Thursday 08/06/2015 by Doctor_Smarty

KC RECAP: STARLIGHT STAR BLIGHT

Fresh off their ascension to new peaks in the land of “Rocky Top,” the band and their pillaging H.O.R.D.E. of wooks, rail-riders, and spunions made the “555” mile trip northwest to lay siege to the turreted castle walls of Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre for a second time. Whereas the initial Phish foray (8/22/12) into this historic artisan’s citadel may only be noteworthy for an average great show replete with solid but otherwise unremarkable takes on a number of repertoire favorites, the most recent performance of “Skin It Back,” some Todd Akin mockery and a “Stairway to Heaven” tease in “Suzy Greenberg,” last night’s show in contrast was a monumentally stellar experience which continued the upward trend that has largely defined the summer 2015 campaign.


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

At least that’s what I wanted to be able to say this morning. But you know, sometimes reality bites and the endeavor takes a few steps back. Don’t get me wrong, this was as always, a Phish show, which is pretty damn awesome all things reconsidered… even if the song selection may be a little repetitive at this stage of the tour and a few of the numbers fell flat. Thankfully there were still a few flashes of brilliance on which I would be happy to ejaculate, so let’s get down (with disease) and wallow in the mire.

Following a THEY ATTACK! quote of “The Birds,” the first set gets underway with a well-spiced serving of “Gumbo” that Page kept bubbling and Trey gave a good stir with his thick wooden spoon. During the tasty but far too brief clavinet outro, Fishman starts playing around with a “Dogs Stole Things” (no wait “Mound”) backbeat but that idea unfortunately drops into a future stream of consciousness and cascades over the ledge into “Kill Devil Falls.” After that Hotlanta monster, there is nothing much to say about this third version of the tour other than it had high energy and a strong groovy beat that one could dance to. “Back on the Train” gave us the second repeat from the first night of Lakewood in as many songs. Like its predecessor it was a typical lively first set rendition travelling through some pleasant but generally familiar scenery. As the train nears the station some of the second set begins to bleed back through the wormhole but it quickly slams shut, leaving us “Bouncing Around the Room.” Just once… I wish the boys would smash this one open and inspect the gooey entrails that lie within… don’t you?


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

As our star’s light faded from the heavens above the Starlight, it was time to admire our “Divided Sky” in all it’s gloriously peaceful serenity. You know how there are those moments when you gaze upwards and your breath is taken away by what you see? This wasn’t one of those majestic cerulean visions by any means… but it wasn’t hail and brimstone either. That came next. Though certainly interesting and new as far as the music goes, the Phish debut of Mike Gordon’s “The Last Step” suffers the same vocal agony as “Snow” did on 10/31/13. Here again I think the notes being played are pretty outstanding. This would be a great instrumental. Mike’s pipes just don’t do his words justice. The fifth “Blaze On” of summer 2015 follows allowing it to ease in front of “No Men in No Man’s Land” in the race for most played new song. I love both of these songs of course… but what the hell happened to “Mercury” and when will it leave the retrograde phase?

The answer to that question comes immediately and it seems I will be “Waiting All Night” for the winged messenger to return. We will also continue to wait for something ear-popping to happen with this frequently played Fuego track. I really believe it has a lot of potential to go off the deep end into some thickly textured soaring ambience, but has yet to do such a thing. Please take it for a ride some day, guys. The set closes with a short but muscular “46 Days” and thereby seals this one’s fate as nothing special as far as summer 2015 opening frames go. The problem with raising the bar is that sometimes you smash your junk on it the next time you try to jump over.


Photo © @tweeprise

Gotta Jibboo” trots out for the second half and shanks a short pooch kick to the up-back on the hands team. No return to be had on this one. The same must be said for the far too concise “Twist” that followed, unfortunately. This version gets dark and sinister for a few minutes, shows flashes of the brilliance it has displayed earlier in the tour (see Shoreline), but then gets ripped from our greedy clutches far too soon. So far this second set is feeling like a second first set. I guess it is all about mass balance. When some shows are so jam heavy, others have to be jam light to keep the galaxy’s spiral arms in place. “The Wedge” follows in the mid-second set slot it occupied most recently during the first night at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend. In keeping with this similar setlist placement, it contains a synonymous “Stash” tease and does little in the way of architectural achievement as far as the show structure is concerned. I’m sure the dude that was throwing down in front of me in Bend was loving it as always!

Starlight’s star blight to the rescue! A blight, you see, is a plant disease, one that is typically caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts. This show had ample infestations of rust, mildew, and smut before we came “Down with Disease” if you know what I’m saying. The latest offering in the 20+ minute jams of summer 2015 is another winner. The jam engages as a lush cerebral groove that veers towards “What’s the Use?” space via “Wingsuit” briefly revisits “Piper” asks “How Many People Are You?” then builds patiently toward a steep yet truncated peak that pierces the bulk and allows a glimpse into the infinite quietude of deep space before the drop into “Sand.” Slinky groove, dimensional flanging, gravitational fuzz rock firestorm, give me this sound all day… or at least more than eight minutes… seriously more of that!


Photo © @tweeprise

You know, if you want me to be happy and full of “Joy” that is. Speaking of, this tune actually is starting to have something for everybody. I noticed during the Shoreline performance that it covers every angle of the Phish experience and often builds to a face melting peak these days. It is my song too… if only for a few seconds. “You Enjoy Myself” brings the set to a close with some time-bending crunchiness a “Groove is in the Heart” dalliance and a largely plaintive vocal jam that is representative of the overall average-great vibe of the show.

