Manntastic (sorry): Review 7/8/14
The many sides of Phish on display at the Mann
What a difference a couple days off makes. As I discussed last time, Trey seemed really “off” on Saturday night at SPAC. It wasn’t just the flubs, but he was playing with a lack of confidence. Each note seemed uncertain and half-hearted. Well, I don’t know if he practiced like a madman on Sunday and Monday, or if he figured out some gear problems, or if he just took a different attitude/confidence to the stage, but he played great last night. He nailed hard composed sections like “It’s Ice” and displayed his remarkably diverse playing with swampy funk, shredding peaks, and laid back rhythm. The main thing is he played with confidence — his attack on the fretboard was assured and tasteful. Even if he made a mistake, he quickly recovered. But, enough about Trey (sorry, I’m a guitar player).
“Axilla" — Wonder if they’ll ever bring back “Part 2"? (see, Hoist). I was surprised to read this was the first Axilla opener since 7/18/2003. It is a perfect opener. High energy fun.
Next up was slowed down swampy “Gumbo.” When you slow the tempo there is always the danger it will drag. That was not the case with this version….Tight, cohesive bands can use a slowed down tempo to create space to fill with intricate fills and communication. Also, since Fall 2013, the piano breakdown section has become less Page’s take on “ragtime” and more a funk breakdown. It’s no 1.0-2.0 20 minute “Gumbo”, but it’s fresh and I’ll take it.
“Taste” is one of my favorite mid-90s post-Guyute (that is, post epic composition era) songs from a musical perspective. It has very interesting chord changes, and draws its driving rhythms from Latin music. If that’s not enough the guitar solo is based off of a “Norwegian Wood” vamp. Trey kind of struggled with the end changes, but like I said, if he played a bad note he quickly and confidently recovered to the correct progression.
“555" brought more swampy funk. They clearly love playing this song and for good reason. It’s got great changes and vocal interplay — and a sick jam at the end.
“Tube” — OK, so I need to rant about the complaints about Tubes being “too short.” First of all, you can’t just take song lengths at face value. The lyrics/composed section of “Tube” is 45 seconds to start (add a minute at the end). This means last night the 6 minute version (the LivePhish track as a minute of crowd noise) was really 4 sustained minutes of jamming. You know what had less than 4 minutes of jamming last night? Tweezer. I’m sure some complained about “Tweezer” being too short last night, but at 8:31 it doesn’t seem that short. But, “Tweezer” has 5 minutes of lyrics/composed material (for comparison’s sake “Fuego” has 7-8 minutes of composed material before the “jam” starts — so that has to be taken into account with the 26 minute number). Second, the Tube jam is a very basic driving funk rhythm based on a Am7-D7 chord progression. Rarely (even in in 1.0-2.0) does it diverge from this basic funk vamp (it’s what Page, Mike and Trey do over this vamp is what matters). Some people might want them to “jam” over this funk vamp for 10-15 minutes as they sometimes did in 1.0-2.0. Others might call that navel-gazing. Or, maybe “boring.” To me, last night was a pretty perfect “Tube”; the jam was absolutely ferocious. Trey was creatively using the echo-plex and the groove got incredibly thick and textured. But, when it transitioned out into the blues jam it seemed about the right time. There wasn’t much else that could be done with this driving funk vamp.
“Halfway to the Moon” — Sorry, I’m already a bit sick of this song. It seemed in 2013, the jam was getting weirder and more dissonant, but perhaps for the sake of album promotion they’ve played it safe so far in 2014. Pretty standard Trey solo at the end.
“Camel Walk” — Even on the SBD you can hear a dude screaming “Camel Walk” over and over again. Trey, almost irritated, finally says, “We’ll play your request, I heard ya, I heard ya….This is for that guy.” This is a sick version of the song (it is also a cover of a Jeff Holdsworth tune, ha!). I think this song is a bellwether of how tight the band is — its got really odd rhythmic changes— and tight they are. Trey’s playing on this version is downright nasty.
Next came some fun “sing-a-long” songs “Sparkle” and “Halley’s Comet.” Not fun for a jaded vet like me, but the crowd will love it. In the mid-90s (93-95), Halley’s was never “jammed” ala 11/22/97 or 11/11/98, it always was a platform to segue into a song very quickly; kind of like “Oh Kee Pah”. They’ve used it as this segue platform in 3.0 (apart from a jammed out version at Bethel in 2011), but without the same intensity and fervor of 93-95 era Phish. Last night, the “It’s Ice” segue was pretty breathtaking — and not an easy one to pull off.
