Extraordinary. This was arguably the highlight of 'Phish 3.0' for approximately 24 hours, until the transcendent 8/7/10 show blew that notion away.
Everything is good here. Cities(!) > Moma is superb, as is every song in Set Two; Ocelot has a strong local flavour too. And the highlight, the jam that blossoms out of Simple, is simply one of the most beautiful jams Phish have played since June '04.
Yes, Trey absolutely *butchers* the Ghost > Mike's 'transition,' pointing to a worrying trend in Phish's music, an apprehensiveness or impatience on Trey's part, far removed from the patient and generous playing throughout the rest of the show. The sudden insertion of Mike's Song into the winning Ghost jam is a clunker on par with the 2009 Hartford DWD > Wilson. Ugh. But the rest of the second set approaches perfection. And you can't get There without passing through the points between There and Here...
I hope Trey finds purchase and patience, is able to hold on to each jam a little longer each night. But on this night he and his brothers onstage relax deeply into the music, and the result is a kind of free-floating consciousness of which each is a part. (Holy moley I'm listening to the Ghost right now and Cactus just flipped on his soul-rumbling bass effect...wonderful.) And good as this stuff is, it's only halfway down; the invocation was completed the next night, on 8/7. This is Transition and Descent. We are welcome to it.
We had phish in Berkeley, my hometown all weekend, all was well until Friday when I couldn't get a ticket and wound up behind the greek alone and in the dark, when suddenly in the midst of a skirmish between the lot punks and the university police, I had a vision that all of the sick and dying children, indigents, and other horribly needy people of the world, millions of them, started crawling out of the hills represented by multinational ambassadors in hillary clinton pants suits and henry kissenger accents, who all came looking to me to figure out how to make it all sustainable. My best solution was more greater access to birth control, a major investment in additional plumbing and schools and that everyone shave and shower, spend some quiet time thinking about their dearest loved ones and try to treat others non preferentially, according only to need and that we'd try to figure it out together.
Then I started running home. Somewhere around Shattuck Avenue the euphoria set in, along with the realization that the set of (now illusive) thoughts I'd just had would undoubtedly change the course of human history. Now I am running with my hands in the air screaming "everybody wins".
Very fortunately for me, neither one of these horribly frightening visions panned out in any way. I am looking forward to next year already.
The second night of the Greek Run is one of my favorites of the tour. We have a pretty standard Chalkdust opener. This seems a little slow and Trey's voice here (& in Guyute) doesn't sound very strong. Guyute is one of those songs with a nicely threaded composed section (after the whistling up to the build up) and this is another opportunity to see that the band is nicely in synch. I've heard the LivePhish version a couple nights after the show, but now I'm listening the MK22 + MK4V (Craig Taylor's wonderful contribution) and I like this too. “It's Ice”, frenetic, building the stress in layers as the dance progresses... This is pretty standard though (both Ocelot and It's Ice).
Cities is next, definitely a crowd pleaser and this jam was well-received. It doesn't really floor me. It sounds like a nice loose groove, but not “out there” by any means. Nevertheless, it is the best jamming up to this point. After a good, concise Moma Dance, Bathtub Gin appears. I like the playing here quite a lot and believe that what we saw in Cities continues here about 7 minutes in (everyone is playing real well and obvious listening to each other, embellishing each other's musical ideas). This is good. Just as I'm really digging it though, it's over. Still, that was cool, somewhat subdued, but still very interesting.
“Stealing Time” is a great way to end the set. They always play this with gusto. It's full of searing lead guitar and an overpowering bass/drum attack. It was a good high energy set closer to a decent set.
I'm a fan of the second set. I know it has a botched segue from Ghost to Mike's, but this set is full-force from the first note to the last. “Rock & Roll” soars. Page's voice is in fine form and the band is powerful and in-the-moment. About 6 minutes in we are full throttle jamming on the central theme of the song. I am enjoying this a lot.
