Whenever the final Curtain falls on Phish, and fans debate the band's finest moments, Friday's Haunted House set will be a part of that discussion. So how do you follow up a show like that? Do you ride the momentum to even greater heights? Remember, 11/1/13 was possibly the best show of last year. Or are we doomed to Saturday Night Special meets The Hangover? Phish didn't have to play shows on 1/1/96 or 1/1/00. They would get no such reprieve on 11/1/14.
Photo by @hersch
A tight, compact "Fuego" starts us off. Like its other first set brethren, this "Fuego" sticks to the script, but if amount of Trey-face is a leading indicator, we can put away the Advil. He looks fresh as a daisy and Hangover-free. The blues of "My Soul" follows and gives way to the shuffle of "Back on the Train." After playing no Fuego songs on the one year anniversary of their debut, the funk of "555" delivers our second in four songs. The first "Dog Faced Boy" since 6/8/11 (144 shows) provides our first surprise of the night. Moving swiftly from such tenderness to facial copulation, We get the first "Fuck Your Face" since Phish Trucked our Face last NYE. The two-faced combo is followed by a quick "Horn" before we get another rarity in the form of "Frankie Says." The always welcome "My Friend My Friend" is next. So in the space of five songs, we've been dogged, fucked, blown, sucked and stabbed. What other band has that range, I ask you?
Photo by @languagestrange
At least they leave flowers for us, as "Roses Are Free" continues the string of relative bustouts. The Circus Circus is the place for us, as "Roggae" ushers us under the big top. In the past few years, when we think of the typical first set "jamming" songs, songs like "Gin," "Wolfman's," and "Stash." "Roggae" has quietly been at that level, though this would be a fairly tame version, even by first set standards. "Birds of a Feather" was next and featured a quick tease of "The Birds" from Friday's Haunted House set. "Birds" contained a "Birds" tease. Get it? A typically strong "Wingsuit" (love it in this position) closed the set.
Photo by @taopauly
Set two starts off with "Possum." Played a couple of times a tour, "Possum" is welcome pretty much anywhere in the setlist, even as a second set opener. This version would really serve as a table setter for what was to come. First, "Crosseyed and Painless" wastes little time breaking form. A tight little Trey-led groove becomes spacier, and Page's Rhodes hints at "No Quarter," but instead results in a slick segue into "Light." "Light," augmented by all manner of howling, builds to a serious peak reminiscent of "The Dogs" from 10/31, before quieting down into a serene space. For a minute, it seems like Fish is struggling to keep the jam alive, but then it resolves into a brief full band "Lengthwise."
Photo © Phish From the Road
For the second consecutive 11/1, we get a tease-infused version of "Twist." The 2014 vintage features some "Lengthwise" quoting from Fish before hitting on a more severe infusion of "Manteca" teases and good old fashioned, ferocious picking from Trey. "Twist" cools down until it's just Page steering things into "Wading in the Velvet Sea." After "Velvet Sea" does its thing, the alligator mouths continue into "Harry Hood."
This has been a revelatory year for "Harry" and it seemed tonight would not disappoint. There are all sorts of bells and whistles throughout this version (check out Trey at the end of the "Miner" segment and the plinko-y work from Page during the build). The stage was set for an all-time version when it was abruptly cut short in favor of "Golgi." Don’t quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure that's a felony in some jurisdictions. "Number Line" takes the set fully off the rails, but at that point the damage had already been done. A classic Phish case of subtraction by addition. "Waiting All Night," "Sing Monica" and, for god only knows what reason, "The Star Spangled Banner" filled the encore slot. I could go on, but you probably don't want me to. I was feeling good – really good! – though the third quarter, but seven straight tequila shots have left me all sorts of hungover.
Photo © Phish From the Road
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