This show was webcast for free via LivePhish. Suzy Greenberg contained a quote of Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan by Trey. Trey teased Call to the Post before CDT. Chalk Dust Torture was unfinished. Scents and Subtle Sounds was last played on September 2, 2011 (109 shows) and did not have the intro. Harry Hood featured a duel section in which Trey traded solos with Mike, Fish, and Page in turn.
Noteworthy Jams
Teases
Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan quote in Suzy Greenberg, Call to the Post tease
Debut Years (Average: 1998)

This show was part of the "2014 Summer"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by arghdos

arghdos I don't know what show you guys were watching... but I had a fucking blast.

Yes, the Chalkdust > Scents could have been jammed out more...
Yes the Fuego was rough near the beginning...

But seriously?
"The Wedge was a mistake?".
"The crowd was visibly deflated"
Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

Was it the best show Phish has ever played? No.
But I'll tell you what it did have... fucking attitude. I get that this is not the big ticket item that thirty minute jams are, or that a segue-fest can be.... but sometimes it's nice to hear our favorite band play with so much joy and emotion. If that really doesn't work for you as a Phish show... well I feel bad for you.

About three minutes (or whatever we want to call that number) into CDT, Trey got in synch with the rest of the band... and then he was dialed in for the rest of the night (with the exception of Fuego). From there on out, the band seemed to be right on top of everything, with each musical phrase leading inextricably to a response. It was a bit like being in the world's largest ping pong hall, with music bouncing and refracting off the walls being slapped and redirected in so many interesting ways.

Instead of focusing on any of the negatives, I'm going to talk about what I enjoyed.

Chalk Dust. Excellent jam. Let's leave it at that.

Scents. Anytime you get one it's a thing to behold. Type I all the way, but heart achingly beautiful at that.

Twist. Other reviewers may label this as "passe"... to which I say, were you watching that fucking crowd on the "Woo!"? IMO it was right about here that Trey and the rest of the band really started feeling the energy

Fuego. Did anyone else see Page's face light up when he heard the crowd repeating "Vlad the Impaler"? Exactly what I love about this band. They're in it as much as we are.

The Wedge. Beautiful version. Face it, not version of this is suddenly and magically going to be the Chicago version. But are we really claiming that we don't like very well played versions of great compositions now? They should'a played a Wading just to spite you fuckers ;)

Light. Picked up the jam beautifully. Any doubts we had about the rest of the set were pretty much thrown by the wayside at this point.

Harry Hood. Oh what a Hood. Seeing Mike and Trey play that lovely duet was simply magic. You could tell that crowd was loving it as well. Marvelous stuff.

First Tube. Is there a better choice for a show closer. Probably... but this is perfect in my book.

Fluffhead. Really, as an encore? I think I loved it almost as much as the legion of fans in the pit who were jumping up and down the entire time. No 3.0 Fluffhead is without flaws (face it, it's a really difficult song to nail), but this one was as good as any, and better than most.

Finally I'm going to give a shout-out to the MVPs of the night.

1. Jon Fishman. I don't know whether it was because I could actually see everything Fish was doing on the webcast, or whether he's simply always that amazing... but holy shit. I was blown away.

2. Trey's Energy. Any time big red starts dancing around the stage like it's his birthday, I'm having a good time... and you should be too.

3. The Crowd. You guys loved it. You guys made it the show that it was. Thank you.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by mattyb5000

mattyb5000 This was a great show, folks! No, we didn't the kind of epic jams/explorations we were lucky to experience earlier in the tour, but we did get to see a band having SO MUCH FUN on the final night of tour. Trey especially was hopping around like a kid on Christmas morning. Always a delightful treat!

The first set was about as good as you can get in a Phish 3.0 set opener, with some nice surprises in Pebbles and Marbles, Vultures, a beautiful Fast Enough for You. By far 1st set MVP goes to Gumbo! Although it clocks in just under 8 minutes, this is a must-listen. The energy was there from the first note, and I'd say this is a perfect example of how a short jam can be just as powerful and memorable as an epic 20-minute exploration. Some serious pornofunk going on in this Gumbo.

Set II starts off with a killer CDT, and in my opinion this one is my favorite of 2014. It quickly ventured off into an energetic dancefest, with moments of "controlled chaos" jamming the band is so good at doing. This CDT and Gumbo will be on my gym workout playlist forever--the jams have that kind of high-intensity energy.