“It’s Ice” is one of the hardest songs in their catalog. And, all and all, they nailed it last night. Impressive. Since Summer 2013, it now also includes a funk jam breakdown in a ‘jam’ section that had featured nothing in most of 3.0. The funk theme continued this set!
Most of the First set was “funky”, but “Ocelot” and “Walls of the Cave” allowed Trey to take the lead and play some really amazing ‘peaking” rock solos. The “Ocelot” was a bit more straightforward and rock-oriented, and the “Walls” peak was absolutely stellar. A great closer.
Set 2 came quickly (20 minute) because of the rain delay. The question was one of curfew. Would they have to play a short set? Nope. They must have gotten an extension because this set was long by any standard. They played til after 1230. Set 2 also featured an interesting “bipolar” presentation of Phish music. Almost in alternating fashion, it featured scathing, Trey-led shredding, followed by patient, full-band interplay that, if anything, was led by Page McConnell — who was the undisputed MVP of set 2 if not the entire show.
“46 Days” can go out there into type ii territory. See 8/15/09 for an underrated and mostly forgotten great version I saw live (also, see IT obvi). This was not the time. It was a straight ahead rocking version led by Trey shredding a peak. Give what was to come, this is totally fine.
“Fuego” — Any complaints about “overplaying” this song are ridiculous. If it is going to include 10 plus minutes of exploratory jamming they can play it every night as far as I’m concerned. This was another amazing jam. Both the SPAC and MANN versions spent awhile exploring very spacious melodic space before building the jam to a glorious peak. I will say that last night’s version seemed to grasp and search for the peak and never quite find it (the SPAC version didn’t hesitate once it found the theme and built it to a glorious crescendo — it was more cohesive in that sense). It started with a beautiful trilling melody (Trey is “trilling” a lot this tour — essentially hammering a note with some rhythmic regularity to create a beautiful effect), which built up to a moment where Trey started playing a pretty glorious melody. But he quickly abandoned that, started playing a faster flurry of notes, Fishman increased the tempo, then again, Trey started searching for a climax melody, appeared to find it, but didn’t let it develop long enough. That was OK, because unlike the SPAC version, this “Fuego” didn’t fizzle after the “peak”, but went into an extended rhythmic groove jam that featured dazzling soloing from Page and laid back rhythm playing from Trey. Some searching for sure, but all in all a great jam.
“The Line” and “Backwards Down the Number Line” was a nice “Line” theme. And after 26 minutes of jamming is a fine breather.
“Tweezer” has now twice occupied the late-mid set 2 spot which will inevitably lead to shorter versions. This was the shortest in recent memory, but was a straight-ahead Trey shred-fest. After his patient and laid back approach in “Fuego” this was fine. There will always be a large proportion of the crowd that wants these tension-and-release “peaks” led by Trey the “Rock God.” I’m not one of those fans, but Phish knows the energy of the room depends on them. Again — just saying, this jam was shorter than the “Tube” jam.
Perhaps the most sloppy, awkward moment of the night was the segue into “Ghost.” Trey appeared to force the chords — and then really forced the first vocal line “I Feel I…” Both songs are based on Am Dorian funk grooves — its surprising they don’t segue into each other more often. Apart from the awkward “segue” this “Ghost” paid off with a absolutely beautiful, spacious, and patient jam that featured more Trey trilling. His laid back approach (no more Rock God!) also allowed Mike and Page to really fill in the textures of this glorious jam. Also, while most “Ghosts” these days go into a D chord to get to the “bliss” jam space (see the Mansfield version), this one interestingly settled on a C chord. It migrated from C Lydian to full on C Major (really making use of the major fourth note of “F” to add color to melodies). This is full band patient Phish at its best, and some might argue the Ghost jam was the highlight over the Fuego.
“2001" is a cover. Yes. But, Phish’s version of it is singular. This is their specific take on an orchestral piece. It is not “Good Times Bad Times” where they are clearly covering another rock bands’s tune. We shall see if they eventually do that, but I think we are still in a kind of “exception” territory. This version was short and sweet.
