Wednesday 07/29/2015 by pzerbo

AUSTIN RECAP: FEEL THE TEXAS HEAT

On Tuesday night Phish’s performed their first gig at the 14,000-capacity Austin 360 Amphitheater. It was their twenty-third show in Texas, with the first on 10/25/90 at The Showbar in Houston, and most recently on 10/8/10 at the Austin City Limits festival. Great performances litter the Texas roster, including the famed Bomb Factory show on 5/7/94 and the two-step at the Starplex Amphitheater in Dallas on 7/25/97 and Austin’s South Park Meadows on 7/26/97. Nobody was expecting cool breezes for this late July Texas show, and the 8:34pm start time saw the band and fans doing their best to manage a sweltering 95°F.


Photo © Austin 360 Ampitheater

Phish’s fans are rightly noted for being devoted, obsessive, and, at times, overly critical of the band’s performances. In the “3.0” era, much fan angst has been focused on the quality of performances in the first set. This critique boils down to songs being played in an interchangeable, uninspired and often sloppy manner. The mantra that “anything can happen at a Phish show” is belied by many modern day first set performances, where the only real variation is the degree songs they’ve been playing for ten, twenty, even thirty years are botched. Sometimes this stock criticism is unfair, reactionary, and entitled. Other times, it is spot on… it’s like a different band is the warm-up act, but with the same lineup as Phish. The first set from Austin falls squarely in the latter category; it was far below average, even for the modest standards of a modern Phish first set.

Party Time” opened the festivities in a casual, almost serene manner. “Free” brought the tempo up a little but was marred by Trey having difficulty recalling the song’s pesky details, followed by a “Halley’s Comet” that seemed to wilt under the oppressive heat. Even “Wolfman’s Brother” – often the bright spot in otherwise listless first sets – couldn’t harness any heat. “Possum” was respectable, and if one was forced to pick a first set highlight this would be as good as any. A sequence of short standards included “Lawn Boy,” “Bouncing Around the Room” (a difficult song for Trey despite its seeming simplicity was punctuated at the end by him stepping on a wrong pedal, scrEECH!) and “Water in the Sky.”


Photo © Austin 360 Ampitheater

Dirt” was a minor bust-out, having been last played on 10/25/13 in Worcester, a 58-show gap that was the longest in the song's eighteen-year history. After “Devotion to a Dream” they offered Mike’s “Sugar Shack,” a mystifying call given Trey's historic difficulties with the song and the fact he was genuinely struggling on guitar, with predictable results. “Run Like an Antelope” has saved plenty of lackluster sets in its day, but there would be no heroics on this night until after the break. All that said, no big deal, right? Everyone has a bad day at the office; precious few, however, turn those around as fast, decisively, and often as Phish.


Photo © @tweeprise

After a relatively short break, they did exactly that, busting out of the gates with a fiery “46 Days.” The vibe established in this “46 Days” was night-and-day from the first set, the band displaying fresh and powerful confidence. The show being webcast, desks started flipping across America when they slipped into “The Dogs” from last Halloween’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House set. Another smooth segue back into “46 Days” witnessed the second half of the sandwich taking a decidedly more open, flowing and airy approach, setting the stage for “Piper.” While not quite containing the “slow build” of old, the intro was slow-ish, before building into an up-tempo early pace. The early stages of the “Piper” jam is vintage Fishman, drive-pounding Phish’s engine room, with Trey gliding above, before taking charge with his bandmates in close supportive pursuit. After a bit of a tempo downshift, Trey briefly hinted at “Lizards” before settling on “Ghost.” “Ghost” featured more great Fishman fills coming out of the “composed” section. “Ghost” was awesome – patient, sailing into a bright major key, with a tempo kick into the bliss zone and hints of “Runaway Jim” toward the end. If you are looking for the highlight reel CliffNotes for this gig, the opening half-hour of the second set is money.