Then we get another nice surprise with Scents and Subtle Sounds, played for the first time in nearly three years! This show is full of neat little surprises. Things slowed down a little, with a downtempo Twist that had some room for dance-jamming but was played strictly by the book before moving on to Fuego and The Wedge, both of which were played as standard versions. But that's all fine and good, because we get treated to a 12-minute Light that immediately dives into Type II territory with some fun & freaky effects from Page and Mike. The guys were like a well oiled machine at this point.

Next up, a Harry Hood with what I call a "type 1 1/2 jam" that dips its toes in the deep waters of type II without fully going there. I loved the moment when the tempo slowed down, and on the webcast you could see the wheels spinning in Mike's head when he grabs a pair of drumsticks and starts tapping away on his fight bell, which Trey then mimics by playing his microphone like a percussion instrument. Then back to epiphany territory...so much beauty in this Hood, like having a moment of salvation at church. Finally, we get a rockin' First Tube that was an energy monster to cap off the show.

What could be better that that?

A FLUFFHEAD ENCORE THAT SLAYS DRAGONS, THAT'S WHAT!

Seriously, this Fluffhead was great. In recent years Trey has struggled with Fluffhead, making some cringe-worthy flubs and sometimes forgetting parts, but not tonight. Tonight Trey--and the whole band--nailed it.

Overall - an A+ effort and a wonderful way to finish the summer tour. Can't wait to see what magic they bring to Denver!
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by solargarlic78

solargarlic78 https://medium.com/the-phish-from-vermont/subtle-sounds-review-8-3-14-14ac58e3bef1

Subtle Sounds: Review 8/3/14

The “never miss a Sunday show” dictum held once again. While perhaps not the level of Randalls or MPP2, Alpharetta closed the tour off with joy and style. Sometimes tour closers are kind of standard and ho hum — not this one. It featured surprising jams, bustouts, and a downright adorable moment of band love/energy in “Harry Hood”. And, oh, that encore.

“My Soul” is a perfect illustration of how Phish is not (I repeat NOT) a blues band. Sure, they play “blues” songs like “Funky Bitch” and “Possum”, but the band just does not offer the gritty, soulful sound of the blues. If anything, Phish is influenced by the blues “once removed” because their main influences are rock — much of it extremely influenced by the blues — Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and a blues band called the Warlocks (later named The Grateful Dead). Which brings me back to Phish’s rendition of “My Soul”. Compare it to Clifton Chenier’s version which is steeped in a funky backbeat, soulful (no pun intended) vocals, and a gritty, jangly American blues music sound. Phish’s version sounds nothing like this. The beat is faster and straighter, Trey and Page’s solos are derivative and employ only the most cliche blues licks. This is why I don’t particularly enjoy Phish’s cover of “Exile on Main St.” Phish is not bluesy enough to pull off the “Rolling Stones” (they do, however, always do a great version of “Loving Cup.”) Now, the only time Phish does do blues right is when they turn it into something their own — frenetic crazy energy and chromatic phrasing (think “Buried Alive” and “Llama”). Anyway, they played that blues song. “Bathtub Gin” followed and this one didn’t waste much time before launching into a full on guitar peak that featured really expressive and lightening fast playing. “555" again was followed by the always welcome “Pebbles & Marbles.” For those of us who yearn for the days of epic Trey compositions it is songs like this, TTE, and even “Fuego” that we’re left with. Songs with intermittent, somewhat complex instrumental sections. This is one of those jams that starts with a lot of peak energy (kind of like the DWD jam). There is no reason why it can’t go off (like DWD) into some more interesting territorty, but it hasn’t in 3.0 (If I remember correctly there are some 2.0 “jammed out” versions of this song). This one was well played considering the layoff. “The Line” was followed by another mild bustout (we get about one per year) of “Vultures.” This one sounded really bad when the vocals came in out of key, but they quickly recovered. The jam is based off those syncopated power chords and it creates a lot of space for Mike and Page to work around Trey’s often dissonant soloing (they also incidentally create a lot of space for “wooos”). Yet another “rarity” came along with “Fast Enough for You” — one of my favorite Phish ballads and the solo at the end can actually pack quite a punch. This one took a more delicate and soft approach to the solo which works too. Next came a standalone “Back on the Train” that had a nice short, energetic jam. One of my favorite things Trey does is simply sustain a note for a long time — check out 5:39-5:51. Not an eternity by any means (there are some “Harry Hoods” where he has held a note for 2-3 minutes!), but still really cool. “Taste”, with its Latin rhythms and interesting chord progression, is a great choice for set 1 diversity (something that matters to me). The jam featured Trey’s “halting” style that he has done a lot this tour (and I’m not very fond of it — rather than let the notes really ring out and sustain, he plays them in a truncated, uncertain fashion. To his ear maybe this is rhythmically interesting?). HEY NOW, the real highlight of this set was the first “type II” “Gumbo” since 2.0. It was of course all made possible by the addition of the “funky” breakdown since 10/23/13 (either preceding or obviating Page’s ragtime outro). Sooner or later, we were going to see this song open up. This one wasn’t the 15-25 minute versions of day’s lore, but it was a thick and nasty funk groove that layered some really awesome rhythms and textures with Trey mostly soloing and Page on the clavinet. At about 6 minutes in Mike plays a melody that the entire band picks up on (is this a tease?). At the end, it almost goes into a ska-like rhythm (was NICU coming?), but Trey found the Gumbo chords and alas it was over. The standard trio of “Halfway to the Moon”, “STFTFP” and “Suzy” closed out the set.

