No whistling.
 Extended jam segment.
 Lyrical change to reference Mike's Segway.
Reba did not have the whistling ending. Wilson included an extended jam segment. NICU, Ya Mar, and Rocky Top were played in succession for the first time ever – which would be quite an obscure item to report, except that all three songs found Trey exhorting Page to “Play it, Leo!” Trey subsequently announced the songs as the “Leo Trio.” Ya Mar also included a lyrical change to reference Mike’s Segway. Trey teased San-Ho-Zay in Julius. Piper contained a tease of Tweezer Reprise. Rock and Roll and Seven Below were unfinished. YEM included a Couldn’t Stand the Weather tease.
Alpine's first inPHISHtation in 3 years resulted in a show of one Everst-esq peak, several K2s, and a handful of Mariana's Trenches. It was, in a word, inconsistent. But it also contained, in another more optimistic word: potential. That massive DWD and firehose combo of Gin -> Mango showed some real promise. The mid set lulls though, hmm, well... let's hope those were outliers to what the finale of this run held.
Let's get one thing straight. This is a high-powered first set. This first set powers the fences the line the Tyrannosaur Paddock. This first set can be seen from space with in infrared camera. Hooo boy! Fasten your seatbelts. Let's go!
Sample in a Jar sets a simultaneous energetic, playful, and elevated mood to the show. I don't know what it is, well I suppose I do - the intangible aspect of Phish. A seemingly "regular" song that can be placed anywhere at any time, and really have a feel of "meh" to a feel of "HOLY VOLCANIC SPACE MONKEYS!!!" Intangibility of this *feel* is what a Phish show is all about. Sometimes Sample is just Sample, but sometimes it is indeed a volcanic space monkey. This one is the later. Followed up a #2 Reba, holy cow. Phish means business. Composed section was adeptly played, with that slight 2003 edge, and the bliss jam featured some focused, bird-like trilling from Trey and fancy fill-work from Fishman. The jam built upon itself in quite economical fashion, much like 7.10.03 Shoreline. It won't blow the roof off, but it is certainly a fine version that features a series of very pretty builds and melodic webs. Wilson crashes the setlist party, and everyone celebrates his arrival. The hard-rocker adds a few extra head-bangs during a slightly extended mid-song jam segment and the energy of the show starts to amplify upon itself. We. Are. Rolling. Scents and Subtle Sounds in the 4 slot of set 1 is a treat. This laid back, somewhat slowed down jam is a nice counterpoint to Wilson. It does not feature the blissed-out cathartic-peak of 7.9.03 Shoreline, but as a first set jam, there is nothing to complain about here. A smokin Maze comes next. Maze, like Sample, can be "meh" or can be "COSMIC MUSICAL LASER GEYSERS!!!" This one falls nearer to the latter on that spectrum. A few almost-sloppy transitions do not diffuse the power this Maze brings to the table. Furthermore, Trey really goes nuts on the peak. Good stuff. Driver (I love Driver. always) is a *perfect* respite after a, count it, 5 song show-opening volley of Sample, Reba, Wilson, SASS, Maze. Whoa. NICU picks the pace back up and sets the table for a breezy Ya Mar. Tropical and calypso-y, even if short on the time scale, this is a superb follow up song to NICU, as they both have that island-feel. Rocky Top is an odd choice, but given the songs natural energy, it suits the set well and adds to its ever-growing energy! Page hams it up during Lawn Boy and we all have a good laugh as he croons his way through the song. Mike has some nifty work too. The peak of this set-long energy, to my ears, comes to a boiling point during this ferocious, incendiary Julius. Regardless if you "like" this song or not, this version is FANTASTIC!!! Do not skip it. What a first set!!!
Whew. So the band obviously is feeling it tonight. They are crackin. Snappin. Poppin. The energy is vibrant and the vibe is energetic. Let's see how set 2 shapes up. Can it hold serve for set 1? Set 2 can be divided into 3 mutually exclusive 20+ minute segments. That should whet your appetite.