“Harry Hood” — perfect placement (I could see it coming). And, I’m sure people were a bit surprised given the clock (no curfew in sight!). I would never want “Hood” to always go type ii ala Mansfield. Its type i jam is beautiful and quintessential Phish. It’s placement at the end of a set 2 after so much exploratory jamming allows for focused contemplation toward a glorious “feel good” peak — these “bliss” peaks (melodious, see Slave, Reba, etc) are different than the “Rock God” peaks (more bluesy and edgy). This version was nothing out of the ordinary — sure, sometimes I yearn for those ‘94 era machine gun Hood peaks — but still great.
“Tweezer Reprise” need not always be the encore song.
“Possum” is a fine encore when you’re not playing “Loving Cup” or whatever. Sometimes lately Trey will give Page a solo to start “Possum” — I prefer that approach. Page should solo on all the blues numbers as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps because of the late hour, Trey took this solo himself — and took it to a normal tasty Possum place. Don’t hate on this song. It encapsulates Phish’s energy. I love the fact that Trey said at the end, “We are THE PHISH, from Burlington, Vermont!!!”
All in all, a really solid show start to finish. Funky First Set with tight crisp playing. And, two top notch jams and a Hood for Set 2. I’ll take that every time. With the band this tight and this cohesive this early in tour, amazing things are yet to come.
With all do respect to @solargarlic78, what the point of writing (and reading) such reviews, if all it does is string together a load of superlatives and praise, with only one or two mitigating critiques in a 2000 word essay, when, clearly, there was a lot more to talk about. Don't get me wrong, I love "the Phish", as Trey reminded us last night, but we have to be more rigorous in our critique, and, contrary to many people's opinions, it is actually a sign of MORE love, respect, and investment in the band if we do not heap unjust praise.
The second set last night was a MESS. I am so happy that Fuego is quickly becoming a new staple jam vehicle, but one jam does not a good Phish set make. One of the greatest attributes of Phish is their ability to control the rise and fall of tension, not only within a song, but within a show. However, coming out of Fuego and into The Line/BDTNL was an incredibly jarring deceleration, and the set never recovered. It was not for trying; Tweezer -> Ghost > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise looks great on paper, but it was so rushed and haphazard - the energy was just off. It was a show played to take up time, and get the hell off the stage.
So, it wasn't a 5 star show! Great! I'm sure the anxiety caused by the weather delay played heavily into the result. This kind of thing happens when you have a 30+ year performance career. But if you care enough about the band to listen/attend a show and attempt a critique, well, actually give some critique.
I would love to see the rating system used more like the NY Times food review, where 1 star is "good", 2 is "very good", 3 is "excellent" and 4 is "extraordinary". Why is it this way? Because the Times doesn't bother reviewing your restaurant at all unless there is a baseline expectation of quality. In the same way, Phish is band that we can expect a baseline that far exceeds most bands. Almost every show is going to be good, but there is a lot more nuance between good and extraordinary.
This show was clearly a 1 star NY Times rating, I'd give it a 2.5 .net if I could.
This Fuego is simply incredible. I don't find it meandering, or directionless, or peak- less whatsoever. When Mike throws on his filter deep in the jam, everything soars for a few minutes, before sliding gracefully into a driving groove for the last 7 minutes or so. Simply put, it's one of the top jams of Summer Tour.
All in all, a really solid, thorough review from Solar Garlic, and I'd just like to add a couple notes.
I actually haven't listened yet, but I cannot praise enough the assessment of Tube. While the sub 4 minute Tubes are admittedly just a frustrating tease, they certainly don't have to be 10 minutes to be exemplary versions. One prime example is the well known Dayton '97 edition. I personally think the reprise jam is a bit overrated, so if you look at just the Tube proper, which I think is a candidate for the pinnacle of the song, it clocks in at 6:20 (some of which is the boys at the end saying, "You want to go back into that jam again?", which is definitely cool, just didn't go where I wanted it to). It sounds like this Mann version will be comparable to the excellent SPAC '13 edition. Also, great use of timings with Tweezer to illustrate the point.
My other two points are semi-nit-picky regarding covers. Camel Walk is a Phish original. It just happens to be written by a guy who's no longer in the band. And ok, there's a ha! at the end of your parenthetical, so maybe this was a joke I missed.