Ten minutes passes effortlessly and we are in Ghost. This Ghost is a pretty thing, very small and delicate – not a Godzilla version, it's a charming Ghost. 6 minutes in and this is really sounding nice. Mike's bass is playing a beautiful counter-melody and Page is all over it too. Fishman's drums are driving the band forward. Right now, I'm listening to the best music of the night – no question about it. I wish they could just keep playing this Ghost, but around 10 minutes in it's changing – sounds like they want to move on (too bad!) and then Trey plays the riff of Mike's over the groove (it doesn't sound very good really – wrong key? - but better on the audience tape than on the LP ones). Rough...
We survived though and we could definitely be in a worse place. Mike's always has potential and the night is promising. This Mike's is standard fare for 2010, by which I mean the band is careful to dot its “i”s and cross its “t”s. It is not jammed out, but it is jammed hard, but just over the typical Mike's chord progression. This is not a bad thing by any means. Up to this point, the set is smoking. “Simple” appears next and now I'm fired up. They struggle with the lyrics; however, by the time we get to the sweet quiet interplay (less than 5 minutes into the song), we are in a really nice place for the jam segment. Around 8 minutes in we are in a great transcendent jam – now we're talking! (or rather we are listening) – and it's just pouring out over everyone. It kind of gets techno as we approach 10 minutes. This is really, really good and once the drums ascend we are in a wonderful groove for the last 3 minutes or so.
It would be nice if this transitioned a little cleaner into “Backwards Down the Number Line”, but it just kind of runs out and BDTNL starts up a bit later. This song has also been a jam vehicle, but this one is staying pretty close to the theme. It's a very happy song and the soloing – especially Trey's – is wonderfully effervescent. It gets really quiet around 5 minutes with Mike and Fish out more in front... hmm, this could go somewhere too? Not too far though, because a moment later we are back and this could be off of the “Joy” CD as we return to the awesome refrain. When it stops the crowd rejoices – an hour into the set, pretty much non-stop hosing. Lucky people!
The band's next choice “Show of Life” is a new song from the first leg of the Summer Tour. This is the 4th time Phish has played it live and it doesn't sound tentative anymore. With its reflective lyrics and references to thanking you all, it has some possibility to be a rock anthem much like “Simple”. This version (like all the others until now) is played close.
Next up is the beautiful tune “7 Below” and just as the snowflakes start to fall, they pull off a magical transition into “Weekapaug”. This makes up for the Ghost Mike's before by a lot. The fact that we were also robbed of a long jammed out “7 Below” is sad, but there will be other times. And the “Weekapaug Groove” is groovy with wonderfully lyrical contributions by all the musicians. By no means does it stray much from the typical Weekapaug line, but that's no problem. It sounds great.
We are 74 minutes in when “You Enjoy Myself” starts up. Listening to the whistling and hooting of the crowd around 2 minutes in is very revealing. These people have been soaked and are still going to get more. I love the tone of Mike's bass before the lead up to the charge. Oh man, this is all good! YEM is being played a lot and that's a good thing. This YEM is not unusual (again, this is not a negative) until we get to the vocal jam, which is (though you could make the case that it is normal) really nuts. I especially like how it ends. Great stuff! The encore “Good Times, Bad Times” gives them another chance to play like the demons they are and they do not disappoint.
Overall, I found this show to be very strong. There was a nice appetizer in the first set and the second set delivered on the promise. Very encouraging!!!
Well, night two of this great run felt different to me than night one on several levels, first of all, I was sick as hell so I was soo grateful that I had a slab of concrete where I could leave my seat and actually return to it, unlike the prior night. Also, the crowd around me were really really kynd, it had that old time family dead feeling to me. The pre-show (again with these damn GA shows you have to get there really early and it was again hard to actually get inside the venue) was great because at the end of the waiting what comes over the PA? Talking Heads.. Psycho killer. Well, that had nearly everyone singing along and set the stage for the cities jam.
I felt that this show seemed kind of darker, almost scary sounding for some reason. That was my experience at the time but I did not hear it as much on the downloaded show. Chalk Dust was a nice opener and seemed to say this show is going to be a bit more hard rockin than fun and light like night 1. Again, as I mentioned in my review of night one, I have not listened to enough shows where I can say, oh this version was better than than most...or just average. But this Chalk Dust sounded good. It is amazing how vastly different the experience of being there is and the difference between listening to a aud tape and a SB tape is. Really, I dont think the SB records can replace the aud ones, perhaps a bit more of a matrix approach would be good on the liveshows download?