A monstrous Piper starts off the second set. Now, I saw monstrous with more a negative connotation. Some fans love this version. I am not one of those. It is dark, dissonant, and discorded... in a more specific word, it is jagged. Some fans love this stuff, not me though. Not to say it isn't worth a listen, but allow me to break it down. 0:00 - 13:00 is Piper grimy-jam. It groaaans along. Dark. Deep. Dirty. 13:00-16:00 it feels as though the are about to lock into a melodic, peppy groove... but 16:00-19:00 they dive back into the depths, weird stuff, only to be saved by... 19:00-23:00 where they find this (still brooding) but metal-esq chord progression that builds and builds in an intense frenzy ... it is really fantastic to listen to. It'll pump you up. I love these last four minutes! The jam winds down and Rock and Roll winds up and delivers a Nolan Ryan fastball. This is where the second 20+ minute segment begins. WOOSH!!! This Rock and Roll is furious and given its relatively tame timestamp, packs one hell of punch. It drips into a slinky, poppy outro groove after a wild Trey-driven Rock and Roll outro before a totally seamless, perfect, amazing -> Seven Below. WOW! What a segue!! Seven Below bounces along and much like Rock and Roll, packs a great jam into a very limited time frame. Must listen stuff between these two. Seven Below eventually evaporates into Prince Caspian, which showcases some inspiring Trey soloing. They are feeling it tonight. Not 10 seconds after the extend Caspian jam ends, the finale begins. 28 minutes of You Enjoy Myself: check please. This is no ordinary YEM. This one is burn-burner sitting atop a volcano on the sun while fireworks are exploding overhead. It spews comets and asteroids. It absorbs negativity and hatred and turns them into dance moves and flailing limbs. This jam section contains three separate jams sections. Each one building, then subsiding; then building even higher, then subsiding (into some dirrrrty Mike/Fish combo work); then building finally into a HUGE, machine-gun Trey peak that is, I don't even know, I just threw my thesaurus at the computer screen. DO NOT EVER SKIP THIS YEM. Wading is, whatever, I mean honestly at this point an encore wasn't even necessary. Phish had nothing left to destroy. What a complete show!!!!!
Must-hear jams: Julius, Rock and Roll -> Seven Below, You Enjoy Myself!!!!!!
Probably-should-listen-to jams: The continuous segment of Sample-Reba-Wilson-SASS-Maze, Piper (especially the final 4 minutes)
FWIW"... I wasn't sure I'd want to see Phish again after these two last concerts. The setlist the first night at Alpine was enjoyable, but some of the songs were lackluster performances, and, mostly the crowd was pretty shitty. Not dancing, standing around, strung-out"... more interested in the fact that they were Messed Up at a Phish show, than actually enjoying the show. I felt this showed in the band's playing.. Not sure who they were playing to anymore or if people were actually coherent enough to HEAR what they were playing.
The song selection for both nights was pretty standard and I felt that most of both nights were overly-predictable. In particular, the second set, the second night"... I got stubbed down to third row, Trey side"... and from Seven Below through the jam in YEM they were just playing to play. First time I was 3rd and 1 and it was so sad, I wanted to cry.
By the time the Velvet Sea encore started I was already walking up the steps. Up and Out. They weren't my band anymore"... Phish were playing to people I couldn't understand and really didn't have any desire to be around. And I'm pretty sure they felt the same way. It was the first time in the umpteen years I'd been seeing them and I was leaving a show not WANTING TO SEE MORE"...