I love “Bug” and think it is a great encore. The lyrics are deep if you let them take you there. It pays musical homage to The Velvet Underground and The Marshall Tucker Band simultaneously. It places value on experiences rather than material possessions. It reminds us each and every time it is played that the opinions we have as individuals especially when striving to give a critical assessment of the band’s performance on a given night is just one opinion… and whether we overrate or underrate the music… it just doesn’t matter. What would you rather be doing??? You’re next, Blossom… go get high in the middle and round on both ends!


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

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


Kansas City LE poster by @GREGMIKE. Edition of 675.

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Comments

, comment by wilsoncolfax
wilsoncolfax This has to be the worst review I've ever read. Were you listening to the show or just wanking off in your head about what clever thing you might say next about it. You at what is wrong with the fan base. Pull your head out of your area and start listening to to hy be music. Your opinion blows
, comment by metawhy
metawhy What is wrong with a guy getting excited about "The Wedge"? Should we only get excited about certain songs? Do you have a list of these songs so that I don't make a fool of myself next time I get excited? ;)
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @wilsoncolfax I listened to the show AS I was wanking off writing the next clever thing I had to say. I am no at what is wrong with the fan base. I have an opinion. I gave the opinion. Please feel free to submit a review of the show and tell us all what YOU think was great about it.

@metawhy there is nothing at all wrong with somebody getting excited about "The Wedge"...maybe just don't get all jacked up dancing and singing in my face next time and I won't call you out about humping my leg while your kid watches...it was kind of awkward is all.
, comment by sleepingmonkey_
sleepingmonkey_ The review is extremely lame. The entire second set KILLED. You should probably go back and actually listen to it, versus staring at the setlist and using assumptions.

And let's hear a little more about this Disease!
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @sleepingmonkey_ YOU tell us about the second set and the Disease. I gave you my opinion...you're just telling me mine sucks. Let's hear it. Post a review of the show. Show me how a review is done.
, comment by metawhy
metawhy I was just confused by your comment on that Wedge guy. It seemed like you were looking down on him for enjoying a song. Full disclosure: I have never humped anyone else's leg at a show, and I don't even have a kid, although I have been known to hang out with tripping, paisley-colored midgets. Rock on good Dr!
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @metawhy you know I'm not looking down on anybody...even if I'm taller than them. That's the point I was trying to make in the final paragraph. Some people love certain songs. Some people love others. I like the songs that are played well, do interesting things, and allow me to transcend the space time continuum. For the dude humping my leg in Bend...that just happened to be The Wedge. No mockery...it was more the aggressive way the song was being celebrated. I also knew you weren't that dude. Blaze on Tripcity.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred Hey Doc - Didn't you get crushed for your CMAC review last year? Another show I attended, and enjoyed, but wasn't amazed by (although it featured a better Sky than last night's).
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred Fellas.... Re: the first set.... What else do you want the man to write? Not much to work with.

As for the 'entire' second set. It's cool to be a fan and all, and this is all subjective, but again, not much fodder for the good Doctor.

Personally, I've never had to Jibboo - although I do applaud the placement. I'm a little bored of The Wedge in this spot; it has peaked - let's move on. Joy killed? I'm happy for you (and I'm not being sarcastic - that's great) but surely the Sand - again.... - didn't.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred DWD

He penned a TON!

What more do you want? 'The energy and buoyant sense ramp up....'; 'The band makes a breathtaking, powerful statement....' It was yet another set II Disease.

I've heard a number of spots where the band teeters towards WTU? and No Quarter; personally, I'd prefer the former.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred And he was kind to the Bug. In a tour rife with memorable encores, the show closes with Bug....
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred As for a list of songs, meta, let's put one together. As you can tell, The Wedge, in this spot, qualifies (you can go crazy over a Mound though)....

1. Architect
2. Show of Life
3. Scent of a Mule (Second Set)
4. Boogie On.... (Sorry: It's not 97)
5. Joy (People, don't crush ME - I know Trey likes it; this is only about getting foolish)
6. Sing Monica
7. Piano Duet
8. Weigh
9. Vacuum Solo
10. Wombat
, comment by darbwa
darbwa I appreciate the end of the review the most. I appreciate it when any reviewer makes clear that their opinion is only that and ultimately it doesn't matter.
I often (strangely) look forward to listening to the shows that get poor reviews. I find that I always thoroughly enjoy them anyway (like Austin). We are so lucky that we get to hear a band that plays so well, so consistently that even their "bad" shows are pretty f-ing sweet. I think it is difficult to find much to be critical about when I go to a Phish show. But for me, I can only complain about 2 things and only one of them has anything to do with the music. First, The Last Step... so many good Mike songs but I can't say this one did much for me. The second thing is that I wish they would use the video monitors at a venue like Starlight. I really enjoy getting those great views of excellent musicians performing their craft. Unfortunately only half of the people (at best) in the venue get a very good view. I think the video monitors provide a significant upgrade to the experience for so many people.
But man, I sure had a great time last night!
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @raidcehlalred it does seem that people hate my recaps more than most of those by my colleagues. There is something about my writing style that just doesn't appeal to some people. I'm OK with that.