Anyways back to the review: I had never heard Guyute before live and have not listened to the studio in years... It is a GREAT song, I love it !!!
It does not at all surprise me that it was written at the same time as my friend, another favorite... I really love this tune !!!! But again, it kind of gets dark in the middle of being light.. wow what a difficult thing for a band to change moods like that from a joyous whistling to an evil wahwahish guitar explosion. This is really classic prog rock in someways and one of the many songs that remind me of early Gabriel genesis or King Crimson.
I am thinking that the Ocelot is actually a premiere of being played on Trey's new Ocelot guitar, I think he was using it all weekend, right? Its Ice did not stand out for me all that much, I might need to play it again but both of these songs were good to hear.
Cities> Moma WOW this just was GREAT !!! I loved it and it stands up well on the replay. It was just a blast live, and bathtub was perfect way to keep the shows flow going strong.
Stealing time is also one of those songs that sound dark to me, I connect to it big time, wasting life on a bad path, whatever it might be.. I guess I have heard a few versions of this now and this one was rockin but standard.
Now for set 2
I had to play this one several times it just needed to really listened to it: Rock and roll starts out of the gate with a statement of WE ARE HERE TO KICK SOME ASS !!
Ghost was also good, I am not in the camp that feels the transition was "blown" I would love to ask the band how if they felt it was blown. I listened to it many times, it was sudden, it was abrupt, it was a bit jarring but who is to say that is not the way it should be? why does every transition need to flow? Why can't it be that the song ends when the ideas are expressed? We might think a song should sound a certain way based on how it was played yesterday but perhaps it is no longer like that ? I say this because the Mike's song that followed was rock and roll bliss. There was a lot to say and it was just blistering. Why can we think of the "blown transition" as Trey had an explosion that was unable to be contained. Sure it too the band a second to catch up but that was all... just a thought...
Simple was also on fire and I like how backwards down the number line brings me to think about old friends some of whom I need to call. Backwards into show of life is really a beautiful reflection of existence, these two songs placed together is a statement. I am guessing that the band really thought about that pairing and I would not be surprised to see them together more often.
7 below and weekapaug - sadly I was kind of sick during the show and missed most of this but it sounds great on the live download and is perfect for my workout..
YEM was also really dark sounding to me esp the vocal jam 'no' part.. oh I am glad I was not trippin on psychedelics for that one and the good times/bad times encore I think also fits with this shows vibe...to me, the show seemed to speak a lot about life... from trying to find a place to live in, to wasting time on the wrong roads, relationships come and gone, the dead ghosts in our lives, the good times and hard ones..
Though I had a better time at the Thursday show, this show was to my ears the best performed show overall of the three. They started on fire and never let up. Ocelot, one of my faves, was great and the Cities>Moma Dance was one of the finest pieces of music that I've ever witnessed live by anyone, they got into the groove and absolutely slayed it. It felt like Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan was speaking directly to me, lol!
In the 2nd set Mike's song was great, Simple was simply HUGE and the show ending Weekapaug Groove and YEM was simply beyond describing in mere mortal words...:-wink/smile. The GTBT encore featured Trey as monster rock guitar god and a very appropriate way to end a monsterous show. Way too much fun!
My brother was whistling Guyute ever since we flew out of Denver. Second song of the evening was Guyute, a nice treat. Cities > Moma Dance was sounding really good as well. They began to turn it on during the second set. The Mike's grove was killer! I always love to hear a good Simple.
Two Words: Cities and Simple. Both had unbelievable type 2 jams and were some of the deepest in this summer tour. There wasn't many type 2 throughout the 7 shows I saw (Raleigh, Charlotte, Greek & Telluride), however the Cities and Simple on this night were both superb. That Cities held 3 mins of vocals and 11 minutes of straight up tieeegght jam.