Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
Set 1: Buried Alive > Lonesome Cowboy Bill, Ha Ha Ha, SampleSample in a Jar > DividedDivided Sky, Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother -> Boogie OnBoogie On Reggae Woman > Gumbo, Halley'sHalley's Comet > GinBathtub Gin > JJLCJesus Just Left Chicago, Character Zero
 With lyrics referencing blunts and bundt cake.
Average Song Gap: 16.24
Notes: Lonesome Cowboy Bill was played for the first time since July 30, 2003 (141 shows). Makisupa included lyrics referencing blunts and a moist bundt cake.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "2011 Early Summer Tour."
No matter, they bought it to Merriweather tonight. My first highlights were Crosseyed and Painless and First Tube. Though I had a great time with everything in the 1st set I just finished listening to the C and P and it was everything my ears originally told me it was. The Steam that followed it was a full blown-out production complete with so much "steam" emitted from behind it that it totally enveloped the stage to the point that nothing but the lights thru the "stuff", lol, could be seen.
The Buried Alive opener was from a huge sign that he personally requested from the fan and showed it personally to the members of the band first before facing it up towards the audience so they could see what was being requested on it. Ha Ha Ha. yep, got it...:-wink. Sample, Sky, Wolfman's, Boogie On, blah blah blah, loved it all, as opposed to the rock monster that Camden was IMHO, tonight was Funk night at the Post. Personal favorite is Bathtub Gin, Jesus Just Left Chicago rocked many in the house and probably was my first, haven't gap charted yet. Character Zero was a good sign that all was good for both the end of the set and the tone for the next one, a pretty happy mood pervaded the venue in between.
Working semi-backwards, Trey and the rest of the band ripped the heart out of Alaska. Light>The Wedge, funkenlicious, other songs speak for themselves, the Crosseyed and Painless was and will always will be a personal highlight.
Halfway to the Moon is IMHO one of the coolest songs in the repertoire and was another one of "those" songs in all of the best ways possible.
Hood was Hood, BDTNL rocked rocked rocked, my Loving Cup was going to my soulmate Angela dancing with us, the Sanity was, well, insane. My first, I think, Makisupa Policeman was really sweet and I wasn't giving into the finale, First Tube was all that and more, the final musical orgasm both thru the ears and the eyes, yeah, a fitting climax to though I wasn't there on nite 1, an overall fine experience with two shows that I hope were fine to your eyes and ears but this night that I attended was perfect, if not perfectly played. But perfection, at least for me, is overrated when it comes to this. Thanks to the peeps who would have made this the perfect night anyways but, musically, Phish wins. Again. T/U.
This was a great, upbeat close to a rockin and occasionally dark (see: Rock and Roll-> Albuquerque from Sat- mmmmm... I can still feel it in between my teeth) weekend.
Fishman and Mike stole the show IMO, esp from Wolfman's on. Steam was pretty wild and obviously has a lot of potential. Between Steam and Halfway to the Moon, I think I've founf my two favorite 3.0 songs.
The band obviously had a lot of fun this weekend, all four of them looked absolutely euphoric as they lit into the "beautiful buzz" part of Loving Cup, and they giddily joked around in the encore before tearing up First Tube.
Saturday was the highpoint of the weekend, but MPP2 was not far behind in my opinion.
C&P>Steam was also incredible, and I had been waiting for a Buried Alive opener for forever, and we got a comparably long one. Mindmelting encore as well.
THANKS TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SIGNED MY SHIRT! YOU MADE MY NIGHT AMAZING, THANKS SO MUCH. SEE YOU AT SBIX!!!
Loved the whole weekend for the most part, really good song selection where the only hiccups were the placement of Sample & Chalkdust which kind of disrupted what would have been really cohesive sets otherwise, despite those offending songs being well played in a vaccuum.
Second set of the second night was the most impressed I've been with the boys outside of the first two Bethels or Detroit. They really put the faith in the newer material for the most part as Hood & Loving Cup were the only 2 songs to be "in rotation" previous to 3.0 - usually that might make people cringe, but on this night the second set unfurled perfectly. Very Fish heavy show!
Quick note: Either I am being Captain Obvious here or I have made a breakthrough. It seems like the past few nights have been tailor made setlists for personal band members. On the couch tour, I have noticed. 6/8 looks like Trey, 6/10 has Mike written all over it, and 6/11 focused on Page. Well it looks like we got Fishman. I didn't know what to expect.
Buried Alive is old school Phish and the sound just takes me back right away. Nicely played. Not a fan of Velvet Underground (I know, I am in the minority, but we all have our preferences) so the second tune was boring for me. Ha is silly, but cool and once Sample hit, I was a little worried. But I shouldn't have been. Sample is perfect for a new fan and he was digging it. Plus, it is a good song. Solid version. Divided is what it is...a classic tune that never gets old, but it has been following me around and I haven't really heard it stray enough. In the hopes of not sounding like a jaded fan, it's kind of predictable lately. Ok...throw all that out the window. Once Wolfman's kicks into high gear, this set shines right through Zero and leaves ears ringing during setbreak. The jam out of Wolfman's is pure funk, but when it turns to Boogie, watch out. Page is out front here, just killing it on the keys and the band is locked in. The phunk persists and Gumbo is strong as ever. Just amazing. I was feeling it and heads were grooving. Not to be outdone, the Halley's is especially strong and goes right into a stunning Jesus Left Chicago. Despite Page ripping the vocals, it is Trey's soloing here that stands out. Really nice work. When the kick into the cliche Zero, no one even groans a little. The earned the right to rock out hard and this edition seems right on this night. Ears ringing and happy fans.