Thanks for all your commentary above. Especially your list...that's some funny shit!
, comment by mudshark77
mudshark77 Nice review Dr. Martian. It's hard to review the let down show, just as it's hard for a band to follow a skull crusher show.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @darbwa thanks for making it through to the end! Happy you had a great time. I always have a great time at Phish shows. I am usually with a dozen or more close friends in a place that is distant from my home seeing and hearing new things in every performance. The point of the recap is to provide an honest account of the quality of the music in a historical context relative to the rest of the tour and the band's history. I'm never going to tell you that I had a bad time at a Phish show. That just isn't possible. But sometimes the music is just average great. It's still better than ANY other band out there. But sometimes it isn't as good as itself.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @mudshark77 you know I am the man for the job though...you brought bad reviews of my bad review? I thought the review was rocking...what...I missed a few changes?
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @Doctor_Smarty said:
@raidcehlalred it does seem that people hate my recaps more than most of those by my colleagues. There is something about my writing style that just doesn't appeal to some people. I'm OK with that.

Thanks for all your commentary above. Especially your list...that's some funny shit!
I like your reviews.... The music speaks for itself; it's pretty easy to access nowadays. It's not like we can play or anything; all we can do is write.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @raidcehlalred said:
@Doctor_Smarty said:
@raidcehlalred it does seem that people hate my recaps more than most of those by my colleagues. There is something about my writing style that just doesn't appeal to some people. I'm OK with that.

Thanks for all your commentary above. Especially your list...that's some funny shit!
I like your reviews.... The music speaks for itself; it's pretty easy to access nowadays. It's not like we can play or anything; all we can do is write.
thanks again...indeed...if you have the ears to listen the music will do the talking. If what I think of the show has any bearing on what somebody else thinks of the show...they've got some other shit to work out that I can't help them address.
, comment by baby_snakes_345
baby_snakes_345 I believe this tour has the band hopping from city to city too much, and it is starting to show. Only 5 multiple night residencies and no 3 night stands..apart from Dicks. I think this has made the band a little uncomfortable and we are beginning to see short rotations in the song material. Still some good shows, but many average shows in my opinion.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @baby_snakes_345 said:
I believe this tour has the band hopping from city to city too much, and it is starting to show. Only 5 multiple night residencies and no 3 night stands..apart from Dicks. I think this has made the band a little uncomfortable and we are beginning to see short rotations in the song material. Still some good shows, but many average shows in my opinion.
Totally agree....too much travel from town to town too fast....but that of course is speculative on our part....what isn't speculative is the shrinking song selection. A tour that started so mesmerizingly original has worn a groove in the earth just like the wagons which came before.

But every tour has ups and downs, it's the nature of the jam-band game. It's funny as I hear myself criticize them for repeats when most bands play the same damn set every single night of tour. Yet that's where we are, nonetheless.

Waiting All Night needs to be shelved for awhile at this point or it's going to be vilified like Possum two years ago.

I'm a little frustrated, considering the sheer depth of their catalog, that there are any songs, other than Disease and some other stalwarts, which would have been played more than three times this early in the tour. Let's shake it up boys!

Still, I daresay I sound like a spoiled child.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Fantastic review, good chap! I personally LOVE your writing style, which is chock-full-of-nuts and good 'ole dark, happy sarcasm.

You're the kind of guy I want to be watching a show with. You're funny as shit and spot-on with your commentary.

I'd tell you not to let the naysayers get to you but you already know the drill.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS And I love Bug too...
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Fantastic review, good chap! I personally LOVE your writing style, which is chock-full-of-nuts and good 'ole dark, happy sarcasm.

You're the kind of guy I want to be watching a show with. You're funny as shit and spot-on with your commentary.

I'd tell you not to let the naysayers get to you but you already know the drill.
Thank you!
, comment by Trey_Talks
Trey_Talks Great Review. Some babies who haven't even been on tour aren't mature enough to know that some shows have to suck in order to constitute the definition of good. Glad to see that the staff of .net doesn't cater to the circlejerk.

I'm also seconding the call for less repeats. Only problem of this tour so far.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect @Doctor_Smarty writes: "Just once... I wish the boys would smash this one open and inspect the gooey entrails that lie within... don't you?"

Why yes, when you put it that way, I do indeed! And that goes for a good many songs.

Generally I like your recap style, but in this one the ligaments of your metaphors seem a tad over-stretched. Still, I appreciate the entire team's recap efforts.
, comment by G0NEPHISHING
G0NEPHISHING @Doctor_Smarty said:
@mudshark77 you brought bad reviews of my bad review?
boom roasted. After Ye Olde Second Mike's, there was absolutely no way they were bringing the fire last night. It was 1,000,000 degrees in Nashville, too...they had to have been drained musically and physically. Hell, I needed an IV just to get to my plane yesterday AM.

You can always pay a high-priced hooker to piss in your ears if you prefer. I'll take the @Doctor_Smarty reviews and dud midweek Phish shows, thank you.
, comment by tubescreamer
tubescreamer @Doctor_Smarty I thought this review was awesome, I laughed and I agreed and it was exactly how I felt. Don't know why people are giving you such a hard time. One of the challenges in our community is not being able to disagree about how well the band played without attacking one another as a person.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I'm all for people being critical even if I vehemently disagree with them.

I feel like this is a really well rounded show. The Divided/Last Step/Blaze On sequence in particular made me feel alive. Jibboo through Twist seemed like a love letter to 1999, with all songs I tend to associate with that year for one reason or another.

I'd place a few bucks on Mercury coming back radically reworked. There's some great ideas in it, you can tell Trey is excited about it, but seems like it needs some alterations before it clicks.