Set 2 once again opened with the surprising “go to” type II jam vehicle of tour — “Chalk Dust Torture.” I feel strongly that the reason for CDT’s explorations this summer are not only because they have really opened up the song in 2012-2013 with some amazing versions, but also because they were consciously or unconsciously avoiding covers as jam vehicles (really I think maybe the Chicago “Golden Age” was the only major cover jam?). After Randalls, this was probably my favorite version of the tour. It meandered around in the mercurial style for much of it, but finally at about 10 minutes in they just simply sat on one chord and built it up and up and up into some rock-oriented power chords. Then around 11:15 Trey played some glorious single-line notes that seemed to hint at a crazy glorious peak. But, yet again, they pulled back the reins. Nevertheless, it was a solid two minutes building a single chord and theme. As Trey kept on playing different chordal phrases, it seemed like he almost stumbled on the chords for “Scents and Subtle Sounds.” I know a lot of people were REALLY hoping they would play this song — myself included. Sure, there was no intro or no jam, but it was one hell of a segue and the bustout was enough to create a lot of adrenaline for all lovers of Phish. It was pretty well played too. “Twist” and “Fuego” were standard (actually the "Fuego" was kind of rough - who knew they could flub it!?), and a non jammed “Wedge” created a kind of lull in the set. “Light” to the rescue. Is there any more consistent jam vehicle in 3.0? This version was minimalist — simply exploring a very spacious and sparse groove for 5 or 6 minutes. No builds or peaks — just quality space grooves thick with loops and band interplay — at around 7 minutes in Mike is just leading the eff out of this jam. A rare segue into “Harry Hood” was predictable and welcome. Rather than type II “Hood” or create a blazing, glorious, reflective type I, they instead chose to use the Hood jam as a kind of celebration of the tour…and of their friendship. Trey traded solos with Mike, Fish, and Page and luckily we got to witness it on the webcast (it just doesn’t translate on audio). This band?!? So adorable. :-) The “jam” was pretty mellow for its entirety — and even went into a D minor blues section briefly in the 11th minute — before modulating back to D major town and delivering a brief but joyous Hood peak. “First Tube” is comfortably playing the role of the set 2 closer. It really works.

No one can overrate that moment on March 6th, 2009. Phish opened with Fluffhead. It was a statement — it was a commitment to maintain the integrity of what Phish was and had become. Well, encoring with “Fluffhead” last night was also an extraordinary statement. I bet if you looked at most tour closers in any era, Phish tends to close with a rocker or “Show of Life” or something. Playing one of their longest, most epic and difficult songs was just a sign that they were in no hurry to get off that stage. I’m sure, like us, they cannot wait to have the energy of Dick’s all around them…that came out wrong. A great tour. I would have to say Fall 2013 was probably more consistently incredibly, but there were far less shows to work with then. This tour had so many incredible and surprising moments. That is Phish at their best — always surprising us. I can’t wait for the many shows left to come in 2014.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by LightsWentOut

