I had an inkling that setlist-wise the band might pull out a greatest-hits style show for the local crowd, and in some sense that materialized. But as usual with this band, if you judge by the cover you'll likely to miss a few things. So that said, don't miss this:
The Carini>Down with Disease pairing was 25 minutes of off the hook Phish. Towards the end of summer the band pulled out a few jams that likened back to some of their slightly ambient but nevertheless driving millennial grooves, and funky dance action. Mike was on fire all night, and when Trey locked in for the early part of the second set, they were off and running. Hear this pairing, please.
The Bathtub, Wolfman's and yes, the jazzzzzy Julius all had lots to like in the first set as well. Although Gin has seen its jam take a more straight-ahead trajectory in the 3.0 years, this one was no basic tension and release wankfest. It built to some pretty satisfactory peaks and begs re-listens, particularly for its groovy and locked in Mike/Fish foundation. The Wolfmans was built on similar if less incendiary ground, and hinted at what was to come in set two, with Mike and Trey kind of wrestling over the melodic direction of the jam. But it was the Julius, oddly enough, where they found initial resolution. Maybe channeling the late 80s Vermont jazz-quartet days, the band chilled out in the Julius jam instead of going off, and laid down a really slick patient little jam that built back up to the blues finale. No complaints there, either.
The execution of the Slave coming off of the Carini>Disease combo was pretty poignant. Trey put a lot of emotion into the build and the solo and hit some incredibly rewarding notes. One of the better versions in recent memory to be sure. This was the case for most of the night, actually, with extra mustard on a lot of songs. The second set didn't really pick back up post Slave, jam-wise, with the Rock n Roll and Twist both more or less staying in the box. But it didn't matter much at that point. I got my money's worth, and what's more is that it went to a seriously noble cause.
Phish blew off some long-time-coming steam last night in Vermont. We rolled out as smoothly as we rolled in, and I was in my bed in Montreal, limbs well danced, well before 2am. Nothing wrong with that.