I'm fine with the band overplaying everything they're overplaying. New songs that they are really into are always going to get played to death. There are a lot of Phish songs which still receive a measure of antipathy that is based in the time when those songs were new. Likewise, there are a lot of Phish songs that people ruin for themselves by basing their expectations on a few jammed out versions from 97-04. Then when Roses doesn't have that 4th or 5th jam ever, it's a bummer. I've always found it more fun to fantasize about jams coming from songs and places of songs they haven't come from yet.
I'd rather wish for the first 555 Jam than the first Halley's Comet jam since Bethel 2011.
Absolutely want to see Bouncin's gooey entrails. As far as songs that have never had a jam, I don't think any have as perfect of a place to leave the structure of the song. Either let Trey play the solo and then jam out of the last few measures, or jam out before the solo and let the jam start with the lyrics still ringing out ala Stash. Either way, you're immediately in Oompa Loompa space reminiscent of the 9/17/00 Theme-> Dog Log segue.

As far as the older songs they're playing a lot, they're giving good reasons for that every time they play them. Maybe there aren't a ton of familiar faces in the audience every night so they're more comfortable reaching for a "Birds" or "Wedge". All the songs they're playing a ton that are "Waiting All Night" or older seem to really be inspring the band right now, just not in a way that makes them want to go Type II with it.

I just think this is a great tour. There's a lot of improvisation going on, and on top of that Trey's playing great and that's making the band happy and it's making the non-jam stuff feel really great too.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I don't know on what planet that Twist> Wedge, DWD> Sand was "pissing in your ears" but i'd take the piss magnets out of my ears if that happend.
, comment by curleyfrei
curleyfrei
"The problem with raising the bar is that sometimes you smash your junk on it the next time you try to jump over."
Best line in the recap.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @nichobert said:

I'm fine with the band overplaying everything they're overplaying.

I'm not. Not when you have approximately 8,115 songs to choose from and your historical MO is originality and experimentation.
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 @curleyfrei said:
"The problem with raising the bar is that sometimes you smash your junk on it the next time you try to jump over."
Best line in the recap.
You beat me to it. I laughed out loud when I read that. Nice job, Dr. Smarty.
, comment by Blimpalot
Blimpalot Well ejaculated...and, although my first show of this tour is tonight, I understand the difference between a standard phish experience and a stand out piranhic pheeding phrenzy. That being said, the only factors that contribute to my feeling unphulphilled at a show, even one with no break outs, no phake outs, and a cold steady rain, unfortunately, is when the crowd arotound me seems unappreciative...by talking incessantly, usually loudly during the songs they haven't heard before or didn't want to hear, or because they brought their issues into the venue and desire to make their first-world problems everyone else's. Oh and the ones who think making out during slow songs enhances everyone's good time-- but, hey, I'll take that over the mad gabbers, at least they're quiet. Rant over. The band has never let me down...and I been around. To continue the metaphor, I'm looking forward to whatever junk they smash out tonight!
, comment by Blimpalot
Blimpalot @Blimpalot said: [quote]Well ejaculated...and, although my first show of this tour is tonight, I understand the difference between a standard phish experience and a stand out piranhic pheeding phrenzy. That being said, the only factors that contribute to my feeling unphulphilled at a show, even one with no break outs, no phake outs, and a cold steady rain, unfortunately, is when the crow around me seems unappreciative...by talking incessantly, usually loudly during the songs they haven't heard before or didn't want to hear, or because they brought their issues into the venue and desire to make their first-world problems everyone else's. Oh and the ones who think making out during slow songs enhances everyone's good time-- but, hey, I'll take that over the mad gabbers, at least they're quiet. Rant over. The band has never let me down...and I been around. To continue the metaphor, I'm looking forward to whatever junk they smash out tonight! Please we have no regrets.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@nichobert said:

I'm fine with the band overplaying everything they're overplaying.

I'm not. Not when you have approximately 8,115 songs to choose from and your historical MO is originality and experimentation.
8,116: You forgot Band/Crew Football Theme Song. But I'm with you; ESPECIALLY cause it's not 92 and there are only approximately 25 shows....
, comment by JezmundToo
JezmundToo This is possibly the worst review I have ever read.

Hey Dr. Smarty, you see too many shows. Since when is a well-executed setlist full of energy and musicianship average and boring?

Take a step back and listen. Sorry you have seen too many shows to the point where Phish is boring to you now unless they are rocketing you through the stratosphere.

Lame.
, comment by BaconFlavoredKittens
BaconFlavoredKittens I thought the show was above average, better than most if not all the shows I've seen since 1998. I haven't seen a ton, but the songs were well-played for the most part -- a couple of minuscule hiccups, but nothing catastrophic. A solid B to B+ show in my opinion. Was it NYE 1995? No. Was it anything from 1997? No. Was it the Bomb Factory or Amy's Farm or Vegas with Les? No. Did I have a great time and enjoyed myself? Absolutely. Was the crowd happy to see the band and appreciated them making the all-too-frequent trip to Kansas City? Most certainly. Would I have preferred to relive the all my greatest Phish moments from the mid-90s? Unnecessary. I enjoy seeing this band enjoy themselves and play tight sets. They are obviously practicing a lot because the jamming is almost always cohesive and focused. Almost every jammable song had a solid Type 1 jam that found it's way back back home, and the unfinished DwD was a solid effort at a Type 2. There was noting wrong with this show, and I will enjoy listening to my free mp3 of it today. If there was some redundancy in the setlist, perhaps it's because the band is having fun playing those songs. I was too busy grooving to search out conspiracies.
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd I, too, am here for the junk smashing.