Set Break: Some air up on the top of the lawn, a loo break, and back to the seats.
Set 2: Party Time starts up while I am still walking, but I settle in for the jam. First time I heard it live and frankly, only the second or third time I heard it ever. It's ok. Kind of cheesy, but a fun way to kick off a set. CandP. Now here we go, the funk returns. I read somewhere that this song is getting overplayed and is not deviating much, but who cares? This song thumps and the band is digging it. I will take this tune any show I see. The playing moves into a distinct riff and it turns out that it is a new song...Steam. I really liked it. Nice little sneaky melody, thick bassline, and cool stage effects. I will take it. When they go into Light, I am disappointed. I know there have been some tight monsters of this song and listening back, this is a really solid piece of music, but being there it was a different story. It felt like Trey had his mind set on playing this song even if it didn't make sense with the vibes in the place. Awkward move from the new song Steam and the crowd sags a little. The Wedge picks us up a bit, but I am more a fan of The Wedge in the first set. It's too short and predictable to be the centerpiece of the second set in my opinion. I pee during Alaska. Sorry to be negative here, but to me, that songs sucks. The come at us with another new one...Halfway to the Moon. It's better than Alaska, but I am not into it and neither is the crowd. More sagging. That song has potential if appropriately placed in a set, but this didn't seem right. Especially after the Saw It Again second set from MPP 2010, this set was petering out hard. Hood has the potential to rescue it, but again, here goes Trey cutting the jam part short. It was just starting to bliss out and engage me when I was jolted back to a Number Line. Good song. Terrible placement here. To me, I would have much preferred them to take Hood for another 10 minutes and just end the set. Oh well. Decent jamming, but uneventful. Loving Cup was extra strong as previously mentioned in the reviewing. I agree. Real good stuff. The encore is above average and a lot of fun. First Tube was insanely out there and peaked really hard. Just like the Zero that ended the first set, ears were ringing.
This is a nice, solid show and really gets by on the mid-late first set. Hard funk. I say seek it out and focus on Wolfman's-Zero and again from Crosseyed-Steam. Besides that, the encore is worth a listen, and that's about it. Still, I left pleased and felt like the band played their asses off. I am happy they are back and even this 6.5 out of 10 show is really great stuff.
Party Time was good as the set 2 opener. The following Crosseyed and Painless was excellent. Trey tore this one to pieces. After a brief ambient jam at the end of Crosseyed, Steam made its second appearance. I knew of the song but I hadn't heard it yet. The fog that filled the stage and the pavilion was cool. Steam ended with a crescendo of effects and the chords of Light emerged from the wall of sound. Light's jam had its moments, but it was nothing special overall. The Wedge and Alaska were well played, but I think the set lost some steam (pun intended) here with some questionable song placements. Halfway to the Moon is a really nice song, and I was ecstatic to hear Harry Hood, which is my favorite song. Although, I think the jam was cut short by BDTNL. BDTNL did feature some serious playing from Trey though, as did the set-closing Loving Cup. The second set was a 3.0 showcase, with more than half of the songs in the set being from the 3.0 era. A three-song encore is always great. Makisupa Policeman was funny with all the "What!" shouting from the band and also included a bass solo from Mike on his new bass that he used for the the encore the previous night, as well. First Tube ended the show with a bang.
The highlights of the first set were Wolfman's->Boogie On and Bathtub Gin. The second set highlights were Crosseyed>Steam and the encore.
Set one is super fun for a 3.0 first set. A rare > bustout > rare sandwich opens the show in style. Divided Sky, the first land-mark song, is good save a little shakiness after the pause. A true first set segue is a rare treat that Wolfman's -> Boogie offers. Gumbo and Halley's are standard, but Gin receives some harmonic exploration. It still has a straightforward build, but they mess around with many more modes than is normal for the song. Instead of one major mode shift, there are several one after another. JJLC is always a treat; this version is well played. Zero is 0. This is definitely in the upper echelon of first sets from 2011.
Party Time opener for set two! Woot woot Partayy! Xeyed > Steam > Light is a good sequence that, Steam's ending notwithstanding, doesn't venture outside the box. This was back before Light was cemented as a major jam vehicle; keep that perspective check in mind as you listen. I've never understood the hate for Alaska. It seems rather misplaced considering Ocelot has firmly planted itself favorably within fan culture. That comparison might seem tired, but the two songs really are pretty damn similar in feeling and structure. However, I loathe the Alaska intro. It wouldn't be so bad if they could actually plant the landing on that shit, but they rarely do. It's always a mess. This one particularly so. That's my biggest beef (or should I say salmon... holy shit that's dumb, I don't know why I thought of that) with the song.
The rest of set II is uneventful. Hood isn't particularly good. Even if the peak were better it wouldn't have been that satisfying because the beginning of the jam is so impatient. No payoff without anticipation. Numberline? Yawn. Loving Cup? Yawn.
Encore: Sanity? Loose but fun. Makisupa? What!?!?? Laughter. First Tube? Rage that shit yo.
Ranking each set for what they are, I'd say that set one is better for a first set than set two is for a second set. Set one is really quite spectacular as far as first sets go. And set two is pretty fun if don't go into it expecting super-duper h3tty jamz.
I sat right next to the sound/light boards the second night of MPP. Despite how awesome CK is, and I'm not criticizing you, he for the most part can run a program for many of the songs and watch the lights go. That was the case with the first songs each of the two nights in Maryland.
All I'm saying is that when the band takes the stage, and the place goes nuts, I don't think they're being as improvisational as you might otherwise believe. And, this approach would be consistent with Phish 3.0 - lots more songs per set, less jamming, more predictability. But still a lot of fun.