A triplet trill in Jim was like a fanfare, but it seemed like a carnival trick from Trey to generate cheers. Who knew?
The groove opened up like cracked ground in an earthquake just a little during Back On the Train. Then Tube effortlessly changed grooves, and became Psycho Killer, with Page just blasting away on the clavinet Tube-style through the tangent.
Fishman early first set was the perfect ice breaker, and Cracklin' Rosie brought me back to my first show in '93, except for the fact that tonight, the musicianship was polished and right. They couldn't even fake that!
The following songs were all well played, and the breakouts executed like the songs were never shelved. Then we got some Big Cypress reminders. Day one, song 2 and 4, in reverse order here. Hell, 9 songs from set 1 were played at Big Cypress. All but Sneakin' Salley from set 2. But that's not the main point. In my opinion, the music to come would eclipse much of the Big Cypress celebration. I was at BC, and I listened to this one at home. My har stood far taller this evening.
Corrina was a gift of beauty. Light Up or Leave Me Alone is one of the covers that Page really conveys heart and soul. He sings it like it was his own! And the jam... a total powerhouse, and the peak was moving towards the ingenious, with Trey playing aggressive lines while allowing the rhythm section to push the energy through. That's the sound of a great band! But these guys are moving above that standard now.
Setbreak arrived early, which means the time was really well spent and who knew how fast it flew by!
I didn't hear much of Chalkdust for whatever reason, but what I did hear sounded great! The refrain "Can I live while I'm young!" says to me: "As long as I am alive, I am young!" The final notes were hit with a greater unity than I've heard before, and rather than hearing the line, I felt the music like a staircase to the upper floor. And that's when the jams began.
Mind you, Carini has been a hell of a jam vehicle this year (or since late last year). It was our second college reference of the night. Father's Day at the beginning of tour. And now a party for the graduates. That's what this music seemed to be.
Carini to Antelope; one massive jam. I felt that Fishman occasionally showed a lack of confidence in his choices. Stopping on a dime where appropriate, and then hesitating when he knew it was right to come back in. But you can't fault the effort. Sand Roses Punch (which sounded like a quality of the jam, rather than just the song, even though it was performed to pefection) Sneaking... and when it got to a certain point, Trey stomped out the noise with Suzy. Sounded like he was attempting to bring us back to the grounded part of the show. Nonetheless, the spirit of Chalkdust won out, and they kept pushing. When Antelope began, it was clear that they were not including a ballad in the second set tonight!
Antelope... the intro was Mike lead, bass solos as strong as the lead guitar, yet holding this monster groove. The entry into the charge. They maintained the tradition of mellowing out (which seemed a fearful feat in itself on a night this grand), and then stepping up the velocity ever gradually. As they swirled lines around each other, tumbling, turning, careening, charging, I heard Fishman stop trying to faorce the beat, and instead he completely trusted the beat and started rolling flourishes around the fringes of the music while the other guys built momentum sans the essential drum parts. When we reached towards the peak, Trey went first, and then you could hear the drums, bass and keys creeping in, accelerating under the Jedi's trills to fuel the fire, and then they charged as a unit to the highest Antelope peak of the year by far.
If that wasn't complete enough, Tom Marshall and the Dude of Life came on to declare "Rye Rye Rocco!" The vocals were a little botched, but the spirit of the fight to make it the best it could be was definitely there.
I am not going to go into details about what I head in the jam. From Carini to Antelope. I will not attempt to describe it. All I can say is that it was the jam of 3.0 and probably outdid most of 2.0, maybe superior to much of to latter chapters of 1.0 or more. When the audience is getting charged up by the interlude between the verses of Sand, you know that the band is in a special place.
Another observation: whereas Jones Beach sounded like a different band in many ways, that is to say: PHish playing a show and doing their best.... tonight was more like a ritual of human potential. Tonight was bigger than Phish. It began as a show expressin the basics of the general sound this tour: a little slower, a bit tighter, more nuance and musicianship; more working together rather than showing off, and occasionally stumbling into brilliant jams.
Tonight, the egg hatched. The music born anew. The band back to being themselves. NO identity crisis in the music tonight!
For all those who have been waiting for Phish to return (although they have been on many stages these past few years): Wait no more!
Five stars. The show was ingenious. The music was dangerous. The band maintained great communication and unity all night. This was like an enlightened Buddha Phish. Awake, Alive, and powerful! And the stream sounded so good, my expectations for the audience tapes are actually very very high. I love the official boards, but this night, I might settle for .... both.