Also, I've been listening to to hy be music since before it was cool.
, comment by stillpeaking
stillpeaking Great review Doctor Smarty. Average show was average. You paid creedence to the good parts, and were overall respectful of the experience.

All objectivity is lost and real criticism suffers a death when we fluff everything indiscriminately.

The real highs won't be so high if people continue to distort reality by calling all shows beyond reproach. Like a fascist state on this site occasionally. I know if you reviewed Atlanta 1 it would be glowing.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Fantastic review, good chap! I personally LOVE your writing style, which is chock-full-of-nuts and good 'ole dark, happy sarcasm.

You're the kind of guy I want to be watching a show with. You're funny as shit and spot-on with your commentary.

I'd tell you not to let the naysayers get to you but you already know the drill.
Agreed. The hate here really is baffling. Marty shared his opinion and did so in his patented writing style. I happen to largely agree with his assessment, and found his review completely fair and perhaps more importantly, I found it entertaining -- but even if I didn't agree, I wouldn't be upset. As nice as it is to have my opinion validated by others, it's just that: nice to have (not need to have). The raising the bar line is indeed an Instant Classic. Nice work MFMF!
, comment by ForgeTheCoin
ForgeTheCoin Thoroughly enjoyed the review... And yes, more exploration of gooey entrails, please...

After a few relistens I just have to say how strong I think Jibboo, Twist, Wedge, DWD and Sand are as a second set. I think I've enjoyed listening to those tracks more than most other sets this tour. Don't let the length of the tracks fool you into thinking they lack quality. Twist, Wedge and Sand are perhaps short-Ish versions, but man are they smoking! High energy, tight, powerful, intricate and beautiful jams. I've already said it elsewhere but I'm gaga over the jam in Sand - outrageously good. I agree - more of THAT!!

This show seems destined to be underrated and ignored in favor of 7/31 and other fine sets of music scattered around this tour. But don't sleep on this second set or you'll be missing out on some really quality stuff.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @JezmundToo said:
This is possibly the worst review I have ever read.

Hey Dr. Smarty, you see too many shows. Since when is a well-executed setlist full of energy and musicianship average and boring?

Take a step back and listen. Sorry you have seen too many shows to the point where Phish is boring to you now unless they are rocketing you through the stratosphere.

Lame.
You know what is lame? Calling someone who has contributed extraordinary content, reviews, posts and thoughts to Phish.net over the years and gave his honest review of a show. I loved the review.

You know what I find lame?

Someone crawling out of the woodwork only twice on Phish.net. Not to offer thoughtful commentary. Not to offer their own take on a show. Not to do a song review. Not to leave comments on ANYTHING here: venues, blog posts, news, shows, albums, song histories: Nothing other than twice bashing a show review with petulant and immature attacks.

Why not return when you have something constructive to add?
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @JezmundToo said:
This is possibly the worst review I have ever read.

Hey Dr. Smarty, you see too many shows. Since when is a well-executed setlist full of energy and musicianship average and boring?

Take a step back and listen. Sorry you have seen too many shows to the point where Phish is boring to you now unless they are rocketing you through the stratosphere.

Lame.
I do not see too many shows...I've only seen 97 shows in 23 years. A little over four per year average. Admittedly I have listened to a lot more shows during that same time period...that's kind of like...my job here at the phish.net site. It offers me the perspective to give a fairly reasonable assessment of a given performance. I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings when I say something was average great. I have never been bored by a moment of Phish. I have one of the most "all Hood" attitudes you would find in the backwoods and alleys of the phish.net netherworld. The band is playing great together. They are inspired and focused. There have been some incredible moments in every show...even the three that are just average great (Austin, Bend 1, and KC) still give me a reason to go to more shows and listen to all of them. As always, I ask that those of you who don't like my recaps, to PLEASE submit a review for the show. The point of these recaps is to invite discussion. The best way to let your feelings be heard is to post your own review. Telling me my take sucks without providing more than a simple "that show was killer you are lame" is the cowards way out. Lay it on the line...tell us how much you love each song and why. I promise I won't come drop a deuce on your metaphorical chest. Your opinion is just as valid as mine.

If you would prefer I lie to you...tell me what you want me to whisper in your ear as we spoon on the grass with our shirts off at Magnaball during "Brian and Robert" or maybe to bring it full circle "Let Me Lie"...what do you say?
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @BaconFlavoredKittens said:
I thought the show was above average, better than most if not all the shows I've seen since 1998. I haven't seen a ton, but the songs were well-played for the most part -- a couple of minuscule hiccups, but nothing catastrophic. A solid B to B+ show in my opinion. Was it NYE 1995? No. Was it anything from 1997? No. Was it the Bomb Factory or Amy's Farm or Vegas with Les? No. Did I have a great time and enjoyed myself? Absolutely. Was the crowd happy to see the band and appreciated them making the all-too-frequent trip to Kansas City? Most certainly. Would I have preferred to relive the all my greatest Phish moments from the mid-90s? Unnecessary. I enjoy seeing this band enjoy themselves and play tight sets. They are obviously practicing a lot because the jamming is almost always cohesive and focused. Almost every jammable song had a solid Type 1 jam that found it's way back back home, and the unfinished DwD was a solid effort at a Type 2. There was noting wrong with this show, and I will enjoy listening to my free mp3 of it today. If there was some redundancy in the setlist, perhaps it's because the band is having fun playing those songs. I was too busy grooving to search out conspiracies.
Great content...thanks for the thoughts!
, comment by ZapRowsdower
ZapRowsdower I was at the show and have listened to it in full twice since. @Doctor_Smarty's review is spot on. This was a standard great Phish show that suffered from poor song selection and setlist flow. The songs chosen didn't really go anywhere worth revisiting save for DWD and perhaps YEM.