LightsWentOut This one show where I was glad to have seen it on webcast. Of course, I would love to have been there, but the webcast allowed me to see just how much fun the band was having on stage during this high-energy love-fest. I was smiling ear-to-ear and was almost at the point of crying tears of joy during the second set. If there is one thing that stands out for me about this show was that Harry Hood. Others have alluded to it (and some even ho-hummed it) and that moment where Trey moves from Mike to Fish to Page and "duets" with each was evidence of just how much love these guys have for each other and how that is translating to the music every night. To me, that Hood was the defining moment of Summer 2014 in terms of the theme of the tour. Yes, we can all point to the epic jams and stand-out versions of songs as we usually do, but this time around we are getting so much more than the Phish we usually expect. There is a lot of love for the music, love for the fans, and love for each other up there on that stage and its really amazing to see. That Hood, man. It's all there in that Hood. Oh yeah, then there is that flippin' First Tube. Then the Fluffhead encore. I couldn't avert my gaze from the wonderment.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by hdorne

hdorne First of all, thanks to everyone involved in putting on this amazing free webcast. It looked and sounded fantastic, there were zero dropouts or hiccups, and it brought me pure joy.

This show isn't about the bustouts, the 20+ minute Type II jams, the segue-fests, or the Phishy silliness. Anybody looking for these criteria from this show, or from any show, will be sorely disappointed and is probably missing the point. This show was about love.

There was a moment in Harry Hood when Trey began to walk to each member of the band, one by one, and trade mini-solos with them. It started with Mike, while Fish looked on with admiration and a big smile. This was a truly touching moment. The moment extended through the set-closing First Tube, which saw Trey jumping and dancing like a little kid. As the band collected the roses thrown for them and took a bow, they put their arms around each other in a classically unrehearsed, genuine way. After all these years playing together, the ups and downs of a long-term group relationship, the grueling work put in to get them where they are, they seem to love each other more than ever. Most bands that have been around this long are merely tolerating each other, if not suppressing outright contempt, and putting their kids through college by taking your money and going through the motions.

This is the same band which, after going out with a whimper at Coventry ten years ago, walked to their separate tour buses and went their separate ways. It's easy to forget, as we dissect and compare shows and jams, that in an alternate universe we are all sitting around listening to 11/22/97 for the millionth time, or have moved on from Phish altogether. It is no small miracle that Trey is sober, the band is back (and I mean BACK), and they have rekindled their deep friendship. It was undoubtedly very hard work and there must have been some tearful heart to hearts in the process, and they are to be commended on getting back together for the right reasons.

This was not a perfect show, but it was the perfect show. It was a celebration of the serendipitous meeting of these four musical masterminds, their grassroots evolution from a local bar band into an iconic pop culture phenomenon, and how their music has brought us so much joy over the years.

The first set was a fairly standard first set for these days, but there were some highlights. Bathtub Gin wasted no time going straight to the stratosphere, with some emotional and rocking soloing from Trey. It was the true opener for me, as My Soul is a people-are-still-filing-in sort of tune. Pebbles and Marbles is a personal favorite, though I wish they would slow it down just a few clicks. I don't need it to go into a huge jam, though I certainly wouldn't complain if it did, but the intricate arrangement would benefit from a slightly slower tempo a la the Round Room version. Nitpicking aside, I loved watching Fish during this song. He is a master of technique, his arms gracefully floating over the drums and cymbals as he plays, making even the most complex patterns look and sound effortless. As Trey remarked in the Specimens of Beauty short film, if he were at a Phish show, he would be watching Fish. As a drummer myself, I can say without hesitation that he is a master of the instrument.

Vultures was another nice surprise, even if the curse of the "woo" still hangs over every song or jam with a rest. Here the rests serve as a rhythmic playground for Fish, and the crotchety old man in me wishes the damn kids would hush and listen to the man in the donut frock lay it down on the drums. Oh, and get off my lawn.

Fast Enough For You was beautiful as always, another personal favorite, but the must-hear jam from this set was Gumbo. The first jammed-out version I think since 2003, it got very funky and even toyed with a segue into Boogie On Reggae Woman. Trey kept things very tasteful and rhythmic, allowing the deep funk to develop without feeling hurried. Taste was sloppily played, with Trey getting ahead of the rest of the band and having to be reset by Fish, but I think it was sheer excitement that caused Trey to speed up. Taste is also a very rhythmically complex piece, and the band was locked in and relaxed by the time Fish's vocal came around.