The other point is 2001. I'll grant that Phish's version has evolved a bit and has definitely "become their own" as so many covers do, but the arrangement they started playing in the summer of '93 is a very faithful, if slightly truncated, cover of the Deodato version. The use of the word specific suggests to me you may be unfamiliar with this '70s funk gem (if not, my apologies, but if so, familiarize yourself with it post haste). So this is not only a cover (yes, of an orchestral "tone poem"), but it is a cover of a cover. Another Phish example would be After Midnight: they do the Clapton arrangement of a JJ Cale tune.
Ok, end rant. Sorry to pick; this really is a great review.
Midway through the first set, it became evident that the band was having trouble staying in sync with each other. Through the attempted peaks of Taste and Walls of the Cave, it seemed as if they were all one step behind one another. Would this blemish on the band’s routine linger on into the second set? Well, it’s hard to say. The Fuego jam provided some of the most unbearable moments of the start to of tour while also featuring some noteworthy interplay that fueled a relentless groove.
The jam began with some acceptable and appropriate noodling that has become a staple of 3.0. We’ve all accepted that it takes some time for the band to reach a sweet spot which, at our expense, requires patience. However, after switching to a major key, the band jumped the gun and attempted to reach a peak that simply wasn’t a sufficient platform for a peak. Mike prematurely committed to his effects and Trey was all set to bring the jam home. Page wasn’t in sync and well..Fishman was reluctant to lay down a steady beat. Without a steady beat, there is absolutely no potential for a steady jam. And that was the problem. This segment was cringeworthy and hard to listen to. The band was disconnected on all four sides and was sometimes embarrassing.
Contrary to 3.0 customs, Trey’s ruthless strumming revealed that he was dedicated to weaving the band into a sweet spot that could revive the jam. Mike, Page, and Fish caught onto Trey’s memo and they were finally all in sync. Finally working their way into a respectable groove, Fishman enlightened the beat with the addition of cowbell (I think?) and other funk tricks to perfectly set up a nice foundation for Page’s solo. Page truly brightened the jam by repeating a certain sequence of notes that made it a memorable jam. This continued for a fair amount of time with Page leading the band. It surprised me that Trey did not take a solo following Page. The band dissolved the jam, transitioning into The Line.
Now, I would really like to emphasize that a jam’s length does not make a jam a good one. This Fuego has topped any other jam (timewise) at this point in the summer. I’d like to mention one jams.. 8/15/12 Rock and Roll: An a terrible jam that meandered and went nowhere. Of course, people raved about it since it was 25 minutes. Quality over quantity; that was a very overrated jam. I really hope people don’t rave about this Fuego. The first half was unbearable but by the second half they found a sweet spot and the jam picked up and found a worthwhile groove. But still, the first half of this jam hinders the jam’s reputation as a whole. No matter how great the second half of this jam was, the first half will be engraved in my head.
The sound wasn’t the best where I was seated but I imagine it will hold up on the audio as I heard it. I prefer to review shows without listening back. That way, I can describe it as how I remembered it and it forces me to think.
The rest of the second set somewhat redeemed itself with the exceptions of a botched BDTNL intro and a jarring ripcord into Ghost from Tweezer. Trey clocked right out of that Tweezer jam once he finished his Type I solo. He started to play an uncomfortable rhythm that signaled Ghost which looks great on paper (Tweezer -> Ghost). Accordingly, Trey tried to seamlessly transition into Ghost, which ended up being anything but seamless. At least he was ripcording into Ghost and not something like Joy. Ghost featured no flubs but it still wasn’t perfect. 2001 was a nice surprise and Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise was appropriate. The second set was high energy for the most part but there was some really ugly parts. A bad Phish show is still better than any other concert I could’ve gone to last night. I’m generally the one who defends the band and raves about jams but I believe it is important to review negatively when there is a weak 26 minute jam that is a misnomer for an immaculate 26 minute jam that reaches another universe. Someone’s gotta spew the truth. I don’t even think the band was proud of that Fuego.
Per usual, I still enjoyed myself. I look forward to tonight’s show and hope for the best.
Just want to add that even though Phish gets a lot criticism for what they do or say sometimes, they wouldn't get any criticism AT ALL if they didn't have fans that cared about them so much. Their music brings so much to each soul it affects not in words we can easily express, so we review and think about how they play with love and care.
