Now for my actual 'opinions:' Back in the old days before mp3s there used to be these things called cassette tapes that tapers used to make and then they would get circulated. If you didn't go to the show, and you didn't know a taper...and when I first started listening to Phish I was in high school...then you pretty much had no idea what you were missing excluding the gracious reviews on dotnet of course. So the many tapes I did have typically were from '93, '94', '95...and the easiest way to listen to Phish was to actually buy their studio recordings of course. I've owned at one point or another all of their albums. Rift twice, junta twice, lawn boy twice, picture twice...literally wore them out, and bought them again. So I think for the 'jaded vets' out there...it's a little different starting out at 1.0 ...than it is for someone who's first show was '09.
All that being said...I feel like I stepped into a time machine and Phish is crushing like it's '94. The intricacies of their playing are probably lost on the vast majority of the crowd. All these noobs are so 'let down', and the hipsters are 'so dissappointed' because they heard from people that the 'jamming is so weak and always aborted.' These sets are so 'meh'...and these versions are so 'standard.' I'm sorry but a flawless Foam with all of the added complexities is fucking awesome...and I think there is definitely a division between people who just don't get it (posers essentially, not necessarily their fault...they never had to work to be a phish fan...they didn't have to earn anything to pretend to understand Phish...they have everyshow at their fingertips...they never had to blast a shitty AUD on their tape player in their car while all of the passengers cringe at the awful hissing sound.)...division...yes...and the people whose eyes are filled with tears of joy that their favorite band of all time is not only still playing but absolutely destroying, and I can only speak for myself but I've devoted a substantial part of my entire life to this band, and I am sure their are others that can share that sentiment.
Dude...the days of four song sets are OVER. They are back to where they were at the pinnacle of their musicianship, before the thirty minute loops. They are too good to play a repetitive funk jam, everything they play leads into something else, and they don't stop. Musically...they are probably too embarrassed to pull that off anymore...I can't see Trey playing the same three notes for twenty minutes again...I can't see Page playing the same five chords for an hour over a loop...and so on. But if you listen very carefully...you will find the richest jams you've ever heard compositionally obscured (purposely arranged this way I imagine) in the middle of a 'meh standard version aborted jam vehicle.' This tour in my humble opinion is by far the best since 1.0...and they are playing with such a fiery passion, and joking around...quite frankly...I think that it is the best Phish ever. I will always be a harbinger of how awesome the various eras of 1.0 were (very distinct eras...(write that down poser))...but this is the tour I have been waiting for my entire life. I would advise trying to catch some shows, to say the least. The four greatest musicians on the planet, are also quite good at one other thing: fucking with you. The more of a 'jaded vet' you are, the more these pranksters are going to take you for a musical ride. (Insert opening riff to possum) I hope you aren't too 'let down,' and with any luck you might join me in saying Phish is Destroying yet again.
And for all the haters, I hope you had fun at camp bisco and don't forget to catch further while missing Phish at SPAC we look forward to your insightful comments.