The set seemed unsure of when or how it would end, with the last few songs seemingly picked at random, but they were having so much fun on stage that I didn't mind at all. A very playful rendition of Halfway To The Moon preceded a rocking Suzy Greenberg, an exquisite double feature for Page. Beautiful singing and soloing in the former, nasty key-pounding in the latter. He's the guy who talks to the crowd now, a confidence which extends to his magnificent solos as of late.

This is only enhanced by the fact, by way of my opinion, that the current mix of the band is better than ever. Each instrument and voice is beautifully and equally represented, and the amount of crowd ambience is perfect. 2003-2004 soundboards still rule in terms of absolute precision and clarity, but they could also sound somewhat Trey-heavy and sterile from the total lack of crowd noise. Listen to a current soundboard and compare with, say, the Island Tour. To me, there is no comparison. You can actually hear Page's piano, not just its keys. You can hear the rich tone of Fish's drums, not just sticks hitting heads. The mix has been steadily improving since the muddy, overly crowd-heavy recordings from '09 and '10, and in 2012 began to sound quite nice. Right now, I can't imagine them sounding any better. But back to the show ...

The set break featured some funny bits about a version of Wombat featuring Iggy Azalea, the band starting the tour by playing the wrong Portland, and a Phish show widely considered to be the most average of all time. A nice reminder that these guys are still a bunch of dorks.

The second set got going with an excellent Chalk Dust Torture, the major improv vehicle of this tour. This one is half as long and twice as energetic as the epic Randall's Island rendition, and the transition into Scents can be heard a mile away, even if the segue itself is a little choppy. I love this song, and while this version contains little jamming, it is beautifully played. The same goes for Twist, a short rendition which is nevertheless playful and fun, and which lands right in the lap of the inevitable Fuego. This version is neither jammed out nor particularly well played by Trey, but I still love the song and the album. Trey's flubs are always forgiven when he's jumping around with a huge grin on his face. As he said in Bittersweet Motel, it's not about nailing the changes or hitting all the right notes. It's about the energy shared between the band and audience, and this show has that in spades. A standard rendition of The Wedge reveals that the jammed-out Chicago version was an inspired performance and not a harbinger of all future versions of the song. I like this approach. If an inspired jam blossoms out of it, that's fantastic. If not, that's OK too. I think I'd get bored if every single version went into a routine jam which may or may not have much going for it (see: Down With Disease).

Light goes to some fairly dark places. My wife was struggling to put our fussy toddler to sleep during this song, so I don't remember much about it. He also loves Phish. He clapped when they walked on stage and danced through most of the first set. He's going to turn out alright.

After the aforementioned outpouring of joy in Harry Hood and First Tube, I was eagerly anticipating the encore. There was no way they could top the unstoppable energy and catharsis of First Tube, and I was hoping for anything but Character Zero. Trey quickly strapped up and strummed the opening chords of Fluffhead, and all was well in my universe. It is an extraordinarily difficult and complex composition, but they absolutely nailed it, and at a relatively brisk tempo to boot. The final "Fluffhead!" peak made the crowd go absolutely batshit crazy, and rightfully so. Phish had just capped off one of their best tours in years with a joyous and note-perfect rendition of one of their signature songs.

I became a Phish fan during the post-hiatus era, my first show being 12/29/03. The next shows I heard via AUD trades were those of the disastrous 2004 Vegas run, and it became clear to me that this band was in trouble. Four months later, I was listening to the Coventry XM broadcast, sadly resigned to the then-fact that my musical heroes would never again grace the stage with their majestic presence. Fast forward ten years, and we are deep into another career peak for the band. The haze of drugs is gone, the band seem to be closer than ever, and the musical communication has an emotional beauty and maturity unheard in the past.

That's not to say we shouldn't call the off nights when they do happen. Being glad Phish are healthy and happy doesn't mean that every show should be heralded as one of the greats. But let's not forget, they've always had off nights. Even the supposed glory days of the 90's had flubs, jams that went nowhere, missed cues, choppy segues, etc. However, there are times when analysis and critique should take a backseat to basking in the glory of a performance so full of pure joy that you can't help but get off your couch and start jumping up and down with Trey. This was one such night.