I still had a blast and would not have wanted to be anywhere else.
, comment by LightsWentOut
LightsWentOut I have been embarking on a No Spoilers Summer Tour which means that I have not been reading any kinds of show reviews or recaps until I have had a chance to listen to the show (or attend, as I was fortunate to do at both Austin and Dallas). It has been an enlightening experience. Last few tours I would often read the recaps/reviews as soon as they were posted and I found that my interest in actually listening to shows from start to finish waned incredibly. I would listen, but skip the poorly reviewed songs or even go so far as to only listen to the big jams or whatever else sparked the community's praise. I was definitely being biased. This time around, I listen to the entire show, from soup to nuts and I must say that my connection to this tour has increased immensely compared to previous tours and, perhaps more importantly, my enjoyment has increased (which is saying a lot, because I loves the Phish from Vermont). This a a round-about way of saying that don't let these "recaps" rustle your jimmies too much.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @LightsWentOut said:
I have been embarking on a No Spoilers Summer Tour which means that I have not been reading any kinds of show reviews or recaps until I have had a chance to listen to the show (or attend, as I was fortunate to do at both Austin and Dallas). It has been an enlightening experience. Last few tours I would often read the recaps/reviews as soon as they were posted and I found that my interest in actually listening to shows from start to finish waned incredibly. I would listen, but skip the poorly reviewed songs or even go so far as to only listen to the big jams or whatever else sparked the community's praise. I was definitely being biased. This time around, I listen to the entire show, from soup to nuts and I must say that my connection to this tour has increased immensely compared to previous tours and, perhaps more importantly, my enjoyment has increased (which is saying a lot, because I loves the Phish from Vermont). This a a round-about way of saying that don't let these "recaps" rustle your jimmies too much.
That's great! The relationship to the music should be an intensely personal one. What I...or any other reviewer/recap writer has to say is irrelevant. What you think about the show is the only thing that matters. I listen to every show in its entirety either as it is happening or multiple times after before I even consider reading the opinions of anybody else (in game chatter from friends notwithstanding). I recap shows because that is part of the service we at phish.net want to provide to those who desire such things. I always make them personal and subjective...because that's all I have. It is an incredible challenge to be objective where The Phish is concerned. There is so much shared history. But that is necessary to give the proper frame of reference for a given performance.

I am against skipping the bad to get to the good in all its forms. The bad is what allows the good to be appreciated to its fullest. I have a greater appreciation for the mountain tops I visit because I have stood in chest deep 35 degree water with a pH of 12 holding a magnetometer over my head so it wouldn't get wet and be rendered useless.
, comment by JezmundToo
JezmundToo Funny enough, the other time I commented on a review was by this same "author".
Not intentional, but it is funny.

You know what's not funny? Veiled homophobia disguised as an "humorous" insult.

"If you would prefer I lie to you...tell me what you want me to whisper in your ear as we spoon on the grass with our shirts off at Magnaball during "Brian and Robert" or maybe to bring it full circle "Let Me Lie"...what do you say?"

MY opinion is that you come off as an snarky, entitled, asshat.
I'll bet you are really fun to hang out with.

But that's just like, my opinion, man.
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 Good lord, 49 comments already.

1. I'm not really sure @Doctor_Smarty was going for veiled homophobia there, although I imagine that's always something that can be debated if it's not actual full-fledged homophobia.

2. I enjoy Mr. Smarty's reviews, mainly because a) I'm an English major and a garrulous writer by heart, and b) because he recaps in a manner different from the more straight-ahead recaps of the @pzerbo's of the world. Variety is the spice of life and such.

3. Writing recaps and reviews, even the little scribblings I contribute now and again, is always a hard thing because of the diverseness of Phish's fanbase. Obviously I would *prefer* if everyone agreed with me, especially w/r/t 3.0 ( :p ), but even I would grant that that would get pretty boring after a while, and it's always interesting to see the rich pageant of opinions that crop up regarding this show or that show or this jam or that jam. It's a fact of life that you are going to prefer (x) to (y). There are ways to write about that without hurting feelings, or without simply saying "x is better than y, and you're a drunken chimpanzee if you feel otherwise", but personal preference is really what makes this fanbase go round.

4. EVERYONE should write more reviews. Contribute to the website! It's here for all of us!

5. How do people keep ignoring that Phish played their new material a ton in EVERY tour? And as far as the bustouts and shorter rotations go - I get that plenty of people enjoyed the "200 song" Summer 2012 first sets, but really, once you've gotten past the giddyness of them busting out Llama or Forbin's > Mockingbird or what have you (and I'd like to hear those too, for the record), does it really enhance your experience *that* much when all is said and done? Is it really terrible if you got a killer jam out of a Tweezer instead of, say, something as rarely played as Lifeboy? Or, hell, even more commonly played songs like Fee or The Mango Song? I love the largeness of their catalog, but it doesn't kill me that they don't explore every inch of it.

