Go figure. Phish plays a solid show last night with songs many fans, in many eras, longed for - NICU, Carini, 2001, Mike's & Weekapaug, Funky Bitch, Fluffhead, Loving Cup. But many fans, particularly a number of the lot of you here within our (multiple and overlapping, but ultimately notable if not distinct) bubble of Phish veteranism, complain that it lacked anything notable, and didn't justify Miner-level praise (all due respect to his vocabulary and skillful phrasing).
Sure, I'm a fan of the weirdness, too. I'm honored to have been at the 2/20/93 Roxy, for example, among others. (Not that last night was that. The Roxy was miles, and locked smiles, beyond last night.) And I've of course made sure to hear everything from the early embarrassing-in-retrospect bar shows to the later embarrassing-in-most-ways Coventry shows. But I've aggressively cut back on what I listen, particularly, post-breakup, to perhaps only a show or two each tour that I didn't actually attend, because the jadedness was ruining it for me. And it may be ruining it for you.
By the "breakup", I'd stopped going for the music. I was going to see friends, and to experience the aura - and those, too, were of course changing. The music's now back for me, and not just because it's gotten better, but because I'm not mired in it.When I head to AC next week, it won't just be exciting because of the imminent Halloween show, or the 120-seat Phamily Poker Classic at the Tropicana. It'll be because friggin' PHISH is playing. And they play great shows. Like Providence, last night.
The reliable stuff, the solid stuff, the strings of good songs with no flubs or meanders or distractions or oddities, the straight-ahead "this is our stuff" Phish? That's the show last night, getting 2 of 5 stars because it came too soon after Uttica, and verged too little from the compositions.
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