Photo © @tweeprise

The new Anastasio/Marshall ballad “Shade” – with its opening a dead ringer for the Dead’s “Standing on the Moon” – made its second appearance, after its debut at the tour opener in Bend. While unusually placed between two slower songs, don’t sleep on the excellent “Gotta Jibboo” that featured Trey offering much more focused leads than are often found in this groove-based vehicle. “Waiting All Night” was performed in back-to-back shows, squandering much hope for fourth quarter momentum. The apparently self-referential “Blaze On” will likely be a fixture in the rotation; Trey clearly loves performing this song. A vocal segment of the fanbase clamours for Dead songs to enter Phish’s rotation, and in "Blaze On" you get three for the price of one (“Not Fade Away,” “Liberty” and “Women Are Smarter”)! “Wading In the Velvet Sea” gave Page another turn in the spotlight before giving way to “David Bowie.” “Bowie” offered a truncated intro, a reasonably solid composed section, and solid jam sequence with CK5 unloading the kitchen sink of psychedelia on his favorite song.


Photo © @tweeprise

Suzy Greenberg” took us down the home stretch, with Trey finding another vehicle for the deployment of his Mutron pedal (the ‘77 “Dancing in the Street” effect). A Neurologist in Austin!? Austin scooped up the Forum’s hanging “Tweezer Reprise,” and a “Loving Cup” encore closed the books on this first leg of the 2015 Texas Two-Step.

Wednesday’s gig takes us up north on I-35 and brings us back indoors to the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie; tickets are still available if you find yourself in the area, and the show will also be webcast via LivePhish. We’ll be back here with more coverage tomorrow.

Phillip Zerbo


LE poster by Conor Nolan. Edition of 675. 18x24

Phish Summer 2015 – Setlists & Recaps
07/21/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 1
07/22/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 2
07/24/15 SetlistRecap, Recap2 – Shoreline
07/25/15 SetlistRecap – LA Forum
07/28/15 SetlistRecap – Austin
07/29/15 SetlistRecap – Grand Prarie
07/31/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 1
08/01/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 2
08/02/15 SetlistRecap – Tuscaloosa
08/04/15 SetlistRecap – Nashville
08/05/15 SetlistRecap – Kansas City
08/07/15 SetlistRecap – Blossom
08/08/15 SetlistRecap – Alpine 1
08/09/15 SetlistRecap – Apline 2
08/11/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 1
08/12/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 2
08/14/15 SetlistRecap – Raleigh
08/15/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 1
08/16/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 2
08/21/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 1
08/22/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 2
08/23/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 3
09/04/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 1
09/05/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 2
09/06/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 3

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Comments

, comment by chooglincharley
chooglincharley Thanks Phil for an actual review of the show and not just a rundown of the setlist.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Thanks for the review. This show was a dud. No way around it. It was not inspired and makes me think that they had a rough travel and didn't like the heat.

Tonight will be better.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor Another Phish show another solid review from Pzerbo.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose I kinda suspected they might dip in Texas. The playing has been at a really high level since Bend 2. They'll bounce back.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Tours have lulls.. And a lull with 46 Days through Ghost? Doable

Never skip a show.. But if it's like 100 out, you might want to think about it at least a little
, comment by SteakSauce
SteakSauce I'm a little surprised to see Trey switching guitars again. His playing had been precise through the first few shows, but not so much last night. I wonder why the change.
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @SteakSauce said:
I'm a little surprised to see Trey switching guitars again. His playing had been precise through the first few shows, but not so much last night. I wonder why the change.
My guess is the intense heat the review mentioned. I live in a desert-y part of California, and just *walking* around in 101 degree heat is enough to make you want to lie down, let alone trying to crank out the solo to Sugar Shack.

They play shows like this in every tour, everyone gets up in arms, and then they play a much better show and it's more or less forgotten. Can't agree that 46 Days -> The Dogs -> 46 Days isn't inspired, though.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert It's all good. Tonight they're playing

I: Tube* -> No Man's-> Weekapaug*-> PYITE, Mike's Song*-> Scabbard-> Taste, Divided Sky
II: Weigh> Timber*-> Simple-> I Am Hydrogen> Chalkdust-> McGrupps-> Chalkdust
E: Contact, Meatstick

* unfinished
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @n00b100 said:
@SteakSauce said:
I'm a little surprised to see Trey switching guitars again. His playing had been precise through the first few shows, but not so much last night. I wonder why the change.
My guess is the intense heat the review mentioned. I live in a desert-y part of California, and just *walking* around in 101 degree heat is enough to make you want to lie down, let alone trying to crank out the solo to Sugar Shack.

