Or maybe had to webcast. Or maybe neither. Iím glad I was able to get some time off work and catch the AC run and the shows here in Virginia. 7 shows in, this year really feelsÖ different. In a very good way.
On paper, this one looks like someone left a Phish playlist on random and this is what came up. But at the show, in the venue, with a packed, happy and considerably smaller crowd than any of the AC shows, there was definitely a flow. I donít know how else to sum it up than tonight was an odd, funny night. I canít remember seeing the guys smiling, laughing and just goofing around as much as tonight.
Carl Gerhard guested in Party Time, an efficient Simple and smooth Axilla later, we were done with anything normal-ish. Trey and Page were trying to figure out what a group of people in the front were calling for. They thought it sounded like Tube, so thatís what they played. Faster than the recent AC version, this one also opened up a bit with some tasty extended Page riffage. Speaking of, it seemed like he went particularly nutty on the intro to Gin, an overall energetic version that got the crowd cooking. STFTFP took a little of that energy away from the gang I was standing around, but then came I Didnít Know, and our theme for the rest of the evening.
Listening in you wont have the head scratching pleasure of watching Fishman tuck his dress into his boxer briefs. He encouraged anyone willing to also tuck in to come up. So you also wonít see the jackbag that got up on stage in a Fish dress only to reveal to us that he didnít have anything on underneath to tuck it into. It was like a scene from Oz that wound up at a Phish show. Trey cracked up then thoroughly scolded the crowd for being so bad at tucking, and we were off into Antelope.
I donít know what was up with the Antelope in AC, I havenít listened back yet, but it just didnít really crank me up like that tune usually does. Tonightís did. It felt like a make-good Antelope, and Trey replaced all Ďrunsí with Ďtucks,í which had he and Page smiling and laughing. Pretty much everyone around me was laughing right along with them, and dancing their asses off.
Set 2 just carried on the odd. SOAM had another tuck tucked in, and it threatened to get all dank and gooey at the end, but Trey pulled them back and into Mango. I chased that song forever in the 90s, they just didnít ever bust it out at any of the dozens and dozens and dozens of shows I hit. This is my third one since the return, and itís always soÖ sloppy. They pulled it together after the last chorus, only to follow it up with a big sigh in choosing Number Line. Limb x2 made up for it, followed by a great Stones cover, and then we found ourselves in Lengthwise. I didnít see how it got up there, but the next thing we all know, Treyís swinging this lightsaber around like a 12 year old. It was just awesome. He even asked CK5 to drop the lights so he could fool around with it in the dark while Fish prattled on. We canít see anything, but it looked like Trey was playing his guitar with the lightsaber, the lights come up, and he is. Weíre into Maze. Once Trey dropped the saber, he couldnít really lock into the composed beginning with the rest of the band. Didnít matter. When they got to his solos, he SHREDDED. Early 90s machine-gun Trey, only with more style. And that was the playing that he took into Cavern and Fire, which couldnít be a more aptly named tune for the way they blazed through it.
They came out for the encore in ridiculously over-sized sombreros. I guess it should have been obvious given how wacky the rest of the night was, but nobody around me thought we'd hear Mexican Cousin. That goofy-ass song is fun. But a guy right behind me was borderline pissed at how jokey this was for an encore. As if responding, they went into Slave. Once again, for me, it felt like a make-good from ACís ragged but still pretty decent version. This one was a beautiful, flawless, polished gem that I wish coulda gone on for another 10 minutes. I turned to the dude behind me and said, ďbetter now?Ē He smiled back and shrugged. Which I guess is what lots of people might do at this night.
What an awesome, odd summer. From the dark, dank, creepy Carini on opening night to the guys who turned themselves back into 13 yr olds tonight. The only thing thatís consistently the same with this band is that it never is. Iím still surprised at the lack of the really composed tunes, I thought weíd get a YEM/Sky/Guyute or some such, but it just wouldnít have fit the mood if we did. Tonight was far from the most emotional, or face-melting or intense or insane show Iíve attended, but I dunno. There arenít many Iíd trade the experience for. Fun! Tomorrow's my last 'til SPAC. I can't wait.
...Oh, get this show. Maybe an aud, 'cause people were really laughing along with the band and feeding the mood. Besides, itís probably not like many others in your stash.