Despite the late start due to the weather (9:35), it was well worth the wait as they blew my head right off !....a solid first set and an even better second set......Fuego was pure fire and the combo of Tweezer/Ghost/2001 was truly amazing....one of my favorite shows ever attended !...
...and say that Mann1 Fuego wasn't as bad as I thought it was. After multiple listens I realize that the first half of the jam wasn't as much as a trainwreck as I made it out to be. Still not my cup of tea, but MUCH better than I thought it was. The sound was muddy where I was sitting and we barely got any Mike in the mix. Mann 2 > Mann 1 for me though.
Sorry for posting about it about an upwards of 50 times.
On another note, I love all the talk about Mann 1 and Mann 2. I've never seen this many debates after a run of shows. I love it.
Walls of the Cave is the star of the first set. seemed like an abrupt segue from Halley's > Its Ice. Fuego had a nice jam and you can see this song developing into the same vehicle as Light. Tweezer -> Ghost segue seemed like it developed naturally but Trey dropped into the lyrics and it didnt seem organic. I feel they just mailed it in from Tweezer on. Give them average versions of iconic songs after a soggy start to the evening and they will walk away happy....
Side note: There was def a strong Neil Diamond "America" tease in Ghost.
We walked into the venue under clear blue skies—a beautiful day for a show. So it was understandably puzzling when a voice crackled over the intercom begging everyone to please go back to their cars to wait out the impending storm. While we gladly took the opportunity to push up into the pavilion rather than book it back to the parking lot, a sinister-looking cloud started to form over the horizon. Minutes later, we were in the thick of the squall, gaping at the flashes of lightning and fire-hose rain pelting the outside of the Mann’s cavernous parquet dome.
As the storm finally breaks, an extended Sound-and-Light-Check Reprise takes us to 9:21 and just like that, off walks the crew and on walk to boys!
***Axilla starts the late night off right with some high-energy, good old fashion rock n’ roll. An always-welcome helping of ***Gumbo keeps the show bobbing along, albeit at a relatively modest pace. Trey seems somewhat indecisive in his licks here, but shows some sparks that are bound to catch eventually. Followed by some funky Page garnish that flows smoothly into ***Taste. A fairly standard outing, the real star here is CK5, painting appropriately synesthetic backdrops for this particular tune.
True to form, Page pauses to thank us for weathering the storm, promising that the delay wasn't his fault. It seems like a given that he'll drop into Halfway to the Moon here, but instead fish steers us into ***555. The crowd deflates ever-so-slightly after such a short gap since its last outing, but the buzz quickly picks up again as the Fuego standout shines from the start. With another rocking version, it's clear that this new Gordon/Murawski-penned tune is bound to do big things.
***Tube is up next, as they quickly make their way through the first section and dive head first into a quick paced funk groove that gives us flashes of greatness from all parties before dissolving into some pulsing Trey delay.
***Halfway to the Moon--oh, there it is. The page tune is placed nicely after an above-average Tube.
Next, Trey introduces a song for "that guy" who’s been screaming for it, and drops into ***Camel Walk, a song I’m excited to finally be able to check-off on my wish list.
The rest of the first frame is enjoyable, though relatively unremarkable (aside from some particularly tight work from the Chairman on **It’s Ice). ***Walls brings the set to a close as 10:47, as Page promises us a very short break, and Trey shows his Flyers pride to raucous cheers. [1:26 first set, 12 songs]
18 minutes later, 11:06, the lights go down and the boys come on
**46 days kicks it off in the coveted 2nd frame opener slot. Having already mentioned their love for the acoustics at the Mann, trey takes advantage, laying down long, pulsing bends with impeccable tone.
Just two shows after the inferno really started to rage, the boys fire up ***Fuego once again. It’ll be tough to do this journey of a jam justice in prose, so all I can say is throw in some headphones, close your eyes, and listen to it for yourself. This version felt more controlled and complete than SPAC’s, and saw the boys exploring several interesting ideas before ripping into a big type-1 peak launching back into a keys-led groove accented by Fishman a cowbell, and finally relenting to a well-placed ***the Line.
A slightly less well-placed **#Line follows, and although the crowd’s groans were audible at the opening chords, it was relatively enjoyable as many recent versions have been.