They play shows like this in every tour, everyone gets up in arms, and then they play a much better show and it's more or less forgotten. Can't agree that 46 Days -> The Dogs -> 46 Days isn't inspired, though.
Your clarification is inspired! Quite right! I was thinking that after I posted my comment.
, comment by Vote4Gordo
Vote4Gordo Agree with this review 100%. Spot on.
, comment by phoenixphish
phoenixphish Good job Zerbo....Webcast was lacking as well.
, comment by SteakSauce
SteakSauce Switching gears - everyone thinks they might bust a Dead cover this summer, with GD50 and all. This band never does what conventional wisdom says they will, but with Jerry's birthday approaching on 8/1, does anyone think they'll do it Saturday in Atlanta?
, comment by MOstGhoSt
MOstGhoSt these photographs by @tweeprise - excellent!

i missed the first set of austin because i underestimated LA traffic issues, but enjoyed aspects of the second set cloud touring with friends. phish played good songs well, but that doesn't seem to be enough. when you get a taste of magic like this past shoreline and forum concerts, you want it all the time and with every comcert, but in reality, it is impossible.

on that note - i can't stop listening to LA forum night - ohh my gosh goodness that night was amazing.

looking forward to the cloud tour tonight with dallas.
, comment by phishtastic420
phishtastic420 @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@n00b100 said:
@SteakSauce said:
I'm a little surprised to see Trey switching guitars again. His playing had been precise through the first few shows, but not so much last night. I wonder why the change.
My guess is the intense heat the review mentioned. I live in a desert-y part of California, and just *walking* around in 101 degree heat is enough to make you want to lie down, let alone trying to crank out the solo to Sugar Shack.

They play shows like this in every tour, everyone gets up in arms, and then they play a much better show and it's more or less forgotten. Can't agree that 46 Days -> The Dogs -> 46 Days isn't inspired, though.
Your clarification is inspired! Quite right! I was thinking that after I posted my comment.
I would cry with joy if this happened tonight
, comment by Rutherford_theBrave
Rutherford_theBrave Nicely written review Phillip. I think you nailed it on the head. I think the heat also played a big factor in this show. You don't want your fans to pass out cause their raging too hard, which may of been why the show was a little more mellow than others.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Well written and a fair assessment @pzerbo. I get it that the band can't catch lightning in a bottle every night -- without below average shows, there can't be above average shows -- but the one thing the band can always control is song selection and I was a little disappointed that they opted to replay a few songs so soon into the tour. Blaze On I get -- they *should* be playing the new material every chance they get -- but WAN in back-to-back shows is baffling, and even Free and 46 Days (the latter about which I will not complain) played at Shoreline just seemed like a lapse in judgment. I'm guessing that due to the heat, the band was physically uncomfortable, and due to their discomfort, they decided to stick to songs with which they felt comfortable, having played them so recently. All that said, the first half hour of the second set *is* worth hearing, and I expect this show to be a distant memory after tonight as they equilibrate to the heat and have a wide selection of great tunes from which to pull tonight's setlist.
, comment by MOstGhoSt
MOstGhoSt ohh and they did a repeat of "waiting all night" after playing it at the forum. interesting.
it is a beautiful song. really really nice. "sail on sail on"- i keep hearing "set on settled" but it is enjoyable to mishear and imagine other meanings with lyrics sometimes.

nice review mr zerbo.
, comment by SneakinMikesgroove
SneakinMikesgroove Pretty spot on review on each song and how they played. I fully expect the band (Trey) to come back with a heater tonight. Mistakes happe in life and that's what makes us human, we've got it simple cuz we've got a band! And this band will rebound like no one else can, watch out TX, hydrate cuz you're in for a treat tonight!
, comment by PhishMarketStew
PhishMarketStew A minor disagreement, I felt that while Set 1 lacked any standout jams the execution of the Type 1 playing was exceptional, Party Time, Wolfmans & more all brought the heat and Im at a loss to see how Treys playing was "off". Even the setlist flow, while definitely of a type, was well arranged and thought out. Set 2 really went off the rails after Ghost but we all seem to have level heads about the "they can't all be zingers" reality of in the moment artistic creation.
I think Phish has raised the entirety of their game a few notches and by the time this tours over we'll all be super happy little Phans.
Thanks again for the recap, keep em' coming!
, comment by ChicagoTim
ChicagoTim I heard it the same way. 46 Days through Ghost was great, and Gotta Jiboo was too--more focused and less groovy than usual. Second set was a lot more enjoyable. I like Blaze On a lot, and am glad to see it will stick in the rotation.
, comment by Destiny_Bound
Destiny_Bound Like @ucpete expressed, you cannot have the highest highs without the lowest lows. Life is a balance and always reaches equilibrium. We should be thankful for a low in anticipation of another high.