I didn't make a show in 2004. I was stationed in Korea in the US Army. They announced Coventry and"... just like that, it was over, again. This time, it seemed like it was forever. All that was left were memories of some of the Best nights and most fun I'd ever had. The great times I'd had with my Brother, with my friends, with complete strangers... and, with songs. Calling first set openers, Closers and Encores were the stuff of Legend in our little social circle. No more lot-style t-shirts to flaunt. No more parking lot tapes and CD's of jams played on the other side of the map by bands that didn't frequent the Midwest in those days. Sharing stories of getting tickets to impossible shows, ditching work, or school, just to make the gates before the first set started"... It was all over for the mighty four-sum from Vermont"... Then, on Oct.1, 2008,
Second show of a two night stand and at times, it seemed like Trey was diving head first into shred territory (even in the jammed out Caspian). Wilson provides a heavy jam and Maze seems to follow suite some intensity of its own after SASS. SASS was still a work in progress but it was fun to be there in the evolution. The "Leo Trio" was good stuff, added some smiles, and makes for a fun spin.
Set two highlights in this set o' jams are the 20+ minute bookends. Piper started the set during a mild drizzle and builds into a monster. The other jams in the second set are decent (even Caspian ::ducks: but the YEM is where it's at. No joke. Couldn't Stand the Weather tease and the whole band was on.point. Great vocal jam at the end to round it out. A must listen YEM!
I don't want to get into a terminology argument, but I think you can go ahead and call it a "Tweeprise" jam rather than a tease; it takes up a good two minutes. Not much else going on in this show, but this "Piper" is must-hear Phish. Also, what is the point of labeling a "Seven Below" as "Unfinished"? Shouldn't you also put that label on "Piper" then? What about "Rock And Roll"--that was definitely not finished.
This show really does go above and beyond the show of the previous night. Reba, while not necessarily a 'best-ever'(brah!)version, is spectacular in its own right. Wilson contains beaucoup metal-style shredding and wailing from Trey; or rather, should I say 'whaling'?! Scents and Subtle Sounds was still coming into its own at this point and time, and, while ambient, is nothing to write home about. Maze was the real 1st set jewel, here...fucking hot, hot, hot! Soaring, focused, energetic and frenzied, this version rips! The 'Leo-Trio was cool, and mucho energetic as well, saving the portion of the crowd still trying to shake the dreamy-high of Reba and SASS from their domes. Julius was a rip-roarer, as well.
2nd set ruled! Awesome, long (!) Piper>R&R>Seven Below>Caspian. This jam touches on everything, folks. Well-worth the listen and time. This YEM, my first, was awesome and mucho fun. I fondly remember a man tear his shirt off and start yelping at the start of YEM...it was memorable. As for the encore, Wading is Wading, but I would rather have heard something a little more upbeat for the evening's send-off.
As of this writing, the ratings here are 3.992. Seems low to me.
First set: Good Reba, nice Wilson jam, the Leo trio. Fun first set.
Second set: One of my favorites of my 38 shows spanning 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. Big Piper. Perfectly placed, needed Rock n Roll. And that YEM, my favorite of the 12 I've seen live.
If you listen to nothing else from this show, listen to the YEM. Precursor to the more recent 3.0 jamming style (but without the echoplex). Sounds like the jam was precomposed. Really nice example of jamming around and building an idea, rather than some of the lost, meandering they often did around this time. Trey employs a strumming chords style in here that is lovely and unusual for him. But the tight funk jam they drop into was absolutely incredible live, and still packs that punch.
I must've been in a grouchy mood when I submitted that ^^ "review". Shit, this was my birthday show! What I wouldn't give for just one extended wicked heavy jam in "Wilson" nowadays; it's not much but it still sounds fresh compared to every single 3.0 "Wilson". On the other hand, "Reba" was your typical 2.0 slop/no peak version, "Scents" (as usual) was boring as shit, and, well, the Leo Trio. Yep. But all I wanted for my birthday was "Piper", and "Piper" I got. Damn, I miss that kind of fearless exploration being the rule rather than exception--even if it rarely resulted in greatness, it did this time. "7 Below" was also my fave of the new crop of tunes, although the only thing notable about this one was how beautifully it segued out of "R&R". My night was already made anyway.
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