Next up is a timely ***Tweezer to bring back the dance party vibe and, after a short reading, the jam fizzles into **ghost. This one packs an extra percussive punch—punchy and sharp. The jam ventures into major –key bliss and reaches some nice, powerful peaks, before ending with some lush keys courtesy of Elton McConnell.
Sliding out of ***Ghost, as it has done so well for so long, ***2001 breaks the no cover streak [yes, it is a cover]. Always a blast, especially the strobe-like white lights on the build-ups. Well done CK.
Though it feels like they could have left off there, a well played though arguably too-soon ***Hood pops up next, and leads into a surprising set-ending Tweeprise. Finally, convinced we were getting a Show of Life encore, Possum is a welcome last gasp for a solid show.
People will disagree with me on this, of course, but Mann1 firmly asserted itself as my favorite show so far this tour. Maybe it didn’t have the best jam of the summer (though the Philly Phuego should at least be part of that conversation), and maybe the early-tour repeats stole some of its steam, but, the venue was great, the vibes were abuzz, and if you need any more reason, just listen to how excited Red is as they wrap up—“We are the Phish, and we're from Vermont! Thank you good night!!” They clearly love this place, they were clearly having a blast, and tonight’s gig promises to be even better. See you there!
I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I'm here to talk about set 2, but I will say that set one was pretty good. Set 2 it got weird...
46 days was decent. Nothing unusual, decent playing. Fuego was fantastic, maybe the best jam of 2014. It also decidedly features less trey than most would like. I'll get this out of the way now: I listened to a steam. But the last 3 minutes featured such little guitar I actually thought he quit playing. And I think that in and of itself says something: a fantastic jam with almost no audible trey at parts. I really don't care if he machine guns me, but an effort at rhythm and melody would be nice. Treys playing thus far has been lackluster. So fuego ends...
Then we step to the line. Almost all of the new songs have grown on me. If you're goin to do a greatest hits first set, put it there and spare me the huge buzz kill second set. I like number line but the combo made me forget about how kick ass that fuego was. Then came tweezer! It felt almost like a cop out but with the way tweezer has been it had to be good! Except it wasn't. Right out of the gate I hear a chopping sound, and I thought it was a stream issue... No it was just trey. He couldn't find a melody and gave up, ignoring the rest of the band and doing his own thing. This is as bad a phish can get: a band that ignores each other.
Ghost was good but hit an early end when fishman decided to cut it off, perhaps giving trey a taste of his own meds. 2001 was okay, nothing special, and then came that hood. It was not good. Fishmans fills were shakey since ghost, and were noticeably out of place on hood. When it came time for trey to do... Well anything, he just held onto a note for a few measures and quit. Miles farty bass on tweeprise was out of tempo, and I turned it off by possum.
Last night was bad in places but great in only one, and that one place lacked a big red guitar player. I hope they remember to listen and I hope trey can find his muse by Chicago, or my tickets may get sold
My review is for the Fuego jam. Axilla opener is great, and into a solid Gumbo, actually, the first set is quite fun all the way through. Tube in the first set is one of the best you'll ever get in 3.0, along with SPAC 13.
Ghost is also incredible, and worth checking out; and leads into a solid 2001 into the Mann Hood, which is a very pretty version. One of the best type I versions in the last few years. The second set has its ups and downs depending on your taste, but the jams more than make up for it.
Fuego starts out normal, though we don't hear Mike play his part in the very beginning. The song takes off during the faster part, Trey rips a nice lean solo. After the "Viking Warriors" part, the jam proceeds as it usually does, following the main theme of the tune, and Page is backing Trey up very nicely, playing great chords. The jam starts moving away towards exploration, and the band really digs deep here. No funk breakdowns, no happy sounding chords to build to a peak and move to the next song. It gets a little quiet, a little mysterious sounding. This is patient 3.0 jamming if I've ever heard it (Bethel Waves last time they were this patient? Miami Disease more recent?)
Trey finds a theme about 13 minutes in, and the mood shifts to a more uplifting section, the band builds and builds. Mike eventually comes in with the synthy bass drone, and all is bliss. This is classic 2014 Phish. Entering the clouds, flying high up on a warm sunny day.