I almost don't buy the heat excuse, I fondly recall the Deer Creek 6/28/12 show where the temp was 104 and 100% humid. The crowd staggered in and we were treated to a Curtain With, FYF, Pebbles, Weigh, etc. quite a *hot* set in extraordinary heat, a Tweezer back to back (Blossom before) for the "freezer" comment, followed by the Tela "cool winds" and a bust out "Cool it Down". The boys can bring it in the heat!

Cheers to a good indoor show tonight, regardless.
, comment by Philly_Phish_Phan
Philly_Phish_Phan Since "Most Shows Spell Something", Friday night Dick's looks like this:

Ghost
Reba
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
Tela
Energy
Farmhouse
Undermind
Llama (or fulfill Lushington?)
Divided Sky
Esther
Also Zach Tharathustra (2001)
David Bowie
, comment by bobbyluv
bobbyluv Just a blah show all around. It happens
, comment by DallasPhish
DallasPhish Lots of good commentary here... but I will be happy with whatever the band plays tonight as I can't remember being so amped for an event. My wife thinks I'm acting crazy these last few days as I'm like a kid before Christmas. Phish rarely makes it to Texas, so tonight will be my first time to see them in a LONG time.
, comment by aburtch
aburtch Great review, agree with the overall feel. I also agree with many of the folks saying this was a below-average show.

However, I just had to post to say we are LUCKY fans that our band kicks any other band's ass, even on an off night. And there were steaks of inspired playing to be found in this setlist.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @aburtch said:
Great review, agree with the overall feel. I also agree with many of the folks saying this was a below-average show.

However, I just had to post to say we are LUCKY fans that our band kicks any other band's ass, even on an off night. And there were steaks of inspired playing to be found in this setlist.
Mmmmmm... setlist steaks...
Image
, comment by SAMKiND4
SAMKiND4 @Destiny_Bound said:
Like @ucpete expressed, you cannot have the highest highs without the lowest lows. Life is a balance and always reaches equilibrium. We should be thankful for a low in anticipation of another high.

I almost don't buy the heat excuse, I fondly recall the Deer Creek 6/28/12 show where the temp was 104 and 100% humid. The crowd staggered in and we were treated to a Curtain With, FYF, Pebbles, Weigh, etc. quite a *hot* set in extraordinary heat, a Tweezer back to back (Blossom before) for the "freezer" comment, followed by the Tela "cool winds" and a bust out "Cool it Down". The boys can bring it in the heat!

Cheers to a good indoor show tonight, regardless.
So hot that day....they played "Cool it down"
Amazing show though.
, comment by SAMKiND4
SAMKiND4 @SAMKiND4 said:
@Destiny_Bound said:
Like @ucpete expressed, you cannot have the highest highs without the lowest lows. Life is a balance and always reaches equilibrium. We should be thankful for a low in anticipation of another high.

I almost don't buy the heat excuse, I fondly recall the Deer Creek 6/28/12 show where the temp was 104 and 100% humid. The crowd staggered in and we were treated to a Curtain With, FYF, Pebbles, Weigh, etc. quite a *hot* set in extraordinary heat, a Tweezer back to back (Blossom before) for the "freezer" comment, followed by the Tela "cool winds" and a bust out "Cool it Down". The boys can bring it in the heat!

Cheers to a good indoor show tonight, regardless.
So hot that day....they played "Cool it down"
Amazing show though.

Damn me for not reading the entire quote!
, comment by The__Van
The__Van @SteakSauce said:
Switching gears - everyone thinks they might bust a Dead cover this summer, with GD50 and all. This band never does what conventional wisdom says they will, but with Jerry's birthday approaching on 8/1, does anyone think they'll do it Saturday in Atlanta?
Defying conventional wisdom says they will something the show before or the show after. I'll be at all 3 so fingers crossed!
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred Back when Page was head down, reticent, a soft-spoken brother who (allegedly) would reject costume suggestions because of lyrical content, Lawn Boy was amusing....