Thank you, Phish.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by smuggs

smuggs this show made me realize how useless internet opinions are.

start to finish it was amazing.

maybe it was being in the pit, maybe it was being able to even be there, maybe it was the poster, maybe it was something else.

lots of people seem too concentrated on negative things in their heads than positive things and take it out on the band where other people care what they are saying.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by The__Van

The__Van This was my 4th show and this is best one I've seen, next to my first one of course.
The guys around us had a bet going on the opener. No one said My Soul so the girl next to us got the pot on Bathtub Gin. I wasn't surprised when they started up Pebbles and Marbles as they had played it last year for the first time at this same venue. The same goes for FEFY and Stealing Time > Suzy. Gumbo was a hot mess of nice funk I haven't heard come from that song in awhile. Not a huge fan of Vultures but I had fun enjoying the novelty of a rare song.
Now that Chalk Dust

Good Lord that Chalk Dust...

I have this theory that I will never see a normal Chalk Dust. Every version I've seen is on the jam chart and unfinished. In 2012 we got some weird ambient major mode jamming with a -> into What's The Use which hasn't been played since. In 2013 we got more major mode bliss jamming that was a contender for greatest jam of the summer before the Tahoe Tweezer. And now we have the Alpharetta Chalk Dust 2. This one is definitely my favorite of the 3 Chalk Dusts but I would still take the Chalk Dust->What's The Use combo. Who wouldn't?

Segue into Scents was unexpected and awesome, I just wish they would've done more with it.

Twist got down and dirty with the funk. At 3:40, on the SBD, they switch to very brief slow blues/funk groove that makes me want to shit my pants but Fish jumps right back into the Twist beat and Trey follows. Not gonna lie, that was the first Phish put me in a bad mood.

Fuego was a pretty standard fare as I expected at the start of the 4th quarter. Same goes for The Wedge but it lightened my mood just in time for...

Light! I love this jam so much! Just check it out. It's not too long but it's really worth it.

Ah yes Harry Hood. Far from the standard fare. Mostly. Mike and Trey duel. Trey and Fish duel. Page and Trey duel. Playful slow downs. Phish at their greatest.

First Tube is a great fiery set closer that should be played more often.
And then Fluffhead encore. Awesome just Awesome.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by bark_obama

bark_obama Pros: Very good Gin and Fluffhead. Pantheon Gumbo. Solid CDT and Light>Hood>First Tube.

Cons: My favorite 3.0 songs are Stealing Time, Winterqueen, and 555. I hate to play armchair QB, but why can't they seriously jam any of these songs? I'd take a first set Type I Chalk Dust in return for a 555 that actually surpassed the first version they played.

Misc: Did anyone else catch the What's the Use tease in Taste?
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by Kenabis

Kenabis Except for The Line, which should go into a vault (seeing people fake free throws on the lawn is amusing however), the first set was furious! i dont know why some phans dog My Soul, i dont care either, i was thundering the m'm'm'm'm'm'm'm's the whole way, i may have even started them in the lot on the way in, hard to recall. >'Gin, then 555, for me, at my 30th show, it was a gnarly phuckin' intro, brau! overall tightness was a little off for the night, page side was rage side, he smoked dem dare keys, while Fishman's tap tap tapparoo on the skins was Ghengis Kahn at times! Troy was equally out and in tune at many instances, which I live for, and I saw Scarffy McDrillbitz in the lot pre-show, he drove off before I could sketch him on my easel. damn! First Tube was an unusal placement, but needed, i had to get some karate kicks in 2nd round while it lasted! Fluffapottomus closer was pretty damn sharp, like Vermont cheddar, see you in '15 at Fest X Best X, gotta take the late summer/fall to rebuild walls around my castle, goddamn 'Panic fans!!!
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by FACTSAREUSELESS

FACTSAREUSELESS An interesting and generous tour closer by the boys. The first set clocked in at an eye-popping 90 minutes. The show featured some interesting bust-outs and a few noteworthy highlights but the second set was marred by impatience and underdeveloped concepts. I don't believe that this was a lack of effort by the band. Rather, I think Trey was too excited and seemed to be trying to squeeze two nights of material into one evening. The show would have been well-served to reduce the number of songs and increase the exploration.

Nonetheless, the show was highly entertaining (like all Phish shows), and featured a must-hear Gumbo in the first set and some interesting band interplay in the second. The Fluffhead encore was extremely well-played, and Trey capped it with a smoking peak that made this Fluffhead easily the best version in years. It was not enough to rescue a mis-played and frustrating 3rd quarter, however.

