those songs. But sure enough, then came my favorite sweet instrumental -- Hydrogen. Always, and I mean always, a treat, I sat back and let the mellow vibes of H2 surround me. Very very very cool.
Weekapaug is smoking and of course this was no exception. I was happy to hear this. I'll need a second listen before I can say whether or not this was great. Ghost was like the cherry on top. If I recall correctly, I really enjoyed this version. It was played like they wanted it to be great.
Encore: A fantastic rendition of the White Album classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps served as the perfect encore. It's always been one of my favorite Beatles songs, and short of them busting out Dear Prudence again, exactly what I would've wanted to hear. It almost made me cry. Trey had to strain to recall all the lyrics, but he got em all and they pulled off a perfect end to a great show. I'll have to say that this was a great show, but I don't think it topped 6/30. But you know what? Hartford two-nighter was a blast.
And my girlfriend loved her first two shows. Ha Ha Ha!