Presently, with Page - er, Iron Man - hamming it up regularly, Lawn Boy is a redundancy. Whatever charm is once possessed has gone the way of Fish's Elivs 'cape.' It's the equivalent of Henrietta back in the day; which the band deliberately moved away from, in an attempt to focus more on form than fun - without, of course, eliminating the fun.

The time may have come to close the lounge and put a bit more shine into the Sugar Shack - just a tremendous tune, always welcome (no matter the flubs) as it sets the right mental tone.

Aside from that, the first set 'was.' The catalog is so vast now, that clunkers are going to emerge, based upon song selection alone. Halley's in this era is simply as it used to be, before it became something different. Toss in a newish ballad, an older ballad, an ancient Bouncing, and there you have it.

Set Two suffers from more of the same. Some of the old simply doesn't mesh well with the new. 46 Dogs is cool, but Piper, like Halley's, is back to what it was before it became what it was; this can sound disappointing - especially as it still holds the same post 97 set placement. (On the other hand, Twist, which has also reverted to form, can really be pretty and interesting, especially early in the first). Velvet will always polarize; I like it - and I like where they play it - but it certainly loses some resonance when placed near a promising Shade and a misplaced Waiting.

Still fun to see, and I love the tone and the energy.
, comment by DocDMT
DocDMT Trey probably switched guitars because he is playing on vintage Languedoc guitars. I play on a vintage Fender Jazz Bass and heat can reek havoc on the neck. The boys might have been road wary and the heat does not help either... long drive from LA and then really hot and humid just sucks to perform in! I have seen 178 shows since my first at Tinley Park in '93 and every musician has an off night. The boys will bounce back, they always do! Happy touring everyone!
, comment by CanandaiguaRyan
CanandaiguaRyan Good review. constructive criticism: reduce the "links" to dead tunes.
, comment by DaWeT
DaWeT I thought the sound was amazing. I only webcast this show but I really liked the whole show even the songs I don't usually care for. I'm not sure if it was the venue or the webcast people just got the sound right, but I disagree and think this show was solid and the sound was excellent.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert It's fun to guess at how they approach these things.

If I could put myself in Treys shoes and I was really just feeling gross because of the travel and the heat, I'm not sure what I'd do

Coming from my personal POV, I'd be like "let's run through a couple left field song choices. Maybe we can't create a transdimensional wormhole on stage during Light tonight, but people always appreciate a rarity even if it's relatively sloppy"

Replace 5 random songs with 5 weird random songs or random placements even if they aren't songs you're particularly fond of, and things brighten up considerably.

I: party time, round room, halleys> Suzy, Devotion> Possum, Weigh, Bouncing, Water, Dirt, Sugar shack, antelope
II: 46 Days Dogs 46 days> Piper> Ghost> Shade> Drowned> Waiting> Blaze On, if I Could> Loving Cup, Bowie> Tweeprise
E: Wolfmans
, comment by ForgeTheCoin
ForgeTheCoin Finally finished listening to this show and I honestly could not be more surprised at what I heard based on the ferocity of negativity about it.... It's really not a bad show! Yes, Sugar Shack, Antelope were botched and perhaps there were a couple other sloppy moments, but all in all it is a very listenable show IMO. Loved the Ghost/Shade/Jibboo, love Trey's Jerry tone in Devotion to a Dream, and yes I'm one of those guys that likes Waiting All Night... always happy to hear it. I have heard MUCH worse shows. Don't ask me to tell you which ones, but I guarantee they exist. This isn't even close to the "worst ever" labels people were putting on it. I would DL and re-listen to multiple portions of this show... and I'm usually an annoying picky listener!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @ForgeTheCoin said:
Finally finished listening to this show and I honestly could not be more surprised at what I heard based on the ferocity of negativity about it.... It's really not a bad show! Yes, Sugar Shack, Antelope were botched and perhaps there were a couple other sloppy moments, but all in all it is a very listenable show IMO. Loved the Ghost/Shade/Jibboo, love Trey's Jerry tone in Devotion to a Dream, and yes I'm one of those guys that likes Waiting All Night... always happy to hear it. I have heard MUCH worse shows. Don't ask me to tell you which ones, but I guarantee they exist. This isn't even close to the "worst ever" labels people were putting on it. I would DL and re-listen to multiple portions of this show... and I'm usually an annoying picky listener!
Don't know where you're reading such reviews, but no one hear has labeled this show as "worst ever". We are just acknowledging that it wasn't of the same high caliber as the opening shows of the tour. No one is bashing it.
, comment by LightsWentOut
LightsWentOut @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@ForgeTheCoin said:
Finally finished listening to this show and I honestly could not be more surprised at what I heard based on the ferocity of negativity about it.... It's really not a bad show! Yes, Sugar Shack, Antelope were botched and perhaps there were a couple other sloppy moments, but all in all it is a very listenable show IMO. Loved the Ghost/Shade/Jibboo, love Trey's Jerry tone in Devotion to a Dream, and yes I'm one of those guys that likes Waiting All Night... always happy to hear it. I have heard MUCH worse shows. Don't ask me to tell you which ones, but I guarantee they exist. This isn't even close to the "worst ever" labels people were putting on it. I would DL and re-listen to multiple portions of this show... and I'm usually an annoying picky listener!
Don't know where you're reading such reviews, but no one hear has labeled this show as "worst ever". We are just acknowledging that it wasn't of the same high caliber as the opening shows of the tour. No one is bashing it.
I dunno. The language in the review is pretty negative. Other people may not feel that this show was bad, but it is pretty clear that the review was not feeling it at all. Here's some of that language that I am referring to: "The first set from Austin...was far below average, even for the modest standards of a modern Phish first set."