Or, to put it another way, are you really pushing for a 1992-like 12-song second set just because one of those 12 songs might be Glide?
, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland Does it really enhance your experience *that* much when all is said and done?

Yes, it does. I know I'm a minority in the fanbase, but I have very little interest in 20 minute + jams, no matter what the song is. What I want to hear is the band's written compositions and songs played really well. I've had two experiences with a bustout at a show I've seen:

Pebbles & Marbles 8/7/09 The Gorge
Scents and Subtle Sounds 9/2/11 Dick's

Those are two of my very favorite Phish songs and both of those versions were rusty as all hell. They've never been setlist regulars so when they did bust them out in a period where they weren't the "practice 8 hours a day" Phish of the early 90's, it was painfully obvious.

Is it really terrible if you got a killer jam out of a Tweezer instead of, say, something as rarely played as Lifeboy? Or, hell, even more commonly played songs like Fee or The Mango Song?

Not a great comparison, I'd say. Tweezer is a setlist regular and it's expected that there will be a jam. Lifeboy, The Mango Song (two more in my Phish Top 20) and Fee with a few exceptions aren't jam songs, they're played pretty much straight-up. Again, I'd rather hear the two songs above and the three just mentioned than a boring 24 minute version of Rock and Roll that I heard at the 8/15/12 Long Beach show. It was hilarious to hear people after the show and later online be all "OMG! A 24-minute R&R, awesome!". The fact that the jam went nowhere, almost ended completely after about 13 minutes but then noodled on for another 10 doesn't seem to matter.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert @FACTSAREUSELESS
I guess that's where we differ then. I don't think the act of playing a wider variety of songs is inherently creative. And the vast majority of songs they aren't playing are ones they've never gotten particularly creative with. They aren't playing the 3 songs I want to see the most on any given night, Timber, Taste, Vultures.

Trey clearly put a ton of time into GD50. If that lead to a decision to keep the pool of songs smaller and focus on songs that they really want to play a lot. That's fine. And the big reason it's fine with me is because the improv isn't suffering. It's thriving. Interestingly enough, the only other time I've personally felt the improvisation was flourishing like this in 3.0 is when Phish went the other direction and did 200 different songs Summer Tour 2012. There's no right answer.

I'll gladly see Birds three times instead of Timber, Taste, and Vultures if the trade off is that the time Trey didn't spend brushing up on rarer Phish songs was spent generally getting more awesome at guitar.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @JezmundToo said:
Funny enough, the other time I commented on a review was by this same "author".
Not intentional, but it is funny.

You know what's not funny? Veiled homophobia disguised as an "humorous" insult.

"If you would prefer I lie to you...tell me what you want me to whisper in your ear as we spoon on the grass with our shirts off at Magnaball during "Brian and Robert" or maybe to bring it full circle "Let Me Lie"...what do you say?"

MY opinion is that you come off as an snarky, entitled, asshat.
I'll bet you are really fun to hang out with.

But that's just like, my opinion, man.
It was a genuine offer to console you in a time of need. How do you jump from two men embracing shirtless to that being veiled homophobia? Physical affection between humans doesn't always have to be about dropping trou and going to poundtown. I would feel comfortable having a tender moment and engage in a mid-show hug with a male friend without ever crossing the threshold into feelings of a sexual nature. Take a look in the mirror brother. When was the last time you hugged your dad? I hope for your sake it isn't too late and he hasn't already left your life. Give it a try before you wither away in a puddle of self-hatred and denial of your own feelings.

The love you take is equal to the love you make...and you aren't making any around here.
, comment by JezmundToo
JezmundToo Wow.

Nothing worse than people trying to come off as clever to suit their own smugness.

Hug it out, bro?
, comment by flatbottomfrank
flatbottomfrank Doctor Retard, why don't you stop trying to be a creative writing student, and end with the puns, and retarded show reviews. Surely you never saw a show pre 2004. Terrible review, the show rocked, and sometimes a shortened song is no less. You should stop reviewing shows, or stop writing for your english teachers benefit.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @HenryHolland said:
Does it really enhance your experience *that* much when all is said and done?

Yes, it does. I know I'm a minority in the fanbase, but I have very little interest in 20 minute + jams, no matter what the song is. What I want to hear is the band's written compositions and songs played really well. I've had two experiences with a bustout at a show I've seen:

Pebbles & Marbles 8/7/09 The Gorge
Scents and Subtle Sounds 9/2/11 Dick's

Those are two of my very favorite Phish songs and both of those versions were rusty as all hell. They've never been setlist regulars so when they did bust them out in a period where they weren't the "practice 8 hours a day" Phish of the early 90's, it was painfully obvious.

Is it really terrible if you got a killer jam out of a Tweezer instead of, say, something as rarely played as Lifeboy? Or, hell, even more commonly played songs like Fee or The Mango Song?

Not a great comparison, I'd say. Tweezer is a setlist regular and it's expected that there will be a jam. Lifeboy, The Mango Song (two more in my Phish Top 20) and Fee with a few exceptions aren't jam songs, they're played pretty much straight-up. Again, I'd rather hear the two songs above and the three just mentioned than a boring 24 minute version of Rock and Roll that I heard at the 8/15/12 Long Beach show. It was hilarious to hear people after the show and later online be all "OMG! A 24-minute R&R, awesome!". The fact that the jam went nowhere, almost ended completely after about 13 minutes but then noodled on for another 10 doesn't seem to matter.
Preach it, brother. I'm on your team. I don't measure the music by the length of time it took to play it, but by what they do with the time it occupies. If I want to see a band "jam out" every freaking thing in the catalog and bore me to tears, I'll go see Moe. What I want to see and hear are interesting and tight renditions of songs with attention to detail and artistic originality. The days of my brain coasting in a hash-induced fuzzy haze of noise and rhythm are long gone.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @nOOb1OO said:

"I love the largeness of their catalog, but it doesn't kill me that they don't explore every inch of it."