But the band is still searching. Still expanding. Then the jam shifts again, this time to a more laid back funky groove. Page comes in on electric piano, and Fishman starts playing a funky Herbie Hancock beat, the jams becomes a straight up jazz-fusion jam. This is something that would be more interesting to hear in future jams. Trey hangs back nicely while Page takes the lead, and really shows us his chops. This kind of jam is very rare in 3.0
The jam moves away again to a more dramatic section, the band builds on another great theme. Still laid back, but has a feeling of completion to it. The jam eventually fades to ambient weirdness, and finally to space. What a journey of a jam.
Mike's bass is a little low on the recordings of this show, which is unfortunate, but it's there. Just gotta crank the bass levels up on the speakers.
Solid 3 star show, the Fuego and Ghost bump it up to 4 stars.
Awesome first set very unexpected but was really glad to hear the first four songs like really pumped. 2001 was fantastic jam. Got a download of this show and it sounds mint. But very solid show at the mann. I think i remember hearing about rain at this show as well but it passed for the music.
The setlists look pretty good on paper, but nothing beside Fuego was really explored. I don't think there was any discord with the band, just a lot of rust. Maybe it was the rain delay, or maybe it's just they can't be perfectly on the same page every night. Speaking of pages, I thought he sounded great, and carried a certain load when everybody else was not in sync. Unfortunately the stream wasn't all that great and I barely could hear Mike.
Anyhow, it's was only the 4th show of the year, and there were some wonderful moments. I tend to look at at the good instead of the bad when a tour just starts, and I thought the first set was pretty good. I loved the song selection and for the most part they sounded like they were having a good time. My guess is that this show will be the equivalent of last year's Rochester show, and we should expect them to play much better during the rest of the tour.
I would just like to say that I agree in part with all of the reviewers above. All of them have reviewed this show better than I could have either because they were there or have more musical experience than I do.
I like reading SolarGarlic's reviews because of the side notes he inserts about certain chords and effects being used. However, I sometimes think he is being somewhat idealist in his reviews of the show.
I also find it refreshing to read that a reviewer was displeased with set flow, or where a jam went (or did not go), or how a song is overplayed and becoming tiresome.
I love the Phish, have been listening since 1996 and will continue to listen for life. I say this because I'd like you to know that I am not jaded, or disenfranchised, or a hater. I am a loyal follower that is not always happy with everything Phish plays. By and large, I am swept away day after day by their music. Therefore, I would just like to list what worked in last night's show and what didn't work, then I leave it to you...
Vocals - Overall, the tone and harmony of voices has been comparably great. Note Fish singing the high part in the Ghost chorus kind of like back at McNicholls
Gumbo - lovely work on the boards chairman!
555- it's growing on me...Sounds like a Mike tune, ala Sugar Shack, Destiny, or Yarmouth. I like Mike tunes-
Camel Walk - love that they play requests! Also love it when Phish takes its time.
The little jam section in It's Ice. Page again.
Cross fade of Tweezer and Ghost - I would even have liked Trey to sing the Ghost lyrics over the Tweezer jam by Page, Mike, and Fish while he played the Ghost riff on guitar. I like the occasional dissonance and syncopation that the band slides in and out of intentionally. Wish they did it more often.
46 days to open set 2-
Tweeprise not as an encore -
What didn't work:
The rain delay.
the shortness of 46 days
Fuego - Although I have no idea what the lyrics are about, I kind of like that. Phish is best when the lyrics don't quite make sense. Starting to like the composed section more and more. I like that they are stretching it, didn't care for the jam, liked the SPAC version a lot though- Keep stretching Fuego Phish.
Backwards down the number line - Do not care for this song - except for the version from 6-12-10 at Blossom where they jammed it out dark. (live bait vol. 1) Especially did not like the placement middle of set 2 - I would like to request, despite Trey's personal connection to the lyrics, that they shelf this tune for a period of time.
One last thing- Since Phish clearly takes requests, I would like to make a few...
What's the Use?
Cars Trucks Buses
Let me Lie
Rock n Roll
Sneakin Sally Through the Alley
I was at the show. nothing special. energy was off, don't understand the fuego praise, axila opener was the high point (for its novelty)--also that they went on at all given the weather. terrible sound at the mann, too much on the high end. people were passed out all over the lawn. second night was much better imo, though i only listened to the aud, was unable to make it.
we'll see if my mind changes after the dust settles..
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