First Set:
My Soul and Bathtub Gin open the evening in fine, old-school fashion. My Soul was a welcome surprise as the opener. I really had anticipated Llama in this spot, which is way overdue at this point, but My Soul was an appropriate and bluesy start, setting the stage for a standard rendering of Gin. Of note was Trey's late-nineties tone during the build up of this song. There are pluses and minuses to Trey's choice of axes these days but this tone is one of the pluses. This Gin caught fire as Trey really poured himself into the cresting peak with some outstanding work on the frets. Not a long version, but definitely a highlight.

555 is next. I'm sorry, but it's overplayed at this point and the crowd was politely silent as the opening notes began. Straight-down-the-middle as it has been consistently, Trey did spice it up with a nice lyrical solo.

A brief pause in the action while Trey fiddles with his tuning and we wonder what he's up to. Pebbles and Marbles! The adrenaline starts to pump at this welcome bust-out, an excitement that must have been tempered somewhat in the Georgia crowd as they were served this rare song the last time Phish was here. At any rate, the song is very well-played, a testament to some time spent by the boys rehearsing. I must say that this evening represented some of the sharpest playing of the tour. Very few flubs all night.

Pebbles gives way to The Line. A nice piece of songwriting by Trey but not a good call here. Pebbles set the stage for something special and The Line was not it. However, it is lifted from the ashes in postmortum fashion by another bustout, Vultures. A welcome boost to the action, Vultures actually meshed quite well both musically and lyrically with The Line. Vultures was not must-hear, but a solid rendition.

Another ballad comes next, but it is the beautiful and underplayed Fast Enough For You. A short, but well-played and satisfying version which gives way to Back On the Train. The boys seemed to really have fun with this one and as always these days Trey seems particularly energized by the crowd interaction and involvement. Trey is more and more of a showman as he ages.

The BOTT is good. At this point it appears evident that the band is really hanging back and waiting for Trey to lead at each and every point. Page, in particular, seems reluctant tonight to offer direction or to take the lead in any way, a penchant that has been a welcome feature over the last year and a half, by my ears. Tonight was Trey's night. He was the ringleader without question.

Taste comes next. This is becoming a very interesting set one by now. I love Taste; it's one of my top ten favorite Phish songs, but honestly, this version is forgettable and is abandoned quickly. Trey really botches the opening timing, in one of his few flubs of the night, causing Mike to actually stop playing and wait for Trey to sort things out. The song never really recovers and it seems that the band spent most of it looking for a place to get off the ride.

Then IT happened.

This Gumbo had the makings of somethng great from the beginning. You could feel the vibe. It was the perfect call for that audience at that time, and the band milked it in fine fashion, producing perhaps the top one or two highlights of the evening. This Gumbo is worth the download by itself. Very deep and gooey, it doesn't quite venture fully into type 2 territory, but it comes awfully close and the crowd appreciated it.

The band could have closed shop for setbreak at this point, but instead launched into a halting but pretty version the beautiful Page song Halfway to the Moon. Can't end on that note, and Trey cranks up the crowd-pleasing STFTFP. This stomp should have ended the set without everyone smiling and headed for beer tent, but instead the band raced into a frenetic Suzy Greenburg. This Greenberg was standard for 3.0 with no added jam and really added nothing to the set's construction except that it allowed Trey to keep playing instead of laying down his guitar (this is one of the reasons for my comments above about Trey's excitement level).

After an exhausting 90 minute set, I am worrying how much the band has left in the tank for set 2.

2nd Set:
I expected either Fuego or Chalk Dust to open the frame, so no surprise for anyone as they open with the familiar phrasings of CDT.
Trey wastes absolutely no time going type 2, promising great things. Creating some nice working space for his bandmates, Page steps up to the plate and engages in some counterpoint and then Mike follows. Again, it appears that the band is content to let Trey lead the action and he does so in fine fashion for about 8 minutes. The jam has a ripping and evil tone to it, reminicsent of Disease>Carini from the NYE run for a minute or two, before it turns major key and becomes brighter. Trey toys with this joyful rhythmic theme for a few moments. He's thinking. The band waits, treading water.