Well, it bothers me. I just lived through 20 years of Lesh and Weir playing all the songs that the Dead never bothered to play from 77-95 and I found myself often asking "why?" Would it have been so hard for Jerry and Co. to play them when he was still with us? It would've meant a lot to me in retrospect. As much as I appreciated Phil reviving Viola Lee Blues, I would've really loved to have a recording of Jerry playing it with him in '92.

They can't explore the whole catalogue in 25 shows, granted, but they don't need to play Twist in the cleanup role every other show, either.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @nichobert said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS
I guess that's where we differ then. I don't think the act of playing a wider variety of songs is inherently creative. And the vast majority of songs they aren't playing are ones they've never gotten particularly creative with. They aren't playing the 3 songs I want to see the most on any given night, Timber, Taste, Vultures.

Trey clearly put a ton of time into GD50. If that lead to a decision to keep the pool of songs smaller and focus on songs that they really want to play a lot. That's fine. And the big reason it's fine with me is because the improv isn't suffering. It's thriving. Interestingly enough, the only other time I've personally felt the improvisation was flourishing like this in 3.0 is when Phish went the other direction and did 200 different songs Summer Tour 2012. There's no right answer.

I'll gladly see Birds three times instead of Timber, Taste, and Vultures if the trade off is that the time Trey didn't spend brushing up on rarer Phish songs was spent generally getting more awesome at guitar.
Funny, I also dearly love Timber and Taste. Vultures and I can take or leave, but it would be nice to hear it at least once a tour.

Heard the same "it's okay if the song pool is smaller as long as it's good" argument in 2013 and it didn't sit well with me then either. Nor am I looking for 12 song 2nd sets. I just want variety. It's what I wanted in the Dead and what I want with Phish.

I have no problem with a core group of 20-30 songs in a heavy rotation, but the others should be generously sprinkled in to mix things up and keep things fresh. There's no excuse not to other than poor preparation, in my opinion.

I didn't watch tonight's webcast, but it appears they had an ear to our proverbial wall tonight!
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @flatbottomfrank said:
Doctor Retard, why don't you stop trying to be a creative writing student, and end with the puns, and retarded show reviews. Surely you never saw a show pre 2004. Terrible review, the show rocked, and sometimes a shortened song is no less. You should stop reviewing shows, or stop writing for your english teachers benefit.
Hey Todd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6EiIdy8xVU
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty Rest assured if I was recapping tonight's show I would be talking about magical unicorns shitting rainbows. Tonight was what I would consider a great show. It destroys the KC Mehsterpiece in every measurable category.
, comment by majormajorx2
majormajorx2 I thought it was a great show! The Divided Sky was beautiful. The Divided Sky > The Last Step > Blaze On was a brilliant combo. I was honored to hear a new song busted out. Old, new, new.

Gotta Jibboo was a great second set opener. We got a fun YEM, and then one of my favorite sad / happy songs Bug wrapped it all up. Somewhere in there we had a 20 minute DWD that had a bunch of fun teases.

If that all doesn't make you happy, what will?

For the record, Starlight also got a ballad of Curtis Lowe in 2012.
, comment by majormajorx2
majormajorx2 @Blimpalot said:
Well ejaculated...and, although my first show of this tour is tonight, I understand the difference between a standard phish experience and a stand out piranhic pheeding phrenzy. That being said, the only factors that contribute to my feeling unphulphilled at a show, even one with no break outs, no phake outs, and a cold steady rain, unfortunately, is when the crowd arotound me seems unappreciative...by talking incessantly, usually loudly during the songs they haven't heard before or didn't want to hear, or because they brought their issues into the venue and desire to make their first-world problems everyone else's. Oh and the ones who think making out during slow songs enhances everyone's good time-- but, hey, I'll take that over the mad gabbers, at least they're quiet. Rant over. The band has never let me down...and I been around. To continue the metaphor, I'm looking forward to whatever junk they smash out tonight!
Perhaps you should have found a different place to hang out then. Plenty of the Starlight crowd was into it 100 percent.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @majormajorx2 said:
I thought it was a great show! The Divided Sky was beautiful. The Divided Sky > The Last Step > Blaze On was a brilliant combo. I was honored to hear a new song busted out. Old, new, new.

Gotta Jibboo was a great second set opener. We got a fun YEM, and then one of my favorite sad / happy songs Bug wrapped it all up. Somewhere in there we had a 20 minute DWD that had a bunch of fun teases.

If that all doesn't make you happy, what will?

For the record, Starlight also got a ballad of Curtis Lowe in 2012.
It's not about being happy. If I am at a Phish show...I am happy. If I am not at a Phish show but listening to a Phish show...I am happy. If I'm not at a Phish show and not listening to a Phish show...I am happy. The show had high points and low points...like all shows. There simply weren't a preponderance of peaks relative to the expansive plains, rolling hills, and gentle valleys. Just like Missouri.
, comment by majormajorx2
majormajorx2 @Doctor_Smarty

Right on, I feel you. Just feel a bit different, I'm sure it being a hometown show helps those feelings.
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