Saying that this first set was far below average was overstating things by a lot. We can argue over the degree to which he deviated from the expected norm, but I am not aware of anyone who was at this show who felt that anything about it was below average.

The whole review, while recognizing the legitimate highlights of the show, was encapsulated in negativity that, in my opinion, was not deserved of this show. I don't blame people for thinking that this review looked down on this show because the language used makes it pretty clear.
, comment by GAphishin
GAphishin Joey: I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense.
[Kareem gets angry]
Joey: And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.
Roger Murdock: [breaking character] The hell I don't! LISTEN, KID! I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night! Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @LightsWentOut said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@ForgeTheCoin said:
Finally finished listening to this show and I honestly could not be more surprised at what I heard based on the ferocity of negativity about it.... It's really not a bad show! Yes, Sugar Shack, Antelope were botched and perhaps there were a couple other sloppy moments, but all in all it is a very listenable show IMO. Loved the Ghost/Shade/Jibboo, love Trey's Jerry tone in Devotion to a Dream, and yes I'm one of those guys that likes Waiting All Night... always happy to hear it. I have heard MUCH worse shows. Don't ask me to tell you which ones, but I guarantee they exist. This isn't even close to the "worst ever" labels people were putting on it. I would DL and re-listen to multiple portions of this show... and I'm usually an annoying picky listener!
Don't know where you're reading such reviews, but no one hear has labeled this show as "worst ever". We are just acknowledging that it wasn't of the same high caliber as the opening shows of the tour. No one is bashing it.
I dunno. The language in the review is pretty negative. Other people may not feel that this show was bad, but it is pretty clear that the review was not feeling it at all. Here's some of that language that I am referring to: "The first set from Austin...was far below average, even for the modest standards of a modern Phish first set."

Saying that this first set was far below average was overstating things by a lot. We can argue over the degree to which he deviated from the expected norm, but I am not aware of anyone who was at this show who felt that anything about it was below average.

The whole review, while recognizing the legitimate highlights of the show, was encapsulated in negativity that, in my opinion, was not deserved of this show. I don't blame people for thinking that this review looked down on this show because the language used makes it pretty clear.
Well-stated. I must admit, though, that I was thinking the same things as the reviewer. I think it was the flubs that made me cringe in the first set. I had developed those dreaded EXPECTATIONS after Bend, that Trey was going to work flawlessly without a net all tour.
, comment by AustinTxNate
AustinTxNate As a proud Austinite, seeing my 2nd show out of 34 Texas, I can say that it didn't matter WHAT they played or HOW they played it, seeing the boys in Austin was heavenly! Not to mention the town showed up, and got DOWN! What a rowdy crowd and show!

Damn good Party!(hence the opener) Our bus and group had several first and second timers, and everyone had the time of their life! It was fun leaving the show watching everyone hugging and high-fiving with smiles from ear to ear!

Just glad to see Phish and sleep in our own beds. :)
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