A beautiful, and I mean picturesque, segue into Scents and Subtle Sounds follows. I am thinking that Trey should have explored the CDT jam some more at this point, as it was shaping up to be a classic, but in fairness to Trey, he was not getting any help from his bandmates in terms of ideas. Perhaps this segue was pre-planned during setbreak, I don't know, and they won't tell.

The Scents is well-executed but is much too short. After a beautiful composed portion of the song, Trey seems to forget where he is during the solo and, whether intentional or not, brings the band into the concluding measures seemingly faster than they expected and they turn on a dime to join him in planting the ending.

It appears to me that the CDT>Scents combo was a brilliantly conceived concept that could have launched into greatness, but, perhaps due to hesitancy on the part of the band, never developed and the result was a feeling of awkwardness in the middle of the 3rd quarter. We are left in silence with a train dead on the tracks looking at an uphill climb and wondering what would have been had Trey continued exploring CDT. No matter. Twist is next.

Twist, over the last couple of tours, has more often than not to my ears been the fall-back option of choice when set-plans go awry. This version does not dissuade me from thinking this. The Twist does not flow from Scents naturally, and of course Theme, which would have been a more natural choice, was played the previous show. Twist, with it's Santana overtones and bluesy feel, is always guaranteed to please when everything else is questionable. Trey toys with the tempo a bit, and Fishman obliges politely but remains largely unengaged with the gambit. It is nice to hear some of that 2.0 style-growl coming from Trey in the piece (a sound I wish he would continue to incorporate), but really this Twist is nothing more than a transition piece to the next portion of the set.

Fuego follows in predictable fashion. The crowd is not thrilled, but they follow along obediently and the band appears visibly pleased by the call-back from the audience of "Vlad the Impaler!" Sometime Phish music is just bizzare and this is one of those times. Hearing a thousand people chant "Vlad the Impaler" reminds me of some type of B-level Creature Double Feature matinee. At any rate, this Fuego is pleasant enough but really goes nowhere and gives way to........

The Wedge. This was a mistake. You knew it wasn't going to be THE WEDGE, but just The Wedge, and sure enough it is a straight down the middle typical set 1 offering which ended the 3rd quarter in awkward fashion. The show was sadly falling apart. What would they do next?

Here comes Light, as the knight in narly armor, to rescue the scene, and rescue it it certainly does. While the crowd is audibly deflated after the Wedge and somewhat unengaged during the opening riffs of Light, they quickly jump on board during this very exploratory Light which feature some of the darkest and richest texturing from the band all night. This Light jam, and the Gumbo in the first set, are easily the highlights of the show.

Light gives way, again all-too-soon, to Harry Hood. While I would not rank this Hood anywhere close to the Great Woods version on the opening night, or even to the Hollywood Bowl version, it is interesting (if you were there or watching) to see Trey and Mike enjoying a cup of coffee together on stage as they continue to effortlessly play this difficult-to-play song. That was a worthwhile scene. Don't know what was discussed, but soon Trey goes over to Fishman and shares something with him. A hilarious moment ensues as the cameras catch Fishman rolling his eyes playfully at Mike as they are humored by Trey's antics. It really doesn't add much to the song as Trey simply does some interplay individually with both Fish and Page. Interesting but not epic. Trey intros a nice bluesy progression which none of the rest of the band seemed interested in exploring, so he quickly abandons this for the build to the peak, which was quite satisfying.

First Tube signals the end of our adventure for the night and the crowd is very pleased with this selection.

Fluffhead, as mentioned above, is a must hear version and a fine capper to an excellent tour, and an average show.
, attached to 2014-08-03

Review by tennesseejac

tennesseejac At the beginning of Chalkdust it sounds like Trey is teasing The Birds and then Fishman chimes in with a quick drum roll that sounds like The Birds. Can anyone confirm? I have been listening to a lot of early 2014 lately and have noticed some very subtle Chilling & Thrilling teases.
Add a Review
Setlist Filter
By year:

By month:

By day:

By weekday:

By artist:

Filter Reset Filters
Phish.net Login

Register | Forgot Password
Support Phish.net & MBIRD
Fun with Setlists

July 22, 2017
30 minutes ago
Madison Square Garden

Set 1: Strawberry Fields Forever[1], Halley's Comet > The Moma Dance,

[1] A capella; Phish debut

Check our Phish setlists and sideshow setlists!


Phish.net

Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal

© 1990-2017  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by End Point Corporation